HC Deb 28 February 1961 vol 635 cc1405-523

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [27th February]: That this House approves the Report on Defence, 1961, contained in Cmnd. Paper No. 1288.

Which Amendment was, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: has no confidence that the policy as set out in the White Paper, Cmnd. Paper No. 1288, will provide effectively for the defence of Britain.

Question again proposed, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.

4.41 p.m.

Mr. Christopher Mayhew (Woolwich, East)

I feel rather handicapped in beginning a speech by the advertising build-up given to it yesterday in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), and if, as, I am afraid, is inevitable, my performance falls belows the standard of the trailers which he gave in his speech, I can at least comfort myself with the thought that the White Paper has already been effectively torn to pieces in a succession of speeches from both sides of the House during the debate yesterday.

A feature of the debate so far has been the almost total lack of support for the Minister of Defence's White Paper. The feature on which most criticism has been concentrated is that the White Paper is based on estimates about manpower which there seems to be no hope of fulfilling. Many speakers went so far as to advocate reintroducing some form of selective conscription, and I wish to make clear that we on this side of the House, with, I think, one distinguished exception, are wholly opposed to the reintroduction of conscription in any shape or form. We believe that enough men can be found for the tasks that have to be done. Let me add that, in reaching this conclusion, we give no weight at all to the Minister's recruiting forecasts which he has given both on this and earlier occasions. Yesterday, he forecast that we should get the recruits …provided the nation gives this task reasonable support ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1961; Vol. 635, c. 1211.] In other words, if I may put it a little more clearly, we shall got the recruits provided that enough people sign on at the recruiting offices.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

I must make this plain. What I meant by that was provided that hon. Members on both sides of the House and responsible spokesmen of public opinion keep on saying, and supporting the principle, that we need an all-Regular Army.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

He was talking to his own side and not to us.

Mr. Mayhew

I think that the forecast that the Minister has given in more precise terms in figures bears out, as I shall show, my contention that we are right not to put much weight on them. He speaks of 166,000 strength in the Regular Army in April, 1962. We should note that in the White Paper, in 1960, the following forecasts were given by the Minister. He forecast 160,000 in April, 1960, and 166,000 in April, 1961. Now, in this White Paper, he forecasts 160,000 for April, 1961, and 166,000 for April, 1962. We have only to project this trend and on that basis we can feel sure that next year's White Paper will forecast 160,000 for April, 1962, and 166,000 for April, 1963. His forecast has been shown to be wrong in the White Paper. In fact, I should like to formulate a "Watkinson's Law on Recruiting", namely, that recruiting offices will always be jammed tomorrow but never jammed today.

We shall have time, in future debates on the Army Estimates, to go into the manpower statistics in a little more detail. I should like to ask the Secretary of State for War, whom I see in the Chamber, to look at the presentation of the statistics in the Army Memorandum a little more. It seems to me that these are extremely badly set out and I draw attention to the R.A.F. Memorandum. Possibly because recruiting is a little easier in the R.A.F., the statistics are very much better set out, and I ask him, when we come to the Army Estimates, to give more information about the outflow from the Army and the rate of wastage, and, in particular, on what he bases his forecast for the increase in recruiting this year. In Questions which he answered for me last week, he expects a 9 per cent. increase in recruiting this year. We should like far more information about what this is based on.

The Government may get 165,000—they may get 180,000. Speeches on both sides of the House have shown that if they get 180,000 it will still not be enough for all the tasks which the Army has set itself in the White Paper, for the independent deterrent, for the Rhine Army, for strategic reserves and nuclear submarines, and for forces around the world in nearly twenty different places outside Europe. It is perfectly obvious, I think, to hon. Members on both sides of the House that the Government are trying to do far too much with far too little. I want to consider some of the results of this and to make some suggestion for overcoming it.

The first disturbing result is, of course, the present state of the Rhine Army. The Minister made a cursory reference to this in his speech; it is not mentioned at all in the White Paper. But my information, which, I think, hon. Members on both sides of the House will bear out, is that this is an extremely grave situation. My information is that the Army as a whole is one-third under strength, with a great unbalance as between one unit and another.

The Minister spoke confidently about equipment, but mainly he spoke in the future tense. Again, my information is that the conventional equipment is still, in many respects, quite inadequate. There are not enough anti-tank weapons for the infantry and not enough armoured personnel carriers and support and supply units—in particular, the R.A.S.C. and R.E.M.E. are weak. We are, in fact, paying the penalty of the old conception that if we have plenty of tactical nuclear weapons, we need very little of anything else, and that large numbers of men and conventional weapons are an embarrassment and a target for the tactical nuclear weapons of the other side.

As was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East, there is general agreement that while the Russians have these tactical atomic weapons we must have them, too. But even those who value these weapons as a means of deterring the Russians from using them, or from launching an all-out conventional attack or from broadening a small conventional incident into a big one—even the strongest supporters of tactical nuclear weapons—agree that the existence of these weapons presents a special danger; that their use would bring us nearer to a total catastrophe and even the smallest of them ought to be regarded as weapons of the last resort.

This principle is being dangerously disregarded by N.A.T.O. in general and by the Rhine Army in particular. These tactical weapons are at present deployed at brigade group level. Indeed, they are physically incapable, I believe, of operating apart from brigade group. Fire support can be asked for them by the brigade group commander. The weapons are ready and trained to engage battalion targets, it may be a single river crossing against a battalion strength attack. The primary rôle of the gunners in the last war—as I remember, I was one of them—was to support the infantry and tanks. But it appears now that in the Rhine Army the principal job of the infantry and the armour is to support and protect our nuclear weapons. All operations are centred on them.

This is not only a case of shortage of conventional equipment and manpower. It is also due to organisation, training and a philosophy which makes no clear balance between nuclear and conventional fighting. To take the question of training; my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice) recently asked the Secretary of State for War how many major exercises involving the use of one or more brigade groups were held by the British Army of the Rhine during 1960; in how many of these nuclear weapons were assumed to be used and how many were based on the assumption that only conventional weapons were available.

The Secretary of State replied that there were four exercises of this size in 1960, and all of them assumed the use of both conventional and nuclear weapons; that is to say, that none of these exercises was based on the assumption that only conventional weapons were used.

This seems to me to present considerable dangers. There is a danger, a real danger, that troops not trained or psychologically ready to fight in a conventional rôle, if suddenly asked to fight without tactical atomic weapons, will be surprised and unprepared, and possibly discouraged. There is some evidence that this kind of handicap also applies to the Second Tactical Air Force.

The Americans and Russians are more aware of these dangers than we are. They have passed through the phase, which we are now in, of thinking that tactical atomic weapons would solve all their problems. Today, they are keeping their troops better organised and trained and equipped and deployed for exclusively conventional operations. The Soviet military manuals lay down quite separate organisation and procedure for conventional and for nuclear operations, and their nuclear capacity is commanded by a nuclear gunner who does not form part of the regular order of battle of the Soviet Army. It is true that the American nuclear chain of command does form part of their normal order of battle. But they are up to strength in conventional arms; they are mobile in their nuclear weapons and capable of operating in a conventional role.

There is a further obvious danger from this over-nuclearisation. It is that pressure is bound to develop to use these weapons too soon. I understand the formal arrangements are that the control as to whether these weapons are to be used is exercised by SACEUR through a separate and wholly American chain of command. The warheads are guarded by American troops under junior American officers who have no authority to deliver the warheads to missile units without instruction from SACEUR. We must ask whether these arrangements are sufficient to withstand the pressure to use tactical nuclear weapons without the authority of SACEUR which might build up in a conventional battle.

We have to try to judge the position when a decision has to be given on the basis of a military assessment at a low level by units which are in danger of being overrun, which are not properly mobile—because these units are not properly mobile—and which might be only fifteen miles behind the battle area. I do not know what is the answer to that, but I think that we should have some reassurance on this point from the Minister. It seems to me a very important point.

I should have thought that with a little ingenuity we could get a much better system of security without diminishing the credibility of this deterrent. After all, to give an example, it is possible to have the custody of a safe without being physically capable of opening it until one is given the code number. I cannot see why those who have the custody of these nuclear weapons, whether in submarines or in N.A.T.O., could not be made physically incapable of firing or delivering them until enabled to do so by High Command in a manner which is instantaneous. With modern electronic and code development I believe that some such system could be worked out. Perhaps this sounds unduly cautious, but a lot is at stake, and mistakes could happen in the kind of conditions which we envisage.

I say that this is not the right solution. Obviously the right solution is to create conditions in which we can remove these weapons much further back without doing injustice to the soldiers there; perhaps under corps command or perhaps to arm the mobile N.A.T.O. reserves. Those are the kind of lines along which I feel we ought to be thinking, because if we are to have political control over these weapons it seems clear to me that the whole present set-up must be radically changed.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East spelled out a third dangerous consequence of over-nuclearisation. He showed that the policy set out in the White Paper hampers rather than helps disarmament and disengagement. He showed how it encouraged rather than diminished the spreading of nuclear weapons and how reliance on tactical nuclear weapons makes a positive reply to ideas such as the Rapacki Plan very much more difficult. Surely it would be a disaster if any plan of nuclear strategy gave N.A.T.O. a vested interest in the retaining of nuclear weapons and not in their abolition, and if it undermined the will of N.A.T.O. countries for nuclear disarmament.

In the possible circumstances disarmament will always involve risks from the defence and Services point of view. Certainly, nuclear disarmament will always involve risks. Inspection and control will never be 100 per cent. secure. Those who followed in detail the tortuous negotiations for a nuclear tests convention—how could we prevent the Russians from constructing great caves underground; how they might be able to conceal waste from air observation—all those who have gone into the details of preventing by 100 per cent. the certainty of evasion, must have been convinced that 100 per cent. certainty will never be possible.

Thus, if we are to have a nuclear tests convention, courage will be needed, because evasion, however unlikely, will always be physically practicable and Ministers will have to weigh the risk that the Russians may cheat against the risk that a continued arms race might end in disaster. I would hope that we could have a defence policy which would help them to take the risk without at the same time, by removing nuclear weapons from the field, leaving Britain and N.A.T.O. totally defenceless. That is to say, our defence policy should help Ministers to take a constructive attitude at these disarmament talks rather than have them looking over their shoulders each time at the appalling thought that the whole of N.A.T.O. and the whole of the Rhine Army are left defenceless.

It follows from all that I have said that when the Minister of Defence said that we now have the right balance in our defence policy between nuclear and conventional weapons, he was wrong. Surely it is plain that we are disproportionately nuclear at present. We are best equipped to meet all-out nuclear attack, which is the least likely eventuality, and worst equipped to meet the likeliest eventuality, the kind of thing that our troops have met with in places like Malaya, Trieste, Jordan and Kenya.

One hears people say that the only purpose of forces in Europe must be the power of deterrence to all-out attack. I feel that this is a dangerous doctrine. It is true that it is not easy to foresee the smaller kind of incidents in Europe which would require limited conventional reaction, but it is precisely the unexpected incident that is the most dangerous and, paradoxically, the most likely to occur. N.A.T.O. should be equipped to operate in a conventional rôle both of a limited and less limited kind. We have, therefore, to increase the conventional balance in N.A.T.O., and especially in the Rhine Army.

We can surely take courage from the fact that technical developments and the much greater fire-power of small units have made defence in conventional war far more economical and effective than ever before. If we are to have this new balance in our defence, however, we must ask ourselves where the men are to come from. Many references have been made in the debate to our overseas commitments and the White Paper and the Memorandum on the Army Estimates contain some striking maps on the deployment of our forces round the globe.

These maps show that we still have what hon. Members opposite have always set their hearts on—an Army, a Navy and an Air Force on which the sun never sets. The maps show justly famous places like Aden, Gibraltar, Malta, Singapore and Hong Kong, known to generations of fine Service men. Here we see our soldiers, sailors and airmen dotted round the globe, keeping these old imperial stations like their fathers and grandfathers before them.

These are independent forces. They are not committed to our allies in any way—not to C.E.N.T.O. or to S.E.A.T.O. They are ours to command. They are free to go it alone, free to protect British interests or the interests of our friends, or to advance those interests as we did so successfully in the old days before colonialism came under fire, before the Communists began to exploit Asian and African nationalism against us, when the United States was still in splendid isolation, before the United Nations had been founded, and before things like seaborne bases or airborne forces had been dreamt of. These maps may be heartwarming, but they simply do not belong to the 1960s. These dispositions of our troops do not belong to the realities of the world situation as we have it now.

These dispositions exaggerate dangerously the extent of our military power in these places. They exaggerate the true value and power of our military forces in the kind of conditions that now exist in these places. Even the smallest supply point takes up some soldiers and each one of these bases, however small, is a potential provocation in the world as it is today.

This is a defence policy which can only hinder and not help a realistic approach in foreign and colonial affairs. Just as our excessive reliance on nuclear weapons hampers a bold policy on disengagement, so these far-flung military bases undermine our efforts to win the trust of nationalism in Asia and Africa. It sets us against many who should be our friends. It answers the prayers of much Communist propaganda.

We are not suggesting that we should scrap our treaty obligations or let down friends to whom we have strong moral and legal obligations, but we suggest that gradually, in a planned and phased manner, these commitments should be wound up. The White Paper contains no suggestion that these dispositions are not there for ever, yet it is plain that these must change over the years ahead. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East dealt with the growing military weakness of these dispositions and said that there would probably be a barrier to the flight of military aircraft making it impossible to maintain communications east of Aden. It is perfectly plain that great changes should be undertaken here.

Brigadier Sir Otho Prior-Palmer (Worthing)

Can the hon. Gentleman say which garrisons he would withdraw immediately after the Labour Party is in power?

Mr. Mayhew

Statements of this kind have been made from the Opposition Front Bench, but this is one of those things where the Opposition are in a really difficult position. Not a single figure and not a single unit is mentioned in any of these Government Papers. Why are we not given more information in the Memorandum on Army Estimates about how many troops there are in each place? I understand that there are about 75,000 troops overseas outside Europe, but whether one takes away from the 10,000 I believe there are in Hong Kong I cannot say. I shall not make a specific statement. It is not for us; it is for the Government to make decisions of this kind.

Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Will the hon. Gentleman elucidate this point? Is he now saying that the long-term Labour policy will be our abdication from all the places that he has mentioned?

Mr. Mayhew

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East made this perfectly plain yesterday. He said that he thought that by 1970 there would be no bases outside the white parts of the Commonwealth. I will certainly not go beyond that now, but to suggest that this is a permanent feature in the present age, and that this is a permanent attitute towards our overseas commitments, seems to me to be over-extending our power and to be out of touch with the realities of the present situation.

It may be argued that an Army of 165,000 or even 180,000 is not enough. I know that in the debate so far no one has suggested that 400,000 men as a global figure of manpower is too low. There have been no complaints that the Royal Air Force or the Navy is undermanned. We should look more closely at the balance between the manpower situations in the Army, the Air Force and the Navy. It is notorious that Army manpower is more scarce and more difficult to recruit than is Navy or Air Force manpower.

Mr. K. Zilliacus (Manchester, Gorton)

That is quite understandable.

Mr. Mayhew

I understand that the ceiling for recruiting marines has not been raised and that there is a big waiting list. I am told that one of the assumptions on which the Secretary of State for War bases his 9 per cent. increase in Army recruiting this year is that he will recruit men who otherwise would prefer to go into the Navy or the Air Force and who are expected to join the Army instead. But I am sure that the Minister of Defence will agree that manpower is a much less difficult problem in the Navy and the Air Force than it is in the Army.

Our policy, in general, should be to increase the maximum strength of all three Services, and perhaps to look again at the line of demarcation between them in such things as amphibious operations and airborne troops. The Minister has often said that he wishes to build up a truly mobile strategic reserve. He tells us in the White Paper that he is building up amphibious units with a new kind of landing ship. It is said to be new, but it bears sinister resemblances to a thing that I heard about during the war—landing ship dock. How new this is, and how much is advertising, I am not clear. The best description would probably be that it is a landing ship dock with additives.

However, the right hon. Gentleman says that he wishes to develop amphibious forces. Where are the fighting men to come from for those forces? Could the Navy and the Royal Marines play a larger share than previously envisaged? Could the Air Force perhaps contribute airborne or air transportable troops in order to shift the line of demarcation that exists between the Army, the Navy and the Air Force? Are there solid arguments against this course? Or is it simply that we do not have sufficient inter-Service co-operation, that there are inter-Departmental empiries? We have not had sufficiently strong guidance from the Ministry in this matter.

Other things should be tried, or at least the Minister could give his view about them. Why not recruit more men for the British Army from the Commonwealth—from colonial or ex-colonial countries? This was done with success in the war, so why not look at it again? If we take a realistic view of our commitments overseas, and have a more adventurous manpower policy, then the total of 400,000 men should be enough. Certainly, we should try this kind of thing before we start talking about reintroducing conscription or anything of that kind.

With proper organisation, and with proper deployment, we have the men. As I think the White Paper shows clearly enough, we have the money, too. What we have not had over these last ten years has been firm direction from the top from the Minister of Defence, who could make the best use of the resources that we have. It is because of the dangerous dispersal and waste of our resources, the lack of clear decisions, and the dangerous dependence on nuclear weapons that we shall express no confidence in the Government's defence policy.

5.13 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Julian Amery)

The two Wykehamist drafts which followed the White Paper and preceded this debate were at one in discouraging, though with varying emphasis, reliance on tactical nuclear weapons in the European theatre of war. I am not quite sure whether the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) leans more to his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition or to his hon. Friend, the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) when he says that he is against conscription and in favour of increasing the conventional element in the Rhine Army.

The hon. Member suggested that there were two ways of curing the present weakness of the Rhine Army, as he described it. One would have been by reorganisation in training. Frankly, I do not think that there is anything in that point. He suggested the possibility of the transfer of sailors or airmen to the Army. But most of those in the modern Services are in different specialist trades. There would not be very much room for transfer.

How, then, is the Rhine Army to be strengthened in the way that the hon. Member wishes? Here, he seemed to lean towards the suggestion of the hon. Member for Coventry, East, made to the Press before our debate, which is to cut commitments overseas. I suppose that we could rat on our commitments to the Central Treaty Organisation and to S.E.A.T.O., though he disclaimed any wish to do so. The great bulk of our forces overseas are in support of those alliances.

We could, I suppose, abandon some of the garrison's if we were so inclined. The hon. Member 'for Woolwich, East mentioned Gibraltar. I do not know what he thinks would happen to Gibraltar if we carried out what he described as a withdrawal, undertaken gradually in a planned and phased manner. I do not think that that would commend itself to the party opposite, either in the case of Gibraltar or in the case of Hong Kong.

Even if we did these things, the effect on the shield force in Germany would still be very slight when one considers the balance of power on the other side of the front. Thicken the shield as much as the United Kingdom can do, and a breakthrough is still possible. What would he do? Summon the "twelve wise men" to consider whether the time had come to allow the use of tactical nuclear weapons?

The timing and scale at which our tactical nuclear weapons should be used is a very difficult problem. My right hon. Friend will have a good deal to say about that when he replies to the debate tonight. I merely want to say that we believe that it is essential that N.A.T.O. forces should be seen to have mobile conventional forces and nuclear weapons from the smallest yields to the highest, and that we should have the capability of using, them in tactical interdiction or in a strategical rôole.

No one believes that we want to use these weapons in the kind of tactical circumstances described by the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) yesterday. It is difficult to say when such weapons should be used. It would not be wise to say so even if it were not difficult. Nuclear forces are the queen on the chessboard, and we are dealing with the greatest masters of chess. Nothing could please them more than certain knowledge that their opponents would never we the queen to take their smaller pieces.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

When the right hon. Gentleman says that N.A.T.O. should be equipped with nuclear forces from the smallest yield to the highest, does he mean that there is to be a N.A.T.O. strategic nuclear deterrent?

Mr. Amery

I am glad the hon. Gentleman has raised that point. I was talking of the Western Alliance in its broadest sense, not of the forces under SACEUR. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence will be dealing in detail tonight with that point. I am not competent to speak on the question of control and development and organisation of these weapons.

I want to direct my remarks to two matters in which I have some responsibility—that of mobility in the Armed Forces through Transport Command, and that of the British strategic striking force, or deterrent. The right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) and the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) expressed a good deal of criticism yesterday of our transport forces and, hence, of our ability to move the Army to the points of danger. In the light of the conclusions of the last Congress of the Communist Parties in Moscow, this criticism is of considerable importance.

I am very conscious of this problem. I went to the War Office just after the Suez operation. I was, and remain, very conscious of the shortage of our transport forces at that time. I would be the last person to think that there is any room for complacency in the present situation, but there has been a truly dramatic improvement in the strength of our transport forces since 1956.

At the time of the Suez operation, the carrying capacity of the Air Force was about 55 million passenger miles a month. Today, it is just short of 150 million passenger miles a month. In an emergency this rate could be doubled. That means that there is a threefold increase in capacity. We have doubled our capacity in a great many other respects as well. The Air Estimates Memorandum lists the three main types of transport which we possess to deploy our forces. I will try, when we come to debate the Air Estimates, to go into this in more detail.

This afternoon, I should only like to say that since 1957 the strategic transport has been increased by 23 Britannias which has more than doubled the strategic lift; that is, transport from the United Kingdom, or Kenya, to whatever theatre may be in difficulties. For transport within the theatre, we have doubled the Beverley force, and great increased the numbers of Hastings in the tactical rôle. This is the second form of transport—from the main base towards whatever base of operations may be used in the future. In tactical transport, we have brought in about 30 twin Pioneers, and the helicopters are beginning to arrive in reasonable numbers. This is in the sphere where transport is taken from the battle headquarters to the troops actually in the forward areas.

In his maiden speech yesterday, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) referred to the importance of preserving the capabilities and the skills which we had acquired in Cyprus, Malaya, and elsewhere. I should like, as other hon. Members have done, to pay a warm tribute to my hon. Friend on his speech, and to say that we hope to hear from him again soon. I am glad to see that the ex-guerilla force of the House of Commons is reinforced still further.

I should like to say to my hon. Friend that we have made very substantial progress in the last three years in the centralising of the skills we have learned and in continuing training in them. No. 38 Group of Transport Command specialises in the kind of helicopter and parachute operation which has been undertaken with great success by the French Army and others in a guerilla and insurrection situation, and I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House will pay us the compliment of going to see No. 38 Group at work.

I come now to the question of the British strategic striking force.

Mr. Frederick Mulley (Sheffield, Park)

I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman has done justice to the criticisms that were made of Transport Command. We are not complaining that there has not been that increase, but there is really no point in giving percentage increases or figures of passenger miles when, as I understand, and as I tried to put it myself yesterday, the chief complaint at present is that, while we may be able to move the men, there are no logistic or supporting arms. What would be the time taken to move a whole brigade group from here, say, to Rhodesia, with sufficient logistic support?

Mr. Amery

The hon. Gentleman is really misinformed in saying that we have not gat the capacity to do these things. We have the capability to lift everything, except tanks, and to make the lift in a very reasonable time. The hon. Gentleman will not expect me to reveal any of the detailed staff plans of what can be moved, where and in what time. There will be time in the debate on the Estimates later to go into more detail. Compared with 1957, this is a dramatic improvement in the situation, and one for which I should has thought the party opposite, which joined many of my hon. Friends in pressing for these increases, should take some credit.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

What was concerning us was the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) yesterday, that a brigade group movement is accompanied by 179 tons of stores, and that is all. It is a farce. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman say what we are capable of moving in regard to the stores of a brigade group? There is no point in having that sort of exercise.

