HC Deb 15 June 1964 vol 696 cc911-2
11. Mr. W. Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress is being made in the discussions with the Libyan Government concerning the future of British military establishments in that country; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The discussions between Her Majesty's Government and the Libyan Government about the Anglo-Libyan Treaty were begun on 20th April and resumed on 6th June. The Libyan side was headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the British side by Her Majesty's Ambassador. The talks are continuing, and I am not in a position to make any statement on their substance at this stage.

Mr. Hamilton

Is it not the case that our ejection from Libya is imminent? If that is so, can the right hon. Gentleman explain why so many millions of £s have been poured into these bases when such a prospect was highly likely?

Mr. Butler

No; I would not accept the conclusion which the hon. Gentleman draws. Talks are going forward in a constructive spirit and are likely to take some time. I hope that the fundamental wishes of Her Majesty's Government may be met.

Mr. P. Williams

Does the existence of these bases make any cash contribution to the Libyan economy?

Mr. Butler

There is no doubt—I am sure that the Libyan Government would agree with this—that these bases have been of considerable value to the economy of the country.