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South Africa

Volume 645: debated on Monday 2 October 1961

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asked the Minister of Defence whether a settlement has now been reached with the South African Government as to future defence arrangements; and if he will make a statement.

I have nothing to add at present to the reply I made on 19th July to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway).

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that he will make a full statement when these defence talks are concluded? Would he consider very carefully, apart from general defence matters, that there should be no question of sending to the Republic of South Africa small arms which might be used in the imposition of the racial policy of apartheid?

As the hon Gentleman knows, defence talks are only a relatively small part of the very complicated talks on the new status of South Africa. These are still going on. I imagine that a statement will be made on them when they are concluded, which will take account of any defence interests.

Yes, but cannot the right hon. Gentleman answer the latter part of my hon. Friend's Supplementary question? In view of repeated statements by two Ministers of Defence in South Africa, would the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that no small arms are going to be supplied to that country for the purpose, for example, of repressing a revolt, if such should start?

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman knows, for this answer has been given a good many times in this House recently, that we do not announce in this House either for or against sales of any particular types of arms to another country.

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise no difference, then, between the supply, for example, of naval vessels, and of small arms, the purpose of which we know very well in this country?