HC Deb 01 March 1967 vol 742 c502
41. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, in view of the fact that the export of all types of hovercraft and components is now subject to licensing control and that any applications for an export licence will be considered in the light of Her Majesty's Government's policy on the export of defence equipment, if he will now state that export policy as regards defence equipment in general and hovercraft in particular.

Mr. Healey

The policy continues to be as stated by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten) on 13th July, 1965, and applies equally to hovercraft as to other items of defence equipment. [Vol. 716, c. 276–7.]

Mr. Allaun

Does the Minister admit that three British hovercraft with U.S. armour added have been used in Vietnam? Is this not a breach of the Prime Minister's promise that Britain would not send, directly or indirectly, British weapons for use in Vietnam?

Mr. Healey

As I told my hon. Friend on 2nd February, 1967, the hulls of certain hovercraft which were not specifically designed for military use were supplied to Bell Aero Systems under a licensing agreement for which Government approval was not required and before licensing control was introduced.

Mr. Marten

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether they are with the Americans or Commonwealth forces in Vietnam?

Mr. Healey

All I know is that they are not with British forces and, therefore, not my responsibility.