§ 1. Mr. Donner
asked the Minister of Supply when the decision to sell the Rolls Royce Nene jet engine to the U.S.S.R. was taken; how many such engines have been sold to the U.S.S.R. and, separately, to Czechoslovakia or any other country under Soviet influence; at what price they were sold; and whether it is intended to make any further deliveries to these countries.
§ Mr. Piratin
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker, I wish to ask your guidance with regard to the expressionto Czechoslovakia or any other country under Soviet influence,which is an imputation that that country is under Soviet influence. In view of the fact that we are constantly told by the Clerk at the Table that any statement contained in a Question must be a statement of fact, is the expression used in this Question in Order?
§ Major Guy Lloyd
Further to that point of Order. Would it not have been much more accurate had the words "dominance and domination" been used instead of "influence"?
§ Mr. Piratin
The next time I wish to put down a Question about Greece, a number of which have been rejected by the Clerk at the Table—will it be in Order if I use the expression: "Greece under the domination of Britain and America"?
§ Mr. Speaker
This is not a point of Order but merely a political argument, which I think ought to stop.
§ The Minister of Supply (Mr. G. R. Strauss)
Messrs. Rolls Royce were given permission in September, 1946, to sell 10 Nene engines to Russia and in March, 1947, to sell a further 15. None has been sold to Czechoslovakia or to any other country which could be described as under Soviet influence. No further sales are contemplated. The selling price of the engines was fixed under a commercial contract.
§ Mr. Donner
But does the right hon. Gentleman realise that the sale of this particular engine to Russia saved that country years of research; and how does he justify that sale?
§ Sir Waldron Smithers
In view of the rising tide of Communism, will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that no more munitions of war of any kind will be sold, but all will be kept for defence purposes? Will he give that undertaking?
§ Mr. Strauss
That is a very broad question. As I said in reply to the Question put down, no further sales of this engine are contemplated.
§ Mr. Edgar Granville
Did I understand the right hon. Gentleman to say that these engines were not on the secret list at the time of the sale?
§ 7. Commander Noble
asked the Minister of Supply how many British jet engines have been supplied to the U.S.S.R.; and in which years.
§ Commander Noble
Can the Minister say, in view of his statement that no further sales are contemplated the reason for this change of policy?
§ Mr. Blackburn
Will my right hon. Friend make it quite plain that, so long as the present cold war continues, we have no intention whatsoever of supplying any kind of warlike materials either to the Soviet Union or to any of her satellites?