Mr. Amery

The hon. and learned Gentleman must not consider that every exercise we undertake is a maximum indication of what we are capable of doing. This was a particular exercise which showed the kind of substantial lift for a light brigade flying to an emergency situation, which we are easily capable of doing without any immediate dislocation of major training plans and everything else.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

The right hon. Gentleman is dealing with a very important point—the question of mobility and the number of men and hardware available, but the only theatre in which we have got anything like a resemblance to a brigade group is Germany. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] It is no good pretending otherwise. Anybody who says anything to the contrary is deceiving the House. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] All right, we shall discuss that later, but is there any other theatre in which we have got anything resembling a brigade group?

Mr. Amery

I am sorry to correct the right hon. Gentleman, whose contributions to our debates are very valuable and whose authority on these matters is very great, but we do have a full brigade group in Kenya at present.

Allow me now to turn to the question of the British strategic striking force or the British deterrent, on which a good deal of yesterday's debate centred. It is not an academic question. It is not a question whether we should or should not produce a British deterrent. It is a practical, concrete question. Thanks to the efforts of successive Administrations, under the present Earl Attlee, my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), Sir Anthony Eden and the present Prime Minister, we now possess a British strategic striking force in being. This force consists of British medium bombers, equipped with British weapons and under British control, and the question is whether we are to keep it and develop it over the decade ahead of us, or whether we should scrap it.

I must say that, taking the pragmatic approach, which, on the whole, has paid this country very well through the years, when we approach a question of this kind, the onus is on those who want to scrap to prove their case. On what grounds has this case been advanced? It has been advanced outside the House, though not so far in this debate, on moral grounds. I understand and respect, as I think we all do, the strictly pacifist view that all use of force is wrong but there is a rather more ignoble variant of it abroad at present. It is that, since nuclear weapons are so devastating, it is better to accept slavery than death.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

Better accept survival than death.

Mr. Amery

This is not the spirit in which we faced our destiny at the time of Dunkirk.

Mr. Hughes

We want survival, not safety.

Mr. Amery

This is not, as I understand it, the case either of the Leader of the Opposition or that of the Chairman of the National Executive of the Labour Party. Indeed, the Leader of the Opposition is on record as saying "there are some people who want us to give up the nuclear weapon, still remain in N.A.T.O., and shelter behind the United States deterrent. There is no morality in that".

Mr. Emrys Hughes

The Leader of the Opposition and the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) are not the only people in the Labour Party. The Labour Party at Scarborough took up a very definite point of view and was against the bomb.

Mr. Amery

I understand that there are some who would prefer slavery to death—

Mr. Hughes


Mr. Amery

—and if the hon. Member cares to repesent them, that is his affair.

Mr. Hughes


Mr. Amery

The argument was also put forward on political grounds, which were repeated by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East in opening the debate today. It was advanced at some length by the hon. Member for Leeds, East, who said that the possession of a British nuclear force was an obstacle to nuclear disarmament. In the rather more in- volved form in which he presented it, this was a variant of the "non-nuclear club" argument, and the electorate saw through that one.

It is a very great mistake for hon. Members opposite to exaggerate the importance of our moral influence in matters of this kind. We learned that lesson painfully enough in the 1930s. If a particular course seems militarily sound to other nations it is a delusion to believe that they will be stopped from pursuing it simply because we adopt a self-denying ordinance. I believe that the Leader of the Opposition had a conversation with General de Gaulle not very long ago. If he came away thinking that any change in our nuclear policy would influence the General's policy, I think that he was wasting the General's time as well as his own.

Is it, then, on economic grounds that we are to abandon, to scrap, this force which has been painfully and skilfully built up? The official draft defence policy of the Opposition says that it is not now a sensible use of our limited resources. It is repeatedly argued that the possession of a strategic striking force is beyond our strength. What are the facts? The cost of the strategic striking force is about £160 million a year, or 10 per cent. of the overall cost of our defence budget. This covers capital and running costs of the V-force and weapons, the running costs of the Thor, and the pay and allowances of the officers and men who maintain both.

If we want to go further still, we could add to this figure about 3 per cent. of the total defence budget in respect of that part of our air defence and control and reporting system which relates directly to the defence of the strategic striking force, so there would be a total expenditure of about £200 million out of £1,650 million a year. Nor, on any calculation, could we save it all. If we were to reduce or scrap the nuclear strategic power I imagine that we would have to replace it by building up some conventional air power, or thickening the shield in Europe, as was suggested by hon. Members opposite, so there would be no economic saving.

We have been told that the cost of these weapons will rise. Quite frankly, it is the other way round. The capital expenditure on the strategic striking force, on the V-force, has already largely been met. Even allowing for the planned programme of re-equipment with Blue Steel and with Skybolt, the proportion of the defence budget required will tend to run down over the rest of the decade.

Here, perhaps, I can help my hon. Friend the Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw). He asked, looking ahead beyond the V-force programme, whether it would still be possible for Britain to have an independent capability in the 1970s. I cannot say what the position will be and whether we shall have it. Two or three Parliaments may go before that. What I can say is that the run-down of expenditure on the V-force now that the capital expenditure is largely met will allow an adequate margin of expenditure for further development of weapon systems within, the general level of expenditure hitherto allowed for this part of our defences.

Mr. Healey

Surely the calculations which the right hon. Gentleman has given the House so far assume that the Government's present bets will prove justified, namely, that such systems as Blue Steel and Skybolt, to which the Government at present are pinning their hopes, turn out to be effective components of the existing V-bomber force? We heard a similar argument about Blue Streak, but it had to be cancelled at a cost of £100 million. Why does the right hon. Gentleman feel that this country, unlike all other countries in the world, can rely on guesses of what delivery system is likely to be effective coming off?

Mr. Amery

The hon. Member made a very long speech yesterday and I did not seek to interrupt him.

Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer that speech?

Mr. Amery

Naturally, I shall deal with it presently. I am coming to the technical questions.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

The right hon. Gentleman has not yet answered the economic questions.

Mr. Healey

Will the Minister answer my point?

Mr. Amery

I am coming to that point if the hon. Member will allow me to make my speech in my own way.

One cannot guarantee that the technical objections raised by the hon. Member and by others are, in fact, valid. The hon. Member far Dudley said that subject to certain advised qualifications—he understands the subject—our bombers would not get through. The hon. Member for Leeds, East said that we would never get them off the ground. The hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley), who wound up for the Opposition last night, said that Thor would be too slow. I am glad to have a chance of answering these criticisms.

Mr. Mulley

I made no reference to speed, but said that it was merely a first strike weapon.

Mr. Amery

I was trying to make sense of the hon. Member's remarks. I thought the sense was that it would be too slow if there were an attack against this country. I do not see What other point the hon. Member was trying to make. At any rate, that is a criticism Whit+ has often been made. If not made by him, it has been voiced by others and I should like to answer it.

I ask hon. Members to put this matter into perspective. With modern science, almost any new weapon or counter-weapon seems to be possible given the effort in terms of skill, money and time. Every day we read in the Press reports of new weapon systems. The great difficulty is to assess exactly when they will come into service in any quantity. I can give the House only the best assessment we have. It is this.

Today, as we are sitting here, the main weight of American, Soviet or British strategic nuclear systems consists of manned bombers equipped with free-falling bombs. As the decade advances, the emphasis will shift increasingly to missile systems. Some of those will be land-based, some will be seaborne, like Polaris, and some will be airborne like Skybolt.

The same is true where air defence is concerned. Today, as we sit here, area defence still consists, in the main, of fighter aircraft. Where the Close defence of vital areas is concerned, the weight is moving increasingly to surface-to-air guided weapons. Efficiency is in all these cases dependent on the control and reporting systems. Against that background, in our view we have today the best medium bombers in the world. They are equipped with fully effective weapons. They are manned by highly trained crews. They would get through to the target if they had to go.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

We would never get them back.

Mr. Amery

As air defence improves, the need to deliver weapons at a distance from the target will grow. That is where the Blue Steel weapon comes in. One hon. Member yesterday said that Blue Steel would be vulnerable to enemy counter-measures. Of course, in time it will be, but not in the time scale that we are talking about. It will be followed by the Skybolt ballistic weapon. That can be fired like the Polaris without penetrating—

Mr. Healey

That does not exist yet. Why does the right hon. Gentleman say it "can be fired"?

Mr. Amery

This is the concept behind it, that it can be fired without penetrating the enemy defences at all like the Polaris.

Mr. Hughes

We have not got it and will not have it.

Mr. Amery

It is under development at the moment.

Mr. Healey

It is under-developed, not under development.

Mr. Amery

I do not think that that is much of a point.

Mr. Healey

I think that it is.

Mr. Amery

The hon. Member for Leeds, East yesterday cast a great deal of doubt on the future of Skybolt, but I can tell him that the development of Skybolt is making steady progress. We receive progress reports regularly and they are perfectly satisfactory. We are fully confident that it will go forward. The hon. Member went further and said yesterday—I quote his words: if the Americans ever produce Skybolt they will not give it to us except under such stringent control terms as to make the idea of in independent British contribution to the Western deterrent complete nonsense."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1961; Vol. 635, c. 1226.] Not surprisingly, his remarks attracted some attention in the Guardian this morning. Let us get the position quite clear. The weapons will be sold to us outright. They will be fitted with British nuclear warheads which will be under our exclusive control. The suggestion that the United States would repudiate agreements it has made with us on this matter will be treated with the contempt it deserves in London and in Washington.

Mr. Healey


Mr. Amery

I cannot give way.

Mr. Healey

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that there is a formal, written, signed agreement between our two countries on this issue?

Mr. Amery

If the hon. Member—

Mr. Healey

Can the right hon. Gentleman answer the question?

Mr. Amery

The hon. Gentleman is in the House of Commons, not at school.

Mr. George Brown (Belper)

The right hon. Gentleman wants to deal with this matter fairly, and so do we. He has now said that there is an agreement between Washington and London covering the sale to us of Skybolt. I am asking him whether he wants to persist in that, or is it not the fact that there is an agreement covering only the terms of our participation in the development of Skyholt?

Mr. Amery

I stand by the words that I have used. It is covered right through and my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence will elaborate the situation when he replies to the debate tonight. The agreements were signed by my right hon. Friend.

Mr. Brown


Mr. Amery

I therefore hope that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Leeds, East, not in courtesy because it is not a question of courtesy, but in patriotism and in the interests of our relationship with the United States, will withdraw the comments that he made yesterday.

There remains the question of the vulnerability of the bomber force on the ground. The hon. Member said that the bomber force would never take off. At present, against the background of what I said earlier, the threat is mainly from manned bombers, and in that time scale there is plenty of time to take off and to brine the Thor missiles to a state of readiness. As the missile danger grows, the warning time will fall fairly sharply and we are already taking steps to counter that danger. Those steps are mainly the extensive dispersal of the bombers at what we judge to be the right moment, and the cutting down of scramble time, reaction time.

This was demonstrated at Farnborough. I have myself seen V-bombers scrambled in 1 minute 20 seconds, which gives more than enough time to get them off the ground and away from the area of blast. The V-force will be kept on the basis of the plans announced for avoiding destruction on the ground and reaching its target, and it will be an effective nuclear strategic striking force, under our control, for ten years ahead.

I am not impressed by the arguments against the British deterrent. The hon. Member for Leeds, East yesterday asked what it was for. He got the answer from my hon. Friend the Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall), who used these words, which I repeat because they should be well bored into the consciousness and memory of the House: The real case for our having our own independent nuclear weapons is fear of excessive dependence upon the United States."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1961; Vol. 635, c. 1318.] My hon. Friend was of course quoting the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition and he might have continued with that quotation, for the right hon. Gentleman went on to say: My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) suggested…that we no longer took the view that the possession of nuclear weapons was of any value in (Ls-cussing matters with the Americans. I am afraid that I still do think it of some value. Suppose, for instance, that we got into an argument with the United States about Far Eastern policies…we honestly say that we should feel entirely the same in any such discussion according to whether or not we had nuclear weapons of our own? I must say that I think it makes a difference— The right hon. Gentleman went on to say that it was a contribution against nuclear blackmail. He said: …if we got into the situation…in which we had had a little difficulty with the Americans, and the Russians were threatening us over some issue about which we felt strongly, I cannot help feeling that if the Russians knew that we had the power to inflict fairly serious damage on them it would be a factor that they would take into account."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1960; Vol. 618. c. 1137–8.]

Mr. Healey


Mr. Amery

I will give presently.

Those are not my arguments. They are the arguments of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. I do not know why he has departed from them under the influence of the draft prepared by the hon. Member for Coventry, East, but the House can judge their validity. I want to add one or two arguments of our own.

I can say without hesitation that the possession of the deterrent has been a strength to the Government in international negotiations, particularly over disarmament and other nuclear matters. It has also strengthened our interdependence with the United States. If we cooperate closely in these life and death matters with another Government, naturally, the co-operation tends to extend to other spheres as well.

Mr. Emrys Hughes


Mr. Amery

I also believe that the possession of the British deterrent has greatly increased the credibility of the Western deterrent as a whole. The hon. Member for Coventry, East is very keen to get the United States bases out of England. The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition is not quite so keen, but he expects that they may go one day. If that should happen, and I do not say that it will, I would be confident that the United States would honour its obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty to defend all members of the alliance, as it has said it would hitherto. But what matters is not what I think, nor what the hon. Member for Leeds, East thinks, nor what the Leader of the Opposition thinks. What matters is what the Russians think.

It is not impossible that, if United States bases were withdrawn—and I hope that they will not be—in those circumstances American nuclear power would not be there to protect the United Kingdom or Western Europe. The existence of a United Kingdom deterrent would sustain the credibility of the deterrent and the security of these islands.

Mr. Healey

This is an interesting argument. Does the right hon. Gentleman feel that it applies with equal force to Western Germany?

Mr. Amery

That is an interesting question and I seek to reply to it only by saying that I believe the existence of a British deterrent strengthens the credibility of the deterrent. We are all in this together and I do not believe that any member of the alliance will go back on its commitments; but if the Russians shave two deterrents to confront rather than one, they will hesitate rather longer.

Mr. Healey

Or three or four, or five or six.

Mr. Amery

The hon. Gentleman can draw his own conclusion.

Yesterday, the hon. Member tried to make a distinction between the phrases, "Independent contribution to the Western deterrent", and "effective British deterrent". We cannot have one without the other. Let nobody believe that our contribution is negligible. In the first place, there is nothing very negligible about nuclear weapons at any time. The power of the explosives carried by a single V-bomber exceeds the whole of the explosive power dropped by the combined British and American bomber commands on Western Europe in the whole of the last war. Various figures have been given in the debate about the strength of Bomber Command and I shall not attempt to confirm or refute them. What I can say is that a substantial proportion of the total strategic nuclear power of the West deployed on this side of the Atlantic is in the R.A.F. I repeat the words of the Commander of the Strategic Air Command in the United States, General Power, when he said: The British V-bomber force, with its high performance jet aircraft and thermo-nuclear weapons, is an essential element of the Western deterrent and it has an important place in our joint operational plans, which are now fully co-ordinated. That was said two years ago and it is much truer today than it was then.

A nuclear weapon system takes ten years or so to develop. It cannot be switched on and off according to the changes of the temperature or strength of the wind blowing up the backs of Socialist leaders al seaside resorts in the autumn. In war and in politics it is the unexpected that usually happens. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] This is a lesson for hon. Members opposite to have in mind. If we want to get any flexibility to adjust ourselves to whatever surprises the future may hold, we want to maintain the strength which has been built up over a decade, not scrap it and find our hands empty when the crisis comes. The British nuclear force is an important contribution to the defence of the West and a powerful safeguard for our national security.

I must say that I thought it rather pathetic that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition should have retreated from the position that he adopted last year. It is rather sad that the only point on which the warring factions opposite could agree was on the scrapping of the British deterrent. I wonder why. I think that the explanation is psychological. The great bulk of Labour Party supporters in the constituencies, just like the great bulk of our supporters, are proud of the achievement of the British nuclear force and glad of the security which it brings. But there has always been an element in the party opposite, an intellectual element, on the whole, anxious to work off its guilt complex by decrying themselves and their country.

The hon. Member for Sheffield, Park chided us last night for thinking that we were still a world Power. He said that we were not and he added: I appreciate that the evaluation of this hard fact may be difficult for some hon. Members opposite."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1961; Vol. 635, c. 1311.] The hon. Member said that it was difficult for us to face the fact that we were no longer a Power of the first order. I am rather glad that it is difficult for us. We all have to be realistic and face the facts, but what we resent, and what the electorate resents, is the indecent eagerness with which members of the party opposite revel in any evidence of the decline of British Power.

Mr. Mulley


Mr. Amery

I am well aware of the difficulties of hon. Members opposite and their desire for unity, but I am sad to see unity bought by this slow surrender of the more honourable elements to their weaker brethren. I am sorry to see the effect abroad. I sympathise with the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in his difficulties but If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle? "Fight, fight and fight again" sounded very good, but "Draft, draft and draft again" is a rather poor note on which to make an exit.

We claim that, pending the achievement of disarmament, our policy is suited to our needs and to our means. We have taken steps to make it clear that there is an effective striking force and a strong and growing transport force. But, in the last resort, the strength of our defences does not depend on the material. It depends on the morale of our people and the confidence of our allies. We welcome criticism from the Opposition, and from right hon. and hon. Members on this side of the House, but in making that criticism let two things be done—let us always seek to strengthen the resolve of our people and let us scorn to exploit their fears.

5.53 p.m.

Mr. R. H. S. Crossman (Coventry, East)

I hope the right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for saying that he chose the wrong place to make that kind of speech. The speech yesterday of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) put to the Government seriously and considerately our case on the subject of the strategic deterrent. It was a case with which I agree. One thing the Minister did not notice was that the serious comment against the futile striving to maintain the British deterrent is made not only from these but from Conservative benches, too, and for him to accuse us of being "rats" and of having "guilt complexes" is to insult his right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) and other hon. Members opposite who used the argument far several years. It is an insult to the House to suggest that this vital discussion on the future of our defence policy can be solved by gibes of that kind.

I will remind the right hon. Gentleman of the main arguments which he sedulously avoided answering in a speech very much longer than mine will be. The main question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East yesterday was what exactly the deterrent was for. Was it designed so that Britain could fight a nuclear war alone? This is a question which the Minister has evaded. Or was it meant only as an addition to the American deterrent? If it is an addition, how can anyone pretend that by adding 120 V-bombers and a few H-bombs to the vast force of bombers over there we make as useful an addition as we could by concentrating on things that we can do better than the Americans? To that question absolutely no answer has been given by the Minister, although he has spent half an hour on the case.

I will not quote my own side but one of the "low rats" with a "guilt complex" on the other side. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Hall Green put the case very reasonably when he firmly told the Minister that he doubted whether in a few years the British deterrent would exist. We are therefore not alone in asking the Minister to justify his claims about the deterrent. Serious doubts are put to him from other quarters as to whether we can sustain a deterrent of our own over the next decade.

The Minister must not believe that the House will continue to accept his flatulent assertions. We have had four years of this defence policy, and each year Ministers have assured us that this and that will be so. The Secretary of State for Air told us that we can rest assured that all capital outlay for the decade had been completed—[Interruption.] Did he say that—or what did he say?

Mr. Amery

I said that the major part of the capital had been invested, and that as the decade proceeded the capital investment would decline and there would, therefore, be a reduction in the cost.

Mr. Crossman

He said that the major part of the capital had been spent already—that in a decade scientific evolution was so fast that every year weapons were made obsolescent. This House will no longer accept that. We have had such remarks year after year, and year after year they have been falsified by events.

Tonight I want to deal only with two other problems, and those are the two great issues of this debate—atomic tactical weapons in Europe and manpower. I regard these as far the most difficult things the House has to face. The House has to face them with responsibility.

I would remind the House of where we have come in the four years since 1957. That was the year in which the Government launched their great five-year defence plan—what one might call the thermo-nuclear-Sandys period. We were then assured that we were to rely on the "big bang" for defence; we were to launch hydrogen bombs in the event of Russian attack. It was then pointed out from these benches below the Gangway that this was not only immoral but futile, because it was incredible for a country of Britain's size to make boasts like that.

In 1958 came the modification of the "big bang". We were, in addition, to have tactical weapons which were to be a substitute, from top to bottom, for conventional forces. We were to scrap, and we have scrapped, most of our conventional forces in order to substitute "nuclear streamlined forces". We were to substitute nuclear fire power for conventional fire power, not only at the top level of the strategic forces but right down to the division and the battalion.

This was a wonderful device for the Minister, because he would not need conscription. This was a delicious substitute for trained manpower. Even then, one or two of us simple "rats" and people with "guilt complexes" on both sides of the House begged leave to doubt whether it would work. We begged leave to point out to the Government in 1958 that the idea that we could rely on atomic tactical weapons as substitutes for conventional forces in Europe was an illusion because, quite simply, the Russians, too, would have the whole scala, and as soon as the Russians had them, any advantage was out. This was pointed out in speech after speech on this side of the House, but the Government pushed those speeches aside and said, "No, it is all right. These weapons will be an effective substitute for conventional forces."

After 1958, the policy was carried into effect. I must say that I laughed at the time, because this reliance was on weapons that did not exist. We were scrapping the weapons that did exist in order to rely on weapons that did not exist.

Now, in 1961, they are just beginning to come into the front line. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) on an admirable and terrifying description, which was not denied in any particular, of how these weapons are dispersed in Western Europe today.

Right down to battalion level and battalion targets we have atomic tactical weapons on our side, on the Western side—not on the Russian side—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If hon. Members would listen to me, I am repeating an assertion that has been made, because I want to hear whether their information agrees with ours. My information is that the Russians have concentrated their tactical weapons under a separate command and keep a careful distinction between their conventional and their tactical atomic forces.

1 am told that in B.A.O.R. no such distinction is made because we are so weak, our conventional equipment is so bad, that we have to rely on the atomic tactical weapon in substitution for the tanks and anti-tank guns that we ought to possess. I make these assertions because they must be confirmed or denied by the Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Manpower."] I shall not shirk the question of manpower—we must face that, too—but we must first discuss the situation.

Is it or is it not the fact that the British Army on the Rhine has to rely and is relying on these atomic weapons today as substitutes for conventional weapons? Is it not the fact, as I am told, that the troops are trained there on the assumption that they cannot fight without those weapons? If it is not the fact, I shall be greatly relieved indeed that the strategy of the British Army on the Rhine is to fight a conventional war and its troops are to be trained to do so without reliance on tactical atomic weapons.

Because if this country's concept degenerates into a strategy where we are to rely on threatening genocide and not rely on conventional weapons, it is not only immoral but folly. After that, we shall have none of the morale of which the Minister spoke. We shall not raise the morale of the British people by telling them that we have organised them so that they cannot defend themselves without launching genocide—total anihilation. If the Minister tells me that he is confident that a tactical atomic weapon can be used against a tactical target on the partition line in Germany without launching a third world war, I will listen, but I shall need much persuading.

There are many people, not only here but in America, who have come to the conclusion that we cannot rely on the tactical weapon without the risk that it will escalate to the big bang. We think that because of the risk of the escalation from the small weapon to the big weapon we must not rely on these tactical weapons in the first instance but on conventional weapons to defend ourselves. That is the situation, and that is the challenge—and to it we have these juvenile debating replies about "rats" and "complexes".

Let us talk now about manpower, because the problem is whether we can get back to a decent defence strategy and get N.A.T.O. to recast its strategy without drastically changing our manpower demands.

There are people who quite genuinely believe that we should not do anything drastic about abandoning reliance on the nuclear weapons until we have the conventional weapons. But the truth is that we will never get rid of our dependence on nuclear weapons until we repudiate the strategy that requires their use.

