HC Deb 12 May 1952 vol 500 cc842-3
19. Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what German military forces now exist in East Germany.

Mr. Nutting

Reliable reports show that in the Soviet Zone of Germany there is a uniformed para-military police force of about 53,000 men who are trained at least up to basic infantry standard, have ample small arms and machine guns 9f Russian, as well as ex-German, types, and sufficient tanks and medium and heavy artillery pieces for training purposes.

The force is organised on the pattern of a Soviet rifle army, and has such a high proportion of officers and noncommissioned officers as to suggest that it is intended as the nucleus of a larger force.

There is also a sea police of some 3,500 men operating a small number of fast, armed, light naval craft. A headquarters unit for an air police has been set up near Berlin, and an organisation is being established for the training of ground crews.

Mr. Reid

Is it a fact that the East German Government have made arrangements to expand this force rapidly in case of emergency?

Mr. Nutting

As I explained in my answer, there is every reason to suppose that this force is intended as the nucleus of a larger force and is capable of expansion.

Viscount Hinchingbrooked

Can my hon. Friend tell the House whether or not the proposals for Western German re-armament include proposals for the creation of an effective military force in excess of that now existing in East Germany?

Mr. Nutting

That is a completely different question.

Mr. Shinwell

Is this force, which, I understand, is the Bereitschaften, an exclusively German force, or is it integrated with Soviet forces?

Mr. Nutting

So far as I am aware, it is very much under Soviet influence.

Mr. F. J. Bellenger

Is not the setting up of this force quite contrary to any and all arrangements between the quadripartite Powers?

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir.

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