HC Deb 01 May 1968 vol 763 cc1079-80
2. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what new arrangements have been made for the defence and security of the Falkland Islands and Dependencies.

6. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will consider establishing a military airfield in the Falkland Islands; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Healey

No change has recently been made in the general arrangements for the defence of the Falkland Islands. Although the Government will continue to keep under review the need for any variation in these arrangements, there is no necessity at present foreseeable for a military airfield.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Are the Government determined to defend the Falkland Islands? As an earnest of their resolve to maintain the right of the Falkland Islanders to remain British, will they recommend that Her Majesty should include the Falkland Islands in any Royal visit to that part of the world?

Mr. Healey

The latter part of the question is not for me. As to Her Majesty's Government's intentions to defend the Falkland Islands, they are exactly the same as those of the previous Administration, and similar arrangements are being made by this Government as were made by the previous Government.

Mr. Marten

Would not an airfield enable aircraft from an aircraft carrier to land in a crisis as well as being of great civil use? Are the plans for the defence of the Falkland Islands really the same as they were under the previous Administration, or are they less?

Mr. Healey

Certain adjustments have been made in the plans in the last few years. As I said in my Answer, we keep the problem under review and make any further changes as they become necessary. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that if it were necessary to land aircraft in the Falkland Islands in an emergency this could be done.

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