HC Deb 14 December 1953 vol 522 cc16-8
23. Mr. Snow

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what consultations with the Allied High Commission have taken place on the proposal by the Government of the German Federal Republic to submit amendments to the Basic Law to the Bundestag authorising the Federal Republic to raise armed forces outside a possible European Defence Community organisation

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Preliminary consultations are taking place between the Allied High Commission and the German Federal Chancellor regarding amendment of the Federal Basic Law so as to make possible a German contribution to the E.D.C. Any such amendment would require the approval of the Allied High Commission before it could take effect.

Mr. Snow

Has the right hon. and learned Gentleman's attention been drawn to the report in "The Times," of 5th December, which appeared to indicate that consideration was being given to the question of amending the Basic Law so as to provide for the raising of forces outside E.D.C.? In point of fact, according to the Basic Law, may such armed forces be raised at the present time?

Mr. Lloyd

I am not aware of the precise details of the report to which the hon. Gentleman refers. All I can say is that the consent of the High Commission is required before an amendment can become effective.

Mr. Snow

Will the Minister take steps to prevent this matter being debated in the Bundestag after Christmas, as, I understand, has been announced from Bonn?

Mr. Lloyd

Whether or not that is correct, before anything can become effective the consent of the Allied High Commission is required.

Mr. Fletcher

May we take it that Her Majesty's Government will not consent to any German rearmament outside the provisions of E.D.C.?

Mr. Lloyd

All I can say, again, is that before any amendment of the Basic Law—providing for any form of German rearmament—can become effective. Her Majesty's Government's consent, through the Allied High Commission, is required.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Has it yet been made clear whether or not an amendment of the Basic Law is required?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot answer that question.