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North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Volume 643: debated on Wednesday 28 June 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will call to the attention of the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation the failure of the Portuguese Government to carry out the obligations set forth in the Preamble and Article 2 of the Treaty.


asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will initiate proposals to remove Portugal from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, in view of the damage done to the declared aims of that Organisation by the policy currently being pursued in Angola.


asked the Lord Privy Seal if, in view of the fact that the actions of Portugal in Angola conflict with Portuguese acceptance of the Preamble of the North Atlantic Treaty, he will propose her expulsion from the Organisation.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Portuguese Government have acted both in Portugal and in Angola completely contrary to the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law as laid down in the Preamble of the Treaty and have done less than nothing to strengthen their institutions as required by Article 2? In view of this, instead of sending arms to Portugal as a N.A.T.O. ally, will Her Majesty's Government propose that Portugal should be expelled from N.A.T.O.?

I cannot agree with those views and I do not think that it would achieve anything to adopt the attitude which the hon. Member suggests.

How does the right hon. Gentleman square these answers with his attitude towards South Africa and the Commonwealth? Is he not aware that it was precisely this kind of answer that we received when we asked similar questions on the policy of the Government of South Africa? Is he aware that Her Majesty's Government always answered that these were matters of internal policies with which they could not interfere? Does not that same argument apply to Portugal and will not Portugal get out of N.A.T,.O. just as South Africa got out of the Commonwealth?

The whole question of South Africa's wish to leave the Commonwealth was a big question which we had to debate in the House. If we are trying to improve the situation in Angola, the Government's view is that this is not the way to achieve it.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that one way of dealing with the situation in Angola is to ask that Portugal should observe the rights which she pledged herself in the N.A.T.O. Treaty to maintain? Does not the right hon. Gentleman recollect that the Prime Minister spoke yesterday very strongly about defending the rights of West Berlin? Are we going to deny the rights which Portugal pledged herself to safeguard under the N.A.T.O. treaty?

No, Sir. Denying rights is not part of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, but we are not prepared to adopt the suggestion of expelling Portugal from N.A.T.O.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one strong Note from Her Majesty's Government on this matter would be better than any representations to N.A.T.O. or the United Nations? Why does he not send a strong Note?

Because when one is dealing with other countries and trying to influence their policy, sending strong Notes is not necessarily the way to do it.

Does the right hon. Gentleman feel that the same applies to speeches about the wind of change?