HL Deb 20 June 1963 vol 250 cc1388-90

3.53 p.m.


My Lords, it might be convenient for me to make a statement about the visit of the delegation which my right honourable friend the Minister of Aviation recently led to the Soviet Union. The statement, which my right honourable friend is making in another place, is as follows:

"The visit was made at the invitation issued on behalf of the Soviet Government by Mr. Dementiev, the Chairman of the Soviet Committee of the Aviation Industry. I was accompanied by Sir Arnold Hall, Managing Director of the Hawker Siddeley Group, by Sir Denning Pearson, Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce, by Mr. Russell, Technical Director of the British Aircraft Corporation, by the Deputy Chief of the Air Staff and by senior members of my own Ministry.

"In the course of the tour we visited factories making civil aircraft engines and equipment. We were also shown a number of civil aircraft and helicopters now in service or in a late stage of development: these included the IL.18, IL.62, TU.104, TU.114, TU.124, AN.24, MIL.2, MIL.6, V.8. We flew in some of them. We also visited TSAGI, the Russian equivalent of the Royal Aircraft Establishment.

"The visit provided opportunity for useful exchanges with the Soviet authorities. I paid a courtesy call on Mr. Khrushchev. We were received by Mr. Rudinev, a Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers and the Chairman of the State Committee for the Co-ordination of Scientific Research. We had a number of talks with Mr. Dementiev, his senior staff, the leading chiefs of the Russian design bureaux, and some of those in charge of production. In these talks we examined many questions of mutual interest and explored the possibilities of co-operation in some of them. We identified a number of technical fields in which it may be desirable and possible to co-operate. These include civil airline traffic rights, the environment in which supersonic transports will operate and problems that will be common to all countries engaged upon the establishment of space telecommunications. No proposals were made by either side and no agreements were sought. I hope, however, that our talks will ultimately prove fruitful. I look forward to welcoming Mr. Dementiev in this country for further exchanges."

My Lords, that is the statement.


My Lords, whilst thanking the Minister for that interesting report, may I ask whether an indication was given by the Soviet Government that they would be prepared to look at the possibility of a B.O.A.C. regular flight across Russia to the Far East, which would, of course, cut down the time very materially, and is desirable if it can be obtained on a mutual basis? Secondly, did the Minister take the opportunity of congratulating the Russian Government on the outstanding achievement of putting a woman into space and bringing her back again?


My Lords, on the first half of the noble Lord's question, I may say that that was one of the matters discussed, and I referred to it in the statement under "civil airline traffic rights". As I have said, no proposals were put forward, or even sought, but I can tell the noble Lord that at any rate a good foundation, so to speak, has been laid for further discussions. So far as the second part of the noble Lord's question is concerned, this event, of course, had not happened at the time that my right honourable friend was there. Whether or not he subsequently sent a message, I do not know.