HC Deb 08 April 1971 vol 815 cc657-8
10. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of State for Defence how many British warships in 1970 called at Mombasa and South African ports, respectively.

Mr. Kirk

The number of British warships which called at Mombasa and South African ports in 1970 was 16 and 46, respectively.

Mr. Digby

Do not these figures show the dependence of the Royal Navy on South African ports? Will the use of Mombasa be discontinued once the Beira patrol is allowed to face the other way and watch the Russian fleet in the Indian Ocean?

Mr. Kirk

We need both these facilities, and I doubt whether we shall want to give up either in the near future.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Can the hon. Gentleman confirm the statement of the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) that the Beira patrol is to cease very shortly?

Mr. Kirk

I think that policy is made by Her Majesty's Government.

Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles

Will my hon. Friend take the opportunity to pay tribute to the hospitality of South African ports and of Mombasa to Royal Navy ships throughout the periods of office of successive Governments in recent years?

Mr. Kirk

Certainly. They are very hospitable in both cases.