Skip to main content

Captain Galvao

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 9 November 1961

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what further consideration he has given to the application of Captain Galvao for permission to visit the United Kingdom.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now allow Captain Galvao to visit this country.

For the reasons explained in the debate on the Adjournment on 13th June, my right hon. Friend is not prepared to authorise the grant of a visa to Captain Galvao.

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman represent to his right hon. Friend that it is very odd that Captain Galvao should be refused admission to this country while three high-ranking officers in Franco's army are admitted? Why is it that we make this distinction between the two? Why is it that the Home Secretary, who has a reputation for a progressive and liberal attitude, is so confirmed in his decision that anti-Fascists are not to be allowed into this country? Has not Captain Galvao as much right to come to this country to put the point of view of his people as he has to go to Sweden, for example, where he has been invited? In the interests of the good name of this country, is it not time to stop this pettifogging nonsense, under the instructions of Dr. Salazar, and admit this man to our shores?

We went into all this very thoroughly when we had a debate on the Adjournment in June, and I do not think that there has been any material change of circumstances which would cause my right hon. Friend to change his decision. With respect to the hon. Member for Deptford (Sir L. Plummer), the case of the Spanish officers is not one with which I am familiar, but it does not seem to me that the Spanish officers intended to come here for the same purpose as Captain Galvao, namely, to advocate insurrection against an ally.

Is the Minister aware that deep concern has been expressed on both sides of the House about conditions in Angola and Mozambique? As Captain Galvao is an acknowledged authority on conditions in both those territories, will the Minister allow him to accept an invitation from a group of hon. Members to come to a Committee Room upstairs to address us about conditions in Angola and Mozambique? Further, will he say why Captain Galvao has been kept out?

He was kept out for the reasons given in the Adjournment debate, and there has been no change of circumstances since then. Whether the issue of an invitation by hon. Members itself constitutes a fresh reason is a matter which one would have to consider.

Will my hon. and learned Friend agree that a man who, with his revolutionary colleagues, has murdered an unarmed officer while on watch in a ship at sea in peacetime, and has played with the lives of women and children, should not be persona gratain this country? Further, has my hon. and learned Friend seen the article by Captain Galvao's revolutionary colleagues, published in the Ultima Horaof Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which starts by saying:

"We denounce Captain Galvao"—?

Order. The hon. Member is out of order in quoting from articles at Question Time.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why Captain Galvao was not permitted the facilities provided normally to transit passengers when passing through London Airport en routefor Stockholm.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what instructions he gave to the Home Office authorities at London Airport about the treatment to be accorded to Captain Galvao on his arrival there recently.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department why Captain Galvao was detained under lock and key while in transit through London Airport on his way to Scandinavia.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been drawn to the treatment of Captain Galvao at London Airport recently by the police; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Renton : For the reasons explained in the debate on the Adjournment on 13th June, my right hon. Friend decided that Captain Galvao should not be allowed to come into this country. When he arrived at London Airport at one o'clock in the morning of the 26th October, he was accordingly refused leave to land and was accommodated in the quarters provided for such passengers until his plane left for Stockholm about nine hours later. My right hon. Friend is satisfied that he was well treated and is assured that he made no complaint.

May I ask the hon. and learned Gentleman whether it is not a fact that when Captain Galvao first arrived he was treated in the same way as criminals are treated when they come here? Was it not in great contrast with the treatment he received at London Airport when he was returning from that journey? Why the contrast between the two treatments? If any charge of violence is made against Captain Galvao, is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that in Portugal there is no democracy which allows liberal action and candidates? What other course can Captain Galvao and liberals pursue?

When Captain Galvao arrived he was treated in the same way as other people who attempt to land here and are not given leave to land. He was treated with courtesy and consideration. He made no complaint, and, indeed, he appeared appreciative of the arrangements which were made for his refreshment, his rest and his privacy. The only distinction between what happened when he came on 26th October and when he passed through when going back to Morocco on 3rd November, was that on the former occasion he was understood to say that he did not wish to see the Press on that occasion but when he returned through London Airport on 3rd November he said that he was willing to see the Press and he was enabled to do so.

Can the hon. and learned Gentleman confirm whether this mean action against Captain Galvao resulted from consultations which have taken place with the Foreign Office? Can the hon. and learned Gentleman also not realise that the only way his Department can make amends for what was done is to agree to provide a visa for Captain Galvao to come to London? When it is suggested by some of his hon. Friends that Captain Galvao has been guilty of piracy, will the Home Office recognise that in the days of the first Queen Elizabeth some of the most violent fighters for freedom in this country were pirates?

Apart from that part of the supplementary question which deals with Elizabethan pirates, I think the hon. Gentleman will find that his questions are answered in the speech which I made in the Adjournment debate on 13th June.

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that the first time Captain Galvao came here he was in fact accommodated perfectly comfortably, but, as he said to me, as the policeman who had taken him there left he heard the key turning in the lock. Captain Galvao said: "This is the first time that I have been locked in a room by the police since I left Dr. Salazar's regime." Does the hon. and learned Gentleman realise that the only reason why Captain Galvao was not treated in the same way on the second occasion was because a Member of Parliament, in fact myself, went and met him?

People who have to be kept in custody because they have been refused leave to land are provided with these special quarters at London Airport. They are comfortable, but they are special quarters, and it is explained to the people concerned that they are in custody. I understand that it is the usual practice for the entrance to these quarters to be locked. There is nothing unusual about that.

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman answer the simple question, was the Home Office acting on the advice of the Foreign Office?

I answered that question several months ago. The answer is that there are certain cases in which it is right that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary should obtain the views of my noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. This was done on this occasion, as it is rightly done on a number of occasions.

Owing to the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.