§ 13. Mr. Warbey
asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, in order to enable hon. Members to estimate the extent to which the present and planned strengths of the West German Army and Air Force exceed the limits originally laid down 1246 in the revised Brussels Treaty, he will propose to the other members of the Western European Union that the Special Agreement annexed to the European Defence Community Treaty shall now be made public.
§ Mr. Warbey
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that Answer is as disgraceful as the one given by the Joint Under-Secretary of State to me in a Written Answer on Monday, when he said that the Government were not prepared to state even when the Council of Western European Union took decisions to increase the limits on the size of the German Armed Forces? Is it the case not only that the Government are conniving at the breach of the Paris agreements and the rearmament of Germany beyond the limits then laid down, and doing it secretly, but that the House is to have no information about the matter whatsoever?
Will the hon. Gentleman answer this specific question: do the present strength of the present German Army and Air Force and the planned strength of the German Army and Air Force next year exceed or not the limits laid down at the time the Paris agreements were signed?
§ Mr. Godber
I am happy to know that I am in accord with my hon. Friend the Joint Under-Secretary of State in incurring the displeasure of the hon. Gentleman. I am glad to have it reinforced. It has been made clear to the hon. Gentleman many times that the discussions to which he has referred are confidential. He asked me if I would publish them, and I am not prepared to do so. The important thing about the level of German forces is that it is unanimously approved by all W.E.U. countries. That is the important consideration in this case.
Mr. H. Wilson
Some years ago, Ministers got the approval of this House, after a pretty acrimonious debate, about the level of forces which Western Germany would be allowed to hold. When we ask whether the present and projected forces go beyond what this House then approved, is it good enough to be told that these discussions are confidential and that we can be given no information on this matter? Will the Minister of 1247 State look at this again and undertake to tell the House categorically, not whether it has been agreed in Brussels unanimously or anything else, but Whether the limits then imposed by agreement in a treaty and approved by this House have been exceeded or whether it is intended to exceed them? Can we have that information? We have the right to ask for it.
§ Mr. Godber
The original level of forces referred to in the Brussels Treaty has never been published. There is no obligation to publish this information, as I have made clear. My hon. Friend said on 10th December that the present strength is in accord with W.E.U. and N.A.T.O. approved levels.
§ Mr. Warbey
In view of the entirely unsatisfactory nature of the Minister of State's reply, I give nice that I propose to take the opportunity to raise this matter on another occasion.