HC Deb 05 April 1962 vol 657 cc640-1
Q7. Mr. Rankin

asked the Prime Minister whether, in his recent consultations with President Kennedy's adviser, General Maxwell Taylor, on defence, he discussed the advisability of Great Britain retaining the independent nuclear deterrent; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) on Tuesday

Mr. Rankin

I have seen that Answer. Would not, the Prime Minister agree that this was more than a case of old pals getting together? Was it not really a case of the special adviser to President Kennedy meeting the Prime Minister of Great Britain to urge on him the need to consider abandoning Britain's possession of the independent nuclear deterrent in order to maintain good feeling among the N.A.T.O. Powers?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. The position was exactly as I described it in my reply to the hon. Member for South Ayrshire. General Taylor did not ask to see me: I invited him to come to see me.

Mr. Tapsell

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that in all these matters it is better if we do what we think is right rather than what the United States think it right?

The Prime Minister

We keep in close consultation with the United States and with all our other allies, but the defence decisions we make are matters for Her Majesty's Government and the British Parliament.