HC Deb 18 July 1950 vol 477 cc2010-1
7. Mr. Watkinson

asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent Anti-Aircraft Command is prepared to meet the latest developments in aircraft and self-propelled projectiles.

Mr. Strachey

The development of anti-aircraft weapons and associated techniques is being urgently pursued. We cannot, of course, give this particular need exclusive priority over equally important defence needs.

Mr. Watkinson

Will the Secretary of State give the House an assurance that at least immediate short-term measures will be given top priority to bring A.A. Command into some state of readiness, and will he also give an assurance that full account will be taken of the worst that any aggressor can bring against us in, say, the next six or 12 months?

Mr. Strachey

I should be very loth to pick out any particular defence needed and give that a top or overriding priority over others, but no one is disputing for a moment the very great importance of this matter.

Mr. Snow

Will the Secretary of State bear in mind my own view that there should be the very highest standard of instruction in these new techniques, and that we will not be subjected to the same bad instruction that many of us had in 1939?

Mr. J. N. Browne

Is the right hon Gentleman aware that L.Z. and Mark VI balloons will fulfil an irreplaceable function in the defence of strategic points, and shipping, and that there is considerable apprehension regarding the state of preparedness of this form of defence?

Mr. Strachey

I do not know whether we ought to discuss the technique of A.A. defence in Question and answer, but I can assure the House that I and my military advisers take this matter very seriously indeed.