HC Deb 10 February 1964 vol 689 c17
20. Mr. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has made to the official request of the Government of the Republic of South Africa for permission to construct the Bristol Bloodhound antiaircraft missile in South Africa.

Mr. P. Thomas

None, Sir. We have received no such request.

Mr. Brockway

Is the hon. Gentleman in touch with the Minister of Aviation on this matter? Does he deny that there has been a request from the Government of the Republic of South Africa for this anti-aircraft missile? Is not this a case where it would be difficult to differentiate between defence and offence, because knowledge obtained on an antiaircraft missile would also be knowledge which would be useful for the construction of an offensive weapon?

Mr. Thomas

The Question was what reply had been made to an official request. I said that we have not had any official request. It is true that the South African Government are known to be interested in this weapon, but no contract has been concluded. This weapon is an antiaircraft missile which has an exclusively defensive rôle.