HC Deb 23 November 1960 vol 630 cc1100-1
2. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Lord Privy Seal what policy Her Majesty's Government are adopting inside the Western European Union regarding raising the limits on West German destroyers to 5,000 tons and her supply ships to 6,000 tons.

Mr. Heath

As these discussions are confidential, it would not be right for me to make public the views of Her Majesty's Government in advance of a decision by the Council of Western European Union.

Mr. Allaun

Surely, the Minister can tell the House whether he is for or against? Is not this increase intended to accommodate nuclear missiles and not only anti-aircraft missiles? Why are the Government step by step permitting, and indeed encouraging, the revival of German militarism? Where is it going to end?

Mr. Heath

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman is in a position to make those suggestions until he knows to what decision the W.E.U. Council has come.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Cannot the Lord Privy Seal tell us whether these so-called destroyers, which are as large as cruisers used to be, will be capable of launching missiles?

Mr. Heath

I cannot start to give the right hon. Gentleman answers to individual supplementary questions of that nature, because otherwise one is obviously breaching the confidence of the discussions in the W.E.U. Council.

Mr. Warbey

Is not this a matter of the highest public policy? Could not this House be informed what the Government's intentions are? Are they or are they not in favour of the relaxation of the Brussels Treaty to allow German rearmament to expand further and further without limit?

Mr. Heath

The Government will inform the House when a decision has been reached, and of the details of that decision. It is not the practice when confidential discussions of this kind are being carried on to give details beforehand. Otherwise, obviously, there would be no point in the confidential nature of the discussions.

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