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Middle East Sheikdoms (Assistance)

Volume 639: debated on Wednesday 3 May 1961

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what is the total of military and other assistance Her Majesty's Government are providing to the sheikdoms in the Middle East, including Bahrain and Muscat and Oman.

The total estimate of economic and military assistance to the Sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf and to the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman for 1961 to 1962 is £2,774,325.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is exceedingly foolish in this day and age for so much military assistance to be provided to prop up unpopular, corrupt and feudal regimes? Will he consider increasing the proportion of aid provided for education and social needs and for economic development?

I should have thought that the hon. Gentleman, with his past experience of the use of extravagent language, would have been rather careful over what he said about those parts of the word. This aid is used so that these countries may be able to defend themselves and to bring themselves to that stage of development which is desirable. With regard to civil aid also, we are only too anxious to help to the maximum extent.

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether there is a reasonable credit balance here?