HC Deb 12 April 1967 vol 744 cc1190-1
29. Mr. Dodds-Parker

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the value of airport radar and ground defence equipment being left to defend Aden when South Arabia attains independence.

Mr. Healey

It is not the intention to leave behind any airport radars or associated ground defence equipment when South Arabia attains independence.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

Will the right hon. Gentleman then give an assurance that what is being left behind in the way of aircraft will enable the South Arabian Government to defend itself against external aggression? Will he give the same assurance about naval forces, about which he has sidestepped a Question from me?

Mr. Healey

What I can say is that the South Arabian Government are being given very substantial financial and other help by Her Majesty's Government within the limits of their own capabilities to operate the equipment which they would wish to use.

Mr. Goodhew

Surely—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not again"]—Hon. Members opposite are very sensitive about this. Surely the right hon. Gentleman can recognise that it would be much more sensible, if we are to preserve stability in the area and if he feels that the South Arabians are unable to operate appropriate equipment, to see that we supply it until such time as they are.

Mr. Healey

This subject has often been discussed in the House and I know that there are differences of view between the two sides. I do not believe that an independent South Arabia would have a chance of acceptance in the Arab world as an independent State if it were known to be totally dependent for its defence on the presence of British forces.