Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [30th January]:
That this House approves the Statement on Nuclear Defence Systems issued following the Bahamas Meeting in December 1962 (Command Paper No. 1915).—[The Prime Minister..]
Which Amendment was, to leave out from"House"to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:
Can have no confidence in a Government whose defence policy has collapsed and which, at Nassau, entered into an agreement which, by seeking to continue the illusion of an independent British nuclear deterrent, imposes further economic burdens upon the nation and makes more difficult the solution of Great Britain's defence problems."—[Mr. G. Brown.]
§ Question again proposed,That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.
§ 3.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)
There is one significant and disturbing feature of the Nassau Agreement which has not been mentioned in this debate. It is the breathless rush, the haste with which this vital Agreement was concluded. There was very much at stake. The decisions taken at this Nassau meeting were bound to have a great impact on our defence, and they were certainly going to have an impact on the negotiations at Brussels. Therefore the question arises: why was there this tremendous haste? Why did all this have to be settled in those three days?
There was no military need for this, no defence need. On defence grounds, it would have been much better to have taken longer and had well-prepared, far-reaching discussions about the reappraisal of defence which would arise from the matters being discussed. On political grounds, it is certainly true that much more time should have been taken to weigh the impact of these decisions upon the negotiations at Brussels. I hope that the Minister of Defence can give a good reason why there was this rush, why it all had to be done so quickly at such short notice, with such little preparation and time to settle all the various points which arose.
1140 I hope that the right hon. Gentleman can give the reason why there was such a tremendous need for speed, because the only explanation I can think of involves the heavy charge upon the Prime Minister that he did allow party political considerations to enter into defence decisions. I cannot see any reason for this immense haste, save that the Prime Minister felt that he had to brink back, quickly and without interruption, something that his back benchers could call an independent nuclear deterrent.
There was a great deal of pressure for this. Indeed, the Minister of Defence came back as nervous as a cat about the explosive reactions of his back benchers. The right hon. Gentleman was so frightened that he immediately saw them and since then he has been reported in the Daily Express as having admitted that he did on that occasion make a mess of things. Apparently he said:I am worried about the party's opinion. I tried hard last week, but this is a difficult job and I am learning the hard way.I take it that the "mess" to which the right hon. Gentleman was referring, the mess he made of it, was the grotesque idea about the nuclear gap being filled by a "hotted-up" Blue Steel.
I was glad that the Prime Minister made no reference to this idea in his speech yesterday, and I trust that the whole notion has been forgotten. But it is rather extraordinary that a responsible Minister of Defence should put forward a proposal in this way, a proposal to which he had given no thought in regard to cost and technical feasibility.
This is typical of the way in which Ministers are now running our defence. A great many of the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues, who came immediately from the talk with him, openly said to newspapermen that this was the proposal he had put forward. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman may contradict them and convict them of falsely reporting him. He can, of course, do that.
One reason why we are extremely critical of the Nassau meeting is the staggering cost that arises out of it, directly and indirectly. The Government are still extremely vague about cost and I hope that we shall hear greater detail from the right hon. Gentleman today. We have had the extraordinary episode of the development costs of the Polaris missile. It is quite clear that there was 1141 a misunderstanding about this very considerable matter at Nassau. The Prime Minister told us yesterday that an agreement has been concluded by which 5 per cent. will be added to the production costs of the missiles which we buy.
I wish to ask the Minister of Defence when the agreement was made which was announced yesterday by the Prime Minister. It certainly was not made at Nassau. The Prime Minister told a very different story when he came back, in an interview which was published on 15th January in the Commonwealth Survey, a production of the Central Office of Information. It would be difficult to get more official in reporting what the Prime Minister said. This is what he was reported to have said on that occasion:'The terms of the Polaris agreement,' Mr. Macmillan said, 'are very good. We pay nothing for development'.That is what the right hon. Gentleman said when he came back and this is one of the signs of the extraordinary rush with which this vitally important agreement was concluded. I hope that this 5 per cent. agreement is absolutely firm, because the House has learned to regard with some caution statements by the Government about defence matters.
It has been reported, for instance, in the New York Timesas late as 28th January that the research development still to be paid for the Polaris missile A3 will be about 350 million dollars, say, £100 million. Further, it is reported that it is proposed that the United Kingdom should pay one-eighth of this amount. I do not know. But there have been disagreements about what this Nassau document meant and I hope that we may be told that this new 5 per cent. agreement is absolutely firm and applies to the A3 missile and all the rest of it.
The cost, naturally, depends on what we buy. I infer, from what the Prime Minister said yesterday in his speech, that we are buying the A3 Polaris missile. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said yesterday, this is, as to 80 per cent., a new weapon, compared with Al and A2. It is to be much longer and to have much more intricate "innards" to it, because a lot more space must be provided for fuel. I understand that the cost off the shelf, so to speak, is likely to be about £500,000 apiece.
1142 If we have a fleet of four or five submarines, we shall need about 100 missiles. These are very difficult and delicate instruments and we shall need a lot of spares. That would come to about £50 million. If we add 5 per cent, to that, that is, the share we are to pay of the production cost, that is £2½ million, which is quite a large item simply to have been overlooked when coming to this agreement.
The submarines as made in the States cost about £40 million each, so this part of the bill for the missiles and submarines will come to at least £350 million, to which must be added the cost of reworking the warheads, and so forth, about £20 million. All this is at today's prices, but we are thinking of something ten years ahead, when the fleet has been completed and when prices will have gone up enormously.
There has been no word so far about the very important ancillary equipment. I ask the Minister of Defence what his proposals are about depot ships? Are we to have one or two? They are very expensive and they are very complicated things. What are they to cost? Are we to build them, or are we to buy them? We have been told nothing about this, but it will be a large element in the cost. When the right hon. Gentleman tells us about the cost, let him remember that he resigned from the Government over an increase of £50 million in the national expenditure. That was mere "chicken feed" compared to the quantities of taxpayers' money he is now chucking about all round the place.
Of course, this is not the end of the cost. I am sure that he will tell us that the Government are planning in addition the TSR2 and, maybe, a terrain-following stand-off bomb like the Pandora. The TSR2 development, I am told, will cost £400 million. The Pandora is, of course, still only in the feasibility, study-contract stage. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman Will not make too much of these visions of TSR2 and new stand-off missiles and the rest. I hope that the Government have learned the folly of taking these firm defiant stands on the quicksands of non-existent weapons which they have taken over and over again.
The Government's argument, which was deployed again yesterday by 1143 the Prime Minister, is that this vast, incalculable cost is all right because these British Polaris submarines and missiles will be an independent weapon which can be used separately by us in cases of supreme national interest.
The Prime Minister rested a good deal of his argument on that point yesterday. I think that from whatever angle we examine this proposition it turns out to be illusory. If we look at the terms of the Bahamas Agreement alone we find that all these points are very ambiguous; there is plenty of room for misunderstanding. The misunderstanding on development costs will not be the last. A very devious line is drawn in the agreement between weapons assigned to N.A.T.O. and weapons which are to be integrated in a multilateral force. In fact, British Polaris submarines come under both heads, in paragraphs 8 and 9.
United States spokesmen are already making it clear that no separate national force will, according to their idea, exist in a multilateral force. They say that that would be a self-contradiction. Yesterday, giving evidence before a House of Representatives Committee, Mr. McNamara—whatever we may say about our interpretation of the Nassau Agreement—said that he regarded it as a major step towards the achievement of a multilateral force. The American doctrine is that there will not be room for separate national forces inside the multilateral force. I think it unbelievable that the United States would agree to accept an interpretation 6f supreme national interest which would risk involving it in a nuclear war with Russia over an issue which was peripheral to Western defence as a whole.
The Prime Minister said yesterday that the Nassau Agreement is only a preliminary agreement. A further, detailed agreement is to be worked out. In the working out of that agreement there will be hard bargaining about the meaning of "supreme national interest" and we are not in a very strong bargaining position. I ask the Minister of Defence a specific question, to which I hope he will give a clear answer. It has been reported in the New York Times that the United States is not willing to disclose to us the secrets of long-range underwater communication and that long-range underwater communication for our Polaris sub- 1144 marines would have to pass through United States command channels.
I ask the Minister of Defence: was this settled at Nassau, or is it one of the things which was left unsettled, vague, to be negotiated afterwards? We want a clear answer on this. If we ourselves are to supply this very complicated underwater communications system it will add greatly to the cost of what we are doing; it will add greatly to the delay and affect the dates which we have in mind.
But there is a more fundamental reason why we cannot get independent weapons out of this kind of agreement. We are now in a position—we must accept the facts—where we have to rely on one single weapon at a time, manufactured by another country. This makes us inescapably and perilously vulnerable to obsolescence. We have always to go back for a new weapon and we always know that that date is coming. This must affect our actual independence.
Indeed, in the nature of things we tend inevitably to get weapons which are already advanced on their way to obsolescence. I think that the Polaris submarine today, whether or not ours will be independent, is the best form of invulnerable weapon there is, but no weapon is immune to counter. It may well become detectable and ways might be found of jamming its very complex signals arrangements on which the entire use of the Polaris depends. The United States is already thinking of an A4 and of a weapons system to replace Polaris altogether. With this long process ahead of us, we may well find that when we get them, or soon after we get these weapons, they will be already far advanced towards obsolescence and that new and infinitely more expensive alternative systems are being worked out.
There is a sort of last ditch argument, very widely and generally used by Conservatives, about "nuclear blackmail". The Prime Minister spoke of it yesterday. The argument is that there may be some British interests which we want to protect and that if the United States does not back us the Soviet Union might threaten us with nuclear attack. It is said that if we are standing alone but have a nuclear deterrent we can deter the Soviet Union from doing that. I find this argument both abhorrent and illogical. It seems to be riddled by the 1145 fact that we shall have a long gap— a real gap, not as the Prime Minister said, a period when our weapons will be "somewhat less effective" or "somewhat reduced". We have to face it that there will be a real gap during which we shall have no effective nuclear weapon under our command at all.
When the Government were asking for Skybolt they used quite different arguments. They then said, "If we do not get Skybolt there will be a real gap". Now they say that although we cannot get Skybolt there will not be a gap, but some reduction in effectiveness. Originally the R.A.F. expected to get Skybolt in 1965. It was found, in the end, that it would be a good deal later. Maybe Blue Streak will have a year or two of reasonable effectiveness, but it is a rapidly wasting asset. The first Polaris submarine will be in service in 1968, we have been told by the Prime Minister. "If all goes well".
As my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper said, all never goes well in these matters. We cannot expect to have our Polaris fleet before 1972. If realistic guesses and estimates are made, it would be safer to say 1973 or 1974, because all dates are optimistic. Skybolt itself was confidently expected long before it would have been available had it not been cancelled. We are facing a gap of seven, eight or nine years in which, in any case, we will be exposed to this terrible danger of nuclear blackmail. We must learn to live with this terrible danger, about which the Prime Minister spoke, for something like seven, eight or nine years.
Why not longer? If we have to live with it for seven, eight or nine years, why not longer? Why not, indeed, for good? We cannot afford to live with this danger for seven, eight or nine years, if this argument has any proper force. Nobody gives us a single, concrete case in which this danger might arise where we have to stand all on our own in a possible nuclear war. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said that it would be wrong and dangerous to particularise further. It would be very dangerous to his argument if he particularised further, because it would show that it was based on fantastic assumptions.
It is fantastic to think that our tiny Polaris fleet can really deter on its own. What does it mean? At most at any critical moment we may have two submarines operational, because they are 1146 constantly coming back. They are constantly having their missiles repaired, and all the rest of it. Each submarine would have a megaton. The United States Polaris fleet is already 16 strong. It will grow. It will be many times larger than ours. Yet the United States does not think that that Polaris fleet is an adequate deterrent—not at all. The United States already has 200 inter-continental ballistic missiles in hardened silos and is increasing them. It would not regard a fleet of two submarines as a deterrent which could be talked about seriously.
The basic logic of all this is so topsyturvy. It is based upon distrust of the United States. Yet, to get the weapons and maintain them and carry out the strategy, we have to have absolute confidence in the United States. It is barmy, topsy-turvy logic.
The truth is that the safety of the United Kingdom from nuclear attack depends upon the Western deterrent, which is effectively as to 98 per cent. in United States hands. This was shown at Suez. Here, if ever, there was a case where we had, as the Government thought, a national interest to protect where we were not being backed by the United States and where there was a threat of a nuclear attack from Russia. The whole circumstances Occured. What happened? The United States immediately responded that if we were attacked it would regard that as an attack upon itself. This is the only time the whole of the case which is now put before us occurred. The safety of the world depends, until we get disarmament, upon the nuclear balance between Russia and America, as was shown in Cuba.
The real argument, I think, which the Prime Minister advanced, or, rather, the real basis for his argument, was the need to keep up with other nuclear Powers. Here, we simply must face reality. The reality is that the United States spends on nuclear weapons as much as the total defence budgets of all the European Powers of N.A.T.O. These are the facts and the realities of the world today.
I expect that the Minister of Defence will ask us the trick question whether we would repudiate the Nassau Agreement. He is fond of doing this. I will give him two answers. The first is that we cannot talk at this moment of an agreement in any normal ordinary, normal sense of the 1147 term. There is no agreement before us. The Government do not know what is involved. The Prime Minister said yesterday that there is no obligation to buy; there is only an option. We do not even know whether we are committed to buying these submarines. The right hon. Gentleman said that this is not a final agreement at all; it is a sort of preliminary agreement and there is to be a more detailed, larger and wider agreement.
We do not know at all when our submarines are to be integrated into the multilateral force. We do not know what the consequences would be then upon supreme national interest and all the rest of that argument. We have no real idea of the cost. We do not yet know about the long-distance, underwater communications. Before we are asked whether we would repudiate the Nassau Agreement, we must be told what the agreement is that we are being asked to consider in this respect. We only know it in these vague, unnegotiated ways.
The second answer is that the Nassau agreement cannot be regarded in isolation. The cancellation of Skybolt gave us a chance—a very long overdue chance —for a complete reappraisal of our defence. We have many problems of our own, concerning reorganisation, structure, whether we should have one Ministry of Defence instead of four, whether we should integrate the Services. We have a great deal of thinking to do there. We ought also to sit down calmly with our allies to try to work out a proper strategy defence for the Western Alliance, without all the rush, all the hurry, that characterised the meeting in the Bahamas.
§ Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)
The right hon. Gentleman says that the Opposition are not sufficiently acquainted with the agreement to know what is in it. Can he tell us how it was possible for the Opposition to table an Amendment to the Motion which refers to the agreement as makingmore difficult the solution of Great Britain's defence problems"?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
We took the agreement in the first place on the document which was put before us and before the Prime Minister spoke. Only when 1148 the Prime Minister spoke did we realise that this was only a preliminary agreement in many respects and that it is to be carried out into a fuller, proper agreement.
Assuming this is the agreement, we know enough about the cost, the consequences, and the ambiguities in it, to be perfectly sure that it is an agreement that should not in these circumstances have been made. That we know quite well. There is enough to say that, but we cannot say whether when we come into office we would repudiate it, because there is a whole lot which we have not been told about.
I wish that our Government would show some of the courage that Mr. McNamara has shown in the radical reconstruction of the United States defence policies and structure. The contrast between what Mr. McNamara is doing and the incompetence of our Minister of Defence is startling. When considering the reappraisal of our strategy, we must start with the fact that the Government's defence policy has fallen between two stools. On the one hand, we have an ineffective, illusory, obsolescent nuclear deterrent which is making a minimal contribution to the West and which is unusable by us independently.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
I would not have interrupted my right hon. Friend except for his qualifying words about the Bahamas Agreement. In one edition of the Sunday Telegraphthere is an article headed "Labour Hesitant to back Nassau". The article contains these words:The Opposition is expected to duck the Conservative challenge in this week's defence debate …I did not believe it, but it just happens that the other qualifications in this article were also contained in my right hon. Friend's words. I should, therefore, like to be absolutely sure that no qualifying words my right hon. Friend has uttered today have any relation whatever to this article in the Sunday Telegraph.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I have not read the article. I was not aware of it. I do not know where it came from. I am certainly not, as I have been making clear, ducking anything at all over this, but I cannot answer my hon. Friend's question because I have not read the article and 1149 was not aware of it until he just mentioned it.
To continue, on the other hand, and in consequence of the ineffective and illusory nuclear deterrent, we have also got ineffective conventional forces. This was shown at Suez and again last Monday, when the House was shocked to hear from the Minister of Defence that if troops had to be moved to Singapore we could have done it only by moving battalions of a strength of 450 men and artillery, without guns—men who are already pledged to S.H.A.P.E.—and, I understand, by stripping B.A.O.R. of Signals, of which it is in urgent need.
B.A.O.R. is certainly gravely under-equipped. This is a matter we can discuss at greater length in the Defence White Paper debate, but it must be agreed that B.A.O.R. is heavily outgunned by the Russians and that its air transport capacity for carrying troops and equipment is woefully deficient. This is the price we were already paying for our previous determination to go on with an illusory nuclear deterrent. The result of Nassau and the great costs which it will involve is that we will further stunt and starve our conventional forces.
The weapons which are due to come forward to the Army are in grave danger of being delayed. I am sure that every year research and development will be raided because the Government must find ways of chopping down here and there to meet the very great increased costs which will be involved as a result of the Nassau agreement. This policy of falling between two stools gravely reduces the influence of this country in the world. I want, as the aim of our defence policy, to get the greatest possible influence for Britain in the world. The positive way of doing this is for us to be determined to build for ourselves the best conventional forces in the world. This should be our positive aim. To make way for that we must decide not to extend or replace our existing nuclear forces; and since that is the basis of the Nassau Agreement we are fundamentally opposed to it.
This is not just a piece of Labour policy, thought up to be different from the Government, nor, as the Prime Minister rather unworthily hinted yester- 1150 day, is it an attempt to reduce the amount of money we spend on defence. We are saying that the amount is being wrongly deployed—that we are not properly deploying the money available —and that is our argument. We are supported in this policy by many expert and well-instructed people. We were supported yesterday by a number of effective speeches from hon. Members opposite.
That goes for the hon. Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Sir A. Spearman) and the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) who, I was sorry to hear, was taken ill yesterday. I hope that he will soon be well. He made a fine speech yesterday, as did the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison). They are a minority on the benches opposite, but a minority which is growing. They can take satisfaction, if I may say so, in always having the better of the argument which goes on opposite when we are debating defence.
There are powerful arguments in favour of the policy I have proposed. It would greatly increase our influence in the world and the alliance. The independent nuclear deterrent is irrelevant in this connection, as was shown at Cuba, while tip-top conventional forces would be indispensable to the alliance, would give us greatly increased influence, and would be much better for the protection of overseas interests which we may have to protect from time to time.
The policy I have suggested would reduce the grave danger of the spread of nuclear weapons and improve the prospects of disarmament. The real hope of disarmament rests on a recognition by the Soviet Union and the United States of a limited mutual interest which is to stop the continuous, ruinous efforts, first, to upset the nuclear balance from one side or the other and, then, to restore it. There is a common interest which is gradually emerging between those two countries to stop this destruction and then restoration of the nuclear balance at ever greater levels of cost, danger and terror.
The first step towards stabilising the balance would be a nuclear test ban agreement. That would check experiments on which further technical advances depend and which, in turn, disturb the balance. Really hopeful progress is now being made. Both sides are making 1151 important concessions to get nearer to each other on a test ban agreement.
The achievement of a degree of mutual interest in this respect depends on avoiding the spread of nuclear weapons, because if they spread the Soviet Union and the United States will lack the control which is necessary for them to come to an effective agreement. For the United Kingdom, at this critical and hopeful moment, to start all over again with this illusory idea of an independent nuclear weapon, is unbelievably irresponsible.
We must re-examine the strategy and structure of N.A.T.O. As my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) said yesterday, we must work towards a distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons; a physical distinction and one in terms of command structure. We must have troops again in Europe who do not depend instinctively on the use of nuclear weapons should they ever be involved in fighting.
§ Sir Richard Glyn (Dorset, North)
When the right hon. Member says that they must not depend on nuclear weapons, has he in mind strategic nuclear weapons and tactical nuclear ones, the latter of which are now in use in every army in the civilised world?
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I will develop this point further when we debate the Defence White Paper.
I am concerned at the moment with a physical distinction between these weapons. I want the forces not to have a reliance on nuclear weapons, including tactical ones, because, if they do, they will not develop a proper attitude towards conventional fighting. They should be physically divided, but we can go into this in more detail on a later occasion.
When looking at N.A.T.O. we must be on guard against this idea of a European deterrent. I am certainly in favour of strengthening and increasing the share of control within N.A.T.O. over the Western deterrent, but any ideas of a separate European deterrent would be fatal. They would not add to the Western deterrent significantly, they would lead to the spread of such weapons and this would involve the danger of the day approaching when Germany might have nuclear weapons. There would be a 1152 diversion on an enormous scale of expenditure from conventional forces all over Europe.
We must, particularly now, do our utmost to build and strengthen N.A.T.O. It will long be argued whether the Nassau Agreement brought about or helped to bring about the breakdown of the Common Market negotiations. I personally think that it did. In any case, it could not possibly have helped. However, in the circumstances, it is now vitally important for us to do all that we can to hold Europe together—I am not talking only of the Economic Community, or the Five; I am speaking about all of Europe in N.A.T.O.—within an Atlantic Community, and one vital field which can help towards this is, of course, defence. Nevertheless, we must not just have pious words, but appropriate policies. Britain must give a lead and set a good example, and not, as at present, give the wrong lead and the wrong example.
The major charge I am making against the Government is that at Nassau, for short-sighted reasons in a mad, hysterical rush, they turned their back on the chance to think out again a real and hopeful alternative defence policy. As the result of Nassau, the Government's defence policy is in ruins and, worse still, the defences of the nation are in disarray. The simple truth is that we are now without a coherent defence plan or policy. The Government have lamentably and ignominiously failed in their highest duty of all, which is to preserve the security of the nation in the best, most effective and most realistic way.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ The Minister of Defence (Mr. Peter Thorneycroft)
I intervene for a few moments in this debate—[HON. MEMBERS:"A few moments?"] Well, for a few moments, if I may—on matters about which powerful views are held on both sides of the House. Whatever view one takes of these things, they are not minor matters. They go to the root of the country's defence policy, as the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) recognised. There are those, like myself and like Her Majesty's Government, who hold the view that a British deterrent is essential. There are those who hold the contrary view; that it is either inessential or impossible to get. That is really what we shall vote about 1153 later this evening. But whichever view one takes, it goes to the very root of our defence policy.
Straddling those views—at times, if I may say so, almost obscuring them—is a mass of important, practical, political and technical issues, and my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Sir A. V. Harvey) referred to a number of those last night. There is the degree of independence that we get with this weapon, the place of manufacture, whether it should be airborne or seaborne, which Service should be responsible; and it is the task of the House of Commons to sift these arguments.
But surely, the first principle to be decided, and what we must really start with, is whether or not we should seek a British deterrent, because if we should not even attempt it the merits of Polaris are quite irrelevant to the debate. I recognise that the question whether or not we should seek one—and I shall come to the possibilities in a moment—is a moral issue as well as a military one, and perhaps I may say that, in this matter, not all the moral arguments are on one side.
There are powerful—indeed, tempting —arguments against going on with this business of an independent deterrent; the cost, the immense difficulty of work of this kind, the ever-increasing technical complexity as scientific ideas advance, the importance of keeping up to date, not only in the nuclear side but, as many right hon. and hon. Members have said, importantly, too, in the conventional side of our forces. These are powerful arguments, and they have very properly been powerfully addressed to the House.
Those are real arguments against the weapon. I dismiss the argument that if we decided not to go on with it, France would drop her project, or Mao Tse-Tung would stop his. I shall deal with the real arguments. I also dismiss the cost argument, because it is virtually admitted on all sides that we will not save money. I agree with the right hon. Member for Smethwick that it is a question of how we dispose our defence expenditure. Those are the arguments for abandonment, but there are arguments against abandoning the deterrent, and they are compelling arguments. I would say again that I think this is an issue that goes to the root not only of defence but, as I 1154 think the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said the other day, concerns our foreign policy as well.
The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) said that the country's role is not to be an independent Power upon its own. That is all right as a phrase, but let us be under no illusions that it means quite a lot in the country's foreign policy. Let us ponder just a little before this House of Commons proceeds on the assumption that Britain's role is not to be an independent Power upon its own. Suppose we did not have a deterrent. Assuming that we did not, then any nuclear threat to this country would have to be met by a counter-threat from outside. Would there always be such a counter-threat?
