§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they have been informed by the United States Government about the intended uses of the space-based infrared system, new construction for which by the United States National Security Agency at Menwith Hill is being funded by the United States Ballistic Missile Defense Organisation for use with the United States National Missile Defense programme; and whether these uses are in accordance with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (to the continuing "integrity" of which the Foreign Secretary committed the United Kingdom on 23 September at the United Nations); and whether their approval for the construction is needed. [HL4672]
§ Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean
Her Majesty's Government have been consulted by the United States about the development and intended uses of the space based infrared system (SBIRS). As I stated in my answer of 25 October 1999 (Official Report, col. WA5), HMG retain legal possession and control over all sites made available for use by the United States visiting forces. It was therefore necessary for the US to seek HMG's permission to construct the European ground relay station of SBIRS at RAF Menwith Hill. Permission was granted on 20 March 1997.
As I explained in my answer of 25 October 1999, interpretation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is a matter for the parties to that treaty.