HC Deb 09 April 1957 vol 568 cc963-4
48. Mr. Healey

asked the Prime Minister whether, under agreements now existing or under negotiation, the United States Government may operate from United Kingdom territory intermediate range ballistic missiles other than those transferred to the British Government under the Bermuda agreement.

The Prime Minister

The only agreement reached is that, in principle, certain guided missiles will be made available by the United States for use by British Forces.

Mr. Healey

Can the Prime Minister assure the House that nothing was said about the American Government being allowed to base its own guided missiles in this country? Can he further assure the House that if no agreement was reached none will be reached unless the problems involved have been discussed in this House?

The Prime Minister

What we discussed, and what will be discussed further, I hope, in the defence debate, was the arrangements for the provision of missiles. As I said in the debate the other day, they are to be the property of Her Majesty's Government and to be manned by British troops, who will, of course, receive their prior training from American experts. I want to say that they would not be fired by any except British personnel, but the warhead would be in the control of the United States, and, to that extent, the United States Government would have a negative control.

Mr. Shinwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman's reply mean that these intercontinental ballistic missiles in the possession of the United States forces, if at any time in this country, would not be used unless with the full consent of Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

I tried to make that clear; and I went on to say that it is is absolutely untrue to say that the President and not the British Government will decide when the missiles will be launched and for what purpose.