HC Deb 23 October 1961 vol 646 cc557-8
34. Mr. Warbey

asked the Lord Privy Seal on what date the United Nations requested permission for Ethiopian jet fighters to overfly and refuel in British East Africa; and on what date permission was granted.

Mr. Heath

The request was received in London early in the evening of Saturday, 16th September. Permission was granted early on the morning of 18th September.

Mr. Warbey

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that there was a delay of 36 hours in the granting of what must have been an extremely urgent request in view of the fact that the activities of these Fouga fighters over Katanga were impeding the operations of the United Nations Force and were possibly leading to their failure? Surely this is an extremely urgent matter? Are not the Government guilty of not complying with the United Nations Charter provision that they should give every assistance in their power to carrying out the decision of the Security Council?

Mr. Heath

No, I do not consider that there was any delay. The Government had to consider the nature of the request and the actual nature changed three times during this period. In any case, the aircraft themselves were not able to leave their source until six days later, 24th September.

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