HC Deb 15 November 1950 vol 480 cc1713-4
47. Mr. W. Fletcher

asked the Minister of Defence what proposals he is making in conjunction with the other powers in the planning of the defence of Western Europe that adequate stocks of strategic materials are held; and whether such stocks are to be held centrally or by individual countries.

Mr. Shinwell

The North Atlantic Council have instructed the Council Deputies to consider how the problem of strategic materials can best be dealt with, and the Council deputies have the matter under consideration.

Mr. W. Fletcher

Could the Minister say whether, since this matter was discussed in the debate here two months ago, there has been any real progress in new methods or in accumulating a greater proportion of stocks?

Mr. Shinwell

I should not care to say whether any real progress has been made. The matter is before the deputies. They are the appropriate body to deal with this.

Mr. Gerald Williams

Will the right hon. Gentleman remember that newsprint is a strategic material, and that if supplies are cut off from Scandinavia in a future war, and if there is no newsprint, the morale of the people will fall to nil?

Mr. Shinwell

I cannot imagine what that question has to do with the Ministry of Defence.

48. Mr. Donner

asked the Minister of Defence whether he will make a statement on the Atlantic Pact defence talks at Washington.

Mr. Shinwell

As my reply is rather long I will, with permission, make a statement at the end of Questions.

50. Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

asked the Minister of Defence what proposals have been received by His Majesty's Government from the French Government for the provision of air forces for their proposed European force; and whether it has been decided who will provide these squadrons.

Mr. Shinwell

The French Government have made no proposals to His Majesty's Government on this subject.

Mr. Orr-Ewing

Will the right hon. Gentleman state at the end of his statement on his report on the Washington talks what an army can do without an air force? It seems to us a little nebulous to make any statement without discussing the air side which is necessary to protect an army.

Mr. Shinwell

I do not know whether I am to include it in my statement at the end of Questions, but I think that we all have a fair grasp of the obvious.