§ 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. 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.
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. Shinwell
Is this force, which, I understand, is the Bereitschaften, an exclusively German force, or is it integrated with Soviet forces?
§ Mr. F. J. Bellenger
Is not the setting up of this force quite contrary to any and all arrangements between the quadripartite Powers?