HC Deb 12 February 1962 vol 653 c916
53. Mrs. Castle

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he will prohibit the export of tear gas from this country to South Africa.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. Edward Heath)

No, Sir.

Mrs. Castle

Is it not a fact that Britain is the major supplier of tear gas for South Africa which does not manufacture any of its own supplies, and that the exports of these supplies are controlled by the British Government? Is it not, therefore, intolerable that we should continue to supply this dictatorship with an instrument for quelling political demonstrations against apartheid when nominally this Government is said to deplore that horrible philosophy?

Mr. Heath

I have no information as to the other sources of supply which South Africa may have, or what the proportions are. As to the latter part of the hon. Lady's question, I am not aware that this is an illegitimate means of dealing with civil disturbance. In fact, many people would consider that it was better than many other means.

Mr. H. Wilson

Since the right hon. Gentleman can have no doubt against whom this tear gas is going to be used in South Africa, will he not look at this matter again in relation not only to the export of tear gas but also the proposal which has received much publicity recently that I.C.I. should build a factory in South Africa for making tear gas?

Mr. Heath

I will consider the point.