HC Deb 03 June 1954 vol 528 c1455
47. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister what instructions he has given to Field-Marshal Sir John Harding, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, and the British delegation which is to take part in the five-Power military staff talks that are to take place in Washington.

The Prime Minister

It would be contrary to the accepted practice, and also to the national interest, to make instructions of this kind public.

Mr. Hughes

Has the Prime Minister forgotten that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in his Budget speech, said that this year we must have some reduction in our defence expenditure? Do this military delegation know about this and have they gone to Washington to reduce our defence expenditure?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that was the first object with which they were concerned, but if, as a result of their discussions, a large reduction in military expenditure became possible, that would be a matter for general and mutual congratulation.