HC Deb 27 July 1964 vol 699 cc976-7
9. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give details of the discussions he has had with the Spanish Government in the last five years with a view to promoting good relations with regard to Gibraltar; and whether during such discussions the question of "Leander" type frigates being supplied by Great Britain was raised by the Spanish Government.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The question of promoting good relations with regard to Gibraltar was discussed during the Spanish Foreign Minister's visit to London in 1960 and the visit to Madrid in 1961 of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, then Foreign Secretary. It has also been the subject of contact from time to time between Her Majesty's Embassy in Madrid and the Spanish Government. The question of the supply of "Leander" type frigates to Spain has not been raised in the context of these discussions by either side.

Mr. Lewis

Has the right hon. Gentleman's Department been discussing this at any time? It is very difficult for hon. Members to find out which Department was discussing this so-called order or to find out whether, in fact, there was any order at all. Can the right hon. Gentleman enlighten us, since we cannot get enlightenment from other Departments?

Mr. Butler

There were discussions on the subject of the provision of "Leander" type frigates. Those discussions have been suspended.

Mr. Lewis

Was there an order?

Mr. Fell

Is it not a little inconsistent of the Opposition to get so worried about the possible sale of a few frigates to what they call a Right-wing dictatorship when they themselves supplied three submarines and two frigates to the Right-wing dictatorship of Portugal when they were the Government and 16 Rolls-Royce Nene engines to the Left-wing dictatorship of Russia, which founded the jet age in Russia?

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