§ Mr. Mason
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement on the abrogation of the Anglo-Nigerian defence pact, particularly on the questions of overflying and testing Royal Air Force aircraft; and whether his Department will still have any maintenance staff in Nigeria.92W
§ Mr. Braine
The following statement was issued on 22nd January by the British and Nigerian Governments.The British and Nigerian Governments have been consulting together about the Anglo-Nigerian Defence Agreement. They have noted with concern that the scope and purposes of the Agreement have been widely misunderstood. In particular, fears have arisen that in consequence of the Agreement, Nigeria's freedom of action might be impaired and that she might even be drawn into hostilities against her wishes.The text of the Agreement shows that these and other anxieties which have been expressed are wholly without foundation. Nevertheless, in order to end misunderstanding, the two Governments have thought it wise to reconsider the need for a formal agreement.As a result, they have decided to abrogate the Agreement. Each Government will, however, endeavour to afford to the other at all times such assistance and facilities in defence matters as are appropriate between partners in the Commonwealth.
Questions of overflying and testing will therefore fall to be dealt with under the normal arrangements for Commonwealth consultation and cooperation. There is at present in Nigeria an R.A.F. detachment employed in servicing and operating the Hastings aircraft engaged in support of the Nigerian elements of the United Nations Force in the Congo.