Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Portuguese African Territories.

Wednesday, 27 March 1974

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 271 No. 7

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21.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the Government's attitude towards Portugal's policy in regard to the Portuguese African territories.

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Dr. FitzGerald): Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  The Government and people of Ireland are unequivocally opposed to colonialism and emphatically reject the pretension of one people to dominate or subjugate another.

Our own history, and the values to which we are committed, oblige us to take this and no other position. Consequently, in our international relations in general and in particular at the United Nations, Ireland has, over the years, consistently affirmed the right of colonial countries and peoples to self-determination and independence. And we support the right of the peoples of the territories under Portuguese domination in Africa—Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde, to self-determination and independence, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter.

At the last UN General Assembly Ireland voted for Resolution 3113 (XXVIII) on the Portuguese territories and co-sponsored Resolution 3114 (XXVIII) which recommended the establishment of a United Nations commission of inquiry into the reported massacre at Wiriyamu in Mozambique.

Virtually no member state of the United Nations, with the exception of South Africa and of Portugal herself, believes that it is in her interests to try to continue to maintain her rule in Africa; and this view is not without its adherents in Portugal as well.

[896] It is clear now and has been for some time that Portugal cannot nor should not hope to dominate these territories indefinitely or to fight an exhausting war of attrition that is militarily futile and morally indefensible.

We hope, therefore, that Portugal will see the wisdom and justice of entering speedily into negotiations with the leaders of the independence movements in the African territories with a view to their early and peaceful accession to independence.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  At least my question has given the Minister an opportunity of making such a comprehensive reaffirmation of our policy. Has that view been conveyed recently directly to the Portuguese Government in view, particularly, of the dismissal of the former Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Guinea-Bissau, who, apparently, argued for self-determination and for that argument was in fact dismissed from his post as Deputy Chief of Staff?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  No. There has been no direct communication with the Portuguese Government in the last couple of weeks on this subject. The reply I have given, however, makes our position clear and no doubt will reach the Portuguese Government.

Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  While I appreciate that the Minister's position and the Government's position is quite clear and, as I say, is a reaffirmation of our consistent position, does the Minister not think in view of the importance of this and our own history as well it would be appropirate to convey that view directly to the Portuguese Government through diplomatic channels?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I do not think so. I will think about it but I do not think so. This view is merely confirmation of a view which has been established for a long time and was equally held by the previous Government. I have affirmed it in the Uinted Nations and it was well known to Portugal. I do not think there is any need to convey directly a particular view at this moment.

[897]Mr. O'Kennedy: Information on Michael O'Kennedy  Zoom on Michael O'Kennedy  I would press the Minister to make it known.

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I think, on the whole, I will not at this point in time.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Treacy  Zoom on Seán Treacy  The Chair is making very little progress at questions today.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Could I ask the Minister whether or not, in his reply to the question, there is an apparent contradiction between our attitude as expressed in regard to the Portuguese and our more recently expressed attitude towards the invitation of the Russians to come to Dublin, keeping in mind Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany and East Berlin?

Dr. FitzGerald: Information on Garrett Fitzgerald  Zoom on Garrett Fitzgerald  I do not think there is any contradiction involved. Our attitude in respect of the position in countries in eastern Europe and the events which the Deputy mentioned are equally well known to that Government.


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