HC Deb 21 March 1955 vol 538 cc1722-3
17. Mr. F. M. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the present estimated strength, in manpower and equipment, of military and paramilitary forces in East Germany; and at what date East German rearmament began.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Lord John Hope)

The rearmament of Eastern Germany began in October, 1948. It is estimated that by July, 1954, the military and para-military forces totalled about 95,000 men. Further details of this rearmament were given in Command Paper No. 9213, published last July. Present information does not differ materially from that given in the White Paper, except that it is now estimated that the naval forces have been increased by about 50 per cent.

Mr. Bennett

Since it is quite clear from that reply that East German rearmament began well before any question of the West German contribution to our common defence even arose, and secondly, that a formidable and growing military machine now exists in the Eastern Zone, would not the Minister agree that the continuing sanctimonious protests about the danger of German rearmament now being indulged in by the Communists and their fellow-traveller echoes here are nauseatingly phoney?

Lord John Hope

Yes, Sir. I think that is putting it mildly.

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