United States of America (Meeting) (Hansard, 18 November 1987)
HC Deb 18 November 1987 vol 122 cc1046-7
2. Mr. Canavan

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what subjects were discussed at his last meeting with representatives of the Government of the United States of America.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Tim Eggar)

My right hon. and learned Friend held extensive discussions with Mr. Shultz on 20 October in London, and they also met in Brussels on 24 October. A wide range of bilateral and international topics were discussed. We value this regular frank and constructive dialogue.

Mr. Canavan

How does the Minister explain Britain's humiliating defeat yesterday at the United Nations, when the United States and other allies, with more than 100 other countries, supported the rejection of Britain's intransigent stance on the Falklands? As Britain can now muster the support of less than a handful of other countries, is it not time to enter into negotiations with Argentina on the future of the Falklands and to follow America's advice, at least on this issue?

Mr. Eggar

We regret the fact that some countries failed to agree with us on this important issue, but I thought that the hon. Gentleman would be the first to agree that the fact that the United States takes a different view from us does not mean that we are wrong.

Mr. Wilkinson

Will my hon. Friend reassure the House that the British Government will press the United States Administration to ensure, in the negotiations with the Soviets, that Soviet officials will limit their verification of nuclear bases in the United Kingdom, as part of an INF deal, to RAF Molesworth and RAF Greenham Common, and that they will not tour the country and visit naval institutions and other Royal Air Force bases?

Mr. Eggar

As my hon. Friend will be aware, details of verification are still being discussed. We are in close consultation with the United States.

Mr. Ron Brown

Did the Minister discuss with his American counterparts compensation for the Libyan people, remembering that not so long ago that country was bombed thanks to support from the British Government? Is that not an important issue of human rights and basic justice? Did the Secretary of State mention that matter in America?

Mr. Eggar

If the hon. Gentleman chooses to refer to Libya, he should also refer to its appalling conduct in supplying arms to the IRA.

Mr. Foulkes

The Minister must accept that if the Americans are free to criticise us about the Falklands, we should be free to criticise them—if we believe that they are wrong—about Central America. Will he give an assurance that the next time Ministers meet the American Administration they will mention the report of the Congress investigation committee into the Iran-Contra affair, which is said to criticise the President for "subverting law" and undermining the constitution of the United States? Will the Government at last use what is called our special relationship with the United States to get the President to stop funding terrorists and to use the money instead for humanitarian and economic aid to Costa Rica and the peoples of the other countries of Central America?

Mr. Eggar

The hon. Gentleman knows that our position on Central America is clear. We advocate a peaceful negotiated solution, not a military solution, to the problems of the region.

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