§ 37. Mr. P. Williams
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether overflying rights in the High Commission Territories for defence purposes have now been granted to the Union of South Africa.
§ 41. Mr. Brockway
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the defence agreement between the United Kingdom and the Union of South Africa; to what extent the native authorities in the High Commission Territories were consulted; and if objections have been made by chiefs or other representatives of the African population to the establishment of South African-controlled radar stations in the Protectorates.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. C. J. M. Alport)
As the answer is rather long, will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. Williams
May I thank my hon. Friend for that extremely helpful answer and ask whether the answer he proposes to circulate indicates increasing co-operation between Britain and the Union of South Africa on defence matters affecting both the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans?
§ Mr. Alport
Discussions on defence co-operation between the United Kingdom and South Africa have been proceeding for some time.
§ Mr. Brockway
Will the hon. Gentleman reply to the specific points in my question? The first is whether he is aware that the native Basutoland authorities, the Congress and the chiefs are 556 highly critical of this proposal? The second is whether he is particularly aware that they fear greatly the manning of any radar stations in their territory by South African personnel?
§ Mr. Alport
One reason why the answer is rather long is that the Member has included three questions in his main Question. The High Commissioner has received representations from Basutoland and Swaziland authorties about defence discussions, to which I refer in the answer which will be circulated.
Following is the Answer:With regard to the defence discussions, I would refer the hon. Members to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War to the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) on 30th October. Consequential discussions, including details connected with overflying rights, are still proceeding with the Union Government. They have not yet reached a point at which a further statement can be made.The appropriate authorities in the Territories are consulted as necessary, and any views that they may express are taken into account. Her Majesty's Government are exclusively responsible for the security of the High Commission Territories and in discharging this responsibility will ensure that the interests of the inhabitants will be fully safeguarded.As regards radar, I would refer the hon. Member for Windsor and Slough (Mr. Brockway) to the reply I gave to a Question by the hon. Member for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) on 20th November. The High Commissioner has received representations from Basutoland and Swaziland about reports relative to the defence discussions to which I have already referred.