We all know that M.C. 70 was the N.A.T.O. directive in 1958 by which N.A.T.O. made itself dependent on these nuclear weapons and organised and trained units of all armies, including the German Army, in the use of these dual-purpose weapons. Today we are operating under that directive which trains Germans and ourselves in the use of these weapons in the field and bases all strategy on first-strike use. As long as that is the strategy of N.A.T.O. it does not matter how many conventional forces there are—that will be the strategy.

Our first job as a nation, therefore, is to scrap that strategy. We have to persuade our allies that the present strategy is suicidal—and many of them do not need persuasion. I know some Germans to whom the prospect of being given the first opportunity of firing these weapons against Leipzig and Dresden is not at all welcome. They do not either want to launch intermediate-range ballistic missiles from their country and then be wiped out by the Russians. I have not found any enthusiasm in Germany for the nuclear strategy of N.A.T.O. I have found Germans who will say, "As long as we have the strategy we will join in with the others". But many say that the sooner we get rid of a mad strategy like this the better for all concerned.

If we are prepared to tell N.A.T.O. that we want to adopt a non-nuclear strategy in Europe and are prepared to consult our allies frankly and honestly about the manpower required, I am sure we would get a tremendous response from everyone on this side of the world. And from the Americans as well because the Americans also have seen the danger of this nuclear strategy and they, too, want to see strong conventional forces in Europe.

We therefore come to the problem of manpower. Here, I agree entirely with what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East. But since the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger), in a speech that I was sorry to miss, challenged my personal position, I must remind the right hon. Gentleman of something. It is quite true that in 1957, when we had not yet got rid of conscription, I was one of those who warned the House against the policy of depending on nuclear weapons. I said that if by postponing the end of conscription for two or three years we could avoid a strategy depending on nuclear weapons I was prepared to consider it, if that was the price that had to be paid. It seemed fair and sensible to me, and I wish that more had said it then.

Now, that is over. To be realistic, in peacetime I do not see conscription as a practical possibility, even if it was desirable to restore it. That is my opinion. I therefore do not think we can have it now. But we must find other ways of doing the job. I must, however, tell the right hon. Member for Bassetlaw that that means one thing. As I said at that time, without extra men raised by conscription the combination of a decent conventional force in Europe and the maintenance of our imperial commitments is totally impossible.

That is our trouble, and that is the trouble in which the Tories find themselves. If we do not want conscription to come back we shall have to cut our overseas commitments faster even than the Prime Minister is doing—and he is moving quite quickly. Those commitments will go even faster, because if there is one thing worse than cutting a commitment it is theoretically keeping it but not being able to fulfil it.

What is the good of saying that we promise to defend Hong Kong, Singapore, the Maldive Islands, Aden, the Persian Gulf, Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar and Central Africa when our promise is valueless because we simply have not the manpower, first, to fulfil our pledge to N.A.T.O. and to save N.A.T.O. from nuclear strategy by introducing conventional weapons there, and, secondly, to man up all these overseas commitments?

I have said outside the House, and I repeat it now, that for me the solution is relatively easy. As a Socialist I see no difficulty in getting rid of a number of what I might call "fag end" Imperial commitments. I do not say all of them, but in my view a great many of these commitments bear no military reality at all. I do not believe that in any future war the security of Australia and New Zealand would be assisted from this country by a base in Singapore. I do not see us playing a rôle in Far Eastern strategy with the kind of forces the Government intend to have. It makes no sense at all. If we are to have a tiny Regular Army, that is the kind of commitment we should consider very carefully.

I say something else. It is no good pledging oneself to defend law and order in Central Rhodesia if one has not the men with which to do it. The Government will have to make up their mind either to introduce legislation to get the men, or to stop promising to do what they cannot do without general mobilisation. That is the fact which hon. Members on both sides of the House ought to push into the Government's head. The Government cannot fulfil these commitments. The right hon. Gentleman laughs when he is told that he cannot do it, but let the Minister get up and show how, with that number of troops, they could deal with even two minor troubles outside Europe. Look at what happened with Suez. Who says that the forces we have now are much better, or stronger, or more effective than they were at the time of Suez?

There is the choice. It is not a choice for the Opposition, but a choice for the Government. They have spent the last four years on their great five-year plan. They started by promising cheaper and better defence, and no need for extra manpower. Every one of their promises has gone wrong. Defence costs more, and not less. Instead of having a great big deterrent, we doubt whether they will have an independent deterrent, after wasting millions on it, within the next few years. As for getting on without men, they are now in the situation where, because of their colonial policy, they are on the edge of a crisis in Africa, knowing that if two divisions were required there they could not put them there. It is their crisis. The function of a defence debate is to concentrate on this question and compel the Government to answer it, That is why this Motion of censure has been moved.

6.14 p.m.

Mr. Nigel Birch (Flint, West)

I should like to deal later with the question of commitments. I thought that the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Cross-man) was a little delicate on the question of manpower. He said that we had not enough manpower for Europe, and he proposed the step of consulting our allies about it.

The hon. Gentleman was also delicate about his own views in the past on conscription. The whirligig of the hon. Gentleman's mind brings its revenges. He was strong in the past in favour of selective service. What he unsays today is what he said yesterday, and what he has unsaid today he will say tomorrow. That is a source of unspeakable satisfaction to those who disagree with him today.

When we are trying to decide what our defence policy ought to be, it is worth considering what we are up against. I want to make a short speech. I will not preach for hours like the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), but I allow myself a text from the third defence programme produced by those two interesting bedfellows, the hon. Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg) and Mr. Cousins. The text is: Britain's foreign policy must he based on peaceful co-existence, What does peaceful co-existence mean? I think that the people of this country mean something simple—live and let live. To us it means: "You do not like our way of life and we do not like yours, but let us live in peace and not quarrel". But that is not what the Russians mean. We have heard Mr. Khrushchev's speeches, and we have seen the result of the meeting in December of 81 Communist countries. They look on peaceful co-existence as a struggle for the mastery of the world.

An interesting lecture was delivered upstairs not long ago by Professor Hugh Seton Watson at a conference organised by the British Atlantic Committee. The lecture is to be published. He gave a summary of the way in which the Russians work. He said the Russians believe that the triumph of Communism is an historical certainty, but they do not believe in letting history do all the work. All Russian foreign policy is organised for struggle, and for war. The methods they use vary according to the circumstances as they arise. The methods are the very ordinary ones, diplomacy, loans, broadcasting, and publications, but all in the interests of the struggle, not in the interests of civilisation or culture.

In the next group are Summit conferences—always a cold war action—subversion, guerilla wars, limited wars with conventional weapons, and finally the thermonuclear threat, a threat, no doubt, to be carried out if there was no risk.

Mr. Zilliacus


Mr. Birch

I cannot give way now.

One point to which I draw the attention of the House is the commendation by the Russians of national liberation wars. I ask hon. Gentlemen to cast their minds back to what happened in Greece at the end of the war. There some armed Communist bands tried to seize the Government. They were praised by the Russians for carrying on a national liberation war. If we had not intervened they would have gained control of the Government, and had that happened they would have murdered everyone opposed to them. They would have got into power and stayed there. No doubt the Greeks would have risen, as did the Hungarians, and they would have been mown down by Russian tanks as the Hungarians were. No one who knows the Greeks could possibly conceive that that country would wish to be Communist, but national liberation wars are very much commended by the Communists.

On the thermo-nuclear threat, Mr. Khrushchev has frequently threatened to obliterate other countries while the balance is even and both sides have these weapons. If the balance is destroyed, thermo-nuclear blackmail becomes a foolproof strategy.

I have tried to sum up the Russian view of peaceful co-existence as a constant struggle. No one could possibly accuse the hon. Member for Barking of being a revisionist in any way, and I am certain that he would tacitly accept what I have said as being the official policy, which in fact it is.

Against this all-round threat, what is our strategy to be'? Clearly the deterrent has to be kept in being. How much we do ourselves is a matter of argument. I have frequently argued in this House that we should not opt out of the nuclear club. I think that we ought to go on, possibly not on a large scale, but it must be kept in being. The thing to note is the immense importance of the alliance. With the Government's policy, we have some kind of deterrent of our own. With the policy of hon. Gentlemen opposite we have none of any sort. We have to rely absolutely on the Americans.

What do hon. Gentlemen opposite say? They say: "We are not going to do anything about the deterrent ourselves. We are not going to have selective service. We will not increase our conventional forces to any degree that matters. We will do our best to ease you out of our bases at the earliest possible moment, and we believe in disengagement which means you come out of your German bases, too, and if you are lucky have a toehold in France." At the same time we say, "But we rely absolutely upon you to protect us". In those circumstances, would they have the will or even the power to do so? Then there is Germany, which is after all an important part of the shield force. Hon. Members opposite treat them as pariah dogs—as second-class allies. An hon. Member opposite the other day accused my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence of succeeding where Hitler had failed, in putting German troops on British soil. When I hear things like that I sometimes wish that those who say them had shown the same reckless courage in attacking the Germans when they were our enemies as they do now that they are our friends. They show great folly towards our allies. With their nineteenth century thinking, they feel in some curious sense invulnerable; they feel that they have always the right to stop the last train.

I turn to the question of conventional arms. I welcome the great consensus of opinion that exists throughout the free world that conventional arms are far more important than they were thought to be some years ago. It is a belated consensus of opinion, but, nonetheless, a very welcome one. One of the troubles in arguing this is that those who, for whatever reason it may be, do not like the idea of conscription or selective service, are thereby forced to imagine us faced with situations with which the actual forces in being can deal.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence referred to brush fires. The hon. Member for Leeds, East had a charming picture of a little war started off by the murder of an East German policeman. If that sort of thing happens, presumably, we will have the forces to deal with it, but will the Russians always oblige? After all, they have a vast superiority in conventional weapons. They are selling and giving away arms all over the world. It is not simply a question of their trying to get submachine guns into the Congo; they are selling and giving away tanks, aeroplanes and guns. It can be assumed that these are for use and not for ostentation.

The case for larger conventional forces is based on an argument on a higher level. If one is heavily inferior in conventional arms one is in a false position, because one can only reply to a threat either by doing nothing or by using nuclear weapons. There is, therefore, a permanent divorce between diplomacy and strategy. Further, it has a great bearing on the prospect of nuclear disarmament.

There was an interesting article by Dr. Kissinger in Survival the other day, in which he argued, I thought sensibly, that the prerequisite for any real progress in nuclear disarmament is a better balance in conventional forces. I have always believed that to be so. Some hon. Members opposite say, "All right, we agree that we are too weak in conventional arms in Europe, but it is quite simple; we will not have con- scription, so all that is necessary is to cut commitments". Supposing it was perfectly clear that whatever happened we could give no help to C.E.N.T.O. or S.E.A.T.O.; supposing it was Perfectly clear that if there was a national liberation war organised by Chinese in Malaya we could give no help; supposing it was clear that we could never exercise any influence in the Persian Gulf or Africa and could never help the whites or blacks or protect High Commission Territories or the white population in Kenya from Mau Mau. If that were all clear surely the consequences would be both swift and fatal.

I believe it is right and wise that we should go for selective service. It is wrong to try to use the false argument that mobility fully compensates for lack of numbers. That is not true. Nor can we put too much reliance upon troops organised for brush fires. Troops organised to put out brush fires can do very little else without transport and heavy weapons. It is not true that one regular is worth three conscripts. All the best armies in the world since Cromwell's New Model have been conscript armies. I hope, therefore, that we shall have selective service; let us look our difficulties in the face and do so before it is too late.

6.26 p.m.

Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)

A lot of things said by the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) on the facts of the situation were true, but I do not follow the conclusions he drew from them. He began by saying that we had to face it that the Russians regarded the cold war as a struggle and in that struggle subversion was one of their weapons. It is very difficult to see how our present defence policy has much relevance to that situation. But it is true that the East and West are engaged in political warfare, which may, at times, develop into real warfare, and that behind this White Paper we have to face the fact that most of the decisions in defence today are dependent on the view we take of political and diplomatic questions.

The Minister of Defence began yesterday by saying that the main framework of British defence policy had not changed. I should like to press the Minister to explain what on earth he meant by that. For instance, does paragraph 12 of the 1958 Defence Paper still stand? Are we committed to a policy of massive retaliation against any major attack, even if it is made with only conventional weapons? Under the ill-fated plan of the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, we were committed to an independent deterrent. This was a mistaken policy, as my party and my party alone, I may say, said at the time. It has come to look more and more absurd ever since.

The Minister of Defence does not talk now about an independent deterrent but about an independent contribution to the Western deterrent. It is doubtful whether we are making an independent contribution to the deterrent so long as we are forced to buy from America the vehicle which carries the warhead. Even if we assume it is an independent contribution, what is its purpose? To have made any case for it the Minister would have had to show two things, and he has done neither. He has said that one of his main aims is the preservation of peace. Does he really think that war would break out if Britain did not make its independent contribution to the Western deterrent? Does he think that war would be more likely if Britain gave up the contribution now? He knows that the answer is "No". Secondly, would we use this independent contribution to the Western deterrent on our own? The fact is that we would never so use it.

The Minister is driven onto the defensive about the whole matter and spent some time explaining that after all our contribution is not very expensive. It only costs £200 million, he says. Then he says that its main aim is to give us some prestige or standing with our allies. The right hon. Member for Flint, West, who for understandable reasons has had to leave, made a perfectly valid point when he said in the last defence debate that when countries begin worrying about their prestige it is time to worry about their real standing in the world. It seems a rather curious purpose if we have to keep the independent deterrent not because it deters our enemies but because it may improve our standing with our allies.

It shows that the Government really have no faith in interdependence. It shows, too, that, although the Secretary of State for Air may make very high-sounding declarations about his infinite faith in the Americans, the Government have not full faith in the Americans. They believe that it is the preservation of an independent deterrent which guarantees that the Western alliance will keep the support of the Americans.

I do not argue that other countries would not manufacture bombs if we did not have one, but it is surely clear that if we insist on making and maintaining our own bombs we give to all other nations an excellent excuse for doing the same, and we certainly cannot protest if they do. It is a little odd to hear the Labour Party now making this point. The time to try to stop the spread of nuclear weapons was three or four years ago, but at that time the Labour Party was a keen upholder of the British independent bomb. It is really too late now to say that we should not have our own and that other nations should give up theirs.

The first damning criticism of the Government's proposals in the White Paper, then, is that they commit this country to a policy of maintaining strategic nuclear weapons during the forthcoming years, a policy which is unnecessary, dangerous and expensive. Furthermore, we have not heard from the Minister any clear indication of whether we should rely upon the policy of massive retaliation or whether paragraph 12 of the 1958 Defence White Paper in now dead.

Whatever may be said about that, it is undoubtedly clear that the N.A.T.O. troops are becoming more and more dependent upon atomic and nuclear weapons. I asked a Question about this in the Autumn, and I was assured by the Minister, as I am sure was correct, that these weapons are still under the direct control of General Norstad; but every unit training with them is becoming used to the idea that they will be used in any major action; they are becoming dependent upon them. Again, we have had no clear explanation from the Government about whether they are prepared to accept this attitude or whether it is to be abandoned as soon as we can provide troops with adequate conventional weapons.

Here, too, we should have an explanation of why it is that, according to my information, at any rate, the troops in Germany are still very much under strength and under-equipped. We should surely be in a position to meet a non-atomic attack on N.A.T.O. without resort to atomic weapons first. If N.A.T.O. becomes entirely dependent on atomic weapons, it will become useless. If we are really committed to the use of atomic weapons against a Russian attack, even if it is an attack with conventional weapons, it will inevitably develop into full nuclear warfare, and any such attack will mean that the policy of deterrence has failed. Furthermore, Europe simply will not accept a situation in which we, not having any type of National Service, base our strategy on atomic war in Central Europe.

In my view, the peace of Europe, like the peace of the world, is guaranteed by the balance of deterrence. Therefore, to my mind, the importance of N.A.T.O. today is political as much as a matter of defence. In other parts of the world where there is no N.A.T.O. and no similar organisation, the Russians have not resorted to open attack because they do not wish to risk atomic or nuclear war. They hope to attain their objectives by other means, and they feel that up to date they have done fairly well with their present policy.

If there is to be an effective N.A.T.O. force, there surely can be no question of all the countries having their fingers on the trigger or the safety-catch. It must be the offspring of a genuine movement among European nations to act together and to sink some of their sovereignty in a common European movement. The Government have never faced this. How far are they prepared to give up some of their own individual control over their own weapons and over decisions vitally affecting this country for the sake of making N.A.T.O. more effective and more credible to the Russians? It is no good the Prime Minister talking about interdependence and using all the other fine words unless the Government are prepared to face the question of how we are to make interdependence a reality in practice.

It is only in this sort of context that we can usefully discuss the future of N.A.T.O. Do we accept our position as a leading European power? I agree very much with what was said by the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) yesterday, that interdependence among European nations is of great importance. Only if we accept our position as a leading European Power will it become possible to talk about changing N.A.T.O. to bring it into a state in which it can be more useful in the type of operation which it may have to conduct.

It can be said that it is important to maintain N.A.T.O. simply as an organisation which prevents Europe splitting apart. At present it is undoubtedly true that N.A.T.O. has a great symbolic or psychological importance just because of the very fact that Europe has no common defence. Again, the great importance of N.A.T.O. is that the Americans are in it. It is the symbol of American involvement in European defence.

To my mind, however, we should not consider this matter from the point of view of N.A.T.O. being likely to be involved in a massive attack with nuclear weapons in the East of Europe. I regard N.A.T.O. itself as part of the general system of deterrence, which, I agree, must be graduated from conventional arms up to the ultimate deterrent. In fact, it is not N.A.T.O. alone which protects Berlin or any other country. Therefore, to my mind, what we must put on the ground in Europe is not so very much greater conventional forces, but adequate conventional forces to prevent the type of subversion about which the right hon. Member for Flint, East spoke or a border incident, shall we say, arising out of an insurrection in one of the Eastern European countries. With its immense resources, Europe should easily be capable of providing the required number of men. It is really absurd that Europe, with its population and its resources, cannot provide the conventional forces needed to give General Norstad the troops he wants and are required to make N.A.T.O. less dependent on nuclear weapons. But any discussion of providing those resources depends on our political view of the possibility of European co-operation.

I turn now to some of the wider aspects of defence policy, notably manpower. I agree very much with what was said by the hon. Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) that discussion of our manpower requirements ought to start from some review of our obligations. The main impression I am left with, after reading the White Paper, is that the Minister of Defence has added up our existing obligations, most of which are inherited from the last century. He has then put in little pictures and maps showing that there are a few troops dotted about all over the world. I was always told that the first principle of military strategy is not to use troops in penny packets, yet this seems to be exactly what we are doing today. We have penny packets of our forces spread about all over the world. I wonder whether we have really considered the nature of our modern obligations in the various areas concerned.

Hong Kong, for instance, is certainly a place where there could be subversion against which it might be necessary to deploy sufficient local troops or police to deal with the situation. But, as regards any attack by the Chinese on Hong Kong, it is very difficult to believe that the troops we have there have any relevance. What of our obligations in the Gulf? Originally, we went into the Gulf to put down piracy on the trade routes to India. Is this the reason why we should today maintain troops and some small naval contingents in the Gulf? Of course it is not. Presumably, we are interested in the Gulf because of oil, but so far as I know we continue very much the same sort of set-up, only much denuded of men under our present policy, as we have had during the last forty or fifty years.

I ask the Government to consider whether the sensible thing to do would be to see whether our obligations all over the East can be met by some mobile and more centralised force somewhere in the Indian Ocean. I do not know what the relevance now is of Singapore in modern strategy in the East, but again, judging by what happened in the last war, it is difficult to believe that it has a part to play with the numbers and types of troops which we are able to spare for it today. Again, could we not consider whether our allies have a part to play in sharing our obligations all over the world?

It is only after a survey of this kind that we can possibly say whether 165,000, 180,000 or 200,000 troops are needed, and, as I say, the White Paper gives me no impression at all that any such survey has been carried out. I agree with the right hon. Member for Flint, East, that if we are to have arms control then it is probably easier to achieve it if we have a reasonable balance between East and West in conventional arms. I should like to see a White Paper headed "Defence and Arms Control" or "Defence and Disarmament". I think it is agreed on all sides that the two things go together. The difficulty we face is that all indications from the Pugwash Conferences and other contacts with the Russians are that the Russians really have the idea that the thing to go for is total disarmament, and yet they are unwilling to undertake any of the obligations which make total disarmament possible. I believe, and I think most people in the West believe, that the way to start on disarmament is step by step by having a stoppage of tests, by having, perhaps, some joint warning system even, and by working up from there. But we have to meet the Russian point, that they are interested in overall disarmament, and we must show that these are practical steps directed to that ultimate end.

Is there anyone or any unit in the Ministry of Defence engaged in considering an elaboration of this kind of idea? I have a strong feeling that in every country today the pressures on Defence Ministers all come from the military side, and, of course, the military side must go for the highest degree of insurance that it can achieve. It is not the business of the military authorities to press the need for control of arms. It is their business to ensure that their country is as fully protected as they can possibly arrange.

Therefore, it seems to me that in this joint exercise of control and defence, as it now is, all the weight at the moment is on the side of defence. I do not know whether it needs a new Ministry or whether this is a matter for the Foreign Office, but until we can counterbalance the pressure of the Pentagon, of the War Ministers in Russia, and of all the War Ministers everywhere with some opposite pressure to show that safety today depends on achieving some overall balance and then by scaling down that balance gradually, the chances of disarmament and, indeed, of peace will be slender.

The White Paper is the fourth Report in a five-year period. It it no use the Minister saying that things have not changed in that time. They have changed a good deal. The problem has become far more political. The problem of disarmament and control has been recognised as being fundamental to defence. Opinion in this country, at any rate, and in America, too, I think, has moved away from nuclear strategy.

When I spoke in this Chamber three or four years ago and suggested that we might forgo our nuclear weapons, I was howled down not only by hon. Members opposite but from this side of the House as well. I was told that such a suggestion was not only impracticable but it was traitorous. Now, in speech after speech—from the right hon. Member for Hall Green, from the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean), when he speaks, and from hon. Members in all parts of this side of the House—we hear it said that nuclear weapons are not the solution and we must get back to conventional weapons: in fact, we must maintain a balance between East and West in conventional and nuclear weapons, and from there go forward through arms control to eventually disarmament.

I urge the Government to give up what I can only describe as double talk about this and to admit that when the programme of V-bombers and their possible weapons is over, they will not be able to maintain the country as a major nuclear Power. I urge them to begin planning now to undertake the sort of obligations that the country can reasonably undertake, to face the sort of Russian attack which is likely, to tackle the question of our obligations, to try to provide the manpower to meet them and to tell the people the truth, namely, that it is useless for the Secretary of State for Air to taunt the Opposition with being anti-patriotic, because patriotism today does not consist in perpetuating the old mentality and trying to keep up with the Russians and the Americans by having our own independent nuclear weapons.

Patriotism for our country today means using its great influence and its great strength in different ways, first, in working for greater co-operation and real interdependence in the West—that is vital—and secondly, in attempting to use the balance between East and West to scale down the cold war on each side of the Iron Curtain.

6.46 p.m.

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

I want briefly to deal with two aspects of our defence policy. Our policy is said to be a balance between a nuclear deterrent and conventional forces, and I should like to examine this in a little more detail. The 1957 White Paper said that Our defence plan, if it is to be effective and economical, must he based on a clear understanding of the military responsibility to be discharged. I am not sure that our present plan is based on such a clear responsibility.

