HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc403-4
45. Mr. Morris

asked the Secretary of State for War why three artillery regiments are retained in Hong Kong.

Mr. Profumo

Units of the British Army are deployed in the way best calculated at any given time to fulfil the objectives of our defence policy.

Mr. Morris

Does the Secretary of State intend to decrease the number of troops in Hong Kong in the ensuing year? If so, will he say by how many and whether they will be gunners?

Mr. Profumo

The last part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is highly hypothetical. As to the first part, I cannot add to what my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence said yesterday.

Mr. Gordon Walker

As the Minister of Defence told us that the primary purpose of our troops in Hong Kong is for internal security, can we be told how far artillery troops contribute to the maintenance of internal security?

Mr. Profumo

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence was talking about the prime purpose of these troops. It is not the only purpose of these troops. Unless we maintain a credible deterrent force in the Colony it would be an open invitation to a take-over bid.

Mr. Rankin

While we could understand artillery being retained on Victoria Island, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman how he can defend its being retained in Kowloon?

Mr. Profumo

If the hon. Gentleman reads my Answer, I think that he will find I have already told him.

Mr. Paget

Does the right hon. Gentleman seriously tell the House that three artillery regiments are a credible deterrent to the Chinese Army?

Mr. Profumo

I said that I thought we should maintain a credible deterrent, part of which are the three artillery regiments, part of which are the rest of the Forces, part of which are the Gurkhas, and part of which are the reinforcements that can be got there.