HC Deb 22 November 1979 vol 974 cc547-8
9. Mr. Michael Brown

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has had any recent discussions with official representatives of the United States Government relating to Northern Ireland.

Mr. Humphrey Atkins

I met the United States Ambassador at the end of October. We keep the United States Administration regularly informed about our policies through diplomatic channels.

Mr. Brown

Bearing in mind the imminent presidential election in the United States and the likelihood that at least one presidential candidate will try to use Northern Ireland for vote-winning purposes, and bearing in mind also that this may result in the President of the United States involving himself more than he should in the affairs of Northern Ireland, will my right hon. Friend make absolutely clear to the United States Government that Northern Ireland affairs are for the British Government and are nothing to do with politicians in America?

Mr. Atkins

I think that the United States Administration understand, and accept, that the situation in Northern Ireland is a domestic matter. Only last September the United States Secretary of State said that intrusion into the Irish situation would not be wise. That is quite right. At the same time, there is no doubt that we have a job to do in informing not so much the United States Administration as a number of people in the United States of the true facts. There is misunderstanding which has resulted, over past years, in far too much money getting into the wrong hands.

Mr. John

Will the Secretary of State tell us the latest status of the RUC arms contract that was held up by the United States Government?

Mr. Atkins

The United States Administration are carrying out a review. We have made it plain that we hope that the review will soon be concluded. Meanwhile, there has been no immediate need to place further orders. However, there will come a time when further orders will need to be placed, and we shall do so in good time. We very much hope that the review that the United States Administration are carrying out will be completed by then.

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