HC Deb 04 April 1989 vol 150 cc132-3W
Mr. Livingstone

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish in theOfficial Report the text of the letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Hove (Mr. Sainsbury) to the hon. Member for Brent, East on 9 February about Keenie Meenie Services and related matters.

Mr. Sainsbury

The letter was sent openly and is therefore in the public domain; the text is as followsThank you for your letter of 23 January concerning my written reply to you of 15 December (Col. 684 of the Official Record). In that reply I stated that I was not aware of any advertisements having been procured or placed in the Ministry of Defence publications by KMS and that remains the case. The extracts you provided with your letter were from a brochure which was produced as a commercial venture by International Military Services Ltd. (IMS) in 1985. Although wholly owned by MOD, IMS is a private Limited company incorporated under the Companies Act and is a distinct and separate entity from MOD. In contracting for Defence Exports it adheres to Government policies and to guidelines issued by the MOD. But within these limitations it is free to pursue business and to take initiatives in exactly the same way as any other commercial company. It can be engaged by other private companies and on occasions by HMG in connection with contracts for the export of British defence equipment and associated services in the commercial environment. The brochure concerned was entitled Internal Security —Counter Insurgency'. Entries were paid for by various advertisers as a means of publicising the services they offered. Presumably IMS at the time regarded the publication as a viable commercial venture but I understand that it was not a regular publication and has not reappeared since 1985. This was a matter for the commercial judgment of IMS and there is no suggestion that they in any way transgressed the guidelines under which they operate. You also asked about the nature of the services provided by IMS to overseas armed forces and paramilitary organisations. This can and does cover a wide range of activities but it can be defined in general terms and in the words of the pamphlet itself as the supply of military equipment and the provision of "associated support such as the installation, commissioning and maintenance of equipment and the training of personnel". I must emphasise that IMS works within the constraints of Government policies which in this field, as you know, take account of a wide range of political, security and humanitarian conditions. MOD was not and did not expect to be involved in either the publication of the brochure by IMS or the placing of the K MS advertisement and there is therefore no question of correcting or amending the Official Record of my answer of 15 December 1988.

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