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Orders of the Day — Chile

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

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Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton 12:00 am, 28th November 1973

The hon. Gentleman may care to read the correspondents. James Nelson Goodsell, of the Christian Science Monitor had the information just after the coup. I have spoken to people who were in Chile then who are convinced that there was a plot to exterminate people. It was to have been carried out on 17th September, Chile's Independence Day, by an army of 13,000 Cuban, North Korean and Chilean extremists. When the Moneda was taken, an arsenal of weapons was found.

Before we judge the military junta we should bear those facts in mind and consider how we in this country would have acted if we had been faced by a Communist tyranny. I realise that many Labour Members have a certain sympathy for that point of view. But let the House remember that the Chilean armed forces have had a record of keeping out of politics, except for one time in 1924. Unlike other Latin American countries, they have scrupulously kept out of politics.

I deplore the fact that there is not now democracy in Chile. Our Government's rôle should be to encourage Chile to return to democracy as soon as possible, and I do not believe that the motion would help that in any way.

We have heard many quotations from some correspondents in Chile. I end by quoting a Chilean correspondent of La Tercera, who wrote : That group of unscrupulous caudillos that governed us for three years left the country in the greatest state of ruin in our history. Agricultural and livestock production was practically destroyed, as the enormous sums allocated for the importation of food prove. A similar thing occurred with industry, mining, and all the country's sources of wealth.That is the heritage left to us by Salvador Allende Gossens and his henchmen, who were controlled by international communism and, in addition, had endeavoured to destroy this highly industrious nation both physically and morally.Thanks to the patriotic, heroic, and unselfish intervention of our armed forces, an end to this infernal situation, which had seemed irreversible to us, was achieved. That is the view of Roberto Campo.