War gear found on ambassador’s plane
U.S. intelligence has obtained ‘hard evidence’ that sophisticated Soviet-made anti-submarine and other electronics gear has been flown to Argentina from Cuba.
Congressional sources said Secretary of State Mr Alexander Haig had made the disclosure at a closed meeting with a small group of House of Representatives members.
Mr. Haig also told the Congressmen, the sources said, that Cuba has informed the Argentine Government on behalf of both Havana and Moscow that a broad range of other military equipment could be made available to Argentina via Cuba.
A State Department spokesman at first declined to comment on the report, but then denied there was such evidence and that Mr Haig had communicated any such information to members of Congress.
An informed source said the gear was on an Ilyushin-62 plane carrying Cuba’s ambassador to Argentina (Emilio Aragonez Navarro) and 19 other Cubans that was forced to land in Brazil by Brazilian Air Force jets for entering Brazilian airspace after being denied permission to do so.
Meanwhile, a senior U.S. government official has hinted that the United States might provide expanded help to Britain at Ascension Island, which would offset Britain’s biggest military disadvantage.
When asked at a briefing about what type of equipment the US might provide under the new pro-British policy announced by Mr. Haig, the official referred to ‘obligations we have in the Ascension Island’.
The U.S. operates a 10,000-foot aircraft runway and maintains fuel tanks on the British-owned island under a 1962 agreement that requires the U.S. to make the facilities available to Britain on request.
Pym to fly to U.S.
Foreign Security Mr Francis Pym will fly to Washington for his next round of talks on the Falklands crisis, the Foreign Office said.
A spokesman said Mr Pym would take the Concorde flight to New York and then transfer to a shuttle in Washington.
‘He will be seeing Mr Haig in Washington and then returning to New York to see the United Nations Secretary-General,’ said the spokesman.
Mr Pym’s plans to meet Mr Haig, the US Secretary of State, follow the American announcement that it was backing Britain in the dispute.
Insurance gesture for families
An insurance company has altered the terms of its policies to give Service families extra money if their menfolk are killed or disabled should the Falklands crisis erupt into full-scale war.
Although basic life insurance policies cover war risks, extra benefits for accidental death or disability usually do not.
Now the Crown Life Assurance Company, whose branches at Fareham and Southampton serve many Royal Navy and Royal Marines families, has decided to change that as a ‘gesture of support’ for the task-force Servicemen.
In other news – Bike boy can smile again
One good turn deserves another - as Cowplain Cub Scout John Brimecome, 10, discovered when his new bicycle was stolen while he was working for the Scouts’ Job Week.
Waterlooville shopkeepers were upset at the theft and Mr Alan Westlake, manager of a London Road jewellers, organised a collection among other traders in the town’s shopping centre.
About 12 traders contributed enough money to replace John’s missing bike - a birthday present from his parents. Mr Westlake handed the bike to John, plus a padlock. His parents promised to insure it straight away.