HC Deb 03 March 1955 vol 537 cc2235-6
31. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what study his Civil Defence advisers have made of the mass evacuation plans of United States cities, with a view to taking similar precautions in this country.

Major Lloyd-George

The United States proposals for mass evacuation of cities have been closely studied by my advisers. The plans contemplate a temporary dispersal of the population from vulnerable areas within a few hours on receipt of a tactical warning of attack. This is not evacuation as we have hitherto understood it in this country. Neither the lay-out of our cities nor the length of any tactical warning period on which we can count encourages us to believe that corresponding arrangements would be appropriate over here. As the Statement on Defence, 1955, made plain, Her Majesty's Government are at present re-examining all Civil Defence policies, and notably those on evacuation and shelter.

Mr. Hughes

Has the Minister seen the Report in "The Times" of last Monday, referring to a statement made by Mr. Val Peterson—his opposite number in America—from which it seems that Chicago is far more advanced than London in this respect? It is easier to get out of Chicago than London. The difficulty is how to get back.

Major Lloyd-George

That is something which may not be so important—but I still think that the American system is not particularly applicable to the peculiar conditions here. As I have said, all aspects of Civil Defence are being looked at urgently.

Mr. Noel-Baker

As Mr. Peterson has been giving evidence to Congress upon this subject and a great deal of information has been published, will the Home Secretary consider whether we can have similar information here?

Major Lloyd-George

I shall do my best to give all possible information, as I said in answer to a previous Question.

Major Legge-Bourke

Will my right hon. and gallant Friend pay particular attention to the wisdom or Unisom of using East Anglia—especially that part where American Air bases are situated— for purposes of evacuation, should the need arise?

Mr. Hughes

In view of the anti-American utterances of the Minister, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Forward to