HC Deb 11 May 1971 vol 817 cc197-8
Q1. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the Ceylon Prime Minister to London for an official visit.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Bandaranaike in Singapore in January. She would be a welcome visitor in this country at any time.

Mr. Dalyell

Does the Prime Minister accept that the troubles in Ceylon are not just a matter of goodies versus baddies, but stem from real problems of sheer poverty and graduate unemployment? If that is accepted, may I ask what the Government's policy is towards the further supply of arms?

The Prime Minister

There is undoubted poverty in Ceylon, and it has been the policy of successive Administrations to help Ceylon with the maximum aid possible. In this case, a democratically elected Government appealed to Her Majesty's Government for arms to support them in dealing with a small minority of extremists in revolt against that democratically elected Government. Her Majesty's Government came to the conclusion that it would be right to help the Government of Ceylon in these circumstances.

Mr. Tapsell

Has any progress been made since January in the establishment of international arrangements, with which both Ceylon and the United States are associated, for the defence of the Indian Ocean?

The Prime Minister

I know of no movement in international organisations to deal with that problem.

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