§ 8. Mr. Beswick
asked the Secretary of State for Air what new decisions have been taken, since the publication of the Defence White Paper, with regard to the operation by the Royal Air Force of supersonic bombers.
§ Mr. Beswick
Are we to understand that the tender which has been prepared or which has already been sent out to the industry for a supersonic bomber has been prepared without the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman?
The Question on the Order Paper asks whether our policy about the supersonic bomber has altered since the White Paper was produced, and the answer is that it has not.
§ Mr. Beswick
May I press the right hon. Gentleman further? Is it proposed to invite the industry to prepare specifications for a supersonic bomber?
§ Mr. de Freitas
Surely this is an important point. Will not the Secretary of State recognise that in the White Paper the Government said that they were not going in for the supersonic bomber? Is it not true that there have been tenders invited for such a bomber?
§ Mr. Shinwell
In view of the statement recently made by the Minister of Defence about the inadequacy of bombers in the event of a nuclear war, is it not desirable that the Government should state frankly that they do not intend to produce any more supersonic bombers?
That statement was made in the Defence White Paper at the beginning of the year, and nothing has happened since then to alter it.