HC Deb 11 April 1956 vol 551 cc197-8
29. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether the agreement between the United States Government and Her Majesty's Government to extend the Bahamas long-range proving ground for guided missiles to St. Lucia in the West Indies has yet been signed.

Mr. Nutting

No, Sir, but I hope negotions will be concluded at an early date.

Mrs. Castle

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what is holding up the signing of this agreement? Does not he think it is a most unsatisfactory situation that work should at present be going on by the American Air Force to prepare this base for reactivation when this House is not aware of the terms of the agreement which is to be concluded and might not be willing to accept that agreement? Does not he think that the work should stop until the House has seen the whole matter?

Mr. Nutting

As I think the hon. Lady knows, what has so far been holding up the negotiations has been the question of jurisdiction over the American construction engineers and the observers who will be operating this tracking station. That difficulty has now been ironed out. There is still a small point connected with the acquisition of and payment for the sites. We hope that that will be ironed out in the next few days and the agreement duly signed.