HL Deb 09 April 1984 vol 450 cc895-6

2.37 p.m.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

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

The Question was as follows: To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the statement made by the Commander in Chief of the US Air Forces in Europe and his staff to the United States Congress (reported at page 225 of the published evidence on Fiscal Year 1983 Military Construction Appropriations) that there are 112 US installations in the United Kingdom including 13 major or large minor installations and another 99 minor locations is true.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Armed Forces (Lord Trefgarne)

My Lords, as I told your Lordships on 21st March, Brigadier General Fillmore said that there were six major, seven large minor, and an additional 99 locations providing housing, storage, communications and operational support". As I explained, we have never regarded mere housing estates as US bases. There is therefore no conflict between the figures given by the US General with those for US bases and facilities given on several occasions to your Lordships.

Lord Jenkins of Putney

My Lords, will the noble Lord agree that the difference between us can now be seen to be one of nomenclature only and that if one uses the word "bases", "locations" or, as the Americans say, "installations" one arrives at a figure in excess of 100? Since there is obviously no question of false allegations or plucking figures out of the sky, will the noble Lord perhaps be kind enough to agree that we can leave it at that?

Lord Trefgarne

My Lords, it does appear that the noble Lord and I seem to be approaching a meeting of minds on this matter, and I am happy for that.