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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Council Meeting)

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 16 May 1961

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41.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government as stated in the speech of the Foreign Secretary at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council meeting in Oslo on 9th May.

No, Sir. Statements made in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council are confidential.

Is it not the case that Lord Home, in Oslo, offered to help the Portuguese Government to get out of their difficulties in Angola? Would it not have been better if he offered to help the Africans in Angola to get out of their difficulties with Dr. Salazar?

No, Sir. As I say, the conversations are always in private. There is a communiqué and general statements are made, I think, by the official spokesmen, but, of course, it would be in order to raise this matter in the debate in the next two days.

Is it not a monstrous breach of the requirement, or apparent desirability, of having confidential discussions at a conference of this nature that the British Foreign Secretary should have engaged in discussions with the Portuguese representative on the question of Angola?

No, Sir. As I say, these sessions of all the allies are held confidentially. There is a communiqué made and there are some statements made, normally by the spokesmen. I am not prepared to refer to what took place otherwise, but if there are any points which hon. Members wish to raise no doubt they can raise them in the debate tomorrow.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the question of Angola was discussed and whether, as reported in some newspapers, complaint was made in the N.A.T.O. Council at the behaviour of the Portuguese Government?

No, Sir. If I went into all that in question and answer, I should be in breach of the proceedings of the Council.