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Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 26 July 1961

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asked the Minister of Defence whether he will make a statement upon the formations and dispositions of British troops now remaining in Kuwait; what is the total cost to date to British public funds of the Kuwaiti expedition; whether a supplementary service estimate is to be called for; what part of the cost of the expedition is to be contributed by the Sheik of Kuwait or United States oil interests; or whether the entire cost of the expedition is to fall on the United Kingdom.


asked the Minister of Defence what has been the estimated weekly cost of operations in Kuwait; and by whom such costs will be borne.

I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT details of the main units which have been withdrawn from Kuwait; it would not be in the public interest to identify those remaining or their dispositions. As I said yesterday in reply to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), the extra cost of operations in Kuwait up to the end of July is likely to be of the order of £1 million. I have no statement to make at present on how the costs will be borne.

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that the Chancellor of the Exchequer yesterday referred in his statement to negotiations within the framework of N.A.T.O. as to our defence costs in Western Europe? Would it not be wholly incompatible with national economic policy that we should allow the whole cost of the Kuwaiti expedition to fall on our shoulders when the Sheik, a very friendly Sheik, has £300 million or more lying here in London while we have defended as to 50 per cent. American oil interests? Surely there should be some equity in a matter of this kind.

Following is the information:

  • 2 Companies Coldstream Guards.
  • 1 Squadron Hunter aircraft.
  • 1 Parachute Battalion and Light Battery.
  • 2 Royal Marine Commandos.
  • H.M.S. "Bulwark".