HC Deb 20 April 1972 vol 835 cc736-7
17. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of British forces in Malta.

Lord Balniel

We plan to deploy to Malta broadly the same pattern of forces as before the withdrawal started. Detailed timings will depend on operational and logistic considerations; but we expect the bulk of our forces and their families to have returned by September.

Mr. Wall

As Mr. Mintoff originally asked for £30 million and finally received only about half, what guarantee has my right hon. Friend that the new defence agreement will not be denounced in the next year or two as the last one was?

Lord Balniel

Only the guarantee that when two sovereign States entered into a treaty arrangement that treaty will be adhered to.

nMr. Driberg

Since the cost of withdrawal and return has been stated officially in another place to have been £6 million, and since that is a futile waste of money, would not it have saved time and trouble to have added that sum to the amount provided for Malta under the agreement?

Lord Balniel

I am sure the hon. Gentleman would be the last person to insist that British forces should have remained in Malta against the wishes of the Maltese Government.

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