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Volume 641: debated on Friday 5 May 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what proposals Her Majesty's Government have made to or received from the Spanish Government for further incorporating Spain into the Western world.

I have nothing to add to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's reply to the hon. Members for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) and Ash-field (Mr. Warbey) on 1st June.

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that we all in the House would welcome the incorporation of Spain into the Western world provided that the Fascist rôgime were abolished, that there were a liberalisation of conditions in Spain and that there was an amnesty of all political prisoners?

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave examples of the way in which we had been able to help the movement of Spain towards the Western world. If the hon. Member likes to put forward further suggestions, we will gladly consider them.

Is the Minister aware that the whole moral basis of Western unity and Western defence is freedom and the preservation of the rights of minorities? Will he impress on his noble Friend in another place that any accession of Spain to a Western democracy would be a negation of all that we believe in?

I do not think the hon. Member means exactly what he said in his last sentence—that the accession of Spain to Western democracy would be a negation of all we believe in. We have constantly made it plain that the question of Spanish membership of N.A.T.O. is not under consideration. As for taking part in the defence of the West, Spain already grants military bases which play a part in that defence.

Since the Lord Privy Seal has asked for suggestions, may I suggest that the best way in which Spain can be brought closer to the Western world would be for the Spanish Government to show some respect for human rights inside Spain?