HL Deb 24 July 1962 vol 242 cc934-5

2.39 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of recent allegations and exposures of excessive profits in the United States missile industry, what steps they are taking to ensure that the funds appropriated for the purchase of Skybolt do not become the subject of such exposures and allegations.]


My Lords, it is as much in the interests of the United States Air Force, through whom we are purchasing Skybolt, and with whose orders our own are integrated, to ensure that the contractors' prices are fair and reasonable. We are confident that if there were evidence that the contractors were making excessive profits on Skybolt, the United States Government would take the necessary stops to curb them; and that by purchasing Skybolt through the United States Air Force we shall be meeting our requirements in the most economical way.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer. May the House take it that the likelihood of British funds ending up in the wrong hands may be gauged by the future performance of the United States Air Force in this respect?


My Lords, there were two ways in which we could buy this missile: either directly, by our own contract with the firms, or through the United States Air Force. The advantages of doing it through the United States Air Force are really quite considerable. We thought that this was the better way of doing it, and I think the noble Lord would agree that it is as much to the benefit of the United States Air Force to see that they get the missile as cheaply as possible as it is to our-selves.