HC Deb 26 November 1964 vol 702 cc1463-4
Q1. Mr. Burden

asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding the delivery of the Buccaneer aircraft now on order by the South African Government, and on the acceptance of further orders from South Africa for naval, military and air force equipment for the external defence of that country.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made yesterday.

Mr. Burden

As Buccaneer aircraft, which might conceivably be used for internal security, are now to be sent to South Africa but neither Oberon submarines nor frigates could possibly be used for that purpose but only for external security, will the Prime Minister consider anew supplying to South Africa weapons which can be used only for the external defence of that country, particularly in the light of his statement yesterday that he hoped that normal commercial relations with South Africa would continue?

The Prime Minister

I thought that we had been very fully over this now in two successive weeks, and the statement I made was that we were stopping arms shipments. As regards the Buccaneers, as I said yesterday, we are allowing that contract to run out but no further contracts to be renewed.

Sir A. V. Harvey

There will be general satisfaction at what the Prime Minister said yesterday about allowing the first part of the Buccaneers to go to South Africa, but is it not illogical not to entertain the possibility of sending a second squadron if the South Africans want to honour their side of the Simonstown Agreement?

The Prime Minister

The question of the Simonstown Agreement does not come into this. As regards the Buccaneres, if we decide, as we have, to stop arms, we must stop them at the earliest possible opportunity. After consideration —I mentioned yesterday some of the factors entering in that consideration —we decided that the existing contract should be honoured.