HC Deb 11 July 1967 vol 750 cc401-2
18. Mr. Brooks

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will make a statement about the scope of the French technological contribution to the Anglo-French variable geometry aircraft.

Mr. Benn

The French technological contribution to the AFVG up to the time of their withdrawal centred on the M45 engine for the aircraft, on the design of which the French firm SNECMA was in the lead.

Mr. Brooks

I thank my right hon. Friend for that information. Is he aware that many of us are curious about the extent of the exchange of information which took place between the British and French interests on this matter? May we assured that the French have not gained our trade secrets on the cheap?

Mr. Benn

Inevitably when one aims for collaboration and to develop collaboration, even in the early stages there will be an exchange of information. If one undertakes this type of project, one must expect that this collaboration will be mutually beneficial.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

As the Russians seem already to be flying a swing-wing aircraft, would it not be better to open negotiations with them?

Mr. Benn

Like my hon. Friend, I was very amused by the attitude of the Morning Star to the swing-wing aircraft once it discovered that one already existed in the Soviet Union.