HC Deb 05 June 1957 vol 571 cc1254-5
45. Mr. Lewis

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on his recent discussions with the Defence Minister of India.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

I have been asked to reply. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] My right hon. Friend is attending an important meeting.

The recent talk between my right hon. Friend and the Indian Minister of Defence was quite informal, and there is no statement to make.

Mr. Lewis

Whilst it may have been informal, is the Minister aware that the Press has reported that the Indian Defence Minister was anxious to buy some British jets, and that if he could not get them he was liable to go to the Soviet Union? Can we have an assurance that, if at all possible and commensurate with our own defence programme, the Government will do all they can to assist and help India with the planes, if India wants them?

Mr. Sandys

In general, I can give the hon. Gentleman that assurance. If he wishes to have detailed information, perhaps he will address the question to the Minister of Supply.