Katrice Lee from Hartlepool was two when she vanished in 1981.
Her parents have always claimed that military police were slow to react to their daughter's disappearance.
Her father, Richard, says that although he welcomes the apology, he feels a public inquiry is the only way he will discover the truth.
More top news
Middlesbrough could move to the summit of the Championship table tonight. Aitor Karanka's men will take on Wolves at the Molineux Stadium.
A major fire which spread through a wing of a hotel in North Yorkshire could have been started by flies.
An explorer at Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland has discovered a rare fungus which has baffled experts for years.