Looking at our nuclear deterrent, we have a V-bomber force equipped with British free-falling nuclear bombs. It is a force which we understand—my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air said so today—is capable of penetrating to any assigned target, and its efficiency and retaliatory capacity are being constantly increased by wider dispersal and shorter reaction time.

I assume, although one does not know, that the targets that our V-bomber force would attack are beyond the Iron Curtain. If we are convinced that the force is capable of penetrating to those targets, we must also assume that the Russians do not have fighter aircraft up to the level of our own. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air was extremely ill-advised, in making his case for the V-bomber force, to release earlier this week details of the Lightning fighter, because in The Times of 24th February, Squadron Leader J. F. G. Howell, who commands 74 Squadron, said: We now know that we can catch any current bomber, and going on past experience we know we can out-fight any known fighter. If we have a fighter like this today, is it logical to assume that the Russians will not have one that is equally good within ten years, if not ten months? If the Russians have a fighter like that, I wonder whether our V-bombers, which, after all, are subsonic, are of any use in carrying the deterrent.

Ultimately, we are to depend on Sky-bolt or some other weapon, and we have been given assurances today that we will definitely get Skybolt. It is, however, depressing to find that the American Administration has cut down the research into this project. If the Americans are cutting down the research, there is always a possibility that they might abandon the project and we might be left without this other form of weapon with which we can arm our V-bombers to make it possible for them to release their bombs prior to reaching the target area.

Mr. Paget

The hon. Member has spoken of the possibility of abandonment of the project. Does he know of a single item in the American defence programme in which the development programme was cut back and which was not abandoned? I do not know a single example in which cutting back was not the prelude to abandonment.

Mr. Harrison

I am not in a position to answer the question, but what the hon. and learned Gentleman has said rather strengthens my argument.

What we must ask is whether a V-bomber force like this is an adequate contribution to the Western deterrent. I have come to the decision that it is improbable that it is, or will be, an adequate contribution for a period very far ahead. One cannot make a statement like that, however, without deciding what should be done as an alternative. I believe that it is necessary for us to have a deterrent and to contribute towards the West's deterrent. Probably the most economical way for us to do it, were it to be negotiated, would not be to try to keep up with the K's by spending one-tenth of their expenditure on research, and hoping that we back the right project, because it is just possible that both the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. are selective in their projects and do not intend wasting the vast sums that they are spending on research. We cannot expect to keep up with the K's with one-tenth of the research. Therefore, the most economical thing for us to do would be to try to purchase something like the Polaris from the United States so as to be able to contribute to an independent deterrent of our own and to the deterrent of the West.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the hon. Member aware that the Polaris costs £50 million? Is he prepared to buy half a dozen from the United States at a cost of £300 million?

Mr. Harrison

I am grateful to the hon. Member for raising the point. He will, I think, see that in the long run and over a ten-year period the cost would be considerably less than if we tried to develop our own weapons.

We have to make a great contribution towards the West's forces. Britain can make a tremendous contribution in the cold war. In its simplest form, the cold war consists of two different things: first, an economic war, and secondly, meddling in trouble spots all over the world. As fishers in trouble spots, the occupants of the Kremlin are the world's past-masters. We have got to have adequate conventional forces which will be able to make a sound contribution towards dealing with such 'troubles as may come in the various trouble spots where the Kremlin is playing around.

There is great doubt whether we will get sufficient forces. From the tables in HANSARD of 22nd February, at columns 57 and 58, one gets an idea of what is happening with Regular recruiting. There have been amended forecasts of deficiencies of between 7,000 and 8,000 troops from one year to another. I know that my right hon. Friend the Member of Defence feels confident that he will get the troops, and so do his advisers. I warn him, however, not to lean too heavily upon his advisers in this matter, because no people are more loyal to their Ministers than the advisers of the Service Ministers, and there is always a tendency that they will try to back up what the Minister wants them to believe rather than take an independent line.

In examining the forecasts of the numbers of troops that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence anticipates getting, one should consider the proportion of the population that he expects to have in the Armed Forces. Comparing 1936 and 1937 with 1962, one finds that in 1936, with a United Kingdom male population of 22,605,000, the numbers borne on the Navy Vote were 98,200, on the Army Vote, 192,325, and by the Air Force, 45,804, representing 1.49 per cent. of the male population. In 1937 the corresponding figures represented 1.54 per cent. of the male population. The figures projected to 1st April, 1962, represent 1.55 per cent., or a still greater proportion, of the male population in the Services at that date.

One must draw attention to the point made yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones) that little has happened recently to make it more likely that a larger proportion of people will want to be in the Forces than in the 1930s. The efforts of advertising and so on which will be employed, although I hope that they are successful, may merely draw upon the reservoir of people who would otherwise volunteer, perhaps, at a later date.

It seems, therefore, that over the next few years, we will not only be without an adequate nuclear deterrent, but also without a reasonable prospect of having the military forces that can carry out the commitments in the White Paper, to which the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) and others have referred.

I disagree with the hon. Member for Coventry, East when he states that we should cut down those commitments and decide to withdraw our troops from places with nice Empire-sounding names. If we are to have a foreign policy and a colonial policy, it is essential that we keep our garrisons going in the various parts of the world. To do that, we must do one of two things.

We must either introduce selective service with all the difficulties which that will bring—I say "selective service" advisedly, because only a marginal number of extra people are needed; we do not need a complete return to conscription, with its great wastage—or there should be the calling up of a proportion of the reserve, such as the Navy often uses to fill gaps in its forces. But that method would be extremely difficult to carry out in view of the details and records which would have to be kept. Probably it would be more practical to have a form of selective service.

In conclusion, I should like to draw the attention of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence to the Defence White Paper of 1957. As he says, the present White Paper is connected with and is still part of the plan of 1957. I hope that he will not forget paragraph 48, in which it is stated: It must nevertheless be understood that, if voluntary recruiting fails to produce the numbers required, the country will have to face the need for some limited form of compulsory service to bridge the gap. My right hon. Friend must face that need now and give a lead to the country.

7.1 p.m.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

If the Minister of Defence had been present during the speech of the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) he would have derived precious little satisfaction from it. The hon. Member has disposed most effectively of the bomber case presented by the Minister of Defence yesterday and of the speech, expressed in exaggerated and extravagant language, of the Secretary of State for Air.

In these defence debates, in which I have participated for many years, I am always the victim of conflicting emotions. My temperament leads me in the direction of telling Mr. Khrushchev to go and jump in the Black Sea and telling the American military authorities that I would prefer to rely on British independent military strength rather than depend on the United States. In the military sphere, as in the economic sphere, I should like to see this country much stronger than it is.

I try as best I can, within my limitations, to take an objective view of the situation. I am bound to say this to those members of the Government who are present and to hon. Members on both sides of the House. My reason for rejecting the nuclear strategy, which is now the foundation of the Government's defence policy, is that I cannot accept their concept of a nuclear deterrent. What is the Government's deterrent policy? If we listened carefully to the speech of the Secretary of State for Air this afternoon, we would have gathered that he was speaking not in the sense of a deterrent, but of having weapons which, some day or other, perhaps sooner rather than later, would require to be used. He spoke of the "formidable" bomber force which, during the next decade, as he hopes, will be equipped with Skybolt or some other weapon which is capable of penetrating the Russian defences.

The Minister of Defence went much further in his speech yesterday. I rarely encumber myself with notes, but I thought that the statement of the Minister of Defence was so remarkable that I should quote it to the House. He said: I would say that they must face the fact that as it stands ready at this moment Bomber Command is capable, by itself, of crippling the industrial power of any aggressor nation "— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th February, 1961; Vol. 635. c. 1208.] If that is not the language of extravagance, I do not know what is.

1 understand the Government's anxiety to impress not only the House—a very simple task to achieve, particularly on that side of the House—but also Mr. Khrushchev and company with the formidable strength, prowess and military might of the United Kingdom. But that is just wishful thinking.

Mr. Amery

indicated dissent.

Mr. Shinwell

The Secretary of State need not shake his head. If he goes on shaking it unduly, it will come off altogether. That would be a very great calamity indeed.

We have to face the facts as objectively as we can. I do not deny that there is some strength in Bomber Command. After vast expenditure over a period of years and the time which has been taken by the Government to build up the bomber force, it would be surprising if it did not possess some strength. Of course it does. But we have to compare the present strength of our bomber force with the terrific and formidable defensive power of the potential aggressor. We mean by "the potential aggressor"—let us not beat about the bush—Soviet Russia. The idea that our bombers can penetrate Russian defences and cripple Russia's industrial power, not only on the periphery or within the frontiers, but the remote and almost inaccessible areas where much of the industrial strength resides, is to indulge in exaggeration and—I say it without intending any offence— is gross deception.

My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), in a speech which I ventured to describe in an interjection as most intelligent—and I meant that—referred to the possibility of a limited conflict emerging in the European sphere. He said that if a limited conflict broke out it could possibly develop into a full-scale major nuclear war. Considering the problems associated with a nuclear strategy and the international situation, every one of us must envisage something of the kind. I go further. The Government's tactical atomic policy indicates as clearly as can be that they intend to use those tactical atomic weapons if a limited conflict occurs. Obviously, that would add fuel to the flames.

It will be noted that the so-called deterrent is not capable of preventing the outbreak of a limited conflict. I think that that will be admitted. If it is not admitted, I venture to give two examples—one is Korea. In the case of Korea, the atomic bomb was in existence. The United States was in possession of the atomic bomb and, of course, it was alleged at the time that we were also in possession of one or two atomic bombs. I do not want to go into that. It is a matter of speculation; I will not say of history.

Probably my right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) and I know a little more about the manœuvres associated with that subject than many hon. Members. The Korea conflict broke out. It was much more than a limited conflict. It almost became a major conflict, in spite of the fact that the deterrent was in the possession of the United States, was alleged to be in our possession to a limited degree, and was obviously in the possession of Soviet Russia.

Then there is the case of Suez. Suez happened in the shadow of the threat by Khrushchev to use missiles against this country. The fact is that a limited conflict can occur in Europe, or in Asia, or in Africa, in spite of the deterrent, and that limited conflict can become a major war. That is why I decline to accept the so-called deterrent as an effective means of preventing the outbreak of a major war.

I do not expect that any hon. Member opposite will accept my point of view, but I happen to believe it to be so, and so do many of my hon. Friends. Moreover, no one can deny that there are grave doubts in the minds of many people of this country, not necessarily associated with the Labour Party, holding Socialist views, or, for that matter, unilateral opinions, who have grave doubts about the effectiveness of the deterrent. Indeed, doubts have been expressed on the opposite benches in the course of this debate.

Why do we persist in pursuing this line of policy? Is it because of the fear of possible Russian aggression? I assert that if Russia had wanted to commit an act of aggression against this country during the last half a dozen years, she could have done so with impunity. Why was no action taken? Because, as has been said over and over again, the Russians have been capable of obtaining almost anything they wanted in many parts of the world without resort to military action, and I believe that this will continue in the future.

I leave this question of the nuclear deterrent for more than one reason, but more particularly because—and here I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw (Mr. Bellenger) —it is clearly impossible in an assembly of this kind, even with the best will in the world, to discuss analytically the technical problems associated with defence. That can only be done in a small gathering. Indeed, it is very difficult to do so even in a Service Department. One reason is that there are very strong prejudices among the General Staff and there is a great deal of ignorance among Ministers. Who should know that better than I do?

The consequence is that very often Ministers come to the Treasury Box, as the Secretary of State for Air came this afternoon, armed with a formidable brief. The Secretary of State for Air rattled it off with surprising ease and facility that I never expected from him, knowing his record, all because it was prepared for him. If he had taken my advice he would have torn it up and told us the truth.

I welcome the proposition made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bassetlaw, which, I think he will agree, I ventured to make myself, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), many years ago, that we should have something in the nature of a defence committee, a House of Commons defence committee, to sit with the Minister from time to time and interrogate him, not always expecting to get truthful answers, but, at any rate, hoping for the best, as is done in the United States in the defence committee there and, to some extent, in France and other countries.. I would welcome it, but we have to make the best of the situation.

I leave this question of the use of tactical atomic weapons and the use of the deterrent and all the rest of it—as if we could use a deterrent. That seems to be a contradiction in terms. I want to come to the question of manpower, which I do not understand as well as my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley, but now and again I venture to enter into consultation with him and, as a result. I am capable of counting up to ten.

What is the position? There are some who say, "If only we had National service back again". Some hon. Members opposite have declared their view about the matter, even the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch). I would have expected greater intelligence from him.

Mr. Emrys Hughes


Mr. Shinwell

Because one expects it from ex-Ministers. We have to say something for ourselves now and again.

The right hon. Member expressed his desire to return to what he called selective drafts. Suppose that we had not 165,000 Regulars alone but 165,000 Regulars plus another 165,000 conscripts—that we had 300,000—does anyone suppose that our position would be any better than it is? I was Secretary of State for War when we had 400,000, and I was Minister of Defence when, I think, we had rather more. It took us all we knew—the most careful preparation and organisation—to enable us to send a brigade to Korea.

Put it down to our inability or anything hon. Members wish. We were advised by the military chiefs, the high-ranking officers.

Consider, also, what happened in the case of Suez. I do not want to make a song and dance about it, but there were very great difficulties. There were transport and other difficulties, delays, hesitation and vacillation on the part of the Government of the day to the disadvantage of the Commander-in-Chief, General Keightley. The fact is that we can have vast numbers of men—the generals, the air marshals and the admirals always want vast numbers of men—we can never satisfy their capacity for absorbing manpower. We can have all the men we like, but may still be incapable of mounting an assault or of defending a position. I say that, not having any actual military experience, but from my experience in Service Departments over a number of years.

What is to be done about it? I say to my hon. Friend, with the utmost friendliness, naturally—I have to—hat I reject emphatically his view that we should return to any form of compulsory service and I will tell the House why, technically, in my view, it is impracticable. When we had National Service operating at full scale—not the limited form we have now, when it is tapering off—we had to deploy the training ability of about 30,000 men to train the National Service men. That was a heavy burden on the Regular section of the Forces. Suppose that we returned to some form of compulsory service and, instead of 165,000 or 180,000, we had another 100,000 men secured through the medium of compulsory service. We should have to deploy the technical ability in training of, shall I say, another 10,000 men—probably more.

The fact is that National Service imposes a very heavy manpower burden of a technical character. It was said in the debate yesterday—I am not sure whether it has been said today; if so, I have forgotten, or I took no notice of it—that every other country associated with N.A.T.O. has National Service, so why should not we have National Service? Suppose we return to National Service, what should be the duration of service of each man? Is it to be two years? Obviously not, for the simple reason that there is not a single country associated with N.A.T.O. at present, except those two countries on the periphery of N.A.T.O. —Greece and Turkey—which has a period of two years' National Service. Belgium, France, Holland, the Scandinavian countries—not a single one of them has a period of two years' National Service. The French have a very curious system.

I do not want to enter into details, probably they are familiar to many hon. Members. I think that in the Scandinavian countries the period is a year. I am not sure, but I think that in one of them, it may be Denmark or Sweden, it is only ten months. At one time the Belgians had a two-year period, but now it is fifteen months. I think that the Dutch have a twelve-month period and that the Germans have only a year.

Let us face the fact that to return to some form of compulsory service to obtain the services of, say, another 50,000, or 60,000, or even 100,000 men by that means for one year's service would be of no use to the Army, to the Navy or to the Air Force; and no one knows that better than the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Air, or the right hon. Gentleman whose office now is—

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)


Mr. Shinwell

They move about so often that one cannot tell. But the right hon. Gentleman must at one time have been associated with defence in some form or other—if he was not the Minister of Defence he is about the only member of the Government who has not been, and so I am not far wrong.

That is the position, so what is the use of National Service? Technically, it is impracticable; politically, it is undesirable, and causes more trouble than it is worth. The question is: what is to be done? I wish to address myself to that question.

To begin with, why should not we say to the other N.A.T.O. countries that we have done our best, that we make a valuable contribution to N.A.T.O. —55,000 men, which is more than we can afford—and why cannot they pull their weight all together? The Germans have about seven divisions now; the French are contributing practically nothing to N.A.T.O.; I think that the Belgians contribute one division, certainly not at full strength, and the Dutch even less. So it goes on. Why should not we say to General Norstad, "You want twenty divisions? That is not much use. You would rather have thirty divisions"—and, by the way, thirty divisions at conventional strength, properly equipped, highly mobile and with an effective striking power, I am not speaking in terms of tactical atomic weapons—would be a useful deterrent when one comes to think of it. I would rather not see it used, but it might be capable of preventing a military conflict. If we said to General Norstad, "Why not bring pressure to bear on the other countries to make an effective contribution? Why should we accept the major part of the burden? There is no reason why we should."

Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)

There is only one reason—this country's word was pledged in 1954 that we should maintain four divisions.

Mr. Shinwell

Of course it was, and much to our credit. I hope that we shall maintain those four so long as we are associated with N.A.T.O. Do not regard N.A.T.O. as an ornament to be put on the mantleshelf, but inject some substance into it. I would rather have that than use tactical atomic weapons, or a reliance on nuclear strategy which is not an effective deterrent; or if used—which God forbid—would prove disastrous for all of us. I am not sentimentalising, I am facing facts. Therefore, I should begin by asking General Norstad and the countries concerned with N.A.T.O. to put the whole of their available strength into the conventional content of N.A.T.O.

There is a further point which, no doubt, will be debated at greater length and in greater detail when we discuss the Army Estimates. May I suggest to right hon. Gentlemen opposite that they convey this to the Minister of Defence? Why not extend the build-up of the reserve forces which the War Office decided recently to promote—reservists who are technicians? These people are necessary in the forces. By the way, reservists ought to receive retainers that are worth while, not miserable retainers which do not provide any kind of incentive for men to join up. Something of that sort is required and I should like to see the build-up of the Territorial forces, not on paper, but in terms of men properly trained. Otherwise, do not let us have them at all.

Why am I saying all this? Because I want, so far as possible, together with other hon. Members on this side of the House and some hon. Members opposite—all credit to them—to provide an alternative to this nuclear strategy. I admit that I do not think, if the alternative is adopted, that now, or in the near future, the United States of America will abandon her nuclear strategy. I do not expect that to happen. I am not crying for the moon. But I say that we could make an effective military contribution to the N.A.T.O. alliance of which we could feel proud—and which we hope would never require to be used. But if it were used, it would be in a sensible, rational and conventional fashion.

7.29 p.m.

Brigadier Sir Otho Prior-Palmer (Worthing)

It is a very great privilege to follow the right hon. Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell) in this debate. We have a great respect for him and for what he did both when he was at the War Office and as Minister of Defence. He has made a sincere plea for the rejection of nuclear weapons and before I come to my main theme I wish to reply to him. I hope that he will regard my reply as being equally sincere.

The right hon. Gentleman said that he could not accept the concept of the nuclear deterrent, and that there were doubts among many, both inside and outside this House. I have met many of those people, and the reason for their doubts, very often, is ignorance of the facts. I am not accusing the right hon. Gentleman of that, but there are many people who are ignorant of the facts. They do not know what the nuclear deterrent consists of, or what it can do, or what its capability is.

When my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air gave as an illustration the fact that our nuclear bomber force was capable of destroying the greater part of Russia, he was not suggesting that it could be used independently for that object. He was merely giving an idea of the strength of the force in reply to an interjection. Of course, it is not to be used—at least, I cannot see any conceivable circumstances under which it would be used by itself. But, again, we have had denigrating remarks about the strength of this force. Let us remember that, for all the money we have spent, one bomber today carries a potential equal to the whole of the potential of the Air Force only ten years ago.

I have been to Omaha and have seen that terrifying headquarters, and I know—it is no strategic secret—that from 58 stations round Russia, circling it almost completely—our bomber force is a major part of that circle—every bomber could be in the air within 58 seconds of the pressing of one button, every single one of those aircraft could be in the air. And a big proportion of these aircraft are flying up there now.

That is the deterrent. If the Russians know that on the press of a button the whole of Russia will be devastated within a couple of hours, they will think twice before they launch any form of major attack. I do not believe that any defence which we can conceive today could prevent that attack getting through. There would be a few casualties, of course, but, naturally, one must accept them.

If we look at the other side of the story, however, and use a globe instead of a map, we realise that if the Russians attacked the North American Continent they would have to go in on a narrowing cone, whereas our forces would go in from every point of the compass. Anybody who has seen the tactical defence force of the North American Continent, integrated, as it is, with the Canadian forces—one cannot go into details—would have a good bet that hardly one of those aeroplanes would get through from Russia.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

What about rockets?

Sir O. Prior-Palmer

We are talking about the situation as it is at the moment. We have not got to the situation in which there is a preponderance of rockets. The Americans are putting every ounce of skill that they can into research to see in what way rockets can be put out of action before they come down.

One or two hon. Members are also going astray about tactical nuclear weapons, particularly in Germany. Every one of these pieces of artillery has a dual purpose. General Norstad himself has said that the decision to use tactical weapons must be taken on a very high level. I believe that we have the conventional strength in Europe to deter a small incursion from, say, East Germany.

In open conference, I asked General Norstad how many of the thirty divisions laid down in M.C.70 he had now. I thought that he would say twenty, but he said that he would have 28 by March. Even if we take off three we are very nearly there, and 25 divisions, properly mobile with proper fire power, constitute a good deterrent.

Mr. Mulley

The hon. and gallant Gentleman is making an important statement. If General Norstad says that he has 28 divisions, where can we find that information? It is widely accepted that the figures are much below that.

Sir O. Prior-Palmer

It was said in open session at the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians Conference last year, during the question and answer period. I think that the record may be in the Library.

Mr. Mulley

Are these divisions in Europe?

Sir O. Prior-Palmer

Those available are. The M.C. paper laid down thirty divisions, and General Norstad is getting near that figure. That is all I would like to say on that at present.

Yesterday, the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) expressed the fear of the spread of these weapons to various other countries. Would he and the Government take seriously into consideration the kite flown by General Norstad at that very conference with regard to persuading America to allow the keys of the cupboard to be more widely distributed? There was something behind that—I think that M. Spaak was probably the originator of the idea. I am certain that the idea was to try, if possible. to prevent people "going it alone", on the idea that if they had access to the keys of the cupboard in which these weapons were all kept they would not be so keen to manufacture them themselves because of the fantastic cost.

I have digressed a bit, so I must come to my prepared speech. I hope, however, that these remarks have been worth making, and that people will realise that I have made them with complete sincerity.

I welcome wholeheartedly the new assault ship, of which we have seen a picture. For three years, in our defence debates, I have pleaded that we should have floating bases. This is the first step in the right direction. Let it not be the only one. In the past, a prerequisite of any successful action was a firm base. In these days of intense nationalism and nuclear power, I do not believe that any base in a country which may become independent, or is independent, is worth spending a lot of money on.

I believe that we can have a base which is both mobile and firm. The Americans have shown us how to do it. Nothing will persuade me that vast sums of money spent on huge bases is a good investment. I would rather see us making use of a mobile fleet train, using vessels carrying equipment and men at 25 knots and not 8 knots, as was the case of Suez. That should be part and parcel of an all-Services force, trained together for this purpose.

I believe that there should be what, for want of a better phrase, is called by the Americans a "task force", which should be stationed at Plymouth, Portsmouth, or wherever we like, and which should consist of all arms of the Services—paratroops, marines, Air Force and the Royal Navy—and that force should be trained under one commander as a task force ready to cope with any emergency in any part of the world. It need not necessarily be static in one place. If there is a black cloud on the horizon, it could be moved out. This force could be large or small, though, of course, the larger the better, let us say two divisions to start with, but what is very important is that the principle which was adopted for the big landing operations should be imported into it.

