Skip to main content

Base, Simonstown

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 27 October 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

23.

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty why he has acceded to negotiations that involve giving up the naval base at Simonstown, South Africa; and how he proposes to ensure that ships of the Royal Navy patrolling South Atlantic waters will continue to enjoy a safe and well-equipped anchorage.

Following upon the talks on defence matters of mutual interest that were held in September with the Minister of Defence of the Union of South Africa, a small Admiralty mission is at present in South Africa to discuss naval co-operation. No decision has been taken about the future of the naval base at Simonstown. Any decision on this, as on other questions of policy, would have to be subject to agreement between the two Governments.

May we take it from that statement that the Admiralty mission which is out there is not empowered to negotiate about any alteration in the present arrangements for the holding of Simonstown?

Yes. I would certainly say that the mission out there has no power of negotiation. The discussions cover a variety of issues and, of course, the Government are not committed in any way.

Would the hon. and gallant Gentleman make it quite clear that the South African Navy has full use of the base under present arrangements?

Yes. We try to give the South African Navy all the facilities it requires at Simonstown.