HC Deb 22 June 1966 vol 730 cc562-3
16. Mr. Goodhew

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what purchases of British military equipment have now been made by the United States Government to offset the dollar cost of the F111A aircraft for the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Healey

The first sale should be completed shortly.

Mr. Goodhew

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House was given an undertaking that the Government would take steps to ensure that this dollar cost would be fully offset; yet here we are, many months later, with nothing yet announced to the House. Can he not take some active steps to see that his undertaking is kept?

Mr. Healey

If there were any more active steps that I could take, I would take them. I would remind him that there are still 12 years to go, and we do not start paying dollars for the F111A for several years yet.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that there is a mission which will be arriving shortly in this country to deal with the matter and look at the possibility of buying more British goods? It really is becoming scandalous.

Mr. Healey

If the right hon. Gentleman had not been asleep a few moments ago, he would have heard me refer to that mission.

Mr. Bessell

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that, whatever the merits or otherwise of the purchase of the F111, the United States Government have gone out of their way to be co-operative in the matter? Certainly that was the impression I gained when I was in Washington six weeks ago.

Mr. Healey

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. What he says is exactly true.