HC Deb 23 November 1949 vol 470 cc366-7
51. Mr. Platts-Mills

asked the Minister of Defence if he will publish a table showing what military committees and subcommittees have been set. up under the North Atlantic Treaty, the Brussels Treaty, and the recently inaugurated regional groupings; the responsibilities of these committees and what countries are represented on them; which committees created by the Anglo-American Combined Chiefs of Staff Planning Board are still in existence; and if he will indicate what is the relationship of these committees each with the other and with the Supreme Chiefs of Staff Committee in Washington.

Mr. Alexander

A White Paper giving the main features of the military organisations set up under the Brussels and North Atlantic Treaties will be published shortly. As regards the third part of the Question, the Combined Chiefs of Staff organisation has been disbanded and the last part of the Question does not therefore arise.

Mr. Platts-Mills

Can my right hon. Friend say whether any single one of this multitude of committees is in any way answerable to or is even built in the remotest shadow of the United Nations Organisation?

Mr. Alexander

I should think quite as much as any arrangement between the satellite countries and Moscow.

Mr. Chamberlain

Is there not a tremendous wastage involved in this infectious epidemic of committees and sub-committees, and shall we not have to have still more committees and subcommittees to sort out where the first ones begin and end?

Mr. Alexander

I am quite sure that the country at large would not wish to be left in the defenceless position which began to arise out of events of 1946 and 1947, and will realise that only collective action with other peoples in the world can provide the necessary deterrent required.

Mr. Swingler

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider his policy of disclosing British official secrets to other members of these committees when there is a liability on serving officers who disclose these secrets?

Mr. Alexander

My hon. Friend is assuming that some serving officer has disclosed a secret. I do not know of any such circumstance.

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