HC Deb 27 November 1950 vol 481 cc777-8
45. Mr. J. Langford-Holt

asked the Prime Minister whether the denial issued by his chief Press officer from 10 Downing Street with regard to the attitude of Members of His Majesty's Government toward the rearmament programme had his approval.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

I presume the hon. Member is referring to a statement issued by my Adviser on Public Relations. I naturally take full responsibility for statements issued on my behalf by my officials.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Is the Prime Minister aware that this whole incident caused a most deplorable effect in the United States of America; and that when the sirfcerity of the Government is called into doubt in this country it is regrettable, and that when that occurs abroad it is positively dangerous?

The Prime Minister

I quite agree that these inaccurate statements are very unfortunate.

Mr. Anthony Nutting

Will the Prime Minister not agree that these "off the record" revelations of the personal views of Ministers on matters not connected with their own Department are highly dangerous to British relations with foreign countries, particularly the United States; and will he not give the House an assurance that such revelations will not continue?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman is anticipating a later Question by one of his colleagues.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Would it not be a good thing if all members of all Governments opposed this great rearmament plan?

64. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what response has been received to the memorandum communicated by His Majesty's Government to the Government of the United States of America on 3rd August, 1950, relative to the cost of rearmament and its effects on the economy of this country.

The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Ernest Davies)

As discussions are still proceeding, I can add nothing to the reply made by my hon. Friend the Economic Secretary to the Treasury on 23rd November to my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, North (Mr. Edward Davies).

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is it not the fact that the memorandum sent by His Majesty's Government to America stated clearly that the carrying out of our rearmament programme could only be contingent upon American aid; and in view of the very recent statement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, about the addition of another £300 million to the cost, can we get more information about the American attitude on this matter?

Mr. Ernest Davies

Discussions are still proceeding but nothing definite can be said yet pending the result of consultations between all the N.A.T.O. Powers, including, of course, the United States of America.