Portuguese Foreign Minister (Talks)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 27th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on his talks with the Portuguese Foreign Minister in early March.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the outcome of his talks with the Foreign Secretary of Portugal during his recent visit to London.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I had a useful exchange of views with the Portuguese Foreign Minister on a number of matters of interest to Britain and Portugal, including enlargement of the European Community, East-West relations and European security, and Southern African questions, as well as bilateral matters. As is customary, the details must remain confidential.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Could not my right hon. Friend say what was the outcome of the discussions on the question of tariffs and quotas for textiles, tomato purée and cork, three important exports from Portugal to this country, particularly in the light of what he has just said about our joining the European Economic Community—if we do?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The Portuguese were, I understand, having talks with the Commission in Brussels about their own arrangements. I should wish to know more about that before I could answer my hon. Friend's question.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Can the Foreign Secretary assure the House that the style of his conversations left the Portuguese in no doubt that the British refuse to condone the lack of political freedom in Portugal and the wars of colonial repression in Mozambique, Angola and Guinea? Further, did the right hon. Gentleman secure an assurance that in future Portugal would support sanctions against Rhodesia, and if not, why not?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

No, Sir. We did talk about matters in Southern Africa, and I hope that the hon. Gentleman is not suggesting that conversations with the Portuguese are not a good thing, for my researches show that over a year ago he urged his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, then Prime Minister, to have talks with the Portuguese.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

Yes, but to say rather different things. Will the Foreign Secretary comment upon the expressed desire of Dr. Patricio to end the Beira patrol? Did he tell Dr. Patricio that it would not be necessary to have a Beira patrol if Portugal would enforce sanctions, and that the Beira patrol has been the most effective part of sanctions and really ought to be extended?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I told Dr. Patricio that the Beira patrol would remain as long as sanctions.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

I welcome the Foreign Minister's visit, which was most successful, and on which my right hon. Friend is to be complimented, but was it not unfortunate—contrary to what the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) suggested—that almost immediately after his visit there was an interception of a Portuguese ship in the Mozambique Channel, without any effect on Rhodesia or anything else? Will he bring this nonsense to an end?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The Beira patrol must remain as long as sanctions remain. There was an interception of a Portuguese ship—if a patrol never intercepts a ship, it is not much use—but the ship was not carrying any oil.