HC Deb 16 July 1952 vol 503 cc2131-2
23. Mr. Snow

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence the standing orders to defence Services stationed within strategic distance of Scapa Flow in the event of radar-operating unidentified aircraft being detected in the vicinity by ground-radar and which fail to obey wireless and visual signals to land for interrogation.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (Mr. Nigel Birch)

The hon. Member will not expect me to give details of our defence preparations. The United Kingdom has absolute authority over its own air space, but international law confers no general right to take military action involving attack on aircraft which infringe upon a country's air space.

Mr. Snow

Will the hon. Gentleman not misunderstand any reticence on my part if I merely ask him whether he will assure himself that local defence commanders concerned are not placed in any position where they find it difficult to make snap decisions, as any repetition of such an event as the recent Russo-Swedish incident is to be avoided?

Mr. Birch

I think I can reassure the hon. Gentleman. Any question about our attitude to the Swedish incident should be referred to the Foreign Secretary.