HC Deb 16 December 1968 vol 775 c858
17. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will protest to the Soviet Government about the large numbers of Soviet vessels interfering with British and allied naval activity off the coast of Great Britain.

Mr. Mulley

There has so far been no cause for a formal protest to the Soviet Government.

Mr. Griffiths

Is it a fact that a Soviet guided missile ship hove to some distance off the West coast of Scotland not many weeks ago? Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the purpose of such Soviet activities are? Does he agree with the British admiral who described them as a "damned nuisance"?

Mr. Mulley

The navy of the Soviet Union, like other navies, is entitled to freedom of passage on the high seas. Its activities off the British coast are closely observed by the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Questions of detailed encounters are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.