HC Deb 16 November 1960 vol 630 cc357-8
6. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Minister of Defence what agreements have been reached with the West German Federal Government, either through N.A.T.O. or bilaterally, for the provision of tactical atomic and nuclear weapons.

Mr. Watkinson

I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal on 26th October, 1960.

Mr. Shinwell

Why should hon. Members be kept in the dark about the facilities provided for the West German Federal Government in respect of tactical atomic and nuclear weapons? Ought we not to know what the position is in West Germany? Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that West Germany is becoming the predominant military power in Europe outside Soviet Russia? Does that not constitute a menace to this country and to the world at large?

Mr. Watkinson

The House was not kept in the dark. My right hon. Friend said then, and it has been said a good many times before, that tactical nuclear weapons are only in Germany in fulfilment of N.A.T.O. requirements and obligations; those weapons come under strict N.A.T.O. control, as I made plain in the House when we had a debate a little while ago, and the warheads come under American custody.

Mr. Brockway

Whilst the right hon. Gentleman gave certain particulars in a Written Answer to a Question by me, may I ask him whether he is aware of the very great concern that many of us feel about any nuclear arming of Western Germany, even under the auspices of N.A.T.O.?

Mr. Watkinson

The hon. Gentleman has his own views on this, and so have a great number of other people. I merely have to state the facts. The facts are that Germany only acts in this matter under N.A.T.O. requirements, which she is required to fulfil. The safeguards are that these weapons remain under N.A.T.O. control, and, indeed, more closely than that, under the direct control of Saceur himself. The warheads remain under direct United States control.