Oral Answers to Questions — Spain (Arms Export Ban)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st January 1951.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin 12:00 am, 31st January 1951

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will consider removing the ban upon the export of any arms and military equipment to Spain which we do not ourselves require.

Photo of Mr Nigel Fisher Mr Nigel Fisher , Hitchin

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that Spain has a very well-trained infantry force, which if also well-equipped, would be an invaluable asset in the defence of Western Europe, and, if necessary, in the defence of the line of the Pyrenees? If and when we have such equipment available, will he reconsider the matter?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Younger Mr Kenneth Younger , Grimsby

I think my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, earlier this week, gave the view of the Government on a supplementary question similar to that which the hon. Member has asked.

Photo of Sir Allan Noble Sir Allan Noble , Chelsea

Will our Ambassador in Spain make it quite clear to certain sections of Spanish opinion that we have no intention of leaving Gibraltar?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Younger Mr Kenneth Younger , Grimsby

That does not arise out of this Question.

Photo of Mr John Hynd Mr John Hynd , Sheffield, Attercliffe

Will the Minister bear in mind the very serious psychological consequence that will be felt throughout Western Europe if he accedes to the request made in the Question?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Younger Mr Kenneth Younger , Grimsby

We are very well aware of it.

Photo of Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers Lieut-Commander Peter Smithers , Winchester

In view of the important position which Spain occupies on the communication lines of Western Europe, has the Minister of State consulted the Minister of Defence to find out how long it would take to prepare the defences of Spain to bring them into line with the defences of Western Europe?

Photo of Mr Kenneth Younger Mr Kenneth Younger , Grimsby

There have, of course, been the fullest consultations, but if there were any military equipment of the kind in question available there are many other Powers which have prior claims upon it.