Oral Answers to Questions — Spain (Air Attache)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 26th October 1949.

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Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes 12:00 am, 26th October 1949

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs since when, and for what reasons there has not been an Air Attaché in Spain.

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

The last Air Attaché was withdrawn from Madrid on 8th September last. For reasons of economy no successor has been appointed.

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Is it not absolutely wrong that, for Treasury reasons, a Service Department should not be represented in Spain, which is such an important country strategically?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have been looking into the question of all the special attachés in all our missions and they have been reduced. I want to put them where they are absolutely essential, but I do not think I ought to incur expenditure where they are not essential.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Will the right hon. Gentleman give the House a firm assurance that he will take no part in preparations now going on in Washington to make Spain an air base for the Americans' aggressive anti-Soviet intentions?

Photo of Mr Douglas Clifton Brown Mr Douglas Clifton Brown , Hexham

This Question deals with the Air Attaché and nothing else.

Photo of Mr John Platts-Mills Mr John Platts-Mills , Finsbury

Further to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, is it not perfectly clear that the importance suggested by the questioner in the presence of an air attaché was so that we could be a party to this proposal for the mis-use of Spain?

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Can the Secretary of State say whether it is true that air matters in Madrid are being looked after by the Naval Attaché and, if so, can he say whether he has any flying experience?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I could not answer that question without notice.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government of the United States have very strong representation in Madrid? If the British Government are not represented there in this matter we may well lose in trade matters in years to come.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Would the Foreign Secretary say whether, in the interests of economy, he would consider withdrawing the Air Attaché from Moscow in view of the fact that he serves no useful purpose?

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

Are we to understand from the right hon. Gentleman's earlier reply that he did not decide who was to act for the Air Attaché before withdrawing him? Is not that what he said?

Photo of Mr Ernest Bevin Mr Ernest Bevin , Wandsworth Central

I have had the whole of the foreign service overhauled and I have got to review and to reduce the cost of the services. I have tried to do all the things that are essential and which make for efficiency.