§ The Minister of State, Department of Industry (Mr. Gerald Kaufman)
Rolls-Royce's discussions with American manfacturers cover confidential commercial matters between the companies, and it would be improper for me to comment in detail. However, I understand that satisfactory progress is being made in current negotiations on an intermediate engine.
Why has not the Minister yet supported Rolls-Royce in a collaborative project with McDonnell-Douglas to get the RB211 stretched version engine into the DC10? A number of airlines are anxious to buy this aircraft and they would prefer that it had Rolls-Royce engines. Is not this country missing out on a substantial potential market?
§ Mr. Kaufman
The hon. Gentleman totally misunderstands the situation. The collaborative ventures which we are considering are collaborative between Rolls-Royce and Pratt and Whitney. Of course we support Rolls-Royce in seeking to get engines into American aircraft. I have had discussions with leading figures in McDonnell-Douglas, including Mr. Sanford McDonnell, both in this country and at Long Beach.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Does not my hon. Friend agree that this is an appropriate week to congratulate Rolls-Royce on a 942 major export deal, and that this is a very good example of export-led growth by a public industry? As far as collaborative deals with the United States are concerned, is it not a fact that the agreement with Pratt and Whitney on the JT10D is proceeding according to plan? There is no objection from Rolls-Royce towards the attitude of the British Government to this project.
§ Mr. Kaufman
The talks with Pratt and Whitney are going forward satisfactorily, and we have had no complaints from Rolls-Royce. My hon. Friend has referred to the excellent deal between Rolls-Royce and the Soviet Union. This would never have been possible if the Conservatives had not been sensible and shrewd enough to keep Rolls-Royce going in public ownership.