The British Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Carrington, said in London that the new British proposals for a five-power agreement in South East Asia would be adequate for the defence of the area.
GV Whitehall PAN to Ministry of Defence
SV INTERIOR..Lord Carrington seated with interviewer
CU Carrington listening and replying (SOUND ON FILM)
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: REPORTER: "Does the British Government regard the Five-Power Agreement which is proposed, does it regard this as adequate for the defence of South East Asia ?"
CARRINGTON: "Yes. As you know under the old arrangements British Forces were in Singapore under the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Agreement. And in the changed circumstances I think my government ??? that it was better to have a different form of agreement. Under the Anglo-Malaysian Defence Agreement we had an open ended commitment to intervene in any circumstances in the event of an attack on Malaysia or Singapore. Well, that would be very nice and I am sure we would like to continue it. But the difficulty is that in the changed circumstances, the new arrangements with Australia and New Zealand, we thought we would like to have all of us the same commitment. And this will be basically a commitment for consultation in the event of an attack. And this we will do as quickly as we can if it ever happens and make our arrangements accordingly."
REPORTERS: "What effect will the agreement have on the Hong Kong garrison? Will troops be moved there from Singapore for instance ?"
CARRINGTON: "No. What we were going to do with the Hong Kong garrison was to leave it as it is, unchanged, now, and not to run it down or build it up. We think it is adequate as it is now."
REPORTER: "How far has this agreement been influenced by recent Soviet naval activity in the Indian Ocean ?"
CARRINGTON: "Not as such at all. Because we had always intended -- the Conservative Government, my party, had always intended to retain a presence east of Suez and in Singapore and Malaysia. And to that extent the Russian presence in the Indian Ocean has not made any difference. But of course it does high-light the need for the west generally to be very observant and watchful about what the Russians are doing."
REPORTER: "When do you expect that the Fie-Power Agreement will come into effect ?"
CARRINGTON: "I hope in the early spring. I hope we may have a ministerial meeting some time in April. These things always take a bit longer than one expects. But we have got senior officials going out to Singapore some time in the beginning of January. They are the people who do all the work and get things tidied up. And I hope when they come back and finally sort everything out, we shall be able to do it in April."
REPORTER: "Secretary of State, thank you very much."
Initials JON/PW/ES.14.06 JON/PW/ES.14.13
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: A full length version of the interview with Lord Carrington, which runs for eight minutes fifteen seconds (8 minutes 15 seconds) is available at Visnews London.
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Background: The British Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Carrington, said in London that the new British proposals for a five-power agreement in South East Asia would be adequate for the defence of the area. But he added that it included a commitment to consultation in the event of aggression.
The interview with the Secretary of State followed a British Government supplementary statement on Defence which included the proposals for South East Asia. Under these proposals Britain would make available five warships, a Battalion group of about 1,500 men together with their ancillary weapons and support equipment, a detachment of Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft and Whirlwind helicopters. The provision of a submarine is also being considered.