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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 John Temple Mr John Temple , City of Chester 12:00 am, 28th November 1973

The Supreme Court is the ultimate arbiter of what should or should not happen under the constitution.

I had the opportunity of studying the Allende régime to a small extent. I went to a farm near Valparaiso which was in a perfectly shocking state. There was no doubt that agricultural production was dropping on almost every farm throughout Chile because the whole agricultural reform programme was failing. It was for that reason that Chile became a net importer of food under the Allende régime when, prior to that, it has been an exporter of food on a considerable scale. [HON. MEMBERS : "Oh."] I know that the Opposition do not like this but they must listen.

I saw that great port of Valparaiso, built by the first Lord Cowdray when Britain did so much public works construction in Latin-America. I went on the harbour in 1972, and there was hardly a crane operating. There were grain ships anchored off the harbour. There was a scarcity of grain but the ships were incapable of being unloaded and had been there for 30 days. Most of the people in Chile were going short of food. That gives some idea of the shambles developing at that time under the Allende régime.

In the centre of Santiago hardly a day passed without riots of some nature being put down by tear gas by the Government of the day. One almost needed a gas mask in the centre of Santiago. Any Right-wing demonstrations were put down by extremely strong-arm tactics.