Spain

Oral Answers to Questions — Western European Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th January 1951.

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Photo of Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers , Winchester 12:00 am, 29th January 1951

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the need for active defence measures, it is his policy to work for the incorporation of Spain in the system of Western European defence, or to arrive at an agreement with the Spanish Government aimed at securing the strategic interests of the Western Powers.

Photo of Brigadier Ralph Rayner Brigadier Ralph Rayner , Totnes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now endeavour to arrange with other interested Governments that Spain be asked to join the Atlantic European front.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if the Government will sponsor the entry of Spain into the Atlantic Pact alliance.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

His Majesty's Government have not changed their view expressed by the Prime Minister in his reply to the hon. Member for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans) on 25th July last year, to the effect that at the present time the collaboration of the Atlantic Pact countries against Soviet Communism would not be strengthened by the closer association of Spain with the system of Western European defence.

Photo of Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers , Winchester

Does that reply mean that no diplomatic preparations have been made for the planning of joint defence with Spain in the case of an outbreak of war, and, if so, is it not leaving these arrangements dangerously late in view of vital British strategic interests?

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

I am unaware of any such arrangements having been made. I would add that the argument that on practical grounds Spain would be useful at the present time is open to question as it would be foolish to provide arms for Spain before the Western Powers were themselves fully equipped.

Photo of Brigadier Ralph Rayner Brigadier Ralph Rayner , Totnes

As the Minister and his colleagues are at present trying to get together with Communist Yugoslavia, how can the Minister justify that reply?

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Yugoslavia is not a member of N.A.T.O., and merely to be anti-Communist, as Spain is, is not a sufficient qualification for close relationship with the North Atlantic Powers.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin

Will not the Minister agree that we need any accession of strength today against Communism, and is not the Spanish Government the most anti-Communist Government in Europe? Ought we not to put first things first and be a little more realistic about it?

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

I do not consider that the accession of Spain to the Western Powers would increase their strength at the present time. I would also add that the best recommendation for membership of N.A.T.O. would be for Spain to have a democratic régime.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

As the Government are equally emphatic about the rearmament of Germany, will the Minister give us an assurance that he will not agree to any policy of re-arming Spain even if he is asked by General Eisenhower to do so?

Photo of Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers , Winchester

I beg to give notice that in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply I will raise this matter on the Adjournment.