HL Deb 17 December 1963 vol 254 cc130-1

3.32 p.m.


My Lords, I think it would be convenient if I now made a statement which is being made in another place.

As your Lordships may be aware, two British companies separately entered into contracts with the Republic of Indonesia in 1959. One was for the supply and services for the installation of a radar system in Indonesia by the Decca Radar Company, and the other for the supply and subsequent servicing of Gannet naval aircraft by the Fairey Aviation Company, now part of the Westland Aircraft Company. These contracts had the approval of Her Majesty's Government. However, the Indonesian Government are now pursuing a policy of hostility towards Malaysia and this has obliged the Government of Malaysia to request British assistance under the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Agreement in the defence of Malaysian territory. Under these circumstances, Her Majesty's Government have felt obliged to request both the British companies to suspend work on their present contracts with the Republic of Indonesia. Arrangements are accordingly being made by the companies for the withdrawal of the British technicians in Indonesia engaged on these contracts.

The reasons why this step has been taken have already been explained to the Indonesian Government, who have again been reminded that Her Majesty's Government remain ready to respond to any sincere Indonesian initiative for the resumption of friendly relations. Her Majesty's Government have given undertakings to both the companies to indemnify them against losses arising from the termination of these contracts. Parliamentary authority for any payments which prove necessary to meet these undertakings will be sought in due course.


My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord for the indication in the statement that the Government are rightly trying to keep open the negotiations for the resumption of friendly relations. I think they could not do other than they have done in regard to the rest of the matter.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Earl.