HL Deb 25 January 1962 vol 236 cc978-9

3.18 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any statement to make on the recent Indian aggression against Goa and on the existing situation as regards the AngloPortuguese treaties of alliance.]


My Lords, on the first part of this Question I have nothing to add to the statement I made on December 18 and to the further statement made by my noble friend, the Minister of State, in this House on December 20. With regard to the second part of the Question, the Anglo-Portuguese treaties of alliance remain in force.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for his Answer, may I ask whether he is aware that there is at the present time a strong feeling in Portugal, from which I have just returned, that we did not do all we might have done to fulfil our obligations under these very long-standing treaties? May I also ask him a question with regard to the statement made in 1954, when Her Majesty's Government told the Portuguese Government that in the event of an attack on Goa by a member of the Commonwealth we should not be able to intervene? If that was done, could my noble friend tell me how it was done? Was it in writing in any form; was it published; or was it merely a verbal statement to an Ambassador?


My Lords, on the first part of the question, I know, of course, that there is a good deal of anxiety in Portugal about the operation of the treaty of alliance between Portugal and this country. When my noble friend asks whether we did all that we could do, I would reply that in the case of the Goa incident we did all that we were asked to do by the Portuguese Government, which was to make strong diplomatic representations to India; and that we did. In 1954 we told the Portuguese Government that in the event of a clash between them and a Commonwealth country we should not be able to go to their aid with military forces; and that was made clear to them. I will check up, but, if my memory is right, it was conveyed by the Ambassador.