There we had an edifice which was composed of bricks, and one could add a brick or take one away without destroying the edifice itself. It is on that principle that this task force should be organised, and we ought to be thinking about it as soon as we possibly can. Units which serve their term in this country could serve for a year or eighteen months with this task force so that they could be trained in its functions. That is what I think a strategic reserve really is.

We hear a lot about mobility, but have we really got it? One thing that disturbs me is the question of obtaining mobility, and the right hon. Gentleman also spoke about that. If we are to take on superior numbers, one can do it provided that the men are superbly trained, as they were in the 1914 Army, and provided that they are able to move from A to B at tremendous speed, able to get into their vehicles in five minutes and be off, taking their orders by wireless as they go, not, as was my experience when I had a unit sent to me which I had never had before, and I wanted it in a hurry, but which took two-and-half hours to get the men into the lorries before they could start.

That is what I call a tactical mobility, and there is not anything like enough energy and force being put into it by the Staff College and by the higher command. When people become generals, they seem to forget that they were ever lieutenants.

With regard to the question of manpower and our commitments, I was under the impression that the right hon. Member for Easington had the other view with regard to conscription. I have here a very charming quotation from one of his speeches which I had ready to throw at him, but it is not necessary. I agree with every word which the right hon. Gentleman said on conscription, and I have it here in my notes. If we have 300,000 men, the problem is the same.

We shall not solve the problem by getting more. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) will listen to this. He and others make the same mistake that politicians have made all through the years, and from which I, as a soldier, have suffered. They seem to think that all that is necessary is to put a man into uniform and expect him to fight, but we have to train, train and train again these men, who have to become experts in wireless and in using their equipment, and we cannot do it efficiently under National Service.

There is another aspect to this. If we introduce a modicum of National Service, a form of selective call-up, it would simply be the thin end of the wedge for future total conscription, for this very reason that we did not get the sons of Regular n.c.o.s and ex-officers to join the Army. Why was there a feeling of fed-upness in the Regulars in B.A.O.R.? It was because the Regular battalions were asked to do an almost impossible thing—to train a unit to fight and, at the same time, to act as a depot and train recruits. They were worked off their legs trying to do both, and made a very successful job of it, and this is no denigration of the National Service men, 98 per cent. of whom made a success of it. It is not fair on the units to ask them to do it, and if we do it, we shall merely be back where we started. It is far better to have fewer than 165,000, and have mobility and proper planning, with a high standard of training.

I hope and believe, having seen the film that was shown the other day, that this will be done, and that we shall get the recruits, but there are some hon. Members who, inadvertently, I dare say, who are not helping by some of the things they say inside or outside this House. My hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire is thought to speak with great authority, as an ex-Minister. Having been Financial Secretary to the War Office, everything he says is regarded at Sandhurst as gospel. People there have said, "If this is true, I am very sorry that I joined the Army". What are the fathers saying? They say, "If this is true, I am not sending my son into the Army". My hon. Friend is not doing it deliberately, but I ask him to think twice before making the mischievous remarks which he does make in this House and outside.

I should have liked to have said a few words about disengagement, but the time is short. Another thing in which, as everybody knows, I am extremely interested is the state of N.A.T.O. forces. There is a lot of misinformed and loose talk about the inefficiency or efficiency of N.A.T.O. Of course, if we have fifteen nations in an alliance, we are not likely to have a sort of super-machine which the Wehrmacht had when it invaded Belgium. Of course, there will be difficulties and gaps which should be filled, but I assure hon. Members that it is not the fault of the soldiers or of General Norstad. Indeed, in nine cases out of ten these are political difficulties. Whatever we may think of them, we should support the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference in which these political difficulties are thrashed out, and in which we have had most extraordinary success in getting some things ironed out.

Let us take, for example, the boundary between the Northern Army and Central Army, which ran right through the waters of Straits off Denmark—a ludicrous and idiotic situation, which existed because of that age-old feeling between the Schleswig-Holsteiners and the Germans, neither of whom would give way. It was entirely due to the pressure brought to bear on them through discussions that finally that is now being rectified and is under discussion.

There are other things, such as the integration of air defence, on Which France is 'being the nigger in the woodpile. One of the big 'problems was to get General de Gaulle to change his view. As a result of a tour of the North American integrated air defence system, which included a delegation of 14 Frenchmen, most of them de Gaullists, they returned convinced of 'the necessity for an integrated air defence system for Europe. De Gaulle has conceded the point, and although he has not gone the whale way, at least we have got somewhere in regard to the infrastructure. I ask my hon. Friend to put to his right hon. Friend some of these things that could still 'be done quite easily on the political level, so that next time we have a meeting of the N.A.T.O. Council he may put them forward.

It is quite absurd to have troops in the forward line who are well trained if the supply system behind them is completely out of date and utterly impracticable. Another 'political difficulty, is that each nationality wants to have its own supply system, and there is no compromise about it. If we have to move a division from one place to another, it finds that it is to have a completely different supply system when it gets there. There 'are no plans whatever for lateral movement—it is all right going forward and back—but if a corps has to be moved laterally to another, I cannot conceive of any greater chaos than endeavouring to move troops from one flank to another with no preconceived plan, or, indeed, any idea how it is to be done.

Let us try to build up if necessary, although I think the strength of men on the ground is enough, but one thing we must not do is to take any men away. However strategically necessary that might be, it would be political suicide so far as the other countries are concerned, when we are trying to bolster them up and to get them to give a little more in their contribution. The one thing which would prevent us from doing that and which would set the Whole thing back would be to make use of our right under the Brussels Treaty to take more troops away, unless they were desperately needed somewhere else.

Some say that conventional forces should be increased at the cost of nuclear weapons and some believe the reverse, but I believe that in this appalling difficulty—it is not an easy problem—this Government have reached a reasonable solution to this terribly difficult situation.

7.51 p.m.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu (Brigg)

The hon. and gallant Member for Worthing (Sir O. Prior-Palmer) always speaks with great sincerity and very great knowledge, it seems to me, a comparatively ignorant person in these matters, of military detail. I listened very carefully throughout his speech to learn whether he came out with a flat statement that he thought our manpower and our forces were adequate for the commitments they have to face. I do not think he did so.

The hon. and gallant Member said that he thought the number of men we would need would probably be forthcoming after a time. I think he said something like that; but he did not go so far as to say that he thought our forces were adequate to meet the commitments they have to face. He came nearer than any hon. Member opposite, with the exception of the Government Front Bench, to saying that, however. I feel very upset about this question of manpower and the strength of our forces.

The White Paper we have been debating in these two days seems to set out two main objectives of Government policy. The first objective is that we must have sufficient conventional forces in order to deal with any outbreak—"small outbreak" I think it is called in the White Paper—in any part of the world. The second objective is that we should make some adequate contribution to the nuclear deterrent of the West.

I feel that I ought to offer two observations, so to speak, from outside of military circles, on those matters. Practically no one in this debate has felt able to say that at present we have sufficient conventional strength to deal with our commitments. I am thinking of the small outbreaks with which the White Paper deals. But there is another point —and I do not think anyone can be dogmatic about it. If there should be not one of these small outbreaks but a war between major Powers that is not a nuclear war, no one can be sure that it will necessarily become a nuclear war. Many of us think it would, but I do not think anyone can be dogmatic about it.

Therefore, if one is to feel in any way secure, one has to have conventional forces to deal not only with small outbreaks which may occur in remote parts of the world but with the very much more serious situation of war between major Powers which is not a nuclear war and may never become a nuclear war.

I should be very surprised if anyone in this House were to say that our conventional forces were adequate to deal with that sort of situation. I add that I cannot see how they could possibly be; and it is a disturbing thought. We are spending £1,655 million on defence in the year dealt with by the White Paper, and 10 per cent. of it is for the contribution to the nuclear capabilities of the West. In other words, something like £1,490 million is being spent on conventional forces.

Sir O. Prior-Palmer

Ten per cent. is for nuclear defence.

Mr. Mallalieu

Therefore, what is left is the figure I quoted, £1,490 million. At any rate it is a colossal sum, just under £1,500 million. We simply cannot afford to spend that 10 per cent. on the nuclear deterrent for the West. Let him who will beat his breast never so publicly and say that we have no right to have these immoral weapons. For my part I am content to say that we simply cannot afford them. By far the better course seems to be to use whatever resources we have in providing such conventional defence as we are capable of producing. Unlike my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), I believe it is possible for a credible nuclear weapon or system of weapons to be a deterrent—not of every war, I agree with my right hon. Friend to that extent—of a big, all-out nuclear war. I believe that, except by accident or development from a non-nuclear war, nuclear war can be right out of our calculations. I am satisfied that neither side would ever dream of starting an all-out nuclear war.

Sir O. Prior-Palmer

Provided we had the deterrent.

Mr. Mallalieu

Provided the West—not we—had a credible nuclear deterrent. I want to keep that nuclear deterrent, but that does not mean that I want this country to produce it. I am not saying that we should get rid of it overnight. I listened to what the Secretary of State for War said about the cost of the bomber force. I may be wrong, but judging from the papers one is able to read, I believe this force is in any case ultimately far too expensive for us to keep, and I do not believe it is material or relevant when looked at as a part of the whole Western system of deterrence.

I have no doubt that if they were asked the Americans would say, "We would rather you had it than not," but that is not quite the point. The Americans. without us, are quite capable of destroying a great deal of the Soviet Union. I do not know how much, for I am not an expert. I doubt if very many hon. Members, apart from those on the Front Bench, could say what proportion the Americans are capable of destroying; but I believe it would be quite enough to be almost the complete destruction of things that matter therein. I do not think therefore the contribution we could make to that nuclear deterrent is relevant.

So much for what is in the White Paper. I must confess I am distressed about what is not in it. When we have heard all the technical and very knowledgeable arguments of those with practical experience of these defence matters, we are still left with the feeling that the real crux of this matter of defence is not armaments at all, but a system of controlled disarmament. I must give credit to the fact that in the White Paper there seems to be some recognition that unless we can have disarmament we will not have security.

My complaint about the Minister of Defence is that he has not indicated in the White Paper any way in which he hopes to achieve disarmament. Does he think that it is to be left entirely to the Foreign Office, the Prime Minister, or somebody else to devise a scheme which would give security by bringing disarmament? This is the crux of defence itself, yet the Minister of Defence does not apply his mind to the question and bring all his experts, scientific, military, naval and air, to devising a scheme which he would consider it safe to recommend to the country. If he did that, he could then leave it to the Foreign Office and the rest of the Government to try to persuade other Governments to fall in line.

There is nothing in the White Paper to indicate that the right hon. Gentleman has given thought to this matter. He has been bogged down amongst all the trees and is quite incapable of seeing the wood, and the wood in this matter is controlled, inspected disarmament, enforced by a World Security Authority capable of keeping the Peace. That should be his aim. If he had said that not only the Prime Minister but a number of his other colleagues had gone on record as wanting this and that he therefore made proposals for a World Authority which might have its own forces and which would be the recipient of all the arms of national states by controlled stages and which would have the power to go into all countries and inspect, we could all have agreed with him wholeheartedly. But because he, although he is the Minister of Defence, has left out that vital element in any policy for defence which is not to be wholly illusory, we must vote against the whole White Paper and register that fact in the Division tonight.

8.3 p.m.

Mr. Simon Wingfield Digby (Dorset. West)

The hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) made an interesting speech from an individualistic point of view. It was a speech which I tried to follow with close attention. The hon. and learned Member said that he was concerned with the problem of manpower. That has been one of the central features of the debate and the agreement on both sides of the House about it has been interesting.

The hon. Member went on to say that nobody could say that we had adequate military strength, and from that he went to the theory that a conventional war might become very large. I go a long way with the hon. and learned Member on that issue, but when he said that the 10 per cent. of our total defence expenditure spent on the deterrent should be spent on conventional forces, I wondered whether it would make all that much difference. It would be a sum of about £160 million, and I cannot see that it would make the kind of difference that we have been discussing.

Discussion has concentrated more and more on manpower, selective service, tactical nuclear weapons and the strength of Bomber Command. All those questions are difficult to discuss. With his great experience in these matters, the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) was very near the mark when he said that it was impossible in an assembly of this kind to discuss technical questions of defence, and that it was hard enough to discuss them at meetings in the Service Ministries. I agree with him, and I think that we are in danger of getting our sums slightly wrong. We are therefore bound to base our views on the information provided for us in this Defence White Paper and in those of the Services.

The key matters in the kind of issue we are discussing are often the secret issues. Using a certain amount of hindsight, it can be seen that what was really vital in 1939 in appreciating our position was the fact that we had radar and the Germans had not and that we had the eight-gun fighter and the Germans had not. Questions like the speed of aircraft, which seemed at that time essential, were comparatively unimportant. That leads me to the conclusion that it is technical advance which is important, and technical advance today is much swifter than it was in 1939 and those of us who sit on the back benches cannot hope to keep abreast of it.

For many years the defence of this country was based on the system of a two-Power Navy. We felt fairly secure if we had a Navy which could take on any two other navies. That was a fairly easy test to apply. At other times we, had other tests. However, the test for the strength we need today becomes more and more difficult. Even as astute a politician as Lord Randolph Churchill lost his position as Chancellor of the Exchequer and his career because he underestimated the feeling in the country about living up to that test and the degree of strength which we should have, through the Service Estimates.

What worries me about the present situation is that we implicitly seem to accept with these White Papers that there are two limitations to our defence. The test is not what we have to meet, which is very difficult to judge, but the two limitations, one of money and the other of men. More has been said in this debate on the subject of manpower than on the subject of money.

These difficulties are genuine, and I am not sure that the House has appreciated the extent to which in money terms we are already economising on defence. In the last year or so, I have put down Questions to the Minister of Defence the answers to which have revealed one or two interesting facts. For instance, in 1960–61, the Estimates were below the net expenditure in real terms for 1952–53. The expenditure is therefore going down and, expressed as a percentage of the gross national product, it has declined from 9.95 per cent. in 1952–53 to only 7.2 per cent. in 1959–60. Again we are spending only about two-thirds of the amount envisaged in 1950 for annual expenditure. In other words, in real terms we have economised in money as well as in manpower.

Mr. H. Hynd

But we are still to spend more than £40 million more than last year.

Mr. Digby

That is in money terms, but I am talking in real terms. It is well known that the Civil Estimates have gone up much more than the Service Estimates over the last four or five years.

I find another disquieting factor since we have abandoned conscription and gone over to voluntary recruitment. This is admittedly a difficult matter, but we are spending more and more on the fewer men we have, and 52 per cent. of the expenditure is being spent on pay and the ancillary services for men. Consequently, less and less is available to be spent on weapons, and we have only to open the White Paper to have it explained to us that today we can have only one bomber for the price of eight in 1946, so that the smaller element which we have to pay for the weapons cannot go nearly so far as it used to go.

Applying that money limitation to the Army, the first consequence is that a great deal more has to be spent because of recruiting considerations. I hope that the Secretary of State will tell me if I am wrong. I notice that it is proposed to spend no less than £11 million extra on work services in the coming year. Much of that is to go on married quarters, which is a good thing, but the Army had nearly 100 per cent. provision of married quarters some years ago and there must be redundant married quarters and yet more and more is being spent in that connection.

The Army will have more mobility and I congratulate the Secretary of State on his document which was encouraging and I qualify what I have said about weapons by saying that I was heartened by the number of new Army weapons of a modern type which have become available or are shortly to come into service and which my right hon. Friend is able to list.

I want now to deal with the effect of this money limitation on the Navy. In this case, the picture is not quite so rosy. We are all aware that by about this time the war-time tonnage was bound to be wearing out and the problem of the replacement of the Fleet bound to arise. It was always envisaged that some extra expenditure would be necessary if we were to keep the size of the Fleet at a reasonable level. The Navy statement shows that no fewer than 149 minesweepers are in reserve. It may be that the concentration on minesweepers after the Korean War was excessive, and I will not dwell on that issue. It is encouraging to find that we are building frigates of a new type—seven of the Tribal class being built and seven of the Leander on order or being built. That is a cheerful picture.

However, paragraph 48 and Appendix II of the Navy's Explanatory Statement lists ships completed and those scrapped and here the picture is not so rosy. Two cruisers have been completed and three scrapped and four destroyers and frigates have been completed and 18 scrapped. One fast minelayer has been scrapped, but none completed. Although I realise that a great deal of manpower is required to keep ships in reserve, more ships in reserve could be very useful. Indeed, at the Battle of Trafalgar "Victory" was no less than 40 years old and yet had not been scrapped. That may not be an exact analogy, but it shows the way in which ships can be scrapped a little too quickly.

The other thing about the state of the Fleet which worries me is that modern vessels are not coming along so well. Four guided missile ships are coming along, but none has yet been completed. Two more are to be ordered, which is a very good thing, but the American Navy already has a number of these ships, so the picture is not all that favourable.

The most noticeable fact about aircraft carriers is that the most modern, "Hermes" is a light carrier and not a fleet carrier and is of an old design. The question of the replacement of aircraft carriers for the Fleet is therefore coming up very fast. When is the new generation of aircraft carriers to be authorised or is it believed that manned aircraft has a comparatively short life? If they are to come along, I hope that the Minister of Defence will now authorise going ahead with the next generation of aircraft carriers and I hope that it will be possible to design a somewhat smaller ship than has been necessary up to now.

The most modern weapon of all is the Polaris submarine. One of the first actions of President Kennedy was immediately to order more of these boats, bringing the total number eventually available to the U.S. Navy to no fewer than 19. We have no: even one on order.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Thank God for that.

Mr. Digby

However short money is, it should be possible for the Royal Navy to find the money for development of that kind, particularly as it is by far the most effective way of delivering the deterrent which I believe we should have now.

Mr. H. Hynd

The hon. Member speaks with authority about the Navy after his experience at the Admiralty. In view of all this reduction in expenditure on the Navy, can he say something about the necessity for having nearly 80 admirals?

Mr. Digby

I should like to deal with that question another day, but I should have to digress too much to do so now.

There is the effect of this money limitation on the Air Force. Some of us had doubts before this afternoon as to how effective the V-bomber[...] were likely to be in the next four or five years with their free-falling bombs, and whether the time was not approaching, if it had not already arrived, when stand-off bombs should he carried. I was glad to hear the categorical assurance of the Secretary of State for Air.

Nevertheless, the powers of retaliation of the Russians against manned aircraft are not to be underestimated, and I was interested to read in the newspaper last Friday that Mr. John McCormack, majority leader in the United States House of Representatives had warned that Russia was developing an antimissile missile and had called on the United States Government to begin immediate production of the Army's Nike Zeus. Air defence is not standing still, and I am still somewhat disquieted about the planning for the delivery of the deterrent, and I hope that the Minister of Defence will again consider supplementing it with Polaris.

I turn now to the question of manpower limitation. I am not sure how much it is generally realised in the House that in 1952 we had no less than 8.8 per cent. of the population in the Forces, or supporting them. I do not know what the exact figure is today, but it is probably 4½ per cent., or half of what it was. That is always represented as a great gain for the economy of the country, and in many cases it is.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that not all of the men who ceased to work in an ordnance factory or to serve in the Forces are necessarily engaged in the export trade and, therefore, be contributing to our economic difficulties. The Armed Forces have already made a great contribution in manpower. My conclusion from these remarks is that we are in some difficulty in imposing these rather rigid limitations, as they appear to me, of manpower and money on the Services.

There has been fairly general agreement in the House that the time has come when we have to consider some form of selected service. Hon. Members have spoken a lot about 165,000 men for the Army, and of 180,000 men, but there has been little reference to the fact that that is something in the future and that today we have 232,000. Those difficulties are therefore a long way off, but they will have to be met. It has also been suggested that nowadays any de-Forces can be remedied by N.A.T.O., but ficiencies we may have in our own there have been many references in this debate to the number of divisions that N.A.T.O. has on the ground, and the fact that N.A.T.O., too, is a little short of manpower.

Another thing that worries me, and has worried me for a long time, is what appears to me to be a clash in strategic thought as between Storey's Gate—our own Ministry of Defence—and what is believed in N.A.T.O. That has led to a number of rather inconsistent things happening, such as our having to undertake obligations for N.A.T.O. which, under our own strategic thinking, would not have been necessary. I had hoped that that would have been ironed out by now. Earlier in the day, an hon. Member said that there was many strategic concepts as there are members of N.A.T.O. I would not put it as high as that, but there is still a cleavage between this country and N.A.T.O. on the concept of what war might be like. That should be dealt with as soon as possible.

There is also the question of how far independence would get us out of our difficulties. Progress has been somewhat disappointing there. Instead of weapons being ordered from us it is becoming, too an increasing degree, a question of dependence of everyone of America. That is not my view of interdependence, and I hope that we can improve on it.

For those various reasons, I hope the Minister of Defence will have another look at the general defence set up. In the days when we had a two-Power Navy we did not attempt to have a Continental Army as well. We attempted to have one service fully up to strength to defend the country. We now attempt three different Services, plus the N.A.T.O. deterrent. That is a very big task, and it means that none of the four have all that they would like to have. That, I think, is why the Minister of Defence was a few years ago given these overriding powers over the other services. With three Services there are bound to be prejudices, perhaps, and conceptions that are difficult to dislodge.

It is up to the Minister of Defence to have a good look at the general picture, and to strike a balance. If we are to have three Services plus a deterrent it is very difficult to strike the right balance. It is also very hard for the House of Commons to know exactly how it should be done, because we do not have access to the secret information or to intelligence. I hope that when we get another White Paper next year there may be more sign that a great deal of thought has been given to this very thorny question.

8.22 p.m.

Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)

The hon. Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) said that he was concerned about a clash in strategic thought between our chiefs of staff and the people who are in charge of N.A.T.O. That thought should be linked with one of the points made in a characteristic speech by the right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch). It is not everybody's cup of tea to find all the right hon. Gentleman's jocular remarks as funny as he himself finds them. On the other hand, he never fails to make a speech without at least leaving us with some thought that is as much a poser to the Government, or should be, as it it is to others who are interested in the subject.

The right hon. Gentleman said that we were in danger of experiencing—I hope that I quote him correctly—a permanent divorce between our diplomacy and our strategy. In many ways that is the crux of this debate, but I have not yet heard from any Government spokesman any contribution of real substance that would answer that problem. The right hon. Gentleman the Minister of Defence will be able to reply to this point, as it has been made by many hon. Members; when he replies tonight he may deal with the matter at some length as it should be dealt with.

When we talk about a permanent divorce between our diplomacy and our strategy, we have to keep in mind that it is common ground between us that we are talking at great length about armaments and strategy because we want to avoid war. Some people occasionally allege that Her Majesty's Ministers are less keen in maintaining peace than they themselves are, but that is generally a good deal of nonsense.

We all realise that, on the edge of potential nuclear war, to make such allegations and to discuss them is a waste of time. I am quite satisfied, as I am sure my right hon. and hon. Friends are—and, of course, as are Government supporters—that every member of the Cabinet is equally frightened of the sort of situation that may arise in which certain decisions have to be taken that they want to avoid for all time.

What is far more true is that the Government are in danger of sticking to a strategy that so limits their choice in either taking a diplomatic initiative themselves, or of responding to a diplomatic initiative of a hopeful kind, taken, perhaps, by other nations. That is the link between foreign policy and strategy in this debate.

It is clear that one of the reasons why the Government are often in difficulty in N.A.T.O. discussions is not so much disagreement over purely strategic points, but much more a disagreement over policies and strategy that are not seen in the same way by all the N.A.T.O. Governments. I was rather encouraged by a statement made by the Foreign Secretary at a recent conference. Incidentally, I wish that we could have the Foreign Secretary here so that we might hear some of those statements from his own lips, but that is not to be. I was rather encouraged, as I say, when he said to his colleagues at N.A.T.O. level that we must have a strategy and that the weapons must fit into it, and not have the weapons and fit the strategy to them.

