asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement concerning the recent deployment of HMS "Dreadnought" in the Mediterranean ; and if he will outline the circumstances relating to the fact that she did not sail through the Suez Canal.
HMS "Dreadnought ", a nuclear-powered fleet submarine, was due to accompany HM ships of a Royal Navy task group deploying to the Indian Ocean and the Far East in order to take part in naval exercises with friendly nations. In accordance with the established practice for ships transitting the Suez Canal, advance written notification was submitted of the intention that the whole task group, including HMS "Dreadnought", should pass through the canal. The Egyptian Government indicated that, since no nuclear-powered vessel of any sort had previously used the canal, they would like more time to consider the implications, particularly those related to public safety. In deference to this request, the notification in respect of HMS "Dreadnought" was withdrawn and she sailed elsewhere on 27th October. The Egyptian Government at no time refused permission ; our dealings with them throughout were conducted in a spirit of co-operation.