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Spain (Diplomatic Relations)

Volume 465: debated on Monday 23 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what action His Majesty's Government propose to take following the recent decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations with regard to the full resumption of diplomatic relations with the Spanish Government.

While congratulating my hon. Friend on the very successful outcome of his personal negotiations in Geneva, may I ask whether he is aware that, while the result of the vote in New York has caused some satisfaction to Spanish democrats and to democrats in other parts of Europe, the attitude of the British Government in abstaining has not caused them any satisfaction?

While thanking my hon. Friend for the first part of his supplementary question, may I say that I do not think there is anything I can add, regarding our abstention, to the very full statement made by my right hon. Friend on 11th May.

Is there any prospect of the Government toppling off the fence on either one side or the other?


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he can make a statement as to why the representatives of Great Britain remained neutral on the question of the recognition of the Spanish Government when the matter recently came before the General Assembly of the United Nations organisation.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which my right hon. Friend gave to a similar Question asked on 11th May by the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin).

Is my hon. Friend aware that the Question asked by the hon. Member for Mile End related to the action of our representatives on the Political Committee of U.N.O. and that my Question relates to the action of our representatives at the General Assembly of U.N.O.? Is he aware that a de jure recognition of the present Government of Spain would be very repugnant to most of those who support His Majesty's Government in this country? Does he really think that it is consistent with the dignity of a great nation like ourselves that our representatives should remain neutral on so important a matter and—

I am, of course, aware of the feeling of my hon. Friends on the subject of returning the Ambassador to Spain contrary to the United Nations resolution. They are feelings entirely shared by my right hon. Friend.

Has the hon. Gentleman observed that prominent Liberals have rebuked the Government for abstaining from voting, and is not this a case of Satan rebuking sin?

Can my hon. Friend say whether the moral leadership of this country in Europe can best be secured by an attitude of dashing neutrality?

Would it not be better even if the Government allowed themselves to be advised by prominent Liberals rather than by the Philippines and Chile, for example?