HC Deb 01 November 1983 vol 47 c723
1. Mr. Dubs

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what are the existing arrangements for military co-operation with the United States Government in the area of Central America.

The Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Mr. John Stanley)

The only such arrangements on land concern co-operation over training assistance to the Belize Defence Force. We conduct joint naval exercises with the United States navy in the area from time to time.

Mr. Dubs

Will the Minister make it clear that, in the event of any further American intervention in Nicaragua, there will be no support for it from any of the British armed forces?

Mr. Stanley

The Prime Minister has made it clear that we would not wish to give any support in that area.

Mr. Wilkinson

Will my hon. Friend confirm that there are no plans to withdraw the British garrison from Belize, as it is valuable for the area's security and much appreciated by our American friends?

Mr. Stanley

As my hon. Friend is aware, there is not an indefinite commitment to retain the garrison in Belize, but I assure him that no date has been fixed for its withdrawal.

Mr. Silkin

Will the Minister confirm that there can be no question of any military co-operation with the United States if it should again engage in intervention in and invasion of a sovereign independent country?

Mr. Stanley

That is a hypothetical question, but I assure the House that our arrangements with the United States are limited to those contained in my original answer.

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