HC Deb 17 November 1969 vol 791 c830
12. Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has made representations to the Spanish Government about firing on 21st October last by Spanish coastal batteries near the British liner "Uganda" off Cape Trafalgar; and whether he has secured any explanation.

Mr. George Thomson

No, Sir. We have looked carefully into this and there are no grounds for making representations. We do not attach any political significance to what happened.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Without attaching political significance to what happened, can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the normal warning of practice firing on seas which are part of the trade route was given; and, if not, why not?

Mr. Thomson

I am grateful for what the right hon. Gentleman said about not seeking to make this a political issue. The normal notice was given to the Gibraltar maritime authorities, but the ship in question did not call at Gibraltar. I can best explain the matter by saying that the incident involved firing by the Spanish authorities in exactly the same way as would be conducted by British authorities in the same circumstances.