HL Deb 16 March 1960 vol 221 cc1191-2

2.39 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are satisfied with the contribution that the Services were able to make on the occasion of the Agadir disaster, particularly the Royal Navy, in accordance with a statement made by a Minister in another place.]


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government are glad that the Services were able to contribute in the way they did to the relief of the victims of the earthquake at Agadir. H.M.S. "Darlaston", with a doctor and some stores, was sent immediately from Gibraltar to assist, and to report what kind of help would be most useful. H.M.S. "Tyne" was at once directed to Gibraltar; she was urgently loaded there with the supplies called for by Agadir, and she delivered these on March 6. R.A.F. aircraft delivered supplies to Agadir as soon as they were able to land there after the disaster, and later helped to evacuate casualties and to deliver more stores.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether there was an interval of several days—four, five or six days—between the arrival of the first British ship and anything being done so far as the Royal Navy was concerned, when at the same time there were a number of Allied ships that had arrived from other countries?


No, my Lords; my noble friend is not right. H.M.S. "Darlaston" sailed from Gibraltar as soon as the earthquake happened. As regards the position of the Allied Navies, I do not think that this is a competition as to who can do most to help in circumstances of this kind. It so happens that both the United States and the French Navies have bases in Morocco, and so are rather nearer.


What about Gibraltar?