Could we always count, in the world as it is today, upon an ally at our side? Does our history really bear out such an assumption? Looking a little even to the future, as the Russian inter-continental ballistic missiles grow in number and in strength and are trained on Washington and New York, can we be always absolutely certain that a threat to this country —and I am not talking of the present President of the United States and the present American Government—would, in those circumstances, always in the future be immediately met by a counter-threat from America?
Even if we assume that, as we may, would the Russians always assume it? Is an American deterrent, simply and exclusively controlled by America, entirely credible? These are questions that are being asked, not only in Europe but increasingly in America today—
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
On the assumption that the Americans will go isolationist, and will either default— [Interruption.] Very well, on the assumption that they will default on their obligations to N.A.T.O., has the right hon. Gentleman every confidence that, in those circumstances, a future American Government will continue to supply us with the new models of Polaris?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The right hon. Gentleman is to make a speech later, when he will have an opportunity to develop that—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Yes, I shall, and I shall deal in the right order with that point, which is an important one. It is a big 1155 and important issue, so perhaps I may develop it.
Many right hon. and hon. Gentlemen have raised the question of conventional forces, and they are right to do so. Of course, it is not enough to have nuclear forces. Of course, we must have well-equipped and properly-manned conventional forces. I shall not go into all the arguments about that, but I accept the fact at this moment. But are those right hon. and hon. Gentlemen confident that they would ever be free to use those conventional forces? Are they confident that, in the absence of any nuclear power in this country at all, independently held, they would be able to deploy conventional forces throughout the world?
Would they not always be absolutely and entirely dependent upon the permission of a powerful ally, to hold the nuclear shield for them? I agree that different views can be held on these issues, but I beg hon. Members opposite to ponder these implications, not only for our defence policy but for our foreign policy.
I want to say a little about defence policy generally, and why we think we need both nuclear and conventional forces. We are an island with very big overseas responsibilities—partly historical, partly pure commercial interests, but, nevertheless, existing and accepted by both sides of the House. As an island, we need to deter an attack upon ourselves. As a country with overseas responsibilities, we need—indeed, we must have, because we could not do it alone—a powerful world-wide system of alliances. As an island, we need some independence in our own defence. I do not share the view I saw expressed in a great national daily newspaper the other day, that the job of a good ally starts with not being able to defend oneself. As an island, we require some independence of ability to defend ourselves. As an island with overseas responsibilities we must have a great degree of interdependence in the world.
What kind of deterrent are we talking about? There is a great deal of misunderstanding about it. People ask, "When would you use it? Would you ever start a war?" They talk as if it were some old-fashioned type of gunboat which one sent around the world, threatening people with it. What we Deed, as my right hon. Friend the Member 1156 for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) said, is a powerful and, if possible, an indestructible means of retaliation. The right hon. Member for Belper, who has apologised for his absence from the Chamber —I accept his apologies; he said that I could say anything about him while he was away—said yesterday what our deterrent would be, regarding it, with Polaris, as rather insignificant. He asked what this was against the massive deterrent of the United States.
I will not add up what we shall do, but I will take his own figures. On his own figures of submarines and warheads it adds up to a strike equal to 2,500 times what was dropped on Hiroshima. That is on his own figures. He was dismissing this as rather puny. Different views may be held on this matter and there may be many arguments about the deterrent, but nobody can say that a strike capacity of that character is insignificant in terms of a deterrent. Any enemy must know that there is no prize that they can gain by an attack on or even conquest of this country which would in any way compensate them for the appalling destruction which they would suffer in the process.
In those circumstances, it is the Government's view that we should have such a deterrent. The right hon. Member for Belper made great play of talking about high military sources of a somewhat mythical character who were said to communicate to him views utterly different from the military advice which is advanced to the Government. I have accordingly been asked by him and by some of my right hon. Friends what is our military advice. May I say this to him and to right hon. Gentlemen opposite: the British Chiefs of Staff are solidly with me upon this matter. Their firm military advice is that we need an independent deterrent for this country.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
This challenge was put to me and I think that it is right that I should respond to it.
Let there be no doubt about it. Different views may be held, but if it is argued that we should not have this deterrent, this is certainly against all the military advice which we have at present. That is the answer to the right hon. Member for Belper and to those of my 1157 right hon. and hon. Friends who asked me whether there was a division of opinion on this question.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
I hope that on consideration the Minister will think that it is not right to cite the advisers in this way, because it opens the possibility of a day when a Government—any Government—have not the full support of this advice. If they then refuse to answer it will immediately be assumed that they have not this full support.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I fully recognised and weighed that point. It was only because these rumours were being widely spread upon a matter which is fundamental to the whole of our defence policy that I thought it right to inform the House that I have the full backing of the Chiefs of Staff upon this matter.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
May I add to that? There has been comment that neither of the Service Ministers, the Departmental heads, is taking part in the debate, and the inference has been drawn that they cannot talk freely because they have not the full support of their advisers.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I certainly have the full support of my right hon. Friends, who are here with me. Their advice and our advice, too, is that we need that power, that today we possess it, that the steps to be taken between now and when Polaris comes into action are the right ones and that Polaris, when it comes, will secure us the power that we need in these matters. I would ask the House to ponder well before it rejects advice of this kind. That is not a minor matter. It is fundamental to the foreign and defence policy of the country.
The Labour and Liberal Parties have taken the view that we should abolish the deterrent. At least, I take it to be their view, although I rather share some of the doubts of the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) as to exactly what was the meaning of some of the phrases about the future of Polaris. I will not quote instance after instance, but their view has been openly stated. The last statement was by the right hon. Member for Smethwick, who said:It is cur established policy on this side of the House, on grounds of cost and use of resources, that Britain should cease the attempt 1158 to remain an independent nuclear power. —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th March, 1962; Vol. 655, c. 65.]Of course, there are some who go substantially further. The hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Greenwood) wrote in Tribuneon 28th December, 1962:Until we demand the removal of all nuclear bases and weapons from Britain we shall have difficulty … in proving our determination to achieve that freedom of action without which the policy cannot be put into effect.Thus, we are to scrap our own deterrent, to rely upon our ally and then to tell our ally that they cannot use the bases in our country. I hope that the House will think a little before it follows too far along the road which is being set by hon. Members opposite.
I rather wonder what view the leadership of the Labour Party will have about these issues. The right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) has given some thought to this question of the bases. He said to a Young Socialist rally, in 1961:Stripped of exaggeration and slogans, the issue really resolves itself into the question of American bases in Britain, which is a problem arising not from N.A.T.O. but from the Anglo-American alliance. This is an issue on which strong and sincere opinions can be held on both sides. But it is self-evident that it is one which will almost certainly have disappeared before Labour can become a Government at the next election.He takes a realistic view of the party's prospects.The real issue, then, is whether this great sixty-year-old party … shall tear itself apart on a question which is unlikely to be a reality in 1964.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
May I finish this point, and then I will give way.
One is bound to ask oneself the question, supposing power actually fell to the right hon. Member for Huyton, how would he secure unity in the party between these divergent views? If I may say so, his past history in this matter would lead one to suppose that he would not be deaf altogether to the views of the Left-wing in these matters.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
I will deal with the question of party unity tonight, after we have heard from some more Tory backbenchers. Since the Minister quotes me 1159 about this matter, is it not a fact that the Thor bases are already being taken out of this country by the Americans?
§ Mr. Grimond
I apologise for referring to another point, but I did not realise that the Minister had left it. It is extremely important that he should clear up this matter of military advisers. Is he alleging that the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) said that the current military advisers of the Government have been giving him advice contrary to that which they have been giving to the Government? I did not hear him say that, nor did I hear him quote from the current military advisers of the Government.
Is the Minister saying that the advisers are now advising him that Polaris is a better weapon than Skybolt? If this is so, when did they begin to think so? Are they saying that the Nassau Agreement is the best use of the money available and that they would rather have Polaris than any other weapon? If so, when did they begin to say that?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
The right hon. Gentleman misheard. The right hon. Member for Belper was much more subtle than that; he was indicating that he had his own military advisers who were giving him—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, that is within the recollection of the House. The right hon. Gentleman has said that in almost every speech he has made—that he has his own military advisers and that their advice was contrary to that of the Government's advisers.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Let me finish.
In these circumstances and in view of the questions that I was distinctly asked last night, I thought it right to say that on the question whether we should have an independent deterrent in this country I had the firm support of my military advisers. Whatever decision we take, let it be taken against the background of that fact.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
All the Opposition denounce Nassau and wish to fade out the deterrent. If they do not want a deterrent, it would appear that they would cancel Polaris, though I thought the right hon. Gentleman gave me two answers to that question. This would, indeed, be the collapse of the defence policy.
Now I turn to some practical problems which have been raised.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
One is: are we free to use this? We are absolutely free to use it. We have our own judgment—and it is absolutely our own judgment—that our supreme national interests are at stake. These submarines will be British-manned and British-commanded, and there are no strings on them. I will be quite categoric about them.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. We have had something which I have always understood to be contrary to the practice of this House; that is, a Minister quoting his professional advice. The right hon. Gentleman is then asked categorically what he meant by that statement. He is asked specifically whether he was given this advice to prefer Polaris to Skybolt, and whether he was given the advice that this was the best method of spending the money available—
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)
Order. What the hon. and learned Gentleman raises is not a point of order.
§ Mr. Deputy-Speaker
I have given a Ruling that it is not out of order to speak as the right hon. Gentleman has been speaking in the hearing of the House this afternoon.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I would make it plain that I was denying the suggestion made to me that I was having a difference with my Chiefs of Staff.
Another point is: can we operate them? Yes, we can; and we can communicate with them. There is no problem in this which in any way makes impossible, or even abnormally difficult, communication with these submarines.
§ Mr. Wigg rose—
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Let me finish. I cannot give way on all these points. If I do, I shall be here a long time, and there are many other hon. Members who wish to speak.
Are there hidden radio links, or is there a mysterious device which should in some way take away from the independence of these weapons? The answer is,"No". There is no conceivable truth in this allegation whatsoever.
§ Mr. Wigg rose—
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will let me answer these various points. I am covering as many as I can.
Another point is: are they invulnerable?
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I cannot give way any more. I am sorry.
Are they invulnerable? Obviously, no weapon is invulnerable. Obviously, the struggle between the attack and the defence goes on all the time in these matters. But all the advice that I can obtain is that these are as invulnerable as any weapon is at present and in the future. These are most likely to be the most indestructible form of deterrent that mankind has yet devised.
I would say to those who think that it is a relatively easy thing to detect a submarine even when it is moving that they might examine these matters perhaps a little more carefully; and still less easy is it to detect one which is silent 1162 at the bottom of the sea. I would also add that, although many people are working on the devices to detect, many, too, are working on the counter-devices to meet them.
Will the Americans deliver Polaris? I know that anxiety is expressed on the basis of experience with Skybolt. I should like to say again that the United States was not in breach of its Skybolt agreement. It was entitled not to proceed with an expensive project in research and development provided that it made the offer to us to go on. The United States made that offer. It even went further and offered to go fifty-fifty with us. It went further still and offered us the alternative of Polaris. So I think that I can say that this was not a breach of the United States agreement.
Polaris is, in any event, in a somewhat different category. First, it exists today; it has been proved to work. Secondly, the Americans are making every effort to assist us in drawing up a detailed agreement. We are buying something which is there, with further marks being developed, which are needed by the American submarines which have already been built. Thirdly, there is a direct American self-interest in keeping this going. The Polaris is an integral part of their forces, and is needed by them even more now that Skybolt has been cancelled. So we have a direct American interest working upon our side.
What is the effect of this on the defence budget and on the conventional forces? [An HON. MEMBER: "What about a depot ship?"] It is a question whether one needs one or whether one can operate it from shore bases. I would rather not develop that point at the moment. In 1963–64, we shall be spending rather less than we would have spent otherwise in subsequent years. Subsequently, we shall be building the submarines and missiles; and the boat with missiles—I will not give a firm figure —will cost about £50 million. But if we had kept Skybolt we should have needed a new carrier in the 'seventies. The system as a whole, then, will cost less next year, more in the late 'sixties and less than would otherwise have been the case in the 'seventies. Over a fifteen-year period there is probably not much between the Skybolt and Polaris. 1163 Whose Vote should it be carried on? This is a question of minimal importance. A judgment about what weapon we have has to take account of wider issues than whose Vote a certain missile is carried on.
Could we make these ourselves? The answer to that is, "Yes". Obviously, British industry could make weapons of this category, but at immense cost in time and money. The successor to a V-bomber force or a submarine fleet costs money, but to do the research and development work to provide the "missiles would certainly double that figure. The United States has already spent up to date about £700 million upon Polaris. If we took that on as well from our own resources, it would make very heavy inroads into our research and development and into our conventional forces.
Should we have a deterrent bought from the United States? On this, I should like to quote the right hon. Member for Belper. I do not need to go back five or ten years. Let me go back only three years, to 1960. He said:I have always seen some of the arguments … for an independent contribution to the deterrent. They are largely political arguments … they apply to the nose cone and they apply to the warhead but they do not necessarily apply to the carrier. There is nothing like the same argument involved in going into joint arrangements with somebody else about a carrier. If interdependence is to mean anything, I should have thought that here we should say to our American allies, 'We now want to join in all this business of the carrier since we shall not be able to do it ourselves in time and there is no reason why we should …'".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th February, 1960; Vol. 618, c. 884–5.]I agree with the right hon. Gentleman.
Will there be a gap? No, there will not be a gap such as the right hon. Gentleman described. There will certainly not be a gap of the type or the period when we will have no deterrent power, or anything approaching the gap which the right hon. Gentleman tried to paint. There will be a period when Russian defences are stronger than they are today, and we must maximise our ability to penetrate. It would be self-defeating to outline every step and all the various technical arrangements of approach. Indeed, it would be very wrong to do so, because men would be engaged in actions of this character. But we will improve the techniques. We will 1164 improve the weapons. We will do the necessary research development and production in order to penetrate the strongest of their defences, and it will be a continuing deterrent until supplemented or replaced by Polaris.
So far, I have dealt with the British deterrent. Independence is important, but interdependence matters, too. The problem of a N.A.T.O. deterrent has been a major matter of discussion on both sides of the Atlantic, and there are many unsolved problems about control and deployment. But, as I say, America has been thinking of the need for a deterrent on this side of the Atlantic, and thoughts have turned there to multi-national solutions—many nations, in merchant ships or in submarines—and we are considering how we can contribute to that.
Our suggestion was that we should start with what we have, that we should subscribe or allot or assign V-bombers to strengthen the alliance. We would, of course, be free to use them ourselves. We would work closely in the targeting of operations with the Strategic Air Command. We should keep the V-bombers in British Bomber Command. Of course, that is important for its morale, its discipline, and, above all, for its fighting efficiency. There is much discussion which will take place and is taking place in N.A.T.O. about the control system, the details of assignment, and so forth. I do not wish to prejudge that.
Meanwhile, I will say here and now that the V-bombers, up to the whole force and indeed better, the whole force—the whole of this formidable deterrent strike force—is available to N.A.T.O., and that talks can start now with N.A.T.O. and S.A.C.E.U.R. as to the targeting and planning of that force. Later, we shall, of course, use the Polaris fleet. That will come along later in a somewhat similar way.
Our main contribution, therefore, to the multilateral N.A.T.O. force is in the form of V-bombers and submarines, but we attach importance to the multinational element and we are considering how best to support our allies either by manning or in support facilities.
As I have said, these are great issues. Some of my hon. Friends think that interdependence is so desirable- and so attainable that we should abandon independence now. It is a very big 1165 question. There are others who think that interdependence is so uncertain and so distant that we can trust no ally and that we must make every nut and bolt of any deterrent ourselves.
I ask the House to imagine the possibility that we are somewhere on the hard road between these two schools of thought. The political institutions for the new world are not yet devised. Perhaps even the moral stature of the world has not yet reached that stage. Sovereignty is still a feature of national life. We still might find ourselves alone, and, therefore, the case we argue is that we must keep our independence but share our work with friends and contribute its products to our allies.
The Opposition have made it plain that they oppose the British deterrent. Some of them oppose even American bases here, and for this they are prepared to give up an independent foreign policy, to leave France the only nuclear Power in Europe, to fade out the V-bombers and to cancel Polaris. This is the alternative to the Government's policy, and I suggest that the House should ponder well before they vote upon it this evening.
§ 5.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Dingle Foot (Ipswich)
The House has just listened to a speech for which there can be no precedent in Parliamentary history. I am within the recollection of hon. Members, but the right hon. Gentleman said "British Chiefs of Staff are solidly with me", and he went on to say that the House should ponder well before rejecting advice of that kind. This is, I suggest, a breach in the cardinal rule of Ministerial responsibility.
Every one of us who has held any office in the Government, whether it be Cabinet office or junior office, knows that we and we alone have to take responsibility for the policies which we advocate at the Dispatch Box. Sometimes Ministers accept the advice which is given to them by their civil servants and professional advisers. Sometimes they reject it. But it is, I suggest, wholly undesirable that a Minister should seek at the Dispatch Box to fortify his case by saying that he has the solid support of the British Chiefs of Staff.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls
The House appreciates the strength of the point that the hon. and learned Gentleman is making, but, in the same vein, may I ask whether it is within the rules of the House for a Member to suggest that Ministers are acting contrary to the advice of their advisers?
§ Mr. Foot
If that were to arise no doubt we would deal with it. It has not arisen yet.
I want to pursue this point a little further. The right hon. Gentleman said that we should ponder before we reject the advice of the Chiefs of Staff. How can we accept or reject advice if we do not know what it is? It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that the Chiefs of Staff agree with him on some broad issue. But it is necessary for us to know, before we can judge, not only the answers that were given but the questions which were put, and, in particular, the sort of question which was put to the Minister, though not replied to, by the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond). Indeed, it goes a little further. If the advice is given in documentary form and the right hon. Gentleman quotes from a document, the House will be entitled to see the whole document. That is the kind of difficulty in which, I suggest, the right hon. Gentleman has involved himself and the Government this afternoon.
The right hon. Gentleman also said that it was the task of the House of Commons to sift the arguments in this defence debate. Certainly it is. But our complaint, and the complaint which was made particularly yesterday by my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman), is that we are not given the material which enables us to discharge that task.
The right hon. Gentleman also went on to say that this is an issue which concerns not only national defence but foreign policy as well. The complaint that we make is that there is an apparent divergence between the defence policy and the foreign policy of the Government. Presumably, the foreign policy of the Government is directed to increasing the influence of this country with the United States, with Europe, with the Commonwealth and, indeed, with all the countries of the world. As far as we can judge 1167 it, the defence policy is not directed to that at all.
There have been a number of quotations from eminent heads of the Services during this debate, and I should like to add one more. On 13th January this year there was an admirable letter in the Sunday Times from Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor suggesting that we should all make a New Year's resolution to adapt ourselves to the facts of international life. In this debate nearly every speaker has, I think, endeavoured to carry out that New Year's resolution, with the sole exception, of course, of the spokesmen from the Treasury Bench and the right hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Watkinson).
What the Prime Minister yesterday put forward was the argument which the right hon. Gentleman elaborated today. He said, in fact, that we must choose between having the independent nuclear deterrent and becoming a satellite. I wonder how far that logic goes. Is any nation a satellite if it does not possess an independent nuclear deterrent? It is a strange reasoning. Are all the other nations in N.A.T.O., except France and ourselves, satellites? Is India a satellite? Is China a satellite? Are all members of the Commonwealth satellites? That inevitably follows from the argument.
During the nineteenth century one of the principal facts in international life was British sea power. When Canning called in the New World to redress the balance of the Old, he threw the cloak of sea power over all the nations of North and South America. Not only the Latin American nations but the United States itself grew up under the invisible but, none the less, real protection of the British Fleet. They would have been very surprised had they been told that they were satellites of this country. But, of course, since 1945 we have had a similar situation in reverse. Since then American air power and American nuclear capacity have played very much the same role in Europe as British sea power played in relation to the Americas in the nineteenth century. It is because of the existence of American air power and nuclear power and, later, the creation of N.A.T.O. that Western Europe has not gone the same way as Hungary, East Germany and the Baltic States.
1168 Of course, we could very easily reduce ourselves to satellite status. We could do it if we allowed ourselves to become, I might almost say to remain, militarily or economically the sick man of the Western World. I think it is agreed on both sides of the House that, whatever we do, we cannot live to ourselves alone and the real choice is in between being a satellite and being a partner—a satellite, possibly, of America or of an integrated Europe, or a partner with the other N.A.T.O. countries.
If it is to be a genuine partnership we have ourselves to make a genuine and distinctive contribution to the partnership, and we cannot possibly do that if we make the worst of both worlds by dividing our resources between an ineffective deterrent and insufficiently equipped and insufficiently manned forces on the sea and on the ground.
The argument which has been addressed to us on behalf of the Government really contemplates two possibilities. The first is that the Americans will at some stage retreat into the sort of isolationist position which they occupied between the wars, that they will withdraw from N.A.T.O. and leave the other members to shift for themselves. The other possibility envisaged is that we in this country shall be engaged in some quarrel in which the Americans will not give us their support, and it is argued that to meet one or other of these contingencies we must have the Polaris weapon. The Polaris weapon, of course, can be used only as a deterrent. No one in his right mind contemplates that we should use it first, because, if we did, we should be inviting instant obliteration. We could only use it in reply, if we used it at all, to a nuclear attack. I suggest that we should find it impossible in practice to use it in reply simply to an attack made with conventional weapons either on land or on the sea.
It is, I think, worth while the House considering for a moment what form an attack against this country might take. Speaking for myself, I have never been so much concerned with the size of the Red Army as with the size of the Red Fleet. We were on the winning side, fortunately, in the last World War. That was not only due to our own exertions and to our allies, but, in large measure, 1169 due to the mistakes and omissions made by the enemy. One of his greatest omissions was to overlook the possibilities of the Schnorkel device until it was too late. Had the Germans developed it in 1942 or 1943, or even early in 1944, and had the German submarines in consequence, instead of having to surface in or near the Bay of Biscay where they were open to constant attack, been able to proceed for hundreds of miles undetected under the sea, then the Battle of the Atlantic might very well have had a different result. That, of course, was the one battle that we in this country could not afford to lose.
Today the Soviet Navy is estimated to have a fleet of some 400 submarines— some 80 in the Baltic and over 100 in Arctic waters. Those 400 submarines are equipped with Schnorkels. That is a far more formidable submarine force than the Germans ever possessed at any time in the last war, certainly far more formidable than they had at the beginning of the war.
Of course, the answer is that we have the N.A.T.O. defence. But that raises again the fact of interdependence; it assumes that we are relying not only on our own naval resources but on the resources of the other N.A.T.O. Powers, including, in particular, those of the United States. Therefore, we might very well have a position in which it would not be necessary for the Soviet Union to resort to the threat of nuclear attack or to the use of nuclear weapons. It would be sufficient to threaten to close our sea lanes. That is all they would need to do.
§ Captain Walter Elliot (Carshalton)
Is the hon. and learned Gentleman suggesting that if the Russian submarine fleet threatened the defeat of the Western Alliance we should not unleash the nuclear weapon?
§ Mr. Foot
I was supposing a threat to our mercantile marine, a threat which, of course, would be something vital to us. Even so, I think that we would hesitate and that any Government of whatever party, would hesitate to employ nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union if they knew it would result in total annihilation in the next few days. I cannot imagine any Government, of whatever complexion, taking that decision.
§ Captain Elliot
I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman. If it were only a threat we certainly would not. But 1170 as I understood what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, he suggested in the first place that the use of Russian submarines would lead to our defeat, and I asked him whether if they were used he thought we would unleash our nuclear weapons.
§ Mr. Foot
The answer is that I do not think we would do so, and I do not think that any Government would do so. But the point I am endeavouring to make is that we may have a threat from a superior power even though it is not a nuclear threat and when we meet that threat we are still faced with the problem of interdependence. I say that even if such a situation should arise we should still have the same question to answer. We should still be dependent upon the assistance of our allies and particularly upon American sea power in order to meet the threat. Therefore, I say that in any event we cannot get away from the absolute necessity of interdependence, and there is no other form of defence.
I would like to return to the matter which was referred to my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East yesterday, and that is the difficulty in which hon. Members in this debate and similar debates find themselves, and I mean, of course, hon. Members on both sides of the House. Every one of us, whether we are Ministers, Front Benchers, or whether we are back bench Members of the House, have a responsibility, indeed a personal responsibility, in the matter of national defence. But we are expected to discharge it with wholly inadequate information.
