HC Deb 20 July 1983 vol 46 c365
6. Mr. James Lamond

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last discussed with the United States Government the situation in Central America.

Sir Geoffrey Howe

Central America was one of the topics I discussed when I met Secretary of State Shultz in Washington on 14 July.

Mr. Lamond

Is there anyone in the Foreign Office who is aware that there is a deepening crisis in Central America which is being made worse by American naval manoeuvres in the area, increased involvement with regressive Governments there and now the suggestion that Dr. Henry Kissinger is to become involved? Will the Foreign Secretary take his courage in both hands and issue a word of caution to the President of the United States about that?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

The hon. Gentleman is perfectly right to draw attention to the serious features arising from events and conditions in that area, and the fact that the United States Government have appointed a commission which includes Dr. Kissinger is just one measure of their concern for the seriousness of the situation. It must be remembered that, as they have said, they are seeking to secure, as are many other people, including the Contadora group, peace in that area, the restoration of stable social conditions, and, as much as anyone else, to diminish the flow of arms to that part of the world.

Mr. Blaker

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that there is on the Order Paper an early-day motion signed by 25 Labour Members criticising the Government on the ground that they invited to Britain this week ex-President Duarte of E1 Salvador, because he is said to be involved in violence and to be undemocratic? Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that, to the contrary, ex-President Duarte has suffered exile and torture because of his belief in democracy and that during his visit to Europe he was received by the Socialist Prime Minister of Spain and the leaders of three other EC countries?

Sir Geoffrey Howe

My hon. Friend is right to draw attention to those facts. Senor Duarte has indeed been received by several European leaders and criticism of him here comes ill from those who signed that early-day motion.

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