§ Mr. Latham
To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what progress is being made with Her Majesty's Government's inquiry into the allegations of sales of military equipment to Palestinian terrorist organisations; and when it will be completed.
§ Mr. Kenneth Clarke
[holding answer 9 March 1988]: Allegations that in 1981–82, military communications equipment was licensed for shipment to the PLO have been investigated by the Departments concerned with the active co-operation of Racal-Tacticom.
Applications to export military communications equipment are considered by relevant Government Departments before any licence is granted by the DTI. Records have been examined and there is no trace of any licence having ever been granted for shipment to the PLO.
The investigation has revealed that in the case of one export licensed in 1982 to a company in the Lebanon an error occurred so that the usual procedures were completed without taking into account information showing that the Lebanon company had links with the PLO. It is possible therefore that this consignment eventually reached the PLO. It was of very small value and the equipment was non-lethal.
No evidence has been found to justify any suggestion of unlawful actions by Racal-Tacticom.