§ 2.41 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government if the future of Simonstown naval base was discussed at the recent Prime Ministers' Conference and, if so, what decisions were reached.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF DEFENCE (LORD CARRINGTON)
My Lords, the future of the Simonstown naval base was not discussed at the recent Prime Ministers' Conference.
§ LORD WINSTER
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his reply, but I am sure he will not expect me to regard it as very satisfactory. May I ask when there is a possibility of his being able to make a statement on this matter? It has now been discussed for upwards of a year; a high-powered Admiralty mission has been to Simonstown; and we have had a Prime Ministers' Conference, at which apparently it was not discussed although it is a subject of vital importance in Commonwealth defence. Is there no prospect that the matter will be brought to a speedy decision?
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, the Prime Ministers' Conference was concerned with broad issues of defence policy—that is the reason why this matter was not discussed; and, as I think I told the noble Lord, Lord Winster, on a previous 654 occasion, the Admiralty are still discussing the report of the mission which they sent to Simonstown.