HC Deb 02 August 1966 vol 733 c245
Q1. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Prime Minister what instructions are given to Ministers concerning the implications of the Official Secrets Act.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

Exactly those given by our predecessors, Sir, and every Minister on first appointment is invited to sign a declaration that he has read the relevant provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the Prime Minister aware that it appears that recently in Kuching the Secretary of State for Defence let slip to the Press the number of troops to be withdrawn from Borneo? Does the Prime Minister think that that was wise in view of the lack of evidence of any definite ending to confrontation? If some lesser mortal had let slip this remark, what action would have been taken?

The Prime Minister

I answered a Question about this last week. I do not think that there is any question affecting the Official Secrets Act. Ministers must be the judge of whether information is so secret that it should not be disclosed. As for confrontation, my right hon. Friend on that occasion, as I have done since, made it quite clear that there could be no withdrawal of troops until we were certain that the ending of confrontation was assured.