Foreign Affairs

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th July 1967.

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Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar 12:00 am, 20th July 1967

Some of those of the Right-wing party were also in gaol or under police surveillance in their homes. Many Centre Union M.P.s were also in goal, and many awaiting trial. More of them, indeed, are in prison now, with no charges against them, than when we were there. More Centre Union Members of Parliament are in prison awaiting trial, uncharged, or on spurious charges than were in prison or under detention at the time of the coup.

It is with no pleasure that we have to condemn what has been happening in Greece. There is no excuse on earth for it. There was an electoral and general calm prevailing in Greece in late April, which even the military coup itself, be- cause of its surprise and suddenness, did not completely disturb, because nobody, least of all at Easter, expected these things, such organised treachery, and because there was no organised, armed resistance on the Centre or Left.

We know why the coup was so successful technically. It is because a N.A.T.O. exercise, planned to take over in national crisis, was used to carry out that undemocratic operation against the Parliament and the people. But we are involved in this, too. The peace of Europe could be involved in issues, which threaten the peace of Cyprus. This is obviously now a greater danger spot in the world than ever. As long as these rebels are there, in power in Athens, it daily becomes increasingly more dangerous.

I hope that Her Majesty's Government and all our allies, at least in N.A.T.O., in the Western Europe organisations, and in Scandinavia, will use every possible pressure to prise these dangerous people out—because the only thing they recognise is power and pressure. Logic and persuasion cannot hope to be used with success. They must be forced to relinquish the illegal power which they seized by mutiny, condoned by people in the Establishment, who are not themselves concerned with democracy in Greece, but only with holding on to their own power in turn.

It is high time that the Greek people were helped to speak again freely for themselves, as they were about to do at the elections of 28th May. If they had been able to do that, there would today be a government of the Centre Union, centred about a hard core of people who had resisted every attempt at their bribery and corruption—honest, intelligent and progressive men. That is the Government that the people would have had. Instead of that, they have the tragedy and humiliation of a military rebel junta of stupid men. The sooner that a proper Government can be established once again the better for the Greek people—and for the peace of the world.