The coolness which the Government has sc far displayed to the Norstad plan is all to the good. That is a point at which policy might develop dangerously, and everyone should encourage the Government to continue their resistance to any attempt to impose the Norstad plan upon N.A.T.O., and upon Britain as a partner in N.A.T.O.

Why has the Norstad plan been developed? It has not been developed just because General Norstad suddenly decided one day that there should be a spread of nuclear weapons. Nor did he do it, I believe, merely to hand one of the keys of the cupboard to other nations. I believe that he also is tied to a dangerous strategy and that the Norstad plan is the result of basing N.A.T.O.'s defence plans as well as it's political ideas upon the nuclear strategy.

I think that General Norstad 'will have to be called back severely, and I was encouraged to think that he will be after I had spoken to an American Congressman who is of some influence in America. When he was in Paris he was appalled to find the General producing his plan. Whilst I realise that it is rather difficult for the Government to make public statements about that aspect it is important to put on record that there are many members of the United States Administration and in the United States Congress who are opposed to the conception of the Norstad plan. It is all the more important that we should point out the dangers and as I say there is good hope of blocking it altogether. Far more important is that if this Norstad plan is not adopted there may be other similarly dangerous plans unless we can change our strategy.

When I said that there was a danger that the Government would not be able to reply to hopeful initiatives of a diplomatic nature from other countries, let me say that I have no illusions about the great difficulty that has been caused in recent years by the attitude which the Soviet Government have sometimes adopted in international conferences. But let us be careful not to put the blame entirely on the shoulders of one Government. It is important to remember that in recent years there have been many changes of attitude on the part of the Soviet Administration, and it is quite clear that at the present time there are a number of difficulties which the Soviet Administration is experiencing in relation to its allies and we ought to be careful about the part we play.

If I might contribute a small personal experience, on a recent occasion—not during the London discussions, but during another round table conference abroad—I had an opportunity to discuss some of these matters with Soviet delegates. As we know, Soviet delegates express the official point of view. Although the Soviet Foreign Secretary was not amongst the party, it was an official delegation led by Mr. Alexander Korneychug, a member of the Supreme Soviet, and a leading figure in the Soviet Union.

I was deeply impressed by the seriousness, the respect, and the spirit of conciliation with which these delegates spoke about the new American Administration, the eagerness they showed in getting into serious discussions with Members of this House and, above all, how little interested they were in people who agreed with them all the time and how much time they spent and how keen they were to argue with people who disagreed with them on some points and who criticised some of the policies they pursued.

One of the hopeful initiatives put forward in recent years was the Rapacki Plan, and similar plans, that might be broadly classified as plans to create confidence by either thinning out troops or removing nuclear arms from a given zone. I thought that that was an initiative that would lead to disengagement. I put it to the Soviet delegates and said that it had been alleged in the French, German and Italian Press that the Soviet Government had cooled off in their support for the Rapacki Plan. The reply that I received showed that the Soviet Government supported the plan. It is common knowledge that the Government have recently frowned on this and similar plans, and this is where the dangerous tendency to which the right hon. Member for Flint, West referred comes into operation.

I am reminded of another experience some years ago when on one occasion I asked one of the N.A.T.O. commanders at a Press conference in one of the N.A.T.O. capitals what would happen if many of the difficulties that we found in the then Soviet attitude towards a plan of disarmament were to be removed by a change of mind. The general, who was then in a high position in N.A.T.O., went to a map on the wall and said, "We have certain strategic positions here and there, and we have certain tactical positions in some other places, and it would be extremely difficult for us to change them". That is the danger.

We are all agreed that changing our strategy raises very difficult political problems at home as well as abroad, and we ought to overlook some of the gibes that have been made in this debate. It is unworthy of the House to have hon. Members, in particular right hon. Members on the Treasury Bench, spending so much time discussing and dissecting the attitudes of individuals and making allegations that are a complete waste of time. It is better that we should return to the seriousness of this debate. I say this in no spirit of superiority. I say it because I am convinced that there are many hon. Members on both sides of the House who do not have any time for those attacks, and I am deeply disappointed at the attitude adopted by the Secretary of State for Air and by some of the comments that he made.

There is one reason why a large number of people are fearful about the consequences of nuclear power. There is one reason why 5,000 young people sat on the steps in front of the Ministry of Defence, about which the right hon. Gentleman complained. I speak as one Who does not agree with their point of view and who did not participate and does not intend to participate in future, because that is not my outlook. I speak in a neutral and objective way. There is great anxiety among many people about where this policy will lead us. Whether we agree with them or not, instead of sneering at them, we ought to treat them as honourable people, Who, in one of the ways that have become traditional, expressed their point of view. The task of the Government is not to sneer, but to provide a policy that will remove the anxiety.

May I turn to the strategic paper MC 70, which has been the N.A.T.O. paper in recent years in these matters. We find now that the Minister of Defence in Western Germany, Herr Strauss, is complaining to some extent about the attitude of the British Government. May I say, at the outset, that I am not prepared to accept immediately the word of the West German Minister of Defence when he criticises the Cabinet, but I think that it is incumbent on the Government to reply to his speech and to tell the House of Commons what the disagreements really are.

Here, I come to one point Which has been introduced again by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Flint, West, when he said there are some hon. Members on this side Who always adopt a harsh and rather hostile attitude when we discuss the development of the German Army. It is unworthy of the right hon. Gentleman to make these allegations about hon. Members on this side, who have at least as good as record as anyone in turning a friendly hand towards Germany as soon as the fighting was over. I have previously said, and I will say again, that there are many hon. Members who were still in uniform when they started to do what they could to develop new democratic institutions in Western Germany. but there is serious concern whether the policy of Her Majesty's Government might not lead in the direction of placing mare and more of the responsibility for the military defence of the Western nations upon Germany.

I, for one, will regard that as a very dangerous development indeed. There are signs that we are beginning to weaken in some of the limiting principles that we adopted without dissent some years ago, when the question of German rearmament was discussed. There is now a plan afoot to change the arrangement for the supply of twelve German U-boats—a very small number—that have been contemplated into the large number of 92 of a smaller kind. It is argued that there is no trouble about that because we have Germany tied to N.A.T.O.; we have a democratic officer corps and there is nothing to worry about. It is important to put on record that the next commander-in-chief of the German Navy, Admiral Zenker, who will take office this spring, is on record today as a supporter of Admiral Doenitz, who was the last head of the National Socialist State. I have grave doubts as to whether a Navy commanded by a man now publicly supporting Admiral Doenitz and what Admiral Doenitz stood for, is the right man to inspire confidence when we discuss the contribution that Germany is to make.

What is far more important is that the German contribution is decided upon and we are all a party to it. One cannot turn back the wheel of history. What is important, and what I am afraid of, and so are many people outside the House—some of the anxiety expressed about our strategy is linked to this problem—is that our military and strategic affairs might be so managed that it will appear almost as if the easiest solution would be to transfer the major contribution to Western Germany. There is danger also in the outlook we have seen developing in recent months, namely, the idea that because one has to have a nuclear strategy at N.A.T.O. level it is impossible to contemplate any beginning of disengagement in Europe. The Government are always saying that they are in favour of disarmament and in favour of peace. If course they are, but the Government have never yet explained what advice has been received from the N.A.T.O. commander and from the people who control strategy at N.A.T.O. level, on the possibility of continuing what the Prime Minister said at his Moscow Conference with Mr. Khrushchev about studying the policies of disengagement a little further. My information is, and I think it is the information in the hands of many hon. Members—it was certainly said in Paris at the time—that the people responsible for N.A.T.O. strategy were appalled when they heard that the Prime Minister of Great Britain agreed to any such study. It was said in Bonn that Dr. Adenauer had opposed strongly any such study and development. When the Minister of Defence introduced the debate he said that he had asked N.A.T.O. for a reappraisal of the strategy that had been developed at N.A.T.O. level. But he did not tell us very much as to what kind of proposal the British Government are putting forward or as to what sort of change they would regard as advisable.

I do not think that this has anything to do with security, or to do with things that cannot be discussed in the House of Commons. If the Minister of Defence, on behalf of the Cabinet, is asking N.A.T.O. for a strategic reappraisal, the House of Commons has a right to know in which direction his thought is developing. It is important that before the debate concludes tonight he should tell us what is in the Government's mind.

Finally, I turn to the problems involved in Anglo-American co-operation as they concern strategy and diplomacy. Recently, there have been encouraging developments in the United States. Nobody has been more delighted to hear of these developments than hon. Members on this side. One has often heard over the years that a spirit of anti-Americanism had been developing among some Members of the House of Commons. This nonsense is now being openly dispelled for all to see.

What some hon. Members were gravely disturbed about during the time when Mr. Dulles was deciding the policy of the State Department, and when the generals of the Pentagon were making political speeches deciding political policy for themselves and, they hoped, for us as well, has been the fear that because of the new weapons and their tremendous development in the United States, the policies that followed the development of these weapons might, in the end, lead to action that would make war unavoidable.

Now, there are reports from the United States that President Kennedy is changing some of those attitudes. This offers an opportunity for Her Majesty's Government. When there is this hopeful change in attitude at the White House, I am worried lest we lag behind. We should be ready and should be preparing plans and proposals to put to the United States Government. If we miss these opportunities, the Government will have a serious case to answer. There is a great deal of discussion about the weapons involved. Our main anxiety concerning these weapons has been put effectively from this side of the House by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and I need not waste time by adding to it. There is, however, one point which I should like to re-emphasise.

In all these negotiations and discussions with the United States about the kind of contribution that Britain should make, are we putting sufficient emphasis upon the kind of rôle that, in a conflict that might arise somewhere, conventional weapons should play? Are we discussing mainly with the Americans the kind of contribution that we can make, or how we can be tied into the American system of nuclear weapon development?

I can understand, to some extent, the Government's anxiety. Although I am opposed to their case, it can be argued with a certain amount of reason. Whenever the Prime Minister has made statements on the subject, he has always argued that he deliberately wishes Britain to be tied as closely as possible to any nuclear development that the United States Government might undertake. Although he has never said in so many words, I understand his case to be that he would rather we were tied into all these things than other people.

If that is the aim in our negotiations with the Americans on these matters, is there not a danger that we are overlooking to demand of the American Government co-operation in developing conventional forces that might be able to deal with the sort of situation that most people who have spoken in this debate envisage? Like other hon. Members, whenever I have travelled through some of the trouble spots, I have become more and more convinced that the only real danger would be a disagreement in a certain area—not only in Europe, but Europe is, certainly, one of the danger places—which would require not only immediate decision on the weapons to be used, but previous decision on the kind of strategic build-up to be given right from the beginning to the countries which might be involved.

When the Minister of Defence replies for the Government tonight, we should be told whether he is exclusively discussing with the United States our being tied to American plans for the development of nuclear weapons. With the United States Government in the reasonable frame of mind which President Kennedy is now beginning to display, and with the greater emphasis being shown in Washington on the development of conventional forces, is this not the time to get together with the American Government to rearrange our policy, to reduce in the first instance and then to remove our imbalanced dependence upon nuclear strategy and, having made that decision, to take up the helpful response that might thereby be produced in other countries?

In spite of the many difficulties which have arisen overseas concerning the relations between the major Powers, I regard 1961 as a more hopeful year than we have seen for some time. I am desperately anxious that in continuing a dangerous strategic policy we should not do anything that would make it impossible to use these opportunities for the peace of the world and for the security of our people.

8.46 p.m.

Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

It is with some diffidence that I speak at this time of night, because there have been so many speeches that it is almost inevitable that the points one wishes to make have already been covered. I hope that the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. Mendelson) will forgive my not following him, but I do not consider his style of speaking to be singularly apposite to this debate. Perhaps on other occasions when dealing with more peaceful subjects the hon. Member will fire out his words less in verse so that on occasions it will be possible to follow him.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

My hon. Friend was hurrying to give the noble Lord a chance to speak.

Viscount Lambton

I am sure that everyone in the House will sympathise with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence in the position which he finds himself. Today, he is trying to defend the indefensible. For four years, certain hon. Members on this side, and hon. Members opposite, including the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), have been particularly perturbed by the decline of our conventional forces. Again and again, we have tried to demonstrate how concerned we were, but to no avail. The time has now come when we find ourselves with an Army, a Navy and an Air Force which almost without argument, certainly without logical argument, are too weak to enable us to fulfil our commitments. As hon. Members have said, there is no doubt that it is impossible to divorce the actual strength of our position from our foreign and colonial policies. If we do not have the means to enforce a decision, every political move we make is suspect because it is in no way backed by reality.

I wish to try to show that it is almost impossible for us to manage with 165,000 men without running the gravest of risks and ultimately, perhaps, running the risk of putting our conventional forces into personal danger. It is common knowledge, so often has it been discussed in the House, that five years ago Sir Richard Hull made a report in which he estimated that the minimum force which this country should have if it was to be able to fulfil its commitments was about 200,000 to 210,000 men. What we tend to forget is how things have changed since he made that report.

The wind of change about which we hear so much has not been the only wind to blow during the last few years. A very cold wind of deterioration has been blowing against the whole position of the West. Although it could be argued that, five years ago, the position in the Middle East was unstable, as it is now, conditions in the Far East have deteriorated to a very marked degree. There is the situation in Laos. There is the possible resurgence of the rebellion in Malaya. We must never forget that just over the frontier remain, perhaps, a thousand men, enough to make a nucleus to start the whole thing going again. Also, there is Communist infiltration into Indonesia and the undoubted ambition of President Sukarno.

The real difference between conditions then and now is that, during the last five years, Communism has made enormous advances in areas which were then closed to it. It is hardly an exaggeration to say that, five years ago, Africa was a settled continent. There were then nothing like the dangers and stresses affecting it now. Looking round the world, one can see that Communism is a force from Laos to Cuba, having, for the first time, as it were, effectively crossed the Atlantic. Indeed, I think that it is impossible to say that General Hull, were he to sit down today to write a report, would be able to estimate that we should fulfil our commitments with 200,000 men.

I believe that this deterioration is a fact. I cannot conceive of any argument to show that it is not a fact, and certainly there have come no arguments from the Front Bench to show that it is not a fact. Is it, therefore, really wise or feasible to try to meet the deteriorated situation with an army 40,000 or 50,000 below the minimum strength estimated to be necessary five years ago when the world situation was so different?

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

So the noble Lord wants to conscript our lads.

Mr. H. Hynd (Accrington)

It is all very well to talk about a deterioration from Laos to Cuba, but surely that is not just the affair of the British Forces? That is what we are in the United Nations for. The British Army is not the policeman of the world.

Viscount Lambton

We have seen from events in the Congo that the United Nations is not an effective policeman of the world either. [HON. MEMBERS: "And why is that?"]

What I want the House to consider is whether we can perform our duties and meet the risks we run, and whether it is possible to have a foreign and colonial policy, backed by such fundamental weakness. As I have said, I have the very greatest sympathy with my right hon. Friend. He faces a vast expenditure which really amounts to one quarter of the whole Budget, and, as we all know, every hon. Member is looking always for opportunities to curtail the expenditure of every Ministry. It is only to be expected that my right hon. Friend would curtail expenditure and economise as much as he possibly could. I question only whether his curtailments have been in the right direction.

I believe that it is possible to have a deterrent policy within the framework of our present expenditure. Although I believe that my right hon. Friend and his predecessors were right to maintain the independent deterrent, it has always seemed wrong to me that we should spend upon it sums which, although they were too big for us, and we have been spending annually about ten times more than we really could afford, made us no match for Russia. I associate myself with the speech made yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones), who argued that we really cannot match Russia's efficiency. Of course we cannot, and it is a pity that we should try to do so.

The strength of our position at the moment would seem to be in our relationship with N.A.T.O. and our relationship with America. By having an independent nuclear weapon, we are in a position to be able to start exactly the kind of nuclear war which Russia cannot allow to be fought. So long, therefore, as we have a nuclear weapon, it seems hardly relevant how efficient it is, whether we are five, ten, or even fifty years behind Russia. The point is that we have a weapon of initiation at our disposal.

This being so, I should have thought that it was possible for us to curtail our very considerable expenditure on nuclear weapons and to concentrate upon putting ourselves in a position where we could check the Russians in that sphere where they are showing an inclination to act and where they can act effectively, that is to say, indirect intervention in areas which are still at the moment committed to the West. If this is the reasoning there is no alternative to the return of conscription.

I should like to turn to another aspect of what I might describe as our policy of weakness. Does it allow us a foreign or colonial policy? This is not the occasion for arguing the rights and wrongs of our African policy. Suffice it to say that by the wind of change we have encouraged a belief throughout the whole of Africa that the day of the white man is over. That belief is not shared by the white man, as we have seen in the last few weeks. There is, therefore, a growing tension between the two races. There is the tendency of the white man to entrench and the tendency of the black African to advance. What will happen if they clash? It is surely possible to imagine circumstances in which a number of people of British descent are in danger of losing their lives or, considering the temperature in South Africa, there might be incidents within the Protectorates. If this were to happen, would not there be an intense desire in this country to go to their aid?

There is also the question of the Federation. Will it break up? If so, with what will we enforce order in Nyasaland? This argument also cuts the other way and is cutting against the Government at the moment. If our present colonial policy is adhered to, with what will we impose the new Constitution in Rhodesia and how will we administer law and order there? In any event, I think that hon. Members on both sides of the House agree that there is a strong likelihood or possibility of the use of troops in Central Africa. The question which I should like to ask my right hon. Friend is: have we these troops?

Another thing which we cannot forget is that the Army is built on the supposition that it will be 200,000 stdong. When it is manned by 40,000 less than this number, can it be an adequate fighting force? Our troops in Germany at the moment are a reserve force. What effect will this have on our policy in Europe? What effect will it have on our Territorial Army if it is suddenly told to carry out garrison duties for almost endless periods in Europe?

These are the questions which have been asked again and again by hon. Members behind me and by right hon. and hon. Members opposite in the debate. How can an Army which is stretched beyond its limit enforce force? We have had in the White Paper a complete evasion of all these questions. My right hon. Friend's speech was an elegant discourse, but it was almost irrelevant in detail. Does my right hon. Friend think—and by his answer he will be judged by the House—that we can manage with an Army of 160,000 men? If he does, will he be good enough to tell us how?

8.58 p.m.

Mr. George Brown (Belper)

I am sure that everyone will agree that the tone of the speech of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) sums up the tenor of the debate to which the Minister has had to listen—hardly an uncompromising hon. Friend over there and a good many open critics over here. It is salutory to remember at this point in our defence development—the end of the five-year plan, which was so grandly introduced—that there is no one, in the House, among informed commentators in the Press or elsewhere, who feels that the Government are matching up to the challenge which they have to face.

We have had a very good debate. We heard an outstanding maiden speech from the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings). We had an extraordinary contrast between the opening speech of the Minister of Defence and that of my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). As the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed said, the Minister's speech was full of irrelevancies. He called it elegant. I do not know that I would go as far as that. But it was not very pointed, whereas the speech of my hon. Friend took up all the issues which are worrying people very much. We had a similar speech from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hall Green (Mr. Aubrey Jones).

I have warned the Minister that I would say what I now propose to say. He said that perhaps he would not be present to hear me say it. We have had a debate marred only by the extraordinary speech of the Secretary of State for Air, which I thought was one of the poorest and most juvenile to which I have ever had to listen. Accusations about rats, about winds up the back, really do not lie in the mouth of right hon. and hon. Members who had their record in the 1930s. If that kind of studied offensiveness is to be the order of the day, it will be replied to in kind and, if I may say so, the right hon. Gentleman may himself be giving hostages to fortune.

That we choose to raise issues which seem to us to matter ought to be an occasion for a studied and effective reply from the other side and not merely for taking refuge in the kind of juvenile abuse which anyone can manage. It looked very much like a little boy getting into a man's battle and, devoid of real weapons, picking up such mud as he could find and trying to throw it. The only Member who retired from the battlefield mud bespattered was the right hon. Gentleman himself. I thought that that was the one unpleasant part of the whole debate, upon which I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will reflect when he goes away from here.

The outstanding thought in my mind was that the Minister and the Government had completely failed to grasp one essential fact. The ending of Blue Streak in the spring of last year ended more than a project. It ended the whole defence concept, it ended the whole outlook, and it seems to me that the Government are still grasping at something which they themselves put an end to. They are grasping at straws. Any mention of Skybolt encourages them to go on hoping that, may be, the ending of Blue Streak did not have the effect that it did.

The ending of Blue Streak was what ended the era, but since then they have been grasping at any straw that they can get, and the grasping at Skybolt is an attempt to carry on an outlook, a concept, a philosophy of defence which, in fact, finished when they ended Blue Streak.

References in the White Paper to which the right hon. Member for Hall Green referred, the starting of a real insurance of our own in case Skybolt in turn fails, is, in fact, an attempt to grasp at a new way of avoiding what the Government themselves finished in the spring of last year when they put an end to that particular project.

There are four major questions which have emerged during this debate. The first is the question of the Western strategic deterrent and our role in it, if we have one. The second is the Western Alliance and what its strategy should be and what should be our contribution to it. The third is the nature and the size of the forces that we should raise, in particular, thinking of those other than our contribution to our alliance. The fourth is the provision we should make for those forces, not only in arms and equipment but, in particular, by way of mobility. I hope to deal with all four of those questions. It is our contention that none of those four points is answered sensibly in the White Paper and that neither were they answered in the speech of the Minister of Defence.

The reason why we have tabled a flat Amendment of no confidence in the Government is there can be no effective defence for this country until it is possible to say that the Government are answering those questions sensibly and vigorously. We find ourselves, with the noble Lord the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed and the right hon. Member for Hall Green and others, unable to say that at this moment. Indeed, I feel that the comparison between this period and what the Government are doing and what happened in the 1930s is a rather frighteningly true comparison. I find the comparison between the present Minister of Defence and the them Co-ordinator for Defence, Sir Thomas Inskip, also frighteningly true.

Let me come, first, to the issue of the Western strategic deterrent and our role in it. The right hon. Gentleman emphasised a great deal the power of the V-bombers, with their atomic weapons—so long as they could get through—and the power they have to drop a devastating load wherever it may he decided to drop it. I do not dispute that the V-bombers form a very powerful force. In relation to the American force, our V-bombers are a tiny force, but in terms of the power they can unload they are a powerful force. But what the Minister seems unwilling to face is that it is a force that is dying.

This was the whole point made in 1957 by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, as he now is, when he introduced his concept of the new defence. He then recognised that this was to be a dying force and sought some way of continuing to be able to provide the same power. In fact, as I said just now, when the Minister cut off that idea last spring he left us simply with a force—however powerful in its hey-day—which now has a time limit put to it. Easily made and forceful claims which Ministers have made for this force compare very ill with the claims made only in the last few days for the ability of Lightning fighters to shoot down such a force as our V-bombers. We are trying to have it both ways.

The position seems to be that the capacity of the V-bomber force is now on the decline. It used to be said that it would end by the mid-1960s, but with a slight change of wording it has now become 1970—we have introduced a decade. This idea was first introduced a year ago, but I have never seen any evidence to support it, except the existence of Blue Steel, which had a short stand-off capacity, and Skybolt, the non-existent straw which the Government go on so desperately clutching.

The real problem which has been raised by right hon. and hon. Friends again and again, and the problem which the Government have to face, is that at the point where the V-bombers, our present deterrent force, ceases to be effective, what then? In paragraph 26 of the White Paper there is a suggestion that there will be a new generation of airplanes after the current V-bombers. To me, that seems nonsense in terms of what is happening in the development of aircraft and in military development in particular, and nonsense in terms of money.

