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Aqaba (Accommodation)

Volume 465: debated on Tuesday 31 May 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for War what is the estimated expenditure on barracks at Aqaba; and how long British forces are to remain in occupation there.

No expenditure has been incurred on barracks in Aqaba. Some £20,000, however, has been spent in providing temporary accommodation to minimum essential standards. A further sum may have to be spent on additional works services for the hot weather. It is not possible to say how long it will be necessary to retain our Forces there.

Is not £20,000 a large sum to be spent on temporary quarters, and cannot the Minister give an assurance that we are not to be permanently in occupation?

Within reasonable limits, no sum is too large to be spent in providing decent accommodation for our troops. In regard to the latter part of the Question, I cannot say at present how long it will be necessary to retain our Forces there.

Will the right hon. Gentleman deny the implication in the last supplementary question that we are occupying Aqaba and will he make it clear that we are there in honour of our obligations to Transjordan?