§ Mr. Alton
As meetings took place on 20 and 31 October this year between representatives of International Military Sales, a company which is wholly owned by the 173 Ministry of Defence, and Iranian officials, how does that fact square with the Minister's answer and the Prime Minister's statement that a no arms sales policy had been pursued scrupulously and consistently? Will the Minister say what took place during those meetings on 20 and 31 October?
§ Mr. Hamilton
The hon. Gentleman's question asked about contacts that my Department had with Iranian officials. IMS is controlled by the Department, but it operates independently. It has been concerned merely with contracts that existed before the revolution. It has been negotiating about them. It has conducted no arms sales since the revolution.
§ Mr. Latham
Can my hon. Friend confirm—I hope he can—that the contacts have not led to any arms sales to Iran in contravention of our policies, especially if we are not prepared to sell to the Israelis defensive clothing against chemical weapons?
§ Mr. Hamilton
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. There have been no new sales of equipment by IMS. It has been concerned only with existing contracts and deliveries in respect of them.
§ Mr. McNamara
What has been delivered, even in retrospective contracts? Does it not break the spirit of what the Prime Minister said, if not the facts of the situation? We should have stopped all deliveries, whether or not the contracts were pre-Shah.