HC Deb 17 April 1946 vol 421 cc2663-4
21. Group-Captain Wilcock

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air to state the total number of R.A.F. personnel now stationed in Iceland, the Azores and Bermuda; whether he is satisfied that they are fully occupied, and why the establishments at these places are not reduced and the officers and airmen brought home.

Mr. Strachey

It would not he in accordance with present policy to give the numbers of our Forces in particular places overseas. All these establishments are reviewed at frequent intervals to keep them down to the minimum needed. For example we have made a big reduction in the Azores since my reply of 6th March to my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg). We have also arranged for a major cut in advance of our complete withdrawal from Iceland and for all but one Met. section to leave Bermuda.

Group-Captain Wilcock

Would the Minister kindly look into this question to see whether more drastic reductions of establishments cannot be made, in view et the fact that very few aircraft are now using these stations?

Mr. Strachey

If I were at liberty to give the hon. and gallant Member the figures, he would see that the reductions in most of these cases could hardly be more drastic than they are.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Why is it necessary under peace conditions to keep aircraft and aircraft personnel any longer in such places as the Azores and Iceland?

Mr. Strachey

As I have stated before in the House, it is very largely because of the Trans-Atlantic services, partly civil, in which we are helping the civil services with the Royal Air Force meteorological service and so on, and shall have to do so for a little while longer.

Mr. Pritt

Should not the occupation of these territories come before the Security Council of the United Nations?