HC Deb 18 July 1960 vol 627 cc24-6
33. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will oppose at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation the provision of Polaris missiles to West Germany.

37. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct Her Majesty's Government's representative on the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Council to oppose any proposal which involves the supply of Polaris missiles to Western Germany.

38. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that the acceptance of the Polaris weapon by the West German Government depends upon the decision of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, if he will instruct the United Kingdom representative on that body to oppose the possession of that weapon by West Germany.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

This matter was dealt with fully by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his answers to Questions last Thursday. I have nothing to add.

Mr. Allaun

First, did not the Prime Minister, in refusing to answer by saying that these missiles might not replace the bombers for some time, dodge the fact that the decision to proceed might be taken immediately? Secondly, what guarantee is there that in an emergency the German commanders could not seize the nuclear warheads?

Mr. Lloyd

What my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said was that there was no proposal of this nature before N.A.T.O. at the present time. We have to see what proposal there is. I think it has to be judged both on its military and on its political merits, but I have no intention of saying ahead of that discussion what will be the position of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Healey

Is it not the case that, as the Prime Minister himself admitted in his answer to a Question last week—incidentally, it was almost the only clear statement that he made—in connection with this matter there has already been informal discussion with the N.A.T.O. Council? Is it not also the case that General Norstadt and M. Spaak discussed this with the British Government last week? Is not the Foreign Secretary aware that the evasiveness and refusal to answer clear questions on this matter is resented not only by the Opposition but by the vast majority of the British people?

Hon. Members


Mr. Lloyd

I doubt that very much. There have been neither formal nor informal discussions of this matter in the N.A.T.O. Council.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not clear from what Herr Strauss, the German Minister of Defence, said recently that he expected that this matter would come before N.A.T.O. very shortly? On the assumption that it does come before N.A.T.O. at some time in the near future, say within the next 12 months, what is to be the position of our representative there? Will there be any clear-cut policy, and will that policy represent not merely the views of Her Majesty's Government but the general views of the House of Commons?

Mr. Lloyd

What we will certainly do is to wait to see what the proposal is and then form our view on it.

Mr. Healey

Really, the Foreign Secretary must be a little more direct with the House than he has been. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Is it not the case that the Standing Group of N.A.T.O. and General Norstadt himself have expressed their clear views on this matter? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman represent to them that in the view of Her Majesty's Government it would advance neither the security nor the solidarity of the Western Alliance to put in Western Germany weapons which can have only an offensive purpose and which will wreck the whole basis of N.A.T.O's present shield strategy?

Mr. Lloyd

No, Sir. I think that with regard to this matter we have to see what proposals are actually put forward. I have as yet heard of no proposal to deploy this weapon on German soil.

Mr. Allaun

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Foreign Secretary's reply, I should like, in consultation with you, Mr. Speaker, to raise the matter next week on the Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill?

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