Incidentally, it makes absolute nonsense of the declaration of the Secretary of State for Air that capital investment had reached its peak and was now declining. If we are to have a new generation of atomic bombers we shall be in for a markedly increased capital expenditure.

Mr. Amery

The only point I was making was that, as expenditure on the deterrent capacity I was describing is declining, there would be a margin for any other plans which it was decided to proceed with.

Mr. Brown

That is not what the right hon. Gentleman said, as a reference to HANSARD will show. He has twice intervened to explain what he said, and each explanation has been different. He said that we were over the hump with capital investment and it would now be declining. But that will not be so if we are to have a new generation of bombers, as it is suggested in paragraph 26 of the White Paper that we should have.

I pose this question direct to the Minister of Defence: why do not the Government face the consequences of their decision? Had Blue Streak gone on there might have been a continuing capacity. I leave out the question of whether the decision to scrap it was right or wrong, but there might have been a continuing capacity. Blue Streak is not going on, however. Why, then, do the Government not now face the consequences and realise that there cannot be a British independent strategic nuclear deterrent?

We can go on pouring money down the drain. We can go on inventing new marks of our V-bombers. We can try to invent a new generation of bombers, as the Government suggest, but we cannot have an independent deterrent after that. What, then, can we do? The Minister says that we can go for Sky-bolt, and then reinsure by going for something else of our own. He says in the White Paper that from a combination of sources there will be a number of possibilities.

But the only possibility is Skybolt. I shall not reopen the argument about whether Skybolt will ever come into existence. I have grave doubts, and so has everybody who has visited the United States and has discussed this—everybody, that is to say, except the Minister of Defence.

Yesterday, my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said that even if Skybolt arrived it could not be an independent deterrent because it would reach us—if it ever reaches us—from the Americans under strict control and with tight strings attached. This was vigorously taken up by the Secretary of State for Air, who said that this was not so, that there was an agreement under which we were to buy Skybolt, and that none of these things applied to it.

When we challenged him, he sat down and hurriedly consulted his right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence, then rose again and said that there was an agreement to sell Skybolt to us and that any suggestion that strict control would be applied was untrue. I have looked up what the Minister of Defence has told us. He said, last June: The United States Secretary of Defence and I agreed that if the Skybolt missile is successfully developed, and is compatible with the Mk 2 V-bombers, Her Majesty's Government will place an order with the United States Government for a number of missiles and their associated equipment. Discussions will start as soon as possible to settle the financial and technical arrangements for cooperation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 22nd June, 1960; Vol. 625, c. 395.] That concerned co-operation in development. I ask the Minister of Defence to "come clean" on this. Is it not true that the only agreement that so far exists is an agreement on cooperation in Skybolt's development, and that, contrary to what the Secretary of State for Air said, at this moment no agreement exists on the terms on which we shall buy it, if we do buy it? How can there be? So far, the Americans themselves have not decided to order it. They do not know what it will be like when it is produced, or how much it will cost. How can what the Secretary of State for Air says be true? I submit that what my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said is true.

This will not be, this cannot be, an independent deterrent. This will be something which we get, if we get it at all, by virtue of somebody else's say-so, on the conditions that somebody else applies. That being so, the attempt to call it an independent deterrent is merely a way of completely hoodwinking ourselves and leading us on, not only to spending money which we ought not to be spending, but to completely distorting the kind of defence philosophy we ought to have and the kind of forces we can or should provide.

The only real conclusion out of all this is that we must make the alliance effective, because it is in the alliance that we shall have to find our deterrent support. Therefore, the effectiveness of the alliance, its policy, strategy and control, is the issue to which we should now be turning our attention. That brings me to the question of the Western Alliance. I notice in paragraph 13 of the White Paper some rather amusing references to the Military support we are providing for CENTO and S.E.A.T.O., but there is really not very much in CENTO and S.E.A.T.O. to justify anybody talking about our military support. It is, in fact, N.A.T.O. with which we are concerned.

Here, if we accept that the deterrent force in the alliance is to be provided by America and is to operate for the alliance—and there is no way round that problem for us—then we ought to be looking at the problem of reforming the political structure and nature of the alliance. We need to find somewhere within the alliance to give effect to our needs and the needs of other members, to have a hand in what goes on, to have a say in what happens, and to have a hand in the politics and in the control. We need structural changes. The reason why Her Majesty's Government do not do this, or get on with this at the meetings of N.A.T.O., is, I think, as much as anything because if one accepts the very clear corollary of their own decision, this is what we must do.

Then, we must turn our attention to its military shape. We must see clearly what is the purpose of the alliance. The purpose of the military forces of the alliance is to provide a shield. It is to be a repellent, not to be a deterrent, because a strategic deterrent is something that we have separately. If we could get clear the nature of the shield force of S.H.A.P.E., very many of the things we have been discussing today and yesterday about the kind of forces it ought to have and the sort that we ought to provide would be rather easier to settle.

We could get rid of the temptation to go in for a N.A.T.O. atomic pool. The Minister, in his speech, knocked down the idea of a strategic pool, but did not say one single word about the idea of a Polaris pool as a tactical pool. I think that what my hon. Friends have said about the absurdity of trying to draw a distinction between a pool of Polaris missiles, calling them sometimes tactical and sometimes strategic, has really gone home. We cannot have a pool of these weapons unless we are to use them in a role which will start off a strategic atomic war, and we ought to get this clear and ought completely to oppose any suggestion of setting up such a N.A.T.O. pool. It is absolute nonsense to suggest that we can distinguish between one and the other.

It seems to my right hon. and hon. Friends that we must get back as quickly as we can from the idea of the purpose of S.H.A.P.E. and SACEUR. That is to provide a shield to repel aggression and to do that, if at all possible, conventionally. It may well be that at this time the forces have been so run down that we cannot take the atomic fire power out, but it must be our purpose, as we say in our new document, to get back as quickly as we can to a situation in which we can say that N.A.T.O. does not need to react nuclearly to an attack which itself is conventional.

I have no doubt that the Minister has read it, so I shall not waste time reading it to the House, but I was looking at an article in The Times about the nuclearisation of the Rhine Army. It is a very frightening description of what has happened to our own forces. I quote one short paragraph: Through no fault of its own, Rhine Army is not organised to react promptly with conventional weapons, because manpower shortages and frequent changes in personnel make it impossible to keep a high enough state of readiness. The article also says: On their present tight establishments infantry battalions will have to eat into their rifle companies to man them and the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers are unlikely to be able to provide enough mechanics to maintain them. If the Rhine Army is in that state of absolute dependence on nuclear weapons, what is the use of the Secretary of State claiming, as he did this afternoon and as the Minister did yesterday, that these are the formations from which we might have to pull out the forces to act in a "brush fire" incident somewhere else? If that is their state of organisation they would not be very much use in a "brush fire" incident. They are completely immobilised for that sort of purpose. I press the Minister and right hon. and hon. Members opposite to recognise that there is something quite impossible in the present attitude of the Service Departments, and, therefore, of the equipment of their forces in atomic weapons and capacity to react to a conventional incident.

I turn to the question of the forces that we provide. There has been a great deal of double talk on this. In the annexe to the White Paper, on page 12—to which my hon. Friend the Member for Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) referred earlier today—there is an absolute attempt to think that tomorrow will do what today and yesterday have failed to do. The very inaccurate forecast for April this year is now carried forward to April of next year. Every time we mention this the Minister is apt to say, "Are you trying to help recruiting or not? Are you doing any good by referring to the difficulties?" We in Parliament must face the difficulties, and the difficulties are very clear. We shall not, by the end of 1962, reach the desired figure, the optimum figure or the absolute minimum figure. We shall be short, on the figures published in the White Paper, by some thousands of all those.

This is not our problem. It is easy to say to us, "What would you do?" It is the Government's own problem. They will be very nearly a brigade short on the lowest figure anybody ever mentioned, and the lowest figure is itself about 40,000 short of that which the Hull Committee thought was required. We are bound to ask what the Government intend to do about it.

Various hon. Members have gone into the question of selective service. Only certain things can be done—and this is where the Secretary of State applied the word "ratting" to us. We can cut our commitments, saying that we do not have enough men to have them in all these places, or we can leave a few men pretending that they are adequate for the job. That is a bad thing to do, but in some cases it is what we are now doing. We could also find some other ways of getting enough men to do the job, but the Government have to do one of those things.

In my view, selective service is not nearly as attractive an operation as some hon. Members opposite have pretended. It means calling up one in twenty or one in fifty of an age group. It means a whole lot of exemptions and exceptions and it means considerably disorganising a unit's efficiency to take account of training and other problems which a small number of men import. I do not see that selective service is the answer.

But saying that does not solve the problem. We are still left with too few men. There is only one thing to do, and that is to look at the map in the right hon. Gentleman's White Paper and find some places from which we can take some men. Unless we do that, we are stuck. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is your job."] It is not my job. The Government have produced the problem and they now have to solve it, and leaving half a company where there ought to be a battalion is no answer. Leaving units in the B.A.O.R. so under-strength that they have to rely on very quick atomic reaction is no answer.

Ministers have to deal with this problem and deal with it quickly. They might reorganise the Army—I have no time to deal with that now, but we will be able to discuss it on the Army Estimates—and the Army could be reorganised to provide greater flexibility with more teeth and less tail. That has its disadvantages, but it may be another way of solving the problem. I have always thought that there was a case for doing that rather than the way the reorganisation was carried through.

The Navy might have rather more men and some commitments now carried by the Army might be carried by the Navy and the Marines organised differently. That is not my business. The problem exists and if the defences of the country are to carry our confidence, the Government have to show that they are dealing with the problem. I assure the House that otherwise, by the end of next year, we will be in the position of pretending to carry commitments that we are not carrying and that everybody else will know that we are not carrying and we shall be hoodwinking ourselves.

Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)


Mr. Brown

I am sorry that I cannot give way; I promised to sit down by half-past nine.

I want, finally, to deal with the question of equipment and mobility. The Secretary of State slid off this issue much too easily. If we are as short of men as this—and there is no doubt that we are—mobility becomes of enormous importance. If some brigade groups in Germany are to be regarded as available for other commitments, then the ability to get them and their equipment to those other commitments is tremendously important.

It is no use telling us that the Government can move more men than they could at Suez, for it would be a terrible indictment if they could not. They have to move their equipment with them and it is no use tossing aside Operation "Starlight" as easily as the Secretary of State did today. Operation "Starlight", with the moving of 175 tons of equipment and more than 4,000 men, was a terrible example of what we can do. It is no use talking about Beverleys and Hastings, as the Secretary of State did, as the way by which we can move these forces, because the limit of those aircraft is a tremendous obstacle. We will need to move men with ample equipment over very large distances and the Beverley will not operate over those distances.

I will not detail my researches, but I read an interesting account in the Economist which said that a recent armoured carrier was several inches too wide to fit into the new Argosy transport, so that we have to have either a new carrier or a new aircraft. We are completely without the planes we need for long-distance heavy lifts. We are completely without the ability to do even the most limited lifts at a time when, because of a shortage of men and equipment, we are relying so heavily on our ability to move our forces quickly.

It is impossible for the House to say that it has any confidence in the Government's policy or capacity as shown in the White Paper, or in Ministerial speeches during the debate. It may be that we will not attract anybody from the benches opposite into our Lobby, but I shall be very surprised if there are not some leaden feet and some heavy hearts among those who will go into the other Lobby against us.

9.31 p.m.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

As is customary, but in this case with the greatest sincerity, I add my congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) on his maiden speech. With his expert knowledge, he underlined the immensely changed situation that we face—particularly in areas in which the danger of war may be greater than it is in Europe—and the different means that are necessary to cope with it. I sincerely congratulate my hon. Friend, and I know that the House will look forward to hearing from him again and will listen to him with great attention.

We have had a very good debate, and we on this side of the House welcome the fact that right. Hon. and hon. Members opposite have on the whole addressed their arguments to the Government rather than to one another. We welcome that situation because this issue is far too serious and far too complex for us not to try to get at the facts. I am therefore delighted that we have had two days of debate, with fair criticisms being made and fair questions being asked. I shall try to answer as fairly as I can. If fewer doctrinal views have been expressed within the House, the Government think that a very good thing.

The one matter on which I think that I can accept criticism is that, on the whole, the White Paper has necessarily dealt in generalities. I am not sure that any of us have yet completely faced up to the revolution in the world scene that stems from the present profusion of nuclear weapons. We have to face this difference in N.A.T.O., in our positions in the world, and in almost every single aspect of defence.

We cannot, by any conceivable means, dissociate ourselves from the menace of this weapon, so I want to make it plain that the Government's policy is now and always has been that we should seek to turn this to good account. We may be able to do so. If we can, we may possibly, as I said in opening this debate, have broken the sequence of war and peace that has been a constant part of our history and which would lead to another war that could destroy us all.

How should this situation condition all our actions? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) devoted the whole of his speech to this subject. Clearly we must first try by all possible means to secure a nuclear test agreement and real progress on disarmament. I assure the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South that we certainly mean to do our best to achieve that.

At the same time, we must in our defence policy seek to use the nuclear weapon to strengthen our aim of keeping the peace and not to weaken it. It has been said from the other side that our defence policy should not make disarmament more difficult. But let us face the first issue that would flow from a policy of renunciation of nuclear weapons. Our voice would hardly count for much in negotiations for a nuclear test agreement if at the very time that we sought to press the right course on other nations we were ourselves opting out of the whole business.

I do not intend to go in great detail into the question of the British contribution to the strategic nuclear deterrent, because my right hon. Friend has already done it very well earlier. We have had a lot of discussion, as we have had before, about the exact meaning of words and the kind of terms—I must say a fairly trivial discussion, in many senses, on a subject on which, after all, the life of our nation and that of most of the other Western nations may well depend.

What are the facts? We do not seek to build up some new contribution. We are and have for some years been making a contribution through a force of aircraft of British design that can at present deliver—as I am glad to see that all hon. Members now apparently accept—their nuclear weapons on to their targets with a devastating load of destruction. We all hope and pray that they will not have to do that, but at least we are so far apparently agreed on that. I am glad of that, because it is certainly part of the deterrent to war—

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Govan)

Which mark?

Mr. Watkinson

I know that hon. Members have very sincere views about any kind—

Mr. Rankin

Which mark? Mark I or Mark II?

Mr. Watkinson

All right—let me get on with my speech

The question is how do we maintain this contribution in the future—

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

The Government have not one.

Mr. Watkinson

The hon. Gentleman has views about Polaris and about a great many other things that are sincerely held; but by the generality of the House—and this is confirmed by what the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) has said, by what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has said and by what most members of the Opposition Front Benches have said—it is accepted that at the moment our deterrent contribution is valid in the sense that the weapons are there and can be delivered.

The argument seems to turn on the capacity we can have and maintain over the next period, whether we say five years or ten years. The position over the next five years is beyond any doubt at all. It rests on the Mark II V-bombers and on Blue Steel giving them a standoff capacity. In other words, it is a situation parallel with the American B.52 bombers with their stand-off weapon called Hound Dog. This, again, is not to be challenged, and perhaps I might make it quite plain that this contribution to the Western deterrent is welcomed by our American allies. When I have had talks in the Pentagon with Mr. Gates, the previous Secretary for Defence, and his advisers, they have made it plain to me that for reasons of geography, for reasons of the strength of our alliance, and for other reasons of a more technical and secret character, they very much welcome this essential contribution to the present strategic forces of the West. Let us be quite plain. Those who say that this is not so are trying to damage the Anglo-American Alliance.

Now I turn to the future, beyond the period of the mid-60s. Here, as we rightly said in the White Paper, we have a series of options. Surely, is not this the best thing for our nation to try to do, not only in this instance but in every other instance. Because our industrial capacity is not as great as that of either the Americans or the Russians, we must do the best we can in a combination of circumstances to give ourselves the best choices we can. That is what we have tried to do for the future of the strategic deterrent.

We have an option on Skybolt. It is a clear option, and, of course, the right hon. Gentleman, who is a very shrewd operator in these matters, carefully quoted a statement I made in June. It was superseded by one I made in July and I can bring him still further up to date by saying that it is fully compatible with the Mark II V-bombers. I signed a memorandum of understanding with the previous Secretary of Defence, which gives the weapon to us with no strings only if it is finally developed and fitted to B.52's, and I have never left the House in any doubt about that.

What other options have we? We have this remarkable new aircraft the TSR.2. It has a short take-off capacity. It can be used from unprepared runways—again, the question of wide dispersal. It is essential for other purposes, such as battlefield reconnaissance, without which the whole pattern of N.A.T.O., both nuclear and conventional, would be useless. So this is a weapon of very wide usage. It is a weapon system in which the pilot merely monitors the system.

Mr. G. Brown

Have we got it?

Mr. Watkinson

It is the period after the mid-60s about which I am talking, and the various options that we have. I must say to the right hon. Gentleman that I know his policy is that what is politically inconvenient should not exist.

Mr. Brown

It does not exist.

Mr. Watkinson

Government policy should be to try to set out the facts as clearly as possible and that is what I am doing.

The TSR.2 can have both a strategic and a tactical rôle. It is something of which I should have thought even the Opposition could be proud. It is two years ahead of any other weapon system of this kind in the world.

Mr. Brown

I would be proud of it if it existed, but the point is that it does not exist.

Mr. Watkinson

The right hon. Gentleman has a wonderful way of twisting everything to try to suit his own political ends. He said something today about going back to Blue Streak. The era that Blue Streak ended was the shaky cohesion of Labour Front Bench policy of support for the nuclear deterrent. That is what happened over that.

The point I want to be clear about is this. First, we have this contribution to the Western strategic deterrent. It is welcomed by our American allies. We have clear plans to maintain it. The Opposition say that they would destroy it. Let that be the difference between us. I am happy to leave it at that.

Before I go on to the question of recruiting and our world-wide commitments, I want to remedy one omission, and it is perhaps one that I made because, having had the honour to serve in the Royal Navy, I always feel that I must be very careful not to seem to be a one-Service Minister. But it has been brought to my notice, and rightly so, that I have not said a word about the Royal Navy in my remarks. Perhaps that is why I might be allowed to say this. Why the Navy has not figured very widely in my remarks is that the Navy has the least problem of the three Services.

There are more volunteers for the Navy than it can recruit. It has a very well phased programme of development which is up to date. It has recently been given another commando carrier in the "Albion", and the interesting new assault ship concept. It has the possibility of raising another commando of Marines, and this answers the point made by several hon. Members that we must recruit where we can. As the Navy at the moment is a very profitable field for recruiting, and the Marines in particular, there is certainly every intention to recruit there to the maximum for which we can provide equipment and vessels. So, the Navy as a whole is doing very well.

As to the future, I make only this point. We must seek—and this is the last thing I want to say on the strategic deterrent—the maximum number of possible options. That is why I am so glad to mention again in the House the great generosity of the American Navy, who have at this moment a team of British naval experts with them whom they are bringing up to date on the whole progress of the Polaris weapon system and its nuclear carrier. Therefore, we retained that option too, and that is right. It may well be one we shall want to look at carefully in the future.

Now I turn to the other end of the scale. Although I disagree with the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) in his view of the type of incident which might happen in Europe, of course Europe is probably the one place where one should not expect a large-scale massive onslaught in the old sense of an attack over a long distance over frontiers. It is probably the place where we have to guard against incidents, probes, perhaps internal dissension, and all the rest. I quite agree with that.

The steady build-up of our forces—I will come to B.A.O.R. in a moment—is entirely based on the concept that it is the small incident which has to be dealt with quickly that must be the objective of all our military planning. That is not only the Government's view, but also the view of the Government's military advisers.

Before I come to N.A.T.O. I must say that I find it very astonishing to listen to speech after speech from Opposition benches apparently implying that we can now lightly abrogate our treaty responsibilities everywhere in the world except in Europe. Surely it is probably only in Europe that the position is reasonably safely held. It is surely in the rest of the world that the risk exists for some minor explosion which would lead to a limited war and then to a major nuclear war. This seems to me not only to be putting all one's eggs in one basket but into the wrong basket.

I want to make it quite clear that the Government has not the slightest intention of breaking its C.E.N.T.O. and S.E.A.T.O. treaty obligations. We do not propose to leave the Arabian peninsula and our treaty obligations there. We do not intend to leave places such as Hang Kong defenceless or to abandon those members of the Commonwealth in whose defence we have agreed to share. This seems to me to be a quite intolerable method of trying to solve the Opposition's nuclear dilemma in Europe. At least, the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) was honest enough to stick to his guns and say that he wanted a non-nuclear N.A.T.O. That is understandable if one is willing to accept conscription.

The hon. Members for Leeds, East and Woolwich, East (Mr. Mayhew) started with great protestations that they do not believe in conscription and then posed a policy which has to have one or other of these consequences; either a return to conscription or the abrogation of our responsibilities in the rest of the world, or both. That is why in our view we must maintain the balance in N.A.T.O. between nuclear and conventional weapons. To do otherwise would be merely a kind of "little Englander" defence policy which would spell the end of this country as a nation of any significance in the world. I have made it plain that the Government have no intention of backing out of our world obligations. I am not ashamed to stand at this Box, and say that I am proud that the nation still has some responsibilities in the world.

What are our proposals for meeting our various commitments in N.A.T.O.? First, let us examine the question of N.A.T.O. strategy. Of course, it is under re-examination, and that is a very good thing. I do not, however, think that the re-examination is likely to show that N.A.T.O. can do without something like its present balance between nuclear and conventional weapons. Its main purpose is as a shield force.

I have no doubt that other hon. Members have done as I have done. I have made it my job to see enough of General Norstad to understand clearly his responsibilities, his policies and how he would react in any situation. He cannot authorise the use of nuclear weapons without first getting political clearance. [HON. MEMBERS: "From whom?"] From the N.A.T.O. Council, from the various members of the N.A.T.O. Council. [An HON. MEMBER: "From the 15 countries?"] General Norstad holds within his own hand the control of nuclear weapons. A great many hon. Members have expressed alarm that a junior commander might fire off a nuclear weapon by mistake. I am satisfied that General Norstad has taken all the precautions that are necessary to stop that sort of issue 'happening.

I do not deny that the situation wants re-examining. It may interest those hon. Members who always seem to think that we do not have any ideas in N.A.T.O. to know that our own representative on the N.A.T.O. Council was, I think, the first to come forward in the examination with clear ideas and suggestions of how it might go forward.

It is not true to say that B.A.O.R. is built up on the basis of a false unbalanced dependence on nuclear weapons. The position is that B.A.O.R. carries out the tactics and orders of S.A.C.E.U.R. and carries them out precisely and exactly. If we wanted to change the set-up in B.A.O.R., we must change the rules of N.A.T.O. At least some hon. Members—the hon. Member for Leeds, East, for example—faced that fact and said that that was the objective.

We wish to examine the whole position and to try to see whether it is right or wrong. Certainly, the question of political control has to be faced. The one thing, however, to which the Government would never willingly agree is that we should diminish the balance on which peace in Europe rests. It is no use imagining that the Russians have not an immense armoury of missiles deployed against us in Europe. We must have a balance on our side. Therefore, if we destroy the nuclear balance of N.A.T.O., as the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) would wish us to do, we will have done the one action which makes the whole of Europe vulnerable to defeat, because we cannot match the Russian and satellite armies in men alone.