No one can feel very much confidence in the statements which are made from time to time from the Government Front Bench. I remember very well the speech, the extremely startling speech, which was made after the departure from office of Mr. Antony Head, as he then was, when he pointed out strongly that the Army had been fixed at 165,000, and that, oddly enough, this was the precise figure of the number of the recruits which the Government Actuary thought could be obtained, although in that case the Hull Committee —here we do get back to expert professional advice—had advised that the absolute minimum, in order to carry out our commitments, was 220,000 men. It is impossible to escape the suspicion that 1171 in deciding the size of the Army the Government were not moved by strategic or military but entirely by electoral considerations.
It seems to me that the whole House is uneasy about our strategic planning and about the way in which decisions are arrived at. I suppose strategic planning in this country began in 1903 with the formation of the Committee of Imperial Defence. For many years— indeed, I think right up to 1945 in effect —the Minister who was primarily responsible for strategic planning in this country was the Prime Minister himself. If we go back to such reports as the Esher Report in 1903 and the Salisbury Report in 1923, we see that they both emphasise that there is no other Minister in the Government with sufficient authority to take the final responsibility for decisions in this field. So that for many years the Minister primarily responsible for defence was also the head of the Government.
Now we have a different system. We have a Minister of Defence; and what I think the House would still wish to know is how far he himself is in a position to exert authority over the Service Departments. That again is something which we do not know and on which we have entirely insufficient information.
A great many questions have been formulated in this debate. I think there are four to which the House would particularly wish to know the answers. The first is this. How far are our conventional forces, both by land and sea, adequate to meet our commitments? Secondly, can we today maintain the forces we need both in numbers and in quality without compulsory or selective service?
Thirdly, if we build up a Polaris force of five or six submarines, just how vulnerable will they be? I know the right hon. Gentleman dealt with this. He said that at the moment they were about as invulnerable as any weapon could be. If I may say so, that is really not a sufficient reply. We are asked to put all these resources into five or six vessels. After all, they represent a very small target: we have to allow for accidents; we have to allow possibly for sabotage; we may well have to allow for some daring strike by the enemy such as that at Scapa Flow. There are all sorts of 1172 things which could arise, and we are putting a great many strategic eggs into a few baskets.
The fourth question to which I believe the House would like to know the answer is, how adequate is the machinery which now exists for the planning of defence? My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East suggested that there ought to be a Select Committee of this House. Personally, I am not entirely wedded to Select Committees. I think they are rather foreign to our Parliamentary traditions, but I think there is a great deal to be said at the present stage for a Royal Commission on defence.
There are, of course, ample precedents. There was the Harrington Commission which sat at the end of the last century. Although they were not Royal Commissions, there were the two inquiries to which I have referred, the Esher Committee at the beginning of this century and the Salisbury Committee in 1923. There was, of course, another form of inquiry, and that was the Dardanelles inquiry, when Ministers who were responsible were brought up before the Commission and were very strictly interrogated as to the advice they had given and the reasons why the expedition ended in disaster.
It is indeed one of the traditions of this House that we do from time to time inform ourselves by means of appropriate inquiries on the sort of matters which are too technical or which require too much evidence to be canvassed on the Floor of the House. This has happened again and again. I suggest we might follow our own traditions, for we do need an inquiry with the authority of a Royal Commission in order to provide not only the House but also the country with the answers to the kinds of questions which I and my hon. Friends have tried to formulate.
§ 5.27 p.m.
§ Brigadier Sir John Smyth (Norwood)
We have heard a very thoughtful speech from the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) to which I paid great attention, as I am sure the whole House did. I am glad that he quoted at the beginning from the letter by my friend Sir John Slessor of 13th January in the Sunday Times.1 agree entirely with what he said, that Polaris is only a deterrent.
1173 I think that we have in some stages of this debate tended to forget that the deterrent is really to deter and that it is not designed to fight a battle. Part of the time we have seemed to be arguing whether, in the event of our attacking the Soviet Union, we should get through, and a lot of time has been taken up about that.
Just as one used in the days of the war to regard a tank force as having its great effect on the battle when it was out of sight over the horizon, so I would suggest to the hon. and learned Gentleman that it is very often the case with the deterrent, and it is not just a matter of what action we are going to take with the deterrent after a first strike, but what effect the deterrent is going to have on the general situation and the general threat to us before there has been any strike at all.
I entirely agree with the hon. and learned Member about the importance of interdependence. It is a great lesson that we all should have learned as a result of two world wars that no country in the Western world, not even America, can stand entirely alone where defence is concerned. I place primary importance on interdependence even more than independence, to which I also attach importance.
The hon. and learned Member referred to the vulnerability of Polaris, but surely that is not nearly as great as the vulnerability of the V-bombers. In the event of there being a real danger of some form of hostilities we should have to keep quite a large number of the V-bomber force constantly in the air, moving about from one aerodrome to another; and there is not too much space in this little island to conceal a bomber force as compared with the wide ocean spaces in which a submarine can be concealed.
My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence was taken to task by the hon. and learned Member about certain criticisms he made of something that was said by the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown). I should like to read to the House what the right hon. Member for Belper said yesterday:But it is not only some of us on this side of the House whose thoughts are not what they were in 1958. Some very influential and high-ranking figures in the defence world of this country do not think, speak or write today, 1174 or, I suggest, advise today, as they did in 1958."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1963; Vol. 670, c. 978.]I think that there was some justification in what my right hon. Friend said.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I am quoting some words from the OFFICIAL REPORT and I gave the reference. I was not quoting Sir John Slessor.
§ Sir J. Smyth
The Prime Minister opened this important debate with one of the finest speeches on this subject that I have ever heard in the House, and I do not even except some of the orations we have heard from my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill). His speech was wise and balanced politically, economically and militarily, and it gave an extremey good line on how our defence planning would go over the next few years.
We have to consider the Motion and the Amendment against the whole background of our defence policy today. I suggest that our policy may even have to be modified a little with regard to the line which General de Gaulle seems to be taking in his military alliance with Germany and his determination to create an independent nuclear weapon which he will not put into the general scheme of defence and which he is to use in a way we do not know about.
I have said before that it is a great pity that in all our defence debates, and this applies to debates on defence White Papers in the last five years, the Opposition always put down a Motion of Censure and there is a complete brick wall between the two sides of the House, which I am sure ought not to be the case over this vital problem of defence. I deprecate very much many of the expressions used about our Armed Forces by the right hon. Member for Belper and other speakers on the benches opposite. He said that British defence policy has collapsed, that the Service Departments and the Ministry of Defence are in chaos and that there is utter confusion and inefficiency over manpower, weapons and equipment.
1175 The words "collapse, confusion and chaos", form too much a part of the speeches we hear from hon. and right hon. Members opposite. I do not think that hon. Members realise the effect that this has on the Services. Naturally, it is extremely depressing. My right hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Watkinson), the former Minister of Defence, brought that out in his excellent speech yesterday.
§ Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)
Does my right hon. and gallant Friend not think that it is equally bad for morale, if things are bad and there is a shortage of equipment, if hon. Members say that everything is all right?
§ Sir J. Smyth
That is a different matter. It is a question of calling attention to particular shortages of equipment and of expressing an opinion, as my hon. Friend often does, on particular points of Government policy. That is a very different thing from the sort of general condemnation of the forces that we hear from the other side of the House. We were fortunate in opposition to have a leader like my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford, who always advised us not to attack the Government of the day head-on on vital matters of national importance just for party political ends. It is true that there were hard exchanges between him and the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), but I am sure that my right hon. Friend's advice was wise policy. My right hon. Friend used to say that it would not only damage Britain in the eyes of the world, but would damage us as an alternative Government.
§ Mr. Wigg
Was the right hon. and gallant Gentleman in the House in February, 1951? At that time, British troops were fighting for their lives in Korea, with their backs to the wall. This, however, did not stop the Conservative Party from putting down a Motion on defence with the deliberate intention of splitting the Labour Party, if it could, because they knew that a large number of my hon. Friends were pacifists. It was on that occasion that for the first time, as a dreadful shock, I realised that the Conservatives were prepared to put their party before their country for the meanest of party reasons.
§ Sir J. Smyth
Yes, I was in the House, but I would not agree with a word of that.
Our new model, long-service regular defence force is the best defence force that this country has ever had in peacetime, and we ought not to be ashamed of saying so. I know that many things are not perfect and by all means we should refer to those, but it is a great shame to hear the wholesale condemnation of the state of our forces which one has heard from some hon. Members in this debate.
I always remember the remarks of General Norstad, when he was Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe, about the British troops there. He said in one of his talks that it took an average of twelve months to train a private soldier fully, and eighteen months to train a junior leader for the sort of tasks that are faced in N.A.T.O. He inferred from that that our long-service Army was a good Army and was doing a wonderful job in N.A.T.O. then, as it is doing today.
I do not want to go over all the arguments which have been advanced from both sides of the House about Polaris and Skybolt. I agree entirely with the arrangement come to at Nassau and with the arguments put by the Prime Minister, by the Minister of Defence and again, shortly, by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woking. In my view, in all the circumstances, we came to an extremely wise decision. I think that Polaris is in many ways a better long-term weapon for this country than was the free-falling bomb.
I have always been a great advocate in allied strategy of allies trying, as far as possible, to have the same weapons. We have always tried to do this for years, and it is what we have always preached. Obviously, it has great advantages. But, if one country buys a weapon from another, then, once it has been bought, it is that country's weapon.
We have supplied weapons to India just recently. Although we put the proviso on them that they were to be used only against the Chinese, President Ayub Khan of Pakistan knows quite well that, if ever India and Pakistan should come to hostilities again over Kashmir—which, we hope, will never happen—then, of course, India would use the weapons she 1177 has. The weapons from this country will not have "Made in Great Britain" written all over them, and no one could possibly prevent their use.
As regards the cost of Polaris, I think that the important thing is that we should spend only 10 per cent. of our budget on the independent nuclear deterrent. That is the important consideration, in my view. I am quite certain that we should have an independent nuclear deterrent, but interdependence is the first and all-important factor.
At Nassau, the Prime Minister exchanged Polaris for Skybolt. He reaffirmed, with President Kennedy, the vital importance of collective security and interdependence and maintained the already existing independence of Britain's nuclear deterrent. We have done nothing new. We have had an independent deterrent ever since the atom bomb was invented and the Labour Government, very wisely, in my opinion, decided to make a British atom bomb. We have not altered our policy in that respect at all.
As I see it, it is a wise agreement, provided that we do not contribute too much in terms of actual money to the independent deterrent at the expense of our conventional forces or so that we become economically bankrupt. If, today, I had a choice between one Polaris missile and a whole brigade of Gurkhas, I should take the brigade of Gurkhas every time because I think that to us in our particular role at this time it would be of far greater importance.
It is more than probable that the American nuclear deterrent is sufficiently powerful today to compete with Russia on its own without our assistance. There is no doubt, as Mr. McNamara and others have said, that Bomber Command is an extremely powerful nuclear force, and it certainly is a great contribution to the American nuclear deterrent as could be delivered by the American Strategic Air Force.
We should not be bemused by particular dates. All through the debate, people have said that this weapon will be all right until 1965, there will then be a gap, and then for some years it will not be any good. Defence is not an exact science like that and never has been. We base all 1178 these things on the intelligence we have of Russia's defence, and we must remember that our own independent deterrent may not be used as a threat against Russia at all, but may be used in a quite different part of the world.
Should Britain have a nuclear deterrent at all? This question has been argued at length on both sides of the House. My answer is a definite "Yes", for the reasons the Prime Minister has given and for the reasons the Minister of Defence gave in his speech today. We shall not be bullied by the Russians, or de Gaulle, or anybody else. There is no doubt that, although General de Gaulle's Mirage bomb is already out of date, and will be still more out of date when it is produced, if we had not got a bomb at all it might be a considerable threat to us. One never knows quite what circumstances will arise.
In 1914, fighting during the retreat from Mons, I should not have believed that, within a quarter of a century, we should be fighting almost alone over the same ground in much the same sort of conditions. One would have said that this cannot happen again. But these things do happen, and I think that a nation which has experienced a Dunkirk could never again agree to rely entirely upon another nation for its defence. I do not think that the people of this country would support a party with a policy of that kind.
Twelve years ago, I edited and introduced a book called The Western Defences,when the power of N.A.T.O. was being built up. I got several people, including an ex-Prime Minister of France, to contribute. Paul-Henri Spaak wrote the foreword. It is interesting now, in view of the present situation regarding the Common Market and defence, to read a little of what he wrote in that foreword. He said:The defence of the Western European countries must be united or it will not exist. It is essential to co-ordinate them, to weld them into one."He went on to say:There are so many prejudices to overcome, so many memories to efface. What is necessary in Europe is a rebirth of confidence, confidence in ourselves, confidence in the principles of our life, confidence in the power and the radiance of our civilisation.Those words from twelve years ago are, I suggest, just as potent today as they were then.
1179 It is curious to remember that for many years all enlightened French politicians and French generals have tried to get America into Europe and Britain into Europe. In October, 1906, M. Clemenceau was appointed Prime Minister of France. "The Tiger", the great war Prime Minister of France, realised the importance of this as soon as the war started. And when a very critical time for the allies came in April, 1918, when we were on the point of losing the war and all that we had been fighting for, only three American divisions had arrived in France. It was the French particularly who made very great efforts to bring America into Europe, and the enlightened ones have been trying to do that ever since. President de Gaulle, by his recent actions, has really upset and reversed that policy adopted by such great people as Clemenceau, Foch and other leaders whom I have greatly admired.
On the independence of the deterrent, I recall some very wise words of Mr. Gaitskell, the late Leader of the Opposition, spoken in a defence debate on 1st March, 1960:The real case for our having our own independent nuclear weapons is fear of excessive dependence upon the United States.Later, he said:… if we got into the situation—it may be very hypothetical, but one has to consider these things—in which we have had a little difficulty with the Americans, and the Russians were threatening us over some issue about which we felt strongly, one cannot help feeling that if the Russians knew that we had the power to inflict fairly serious damage on them it would be a factor that they would take into account.Before that, the right hon. Gentleman said:… even if, while the V-bombers were ours, the bombs themselves were American bombs— nuclear weapons supplied by the United States—we should have those nuclear weapons under our own control."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1960; Vol. 618, c. 1136–8.]I would remind the Opposition of those, I think, very wise words of Mr. Gaitskell.
I come to the important question of conventional forces which has formed a considerable part of the debate. Six years ago the Government announced that they proposed to do away with conscription and to create a small mobile, Regular, long-service defence force. I think that the whole House agreed with that policy.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I shall refer to the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) in a moment. Perhaps he will wait until I do so. Certainly, the Services agreed wholeheartedly with that policy.
On 30th December, 1962, the Observer published what it thought was the sayings of the year, and this was the saying that I do not think the editor could have spotted because it was not entirely in accordance with his policy. He quoted something which the Chief of the Imperial General Staff had said. I did not know that he had said it, but the Observer quoted it. It was this:National Service did the country a lot of good, but it darned near killed the Army".That is the feeling of many other people in the Services.
The Opposition are now pressing for greatly increased conventional forces in Europe. That is a very expensive policy and inevitably means a return to conscription. I always admire the hon. Member for Dudley and my hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean), whose words always carry great weight because he was an Under-Secretary at the War Office. He is equally frank in agreeing with the hon. Member for Dudley that we cannot have large British conventional forces in Europe without a return to conscription. I certainly take off my hat to the hon. Member for sticking to that throughout.
§ Sir J. Smyth
I am grateful to the hon. Member.
I feel that we are forgetting the original role of N.A.T.O., which was to stabilise a situation after an incident, to create a pause, and to enable both sides to have time to think. Its role was not to fight a full-scale conventional war in Europe. If we did that, knowing the number of divisions that Russia could put in against us, we would have to put into Europe the sort of armies that we put in in the Great War. There is no doubt about that, and we should be clear on that point.
I am against having large standing armies on the Continent. The twentyfour divisions that we have in N.A.T.O. 1181 today are quite sufficient. As I have said before—this is nothing to do with President de Gaulle—I believe that Britain's main role goes much further than N.A.T.O. and is much more a world commitment. There is too much British strength on the Continent. I should like to see a bigger reserve and not so many men tied up in Europe.
Those are my views on these very important matters. We are having an exceptionally important debate, and I certainly support the Motion with the greatest confidence.
§ 5.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Woodrow Wyatt (Bosworth)
The Government are not having a particularly good time in this debate. Although we have had quite a number of speeches from hon. Members opposite, only one has defended the Government's decision wholeheartedly, and the longer that that hon. Gentleman went on the more I began to think that even he was like the Australians in the last Test, playing for a draw. It is quite remarkable what little support the Government have had from their own side of the House, from their advisers, or from anyone in the country who thinks about these matters.
The attempt of the Minister of Defence this afternoon to extricate the Government was not very successful, particularly when he quoted the advice of the Chiefs of Staff, namely, that they thought that we should have an independent deterrent, and then refused to go on to tell us, as everyone knows, that there is a very great division among them as to whether or not it should be the Polaris submarine.
I have heard the Prime Minister make some odd speeches in the past, but I thought that yesterday's was the oddest of all. He told us what a good bargain Polaris is, how the Americans will pay all the development costs and how cheap it will be for us. In his role of benevolent uncle, he assured his nephews and nieces that the Americans would practically give us this lovely toy to play with. I cannot make up my mind sometimes whether he created "Beyond the Fringe" or whether "Beyond the Fringe" invented him.
The whole of the right hon. Gentleman's speech was so utterly unrelated to what has happened and to what is likely 1182 to happen that it is easy to understand how the Government mismanage everything that they touch and how the Prime Minister, so often praised for his political astuteness, has got the country into such a complete and utter shambles. Maybe we have a credible independent nuclear deterrent. We certainly do not have a credible Prime Minister.
The truth is, although one would never have guessed it, that the Polaris weapon is the most expensive weapon we have ever had or are ever likely to have. Its first cost is that it has kept us out of the Common Market. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes. The Prime Minister went to see President de Gaulle before Christmas. There they sat, these two strange gentlemen from another century, looking at each other and getting nowhere. In one chair sat the President, hard and stiff, waiting for the Prime Minister to air the subject of Anglo-French nuclear co-operation but too proud to raise it himself. In the other chair sat the Prime Minister, dreaming of his special relationship with America and too foolish even to know what was going on in the President's mind.
I see that in the House on Tuesday the Prime Minister said that he had not received an official communication from General de Gaulle for the last twenty years. That is not really surprising, because, obviously, there is no possibility of communication between them at all. The charade of a meeting at Rambouillel broke up to the accompaniment of the usual meaningless communiqué. [An HON. MEMBER: "What?"] Never mind about the pronunciation; the disaster was great enough.
The President had been willing to let Britain into the Common Market if the Prime Minister hinted that there was a possibility of Britain being interested in a European deterrent. It was already known that Skybolt had collapsed. President de Gaulle was waiting for the Prime Minister to refer to this topic. Instead, the Prime Minister said nothing and went off to the Bahamas to cadge the Polaris. The General, who is touchy at the best of times, was furious at what he regarded as an insult. If the Prime Minister, who, we are always told, is the greatest diplomat alive, had used the most elementary tact at Rambouillet, the Brussels talks would now be reaching a satisfactory solution.
1183 I am not defending General de Gaulle, who, clearly, has more than a touch of megalomania. I am accusing the Prime Minister of conducting our affairs with a kind of cheery, senile inefficiency. It was one occasion when our possession of an independent nuclear deterrent could have had political influence, because the General is rather impressed by it. It was, however, the one occasion when it was not mentioned and was not used. The opportunity was completely thrown away.
The rest of the story is bad enough. It may be that we do not have to pay much in the way of development costs, but to equip ourselves with only five submarines and the weapon will cost us no less than £400 million; we can always add at least £50 million to the estimates given by the Government, and the figure may be something like £450 million. For all the good that it will do, the Prime Minister might just as well stand in front of Admiralty House and throw the money into Whitehall. That would be a much better idea, because it would inject much needed purchasing power into the economy and get industry going again.
Our possession of the Polaris weapon will add neither to the variety nor to the strength of our defences or of those of the West. It certainly does not give us an independent deterrent and it certainly does not break the American monopoly of the nuclear weapon, of which the Prime Minister spoke yesterday. Weapons on this scale are not like rifles, which we can make ourselves if our supplier fails to provide us with them. With this weapon, we are absolutely committed to our supplier from the start and to the end.
In any event, it is extremely doubtful whether the weapon is any good. The earlier hesitations of British Defence Ministers, of whom we have had a vast variety, seem to be much better founded than their present blithe confidence in the weapon which they once rejected.
We shall have only five of these submarines and the Russians have an immense number of killer submarines. All they have to do is to wait outside each of our ports for one or two of our Polaris submarines to emerge, to follow them around the Atlantic or wherever else they may go and to "knock them off" whenever they choose. There is 1184 nothing whatever that we can do about it. The hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Kershaw) may laugh, but why does he suppose that the Russians have so many killer submarines? Does he think that they cannot go as fast as any Polaris submarine that we may build? The Russians know what they are doing, even if our Government do not.
Quite apart from that, even if that were not enough, the whole of the Atlantic can be photographed in a few hours. The Secretary of State for Air could, if he chose, give the order tomorrow morning for a photograph of everything on the surface of the Atlantic and he could have it in his office by lunchtime. It will not be long before X-ray photographs will be available to show not only what is on the surface, but what is beneath it. A great deal of hard work is being done in this direction, not only in Russia but here and in America.
If we ever get them, our four or five Polaris submarines will be far more vulnerable even than the V-bomber force of 150 to 180 aircraft that they are designed to replace. They will be, not a step forward, but a step backwards. There cannot ever have been such a lunatic decision, even in the last eleven years of nine confused and confusing Conservative Defence Ministers. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said this afternoon, the decision was made hurriedly without thought in the balmy sunshine of the Bahamas. It was a fantasy more suited to the romantic readings of Ian Fleming's novels on a West Indian summer holiday than to the difficult realities of the world.
I do not believe that the majority of the advisers of the Government consider that the right decision has been taken. I would be surprised if there are not one or two Ministers who are somewhat doubtful about it as well. Obviously, one cannot so quickly rush so important a decision, making such an enormous change in the whole defence system, and be right.
I cannot understand why the Government are in such a hurry to get themselves a new means of delivery. We still have the V-bomber force, the effectiveness and life of which is, I believe, consistently underestimated. That is largely because of the inefficient public relations of the 1185 Air Ministry, which keeps very quiet about what these weapons can do, with the result that we hear nothing whatever about it.
Only a year ago, Air Marshal Savit-sky, in charge of the air arm of the anti-aircraft defences of Russia, made an important statement in Red Star, the newspaper of the Russian Ministry of Defence. He said that he did not believe that the Soviet Union had any sure means of stopping the Western bombers by counter-radar jamming devices. He did not believe that he could guarantee that all the Western bombers could be brought down before reaching their targets.
In my view, the time is very distant when the Russian chiefs of staff can go to the Kremlin, put their hands on their hearts and guarantee to bring down every one of the V-bombers that we now have. Each one that reaches its target destroys a complete major Russian city. It would have to be a very tough man indeed who faced the risk of losing even five cities in that way. I do not believe that Khrushchev would do that. Neither do I believe it to be possible to destroy all these aircraft on the ground in England when they are dispersed, even if they were on the ground at the time— because at times of tension most of them would obviously be airborne and the warning time is quite sufficient to get the others off the ground.
There is a sort of malaise in this country which supposes that everything we do is no good and that everything that the Russians and Americans do is perfect. I simply do not believe that to be the fact. We always expect the worst for ourselves in the event of an attack and that everything will go miraculously, simultaneously, wonderfully well for the enemy. I do not believe that the Russians are making the same mistake. I do not see why we should make it. If the V-bomber force is so archaic, why are the Russians and the Americans investing in thousands of similar type aircraft to carry H-bombs?
One of the few sensible remarks made by the Prime Minister yesterday was that nobody can fix a day or a year for the end of the effective life of the V-bomber force, and I agree with him. 1186 With Blue Steel and the improvements to it that are to come, the life of this weapon is likely to be prolonged much further than most people suppose—possibly for ten years or more.
