HC Deb 27 June 1951 vol 489 cc1359-61
28. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Secretary of State for Air what financial provision is being made in 1951–52 for the maintenance of the Mingaladon, Akyab and Mergui airfields.

31. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the Secretary of State for Air what has been the expenditure to date since the signing of the Burma Treaty on the provision of landing facilities at Mingaladon, Akyab and Mergui.

32. Mr. George Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Air what contribution is being made under sub-headings A, B and C, of paragraph 6 of the Annexe to the Burma Treaty, under which His Majesty's Government undertake to contribute towards the cost of maintenance of, and the provision of technical personnel at Mingaladon, Akyab and Mergui.

Mr. A. Henderson

Under sub-heads (a) and (b) of Clause 6 of the Defence Agreement with the Government of Burma, which was signed in August, 1947, the Government of the United Kingdom undertook to contribute an agreed amount to the maintenance of Mingaladon airfield, including the provision of technical personnel. By agreement between the two Governments, the operation of the airfield has been taken over on a contract basis by International Aeradio Limited, a British Company, who provide all necessary technical facilities. Our contribution to the running of Mingaladon has therefore taken the form of the payment of fees to International Aeradio Limited in respect of all landings made by Royal Air Force aircraft. This has amounted to about £2,000 since the date of the signing of the Treaty in October, 1947. The same arrangements will apply in 1951 and 1952.

Under Clause 6 (c) of the Defence Agreement the sum of £48,000 has been paid as our total contribution to the maintenance of Akyab and Mergui for the years 1948, 1949 and 1950. The question of a contribution for 1951–52, which was not specifically provided for in the Defence Agreement, is under consideration.

Wing Commander Bullus

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman entirely satisfied that our contribution is sufficient to keep these airfields in first class condition?

Mr. Henderson

I would not like to say that but it is what we are bound to provide under the Agreement and is sufficient having regard to the services that we are receiving.

Air Commodore Harvey

Are there any R. A. F. personnel in this component in Burma?

Mr. Henderson

I think there is another question about that.

Mr. H. Hynd

Is this in fact a subsidy to a private company?

Mr. Henderson

No, Sir. It is carrying out the Agreement which we made with the Burmese Government.

29. Wing Commander Bullus

asked the Secretary of State for Air what facilities for the landing of Royal Air Force aircraft exist at Mingaladon, Akyab and Mergui.

Mr. A. Henderson

Air traffic control facilities, refuelling, and other technical assistance, are regularly provided for Royal Air Force aircraft at Mingaladon. Similar facilities are made available at Mergui and Akyab when required, though these airfields are not at present regularly used by the Royal Air Force.

Wing Commander Bullus

Do we enjoy these facilities on a year-to-year basis, or do we have a long-term arrangement?

Mr. Henderson

The facilities are provided for, as I have said, under the Agreement, and there is no time limit.

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