HC Deb 15 February 1954 vol 523 cc1642-3
42. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs which of the parties to the North Atlantic Treaty Status of Forces Agreement have now ratified it.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The North Atlantic Treaty Status of Forces Agreement has now been ratified by the Governments of the United States, Canada, France, Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Mr. Henderson

Has the hon. Gentleman's attention been drawn to a statement made in the court of the Lord Chief Justice last week that there are over 70,000 affiliation cases that have been held up owing to delay in putting the Visiting Forces Act into operation? At the same time, it is only fair to say that the American authorities here and in Washington have been most co-operative in this matter and have accepted the principle of reciprocity. Why are the Government not, therefore, bringing the Visiting Forces Act into operation?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

I am sure all concerned will welcome what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said about the co-operation of the American forces.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton: Too much co-operation.

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The delay has been due to the deference shown to the point of view put forward on both sides of the House that we should have a guarantee of reciprocity from the United States about the Agreement. I understand that the Home Secretary will make a statement about the proposals regarding the Act shortly.

Mr. E. Fletcher

Is the Foreign Secretary pressing the United States Government to introduce quite soon legislation in the United States to give effect to this ratification?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The United States Government have introduced that legislation, I understand.