HC Deb 23 May 1966 vol 729 cc32-3
38. Mr. Kershaw

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make proposals for the conclusion of a new mutual defence treaty with His Highness the Sheikh of Bahrain.

Mr. George Thomson

No, Sir. Our existing defence agreement with Bahrain is satisfactory both to His Highness the Ruler and to Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Kershaw

Will the right hon. Gentleman reflect on the fact that this treaty is now more than a hundred years old, and as the word of the British Government about defence in that part of the world is now not good enough, does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it would be wise to negotiate a new treaty new rather than when we are just leaving?

Mr. Thomson

I do not for a moment accept the hon. Gentleman's last remarks. It has been made clear to the Bahrain Government, and they have accepted it, that our decision not to retain military facilities in South Arabia after independence implies no change in our policy towards the Gulf, and, as the hon. Gentleman knows, we are discussing with Sheikh Khalifa bin Sulman, Head of the Bahrain Government Finance Department, financial arrangements to implement the defence agreement.