HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc379-80
9. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Defence what is the strength of British forces at El Adem and Tripoli; and if he is satisfied that these are adequate to honour our treaty obligations.

Mr. Watkinson

It is not the normal practice to reveal the number of forces in any given area. Taken in conjunction with our ability to reinforce if necessary, the forces now in Libya are fully adequate to meet our obligations under the Anglo-Libyan Treaty.

Mr. Dempsey

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that is a rather surprising statement to make, as these facts were quoted in the national Press only last week and that they reveal a very ineffective garrison in that theatre? If it is necessary so substantially to supplement our forces to meet our treaty obligations, would it not be in our interests to get rid of the garrison? We are depending anyway on large-scale reinforcements from some other theatre.

Mr. Watkinson

I cannot comment on statements in the national Press of which I am not aware. What I have said is that we have a garrison in Libya which is fully adequate to meet our obligations under the Anglo-Libyan Treaty, and that is what we are asked to do.