I do not consider that the gap which is talked about matters a hoot, at least for another ten, fifteen or, it may be, twenty years. It does not matter if we have a gap of ten or twelve years or something of that nature, because it is inconceivable that any Government who take over in Washington would abandon us to a nuclear attack during that period and would not come to our rescue. The Russians do not believe it, so why should we?
The importance of our having an independent deterrent of our own immediately the V-bomber tails off seems to me to be absurdly over-rated. I would trust President Kennedy's judgment on when and how to reply to a nuclear threat as much as I would trust our own Prime Minister, probably even more so in many circumstances. It is only after twenty years or, perhaps, a quarter of a century that there might possibly be the need of an independent nuclear deterrent in Europe. That is because the moods of nations can change.
We have seen it happen in the past. It could conceivably happen in the future. I do not think that it is likely to happen, but it might so become that the Americans withdraw into an isolationist frame of mind once again. It is only for that very far and unlikely prospect that we might need some kind of insurance by way of an independent nuclear deterrent for Europe, on the assumption that the Powers have not agreed to the disarmament of nuclear weapons or to handing them over to a world authority.
For this distant prospect, the Polaris submarine is useless to us and should be given up at once before too much money is wasted on it. If there is a Labour Government after the next election, I hope that they will abandon Polaris at once and stop wasting any more money. Some of the money saved could be used for development and research in space. The Polaris submarine is already obsolescent. I think that most of the experts today agree that the next weapon system of the future will be connected with space, with some kind of space device not yet constructed.
1187 If we were to spend £200 million or thereabouts over ten years—not all at once, but after a careful plan had been made—we could build a system which would have peaceful applications as well as warlike. We might feel that it was never necessary to develop the warlike side of what we were doing by this kind of space system. If we did not, the money would not have been wasted, but well spent. It would have kept Britain at technological full stretch and in quest of the ultimate in science and engineering.
The Prime Minister told us that £700 million had been spent on Polaris up to the end of last year. No doubt that is true, but he omitted to point out that this £700 million produced not one system but three.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft indicated dissent.
§ Mr. Wyatt
The Americans are quite a long way on to A3. I think that the right hon. Gentleman will agree with that.
The Prime Minister omitted to point out that American expenditure is two and a half times what is spent in England on similar projects because they are more lavish and less careful than we are. For instance, if Blue Streak had been finished it would not have cost more than £250 million. That sort of money spread over ten years cannot be too much. We may not be as powerful as we were, but £250 million over ten years cannot be too great a burden for us to carry.
The Missile Division of the Ministry of Aviation and the Royal Aircraft Establishment, at Farnborough, have men as clever as any engaged in this work throughout the world. Very good use could be made of them. But we rush from one extreme to the other. One moment we think that we can afford everything, the next moment we think that we can afford nothing.
There is a half-way house. What I suggest would be far cheaper than Polaris and far more useful to scientists and engineers and industry generally because of the by-products which would be generated. It would also have the effect of stopping some of our best scientists leaving Britain for the United States because they feel that we are not carrying out any projects which test their 1188 fullest capacities and that we never finish projects which we begin. If we begin a project, let us finsh it. About eight projects in this country up to today have been abandoned, any one of which, if it had been finished, would have produced something tolerably worth while.
If the course I suggest were followed, we should be able to invite Europe to share development and expenditure. We may not want to do so at the moment, because Europe is being run by two dotty old men—I am not altogether sure about the third one, in London —but the time may come when we will be glad to ask Europe to join in such a venture and when it will be glad to do so. We should be producing something indigenous to Europe which would add something distinctive to the capacity of the West and not duplicate something already in existence. It would be well within our means to do so.
At the same time, with the rest of the money we saved, we would do well to modernise our conventional weapons and forces. I do not want to go over the argument for conscription again, but it is incredible that today the United States has seven times more men in its armed forces than we have in ours, although its population is only three-and-a-half times as great. With a population of 30 millions, Turkey has larger armed forces than does the United Kingdom, and so does Italy. There is a disgraceful disparity between our population and what we provide for common defence.
Neither Europe nor the rest of the world will think much of us so long as we go on pretending to have an independent deterrent which is not independent and refuse to have conscription, which we could easily have and thus provide the right amount of forces. Eighteen months or two years in the Services does nobody any harm and does a lot of good to a great many people in bringing them to the realisation that they have obligations to society as well as privileges from it. Let us do what we can do effectively. There is still much that we can do. Let us stop wasting our substance on illusions.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ Sir Kenneth Pickthorn (Carlton)
The hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) knows so much about so many things 1189 that one hesitates to rely upon him about everything. I was very grateful to have his assurance about our V-bombers and his advice about space.
This is a dreadful debate—and it will not get any better now. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] It is a dreadful debate because the stakes we are debating ought to fill all of us with dread, whichever way they go. I think that the stakes at issue should fill us with dread. Nobody any longer, I notice, easily passes off the risks on to a theoretical concept or to a world organisation. No one any longer thinks that we can trust the United Nations to "put things right". although we may think that we can use it for some purposes. Those illusions are gone.
The world is more dangerous than ever. Perhaps we are weaker than ever. We are almost without the capital weapon—and whenever I use that phrase in future I hope that hon. Members will do me the kindness of assuming that I include the means of delivery—and one may ask whether there can be any independence for a State in our situation. If hon. Members do not like the word "independence" I will use the word "freedom", or the term" confidence in expectations".
Our situation is unique, and not only because we are an island, because we import more than half of all we need, and so on, but also because we have an ambivalent hate-love relationship with everybody else—or, at least, everybody else has with us. This arises from our very greatness, which we are told is now more or less gone, and from the benefits we have conferred upon almost everyone.
I should be the last to wish that we should try to control policy here on the basis of our likes or dislikes, or on what we think are the likes or dislikes of General de Gaulle. I am not so knowledgeable about the inside of General de Gaulle's head as some hon. Members seem to be. One thing about which I feel fairly confident is that for him the unforgiveable thing about Great Britain is that it has twice dragged out of ruin the country to which General de Gaulle is wholeheartedly and most honourably devoted. That is the sort of thing which it is most difficult to accept.
1190 Can we, as things now are, without a share in capital weapons, hope to have any of the political decisions, which means the personal, because it comes down to the individual in the political situation?
I entirely agree with one or two hon. Members opposite who have said that the interesting thing about this debate has been the speeches in criticism of, or at least not in full agreement with, the Government which have been made from this side of the House. It so happens that there are four or five hon. Friends of mine who are, indeed, honourable and whom I would wish to be my friends even if they were not, which is more than I can say of most, who must be counted in that list, and it does shake me. My hon. Friend the Member for Scarborough and Whitby (Sir A. Spearman) shared this illusion that hitherto each nation's capacity to make its own decisions, to have any freedom or independence has always depended largely upon whatever might happen to be the capital weapon at any one generation, but not now.
That brings me to another reason why I think that this is an awful debate, a dreadful debate. It is that it is one of the debates in which at least a part of the debate escapes common sense. Common sense is applicable only in fields where there is very widely shared general experience. Otherwise, common sense becomes just nonsense. It is dreadful, therefore, to people like me, not as well-informed as the hon. Member for Bos-worth (Mr. Wyatt), who has now left us, for us to have to enter into this debate feeling that part of it is something which we cannot approach. The other half of the debate, however—I think the really dominant part—has been the debate about the relationship between States which have the capital weapon and those which have not, and the prospects of those two categories. Upon that part of the debate, I would suggest, no specific knowledge is required. Judgment on these themes is a matter of one's general impression of the nature of the universe and the course of previous history, and common sense.
On the common-sense basis, the capital weapon hitherto has been the biggest factor. Those on the other side of this matter are glad to think, and wish the House to register the belief, that the 1191 nuclear weapon in the hands of this country is an illusion. However, as I understand it, the right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) referred to it being with us for the next two or three years, so the thing is not yet an illusion. We are, if I may use the Prime Minister's phrase, which he used without any intention of frivolity—and I am glad that the House did not cheat by pretending to think that it was frivolous, for it is a useful phrase—still in the game.
Although the Opposition Amendment suggests that we are not in the game, hon. Members opposite, in the course of the debate, others beside the right hon. Member for Belper, have admitted that, in fact, we are in the game. They may think that we are not very well in and that we are not in very good form and that we are to be kicked out tomorrow, but in the debate, although not on the Order Paper, they have not denied that we are in the game. Do they think that we should be taken out of the game?
Some of them used to think—and I noticed that quite a lot of people took this view yesterday by the rather curious device of swallowing The Times and then regurgitating it uncritically—that if only we were virtuous enough, which, of course, means as virtuous as the persons taking the view, then foreigners would leave us alone. That is the extreme Left version of the "Niggers begin at Calais" joke. I notice that several Members yesterday said that our future place in the world would not be decided by the kind of arms we had, but by the kind of people we were. The kind of people which of them are? I think that the foreigners are reasonably puzzled by that. When I broke off reading, I was on my way to compliment the right hon. Member for Dundee, West (Mr. Strachey). He added:To which the Labour Party would only add the words, 'and by the kind of conventional forces we maintain'".The Labour Party—again, I do not know which of them that was.
I think that there has been too much changing of minds and swopping of horses and all that, and there has been a lot of defect in organisation, and planning and that kind of thing. But when it is said by right hon. Gentlemen opposite, who are endeavouring to replace the Government, with all their to-ing and fro-ing 1192 about which weapons, if any, are morally harmless, it is puzzling. There was a letter from various right hon. and hon. Members opposite adding not only that atomic weapons were wrong in our hands, but also that we ought not to have anything to do with the strategy of those who had them, nor allow them any facilities upon our territory.
On the admission that we have these weapons, so that we are in the game, the argument that we ought to be out of the game has become very narrow, with wide division about why we ought to be out of the game. It was generally admitted yesterday and by the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) today, that the argument about not being able to afford atomic weapons ought not to be used any more. It is not believed, except by very few, that the argument that our moral superiority, if we did not want atomic weapons, would protect us from the evils of this world, is sound. So that simoniacal and often hyprocritical argument has gone, too.
It is ironic to reflect that the Prime Minister was too modest yesterday when he said in this matter of atomic armaments that we and the Americans had been in it together from the first. We were in well before they were. It was entirely a British initiative, however good or bad this may or may not be, that got the possibility of atomic high explosives taken up as a major governmental interest long before the Americans.
In 1940, we gave the Americans all that we had, and if we had not there would not have been a bomb to affect the progress of the last war. Looking back that may or may not seem to be a good thing. My point is that before 1940 we were furlongs ahead of the Germans, who had, in any case, got on to the wrong track. We did not at the time know how far ahead we were, but we were furlongs ahead of them and miles ahead of everybody else.
Since 1940, what has become of the attempt to keep in the game and to get back into the current timetable? Here, one is bound to be a little depressed. There is an easy explanation why from 1940 to 1947 we were not busy about this, and I daresay it was right to decide— although I regretted it at the time when we handed over the whole thing as it 1193 stood to the United States—that it should be absolutely unconditional: and, meanwhile, we were busy with other things.
But if we come down from 1947 to 1963—I cannot do the sum, but it is quite a number of years, something ending in a"6"—it is not so easy to defend the fact that we have not got back to the timetable of atomic, delivery, and space development, or any, perhaps most easily the first. With full allowance for incidence of disappointments in this game, with full understanding—not how and why, because I am not a physicist—but that this is the sort of game in which nobody can be blamed for one, two, three, four, five, I do not know up to how many delays, there must be some point at which continuing disappointment and delay means that the organisation and planning are defective.
I think that on this occasion what the Government owe to the House, and, indeed, what the Opposition owe to the House, and what we have not had from them yet—except from the Liberals; we had some from them; they are certain that there is no question of independence for this country—[Interruption.] I will not go back over the last forty years, but anybody who sits on the Opposition benches and thinks that, on a matter of this sort, prep, school jokes are relevant really is not in the game.
I am not much of a man for Royal Commissions. I do not know that sending for General Ismay or General Jacob is enormously useful. I have a great affection for one of them, and perhaps rather slightly less for the other, because I do not know him well enough, but I will not say which. It was not possible to send for Cardwell or Esher, or even for the Duke of Cambridge and Lord Combermere and this was the best available.
I do not think that we ought to be sure that Select Committees are a good thing, or even that Royal Commissions are a good thing, but there ought to be candour on the part of the Government that they intend hastily—perhaps hastily is the wrong word and I should say speedily—to examine what can and should be done, and whether, by one of these debating devices or otherwise; 1194 e.g., I do not know enough to attach vast importance to this suggestion, can we possibly remodel the Chiefs of Staff Committee and its relations with the scientists, on the one hand, and the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, on the other.
It is easy to understand the expense argument against our staying in this game, and staying, I think we all admit, is the question at issue—that is to say, the Amendment is nonsense. Easy to see that it would be very expensive. I think that we have all dropped that, and the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) was perhaps the first to do so.
There is another argument which will not do: that is, to damn any project, inchoate or explicit, to keep up with twentieth century weapon development, the attempt to damn any such project, actual or potential, by talking French about folie de grandeur—meaning folie des grandeurs, or even mixing up Latin and Greek and talking about nostalgia of Empire. This will not do. One cannot ride the thing off in that way, and if anyone here cares for the opinions of his grandchildren he had better not be certain whether, in this connection, they will think that more harm has been done by excessive consciousness of greatness ten, twenty, thirty, forty, one hundred, or two hundred years ago. I do not know enough French to know whether the phrase which one might use by way of analogy is manie de la petitesse—vicious hankering for pettiness. Perhaps that is the worse of the two.
To take another assumption—because false assumptions are what matter—it is absurd to assume that two is the best possible number of capital weapon-holding States. I do not propose to argue that it is not, but it is absurd to assume that it is, and it is much more absurd to assume that two, whether a good number or a bad one, is a permanent one. Whatever happens the world will not continue with two States and two only holding atomic weapons. That one is not "on".
Incidentally, one of the arguments for thinking two the worst number was put by the right hon. Member for Smeth-wick, when he said that we need not fear dropping the H-bomb, and so on, because 1195 the equilibrium is exact between Russia and the United States. How long do exact equilibriums last?
§ Sir K. Pickthorn
I am speaking English, and if I say what I think of my hon. Friend I shall have to deviate into the sort of Latin that Gibbon put in footnotes.
It is possible that two is the worst number. It is imbecile to assume that it is the best number. It is certain that any deterrent that we may count on now we cannot count on for very long. The hon. Member for Bosworth was certain that there would not be a gap. We have had official assurances that there will not be a gap, but to make certain that there is not a gap will certainly be very difficult, hazardous and expensive.
Then there is the other argument of the anti-nuclear weapon chaps. This we have had from every speaker opposite, and practically every critical speaker on this side of the House—the argument that they cannot imagine a situation in which the United States was not using atomic bombs although we were willing and able to do so. To put it even more shortly, in any situation they can imagine the United States using these things, they ask what good it would be for us to add one or two. That argument seems to me to be quite without weight.
The only thing certain about war—as with most other things, but more conspicuously about war than anything else— is that what the experts say they cannot imagine is not evidence. What will happen, they do not know, and the limitations of their imaginations are not evidence. That argument ought to receive no attention whatever. Some hypothetical, imaginary cases have been put up which were not too bad, from an argumentative point of view; but I would not rest the point on that, rather on the fact that the expert admission of lack of imagination or limited imagination is nothing like evidence.
I have only a few more words to say [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I dare say that I have spoken too long, but I have known many other Members do that. Yesterday, the hon. Member for Coventry, East said that he would be 1196 short, but he took 22 minutes. I reckon that I have listened to him at least six times as often as he has listened to me, and if we multiply 22 by six we get quite a long speech.
In the history of the world up to very recent times there is no doubt, first, that the master weapon and the freedom and defensibility of a country are closely connected. Secondly, it has been generally admitted in the debate that we have some of the master weapon—a little of it for a little while, anyhow. Thirdly, we ought not to get out of the game until we are absolutely forced out—forced in the narrow, literal sense; or because of such poverty as amounts to force.
If before the game has been played for long and because, upon counting up the probable score value—as of polo players rated two goals, or three and a half goals—things do not look bright, to get out of the game by counting up the theoretical handicap, as if we were a lot of bookmakers deciding who has won the matches that have not been played, that would be a new low in contemptibility.
§ 6.44 p.m.
§ Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)
At the end of his broadcast last night the Prime Minister made an appeal that the people should respond to the challenge of our difficulties and said we had never failed to respond to such an appeal. As he spoke those words I recalled what was said by a sometime master of his college, who said that when men respond to challenge they renew their strength. I have said the same thing at the end of many of my speeches, for I am certain that during the last 400 years the British people have never failed to respond to the demands made upon them. But there is one primary requirement; they must be told the truth. They must know the facts—not the words yelled at them from the headlines of the newspapers, but the facts that come from within, from conviction and from confidence that their rulers are doing their job.
Even the most friendly supporter of the Government—and I mean not only the Prime Minister's Government but Conservative Administrations during the last twelve years—cannot be asked to express confidence in the defence facts which are given to them without the most careful inquiry and examination. I have been a critic of the Government and also a 1197 critic of my own Front Bench. In almost every speech that I have made I have wound up with the same plea—and I start with it tonight. Will the Government take the first step to mobilise the resources of the House, not in order to establish facts which it feels would involve the security of the State, but to establish facts which, through the machinery of the House, can be properly understood?
In all our defence debates, whether on the Services or Defence White Papers, after a short while only a handful of Members remain in the Chamber. Only a limited number of people are interested in the technicalities or the abstractions of what tends to become an ever more difficult subject. Why, then, as a first step should not the Government send the three Service Estimates—which must now be in an advanced state of preparation—to a Select Committee upstairs, of which the Minister of Defence could be Chairman, in which the Government would be sure of their majority, and in which all the privileges of the House would be involved in safeguarding security, as is done on similar lines in the United States? They could get down and thrash out some of the problems with which the country as a whole, and not merely the present Administration, is involved, I have made this suggestion before, and it has been turned on one side. The Editor of the Sunday Telegraph said that we do not want a committee of politicians but a committee of business men. A committee of business men, however exalted, would not bear the responsibility borne by Members of this House. That is an undemocratic approach. We want a widening of knowledge through the exercise of democracy, because unless we have it there we shall not solve our many problems.
Let us turn our minds back for twelve years. The hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) talked about the attitude of the Conservative Opposition in the days of the Labour Government. I have reminded him that his recollection is not the same as mine. In February, 1951, when the Labour Government introduced a rearmament programme which eventually brought about its electoral defeat— because it was an unpopular thing to do 1198 with the majority of people—the Conservative Opposition did not hesitate to put down a tricky Motion in order to cause the Government the greatest embarrassment, irrespective of its impact upon the security of the State.
The Conservatives came to power a few months later—eleven years ago. Since that time Conservative Governments have spent £17,000 million. The Prime Minister yesterday told us the continuing story, from the decision of Mr. Attlee— as he then was—to manufacture the A-bomb, down to the present day. What was the first step that hon. Members opposite took in 1951? What was the first radical revolutionary step they took to put right all the mistakes of the Labour Administration which they had discredited in such strident terms? Do right hon. and hon. Members forget? I will remind them. They introduced the Home Guard Act. That was the first revolutionary step that was taken.
A few years went by, in which time we had the present Prime Minister as Minister of Defence. The right hon. Gentleman was a very good Defence Minister. He was one of the best we have had, and certainly in none of my speeches have I ever charged the Prime Minister with an ignoble purpose in seeking what he set out to do in 1957. The right hon. Gentleman had been Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was acutely aware of the burden on our economy and he set out to save hundreds of millions of £s-£700 million was the figure he talked about in his speech a few months before he took office as Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentleman set out to do that by getting rid of conscription. There were to be no more manned bombers, no more fighters and atomic streamlined force.
The Prime Minister's defence policy as set out in 1957 has failed in detail as it has failed in concept. One mistake which has been made by my hon. Friends is to get caught up in criticising particular weapon systems instead of the overall defence concept. In 1960, three years ago, I got into great trouble for condemning the policy of the Government. I said that it was not fallacious or mistaken. It was not confusing. These were the terms which were used by my right hon. Friends. I said the 1199 policy was wrong beyond any shadow of doubt.
Now I propose to turn to an aspect of this problem which has so far not been dealt with. We are told that Polaris is a very good weapon. Many loyal speakers have tended to say that Polaris is the best after all. But let us go back a bit to the Defence White Paper of 1959. On 11th February, 1959, the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, who was then Minister of Defence, held a Press conference. He took the conference himself and I read from The Times report next day:Perhaps as a consequence of this view the value of the Polaris missile-firing submarine is being questioned. Too little attention has been paid, it is said, to the limitations of missile-firing submarines. Why, for instance, should it be assumed that they will remain undetectable and invulnerable? Their numbers will be comparatively few because of their great cost, and the movements of a very limited force could be closely watched by an enemy. It is also suggested that they would not be cheaper than Blue Streak, because there would be the cost of equipping each submarine with 16 rockets and 16 nuclear warheads, and of providing mother ships and complex communications systems. As a final clincher, we were told that Blue Streak is suitable for space exploration, which a solid-fuel rocket like Polaris is not. Certainly it all sounds as if someone is determined to have a land-based Blue Streak deterrent.One of the things which I have watched with the greatest possible care in this defence controversy is the statements put out by the Government's public relations department. The next day every newspaper—we did not even have to wait for the next day, the evening papers came out with the story—"Prime Minister speaks from strength. Polaris is out. We are going to have Blue Streak."
The first thing to be remembered is that Blue Streak was not a British weapon in the sense that it was presented to us. It was Atlas without a sustainer; indeed, Rolls Royce who manufactured the Blue Streak engine produced it under licence. It was not a purely British weapon. But in any case the point I am making is that this Minister of Defence was condemning Polaris on the ground that it was not invulnerable and would not be long undetectable. If hon. Members doubt the argument being carried on at that time, a year later a point was being made about a breakthrough by the Admiralty on the detectability of Polaris. We find that on 1200 13th April, 1960, there was an Admiralty denial. The Admiralty denied a report that British naval scientists had almost made possible a spectacular breakthrough.
I mention this because this afternoon we have heard quite a bit about the advice given by the Ministers advisers. I should like to know from the Prime Minister whether the statements made in 1959 by the Minister of Defence were made on his own authority, or whether they were statements which were made with the authority of his advisers. If it is proper to quote advisers when it suits the Government, clearly the point ought to be cleared up. I have said in a letter to The Times, and I am repeating statements widely believed through the Services, that the original decision to keep Blue Streak at the expense of Polaris was taken by the Minister of Defence in the teeth of Service opposition.
I should like to ask one or two other questions in connection with the same matter. At the same time that this controversy was going on, and at the same time as the Minister of Defence was telling the assembled Press conference that Polaris was costly, vulnerable and detectable, the right hon. Gentleman had set up a Committee under the chairmanship of Sir Richard Powell, then the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, to consider the cost and merits of various deterrent systems based on land or sea, and for use in the air, and to report on what form the future deterrent should take.
I should like to know, and I am sure the House would like to know, the date on which the Committee was set up and the date on which it reported. There were the strongest rumours at the time that at the very moment when the Minister of Defence was making these dramatic assertions the Powell Committee had not reported. In other words, the decision in this matter and the way it was handled was dictated wholly by political reasons.
This seems to me to bring us to the first charge against the Prime Minister. That is to say, the Government were not to be condemned because they were wrong in their 1957 concept. Indeed, I say again that the Prime Minister served no ignoble purpose in launching his 1957 policy. But it becomes a matter of a very different kind if, by 1959, it was known that Blue Streak was non-viable 1201 and not likely to succeed and that the Government, for purely political reasons, kept Blue Streak going for at least another year with the full knowledge that the project could never come to fruition. There is the most powerful evidence to support this belief.
I will quote from an officer who was serving at the time but is no longer serving, General Cowley. In November, 1959, while Blue Streak was being defended by hon. Members on both sides of the House, he presented a paper to the Royal United Service Institution. Hon. Members may have forgotten the consequences. A determined effort was made to get rid of General Cowley and to stop him taking up the appointment of Master-General of Ordnance, and we had the new Minister of Defence, the right hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Watkinson), coming out with a statement that never again would an officer be allowed to do what General Cowley had done. He wrote a little couplet:I also have a plan to spend a thousand million poundsTo buy some guided missiles and to hide them in the groundAnd then to clearly paint on each 'these things must not be used'No wonder that our citizens are getting so confusedIt was the knowledge of what had happened in 1959 and of the General Cowley Speech that made me take the line I took on the 1960 Defence White Paper. I was absolutely certain that Blue Streak was a dead duck. For that reason I refused to vote and got into great trouble with my party. In consequence my hon. Friends charged me with organising a revolt, whereas all I had done was to say that I would not go into the Lobby in support of the Opposition Motion because I was sure it was wrong. Even in this debate there languishes on both sides of the House this feeling for independence, this feeling for, "What I want to be must be". My hon. Friend the Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) does it very well. He wrote a couple of articles, which were not very accurate, in the Sunday Pictorial a few months ago. I hope that he got well paid for them, but they were almost complete nonsense.
