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Supply Of Arms

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 25 November 1965

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63.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is satisfied with the system whereby sultans of the South Arabian Federation receive obsolete British arms on the authority of the British High Commission; and what steps he takes to ensure that those armaments are not resold by the sultans so as to rind their way into the hands of anti-British tribesmen.

So long as activities organised from outside the area threaten public order in the Federation it is necessary to distribute limited quantities of arms for defence purposes to the rulers and State forces. I am naturally concerned to ensure that the issue of such arms does not exceed the justifiable requirement and I am very anxious that it should cease altogether as soon as circumstances allow.No system of control can be foolproof but it is against the interests of the rulers themselves to allow arms to fall into unreliable hands.