HC Deb 08 February 1977 vol 925 cc658-9W
Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if, in pursuance of the Government's policy of stopping arms supplies to South Africa, he will ask ICI, Racal, Plessey and other British companies to discontinue the supply to that Government of arms by their subsidiary companies or by companies in which they have substantial investment in South Africa and also to discontinue the provision of licences under which weapons or components in weapons are manufactured there.

Dr. Gilbert,

pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 20th January 1977; Vol. 924, c. 305–6,] gave the following information:

Her Majesty's Government observe the United Nations embargo on the supply of arms to South Africa. This embargo does not specifically prohibit the supply of information or the granting of manufacturing licences. The Government have no general power either to interfere with the export of information to South Africa or to prevent the manufacture of any product by firms, including United Kingdom subsidiaries, in that country. Nevertheless, we would be seriously concerned if British firms with interests in South Africa acted in a manner which was plainly contrary to the spirit of Government policy. We expect them to show proper sensitivity in matters of this kind.