Let me examine this theory of independence. I hold in my hand a document from which I have read extracts to the House before, but experience has shown that one has to do it a number of times 1202 in order to get it across. On 14th September, 1962, there was published in Washington a staff study for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It contained a judgment, not for consumption in this country and not even for consumption in the United States. This was a staff study which was prepared for those who know. This is what is said of our V-bomber force:The British strike force is already approaching obsolescence. Its credibility as an instrument of British policy is steadily declining. Its future, if it has one, may be a contribution to an integral part of multinational 'European force.It also had something to say about the Common Market. I am one who believes that it is no accident that those who went wrong on defence, for whatever reason, also went wrong on the Common Market, for the two things are completely tied together. Just see what this study, presented to the United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says of our independence in relation to the Common Market:In 1958, Britain tried but failed to negotiate a link with the Six based on tariff adjustments. Today, Britain must begin by accepting without qualification the terms of the Treaty of Rome, plus all of the policy decisions that have since been adopted by the Six. Her bargaining power in the Brussels negotiations is marginal.That is not the language one uses about a satellite; it is the language one uses to a defeated enemy. This is the language of getting down to brass tacks and no argument. This is the position which the Government quite needlessly have taken us into. It is my belief that the margins of firm ground which we need under our feet are not sums or contributions beyond our physical or spiritual strength; they are margins within our capacity to meet. But what we must first do is to find the will, and the first act of will is to face the facts honestly.
Let me pick up my story again in relation to Blue Streak. Blue Streak has gone, and I congratulate my hon. Friends, particularly those who had the honesty at the time, my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), who came to the House shortly after the Blue Streak debacle and urged my hon. Friends to accept the inevitable. The party did it honestly. I congratulate them and they have my support 100 per cent.
1203 After Blue Streak we have the story of Skybolt, and the picture presented by the Prime Minister of Skybolt down to this day has about as much relevance to the facts as a Chinese play. It was first to be fired from the B52. There was not one but three types of B52–744 of them and the order has just been completed—449 B52Fs, 180 B52Gs and 115 B52Hs. The B52F was to carry the free-falling bomb and the B52G was to carry Hound Dogs while the B52H was to carry Skybolt. According to all the stories put out with much care by the Minister's public relations, Skybolt, although it only just existed, was a winner in the making. But the picture was fairly new. I quote from The Times of 25th April, 1960. The question was asked:Is there a reasonable expectation that Sky Bolt will prove satisfactory? Or are we building our hopes am a weapon that exists only on paper?The answer was:Sky Bolt' is more than a plan on paper. Two rudimentary Sky Bolt missiles have already been launched from aircraft. It is impossible to say categorically that it will prove successful.The American description, in American technical papers—not in 1963 but in 1960—was that Skybolt was a weapon primarily as a defence supressant. Its job was to knock out radar installations, point defences and airfields. It was certainly not regarded by the Americans as an offensive weapon in the sense we were led to believe. It was a weapon with a range of 1,000 miles to go in on the B52Hs and to be followed by the B52Gs and the B52Fs.
At that time the story presented to the American public—there are doubts here whether it was honest or not—was that there was a belief in governing circles in the United States that there was a missile gap which had to be closed at all costs. The Americans are very good at this. Once they decide on a crash programme they put it through, and they have closed the gap. One can excuse the Americans, and I have the utmost sympathy for them in their decision to abandon Skybolt. My right hon. Friend the Member for Smeth-wick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said this afternoon that they had 200 I.C.B.Ms. My calculation is much greater. They have 120 Atlases, with a sustainer which gives a very long range, and the first proved 1204 Titan I of the order of about 60 and a smaller number of Titan lis coming along in the second half of this year. They have ordered 800 Minutemen of which 20 are operational. The order is to be stepped up to 950 and then they have Polaris.
I should like the Minister of Defence to be good enough to draw the attention of the Prime Minister to a statement in his speech yesterday which seems to be inaccurate. The inaccuracy was half repeated by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Smethwick. The Prime Minister said:Polaris is successful. … It is operational, and the Americans already have about 20 submarines in service."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1963; Vol. 670, c. 964.]I do not believe that to be correct. There are 41 Polaris submarines in all, of which nine or ten are operational. What the Prime Minister has got confused about is the Hunter Killer. I say in parenthesis that I thought many times during the Prime Minister's speech that he gave the impression of fluffing the edges. I thought he had a brief which he did not completely understand. That is an additional reason why my confidence in the Prime Minister tends to get less all the time.
I want to come now to another point on which I tried to interrupt the Minister of Defence this afternoon. The right hon. Gentleman was asked yesterday by his noble Friend the Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) a question about submarines, their means of communication, and whether they are under British control. Yesterday afternoon the Prime Minister answered that question by saying this:Thirdly, the submarines, when they are completed and equipped, will be entirely manned by British officers and men owing allegiance to the Crown and receiving their orders from Her Majesty's Ministers."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th January, 1963; Vol. 670, c. 967.]It is very clever if that is what the Government are trying to do, but it does not face up to the noble Lord's Question.
I will spell it out. From my knowledge of Polaris submarines, limited as it is, before the missiles can be fired three independent and separate orders have to be received. The submarines are manned entirely by British officers and men, we have been told. What the noble Lord 1205 was asking, and what the House ought to know, is whether the signals containing the orders which are transmitted to the officers and men on the submarine who are selected to carry out the authentication mission from the time of origin go through officers and men who are also subjects of Her Majesty, or do they at any stage in the communications complex have to pass through American hands? This has an effect on the concept of independence.
§ Mr. Thorneycroft
I can quite easily give the answer. It goes through British channels. We have absolute power to communicate with the submarines through exclusive British channels. Therefore, they are always in that sense available to us.
§ Mr. Wigg
I hope the House will forgive me for a moment, but I am not satisfied with that. When the right hon. Gentleman was on television with my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper he very quickly jumped in on the systems of communication. I have taken some trouble to authenticate the method of communication. It is perfectly clear that the antennas are just below the surface and enable signals to be received but not sent. I fully understand that, but that is not quite the question. If three separate signals have to go through the communications complex, if the right hon. Gentleman is right and the suggestion made by the noble Lord is wrong, why was it that the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations laid such emphasis upon the difficulties and expense of the communications complex? If it is a simple business of sending out a signal which is to be received on antennas just below the surface, why all the hullabaloo about cost?
I thought that the noble Lord was on to something. I very much hope that the right hon. Gentleman is not escaping the consequences of an answer by any tricky sort of words. I think that the right hon. Gentleman now understands what the noble Lord was asking and what I am trying to spell out. The right hon. Gentleman has now given the assurance, and if it is right there is no more to say about it. If he goes away and finds that it is not right, do not let us wake up to find out from American sources that he has not been telling us all the truth.
The hon. Gentleman is trying to say that I have to communicate at some stage through an American or some foreigner to these submarines. I can assure him that there is no truth whatsoever in that.
§ Mr. Wigg
I am not saying that. I am asking whether the means of communication, from the moment the message is decided on to the moment the firing order is received by the three individuals on the submarine, are under the complete control of subjects of Her Majesty and whether the apparatus, too, is under complete British control. If that is right, I have done my duty by the noble Lord and have endeavoured to establish what he was after.
I come now to the Nassau Agreement. I was absolutely fascinated by the speech this afternoon of the Minister of Defence. I wish he was our British missile— smooth, and quick off the mark—but I am not sure he quite arrives at his target. I have taken the trouble to check up from official American sources what they have to say about the Nassau Agreement. It is a little different from what the British Government say. We have heard nothing from the Government this afternoon, either from the Prime Minister or from the Minister of Defence, about any undertakings in relation to conventional forces. The Americans talk about the result of new nuclear thinking. Let me read what they say:One early result of such thinking has been the Kennedy Administration's stress on non-nuclear, conventional defence strength, to deter the kind of aggression that is not likely to require a nuclear response. This policy has now become part of the Nassau Agreement which requires members of a multi-nation nuclear force to maintain adequate conventional forces.My source is the United States Embassy, 3rd January, 1963. I am quoting the United States Information Service at the American Embassy. The American Government have put it out here that we are required to maintain conventional forces.
I should like to hear from the Prime Minister when he replies what these undertakings are. One of the major difficulties in which we find ourselves arises from what happened in Athens. Here again, the Government owe a lot 1207 to their public relations services. Mr. McNamara came to this country on 1st May and saw the Minister of Defence. Next morning the Daily Herald said this:Kennedy swings over to British H line."The Manchester Guardian said this the next morning:United States gives way on A-weapons.The Times said this:Anglo-U.S. proposals on use of tactical arms".My information is that Mr. McNamara got hopping mad and told the right hon. Member for Woking that if he did not put it right the Americans were going to. So we then had the fascinating picture that the ex-Minister of Defence, almost as tricky as the present one, called a Press conference at London Airport and by a bit of luck the aircraft did not arrive on time. Then we had the spectacle of the Minister making one statement in the House and another one over the road on the same day to a Press conference held in his office. In his statement in the House, the right hon. Gentleman played down the conventional commitments. In his statement over the road, which was off-the-record, he played it up and hoped to get away with it. The Government and their supporters got a bit worried and horrified at the way the Americans handled the Prime Minister and the present Minister of Defence, but they should not be surprised. The Government public relations people paint a picture of the special relationship between our Government and the President and suggests that because of our nuclear weapons we are in a position of great privilege.
This is not what President Kennedy said. When the Prime Minister and the President met at Nassau the Prime Minister, with the courtesy one would expect from so distinguished a gentleman, said the right words of welcome—"Six times we have met". Then President Kennedy said, "Yes, we have met. This is the sixth meeting. We have met at Key West, twice in Washington, once in London and once in Bermuda". He went on to say that he was glad that they were meeting in warm weather because it was a bit more comfortable. He said, "I am not sure the world is much better after our 1208 previous five meetings". This was a curtain-raiser for those who say we are not satellites. Of course we are treated as satellites. We are satellites because of our own decision, but the Government still have stooges to come here and pretend we are not.
In 1954 we entered into an undertaking which committed the honour of this country. I was against it. I have said that many times, and I repeat it. However, once the undertaking was given in 1954—that is why I said we needed conscription; and this is why I still say it is necessary—the honour of this country was committed to maintaining four divisions on the land mass of Europe. The poor French who thrice within living memory have been overrun by the Germans had their arms twisted to make them accept German rearmament on the understanding that we had given a firm commitment to keep four divisions in Germany. And the French, being a logical race, said, "Right, if we have to go in with the Germans we will go in". So they went into the Common Market and they have done to this Government what our Government tried to do to them. Unfortunately it is not the British Government who pay the price but the British people. We welched on our N.A.T.O. commitment from the very day we signed it; and the Minister today—in order to get away with the difficult question of atomic weapons poses the problem in terms of a question: Is the atomic deterrent essential? Let us probe the question of what is essential. Let us ask the Minister if he would be good enough to enter a little competition with me in which I will ask him some questions about what is essential. If he does not want to reply to my questions, then perhaps the right hon. and gallant Member for Norwood would care to do so. Or perhaps the present Minister of Aviation might like to join this competition.
Here are a few of the questions I should like answered. Was it essential that we should have sufficient airlift at the time of Suez? We did not have it. Was it essential that we should have sufficient tank landing ships? It was essential, but we did not have them. Was it essential, in the name of intelligence, to send in half a brigade group to Jordan at the time of Lebanon armed with a 1209 British bazooka? Yes, but they did not have one. Was it essential that we should have a strategic airlift at the time of Kuwait? Again yes, but we did not have it. Is it essential now that we should have a successor to the L.70, the old Bofor? We do not have it. The Government ordered the P.T.428 but then cancelled it.
A few more questions; is it not essential that the Army on the Rhine should have a successor to the Corporal? Yes, but it does not have one. The Government cancelled Blue Water. Is it essential that we should have a new field gun to take the place of the 25 pounder? We do not have one. Thus I could go on, item after item, and the tragedy is that the French know it, the Germans know it, the Russians know it, the Americans know it—but the British people do not know it. Hon. Members opposite instead of discharging their duty to their constituents play the party game and act as a shield for its Government. That has always been the trouble about hon. Members opposite. So once again they show enthusiasm for a new weapon, this time Polaris, the same enthusiasm they showed for Skybolt, Blue Streak and, before that, for whatever policy the Government was running—and they will do the same thing if there is a successor to Polaris.
I have taken my stand. I have said some unpopular things in the past, and I will not run away from them now. Some hard things have been said about me. I do not mind because in my own way I hand back whatever I get.
I bring my remarks to a close by paying a tribute to a man who is not here today, Antony Head. I fought with him when he was Minister because I thought that on one aspect he was wrong and I was right. That was over the short service engagement, but despite that we were always friends. When that man, knowing all the facts, was offered the post of Minister of Defence, he chose his country before his party. He was an example to hon. Members, not least of all to hon. Members opposite.
§ 7.23 p.m.
§ Sir John Maitland (Horncastle)
This debate is concerned with the Nassau Agreement and I will try to discuss the three matters which I consider turn on it. The first is whether we should have 1210 a deterrent at all, the second is whether it should be an independent deterrent, controlled by this country, and the third concerns what we are really discussing today; whether what the Government have done in the specific circumstances is the right thing to have done.
I would like to tell the House why I believe that the deterrent is necessary and, in doing this, I must inflict three truisms on the House; things we all know, but which we all forget and things which time and again in the debate hon. Members have forgotten when discussing this topic. First, we must get clear in our minds the sort of deterrent we want. It is essentially a second-strike weapon. It will fail if it ever has to be used. It must be a means of indestructible retaliation.
Several hon. Members opposite have fallen into the illusion of thinking that because our nuclear effort is only 2 per cent. of that of the United States it is not really worth while. We would all agree that both America and Russia are greatly over-subscribed with nuclear weapons, yet I firmly believe that any country in the world would be deterred by our potential from attempting to destroy this country with nuclear weapons provided that retaliation was inevitable.
That 2 per cent.—which the Minister of Defence described as 2,500 times as destructive as the bomb which fell on Hiroshima—is quite capable of wiping out at least 20 of the great towns of any country of the world. What benefit would it be to any country to reduce this whole island, if necessary, to a cinder, if this immediate retribution were certain?
Another illusion seems to be that because people feel so strongly about the ultimate horror of nuclear war they think that conventional war could be considered as a kindly state of affairs by comparison. That is an entirely false picture. It is as unpleasant to die from starvation, wounds or some other unpleasant form, eupthemistically known as "chemical warfare", as it is to die in the holocaust of nuclear destruction.
Moreover, it has been said that any country which has a nuclear potential could, after the outbreak of a conventional war—even though its factories for making and its stock of nuclear weapons have been destroyed—produce nuclear bombs about one year later from the 1211 knowledge it already possessed. That would mean that if one was to do away with the nuclear deterrent, and if conventional war broke out, all the horrors of conventional war would be finally followed by the holocaust of nuclear war.
It is important, therefore, to remember that the deterrent fear of nuclear war has kept the peace between the great countries since 1945. Thinking back, there seems no doubt that it has kept that peace in some very difficult circumstances. The Berlin airlift and certain other occasions might easily have resulted in war had there not always been the fear of the nuclear deterrent in people's minds. People may say, understandably, that it is wrong to base peace on fear, yet, frankly, I believe that this is what has maintained the peace of the world. It is probably the greatest reason for keeping the peace and, as Kipling said, the ties of common funk are the most important political bonds, far stronger than any other ties.
The main reason, I believe, for an independent deterrent is the possibility that we might be able to remain neutral were two other nuclear Powers going to war. That may not seem a very feasible proposition at the moment, when there are only three nuclear Powers, but there will undoubtedly soon be others and that possibility might easily come about.
I want now to speak of Cuba in a way that a back bencher may, although no Front Bencher could. Cuba was dealt with by conventional weapons. I never thought there was a real danger, or any danger, of a nuclear war breaking out over Cuba, but if it had, I wonder whether we would have been right to go in. Could we have justified to our constituents, to our friends and relations and to people in general, entry into a nuclear war because of something that did not directly affect us? That was a marginal case and, given the circumstances that might then have arisen, we might have gone in. I do not know the answer. I have my doubts, and I believe that many other people have their doubts, too.
If we have doubts over that case, we must remember that other cases might arise when something on which we embarked might make it very difficult 1212 for anybody to cover us with retaliation that might lead to their own destruction. How difficult it would have been, when we were not personally involved in Cuba, possibly to sacrifice the whole of this country to help in a nuclear war. How difficult it would have been for us then, and how difficult it might be for the United States of America if we faced a similar situation. That seems to me to be the case for the need of an independent deterrent.
One of the points we have been considering in this debate is whether, when we build the submarine ourselves, but the delivery machinery belongs to the United States, we have real independence. I have no doubt about that. Once the weapons are in our hands we shall have real independence. If someone gives me a pistol and tells me that I must use it only in very special circumstances, once I have that pistol in my hand, and such circumstances do arise, no one will stop me using it.
I therefore do not doubt for a moment that if those weapons are in our hands we shall have the independence we require to give us the power of immediate retaliation. As to retaliation, the finger on the trigger is not our finger. It will not be for us to give the order to fire. The order to fire is, in fact, given by the country that decides to commit nuclear aggression on us. That is the real finger on the trigger if we have an independent nuclear deterrent.
Is Polaris the best sort of independent deterrent we could have? My honest view is that, as things are at present, it is not. I should like to see a wholly independent deterrent, of which we could manufacture the delivery as well as the nuclear head, and of which we had complete control, but that seems to me to be quite out of the question and impracticable. It would put far too much pressure on our industry, on our experts, on our finances and on everything else. We therefore have to turn to interdependence with our neighbours.
In those circumstances, is Polaris the best weapon? I still think that Skybolt would have been a better weapon for us, partly because it gives an alternative to Polaris and partly because we were committed to the V-bombers, which comprise an absolutely first-class force. In one defence debate I earned a good 1213 deal of criticism from some of my hon. Friends, because, taking that point of view, I supported the Government over Skybolt when many thought that we should go straight to Polaris. I thought at that time, and I still think, that Skybolt would have best suited us but now, through no fault of the Government—and let no one think that it is the Government's fault—Skybolt is no longer available, and I believe that the Government have done a first-rate job in obtaining for us the immediate reversion, as it were, of Polaris.
Let no one think that Polaris is not probably the finest weapon that has been produced this century. It is, and it is certainly the most successful weapon. It is undoubtedly the least likely to be detected, and it is the hardest-hitting and most effective weapon in the world today.
How should we tackle the question of equipping ourselves with Polaris? I myself, having been a sailor, do not very happily welcome the idea of Polaris. Here is a weapon, a ship, which can be used only for one purpose. It is a failure if it has to be used, and it cannot be diverted to any other purpose. It will lock up a tremendous amount of capacity for training, finance and the rest which the Navy needs for other purposes.
I do not think for a moment that anyone will regret that the Royal Navy has control over the deterrent but, speaking as someone who is very keen on the idea of sea power, I cannot welcome Polaris to the British Navy in any folie de grandeur sense. It does not help in sea power as that expression is ordinarily understood. It is something that the nation needs for its defence, and not something that will actually help the British Navy to carry out its proper functions in any way at all.
What should we do to get this weapon as quickly as possible? I believe that we shall get independent security as soon as the weapon is in our hands, and we should try to close the gap far more quickly than the Government are presuming to do at present. In the United States, it takes eighteen months to build a nuclear submarine equipped with Polaris. The Americans, of course, have been building these vessels and weapons for some time now and have the hang of it, and one can understand that, having started rather earlier, they can get on faster than we can.
1214 I find it difficult to accept that it will take five years. I cannot understand why it should take as long as that. We are getting one engine from the United States and I do not see why, if necessary, we should not get more, because speed is the essence of the business.
I do not see why we should not have additional plans from the United States. We are to have equipment for the Polaris missiles themselves and all the control arrangements and I cannot understand why this should take us five years. There is a great deal of talk about the gap and I understand that, but I do not worry quite so much about it as some people because I believe that the V-bombers have quite a long life in front of them.
I cannot see any reason for the gap. I cannot but think that if these submarines were put out to highly competitive tender, and if it were part of a contract that there should be three-shift working, we could close the gap and be able to save ourselves a great deal of money and have an independent deterrent far more quickly than we are hoping to have at the present. This is the only criticism I have, and I hope that this delay is not being allowed so that the financial burden can be spread over a number of years. I sincerely hope that this is not the reason and that that allegation will be denied.
The Bahamas communique which we are discussing also mentioned quite firmly, in its last few lines, that we must increase our conventional weapons as well. I agree with those who say that as far as our position in the international council chambers is concerned, and our power to affect the opinions of foreign countries and lead them in the way we should like, conventional weapons are far more important than the nuclear but absolutely vital independent deterrent. I notice that the Nassau Agreement states that these conventional weapons must also be increased and I hope that the Government will give us an absolute assurance that because this tremendous burden in equipment, finance, training and manpower will be carried by the Navy, there will be no diminution of our need to increase the conventional weapons.
I believe sincerely that we must have our own independent deterrent. I believe 1215 that Polaris will give us that and that the numbers we shall have will be sufficient, but I am absolutely certain, also, that we must increase our conventional weapons as well.
§ 7.44 p.m.
§ Mr. John Hynd (Sheffield, Attercliffe)
The question of the value of the deterrent as such is not, for once, at issue in the debate. The question of the independent deterrent is very much at issue, and to that I should like to direct my remarks. First, I should like to echo some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Carlton (Sir K. Pickthorn). He drew attention to the fact that we must not forget that the atomic weapon was a British initiative and that some years ago we were far ahead of the United States and of Germany and therefore, by implication, far ahead of Russia as well.
The hon. Member then posed the question: why are we now so far behind? The answer is quite clear. It is the cost— because this happens to be a country which, once upon a time, was a great Power, dependent upon exports of coal, cotton goods, ships and heavy machinery —all industries which are now backward. We are a country of 50 million people faced with vast, dynamic communities counting up to 100 million, 150 million and approaching 200 million, so that the whole position of power is changed and this country, because we are unable to engage in the competition, has fallen so far behind. This, therefore, is one of the realistic bases from which we must approach this whole question.
The hon. Member for Carlton challenged the Opposition with thinking that we are no longer able to be independent. He blamed us for this, but do the Government think that we are in a position to remain independent any longer? Does the Prime Minister? I understood him to be talking, both in the House yesterday and in his television broadcast and otherwise, about the necessity for interdependence in a modern world in which we must be outward-looking. Therefore, it is not only the Opposition who realise that this country is no longer in a position to be completely independent, but the Government themselves. I hope that hon. Members opposite will also begin to realise that this is the position.
1216 My complaint about the attitude of the Prime Minister and of his Government, however, is not that they have not, at least verbally, recognised the changes taking place in the world but that when talking about the wind of change, the need to be outward-looking and interdependent, the Prime Minister still makes the same kind of mistake as General de Gaulle has made in recognising that the world has changed, but in not recognising that to face that change we need something more than new weapons.
We must recognise that conceptions of weapons, defence, economics, employment, energy policies, transport policies, and all the rest have long since outgrown the old national conceptions and national boundaries. If I may say so to my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson), I was rather surprised to find him contributing to the suggestion that Britain ought to be ready again to stand on her own feet, because I do not think that it can be done.
It was in recognition of this that sixteen years ago a Labour Government established the conceptions of N.A.T.O. and the Western European Union and made their contributions to the development of such institutions in Europe as the Council of Europe. N.A.T.O. is a conception of many years' standing, but it has not moved from the old conception although the world has moved. The Minister of Defence said today that N.A.T.O. is still hampered in its authority and possibilities because it still consists of sovereign Powers. This was the weakness which led to the withdrawal of French forces from the Continent of Europe and from her contribution to N.A.T.O. defence, because France was a sovereign Power and was engaged in other affairs in Algeria.
This weakness was shown by the incident of the Suez invasion by this country when, irrespective of our partners in N.A.T.O., we were able to take suicidal actions of our own without consulting them, and against them. In the case of the Western European Union, we still see this insistence upon the sovereign independent rights of the individual nations hampering practically every one of its activities. The question of vested interests in the standardisation of weapons is hampering what the fire 1217 brigade forces in Europe can do because they are differently trained and have different weapons, so that whenever they arrive at the point of the fire they frequently find that they cannot interchange their weapons.
