HC Deb 01 June 1954 vol 528 cc1066-7
30 and 31. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) how many military attachés are posted to embassies in Communist-controlled countries; and the annual cost;

(2) the cost of maintaining a military attaché and his department in Moscow; and what proposals he has to reduce this expenditure.

Mr. J. R. H. Hutchison

Six military attaches and three assistant military attachés are posted to embassies and legations in Iron Curtain countries. The annual cost of maintaining these offices is about £106,000. Moscow accounts for rather more than a quarter of this. I see little prospect of substantially reducing this expenditure.

Mr. Hughes

Could the hon. Gentleman give some idea of what these people do for their money? Do they give information, or get information? Is there not a genuine case for economy in these officers?

Mr. Hutchison

I know that the hon. Member is not particularly attached to military attachés, but we consider them useful members of the Service. They give advice to H.M. Ambassadors on military questions and act as military representatives in the country to which they are sent. They also keep in touch with their military opposite numbers in the countries to which they are accredited.

Air Commodore Harvey

Will my hon. Friend invite the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) to wear a military attaché's uniform and send him to Russia to see what information he can get?