HC Deb 30 May 1962 vol 660 cc1334-5
7. Mr. Morris

asked the Secretary of State for War how many major exercises are planned for the British Army of the Rhine in the current year relying on both nuclear and non-nuclear weapons, and non-nuclear weapons alone, respectively; and to what extent the new strategy of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has been taken into consideration in planning exercises for the British Army of the Rhine.

Mr. Profumo

There will be three major exercises on the ground, and five command post exercises. All will include the use of both nuclear and conventional weapons, and take fully into account the latest strategic concepts of the Alliance.

Mr. Morris

Can the Secretary of State indicate at what level and for how long B.A.O.R. could engage in combat without resort to nuclear weapons and to what extent B.A.O.R. is trained to engage in an operation of that nature?

Mr. Profumo

That is much wider than the Question on the Order Paper. I can, however, assure the hon. Member that B.A.O.R. is not dragging its feet in this respect. The training schemes are absolutely up to the minute and are quite in line with the requirement of S.A.C.E.U.R.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Would it not be wise to have at least one exercise in which there is no resort whatever to nuclear weapons, just to see that it is possible to fight a non-nuclear engagement?

Mr. Profumo

I repeat that the best way of doing these things— and this is with the agreement of the Supreme Commander— is to have the exercises on a basis of both hypotheses, because one never knows what will happen. This is what we have always done and it seems to be in line with what is expected.