HC Deb 28 July 1976 vol 916 cc626-7
3. Mr. Litterick

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will undertake to review the operation of the 1947 agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States of America on communications monitoring.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Roy Hattersley)

It is the long-established practice of this House that the Government do not comment on matters of this kind.

Mr. Litterick

I do not think I can honestly say that I am grateful for that answer, but is my right hon. Friend aware that the American National Security Agency has been using its four communications facilities in this country —at Edzell in Scotland, at Chicksands, at Cheltenham and in Hampshire—to monitor the communications of British commercial organisations, in violation of the secret 1947 agreement, and to relay them to their American competitors? Will he assure the House that as a matter of urgency he will undertake discussions with the Secretary of State concerning this fact, which has been revealed by a former employee of the agency, with a view to ending this covert subversion of British economic interests?

Mr. Hattersley

I have nothing to add to my original reply, which should in no way be taken as endorsing any of the facts that my hon. Friend purports to give to the House.