HC Deb 26 June 1950 vol 476 cc1879-80
20. Mr. Steward

asked the Minister of Supply if he is aware that dismantled Sherman and Churchill tanks, stripped of their armaments, are, by arrangement with American and British dealers, now being sold at substantial profits and finally shipped to a Mediterranean seaport; and what check on destination the Disposals Board has kept on the recent big purchases by British dealers who trade in scrap metal for export.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

The bulk of these tanks is sold as scrap under contracts which provide that the tanks should be broken up and the scrap metal re-melted. Dismantled Sherman and Churchill tanks, which can be used as vehicles, have been -sold to the highest competitive bidders. I have no information about any re-sales, but the Board of Trade keep a check on overseas destinations of such tanks, when dealing with applications for export licences.

Mr. Steward

Is not the Minister aware that these tanks are being sold to Palestine despite the declaration by the Western Powers that that country already has sufficient defensive weapons for its needs?

Mr. Strauss

No, Sir, I am not aware where these vehicles have gone. Vehicles which are sent abroad are completely demilitarised; they are sold as tractors and as vehicles useful in other directions.