HC Deb 12 March 1958 vol 584 cc415-6
42. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Secretary of State for Air in what way liaison will be maintained between the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force in the supply, maintenance and operation of missiles.

Mr. C. I. Orr-Ewing

So far as supply and maintenance are concerned, we shall adapt existing links between various agencies both in the United States and in the United Kingdom. On the question of operating these missiles, I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence told the House on 24th February.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the Under-Secretary aware that when what he told us is read in the light of what an American officer in Washington said, it does not make sense, and that even after the publication of the missile agreement the Americans were under the impression that they had operational control? Will he not give us some idea about how we exercise operational control in co-operation with the American Air Force?

Mr. Orr-Ewing

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence made it clear that there would be joint operational control, and also made it clear that the statement made in the United States concerned the installation and not the operation of these weapons.

Mr. de Freitas

This is an important matter. The colonel in question referred specifically to operations. It is all very well for the Under-Secretary to say what he did, but cannot he give us some idea of how the arrangement will work?