HC Deb 17 November 1958 vol 595 cc827-8
37. Mr. Strachey

asked the Minister of Supply whether he will make a statement on the cancellation of an order by the West German Government for armoured troop carriers from Great Britain, owing to the failure of these vehicles to meet specifications and to what extent the British Army has ordered these vehicles.

Mr. Aubrey Jones

Early in 1957 the West German Government placed with the British subsidiary of the Hispano Suiza Company, viz. the British Manufacture and Research Company, Limited, a contract to produce 2,800 vehicles to the design of the foreign parent company. Much of the work was sub-contracted to Leyland Motors Limited. In August last the Federal German Government communicated to the main contractor their intention to cancel the contract for 1,800 of these vehicles. Their reasons have been asked for by Her Majesty's Government, but have not yet been received.

The British Army has placed no orders for these vehicles and I accordingly have no responsibility for development or production. However, at the request of the Federal German Government I have undertaken in principle to inspect the vehicles. I have also agreed to conduct trials at the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment. I hope that with his help the German Government will receive vehicles which will be satisfactory for their purposes and that the order will be reinstated.

Mr. Strachey

Can we assume from the right hon. Gentleman's statement that he will sooner or later satisfy himself one way or the other whether these vehicles were or were not up to specification, both in the interests of our own exports and in the interests of their possible supply to the British Army?

Mr. Jones

Certainly, Sir, I will endeavour to satisfy myself, but at the moment I have no knowledge of the specification. No vehicle for inspection has been received by me, and until it has I cannot comment.