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Factories (Security Measures)

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Supply what security measures are in force in factories working for the War Office and the Air Ministry; what restrictions have been placed on the movement in such factories of foreign purchasing agents, particularly Russian, Polish, Roumanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Czechoslovak and Jugoslav; and how many such agents visited these factories in 1948.

It would not be in the public interest to disclose details of the security measures designed to prevent unauthorised access to information of a defence nature at contractors' works, but I am sending the hon. Member a copy of the Standard Conditions of Government Contracts, paragraphs 21 and 59 of which indicate the type of precaution taken. Many of the several thousand contractors employed by my Department undertake work of a non-defence nature, and foreign purchasing agents may visit such firms in connection with this side of their work. It would not be possible without an unreasonable expenditure of time and labour to give the number of these visits.

Can the right hon. Gentleman give an unqualified assurance that under present arrangements there is no possibility of leaks of secret or technical information on developments?

So far as I know, there have been no such leaks. I do not think there is any likelihood of them.

Will the right hon. Gentleman advise hon. Members and the Press to be careful how they speak about these countries, which are likely to become our means of salvation in view of the pressure of another foreign country which means this country no good? If hon. Members do not accept my word, let them take that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer.