§ 49. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Minister of Defence what new arangements he has made with the American Defence Minister for the security of the American ships at Holy Loch.
§ Mr. Hughes
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that since the "Proteus" has been in Holy Loch a frogman has swum under the ship and inscribed his initials on the bottom of the ship? Is he aware that the submarine has been boarded by men from the mainland going out in canoes? Because of the accessibility of the ship to the side of Holy Loch, is he satisfied that there is no danger of sabotage? If sabotage occurred, it would have very disastrous effects on the safety of the local population.
§ Mr. Watkinson
I think that there is no risk of the nature which the hon. Gentleman mentioned. These incidents clearly were known to the crews of the "Proteus" and of the submarine concerned. I think that the hon. Gentleman's last observation might well be described as a storm in a coffee cup.
§ Mr. Paget
Surely this is a very serious matter. We have a lot of perhaps rather unbalanced people who take a somewhat hysterical view of matters. To go back to the suffragettes, we are in no position to protect people who do that kind of crazy thing. Is this not a real danger which we pointed out in the recent debate?
§ Mr. Watkinson
What I understand is this. It is the wish of the American Navy to treat these people—I leave their degree of imbalance to the hon. and learned Gentleman—as courteously and calmly as it can. That is not meant to be read in any sense as implying that it cannot protect these ships from sabotage.