HC Deb 17 February 1954 vol 523 c1949
5. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make representations to the United States Government about the undesirability of American tanks being supplied to Spain until both British, French and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation requirements have been fully met.

The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

No, Sir. We know that the United States Government have fully in mind the requirements of their North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Mr. Fletcher

I am very grateful to the Minister of State for having answered the Question. Is not there something particularly obnoxious and perverse in the fact that America is supplying tanks to Spain at a time when France and other N.A.T.O. countries are still anxious to have these supplies? Is not this a matter on which representations ought to be made by Her Majesty's Government to the United States?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not think so. The supplies of armaments to these other countries have had a considerable time to develop. Within the terms of the Treaty between the United States and Spain, there are very definite limitations on the use to which these arms are put.

Mr. Teeling

Is it not also true that a question of geography is involved here? Is it not reasonable that Spain should also have some form of protection in case of war?

Mr. Lloyd

I quite agree with my hon. Friend.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Can the Minister say against whom it is thought that General Franco will require these tanks? Is it against us in Gibraltar, against the Spanish people or against the French in Morocco?

Mr. Lloyd

It is absolutely clear that the assistance which is given in this way could not be used for the kind of purpose to which the right hon. Gentleman refers.