HC Deb 13 December 1960 vol 632 cc185-6
5. Mr. Brockway

asked the President of the Board of Trade what military equipment is licensed for export to the Government of the Union of South Africa; and what conditions are attached to its use.

Mr. Erroll

The military equipment listed in the First Schedule of the Export of Goods (Control) Order, 1960, is subject to export licensing control. Export licences do not attach conditions on the subsequent use of the goods.

Mr. Brockway

Has the right hon. Gentleman seen reports that British-provided Saracen tanks are being used by the Government of the Union of South Africa for the repression of the resistance of Africans in Pondoland? Does not he think that we ought to apply conditions which will prevent such military equipment from being used for purposes which are abhorrent to the moral opinion of this country and the world?

Mr. Erroll

If the hon. Gentleman thinks about the matter in its wider context, he will, I think, agree that it would be impossible effectively to enforce conditions on the subsequent use of such goods, although naturally we take into account the situation, so far as we know it to be, at the time of any application for an export licence.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the policy of apartheid is now becoming akin to some form of madness, and that the only way the South African authorities can be brought to their senses is by Great Britain and other countries, who can see the lunacy of this action, taking steps to show that we mean what we say?

Mr. Erroll

I have noted the point made by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. H. Wilson

If the Government cannot impose conditions as to the subsequent use to which these weapons can be put, is not the logic of this clear, namely, that they must ban the shipment of arms?

Mr. Erroll

Perhaps I might be allowed to reply to that by putting a question to the right hon. Gentleman: is he proposing that all shipments of arms to all parts of the world should be prohibited if we are unable to secure enforcement of any condition regarding subsequent use? It is because we do not believe that we could accept that condition that we permit exports of arms to take place under licence.

Mr. Wilson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that my answer to that question, if I were permitted to answer it, would be that we know what use these weapons are put to in South Africa after Sharpeville, and that, in view of that, there should be special and discriminatory bans on exports of munitions to South Africa.