HC Deb 04 February 1958 vol 581 cc962-3
22. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether agreement has yet been reached either with the Federal German Government or by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation for meeting the support costs of the British forces in Germany.

Mr. Amory

No, Sir.

Mr. Fletcher

Is the Chancellor of the Exchequer aware that there is mounting public indignation at the refusal of the German Government to contribute to the maintenance of the British forces in Germany, particularly when the German taxpayer is being relieved of very considerable sums at the expense of the British taxpayer? Will the Government realise that, if this refusal of the Germans continues, we shall have no alternative but to withdraw a couple of divisions, or 25,000 troops, from Germany?

Mr. Amory

I do not underestimate the seriousness of the position, but I repeat that while this matter is under consideration by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, it would be wrong for me to add to what I have said.

Mr. H. Wilson

I want to ask the Chancellor two questions. First, is he aware that when German rearmament went through four years ago a number of us, including my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, warned the Government that this would be the position year by year? Secondly, will he undertake that when an agreement is finally reached—as I am sure the whole House hopes that it will be—on an equitable basis for the British taxpayer, the final outcome will be announced in the House in the first instance and not given to the Press, as last year, on the Sunday before the House meets?

Mr. Amory

I realise the desirability of, whenever possible, giving the House the earliest notice of any important events, and I will take note of what the right hon. Gentleman has said.