HC Deb 09 April 1957 vol 568 cc940-2
6 and 7. Mr. Shin well

asked the Secretary of State for War (1) whether he is aware that 60 British soldiers were included in a guard of honour when General Speidel was installed as Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation land forces, and that the German national anthem, "Deutschland Uber Alles," was played during the proceedings; and whether this was done with his consent.

(2) why the British national anthem was not played during the installation of General Speidel in view of the presence of British troops.

Mr. John Hare

It is the custom at N.A.T.O. Headquarters to hold a ceremony whenever a new Commander takes over, and a small international body of troops is paraded for the occasion. Detachments of British, French and American troops took part. In accordance with the normal practice, only two National Anthems were played; that of the country of the new Commander and the Marseillaise, which is played because N.A.T.O. Headquarters is on French soil.

Mr. Shin well

Did the right hon. Gentleman give his consent to these proceedings? Was he consulted, or is all the control over our forces now with N.A.T.O. Command transferred to N.A.T.O.? Has the right hon. Gentleman nothing to do with them? Does he not regard this as a disgraceful and unpatriotic thing?

Mr. Hare

In answer to the first part of the question, I was not consulted, nor do I think it was necessary for my authority to be sought for British troops to take part in this small domestic ceremony at an international headquarters. In answer to the second part of the question, the right hon. Member has made his feelings known on this point and must not get angry if others disagree with him.

Mr. McAdden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that hon. Members on this side of the House are delighted to hear of this interest displayed in the playing of the National Anthem? May we take this as an indication of the fact that the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shin-well) would like to hear it played much more frequently and that probably we shall hear less of "The Red Flag"?

Mr. Hare

That may be an interesting thought, but I do not think it has much to do with this Question.

Mr. Shinwell

In view of the answer the right hon. Gentleman gave me, in which he referred to my temperament, I beg to give notice that, in view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Answer, I will take an early opportunity of putting a Motion on the Order Paper calling on the right hon. Gentleman to resign his office.

15. Mr. Lipton

asked the Secretary of State for War to what extent disciplinary control of British troops in Germany has been vested in General Speidel.

Mr. John Hare

No disciplinary control of British forces in Germany is vested in General Speidel.

Mr. Lipton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his answer will be received with much satisfaction by all those who would not like to see any German officer in a position to impose disciplinary penalties on any British troops?