HC Deb 31 January 1951 vol 483 cc889-90
41. Mr. Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will consider removing the ban upon the export of any arms and military equipment to Spain which we do not ourselves require.

The Minister of State (Mr. Younger)

No, Sir.

Mr. Fisher

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that Spain has a very well-trained infantry force, which if also well-equipped, would be an invaluable asset in the defence of Western Europe, and, if necessary, in the defence of the line of the Pyrenees? If and when we have such equipment available, will he reconsider the matter?

Mr. Younger

I think my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, earlier this week, gave the view of the Government on a supplementary question similar to that which the hon. Member has asked.

Commander Noble

Will our Ambassador in Spain make it quite clear to certain sections of Spanish opinion that we have no intention of leaving Gibraltar?

Mr. Younger

That does not arise out of this Question.

Mr. John Hynd

Will the Minister bear in mind the very serious psychological consequence that will be felt throughout Western Europe if he accedes to the request made in the Question?

Mr. Younger

We are very well aware of it.

Mr. Peter Smithers

In view of the important position which Spain occupies on the communication lines of Western Europe, has the Minister of State consulted the Minister of Defence to find out how long it would take to prepare the defences of Spain to bring them into line with the defences of Western Europe?

Mr. Younger

There have, of course, been the fullest consultations, but if there were any military equipment of the kind in question available there are many other Powers which have prior claims upon it.