HC Deb 10 February 1960 vol 617 cc434-5
4. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Minister of Defence what steps he has taken to ensure that the Chiefs of Staff tender collective advice to him on defence affairs.

Mr. Watkinson

Since I have been Minister of Defence I have received excellent collective advice from the Chiefs of Staff on all matters which require decision. I see no reason to alter the present arrangements which are working efficiently and well.

Mr. Donnelly

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the point of my Question is that there should be an automatic annual reapraisal by the Chiefs of Staff of our global military problems and that I am seeking to obtain from him an undertaking that there will be such a reappraisal?

Mr. Watkinson

I think Sir John Slessor has also said something about this. I do not necessarily disagree with the hon. Gentleman about it, except that I feel that things move so fast today that the Chiefs of Staff would hardly rest on an annual reapraisal but ought to be reappraising the position throughout the year. That is, in fact, what they are doing, against the very best information that they can obtain.