HC Deb 01 March 1967 vol 742 cc501-2
40. Mr. Colin Jackson

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the purpose of the planned increase in British forces in the Persian Gulf.

Mr. Healey

To fulfil our remaining obligations in the Middle East when we leave Aden.

Mr. Jackson

Does the Minister agree that, with regard to the responsibility towards Kuwait, a solution might be better found along the lines of the Arab League and the United Nations? Secondly, is he aware that there is considerable objection to the increase of British forces in the Persian Gulf by many Arab nations?

Mr. Healey

The nations in the Gulf seem very satisfied and happy that we are making this small increase in our forces there.

Mr. G. Campbell

Will the Government inform the United Nations of any plans about this, since a large majority at the United Nations passed a resolution calling upon Britain to withdraw her forces from Oman, and the Government have, rightly in my opinion, said that that resolution was not consonant with the principles of the Charter?

Mr. Healey

That is a question for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles

While these forces in the Persian Gulf would be welcome and of great assistance in stabilising the situation there, does not the Minister consider that they will be in a very isolated position without Aden behind them?

Mr. Healey

Not at all. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman will recognise, it is a very long way from Aden to Bahrain.