HC Deb 02 July 1968 vol 767 cc1278-9
4. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what requests he has received from the Nigerian Government for facilities for the supply of arms from private manufacturers in Great Britain.

Mr. George Thomson

None, Sir. There is nothing to stop the Nigerian Government or their agents from approaching private manufacturers in this country, but all exports of arms are, of course, subject to export licensing control.

Mr. Digby

Will the right hon. Gentleman say quite clearly what proportion of arms is going through official channels and what proportion through private channels and how this compares with the proportion before hostilities began?

Mr. Thomson

I am not quite clear what the hon. Gentleman means by his question. We understand that about 15 per cent. of the arms requirements of the Federal Nigerian Government are coming from this country, but none is coming from official British governmental channels. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman is referring to the Crown Agents. No British aid funds are involved in these arms. In these circumstances, the Crown Agents act as agents for the Governments themselves. They are not British Crown agents; they are Crown Agents in the Commonwealth sense.

Dr. Gray

In view of the continuance of this genocidal civil war, will my right hon. Friend stop arms from being supplied, whether from private or public sources, to the Nigerian Government forthwith?

Mr. Thomson

A number of hon. Members have Questions down on the subject raised by my hon. Friend, and I would prefer to wait until they are reached.

Forward to