HC Deb 30 May 1968 vol 765 cc2105-6
4. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if he will make a further satement about the progress of negotiations on aid to the South Yemen Republic.

Mr. Prentice

As my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs informed the House on 13th May—[Vol. 764, c. 182–3], negotiations with the Southern Yemen Government broke down on 10th May when that Government rejected our offer of further aid. We shall therefore be giving no further financial aid to South Yemen beyond the £12 million interim aid agreed at the Geneva negotiations last November.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is the Minister aware that I am glad that these negotiations have broken down, and is he further aware that the people of this country think that these people have no moral claim upon them?

Mr. Prentice

I had guessed that the hon. Gentleman would be glad. We were, of course, obliged under the Geneva Agreements to hold these further discussions. I think that we can now say that we have discharged that obligation.

Mr. Hooley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that for 150 years, this country exploited the facilities of Aden for the benefit of our Fleet, shipping and Imperial interests? Would he not agree that, whatever the misfortunes which have occurred in recent years, which I regret as much as any other hon. Member, there may still be some moral obligation to the people of that part of the world?

Mr. Prentice

My own attitude to this matter has been governed neither by that point of view exactly, nor that of the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison). I have been concerned, as I have had to be, with the development potential here and the effective use to which aid might be put. In these matters, it is essential to look to the future rather than to the past. Bearing in mind all the considerations, our offer was a very modest one, and the negotiations broke down.

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