HC Deb 12 July 1983 vol 45 c747
3. Mr. Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what matters he discussed with General Matthei and other representatives of the Chilean Government during their recent visit to London.

The Minister of State for Defence Procurement (Mr. Geoffrey Pattie)

Neither General Matthei nor other Chilean representatives visited my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. General Matthei called on me briefly. We discussed defence equipment matters and human rights.

Mr. Fisher

Will the Minister confirm that his discussions with General Matthei, however brief, included the possible future sales of nuclear arms and weapon systems to Chile?

Mr. Pattie

They did not.

Mr. Dalyell

In that case, what arms were discussed?

Mr. Pattie


Mr. Duffy

Would it not be the ultimate irony and unspeakably shameful if an honoured ship such as HMS Hermes, which was deployed so effectively a year ago in the cause of democracy and self-determination, were disposed of to a regime such as the Chilean Government? Will the Minister deny that the Government ever contemplated such a step?

Mr. Pattie

HMS Hermes will not complete her service and pay-off until 1985. At the moment, no disposal of HMS Hermes is contemplated.