HC Deb 22 June 1954 vol 529 cc206-7
5. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Defence to give an estimate of the number of Soviet divisions that are now in Eastern Europe; and to what extent he anticipates they can be increased.

Mr. Birch

There are believed to be about 82 Soviet divisions in East Europe and West Russia. It is estimated that by one month after mobilisation the present grand total of 175 Soviet divisions could be approximately doubled.

Mr. Hughes

Has the Minister made any calculation as to what extent the Russian and satellite forces are likely to be increased if we proceed with German rearmament? How are we to catch up with 400 divisions and, if he tries to attempt that, how will he carry out the instructions of the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reduce defence expenditure?

Mr. Birch

I think the hon. Gentleman's points add force to what I hope is his support for E.D.C.

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