Guatemala

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 1972.

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Photo of Dr John Gilbert Dr John Gilbert , Dudley 12:00 am, 24th April 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement about current Anglo-Guatemalan relations.

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

Our relations are affected by the Guatemalan claim to British Honduras. The aim of Her Majesty's Government is that British Honduras should achieve independence free from any claim against her territory and on good terms with her neighbours. We shall continue our attempts to achieve a negotiated settlement.

Photo of Dr John Gilbert Dr John Gilbert , Dudley

What precedent is there for the situation to which the combined posturings of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence have brought us, namely, that we have to submit to a foreign observer, in this case one from the OAS, to oversee the withdrawal of British troops from a British dependent territory?

Photo of Mr Joseph Godber Mr Joseph Godber , Grantham

The hon. Gentleman has got it wrong, as usual. It is not a question of the British Government having to submit. The British Government offered to provide facilities for an observer because—[Laughter.] There is no point in the hon. Gentleman laughing about this. I am giving him the facts. There was an allegation by the Guatemalan Government that we had larger forces than we have. We therefore suggested that the OAS might care to send an observer to see who was telling the truth. Britain is telling the truth.