Chile

Oral Answers to Questions — Employment – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd May 1972.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton 12:00 am, 2nd May 1972

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek to make an official visit to Chile.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I have at present no plans to do so, Sir.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the plans of Her Majesty's Government for official representation at UNCTAD III in Santiago are regarded as quite inadequate? If the Government believe that this is an important conference, why did not the Minister for Overseas Development attend?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The other countries present, including the developing countries, accept that we attach great importance to the conference. The Secretary-General accepts it, as he said when we discussed the matter at No. 10.

It has been customary for the Minister responsible for trade to go. I went to the UNCTAD conference in 1964 when I was President of the Board of Trade. We have adhered to the usual arrangements. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is going to Santiago this week. I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's criticisms of the Government's performance at Santiago, where my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade put forward proposals of very great importance indeed.

Photo of Mr Stratton Mills Mr Stratton Mills , Belfast North

May I assure my right hon. Friend, having visited Chile recently, that if he were to visit that country he would meet a very warm welcome in view of the strong desire for close contact with this country? Will my right hon. Friend in particular confirm that following the debt settlement talks in Paris, agreement was reached over the question of ECGD credit?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

We have had a long and close association with Chile. There have been problems recently over the debt settlement, but I hope that these can now be satisfactorily settled.