HC Deb 15 July 1971 vol 821 c700
11. Mr. Latham

asked the Minister of State for Defence what facilities are available in Great Britain to other European powers for the servicing of vessels carrying nuclear weapons.

Lord Balniel

No request for servicing facilities for such vessels has ever been received from another European power.

Mr. Latham

The Question does not ask whether any application has been received ; it asks what facilities are available. Does the Minister realise that what gives rise to this Question is the possible implication of any defence arrangements that may be secretly made in connection with E.E.C., the existence of a French nuclear weapon-carrying submarine and the fact that the American submarine Poseidon is being serviced at Holy Loch without any announcement being made to the House of Commons? There is, therefore, an understandable fear that similar facilities might be granted to a European Power without the House of Commons being informed.

Lord Balniel

There is nothing to add to the Prime Minister's statement in answer to Questions on 24th May, when he made it clear that there were no discussions of any kind on Anglo-French nuclear arrangements during talks with the only other nuclear Power in Europe.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will my hon. Friend agree that, should a request come from any European nuclear Power, we should accede to it with the greatest alacrity?

Lord Balniel

This is a hypothetical question. Any such request would, of course, be considered on its merits