This business of sovereignty is the basis of the conception of Britain's independent deterrent. It was this recognition of the facts of the changing world which moved the present Government, after years of hesitation and all kinds of tactics to try to get the advantages out of the new European Economic Community without accepting the responsibilities, eventually to be driven to apply for membership of the Community.
Although they may blame General de Gaulle for the final outcome, they must not forget the extent to which they themselves had already poisoned the atmosphere for the negotiations by their Free Trade Area, by their building up of the E.F.T.A. counterblast which proved such a handicap to them in the negotiations, and, finally, by the experience of the Nassau conference.
The important aspect of the rejection of our application to join the European Economic Community which has direct relevance to this debate—it is the only one which I shall mention—lies in the implications of General de Gaulle's Press conference in regard to the new orientation of European policy, the policy of the Six as he conceives it, of a Europe stretching from the Pyrenees to the Urals, an orientation towards Russia, building a bridge with the Communist world, and involving a rejection of the N.A.T.O. conception. Here are the seeds of an extremely dangerous situation to which all the N.A.T.O. Powers must turn their attention because our whole defence and the entire edifice of our policy until now is thereby threatened.
Much as we may criticise General de Gaulle in these matters, we have to consider our own share of the responsibility. The Prime Minister and the Government support the idea of British entry into the E.E.C. They support the policy and principles behind the N.A.T.O. conception. But, at the same time, they insist that this country must have a special relationship with the big partner, the United States of America. They insist time and again that our European friends must 1218 recognise that, while we accept that we are a European Power, we insist also that we are a world Power.
The Prime Minister repeated this several times in his speech yesterday. He said that, if we were now to turn over to a great increase in conventional forces, adapting conventional weapons, and so on, we should have greater expenditure at home and probably carry a far greater burden on the balance of payments. He then developed his theme about the need for independent sovereignty for this country, for our being an ally, not a satellite, and so forth.
If we expect the European Powers to swallow this conception that we can come as equal members of any European community, but they, at the same time, must recognise that we are something rather special, with a special relationship with the United States, we must not be surprised if they are rather suspicious of our motives.
§ Mr. Richard Marsh (Greenwich)
In view of the events of the last two days, does not my hon. Friend think that there are at least some advantages in having special relationships other than European ones?
§ Mr. Hynd
It may well be that we have no alternative now, but I should have thought that, if the events to which my hon. Friend refers had not taken place, we, as a member of the European Community, could, with the whole Community, have had that special relationship with the United States and we should have been treated as equals among our partners; whereas what we were proposing, and what I suggest was one of the contributing factors to the breakdown, was an insistence on this country unilaterally, within the European Community, having a special relationship with the United States.
The demand for an independent nuclear deterrent has been sufficiently exposed in the debate. The independent nuclear deterrent is no independent deterrent at all. The hon. Member for Horncastle (Sir J. Maitland) made that quite clear.
§ Sir J. Maitland
I did not make that clear at all. What I made perfectly clear was that we had an independent deterrent.
§ Mr. Hynd
I remember very clearly what the hon. Gentleman said. He was in favour of our having an independent deterrent. He believed that this was an independent deterrent, but he wished that it was a really independent deterrent. He said that it cannot be a really independent deterrent because we cannot afford it, because—these were his words—it would put so much pressure on our industrial and economic resources that we could not manage it. He was saying that it certainly was not really an independent deterrent.
§ Mr. Hynd
In fact, the hon. Gentleman said that he was sorry that we could not afford a completely independent deterrent because it would put so much pressure on our industrial resources. That is what he said. What he meant I leave to him. That is what I understood him to mean.
Now a word about the Prime Minister's analysis of the reasoning used by those who oppose the conception of the so-called independent deterrent. He put it under two heads. First, there are those who oppose it on moral grounds. He said that, of course, there can be no moral grounds in this, that to reject the independent deterrent and accept the American umbrella is no moral argument at all. Of course, it is not in a narrow sense, but there is some moral value in it, as was made clear by one of my hon. Friends.
Apparently, we are approaching the possibility of an agreement between America and Russia on the question of inspection. One of the difficulties in implementing any such agreement which may be reached is that France is now developing an independent deterrent, and Russia is concerned about whether France, or anyone else, will come into any such agreement or keep out. If we insist upon our independent deterrent, it becomes more difficult for us to convince France or any others that they should not have one.
By reducing the number of atomic Powers which will be concerned about ratifying an agreement, we contribute to the possible conclusion of it. I suggest that, if Britain were not in the ranks of the atomic Powers, it would be much 1220 more likely that America and Russia would reach agreement than it is when we insist on remaining in, and it would be? very much more likely than it would be ir France and possibly others had atomic weapons as well.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
Will the hon. Gentleman apply that argument to the Chinese who, I understand, are developing a nuclear deterrent?
§ Mr. Hynd
The point is that, if an agreement is reached and signed between Russia and America, it does become one of the bases of discussion at the United Nations in the future and it will be more difficult for China or anyone else to reject it if Britain, France, and any others cannot be pointed at. Therefore, I suggest, there is a certain moral value in that position.
The other group of reasons, the practical reasons, the Prime Minister gave a good deal of credit to, conceding that there was considerable force in them. These reasons, of course, are concerned with whether or not we are making the most realistic use and distribution of the resources available to Western defence by our insistence on contributing a few more bombs to what is, I think, universally recognised as an adequate stock for the whole Western defence effort.
This is no new theory among allies. During the war, as hon. Members will remember, we agreed with the Americans that they would produce bombing planes if we produced the fighters. By that means, we were able to economise and get the best, most efficient and most economical results. There was no difficulty about it. Just the same principle is suggested in the present situation, that we should try to contribute that which we are best able to contribute rather than supplement something which is already adequate and ignore the other and real contribution which we could make.
Here, an interesting argument arises which has not yet, I think, been dealt with in the House. It was used by the Prime Minister, by the Minister of Defence and by the hon. Member for Horncastle in 1221 regard to our independent weapon. What the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence argued was that, whereas our contribution to the overall deterrent will be a minor one and will not be a decisive or, in fact, a very important one—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh.] I understood that their argument was not that our contribution was making any great difference to the overall deterrent, but that it was necessary for our own domestic purposes.
If it is not a substantial contribution to the overall deterrent, it is a waste of resources. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence said, "If we do not make this contribution, we will have to make a contribution of another kind, a contribution in conventional weapons". But, unfortunately, as the hon. Member for Horncastle said, we cannot afford a really independent deterrent because of the pressure which that would create on our economy. We cannot, the Prime Minister implied, politically afford conscription, and we cannot economically afford an adequate contribution in manpower and in other forms of conventional weapons because the, Prime Minister said, this would involve balance of payments difficulties.
Here we have it. We are contributing a few bombs to an already adequate stockpile. We admit that this is not a substantial contribution to overall Western defence, but it is said that we have to keep up this "phoney" contribution because we cannot afford to make a real contribution. Surely if we want to be honest with ourselves, and want to make the maximum contribution that we can, we should do it in the most effective way, and that is not by introducing these extra bombs. If we cannot afford to do what we think, as a once great Power of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, we should be able to do, let us be honest and say that we cannot afford it, that we are no longer the great Power that we used to be, but are still prepared to make the maximum contribution that we can afford and that we should assess what that is. There is no escaping the logic of that argument, and I hope that the Government will be prepared to meet it.
I trust that the Government will note this further point and that we shall have some comment on it. Out of the drama 1222 of the last few days and the change in the position vis-à-vis this country and Europe arises the question of our relationships with the other five countries in the Six in regard to the reorientation of defence because they are still members of the Brussels Treaty. They are also still members of the N.A.T.O. Alliance and everyone recognises that not one of the Five is very anxious to follow de Gaulle's line in orientation away from the Atlantic and towards an extension of Europe into the East.
We are not members of the European Community. The Five are isolated within the European Community with de Gaulle dominating the whole thing—with his Katanga conception of a United Europe —but there exists, through the Brussels Treaty, an instrument which we can use to maintain and build up our own direct contacts with the Five on the basis of a defence policy. The Western European Union hitherto has not been a particularly effective organisation because it has not had anything to get its teeth into. But, in view of this new situation, and of the fact that it is clearly established that the Five are now feeling isolated and extremely anxious to hold on to their connections with this country in order, to put it crudely, to counteract any dangerous trends which might occur in the Community, without mentioning names, surely we should consider whether we can build up this link and offer them this opportunity of a constant contact with us on this basis, which would mean giving more authority to the Western European Union Assembly than it has had. I think that something on these lines could be profitably explored by the Government. That is the practical suggestion that I make to them.
I should now like to sum up my own view about the Opposition Amendment. I think that I can say that it has been accepted on both sides of the House that the British bomb is not an effective contribution to the overall deterrent. We are insisting on making it only because of some illusory or unlikely situation, to put it at its lowest, in which America would let us down. Much has been said about the circumstances which could arise. The Prime Minister has said that we cannot trust our American ally to back us up in every situation and that we cannot accept a position in which we 1223 are not completely independent and sovereign. He said that if the United States were given sole authority for all time in regard to this—and I believe that the Minister of Defence repeated it —we cannot accept that the overall deterrent should be under the sole authority permanently of the United States. But that is what the Government are intending to do.
I always understood that we were trying in N.A.T.O. to achieve a realistic POlicy under which there would be a sharing of the responsibility for the use of the N.A.T.O. deterrent. Are we now being told that the deterrent at the disposal of N.A.T.O. throughout the alliance is now and for all time to be entirely under the control of an American decision without our having any say in the matter? Do the Government intend to accept that for all time and reject suggestions about trying to share the responsibility? I hope not.
The Prime Minister said that he hoped that Britain would be able to make her independent decisions if we had our own independent deterrent and gave a warning about the possibility of a situation arising in which we should have to depend on a United States decision. My hon. Friend the Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot) dealt adequately with that. I would merely support what he said and remind my hon. Friend and a number of hon. Members opposite that at the time of Suez many of us would have been very much happier if the decision to attack or not to attack had been given by the American President rather than by the Prime Minister of our Conservative Government.
We cannot expect to live in this modern world under the conception that this country alone shall remain completely independent in all its decisions whereas for many other countries—all the Commonwealth, for example—the decision must always be made by Britain. What about our E.F.T.A. partners? Are we telling them that by building up the E.F.T.A. Community we, being the only atomic Power, must be the only independent sovereign Power? This is what the Prime Minister said, that the bombs are a necessary requirement of any sovereign Power and that anyone else is a satellite. Are we telling our 1224 E.F.T.A. partners that, because we have the bomb and they have not, we are building up a satellite organisation? Of course not. We cannot go on keeping up this pretence, and I hone that the Government will make it clear that that is not their intention.
Our contribution to the overall deterrent is a sham and our demand for an independent deterrent is a sham because, as the hon. Member for Horn-castle said, it is not a really independent deterrent. We are really dodging the issue of what we can genuinely afford as an effective contribution to Western defence by this sham, and, therefore, the Opposition's Amendment in this respect—to continue the illusion of an independent British nuclear deterrent imposes further economic burdens upon the nation"—is entirely justified
As the policy which we have been following hitherto, this illusion, represents a weakening rather than a strengthening of N.A.T.O., how much more essential is it now in the new situation since the breakdown of the Common Market negotiations that we should make an urgent review of the overall position of N.A.T.O., find out exactly what France is trying to do and where she is trying to go, build up our relations with the Five by strengthening Western European Union but in so doing make it clear to the Five that in asking them to co-operate with us effectively through a strengthened Western European Union we are asking them to do it as equals and not as part of a Western European Union consisting of a world Power, Britain, and her bombless satellites.
§ 8.10 p.m.
§ Commander Anthony Courtney (Harrow, West)
I was very interested in the remarks of the hon. Member for Sheffield, Attercliffe (Mr. J. Hynd) on Western European Union, a matter on which he has great experience. Does he not think, however, that perhaps the damage done by General de Gaulle in recent days to the European Economic Community and to the Six extends to the Western European Union, of which France is a member? Does not the hon. Member think that that damage is so widespread that the suggestion which he has made is possibly not as sensible as it might at other times have been?
My second point concerns the hon. Member's belief that the possibility—I 1225 put it no higher—or the wish of the Opposition that the Government should give up the independent nuclear deterrent would in some way discourage other countries from developing their own deterrents—that if the Russians and Americans were left in sole possession of this weapon that would help in some way to prevent its further spread throughout the world. I cannot believe that that argument is valid. I cannot believe that more than a few hon. Members on this side, and perhaps a few more hon. Members on the benches opposite, can really hold this view.
I should like at this point to record my complete support for the Government Motion on the Nassau Agreement and to say that I believe that my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence have scored something of a diplomatic triumph in the negotiations which they succeeded in concluding at Nassau.
The opposition to the Motion comes from three sources. First, it is from the official and the unofficial Opposition on the benches opposite and from the Liberal Party—which, incidentally, is not represented at this moment, towards the conclusion of an extremely important debate. I sum up in fairly simple terms by saying that what the combined opposition of right hon. and hon. Members opposite amounts to is a proposal for unilateral nuclear disarmament by this country despite the fact that nuclear armaments, held credibly and effectively by this country, have already spread to France, have by virtue of the Franco-German alliance come much closer to the Germans and, probably this year or next, will be proved to be held by the Chinese. That is what hon. Members opposite are saying. We on this side should pin them to that statement, because I am certain that the vast majority of the country will throw it and their policy out of the next General Election.
The second source of opposition to the Government's proposal that the nuclear weapon held by this country should in future be a seaborne weapon comes from a tremendous body of vested interest which we should not ignore at this stage of the debate. In considering the history of weapons, we are at a point nearly as important as the transfer from the bow and arrow to gunpowder.
1226 For 600 years, weapons of war have been dominated by the great gun, a weapon by which men have thrown projectiles one at another. We are just completing a period of about half a century, a period of aberration in the development of these weapons, when man flew in his own projectile. Yesterday's decision or statement by Mr. McNamara, which implies as definitely as anything can that no more manned bombers will fly after the present generation becomes obsolete, is proof of what I am trying to say.
That situation has elements of tragedy in it for many of our own national interests and many interests in other countries. The whole traditions of a great service are prejudiced by this inevitable, inexorable transfer of weapon systems to new methods of delivery. That is what we see in the form of opposition which has been produced to the Nassau Agreement, on both sides of the House, epitomised today by the contribution made by the hon. Member for Bosworth (Mr. Wyatt) and, perhaps, exemplified by a pamphlet on the deterrent issued by the Air League and which has been passed, I believe, to every Member of the House of Commons.
The third category of opponents to the Government's Motion, on both sides of the House—perhaps less vocal on the benches opposite than on this side—are the band of honest doubters. I agree very much with the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) when he tells us that we are not sufficiently well informed in many of these complex defence debates to make a sensible contribution from the technical viewpoint. The honest doubters are bothered and bewildered by much of the technical case which is presented by various conflicting interests in these important matters. It is to them that I address a few remarks.
I cannot believe that the speech of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence today and that of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister yesterday, both of which I consider to be extremely fine speeches, can have failed to convince many honest doubters on this extremely difficult and complex question. I should, however, at this point, as the second professional sailor who has spoken in the debate, like to make 1227 a few remarks on some of the technical and slightly misleading statements which have been made about the Polaris weapon.
Much play has been made with the detectability of the Polaris submarine. I remind right hon. and hon. Members on all sides that after 50 years and two world wars the subject of the detection of submarines is still largely unsolved. Our great success at the climax of the last war was due to the attraction of the enemy U-boats into convoy, concentrating the enemy's efforts against us where our attacking forces could go and kill them. We failed completely when we followed the policy of trying to find individual enemy U-boats all over the oceans of the world, and particularly in the North Atlantic.
Play has been made about the Schnorkel. The Schnorkel, rather like the manned bomber, was, in a way, an aberration in the history of the submarine. It was a moment when the submarine became no longer submerged because the Schnorkel had to stick up above the surface in order to give the vessel its greater capabilities. This gave the surface and air forces the chance to detect them by that British invention the centimetre radar.
§ Mr. Eden
My hon. and gallant Friend referred to the manned bomber as an aberration. I do not know whether that was a mistake on his part. He would be mistaken to assume that the role of Bomber Command was at an end or, indeed, that the role of manned military aircraft was at an end. If he thinks that he is very much mistaken.
§ Commander Courtney
I must apologise if I have given an erroneous impression. I am referring not only to the manned strategic bomber but, far more broadly, to the manned military aircraft, which is a fifty-year aberration—perhaps that is the wrong word—in the evolution of weapons. This is a point which is worth studying. I want now, however, to return to my technical argument about the Polaris submarine.
How much more difficult will it be to detect a submarine lying at a selected temperature layer, which is the worst for active sonar, with the engines not running, somewhere within the great spaces of the North Atlantic Ocean, than it was 1228 and is now to detect an atomic or conventional submarine proceeding at speed to attack its objective?
I suggest that these doubts on technical grounds about detectability, however much they may or may not have been supported by the Minister of Defence in 1959—and as some hon. Members may know I have great sympathy with the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) on this point—I contend that the defence situation is now far more advantageous for the Polaris submarine than it is for other types of conventional or atomic submarines.
Play has been made of the spectacle of super-efficient Soviet submarines lying off our ports and shadowing our Polaris submarines from the moment they leave harbour. Surely hon. Members should give the Navy a little more credit for the infinite spectrum of evasive tactics which is available. This is, after all, a problem which has concerned our own submarine officers for many years.
Then there is the problem of communications. Much misinformation—I can only describe is as such—has been given to the House on this technical matter. As a former signals officer, I can assure the House that over 30 years ago on the China Station we were transmitting 98 per cent. perfect to submerged submarines. This is "old Ming" as we used to say in China. I hope that hon. Members will disabuse themselves of the idea that in some way the communications problem of submarines has started afresh just because modern nuclear submarines may—in our case will—be armed with these dreadful nuclear weapons.
From the benches opposite criticism has taken the form of a great deal of recrimination about the past. As one who has not supported the Government in successive Defence Papers in the short time I have been in this House, I say that this is no time for recrimination. This situation started afresh quite recently as a result of four major events, not all of which have been touched on in the debate. They have thrown into relief the distortion in our defence policy which has taken place since the end of the last war through a combination of American and Continental military pressure. Indeed, this pressure was already becoming evident in its effect on our policy towards the end of the war itself.
1229 First, there was the American use of sea power to achieve a political objective in Cuba. Secondly, there was the cancellation of the Skybolt programme, resulting in the Nassau Agreement. Thirdly, there is the French equivalent of a sit-down strike in N.A.T.O. which, although it has been brought into sharp relief over the purely economic considerations of our entry into the Common Market, has been going on for a considerable time, as hon. Members know. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am glad to have confirmation of that statement from hon. Members opposite.
The French have withdrawn their Mediterranean naval forces from N.A.T.O. command, have dissociated their defensive fighter force from N.A.T.O., and are stationing a derisory portion of their Army with N.A.T.O. for the defence of Europe.
Fourthly, there was the statement, which has not received the publicity that many of us think it should have had, by the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Atlantic, at a recent conference in Paris that, with the forces available to him, in war he would be quite unable to carry out his task of safeguarding Atlantic shipping.
I suggest that these four factors, which have taken place in fairly recent months altogether, underline the urgency of the plea which I make for a reorientation of our defence policy on a major scale for incorporation in the 1963 Defence White Paper. I do not wish to weary the House with a dissertation on the continuation of foreign policy by other means or similar matters, but we must clear our minds about the vital national interests which our defence policy in peace and our armed forces in war are designed to support.
In the light of my schooldays at the Naval Staff College, I have rewritten, for the benefit of hon. Members—and I hope that they will bear with me— what priorities I consider we should accept. I believe that the first priority for our vital interests is the security of our island against obliteration, occupation or starvation, each of which is perfectly possible and the last two of which we have been threatened with many times in our history. If we clear our minds about our first and primary 1230 vital interest, we shall not go too far wrong with the remainder. Second is the continuing ability to deploy military forces at widespread points throughout the world in defence of peoples who look to us for their protection, and in support of bilateral military alliances. That requirement is acknowledged on both sides of the House, as has emerged from the speeches of several hon. Members. Our third vital interest, our third priority, and I hope that hon. Members will see the point of this, is a useful contribution to those other international alliances which include the United States of America.
How should a sane defence policy provide for these? How, in particular, should it form a balance between the nuclear and the conventional forces with which we intend to continue to arm ourselves? I will not labour the point, but I remain convinced after the speeches of my two right hon. Friends and many other contributions from this side of the House that the independent British nuclear deterrent is essential for the support of at least those first two vital interests.
The third section of the first, namely, the starvation of these islands, was mentioned in a most interesting speech by the hon. and learned Member for Ipswich (Mr. D. Foot). His speech contained the only reference from his side of the House to the 400 Russian submarines and the starvation of these islands. In the light of what the Deputy-Supreme Allied Commander in the Atlantic said recently, I urge my right hon. Friend to look afresh at our naval forces in the Atlantic and to try to provide a slightly less derisory contribution to the protection of shipping in the Atlantic in war.
May I ask him—may I plead with him —now that he is rightly considering the Polaris submarine programme, not to neglect in that programme the S.S.K. hunter-killer submarines which are acknowledged generally to be the best weapon for this particular anti-submarine purpose. Secondly, we require balanced task forces in the application of military power overseas, as was foreshadowed in the 1962 White Paper—foreshadowed, I am afraid, is about all—and the air transport component and the military air component, which at the moment in general circumstances can best be 1231 operated from aircraft carriers, to supplement these balanced task forces. Let us not forget that they will require protection in turn from Soviet sea power represented in the first place by the vast fleet of Soviet submarines.
I ask hon. Members, when remembering what Mr. Khrushchev said about the Sverdlov Russian cruisers going into reserve and so on, not to forget the appearance of a very fine class of Soviet guided missile destroyer, the Krupny class, which could certainly pose a most formidable threat to any of the balanced task forces which I have mentioned.
One of the arguments for the retention of the independent nuclear deterrent is that without it we shall be unable in distant parts of the world to deploy a military force in face of a nuclear Power, which might therefore exercise nuclear blackmail. I accept that, but I remind the House that Soviet sea power is at this moment of such an order that if it wishes it could deploy conventional forces at any part of the world which would make the operation of our task forces in maintaining military forces very difficult if not impossible, not to mention the shipping required to support such forces after they had gone ashore.
Finally, the third branch of our vital interests can and must be provided by our contribution to our multilateral alliances. As it is the third priority, my contention is that it should involve cost proportionate to what we can spend on the first two. We are making our contribution, I am glad to see, and changing the nature of our contribution gradually, by assigning a part of Bomber Command to N.A.T.O., that brilliant force which I believe it to be, with many years of useful life ahead of it, both in its nuclear deterrent role and in its conventional role with N.A.T.O.
I beg the Government to hasten the reversion to the traditional concept of our defence strategy. I have said this before in the House, and I think that most hon. Members know my opinion on these matters. I should like to see the B.A.O.R. redesignated part of the Strategic Reserve of the United Kingdom, and in due course I hope and trust that this country will revert to the concept of a British potential expeditionary force based in this country with its ancillary 1232 arms and with transport facilities to enable it to be deployed at short notice in support of these multilateral alliances. By far the most effective contribution which we can and should make to these alliances is at sea, and in the light of this I beg my right hon. Friend to look afresh at the Defence White Paper for 1963.
I have not yet in my short time in the House felt it possible to support the Government when tabling any Defence White Paper. I have believed that our defence policy has been distorted out of recognition, for some of the reasons which I have tried to give. On this occasion we are debating a Motion on the Nassau Agreement. I concur wholeheartedly with the Motion. I believe that the Government's defence policy is now on the right lines, and I shall have no hesitation at all in supporting the Government in the Lobby tonight.
§ 8.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)
The House knows full well the contribution made by the hon. and gallant Member for Harrow, East (Commander Courtney) to the service of his country. Some of us know well, too, of his scholastic ability and knowledge of the Far East and Eastern nations. We know, also, of his contribution to the Navy. I would, however, like to contradict one point that he made. He said that many hon. Members on this side of the House had the idea that it was impossible to make signal contact with a submerged submarine. As the hon. and gallant Gentleman pointed out, this has been possible for many years, and I hope that he was not accusing all hon. Members on this side of believing that that was not so.
