HC Deb 22 October 1952 vol 505 cc996-7
34. Mr. E. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the cost of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Information Services; and how much of this is borne by the United Kingdom.

Mr. Nutting

The services to which my hon. Friend refers are not a separate body, but form part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Secretariat. Since N.A.T.O.'s budget is confidential, I am not able to give information about its provisions, without first obtaining the concurrence of the other member Governments.

Mr. Johnson

Will the Minister continue to do everything possible to make the work of this North Atlantic Treaty Organisation more widely known, as far too little is known about it?

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir.

Mr. S. Silverman

As the Question asks the Minister to make this work more widely known, will the Minister also inquire into why the amount of money spent should be treated as confidential and why that should not be more widely known?

Mr. Nutting

The reason why it is confidential is, of course, that it is a defence organisation, but the United Kingdom military and civil contributions are put into the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence Estimates.

Mr. H. Morrison

One follows why money on military expenditure must be confidential, but could not the hon. Gentleman go into the question of the publication of the cost of non-Service, ordinary administrative costs and so on? It is possible for these international organisations to be extravagant. Surely people have a right to know about these non-military costs.

Mr. Nutting

Certainly, I will further consider the right hon. Gentleman's point.

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