§ Mr. Tebbit
I met leading figures in the United States Administration in Washington in February. I took every opportunity to stress our commitment to the denial of strategic technology to potential adversaries; but I made plain our fundamental opposition to any United States attempt to exert its jurisdiction within the United Kingdom.
Since my visit a high-level official team has repeated these arguments, as did my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade during his visit last week. I believe the United States must recognise that it is in the interests of the Western Alliance that these controls are exerted by agreement, not by pretence of extraterritorial powers.
§ Mr. Stott
I am grateful to the Secretary of State for that reply. He will be aware that there is serious concern on both sides of the House about the American Administration's attitude in forcing British companies, and American companies based in Britain, to comply with American law, under which they must submit applications for licences to the Department of Commerce in Washington. It must be said from the Government Dispatch Box that it is intolerable that we in the United Kingdom should have to put up with such a position, where British companies, and paradoxically United States companies based in the United Kingdom, are worst hit by the proposals emanating from the United States Department of Commerce. I should be grateful if the Secretary of State would reinforce our view to the United States Government.
§ Mr. Tebbit
I am grateful to the hon. Member for making plain the unanimity of both sides of the House on this matter. It is my belief that United States companies that trade in Great Britain are liable to be the principal sufferers of United States Government policies.
§ Mr. Hayward
I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. I share the view expressed by the hon. Member for Wigan (Mr. Stott). Has my hon. Friend received any indication from the United States Administration of any likelihood that they will change their approach? If so, is it likely to be in the near future, or is it a long-term exercise of continued pressure?
§ Mr. Tebbit
The claim to exert extraterritorial jurisdiction arises from a United States court ruling many years ago. I have made it plain to my opposite numbers 350 in the United States that we cannot complain to them about that ruling; that is within their jurisdiction. We complain strongly if they seek to exert their purported extraterritorial jurisdiction.
I do not want to be too optimistic, but I believe that that position is becoming increasingly well understood in the United States, not least, if I may say so, by the representations made to the United States Administration by Congress, as well as by myself and representatives of other leading countries outside the United States.