HC Deb 12 November 1952 vol 507 cc928-9
36. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent Her Majesty's Government were consulted about the proposals announced by Herr Blank on behalf of the Federal Republic on the size and nature of the proposed West German Army.

Mr. Nutting

Her Majesty's Government were not consulted over Herr Blank's statement, which was concerned with the necessary preparatory measures for the German contingents for the European Defence Community Forces. These will only come into existence after the ratification of the E.D.C. Treaty. The size and nature of the German defence contribution will, of course, be subject to the agreement and decision of the competent organs of the E.D.C.

Mr. Fletcher

May I take it from that reply that the Minister means that we shall not do anything to encourage the recruitment of either officers or other ranks in Germany until we know whether the Bonn Treaties are going to be ratified by all interested countries?

Mr. Nutting

No such recruitment can possibly take place until the European Defence Treaty has been ratified.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Does the Under-Secretary of State recall that after the First World War the Western Allies drastically reduced and rigidly controlled the Government armed forces of democratic Germany while allowing people to build up para-military forces which were against democracy and peace and which were tolerated although they plainly were a violation of the Treaty at that time? Will he make it plain that Her Majesty's Government do not intend to do the same thing again?

Mr. Nutting

I hoped it had been made plain that the contribution which we hope Western Germany will be making to European defence is a contribution in the interests not only of peace but of democracy in Germany itself.