HC Deb 07 March 1962 vol 655 cc374-5
3. Commander Kerans

asked the Minister of Defence what consideration he is giving to the amalgamation of the intelligence services of the three Service Departments with a view to reducing overhead expenses.

Mr. Watkinson

I doubt whether an amalgamation would result in significant economies but I keep all matters of this kind under review.

Commander Kerans

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that it is rather unnecessary for the Service Departments to deal with political intelligence, which surely is the prerogative of the Foreign Office, and could he not find in this amalgamation a means of reducing overheads?

Mr. Watkinson

I should like to reduce overheads, but on this issue I think the intelligence departments of the Services are tailored to the direct needs of the Services; while I will certainly have another look at this point, do not think there are substantial savings to be made here.

Mr. Shinwell

While, no doubt, this would reduce overhead expenses, it is not the main consideration, as the Minister will agree. Is there not something to be said for concentrating all intelligence sections under the Ministry of Defence?

Mr. Watkinson

I think there is a good deal in what the right hon. Gentleman says.

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