HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc912-3
10. Mr. William Yates

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for what reason Her Majesty's Government sanctioned and granted licence for the export of three tons of arms to be flown to the Government of Saudi Arabia from the United Kingdom; by what treaty of defence they were supplied; and, in view of the United Nations resolutions concerning arms supplies to countries involved in hostilities in the Yemen, if he will make a statement.

Mr. M. Stewart

Her Majesty's Government normally grant licences for the export of arms to friendly countries unless there are over-riding political or security reasons why they should not do so. We have no treaty of defence with Saudi Arabia, and there are no United Nations resolutions in the sense suggested in the hon. Member's Question.

*Mr. Yates

Will the Foreign Secretary take into account that hostilities anywhere in the Middle East, in South-West Arabia, in Bahrein, or over the Israel *Note: For correction, see OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd March, 1965, col. 1141. border, are bound to damage our commercial and economic interests, and, therefore, the export of arms to that part of the world now cannot be very well understood by people in the Middle East, especially as it is now nearly 300 tons?

Mr. Stewart

I cannot accept that. These arms were supplied for the use of the Saudi National Guard, and the contract included an undertaking by the Saudi Arabian Government that the arms were for their sole use.

Mr. Yates

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, of which the Minister is aware, I beg to give notice that I shall seek leave to raise the matter on the Adjournment.