HC Deb 16 March 1955 vol 538 cc1267-8
1. Mr. Albu

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty whether it is now intended to retain Schloss Benkhausen, in Land Lower Saxony, as a naval residence after the coming into force of the Paris Agreement; and what rent will then be paid for it.

The Civil Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Wingfield Digby)

The location of the Flag Officer, Germany, depends principally on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation tasks for which he is responsible. I am unable, at present, to say whether he will remain at Benkhausen after the Paris Treaties become effective.

If he does, Schloss Benkhausen will continue to be his headquarters and residence. Payment of rent, which amounts to approximately £900 a year, will be governed by the Note on Financial Arrangements appended to the Paris Agreements.

Mr. Albu

Is the Civil Lord aware that this charmingand luxurious residence is 70 miles from the sea, 120 miles from Bonn, and 400 miles from N.A.T.O. headquarters in Paris?

2. Mr. Albu

asked the First Lord of the Admiralty the duties of the Flag Officer, Germany; and whether this post will be maintained after the coming into force of the Paris Agreement.

Mr. Digby

The Flag Officer, Germany, in his North Atlantic Treaty Organisation capacity as the Commander, Allied Naval Forces, Northern Area, Central Europe, is responsible to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, for naval planning matters in the British Zone and for the operational control of the Royal Naval forces in Germany. He is the naval member of the Commanders-in-Chief Committee (Germany) which is responsible to the Chiefs of Staff Committee in this country. The entry into force of the Paris Treaties will not affect the foregoing duties of the post until at least the future German navy is capable of performing the tasks required of naval forces in Germany.

Mr. Albu

Can the Civil Lord say whether it is not a fact that, unless this gallant Admiral is to conduct his operations on canals and rivers, the majority of his duties are in connection with N.A.T.O.; and would it not be better if he were situated rather closer to N.A.T.O. headquarters?

Mr. Digby

That point has been considered, and I doubt very much whether it would be worth while shifting his headquarters at the present time.