HC Deb 04 November 1958 vol 594 cc772-3
50. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister, in view of the fact that the organisation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organsiation has become overstaffed and that a large amount of money and effort is being wasted in its operations, if he will set up an all-party committee of inquiry to consider how United Kingdom expenditure on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can be reduced.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. We shall continue, as in the past, to do everything possible to promote the efficiency of the Organisation.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Prime Minister aware that certain criticisms of N.A.T.O. alleging waste of public money have been made by Field Marshal Montgomery? If the right hon. Gentleman has not seen them, I will send them to him. Does not he think that these charges need to be thoroughly investigated? Will he assure us that he is not prejudiced against Field Marshal Montgomery, who seems to have been fomenting unofficial strikes?

The Prime Minister

No, but I do not think that an all-party committee of inquiry would be a very good method of dealing with this problem, which affects all the allied countries. However, if some ad hoc committee between the hon. Gentleman and the Field Marshal could be formed, I should be very happy.

Mr. Bellenger

I do not ask the Prime Minister to accept in their entirety all the criticisms of the late Deputy Supreme Commander. But may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether any representations at all have been made to the Government, either by the Field Marshal or by other prominent authorities, on the construction and operation of N.A.T.O.: because some of these statements have caused concern in the minds of many people who have nothing but the best interests of N.A.T.O. at heart?

The Prime Minister

I quite understand the concern expressed by the right hon. Gentleman. We are all anxious to try to make this Organisation as efficient as possible. Everyone who knows the history of alliances knows that there is difficulty and complexity in an alliance of 15 nations, such as never existed for such a purpose before, compared with the rather simpler problem of operating one or two Allied Forces. But we will do everything we can, and I hope that the December meeting will prove a constructive one in every respect.

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