HC Deb 11 February 1971 vol 811 cc772-3
15. Mr. Lane

asked the Minister of State for Defence what overseas training areas he expects to be available for British forces after 1971.

Lord Balniel

A precise forecast is impracticable, though I have no doubt that we shall continue to satisfy our requirements. We shall, of course, continue to use existing facilities in Europe in cooperation with N.A.T.O.; and our forces in the Malaysia and Singapore area will train out there under the five-Power defence arrangements.

Mr. Lane

Before taking a final decision on the future of British forces in the Gulf, will my hon. Friend give full weight to the value of retaining some occasional training facilities in certain of the Gulf States which are highly suitable for inter-Service training?

Lord Balniel

The training facilities in the Gulf are valuable to the Services, but I ask my hon. Friend to await the statement by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

Mr. Brian Walden

But when are we to be favoured with that statement? We keep reading circumstantial reports in the Press, for which the hon. Gentleman is not responsible, but when will ate Government make a statement so that we can ask questions about their intentions in the Gulf?

Lord Balniel

I should ask my right hon. Friend if I were the hon. Gentleman.