HC Deb 05 February 1974 vol 868 cc276-7W
Mr. Trew

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on Diego Garcia.

Mr. Amery

In response to a proposal by the United States Government and in accordance with the 1966 Anglo-American Agreement (Cmnd. 3231) Her Majesty's Government have agreed in principle to the expansion of the facilities at Diego Garcia. The American proposals involve improvements to the anchorage and to the airfield as well as to the shore facilities.

Her Majesty's Government have long felt that it is desirable in the general Western interest to balance increased Soviet activities in the Indian Ocean area. Accordingly, they welcome the expansion of the United States facilities which will also be available for British use. Against this background, the United States and British Governments have agreed to consult periodically on joint objectives, policies and activities in the area. As regards the use of the expanded facilities in normal circumstances, the United States and British representatives in Diego Garcia will inform each other of intended movements of ships and aircraft. In other circumstances the use of the facilities would be a matter for the joint decision of the two Governments.

A formal agreement will be concluded in due course.