Foreign Aircraft (Low Flying).

Oral Answers to Questions — Aviation. – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th June 1936.

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Photo of Sir Jonah Smith Sir Jonah Smith , Barrow-in-Furness 12:00 am, 11th June 1936

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware that on the 22nd of last month the German airship "Hindenberg" passed over Barrow-in-Furness flying very low and proceeding slowly; whether Barrow is scheduled as a prohibited area for foreign aircraft; if not, whether the Minister will, having regard to the nature of the industry of Barrow and to the increasing extent of the building of ships of defence and other defensive preparations in that town, consider the advisability of adding Barrow to the prohibited areas already scheduled as such; whether there is any convention in regard to the carrying and use of cameras by foreign aircraft passing over this country; and in what way does the Minister assure himself that any conventions for the prevention of air-photography of places of strategic importance, such as Barrow, are properly observed?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I have no information as to the exact altitude and speed at which the German airship "Hindenburg" passed over Barrow-in-Furness, which is not scheduled as a prohibited area; but no official report as to low flying has been received by the Air Ministry. The areas at present scheduled as prohibited are all in the immediate neigbhourhood of naval and military establishments, and my Noble Friend would be reluctant to add to their number in view of the effect of the creation of new prohibited areas upon the freedom of civil air navigation. The general question has however been under review for some time. As regards photography, the Anglo-German Air Navigation Agreement expressly prohibits, except with special permission, the carrying of cameras in German aircraft visiting this country, and no permission to carry photographic apparatus was applied for in the present case. My Noble Friend has no reason for thinking that this particular condition of air entry is not observed by German aircraft flying over this country, just as it is observed by our own aircraft when flying over Germany.

Photo of Sir Jonah Smith Sir Jonah Smith , Barrow-in-Furness

What is the answer to the last part of the question, as to the means taken to see that the terms of the agreement are observed in regard to the prohibition of air-photography?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I said in my answer that it was prohibited by the agreement which I mentioned. There are obvious difficulties in the case, and, as I said, it has been constantly under review.