Malta

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th April 1972.

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Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice 12:00 am, 20th April 1972

asked the Minister of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the future of British forces in Malta.

Photo of Lord  Balniel Lord Balniel , Hertford

We plan to deploy to Malta broadly the same pattern of forces as before the withdrawal started. Detailed timings will depend on operational and logistic considerations; but we expect the bulk of our forces and their families to have returned by September.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

As Mr. Mintoff originally asked for £30 million and finally received only about half, what guarantee has my right hon. Friend that the new defence agreement will not be denounced in the next year or two as the last one was?

Photo of Lord  Balniel Lord Balniel , Hertford

Only the guarantee that when two sovereign States entered into a treaty arrangement that treaty will be adhered to.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Barking

Since the cost of withdrawal and return has been stated officially in another place to have been £6 million, and since that is a futile waste of money, would not it have saved time and trouble to have added that sum to the amount provided for Malta under the agreement?

Photo of Lord  Balniel Lord Balniel , Hertford

I am sure the hon. Gentleman would be the last person to insist that British forces should have remained in Malta against the wishes of the Maltese Government.