HC Deb 26 October 1949 vol 468 cc1323-4
48. Mr. Piratin

asked the Minister of Defence whether he is aware that two American sailors, armed with Colt revolvers, mounted guard outside the Conference Room in the British Cabinet offices where British and American military representatives met on 3rd August last; and whether he gave authority for this.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. A. V. Alexander)

No, Sir. No armed guards were mounted outside the Conference Room in question. The United States representatives did, however, bring guards with them to look after their secret papers.

Mr. Piratin

Were these guards who, I understand had revolvers, stationed just outside the Cabinet offices in a Government building, and could not the United States officials entrust their papers to British officials?

Mr. Alexander

We rendered the same kind of courtesy to United States officers as other countries render us. We let them have some accommodation as an office and in which to keep their papers. They took steps to guard what they had in their office, as we should do in similar circumstances.

Mr. Nally

In view of the possibly interesting comparisons which might emerge would my right hon. Friend give us details of the number of guards in civilian clothes, and the armaments they carried, who accompanied Mr. Molotov on his last visit to London?

Mr. Alexander

I could not count them; they were legion.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Did the protection to which the right hon. Gentleman has alluded in any way inconvenience the Communists?

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