HC Deb 06 February 1963 vol 671 c425
17. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty to what extent he is satisfied with the progress made by the Royal Navy in its plans for discovering the movements of Russian submarines; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. C. Ian Orr-Ewing

This is a problem to which I can assure the hon. Member that we devote great care and effort; but I do not think it would be in the public interest to make any statement about our progress.

Mr. Hughes

Does the Minister recollect that recently the publicity department of the Admiralty issued a statement saying that a great deal of progress had been made by Coastal Command in detecting submarines? Is the hon. Gentleman aware of the statement made yesterday by a Russian admiral that the Russians can now detect Polaris submarines? Does he not think that my 1968 all this Polaris business will be obsolete?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

No. I cannot be responsible for Russian admirals' statements. We are making considerable progress in the detection of submarines, but I would point out to the hon. Gentleman that detecting a submarine which is proceeding under water, which is moving and thus making noise, is a very different question from detecting a submarine which is lying, perhaps absolutely stationary, very deep on the ocean bed. Because we are making progress on the detection of the former does not mean we are anywhere near solving the problem of detecting the latter.