HC Deb 03 April 1963 vol 675 cc430-1
13. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Minister of Defence to what extent it remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government, in view of the danger of retarding the nation's economic development, to retain, as essential for British defence policy, each of the following commitments, namely, those in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya, the Middle East, Kenya, Aden and the Persian Gulf, Malta, Cyprus, North Africa, West Germany and Berlin, the Atlantic naval force, the strategic reserve in the United Kingdom, the garrison in the Caribbean and missions to foreign and Commonwealth forces, together with the British contribution to the Western nuclear deterrent; and to what extent this policy has been changed in the past four years in respect of each commitment.

Mr. Thorneycroft

To the extent necessary at any time to defend British interests.

Mr. Davies

Is the right hon. Gentleman distinguishing between British interests, economic and manufacturing, and British focal points of power? Is he aware that while our commitments have risen from 5s. 1d. per week per person when the party opposite came into power to 13s. 1d. now, these areas are defined by John Connell, who knows something about the subject, as "a rag-bag of contradictions"?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is not my purpose to distinguish between any of these things, but simply to say that the job of the Ministry of Defence is to serve British interests in whichever part of the world we are called upon to do so.

Mr. Rankin

Could the right hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are now discussing commitments.

Mr. Rankin

—tell me how we would deploy our defence policy in Hong Kong when the water supply in Victoria Island is insufficient and on the mainland it is under the control of the Chinese?

Mr. Thorneycroft

This is, no doubt, one of the problems involved, but if the hon. Member wants to put down specific Questions about specific places he will no doubt do so.

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