I want to be brief. I do not want to repeat parts of the debate and reiterate what has been said. If I speak briefly, perhaps one more hon. Gentleman opposite will have a few minutes in which to make his contribution to the debate. I therefore ask hon. Members not to interrupt me, because I shall hurt somebody by what I say.
My first point is that there is an air of unreality about the debate. We are playing tin soldiers all along the line. I remember just over a year ago initiating a debate on the Polaris bases and submarines. I remember pointing out how 1233 on one occasion the early warning system was used and the world nearly came to an end because the shadow of the moon crossed one of our warning signals. Some of the ill-informed sneered at this. It is very easy to sneer at one another in politics, but it is a dangerous thing when the world is on the brink of destroying itself. Some of those who were sneering, those who knew it all, thought it was funny, but it certainly was not.
Only this week, because of a blizzard, we were unable to maintain the early warning system at Fylingdales. The men at the station had to be brought out. In other words, with all our marvellous, modern, technological progress, just one breakdown in a focal point of power causes the whole system to collapse. As man becomes more and more sophisticated, his fighting systems become more and more dangerous, and more and more does he rely on very delicate systems of power.
If, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman has been saying, these submarines—and, by the way, they have not yet been tested and completely acknowledged; and I shall make the point about their cost in a moment—can take evasive action and hide under the surface of the sea, let us remember that Russian submarines and those of other nations can do the same.
Another illusion about the debate is the demand which has been made for the standardisation of weapons. This is a wonderful thing, provided that we are all friends.
The tragedy is that every twenty years we make the friend of the last war the enemy of the next—so with whom shall we standardise weapons? Are we quite sure? Will Russia standardise weapons with China? Are we to standardise weapons with General de Gaulle? He has a completely new policy. He is trying to find—quicker than Britain can find—a modus vivendiwith Soviet Russia. "No", says one of my hon. Friends.
§ Mr. Davies
It is very easy to say "No". I did not say that my right hon. Friend said "No"; I said that somebody said "No". I know my right hon. Friend's courage very well, and if he wanted to say "No" he has enough courage to get up and say it. I hope that I shall not be interrupted.
This idea of an independent deterrent is an illusion. According to the Financial Timesyesterday, the bill for this will be £2,000 million by 1970. What do we call a strong nation? Is it a nation bristling with Polaris weapons and submarines and the most modern methods of attack, but which has hungry, unemployed and underfed people? How is this money to be found?
There is also the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg). He made one of the best defence speeches that I have heard made in the House for many years. We are entitled to know whether, in the Bahamas, we gave an undertaking to maintain the increase in our conventional forces in Europe. We should have an honest answer to that question tonight.
It seems, from the source quoted by my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley —the American Embassy and the State Department—that we did give that undertaking. If we did, how are we to increase those forces? As the Ministry of Defence already knows, the modern married man's Army is costing between two and a half and three times as much as a single man's Army would cost. The impedimenta needed to take overseas the modern, married man's Army, with its married quarters, hospitals, gynaecologisal services and schools for 750 British children in various parts of the world, involves a terrific expense. What concept of defence have the present Government in this respect?
There is another danger. The hon. and gallant Member asked for another White Paper. More Defence White Papers than "Tommy" Lipton has tea-leaves have been produced by the Government. What is the result? Commanding officers—responsible men, with whose politics we are not concerned, but whose desire is to defend the country—are presented every twelve months with a completely new policy. Before they have worked out the policy for Year 1, the policy for Year 2 is before them. Looking at the long-term development, can it be said that we 1235 are doing a good thing for the stability of our defence policy by producing a new White Paper every twelve months?
I now want to make a very serious point concerning China. Some of us have said this before, without claiming any omniscience; it was common knowledge among those who took an interest in world affairs: before very long China will become a nuclear Power. She is almost one now. Her methods of delivery, like those of de Gaulle and the present British Government, are only in embryo.
If this be true, it behoves this Government to bring pressure on the United States to recognise the idiocy of refusing to acknowledge the existence of 650 million Chinese. Before we can get test agreements in the world on the vital question of nuclear power it is obvious that China must become a member of the United Nations.
We may want an independent deterrent, it has been argued, in order to be able to "go it alone". One has only to make that statement to see how absurd it is. Against whom are we to go it alone? Is this little country to "go it alone" against the U.S.S.R.? In what part of the world are we to go it alone—in Sarawak, or Borneo maybe? To talk in modern times of "going it alone" is absurd.
I think that most Governments are trying to be sane. I do not mind whether hon. Members think that Khrushchev or Kennedy lost face recently. It does not matter a damn who lost face—mankind was saved by what happened over Cuba. This business of face-saving is pettifogging. The point is that if we become involved in a nuclear war, in less than 24 hours life as we know it on this island will have finished.
Tonight, we accuse the Government of an illusion. We do not do it in a cheap manner or with the idea of betraying or letting down the country. In fact, we are thinking more in terms of the strength of the country. I shall go into the Division Lobby tonight more pleased than ever before at the thought that people have realised that for Britain to talk about an independent deterrent is complete and utter rubbish.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Mr. G. R. Howard (St. Ives)
I have about two minutes in which to speak and 1236 I should like to thank the hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies) for being so brief; he was one of a few.
I have sat in this Chamber during the debate during the last two days, but it is, of course, impossible now for me to make all the points which I should like to stress from the point of view of the Navy. Having spent the whole of the last war hunting submarines, I can assure hon. Members that it will not be an easy matter to find a Polaris submarine. It will be extremely difficult. That is why, if we are to have a deterrent, I consider that Polaris is the one we should go for. Time does not allow me to develop that argument.
If this is to be an urgent programme, I ask that we should study methods which would enable the submarines to be built in eighteen months, as happens in the United States. This may mean the adoption of a three-shift system, which, with the existing unemployment conditions in the North-East, I think would be welcomed. I hope that this will not prove something which will result in tying up too many men in our Navy, and I ask that the cost of the submarines should not be borne wholly on the Navy Vote. I should like an assurance about that. The end of the White Paper on the Bahamas meetings states:The President and the Prime Minister agreed that in addition to having a nuclear shield it is important to have a non-nuclear sword. For this purpose they agreed on the importance of increasing the effectiveness of their conventional forces on a worldwide basis.I hope, therefore, that I can get assurances during the winding-up of the debate that this will not mean any cutting down of our conventional forces, such as the new carrier programme or the naval forces which are envisaged at present.
I had other questions to ask, but unfortunately, owing to the traditions of the House, as I have agreed to sit down at ten minutes to nine, I must do so.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Wilson (Huyton)
I should like to thank the hon. Member for St. Ives (Mr. G. R. Howard) for his courtesy and to sympathise with him. I think that we all know that he has sat in the House for two days intending to make a speech, which I am sure we shall now hear in the defence debate next month.
1237 We are approaching the end of the first of a series of vital debates on the state of the nation. Next week we are to debate unemployment and the economic position and the following week the breakdown in the Common Market negotiations. This debate, I think the whole House will agree, has been serious and grave and important. There has been relatively little attempt to make party capital out of what is a grave national crisis. The Prime Minister will, however, at any rate allow me to say that of all the Government back benchers who have spoken only a minority have supported the Administration during this debate. While we shall go into the Division Lobby as a united party, the same cannot be said of the Government forces tonight.
This debate has raised three major issues, and it is to those that I want to address my remarks. First, there is the judgment of hon. Members on the adequacy, the Tightness, the correctness of the Bahamas Agreement and the exchange of Polaris for Skybolt. Secondly, the broader question, could Britain maintain the attempt to be an independent nuclear Power and, if not—if the attempt is, as we argue, a costly illusion—what are our defence priorities to be? The third question, the question which I think underlies the whole debate, which underlies the whole reappraisal which recent events have forced upon every hon. Member, of Britain's place in the world after Nassau, after Brussels and of its bearing on defence policy—I think this third issue is one which is relevant to what has been said by so many hon. Members.
I turn first to the Bahamas Agreement itself. Speaker after speaker, certainly from this side of the House and some from the other side, has made clear that what we are debating is the end of an era—of an illusion if hon. Members like to put it that way, certainly of the whole philosophy of the 1957 White Paper. Hon. Members have dwelt on the history of the 1957 policy. I shall refer to it only briefly.
That White Paper was, as we know, the Government's reaction to Suez. It was a conscious decision by a new Government headed by a new Prime Minister to undertake in the defence field a fundamental swing to reliance on thermo-nuclear policies. Since that White Paper we have had three Ministers. As it 1238 has happened, each of them has been prepared to chance our whole security on a single fallible weapon. The Commonwealth Secretary based everything on Blue Streak. The right hon. Member for Woking (Mr. Watkinson) based his whole policy on Skybolt. The present Minister now bases his policy, or tells us he does, on Polaris.
I must remind the House, because this is relevant, that four years ago, in February, 1959, the Government consciously and deliberately rejected Polaris as the weapon on which our defence policy should be based. They made no secret of their reasons for doing so. The then Minister of Defence held a Press conference and briefed the Press very fully on why Polaris would be entirely unsuited to British defence policy. I have here an evening paper for 10th February, 1959, published just after the Prime Minister announced his mission to Moscow in February, 1959."Happy days", I suppose the right hon. Gentleman feels. This is what the headline says:Blue Streak wins. Britain rejects U.S. rocket.That was Polaris.Now Macmillan will talk from strength."The Timesnext morning told us on the authority of the then Minister of Defence:Blue Streak is in. Polaris is out.We were told why, officially. This was said:Too little attention has been paid, it is said, to the limitations of missile-firing submarines. Why, for instance, should it be assumed that they will remain undetectable and invulnerable? Their numbers will be comparatively few because of their great cost, and the movements of a very limited force could be closely watched by an enemy.That was the considered judgment of the Government in 1959. Because of that considered judgment we have spent heaven knows how much on the development of other weapons. Now four years, three Ministers and £6,000 million later we have come back full circle. With"Faute de mieux"emblazoned on his standard, the Minister now affects to believe that Polaris is the answer to any Defence Minister's prayer, that we always wanted it and that if we did not we should have.
Yesterday my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) reminded the House of the warnings we have given. The speeches of all of us 1239 on this side of the House are on record— in the Blue Streak debate, for example. I will not go over those arguments. I hope the Prime Minister will study them some day. I certainly remember the cry of rage last March when I asked Ministers if they really thought we were going to get Skybolt. Immediately the Press were told that messages had been sent to Washington asking that I should be repudiated; Washington would make clear that everything that I said was wrong. The silence from Washington was deafening. There was no repudiation.
Now Washington has taken its decision. Hon. Members have argued furiously for one or the other weapon system. Hon. and gallant Members here with great ability and great energy have argued the case for the aerial weapon. I sympathise with what they feel, but if the air lobby in Washington cannot reverse this decision hon. Members here have little hope.
Let me again state our position. We on this side of the House have not been arguing either for Polaris or for Skybolt. We support neither. However, I would ask the Prime Minister to be a little more forthcoming when he replies on the question of the costs that have been incurred, because the statement of the Minister of Defence this afternoon did not really satisfy any of our anxieties. The prospective British share of development costs on the A.3, the 2,500 sea mile range weapon, throws great doubt on the optimistic figures given both by the Minister of Defence and by the Prime Minister on television when they returned from Nassau.
The Timesonly yesterday said this:The question of Britain sharing the development costs of the Polaris missile was not raised at the Bahamas conference, it was learnt in Washington today. Indeed, the expectation of the Pentagon that costs are to be shared appears to have caused as much surprise in other interested departments here as it did in London.What is the decision? I think that the House has a right to know. For once, can we be told what we are in for before we start on the expense? I am a member of the Public Accounts Committee. Hon. Members who have served on that hard-working Committee will agree with me that we have spent too long reporting on case after case of optimistic estimates of missile costs which 1240 turned sour at the end of the day and involved a very, very heavy cost to the taxpayer. This afternoon my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) made what I thought was a damaging case on the question of costs. The Minister of Defence, if I may say so, was so busy with personalities that he never attempted to answer the points made by my right hon. Friend. I hope, therefore, that the Prime Minister, who negotiated this agreement, will make the facts clear to the House tonight.
I turn to my second, broader question; should we, as a nation, maintain the effort—be it reality or illusion—to remain an independent nuclear Power? The Government have presented their case— the whole of the Prime Minister's speech yesterday was really doing this—in terms of an answer to the question whether the missile we should have from the Americans should be Skybolt or Polaris. That is the question the right hon. Gentleman put and answered. Our criticism is not of the answer but that the question is wrong.
Let me restate our position. We can only make the contribution which it is our duty to make to Western defence if we cease these vain nuclear posturings. Britain's claim, her hope, of being an independent nuclear Power ended the day the Blue Streak project was scrapped, and my hon. Friends recognised that within a matter of hours. [Laughter.]It is on the record for hon. Members opposite to read. They can study the speeches we made and the Motion we tabled. They can also see how we voted—and there were no abstentions on this side of the House. From that moment nuclear status for this country became a costly pretence. How can one pretend to have an independent deterrent when one is depending on another nation—a reluctant one at that—-to supply one with the means of delivery? The Minister of Defence understands the point I am making. Although he is getting the means for his nuclear deterrent from the United States, only last April in Leicester he said:The Socialists and Liberals—there is little to choose between them"—How many hon. Members opposite fought under the label "Liberal-Conservative" or "Conservative-Liberal"?intend to rely for their defence in the main on the United States of America".1241 That is what the right hon. Gentleman said. Is that not what the Nassau agreement is all about? The truth is, and I think that hon. Members opposite recognise this, that with the limited resources available to this country we cannot attempt all the separate and alternative missile systems one must go in for to have an adequate nuclear deterrent. The Americans can try twenty systems, and if three of them come off they are a nuclear Power. We tried one, Blue Streak, and it failed.
What is the argument for pretending to be an independent nuclear Power? Is it, firstly, because we want the right to use it in some private war of our own, independent of the Western alliance, against, perhaps, a non-nuclear nation— another Suez? Have not hon. Members opposite learnt? Have they in mind a war without allies, without the Commonwealth, condemned, as it would be, by world opinion? For my part, I acquit hon. Members opposite of that intention.
Is it that we think that this is an essential ingredient for Western defence? It represents a fraction, 1 or 2 per cent., of the Western striking power and the Polaris fleet—perhaps flotilla would be a better word—will be an ever smaller proportion.
We are told that the United States have a nuclear strength of 30,000 megatons T.N.T. equivalent. That is 150 tons T.N.T. equivalent for every man, woman and child in the Soviet Union. Are we really supposed to be making a significant contribution? Is there somewhere in the recesses of the Ministry of Defence a statistician carrying out his own contribution to the macabre calculus of megatons and mega-deaths, convincing Ministers that we are making a significant contribution to the defence of the West? If right hon. Gentlemen believe that our contribution is essential to Western defence, let me say that there is not a single one of our allies, or anyone else, who believes that argument, or takes it seriously.
Or is it the view that if we are in the nuclear club we shall be consulted; that we can claim that we are not as other men are; that we are a nuclear Power; that we shall be there when the big decisions are taken? Is that the argument? I should have thought that Cuba 1242 buried that illusion. Is it, then, the further argument that in this world of mutual deterrence we cannot trust our allies; that we must have the means unilaterally of triggering off a nuclear war that will ultimately force the hand of the Americans? If we thought that were the argument, we would reject it as fundamentally immoral—and, indeed, in this tightly-packed, vulnerable island, a prescription for suicide. That argument, again, I cannot think motivates right hon. Gentlemen opposite.
I think that the answer is simpler— pathetic, perhaps, but not immoral. It is nostalgia. It is striving to relive our imperial greatness. Within the lifetime of older hon. Members we were once top nation, and it is not easy, even at heavy cost in terms of national security, to accept the facts of history, geography and economics. I think that the Prime Minister understands this. Nassau was not a willing agreement between partners; it was a reluctant sop thrown by the Americans to a Prime Minister who knew in his heart that what he was asking had no defence relevance, but who knew that he dare not return and face some of his more atavistic supporters without it. Even The Times,in its leading article last Wednesday, at long last and very belatedly, realises the essential fact that we should cease our attempt at nuclear pretension.
Having dealt with the arguments for, as put to us in this debate, let me repeat why, in our view—and I quote our own defence statement—Britain should cease the attempt to remain an independent nuclear Power. First, it is a wrong deployment of our national defence resources. Simply because we allocate our resources and equipment and our all-too-scarce scientific manpower to nuclear effort we have not the resources to honour our minimum national commitments. My right hon. and hon. Friends, and a number of hon. Members opposite, have in this debate, as they have in past debates, ruthlessly exposed the inadequacy of our conventional forces— their numbers, and the quality of their equipment—and all the evasions of the Minister of Defence will not conceal what our allies know to be true, and what a lot of hon. Members know to be true —that we are not making anything like our full contribution to N.A.T.O.
1243 The Minister of Defence knows that perfectly well, and I put this to him. If he has any doubt about it, if he still thinks that we are making our full contribution to N.A.T.O., that our forces in Germany are properly equipped, mobile, and properly balanced—if he pretends that for a moment, I would suggest that he appoints a committee of hon. Members of both parties, and there are a number of them in all parts of the House who are widely respected for their military knowledge and judgment, from the Conservatives and Labour—and probably Liberals, too, for all I know. I suggest that he appoints that committee of hon. Members who are respected for their military knowledge, and that he gives them full facilities to make a tour of military installations in Germany and report back to this House— if necessary supplementing that report with a secret report for the Government.
I hope that when the Prime Minister replies he will tell us what he thinks of that suggestion, because there is a clear contradiction between the Government's complacency about our contribution to N.A.T.O. and the equipment of our forces, on the one hand, and what every hon. Member knows to be the fact on the other.
The inadequacy of our contribution to N.A.T.O. is not disguised, either, by the fiction of our strategic reserve, this force supposedly so mobile that it can ensure that men are in two places at once. The strategic reserve which is required now in the Far East, now in the Middle East, now for some other trouble spot, perhaps in the Commonwealth, is going to be required at a moment's notice to be the balancing force needed to make our contribution to B.A.O.R. It can be one or the other, but it cannot be both. The old conception of a stage Army where half-a-dozen minor actors moving quickly behind the scenes can represent the whole of Caesar's legions may be all right for a second-rate repertory company, but it is not a sound basis for Britain's defence policy.
The events of this week have shown it. These moves of skeleton formations to the Far East may or may not be adequate for their task. I am not competent to say whether they are not, but once they are in the Far East they are 1244 not available to the Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. One cannot fight a bush fire in Borneo and be available at a moment's notice to fill a vital defence role on the Rhine—not at the same time anyhow. And crises have a habit of coming not singly but simultaneously.
Last March, in the defence debate, I warned the House against the facile assumption that we can solve our problems by depleting our garrisons in other parts of the world. I mentioned Hong Kong, and I wonder whether anyone would argue today that I was then too alarmist in referring to the problem of Hong Kong. We have a duty as a House of Commons. Our conventional troops are stretched out dangerously as a tenuous red line all over the world. Their security and their contribution to our still scattered defence effort should count more in the final reckoning than nuclear prestige.
Therefore, this is point No. 1. We can, with our limited resources, either pay for the pretence of the nuclear deterrent or honour our commitments in N.A.T.O. and elsewhere. But we cannot do both.
Secondly, if we are laggard in our contribution to N.A.T.O. we immensely increase the danger that a conventional outbreak in Europe—perhaps based on a mistake, a gamble, a misunderstood signal, or perhaps an impulsive intervention by West Germans to aid their compatriots in the East, as very nearly happened in 1953, or perhaps an incident across the Wall—any one of these could rapidly escalate into nuclear war if there were not enough conventional troops for a holding operation. This is one of the big dangers. If Cuba had one lesson above all others, it was the need for time—for time to pause, to think and to realise. It is a barely disguised implication of British defence policy that a conventional attack in Europe would escalate quickly, too quickly, into nuclear war.
Thirdly, and we have stressed this again and again, the insistence on a British nuclear deterrent, the French insistence on a French deterrent at which, let us be frank, we connived last summer in a vain attempt to buy our entry into the Common Market—these have been damaging, I hope not fatal, but certainly damaging, to the hopes in this country, in the United 1245 States and elsewhere of all those who believe that it is vital to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
Because of us, and France, the hope is fast fading of an enforceable world agreement limiting nuclear weapons to the two major nuclear Powers. That is what we feel ought to happen until, as all of us hope, we secure a world-wide comprehensive, multilateral disarmament agreement which outlaws the bomb altogether. When we think of Egypt with the aid of German rocket experts producing the means of delivering nuclear weapons over a distance of 350 miles and the inevitable reaction of Israel, when we think of China and other countries, we must recognise that any nation which, for an inadequate reason, insists on its own nationalist position in maintaining nuclear weapons is imperilling the chance of world agreement.
For these three reasons—because we consider it essential to fulfil our obligations to N.A.T.O. and cannot, because we want to limit the danger of escalation from conventional to nuclear war, because we regard it as vital to stop the spread of nuclear weapons—we reject the very basis and inspiration of the Government's defence policy.
Before I turn to the third main subject of this debate, I wish to deal with one other much canvassed scheme, the idea of a European deterrent, with or without Britain. I am here referring not to proposals for a N.A.T.O. deterrent but to the idea of a purely European deterrent developed and operated by European Powers only, whether including or excluding Britain. We reject this proposal.
We reject it, first, because it would lead to a dangerous diversion and would distract urgently needed resources of energy from N.A.T.O. itself into the new nuclear grouping. Second, it would cause tremendous strains within the West, since there is nothing more debilitating than an alliance within an alliance. Third, it would speed the creation of what is already more than an embryonic danger, a third force in Europe, narrow, nationalistic, intransigent, irredentist, revanchiste.Fourth, it would face the Soviet Union with the most provocative challenge the West could in its folly devise, a nuclear force which included, and might be dominated by, Germany.
1246 I think that we have all referred at one time or another, some of us from quite deep personal knowledge, to the Russian obsession—I do not apologise for the word; it is understandable when one considers their history and their 20 million dead in the last war—about the Germans. I believe that to endow Germany with nuclear status would mean the end to our hope of easing East-West tension and a successful conclusion to the efforts now being made in East and West to make co-existence work. In spite of our preoccupation with weapons systems, which we have been debating this week, let us keep clearly before us the paramount aim, to mount successful negotiations between East and West.
We have a right to ask where the Government stand on these proposals for a European deterrent, including the nuclear rearmament of Germany. I make perfectly clear now where we stand. We are completely, utterly and unequivocally opposed, now and in all circumstances, to any suggestion that Germany, West Germany or East Germany, directly or indirectly, should have a finger on the nuclear trigger or any responsibility, direct or indirect, for deciding that nuclear weapons are to be used. That is a categorical statement, and I most earnestly press the Prime Minister tonight to make his reply equally categorical.
I turn, now, to the third question, what should our defence policy be against the background of our position in the world? If I look at it against the background of wider foreign policy issues, the House will, I know, agree that this is right. There is always a danger of these debates becoming so enmeshed in the details of weapon potentialities that we may miss the broader realities. When defence becomes the master of foreign policy, as it sometimes has in recent years, vision and realism alike are banished from our counsels. I make no apology, therefore, for widening, as, I believe, most hon. Members have in their speeches, the content of the debate to embrace our broader position and the foreign policy background of it.
First, as I have said before, and as all of us have said, we must make N.A.T.O.the centre of our defence 1247 policy in Europe. I ask the Prime Minister to deal with this in all seriousness and to be frank with the House.
What is our contribution in real terms to N.A.T.O.? How does the right hon. Gentleman assess it? Certainly not the four divisions of the 1954 commitment. Is he satisfied that it is anything like three in real and effective terms, having regard to equipment, balance and mobility, making no allowance, of course, for dependence on reserves in some miasmal background. Can he say whether we really have, or are likely to have, three divisions? Is he satisfied that we have two divisions in real and effective terms? I know that many hon. Members on both sides who have studied these matters would not answer categorically that we have effectively two divisions. This is why I press on the Prime Minister the necessity to send an all-party Committee to examine this and to report to the House.
I wish to ask the Prime Minister whether he knows that Germany's stated contribution to N.A.T.O. is twelve divisions and that there is a danger that it may be raised to eighteen if some people have their way. I beg the Prime Minister to tell us with all the authority of his office what in his view this would mean for Europe—for this country, too—if Germany has eighteen effective divisions with or without nuclear weapons and we have barely one-tenth of this in real terms.
