HC Deb 16 December 1982 vol 34 cc260-1W
Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what factors have led Her Majesty's Government to decide that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the extent of their knowledge of Argentine naval activity; and for what reason Her Majesty's Government's policy has changed since previous replies to the questions of the hon. Member for West Lothian and others on these matters;

(2) whether, in view of his reply of 13 December that it would not be in the public interest to give details of British knowledge of Argentine dispositions, he will make it his policy to answer questions relating to the identity of Argentine vessels where these are known to Her Majesty's Government without indicating the position of such vessels.

Mr. Blaker

There has been no change of policy. Information concerning the extent of our knowledge of Argentine activities is understandably sensitive: in particular, the indications of the threat posed by the "General Belgrano", by the "25 de Mayo" and by their escorts; and the position and on occasions the identity of individual vessels. Whilst I am prepared to be as helpful as possible in answering the hon. Member's questions, I will not be drawn into revealing information to the detriment of our security.