HC Deb 22 February 1954 vol 524 cc27-8
48. Mr. Benn

asked the Minister of Supply what facilities he is putting at the disposal of the two United States Senators who are flying to Britain next week to investigate Communist activities in British factories making aircraft for the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Command.

Mr. Low

I do not know of any visit for the purposes stated by the hon. Member. I think he must be referring to a joint mission from the United States Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees which is visiting Europe to study the Off-Shore Procurement Programme, particularly that part relating to aircraft. The Mission will be in this country for one day, and my right hon. Friend has not been asked to provide any special facilities for it.

Mr. Benn

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that "The Times" reported that these Senators were coming to Britain to investigate Communist activity in British factories, and that other Press interviews and reports confirmed that? Will he say whether trade union leaders will be compelled in any way to appear before this mission, and what authority it carries with it in coming to this country? Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that security questions are the responsibility of the British Government and not that of any other Government, or even N.A.T.O.?

Mr. Low

There is certainly no question of compelling anyone to come before this mission. I have seen the reports to which the hon. Member referred and I have confirmed with the United States Government that, so far as the United Kingdom is concerned, the purpose of the mission is to study the manufacture, cost and other details of Hawker Hunter aircraft which the United States have ordered from us.