HC Deb 26 November 1964 vol 702 c1462
27. Mr. Marten

asked the President of the Board of Trade what is the estimated value of arms on order from South Africa which have recently been cancelled by Her Majesty's Government, and which have not yet been cancelled, respectively; and what estimate he has made of the value of follow-up orders which are likely to be lost.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Edward Redhead)

As indicated in statements by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, on 17th and 25th November, shipments under current contracts, other than those for sporting weapons and ammunition, are being permitted. It is not the practice to disclose figures of overseas arms business.

Mr. Marten

That may be so, but I am asking about arms which are not being exported. Can the hon. Gentleman tell the House whether there was an order pending for Bloodhound II for South Africa, as reported in the Press, and whether the value of it was about £50 million? Second, why is it morally right to export 16 Buccaneers but morally wrong to export 14?

Mr. Redhead

The reasons for this decision have been made abundantly clear by my right hon. Friend, and I do not propose to embark on arguments about what is morally right or wrong in that context. In replying to the hon. Gentleman's question about the figures which he quoted, I can only repeat that it is not our practice to disclose figures of overseas arms business.