HC Deb 03 December 1946 vol 431 cc69-70W
Sir R. Glyn

asked the Minister without Portfolio what has been the total sum received since the end of hostilities in Egypt and North Africa of weapons and warlike stores disposed of locally; how do these figures compare with the sales of similar stores, weapons, etc., in other theatres of operations; and what is calculated to be the quantities in values not yet disposed of.

Mr. Alexander

I regret that the information asked for is not readily obtainable and its production would involve a very large volume of research and much time on the part of officials both in the Service Departments and Overseas Commands which could only be undertaken at the expense of more important work. In the Middle East in particular, staffs are fully engaged on work connected with current or future major moves of store? and accommodation.

Some surplus weapons and warlike stores overseas are disposed of by the Service Ministries as part of larger sales to Foreign and Dominion Governments, while others are handed over to the local organisation of the Ministry of Supply either for breaking down as scrap or for sale in the civil market in the case of stores with a civil end use. The research necessary would involve all three Service Ministries and the Ministry of Supply in detailed scrutiny of past records in various theatres of operations. With regard to what has been disposed of, it would be difficult to segregate the value of the portion of the warlike stores requirements of a Foreign Government supplied from any particular theatre from the whole order, a large part of which might have been supplied from the United Kingdom and which would also include a considerable proportion of non-warlike stores. What remains to be disposed of, particularly in Egypt, cannot be calculated at the present time. It does not, for instance, follow that equipment surplus in the Middle East is necessarily globally surplus.