HC Deb 20 March 1963 vol 674 cc381-2
31. Mr. S. O. Davies

asked the Lord Privy Seal what was the cost to Her Majesty's Government of chartering on 8th March a DC.7C airliner from Gatwick to Moscow carrying 8 tons of building materials, Government workmen and two bags of cement.

Mr. Heath


Mr. Davies

Will the right hon. Gentleman take the House into his confidence by telling us why these 8 tons of materials, British workmen and, in particular, two bags of cement were conveyed all the way from this country to do some small repairs to the British Embassy in Moscow?

Mr. Heath

The hon. Gentleman can have a perfectly clear answer. These materials and the workmen were required to make alterations to the Chancery in Moscow of a security nature.

Sir C. Osborne

Instead of incurring an expenditure of £2,300, what would it have cost to have had this work done by local workmen in Moscow without infringing vital security measures?

Mr. Heath

There is no point in trying to make an estimate of the cost of doing that because we are not prepared to infringe security arrangements.

Mr. Bellenger

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether these two bags of cement were Portland cement or a code name for something more insidious?

Mr. Heath

I think I said it was cement.