European Security and Co-Operation Conference

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 15th July 1975.

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Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Stretford 12:00 am, 15th July 1975

I have represented what was said to me by two leaders of the democratic parties in Lisbon only two weeks ago. One of them, Dr. Mario Soares the Socialist Party leader, expresesd his substantial concern at the content of those programmes. He stressed the particular importance of this in the present situation where, as he put it, the diet that is available to the ordinary Portuguese people today amounts to little more than Pravda and lzvestia. Therefore, particular importance is attached to what is being broadcast from London. Even if we cannot be helpful to the democratic parties in Portugal, the least we can do is not to help their enemies.

The implications of a Communist take over in Portugal, which is a clear possibility, would be very grave for NATO. On top of the Cyprus crisis, which has neutralised the Turks and the Greeks in the NATO Alliance, and on top of the Communist gains in the recent local government elections in Italy, it would mark the total collapse of the southern flank of NATO and would give free rein to Soviet power from the Azores through the Mediterranean to the Middle East.

In the CSCE Agreement the Soviet union is seeking to gain from the West formal acknowledgment of its conquests in the Second World War and, above all, its right to control indefinitely some 200 million people of Central and Eastern Europe who, before that war, were not under Soviet control. What, we may ask, are the feelings of those people? Unless the Soviet Union ceases forthwith its direct interference in Portugal, unless it is prepared to take fairly substantive—while recognising that we cannot ask too much—steps to liberalise and democratise its own society, unless it is, above all, prepared to give an undertaking that there will be no more Soviet invasions of Czechoslovakia and acknowledge that to have been a mistake, by going to this summit meeting and by putting their hands on behalf of the free people of the world to this document the leaders of the Western democracies could be in danger of signing a second Munich Agreement, signing away the rights of millions of people in far-away lands and, above all, duping their own people into believing that genuine détente and "peace in our time" had been achieved.