HC Deb 16 May 1962 vol 659 c1316
6. Commander Courtney

asked the Minister of Defence what changes will be necessary to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Eastern Atlantic Command organisation as a result of decisions taken at the Athens meeting.

Mr. Watkinson

SACLANT is considering whether any reorganisation in his Command is needed following the Athens meeting. It is too soon to say what changes, if any, may be required.

Commander Courtney

Is it not a fact that in addition to the strike fleet, the Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic, will now have a force of Polaris submarines operating in his area in war over which he will have no command? Is that not an operationally unacceptable situation in war?

Mr. Watkinson

I do not think the facts are quite like that. It really means, as I understand it—but this is being looked at—that this particular force is now an additional commitment and that, in time of war, it would be under N.A.T.O. and co-ordinated with the N.A.T.O. tactical plan.