The equipment of B.A.O.R. —[An HON. MEMBER: "What about manpower?"]—I am coming to manpower—is being steadily replaced and improved. In the last year, for example, B.A.O.R. has been re-equipped with a new range of vehicles, new signals equipment, new small arms, and nuclear artillery. Its tanks are being up-gunned and generally the force is being re-equipped as the White Paper states.

I turn now to the problem which has run through the speeches of many hon. Members. My right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) put our dilemma more clearly and more acutely than I have heard for a long time. He was honest and acute enough to say that we had to face a balance between what was right in the economic war and what was right in the sense of defence. [Interruption.] I listened with great attention to my right hon. Friend's speech and took careful note of his words about the problem of facing the Russian campaign of what the Russians call peaceful co-existence but which is really a most ruthless process of trying to get one's ends by means other than war.

This, frankly, is the dilemma that faces all of us in this House. We could quite easily have a £2,000 million defence budget. We could aim to recruit much larger numbers of men. My judgment, however, and this is the judgment of the Government's military advisers—it is unfair to bandy about the names of generals; when I speak of the Government's military advisers, I mean the consensus and unanimous view—is that a figure of around 400,000 men will fulfil our commitments.

That clearly sets the principle of an Army of 180,000, or, perhaps, a little more. I clearly accept it, too. The sooner we get it, the better. It will not be until the end of this year that we shall be able to see clearly what the figure at the beginning of 1963 will be. During this year, we propose the most intensive recruiting campaign. We propose a series of exercises within and without this country that will show the Army doing its proper job. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War proposes to do everything we can to get the right objective—on which, I think, the whole House is agreed—of an all-Regular, professional Army, if we can possibly do it.

The Government would not, however, be discharging their responsibilities if they were not making plans at least for the fact that we might not succeed. Those plans are clearly in hand. I told the House long ago that this was so. All I am saying is that for the sake of recruiting and for the sake of trying to do this job we should not cross this bridge until we come to it. We will not come to it until the end of the year.

Of course, we are making plans to see how we could best meet whatever deficiencies there might be. It is unlikely that the deficiencies will be in the teeth units. They are likely to arise in branches like drivers, sick berth attendants or people of that kind. Therefore, we shall want, if we have to have it at all, some very special kind of scheme to try to get the men we need.

I quite accept the view of the right hon. Member for Be1per that it is the duty of the Opposition to criticise, and it is very pleasant to see them criticising us and not themselves. None the less, it is equally a national responsibility to try to see that this task is carried through to success. All I ask is that the Secretary of State for War and I should be given a chance to try to succeed during the summer months. If in the autumn the job is obviously going wrong, we must face the problems which arise, and we shall have some plans to deal with them.

I sum up by saying that the Government's defence policy is clear and well balanced. It does not shirk our responsibilities as a nuclear power. It does not try, as the Opposition try to do, to seek a kind of false unity by political expediency and saying that anything which does not suit one's political plan does not exist. Equally, the Government's policy does not rest on a basis of either fulfilling our obligations in N.A.T.O. to the detriment of our position in the rest of the world or trying to achieve a false balance in N.A.T.O. between nuclear and conventional.

This is always a difficult task. It will always have to be re-examined. It will always, within the broad frame of policy, need consideration and a certain amount of re-examination in an attempt to reach the best balance that we can. But on Regular Forces of 400,000, on the maintenance of our nuclear contribution and on the strength of the Navy and the Air Force, I believe that we have the best balance we can have within the present total of defence. More money than that would, I think, put an unjustifiable burden on our economy at a time when we have to fight the economic cold war as well. I believe that the balance is right and that we are fully justified in going forward with our programme.

The Opposition, probably wisely, have not sought to move an Amendment, as they have done in previous years, setting out the basis of their defence philosophy. They have said merely that they have no confidence in our defence policy. In asking the House to reject their Amendment, I say only that the country will have no possible confidence in their defence policy until it is more honestly set forth and argued on the facts of the case. I ask the House to reject the Amendment.

Question put, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question: —

The House divided: Ayes 343, Noes 234.

Division No. 78.] AYES [10.0 p.m.]
Agnew, Sir Peter Arbuthnot, John Barlow, Sir John
Aitken, W. T. Ashton, Sir Hubert Barter, John
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Atkins, Humphrey Batsford, Brian
Allason, James Balniel, Lord Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)
Amery, Rt, Hon, Julian (Preston, N.) Barber, Anthony Beamish, Col, Sir Tufton
Bell, Ronald Freeth, Denzil Lilley, F. J. P.
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Lindsay, Martin
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Gammans, Lady Linstead, Sir Hugh
Berkeley, Humphry Gardner, Edward Litchfield, Capt. John
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) George, J. C. (Pollok) Lloyd,Rt. Hn. Geolfrey(Sur nc'dfield)
Bidgood, John C. Gibson-Watt, David Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Biggs-Davison, John Glover, Sir Douglas Longden, Gilbert
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Loveys, Walter H.
Bishop, F. P. Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) Low, Fit. Hon. Sir Toby
Black, Sir Cyril Godber, J. B. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn
Bossom, Clive Goodhart, Philip Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bourne-Arton, A. Goodhew, Victor McAdden, Stephen
Box, Donald Gough, Frederick MacArthur, Ian
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Gower, Raymond McLaren, Martin
Boyle, Sir Edward Grant, Rt. Hon. William McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia
Braine, Bernard Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Brewis, John Green, Alan Maclean, SirFitzroy(Bute&N.Ayrs.)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Gresham Cooke, R. McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Grimston, Sir Robert Macleod, Rt. Hn. lain (Enfield, W.)
Brooman-White, R. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Gurden, Harold McMaster, Stanley R.
Bryan, Paul Hall, John (Wycombe) Macmillan, Rt. Hn.Harold(Bromley)
Bullard, Denys Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Hare, Rt. Hon. John Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Burden, F. A. Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Maddan, Martin
Butcher, Sir Herbert Harris, Reader (Heston) Maginnis, John E.
Butler, Rt. Hn. R.A.(Saffron Walden) Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Maitland, Sir John
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macciesf'd) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Markham, Major Sir Frank
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Harvie Anderson, Miss Marlowe, Anthony
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hastings, Stephen Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest
Cary, Sir Robert Channon, H. P. G. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Marshall, Douglas
Chataway, Christopher Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Marten, Nell
Chichester-Clark, R. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Mathew, Robert (Honiton)
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hendry, Forbes Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hiley, Joseph Mawby, Ray
Cleaver, Leonard Hill, Dr. At. Hon. Charles (Luton) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Cole, Norman Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Cooper, A. E. Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Mille, Stratton
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Montgomery, Fergus
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hirst, Geoffrey Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)
Cordle, John Hobson, John More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Corfield, F. V. Hocking, Philip N. Morgan, William
Costain, A. P. Holland, Philip Morrison, John
Coulson, J. M. Hollingworth, John Mott-Radciyffe, Sir Charles
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Nabarro, Gerald
Craddock, Sir Beresford Hopkins, Alan Heave, Airey
Critchley, Julian Hornby, R. P. Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E. Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Patricia Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Crowder, F. P. Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Noble, Michael
Cunningham, Knox Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Nugent, Sir Richard
Curran, Charles Hughes Hallet, Vice-Admiral John Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Currie, G. B. H. Hughes-Young, Michael Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Dalkeith, Earl of Hulbert, Sir Norman Orr-Ewing, C. lan
Dance, James Hurd, Sir Anthony Osborn, John (Hallam)
d'Avlgdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hutchison, Michael Clark Osbo'ne, Cyril (Louth)
Iremonger, T. L. Page, John (Harrow, West)
Deedes, W. F. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Page, Graham (Crosby)
de Ferranti, Basil Jackson, John Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Digby, Simon Wingfield James, David Partridge, E.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)
Doughty, Charles Jennings, J. C. Peel, John
Drayson, G. B. Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Percival, Ian
du Cann, Edward Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Peyton, John
Duncan, Sir James Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Duthie, Sir William Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Joseph, Sir Keith Pilkington, Sir Richard
Eden, John Kaberry, Sir Donald Pitman, I. J.
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Pitt, Miss Edith
Elliott, R. W. (Nwcstle-upon-Tyne,N.) Kerby, Capt. Henry Pott, Percivall
Emery, Peter Kerr, Sir Hamilton Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Kershaw, Anthony Price, David (Eastleigh)
Errington, Sir Eric Kimball, Marcus Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Kirk, Peter Prior, J. M. L.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Kitson, Timothy Prior-Palmer, Brig, Sir Otho
Farr, John Lagden, Godfrey Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Fell, Anthony Lambton, Viscount Proudfoot, Wilfred
Finlay, Graeme Lancaster, Col. C. G. Quennell, Miss J. M.
Fisher, Nigel Langford-Holt, J. Ramsden, James
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Leather, E. H. C. Rawlinson, Peter
Forrest, George Leavey, J. A. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Foster, John Leburn, Gilmour
Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Rees, Hugh
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Renton, David
Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Vane, W. M. F.
Ridsdale, Julian Stodart, J. A. Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Rippon, Geoffrey Stoddart-Scott Col. Sir Malcolm Vickers, Miss Joan
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Studholme, Sir Henry Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Robson Brown, Sir William Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury) Wall, Patrick
Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Sumner, Donald (Orpington) Ward, Dame Irene
Roots, William Talbot, John E. Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Tapsell, Peter Watts, James
Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Webster, David
Russell, Ronald Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.) Wells, John (Maidstone)
Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan Taylor, W. J (Bradford, N.) Whitelaw, William
Scott-Hopkins, James Teeling, William Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Seymour, Leslie Temple, John M. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Sharpies, Richard Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Shaw, M. Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Shepherd, William Thomas, Peter (Conway) Wise, A. R.
Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Skeet, T. H. H. Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.) Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Smith, Dudley(Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick) Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter Woodhouse, C. M.
Smithers, Peter Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Woodnutt, Mark
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Woollam, John
Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher Tilney, John (Wavertree) Worsley, Marcus
Spearman, Sir Alexander Turner, Colin
Speir, Rupert Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Stanley, Hon. Richard Tweedsmuir, Lady Mr. E. Wakefield and
Stevens, Geoffrey van Straubenzee, W. R. Colonel J. H. Harrison
Abse, Leo Fitch, Alan Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
Ainsley, William Fletcher, Eric King, Dr. Horace
Albu, Austen Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) Lawson, George
Allaun, Frank (Salford E.) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Ledger, Ron
Awbery, Stan Forman, J. C. Lee, Frederick (Newton)
Bacon, Miss Alice Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)
Baird, John Galtskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Lever, Harold (Cheetham)
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) George,Lady Megan Lloyd(Crmrthn) Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Ginsburg, David Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Gooch, E. G. Lipton, Marcus
Benson, Sir George Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Loughlin, Charles
Blackburn, F. Gourlay, Harry Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Blyton, William Greenwood, Anthony McCann, John
Boardman, H. Grey, Charles MacColl, James
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) McKay, John (Wallsend)
Bowles, Frank Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mackie, John
Boyden, James Grimond, J. McLeavy, Frank
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Gunter, Ray MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)
Brockway, A. Fenner Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Hamilton, William (West Fife) Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hannan, William Manuel, A. C.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hart, Mrs. Judith Mapp, Charles
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hayman, F. H. Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.
Callaghan, James Healey, Denis Marsh, Richard
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur(Rwly Regis) Mason, Roy
Chapman, Donald Herbison, Miss Margaret Mayhew, Christopher
Chetwynd, George Hewitson, Capt. M. Mellish, R. J
Cliffs, Michael Hill, J. (Midlothian) Mendelson, J. J.
Collick, Percy Hilton, A. V. Millan, Bruce
Corbel, Mrs. Freda Holman, Percy Milne, Edward J.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Holt, Arthur Mitchison, G. R.
Cronin, John Houghton, Douglas Monslow, Walter
Crosland, Anthony Howell, Charles A. Moody, A. S.
Crossman, R. H. S. Hoy, James H. Mort, D. L.
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Moyle, Arthur
Darling, George Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Mulley, Frederick
Davies,Rt. Hn.Clement(Montgomery) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip(Derby,S.)
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Hunter, A. E. Oliver, G. H.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Oram, A. E.
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Oswald, Thomas
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Owen, Will
Deer, George Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Padley, W. E.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Janner, Sir Barnett Paget, R. T.
Delargy, Hugh Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Diamond, John Jeger, George Pargiter, G. A.
Dodds, Norman Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Parker, John (Dagenham)
Donnelly, Desmond Johnson, Carol (Lewisham S.) Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.)
Driberg, Tom Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield) Pavitt, Laurence
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Jones, Dan (Burnley) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Pearl, Frederick
Edelman, Maurice Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Pentland, Norman
Edwards, Robert (Bllston) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Popplewell, Ernest
Evans, Albert Kelley, Richard Prentice, R. E.
Finch, Harold Kenyon, Clifford Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Probert, Arthur Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Watkins, Tudor
Proctor, W. T. Spriggs, Leslie Weitzman, David
Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Steele, Thomas Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Randall, Harry Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Rankin, John Stonehouse, John White, Mrs. Eirene
Redhead, E. C. Stones, William Whitlock, William
Reid, William Strachey, Rt. Hon. John Wigg, George
Reynolds, G. W. Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Rhodes, H. Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Wilkins, W. A.
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Swain, Thomas Willey, Frederick
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Swingler, Stephen Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Sylvester, George Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Ross, William Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Royce, Charles (Salford, West) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline) Winterbottom, R. E.
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Silverman, Sydney (Nelson) Thornton, Ernest Woof, Robert
Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.) Thorpe, Jeremy Wyatt, Woodrow
Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield) Timmons, John Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Small, William Tomney, Frank Zilliacus, K.
Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.) Wade, Donald
Snow Julian Wainwright, Edwin TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Snow, Julian Sorensen, R. W. Warbey, William Mr. Taylor and Mr. Short

Main Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 338, Noes 231.

Division No. 79. AYES [10.14 p.m.]
Agnew, Sir Peter Cleaver, Leonard Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Aitken, W. T. Cole, Norman Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Cooper, A. E. Godber, J. B.
Allason, James Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Goodhart, Philip
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian (Preston, N.) Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Goodhew, Victor
Arbuthnot, John Cordle, John Gough, Frederick
Ashton, Sir Hubert Corfield, F. V. Gower, Raymond
Atkins, Humphrey Costain, A. P. Grant, Rt. Hon. William
Balniel, Lord Coulson, J. M. Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R.
Barber, Anthony Craddock, Sir Beresford Green, Alan
Barlow, Sir John Critchley, Julian Gresham Cooke, R.
Barter, John Crosthwalte-Eyre, Col. O. E. Grimston, Sir Robert
Batsford, Brian Crowder, F. P. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate) Cunningham, Knox Gurden, Harold
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Curran, Charles Hall, John (Wycombe)
Bell, Ronald Currie, G. B. H. Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Bennett, F. M (Torquay) Dalkeith, Earl of Hare, Rt. Hon. John
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Dance, James Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Berkeley, Humphry d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Harris, Reader (Heston)
Bettina, Rt. Hon. Reginald (Toxteth) Deedes, W. F. Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Bidgood, John C. de Ferranti, Basil Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Biggs-Davison, John Digby, Simon Wingfield Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Harvie Anderson, Miss
Bishop, F. P. Doughty, Charles Hastings, Stephen
Black, Sir Cyril Drayson, G. B. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bossom, Clive du Cann, Edward Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward
Bourne-Arton, A. Duncan, Sir James Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Box, Donald Duthie, Sir William Henderson-Stewart, Sir James
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Hendry, Forbes
Boyle, Sir Edward Eden, John Hiley, Joseph
Braine, Bernard Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Brawis, John Elliott, R.W. (N'wc' stle-upon-Tyne,N.) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter Emery, Peter Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Hinchingbrooke, Viscount
Brooman-White, R. Errington, Sir Eric Hirst, Geoffrey
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J. Hobson, John
Bryan, Paul Farey-Jones, F. W. Hooking, Philip N.
Bullard, Denys Farr, John Holland, Philip
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Fell, Anthony Hollingworth, John
Burden, F. A. Finlay, Graeme Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John
Butcher, Sir Herbert Fisher, Nigel Hopkins, Alan
Butler, Rt.Hn.R.A.(Saffron Walden) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Hornby, R. P.
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Forrest, George Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Foster, John Howard, John (Southampton, Test)
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Fraser, Hn. Hugh(Stafford & Stone) Hughes-Young, Michael
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Fraser Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Hulbert, Sir Norman
Cary, Sir Robert Freeth, Denzil Hurd, Sir Anthony
Channon, H. P. G. Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Hutchison, Michael Clark
Chataway, Christopher Gammans, Lady Iremonger, T. L.
Chichester-Clark, R. Gardner, Edward Irvine, Bryant Codman (Rye)
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) George, J. C. (Pollok) Jackson, John
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Gibson-Watt. David James, David
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Glover, 81r Douglas Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
Jennings, J. C. Montgomery, Fergus Skeet, T. H. H.
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Smith, Dudley (Br' ntf' rd & Chiswick)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) More, Jasper (Ludlow) Smithers, Peter
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Morgan, William Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Jones, Rt. Ho. Aubrey (Hall Green) Morrison, John Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Joseph, Sir Keith Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Spearman, Sir Alexander
Kaberry, Sir Donald Nabarro, Gerald Speir, Rupert
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Heave, Airey Stanley, Hon. Richard
Kerby, Capt. Henry Nicholls, Sir Harmar Stevens, Geoffrey
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Kershaw, Anthony Noble, Michael Stodart, J. A.
Kimball, Marcus Nugent, Sir Richard Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Kirk, Peter Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Studholme, Sir Henry
Kitson, Timothy Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Lagden, Godfrey Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Sumner, Donald (Orpington)
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Osborn, John (Hallam) Talbot, John E.
Langford-Holt, J. Osborne, Cyril (Louth) Tapsell, Peter
Leather, E. H. C. Page, John (Harrow, West) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Leavey, J. A. Page, Graham (Crosby) Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Leburn, Gilmour Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Taylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Partridge, E. Teeling, William
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Temple, John M.
Lilley, F. J. P. Peel, John Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Lindsay, Martin Percival, Ian Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Linstead, Sir Hugh Peyton, John Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Litchfield, Capt. John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey(Sut'nc' dfield) Pike, Miss Mervyn Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pilkington, Sir Richard Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Longden, Gilbert Pitman, I. J. Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Loveys, Walter H. Pitt, Miss Edith They, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby Pott, Percivall Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Turner, Colin
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Price, David (Eastleigh) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
McAdden, Stephen Prioe, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Tweedsmuir, Lady
MacArthur, Ian Prior, J. M. L. van Straubenzee, W. R.
McLaren, Martin Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Vane, W. M. F.
McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Macfall, Rt. Hon. John Proudfoot, Wilfred Vickers, Miss Joan
McLean, Neil (Inverness) Quennell, Miss J. M. Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Macleod, Rt. Hon. lain (Enfield,W.) Ramsden, James Wall, Patrick
MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Rawlinson, Peter Ward, Dame Irene
McMaster, Stanley R. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Macmillan, Rt. Fin. Harold(Bromley) Rees, Hugh Watts, James
Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax) Renton, David Webster, David
Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wells, John (Maidstone)
Maddan, Martin Ridsdale, Julian Whitelaw, William
Maginnis, John E. Rippon, Geoffrey Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Maitland, Sir John Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Manningham-Buller, Rt. Ho. Sir R. Robson Brown, Sir William Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Markham, Major Sir Frank Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Marlowe, Anthony Roots, William Wise, A. R.
Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Marshall, Douglas Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey) Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Marten, Neil Russell, Ronald Woodhouse, C. M.
Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan Woodnutt, Mark
Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Scott-Hopkins, James Woollam, John
Mourning, Rt. Hon. Reginald Seymour, Leslie Worsley, Marcus
Mawby, Ray Sharpies, Richard
Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Shaw, M. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Shepherd, William Mr. E. Wakefield and
Mills, Stratton Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir Jocelyn Colonel J. H. Harrison.
Abse, Leo Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Ainsley, William Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Deer, George
Albu, Austen Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) de Freitas, Geoffrey
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Callaghan, James Delargy, Hugh
Awbery, Stan Castle, Mrs. Barbara Diamond, John
Bacon, Miss Alice Chapman, Donald Dodds, Norman
Baird, John Chetwynd, George Donnelly, Desmond
Baxter, William (Stirlingshlre, W.) Cliffs, Michael Driberg, Tom
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Collick, Percy Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.) Corbel, Mrs. Freda Ede, Rt. Hon. C.
Benson, Sir George Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Edelman, Maurice
Blackburn, F. Cronin, John Edwards, Robert (Bilston)
Blyton, William Crosland, Anthony Edwards, Walter (Stepney)
Boardman, H. Grossman, R. H. S. Evans, Albert
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S.W.) Cullen, Mrs. Alice Finch, Howard
Bowles, Frank Darling, George Fitch, Alan
Boyden, James Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement(Montgomery) Fletcher, Eric
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)
Brockway, A. Fenner Davies, Harold (Leek) Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Davies, Ifor (Gower) Forman, J. C.
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. Hugh Lipton, Marcus Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
George, LadyMeganLioyd(Crmrthn) Loughlin, Charles Ross, William
Ginsburg, David Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Royle, Charles (Salford, West)
Gooch, E. G. McCann, John Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P C. MacColl, James Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Gourlay, Harry McKay, John (Wallsend) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Greenwood, Anthony Mackie, John Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Grey, Charles McLeavy, Frank Small, William
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S,)
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Snow, Julian
Grimond, J. Mallalieu, J. P. W.(Huddersfield,E.) Sorensen, R. W.
Gunter, Ray Manuel, A. C. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mapp, Charles Spriggs, Leslie
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Steele, Thomas
Hannan, William Marsh, Richard Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Hart, Mrs. Judith Mason, Roy Stones, William
Hayman, F. H. Mayhew, Christopher Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Healey, Denis Mellish, R. J. Stross,Dr.Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent,C.)
Henderson,Rt.fin.Arthur(RwlyRegis) Mendelson, J. J. Swain, Thomas
Herbison, Miss Margaret Millan, Bruce Swingler, Stephen
Hewitson, Capt, M. Milne, Edward J. Sylvester, George
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Mitchison, G. R. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hilton, A. V. Monslow, Walter Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Holman, Percy Moody, A. S. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Holt, Arthur Mort, D. L. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Houghton, Douglas Moyle, Arthur Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Howell, Charles A. Mulley, Frederick Thornton, Ernest
Hoy, James H. Noel-Baker,Rt.140.Philip(Derby,S.) Thorpe, Jeremy
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Oliver, G. H. Timmons, John
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Oram, A. E. Tomney, Frank
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Oswald, Thomas Wade, Donald
Hunter, A. E. Owen, Will Wainwright, Edwin
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Padley, W. E. Warbey, William
Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Paget, R. T. Watkins, Tudor
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Weitzman, David
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pargiter, G. A. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Janner, Sir Barnett Parker, John (Dagenham) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Parkin, B. T. (Paddington, N.) White, Mrs. Eirene
Jeger, George Pavitt, Laurence Whitlock, William
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Wigg, George
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Peart, Frederick Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Jones, Rt. Hn, A. Creech(Wakefield) Pentland, Norman Wilkins, W. A.
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Plummer, Sir Leslie Willey, Frederick
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Popplewell, Ernest Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Prentice, R. E. Williams, LI. (Abertillery)
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Probert, Arthur Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Kelly, Richard Proctor, W. T. Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Kenyon, Clifford Pursey, Cmdr. Harry Winterbottom, R. E.
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Randall, Harry Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
King, Dr. Horace Rankin, John Woof, Robert
Lawson, George Redhead, E. C. Wyatt, Woodrow
Ledger, Ron Reid, William Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Lee, Frederick, (Newton) Reynolds, G. W. Zilliacus, K.
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Rhodes, H.
Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Roberts, Albert (Normanton) TETI EPS FOR THE NOES:
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Mr. J. Taylor and Mr. Short.
That this House approves the Report on Defence, 1961. contained in Command Paper No. 1288.