HC Deb 14 November 1967 vol 754 cc197-8
11. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the Minister of State's visit to Russia.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Technology (Mr. John Stonehouse)

At the invitation of the Soviet Ministers, I led a group of Aviation experts from industry and the Department on a visit from 11th to 22nd September to see developments in the Soviet civil aircraft industry. We visited design establishments and factories in the Moscow, Kharkov and Zaporozhe districts and were able to study a representative selection of Soviet products and at the Tupolev development establishment the prototype of the Russian supersonic transport, the TU144. Discussions were cordial and fruitful and will, I hope, result in exchanges of technological information in areas of mutual advantage as well as opening up new opportunities for our exporters.

Mr. Marten

What is the position about the N.A.T.O. embargo on strategic and technological matters as regards the exchange of information? Secondly, in what areas will this exchange of information on technological matters benefit Britain?

Mr. Stonehouse

In reply to the first point, any exchange of information in which we engage will not break the agreed Cocom rules. In reply to the second point, we want to have exchanges which are of as much advantage to us as they are to the U.S.S.R. The exchanges are particularly in relation to statistical information on engine reliability, engine noise and electronic equipment.

Mr. Dobson

Can my hon. Friend tell the House whether the Russian supersonic aircraft which he saw will fly before Concord or afterwards?

Mr. Stonehouse

I do not propose to hazard a guess about that. Our Russian friends said that the TU144 would be flying in the first three months of next year.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Does not the Minister recall that earlier in the year when Mr. Kosygin visited this country the Prime Minister made great play of a treaty which was to follow between this country and Soviet Russia? Was he asked by his right hon. Friend to follow that up and to inform the House?

Mr. Stonehouse

My right hon. Friend is at present working out the details of a technological agreement with the U.S.S.R., and it will be signed within the next few months.