HC Deb 30 October 1957 vol 575 cc211-2
53. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will make a statement on the recent talks with the South African Minister of Defence, and the arrangements being made for a conference to integrate and develop the joint planning already undertaken.

Mr. John Hare

I have been asked to reply.

As the answer is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Stonehouse

May I ask the Minister at this stage if it is proposed to allow the Union of South Africa to establish defence bases in the High Commission Protectorates?

Mr. Hare

I suggest that the hon. Gentleman should read the rather long reply and then, if he likes to put down another Question next week, I am sure that my right hon. Friend will be delighted to answer it.

Following is the reply: Talks with the South African Minister of Defence, at which the Minister Without Portfolio represented Her Majesty's Government, took place in London between 3rd and 18th September. The Ministers reviewed the threat to South Africa from external aggression and the contributions which their two countries could best make to its defence against that threat. It was agreed that they should seek to extend to other countries concerned the Agreement for the Defence of the Sea Routes round Southern Africa which had been reached during Mr. Erasmus's last visit in June, 1955. It was also agreed that further action should be taken with a view to holding a Conference to develop plans for ensuring the adequacy and security of logistic facilities and communications within Southern Africa. In the meantme, the two Governments will develop co-operation on a bilateral basis, and the Union Government has agreed to take the initiative in making proposals to this end. A proposal by the Union Government for the grant of certain overflying rights in the High Commission Territories was accepted in principle. Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom undertook to give careful consideration to further requests by the Union Government for facilities in the territories in relation to planning for the defence of South Africa on the understanding that the exclusive responsibility of Her Majesty's Government for the security of the territories themselves would not be affected.
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