HC Deb 03 August 1966 vol 733 cc442-3
10. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what undertakings he gave to the Government of the Southern Arabian Federation concerning the British base in Aden, prior to the publication of the Defence Review.

Mr. Healey

I have nothing to add to what I said on this matter in the defence debate on 8th March.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is firm belief in Southern Arabia that he gave definite pledges himself that there would be no going back on our agreement to help them with their defence? Is he saying that he has given no undertaking to that Government?

Mr. Healey

I am aware of the feelings and beliefs of the Federal Ministers, some of whom I had the pleasure and honour of talking to about this question in London the other day. I am satisfied that they do not regard me as having given any undertaking not consonant with the policies of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Kershaw

Is the right hon. Gentleman saying that he never gave any undertaking? If so, how does he account for the universal belief among Ministers and leaders in that part of the world that he did so, that the Prime Minister did so and that this country is thoroughly committed?

Mr. Healey

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong in saying that this is a uniform belief among Ministers in Southern Arabia. I have discussed it with them and I am satisfied that what the hon. Gentleman says is quite incorrect.

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