Skip to main content


Volume 892: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1975

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


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make a statement on the Minister of State's forthcoming visit to Brazil.

I leave tonight for visits to Brazil and Venezuela. Her Majesty's Government wish to strengthen our relations with both these leading countries of Latin America which are remarkable for their vitality and growth. I shall be having discussions with the Brazilian and Venezuelan Foreign Ministers and other Ministers, in Brasilia and Caracas, respectively.

As a member of the recent IPU delegation, may I publicly express the delegation's thanks to its Brazilian hosts and to the ambassador, consuls-general and their staff? Is there not enormous scope, politically, technically and trade-wise, for expanding contacts with that country?

I have heard very good reports of the result of the visit of the Inter-Parliamentary Union delegation which was led by my hon. Friend. It was of great value that the members of the delegation were able to see so much of the country and so many leading figures in politics and government. I agree with my hon. Friend that there is an enormous opportunity for expansion of our trading interests and exchange of technology, and we want also to improve and expand our political relations. Brazil is our principal trading partner in Latin America.

Whilst he is in Brazil, will the Minister take the opportunity to see how successful the introduction of indexation has been in that country?

While I am in Brazil I shall, of course, look as carefully as I can at a whole range of economic and political questions.

When my right hon. Friend visits Brazil, will he take the opportunity to see what prospects there are for trade expansion outside the EEC? Will he express the concern that many people feel about statements that have been made concerning internal repression in Brazil, the treatment of critics of the present régime, the stories of torture we read and hear so much about, and the repression of religious and other bodies? Perhaps he will say that if we are to trade with that country we should like to know that the country observes a certain decency in its internal affairs.

In answer to the first part of the supplementary question, I have no doubt that one question that the Brazilian Government will wish to take up with me is that of their own economic relationship with the EEC. I have had their assurance that they look to the significant opportunities and value of their own economic relationship both with the Community and with Britain. As to the second part of the supplementary question, I shall not go around making comments on the country's internal affairs. Neither do I expect Ministers from other countries who come here to discuss political and trade relations to do so.

While the Minister is in Venezuela, will he make inquiries about the nature of the Venezuelan Government's recent discussions with the Shah of Iran, making clear to Venezuela, as an important member of OPEC, how seriously the United Kingdom regards the Shah's recent suggestion that the price of oil should be increased in September? Will he also make clear that the United Kingdom and our allies in the Community and the TEA wish to see a continuation of the present price freeze on crude oil?

I shall not communicate precisely what I shall say when I go to Venezuela, but there is no doubt that economic questions and Venezuela's rôle in OPEC are very important. We shall discuss a range of economic issues that affect our country and Venezuela, but I shall certainly not breach the confidentiality of the discussions.