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Aircraft Spares (Supplies To Egypt)

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 18 April 1951

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45.

asked the Minister of Defence what quantity and value of jet and airframe spares have been sold to the Egyptian Government since 1st November, 1950, or are under contract to be delivered.

The quantities of jet engine and jet airframe spares supplied to the Egyptian Government since 1st November, 1950 have been strictly limited to those required for the essential maintenance of aircraft previously acquired by that country. It would be contrary to practice to disclose figures of cost or other-details of contracts with foreign governments.

But does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that whatever quantity has been supplied to the Egyptian Government would have been of great use to our own units, particularly the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, which is short of jet spares? Does he not think this is an extraordinary thing to do to a country which has behaved in such a shabby manner to Britain?

Does the Minister think it a wise policy, or a policy which makes any kind of sense at all, to sell armaments of any kind to Egypt at the same time as Egypt is proclaiming that she will never sign a Peace Treaty in the Middle East?

This Question does not relate to the sale of armaments but to the provision of spares.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what is the difference between the provision of spares for armaments and the provision of new armaments? Does not this constitute a breach of the undertaking which was given to the House earlier?

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that during the recent discussion on financial facilities the case was repeatedly made that until Egypt honoured her international obligations we should not grant her any special favours? In the light of that, will he look at these deliveries, which are a special favour to the Egyptians?

They cannot be considered as special favours in any sense of the term. The aircraft were provided some considerable time ago—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"]—that is not the question that I am answering now—and the only question that arises is whether we should provide spare parts; and that is what we are doing.

Will the right hon. Gentleman at least give us this decision, that no further supplies of aircraft will be forwarded until our Treaty rights are observed?

The statement that was made in the House quite recently gives, I think, a complete answer to the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, but there are certain aspects of the matter which might properly be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.