Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Orders of the Day — Chile

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1973.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Brighton, Pavilion 12:00 am, 28th November 1973

The motion before the House stands not only in the name of the right hon. Member for Lanark (Mrs. Hart) but in the names of the Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) who is the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), the Shadow Foreign Secretary and one of his deputies, the hon. and learned Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) as well as in the names of two distinguished back-bench Members. It is therefore brought forward with the full authority of right hon. Gentlemen who aspire to form the next Government and to conduct Britain's foreign policy. It is accordingly an important document and the right hon. Lady's speech was an important speech. I propose therefore to treat both the motion and the speech as such.

The motion calls upon us to do three things. It calls upon the House to criticise Her Majesty's Government for certain actions they undertook at the time of the coup and have undertaken since. It takes sides, categorically, against the present Chilean régime and is thus, by implication, in favour of its predecessor. It also urges that certain consequential measures should be taken in favour of those who supported President Allende and against the present régime. I want to deal with each of those three points in turn.

It begins by criticising what is called the hasty recognition of the new regime by Her Majesty's Government. The criteria for recognition in the postwar world were laid down, for the Foreign Office, by Mr. Ernest Bevin. The essential criterion was that the Government to be recognised was in effective control of the country in question and likely to remain so for some time. In the 11 days between the coup and our recognition of the new régime it became quite clear to us that the new régime was in effective control of Chile.

We were by no means alone in taking this view. The right hon. Lady mentioned some of the countries that have taken the same step as we have taken, some before us. A total of 20 Governments recognised before us, including two Social Democratic Governments, Austria and West Germany.