HC Deb 08 February 1985 vol 72 cc747-8W
Sir John Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what part his Department has played in the work of the Commonwealth study group, set up after the upheaval in Grenada, to consider the future defence of small states; what assistance Her Majesty's Government is prepared to give in any regional forces that may be set up; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Luce

My right hon. and learned Friend sent an analysis of the security problems of small states and of high potential remedies to the Commonwealth Secretary General at the outset of the study last year. The Secretary General subsequently established an independent, non-governmental group to assist his study, the British member of which is Sir A. Parsons.

We provide substantial assistance to small states. This amounted to over £60 million of development aid and military training assistance to 29 Commonwealth small states in 1983–84. We also support the establishment of regional security arrangements among small states and give considerable assistance to the countries belonging to the regional security system in the eastern Caribbean. On 30 October last year, we announced the grant of £1.2 million for the construction of shore facilities for coastguard patrol vessels in six of these countries I refer my hon. Friend to my Department's memorandum published by the Foreign Affairs Committee on 19 July 1983 (HC 541) for further details of our approach.

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