HC Deb 22 July 1975 vol 896 cc280-1
11. Mr. Aitken

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his recent meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt.

Mr. Mason

I have not met him.

Mr. Aitken

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Deputy Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Egypt came here with a shopping list for £450 million worth of arms which they were successfully able to buy? Surely the right hon. Gentleman, as Secretary of State for Defence, should have seen a successful buyer of £450 million worth of British arms and should not have delegated this responsibility to a Foreign Office Minister, who might not know one end of a missile from another?

Mr. Mason

The hon. Gentleman is as completely misinformed in his supplementary question as he was in his original Question.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Let me put a question to the Secretary of State which does concern him. Apart from the obvious danger of pouring more arms into either side in this tinder-box which may start a world war, is he satisfied that we shall be paid for these orders, since Egypt already owes $3 billion to the West for arms supplied to her?

Mr. Mason

The Question was whether I met the Deputy Prime Minister of Egypt. The answer was "No, Sir." My hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Allaun) has referred to major contracts in the offing. No firm proposals have been put to me yet.

Mr. Younger

In courtesy to my hon. Friend the Member for Thanet, East (Mr. Aitken), the right hon. Gentleman owes him an explanation of why he said he was misinformed.

Mr. Mason

I have just given the reason. There are no firm proposals.

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