Secondly, in all the discussions about the future structure and armament of N.A.T.O.—here I think we shall have a lot to discuss in future debates because the American proposals have not been fully worked out in any real sense—I think that we all agree that we must give a real priority to strengthening the machinery of political control. There is too much emphasis in current discussion about having more fingers on the nuclear button. This is the wrong approach. It is not more fingers on the button that we need; it is more fingers on the safety catch, more provision for consultation, for what an American defence chief recently called the consensus of the conditions in which the West's deterrent would be used, because we have to face this: Cuba proved our failure to devise methods of consultation in the 1248 West, and if the realities of the situation mean, as in our view they do mean, that the United States is the effective Western nuclear Power, the need for America to consult her allies is not less but greater.
I make no apology for reminding the House again of the, to many of us, fearsome comment of The TimesWashington correspondent at the height of the Cuba crisis, when he said:President Kennedy has dramatically emphasised his determination to act alone to defend United States and allied interests, wherever they may be threatened. The President has chosen to see the crisis as a direct confrontation of United States and Soviet power and, in effect, has assumed the supreme political authority that was always inherent in the American nuclear deterrent. If allies and neutrals should see a certain national arrogance in this posture, that is not the way the Administration views its actions. The firm belief is that as the leader of the alliance, with control of most of the nuclear power available to the West, it has a right and a duty to defend itself and its allies—-even to the extent of bringing about a nuclear exchange".These are very grave words for all of us, and I think the implication of them is not that America should not have the nuclear weapon nor that Britain should have the nuclear weapon, because we had one then, so we were told, and it made no difference to consultation. The implication is the urgency that there is for getting political consultation and political control in N.A.T.O. We must ask the Prime Minister: was this question discussed at Nassau? We must be told. Our American friends will understand in this vulnerable area of Europe in which we in this House live our preoccupation with the maxim "No annihilation without representation".
Third and last, we must come to terms with our real status in the world, and I know that the whole House will realise that neither past greatness nor present illusions will earn us either respect or influence in the world. The Prime Minister—and I always enjoy his historical references—frequently refers to Philip II of Spain. There is a lesson to be drawn from Philip II. Spain was not able to live long on nostalgia or on its past greatness. The respect that we earn and the influence which we can exert depend uniquely on the efforts that we ourselves make—and only we can make them—to build up our economic, political and military strength, because these are the true foundations of a country's strength.
1249 A great British essayist once said:The most irrelevant thing in nature is a poor relation.The plain fact of Nassau is that the right hon. Gentleman was regarded as journeying there as a poor relation, and he need not have done and he need not have been, because in our view where Dean Acheson was wrong was to confuse the Britain we have become with the Britain we could be.
We shall soon be debating the lessons of Brussels. What we resent, and I am sure the whole House does and the Prime Minister showed it last night, is the spectacle of Britain being humiliated by nations which have exploited the image that we have given of a country which is exhausted, which is stale, which is incapable of putting forth her real strength whether in economic or defence terms.
Naked in the conference room is one thing; naked and shivering in the cold outside while others decide our fate is an intolerable humiliation. I said"image", for we do not accept that the image that they have gained of us is a picture of us as we really are. There is in this country an untapped resource of skill and craftsmanship, of science and technology, of design and ingenuity and of drive and determination which, if it could be mobilised by a calculated release of the nation's energies, could bring us once again to the leadership of the world. The same is true of defence policy. A wrong and pretentious defence policy leads to weakness. The right priorities in defence could immeasurably increase our influence.
A policy based on nostalgia means that we underrate where our real strength lies in the world today. I think—and I know that the Prime Minister does—that we could have a great deal more influence in Europe. One thing we have learned this week is that we have friends there as well as others. We could have a great influence in the Commonwealth. Our strength lies still in our potential leadership in the newly emerging world of nations which have come forward to nationhood in the last few years.
The Prime Minister has often said—and I am glad that he has said it and I do not mock him for it—that he desires to make Great Britain great. This is a noble aim and others share it. Our 1250 argument is about methods, not about the aim. We believe that a nation's greatness depends not on prestige military policies, but on the influence which we can exert in the forum of world opinion, and the forum of world opinion today is made up more and more by a lot of new nations not of the same colour as ourselves, but where we have the ability to influence decisions because of our unique contribution—and both parties have made it— to the retreat from imperialism, and because in the Commonwealth we have the greatest multi-racial community in the world.
This debate marks the collapse of a decade of policies which in our view have been wrongly conceived for the age in which we live. The Prime Minister in these last remaining months, or weeks, can make a unique contribution: he can make clear to the nation, with the authority which adheres to the office he holds, the true facts of our position in defence and in world affairs. He can do no more than that, because the crisis we face requires a united nation and a united Commonwealth, and for the past few months his Administration can no longer take the steps either to galvanise this nation or to unite the Commonwealth. His Administration is now too tired and too stale and the task must now pass into the hands of a party which bears no responsibility for the past, a party which is ready and able to face the challenge of the future.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Macmillan)
In this two-day debate we have had a very wide and comprehensive review of a very grave issue, and many expressions have been made of different points of view. Perhaps I may be allowed to say, having been a rather long time in this House, that this has been one of the best debates in tone and character, because we have all felt that we have been discussing a very serious and important fundamental matter of defence.
Since I took nearly an hour yesterday when I tried to set out in full the argument which I and my colleagues wished to present, I will not attempt tonight to go through it again. Nor should I—because there is a Motion and an Amendment before the House —be drawn into the larger issues of 1251 economics and the other questions which, as the right hon. Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) reminded us, we will be debating on other occasions. I think that it would be proper and courteous of me to do my best to answer the more precise questions which have arisen during the course of our arguments.
There seem to be, as I have said before and must repeat, three major issues. The first is whether there shall or shall not be a British deterrent in any form. That was very well dealt with by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence today in a very powerful speech, and by other hon. Members. It is the first and fundamental issue.
The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown), who opened the debate for the Opposition, dealt with this question and answered it, perhaps a little equivocally but, on the whole, in a contrary sense. He has courteously informed me that he cannot be here tonight because of a long-standing engagement. Even more courteously, he has said that he would not resent anything I might say about him in his absence. I am very grateful for that, but I want to be equally careful, because I am in something of a dilemma. If I were to attack him I might seem ungracious, but if I were to praise him I might do him serious injury.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he was in favour of the independent deterrent which we already have in the V-bombers. He claimed that the Government were not providing an alternative which had any real authority, but he could find no better solution. What is more important still, he left us with the impression, without actually saying so, that he did not want to find any solution to the problem of the gradual weakening of the power of the V-bombers and that he really regarded, as I understood it, the role of a nuclear deterrent as being at an end for Britain.
Yesterday, I used four arguments which I will try to summarise again. I think that it is our duty to contribute within our power to this alliance. Secondly, I think that the alliance will be healthier and better if the sole power does not rest with one country, however great. Incidentally, I do not agree with those who think that we should leave France as the only European nuclear Power. I did not 1252 think it a few weeks ago and nothing that has happened since has altered my view.
Thirdly, I mentioned the contribution which we make to international influence. The right hon. Members for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) and for Huyton have tried to belittle that. I will not try —it is not suitable or right for me to do so at this moment—to tell the story of the whole Cuba week. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why not?"] I am not going to. But I say that it is absolutely untrue to say that we were not in daily, almost hourly, consultation.
Now I come to the question to which right hon. and hon. Members on both sides have given the greatest weight— the possibility of being able to reach an agreement on the testing of nuclear weapons. Would we have been able, in this great discussion, to contribute all our scientific thought and administrative and political effort had we not been a nuclear Power?
My last argument and, perhaps, the most important and, in a sense, the most delicate to express was that however close and concentrated our Western Alliance and our co-operation with the United States may be—I am very glad that it is close—there are bound to be cases, particularly with a country like ours, in which what seems vital to us may not seem so vital to others.
I should like to read some words which President Kennedy used at a Press conference just after he left me. He was trying to express the British point of view, because some Americans, I admit frankly, do not see why we should pay so much attention and such importance to independence. What he said was rather interesting. Looking at the British point of view, he said that this was what the British say:We hope the situation will not come when we may be isolated, but we are conscious of our history. We have had several of these experiences in our history and we had one certainly at the beginning of the Second War.Those were important and rather fine words that the President spoke for us.
The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker), who opened the debate today, rebuked me for not particularising the sort of situation to which I referred and practically said that I did not do so because I could not think of any real such circumstances. I am now 1253 forced to do so, but I can best do it in some words, which have already been quoted, by which the late Mr. Gaitskell, only three years ago, in March, 1960, summed up the arguments fairly and objectively. [Interruption.] I am trying to particularise the kind of situation. That is what I was asked.
The late Mr. Gaitskell said that it was easier for an Opposition to give examples of this kind, because it was more delicate for a Government, with its diplomatic connections, to do so. These are the two examples he gave. He said:Suppose a United States Government— not this one, perhaps, but a future Government—said, 'Either you go with us, and join with us, and accept our view that we have to take the war to the mainland of China, or we have an agonising reappraisal of what is to happen in Europe'. Can we honestly say that we should feel entirely the same in any such discussion according to whether or not we had nuclear weapons of our own? I must say that I think it makes a difference.…That was a case where we might be urged to do something that we did not want to do.
Then he gave another case and said:if we got into the situation—it may be very hypothetical, but one has to consider these things—in which we had had a little difficulty with the Americans, and the Russians were threatening us over some issue about which we felt strongly, I cannot help feeling that if the Russians knew that we had the power to inflict fairly serious damage on them it would be a factor that they would take into account."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st March, 1960; Vol. 618, c. 1137–8.]
§ Mr. H. Wilson
I thought that the Prime Minister might give that quotation. We all remember the speech very well, on 1st March, 1960. The right hon. Gentleman should, however, be fair. He should point out that at that time Hugh Gaitskell was putting the arguments on both sides, for and against the nuclear case. This was part of his fair, balanced argument as he saw it for an independent deterrent. He also put the case against. I must say that the Prime Minister's choice of a quotation is very repugnant to some of us.
§ The Prime Minister
I was asked to give the kind of instance, and I was attacked by the right hon. Member for Smethwick for not doing so. These instances to which I have referred seem 1254 to summarise exactly the kind of incident that might arise.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Could not the right hon. Gentleman have just chosen those examples without, on this particular day, quoting that particular speech?
§ The Prime Minister
I said that it was a balanced and objective statement. It was the argument for having the deterrent. He did not come down on either side. There are such possibilities, and they were well described on that occasion. They were well and fairly set out in that speech.
The second question was whether, if there is to be a British deterrent, Polaris is the right form. We have had great arguments about this, but I am certain that in the circumstances in which we find ourselves, owing to the failure of Skybolt, we are right to take this system on the terms we have, on the assumption that we are to go on with a British deterrent at all. Of course if we are not to do that the argument falls to the ground. I admit that if we are to do it this seems to be the best arrangement that we could make.
I thought that it was wrong for the right hon. Member for Smethwick to try to make a comparison in theoretical yields, to weigh these two systems one against the other, having regard to the particular situation which confronts an Air Force, with its fixed positions, the difficulties of a permanent alert, and the rest, and the different character of these second strike weapons. This is not to say that there is not a great position in the future for the Air Force. Of course there is. Even now, as the House knows, there are weapons under development where the Air Force will play its rÔle.
The criticism made by the right hon. Member for Belper was that the form of the agreement was not more precise. I do not think that this criticism can be sustained. It is quite normal for the principals at a meeting of this kind to agree upon the broad outlines. It happens every day in business in every form of negotiation, and then the technical agreement covering every conceivable point is worked out in some detail by the technicians. It is the ordinary way of doing business and commerce. It is the way 1255 we worked in the Skybolt agreement, when we had a general agreement and then a much more complicated agreement in which every point was dealt with. It is wrong to say that all this can or ought to be worked out at the same meeting.
The right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond)—and I was rather surprised that he fell for this propaganda—took up the view that the Nassau Agreement in some way had an effect on the Brussels discussions. I have said this before, and I repeat it now. I discussed this with President de Gaulle and made quite clear what I wanted to get if Skybolt faded out. I do not think that this agreement was the reason for the failure of the negotiations. Indeed, during the last few days and weeks so many and such different reasons have been given for the sudden change of French policy—that England was an island, that we were not really sufficiently European, that there had been such a long delay in the negotiations, and so on. Every conceivable reason has been put forward. I do not think that I have anything on my conscience on this point. Indeed, when I first communicated with General de Gaulle, as I did immediately when at Nassau, I received a very sympathetic reply.
From the point of view of the allies, at any rate, what we did was to take rather further than had been taken up to then the concept of what I called interdependence, somehow or other, in some way, leading up to association with all the European countries for the control, or some degree of responsibility for the management, of the nuclear power. I think that that is right.
Since the right hon. Gentleman, quite rightly and fairly, put such emphasis upon the German situation, I submit that the German situation is clear under the Treaty of Brussels. It is accepted. The Germans preclude themselves from the right to manufacture nuclear weapons. But the life of nations goes on, generation after generation, and I would have thought that the best way of securing that not only this German Government and the successive German Government, but all German Governments that may follow should accept this, would be to find a way, somehow or other, of associating the great European Powers in some form 1256 of responsibility, and that is what we have tried to do. That I believe to be a wise course.
If we do not do that, who knows whether we shall be able to maintain these treaty obligations indefinitely? If we take the kind of proposals now under discussion and make them feel that they have some right at least to be consulted in these matters we are taking a very wise course to prevent a bad result in the future.
The right hon. Members for Huyton and Belper—and this also applies to the wording of the Opposition Amendment —made a sweeping attack upon the whole administration of defence over recent years. But those years have at any rate been a time when we have undertaken the tremendous task of transforming our forces from great national Services based upon the principle of conscription into Regular forces based upon the voluntary principle. In my view these are far more suited both to our traditions and to our needs.
This has been a difficult time of transition. It is difficult to bring down the immense forces into a completely new concept. Curiously, the Germans have been spared this. They have had to do the opposite. They have been building up from nothing. The situation that we have been struggling with is what, after their return from Algeria, the French Army is now confronted with. It is difficult, and can easily be attacked.
But I am surprised, after the attack that was made only a few months ago, which argued that we would never succeed, by voluntary recruitment, in raising enough men for the Army, that we are now accused of being selective in our recruiting. We were told that we would get only weak men, who could hardly pass the doctor, and would not get men of intelligence. We are now told that we have gone wrong—and why? because it has been a successful operation. I am sure that the critics have never lifted the curtain on the 64,000 dollar question: if they want conventional armies of a very large kind, do they want conscription? Is that what the next election will be fought about?
On this side of the House we have always said that we would accept a return to a form of compulsory service 1257 if it were necessary. I and those who care most about the Services believe and are persuaded that we will get better results from the voluntary system.
§ Mr. H. Wilson
Is the right hon. Gentleman arguing that to fulfil our obligations to N.A.T.O. we have to have conscription? If so, he is admitting that we are not fulfilling our obligations to N.A.T.O.
§ The Prime Minister
I am too old to be caught by the kind of trivial question asked by the right hon. Gentleman. There is a limit to the gullibility that he must think we possess.
At the same time, I wish to assure many of my hon. Friends who are anxious about the character of our conventional forces—their size, their equipment; it is a difficult problem because of the different rÔles they have to perform—and the possibility of war in Europe. I ask the right hon. Gentleman, who has been so anxious that they should be purely conventional, does he mean that they shall not have nuclear tactical weapons? Are we to keep out of that field, too? It is a very important question, because, as the right hon. Gendeman knows, it is the enormous—
§ The Prime Minister
I will not weary the House now. But had the hon. Gentleman been in the Chamber he would have heard my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence go through the whole lot. There was a Question to my right hon. Friend just before the debate started.
On this issue it is for that very reason that the last clause in the Nassau meeting refers to our agreement on the means of increasing the effectiveness of conventional forces on a world-wide basis. That is why we included it.
I have been asked about the cost. The right hon. Gentleman spoke about the cost and I think that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence gave a very clear and convincing statement about 1258 the cost so far as it is possible now to analyse it. I do not believe, as he said, that over the period of the fifteen years there will be an increase of cost, unless, of course, we are to abandon Bomber Command altogether—unless we want to do that and really destroy it altogether and not have Polaris or anything in its place.
But I say, over the fifteen years, having regard to the allowances already made in the forward advance programme for nuclear submarines—of which we have one that has passed its test already, one which is about to do so, and another on order; having regard to the replacements which would otherwise have been necessary for the V-bomber and the problem of R and D and the rest of it for the new family of V-bombers; and, again, having regard to the supreme interests at stake, I do not think that the cost will be very much greater and, even if it is an additional burden, it is one which I think a country like ours should be willing and ready to assume.
An attack was made on my right hon. Friend for having mentioned the views of the Chiefs of Staff in this House. He did not refer to their views on particular technical points. But I think it right that he should dispel suspicions which might have a damaging effect about whether the Chiefs of Staff were or were not in favour of the British deterrent, for that is the fundamental question. It is not a question of detail or method. That is the fundamental question which we are discussing. In view of statements made inside and outside the House, I think that my right hon. Friend was right to do so.
It was an illusion to think that this was unprecedented. I have had time only to go through the fairly recent years, but Viscount Alexander of Hillsborough, when Minister of Defence, referred at length in the House to the views of the Chiefs of Staff, not only to their general recommendations on defence but the detailed requirements about manpower, armaments and the rest. When challenged about this in the debate on 7th May, 1947, the right hon. Gentleman defended himself stoutly and justified himself with adequacy—
§ The Prime Minister
He did this because of the special position which the Chiefs of Staff had. I agree that they should not normally be referred to, but when there is so fundamental a question, almost like the question,"Are you to have this kind of fleet or not? Are you to have a deterrent or not?", so simple and fundamental as that, I think that it is not unreasonable, in view of the rumours and statements, that this statement should be made.
We have to vote in a few minutes on a question which is really, fundamentally, a simple one. The Opposition have, of course, put forward a variety of views, and views have been expressed on both sides of the House. That is very natural, for this is a very big question. The failure of Skybolt was, of course, a great disappointment; it caused us on this side much anxiety. There are some who think that we have given not sufficient weight to the independent character of the force that we shall have. I believe that the statements made in the debate, and before, and the statements I have been able to quote, should make everybody understand that this is for supreme purposes of national importance, a weapon entirely in our hands.
§ I ask, for what other purpose would we use a weapon of this kind? This is not a small boat or a couple of platoons sent somewhere; it is the most terrible weapon in the world and can any country, great or small, consider using it except for supreme purposes of national importance?
§ There are some who consider that we have given too much attention to the interdependence side, but, for reasons I have tried to explain and explained again tonight, I believe that this is the only way to keep the N.A.T.O. Alliance safe and sound so that the people in it feel that the whole of their lives is not simply at the direction of a single Power, but that there is some kind of organisation in which they are able to express their views as to its use or control.
§ Having said all that, there is one simple question on which the House will divide, and it is this: who is for the British deterrent and who is against?
§ Question put,That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divided:Ayes 337, Noes 234.1263
|Division No. 35.]||AYES||[9.58 p.m.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Aitken, W. T.||Bryan, Paul||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Buck, Antony||Doughty, Charles|
|Allason, James||Bullard, Denys||Drayson, G. B.|
|Amery, Rt. Hon. Jullan||Bullus, Wing commander Eric||du Cann, Edward|
|Arbuthnot, John||Burden, F. A.||Duncan, Sir James|
|Ashton, Sir Hubert||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Duthie, Sir William|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Campbell, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Belfast, S.)||Eden, John|
|Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)||Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Balniel, Lord||Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Elliott, R.W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Barber, Anthony||Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Emery, Peter|
|Barlow, Sir John||Cary, Sir Robert||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn|
|Barter, John||Channon, H. P. G.||Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.|
|Batsford, Brian||Chataway, Christopher||Farey-Jones, F. W.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Farr, John|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Fell, Anthony|
|Bell, Ronald||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Fisher, Nigel|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Cleaver, Leonard||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos & Fhm)||Cole, Norman||Forrest, George|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Cooke, Robert||Foster, John|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Cooper, A. E.||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford&Stone)|
|Bidgood, John C.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Biffen, John||Cordle, John||Freeth, Denzil|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Corfield, F. V.||Gammans, Lady|
|Bingham, R. M.||Costain, A. P.||Gardner, Edward|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Coulson, Michael||George, Sir John (Pollok)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Gibson-Watt, David|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central)|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Clawley, Aldan||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Glover, Sir Douglas|
|Box, Donald||Crowder, F. P.||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Cunningham, Knox||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. sir Edward||Curran, Charles||Godber, J. B.|
|Bralne, Bernard||Currie, G. B. H,||Goodhart, Philip|
|Brewis, John||Dalkeith, Earl of||Goodhew, Victor|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir Walter||Dance, James||Gough, Frederick|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Gower, Raymond|
|Brooman-White, R.||Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Grant-Ferris, R.|
|Green, Alan||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Maclean, SirFitzroy (Bute& N. Ayrs.)||Russell, Ronald|
|Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||McLean, Nell (Inverness)||St. Clair, M.|
|Gurden, Harold||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan|
|Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||MacLeod, John (Rosa & Cromarty)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Seymour, Leslie|
|Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)||Sharples, Richard|
|Harris, Reader (Heston)||Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries)||Shaw, M.|
|Harvey, Sir Arthur vere (Macclesf'd)||Maddan, Martin||Shepherd, William|
|Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Maginnis, John E.||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Harvie Anderson, Miss||Maitland, Sir John||Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)|
|Hastings, Stephen||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Smithers, Peter|
|Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Marlowe, Anthony||Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John|
|Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest||Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher|
|Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Marshall, Douglas||Spearman, sir Alexander|
|Hendry, Forbes||Marten, Neil||Speir, Rupert|
|Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)||Stanley, Hon. Richard|
|Hiley, Joseph||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||Mawby, Ray||Stodart, J. A.|
|Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Storey, Sir Samuel|
|Hobson, Sir John||Mills, Stratton||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Hocking, Philip N.||Miscampbell, Norman||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Holland, Philip||Montgomery, Fergus||Talbot, John E.|
|Hollingworth, John||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||More, Jasper (Ludlow)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hopkins, Alan||Morrison, John||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)|
|Hornby, R. P.||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)|
|Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)|
|Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)||Neave, Airey||Teeling, Sir William|
|Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Temple, John M.|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Nicholson, Sir Godfrey||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Hughes-Young, Michael||Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard||Thomas, Peter (Conway)|
|Hurd, Sir Anthony||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Osborn, John (Hallam)||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)||Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin|
|James, David||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Partridge, E.||Turner, Colin|
|Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S)||Peel, John||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Percival, Ian||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Peyton, John||Vane, W. M. F,|
|Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John|
|Kerby, Capt. Henry||Pike, Miss Mervyn||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Pilkington, Sir Richard||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Pitman, Sir James||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Kimball, Marcus||Pitt, Dame Edith||Walder, David|
|Kirk, Peter||Pott, Percivall||Walker, Peter|
|Lagden, Godfrey||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Wall, Patrick|
|Langford-Holt, Sir John||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Leather, Sir Edwin||Prior, J. M. L.||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Leavey, J. A.||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho||Webster, David|
|Leburn, Gilmour||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Whitelaw, William|
|Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Pym, Francis||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Lilley, F. J. P.||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lindsay, Sir Martin||Ramsden, James||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Linstead, Sir Hugh||Rawlinson, Sir Peter||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Litchfield, Capt. John||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin||Wise, A. R.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Rees, Hugh||Wolridge-Gordon, Patrick|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Longbottom, Charles||Renton, Rt. Hon. David||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Longden, Gilbert||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas||Woollam, John|
|Loveys, Walter H.||Ridsdale, Julian||Worsley, Marcus|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn||Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|McAdden, Sir Stephen||Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|MacArthur, Ian||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|McLaren, Martin||Roots, William||Mr. Finlay.|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Abse, Leo||Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Beaney, Alan|
|Ainsley, William||Bacon, Miss Alice||Bence, Cyril|
|Albu, Austen||Balrd, John||Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Barnett, Guy||Benson, Sir George|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Blackburn, F.|
|Blyton, William||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Pentland, Norman|
|Boardman, H.||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Hoy, James H.||Popplewell, Ernest|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W. (Leics. S.W.)||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Prentice, R. E.|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Bowles, Frank||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Probert, Arthur|
|Boyden, James||Hunter, A. E.||Proctor, W. T.|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Bradley, Tom||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Rankin, John|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Reid, William|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Reynolds, G. R.|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Janner, Sir Barnett||Rhodes, H.|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Jeger, George||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Carmichael, Neil||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)|
|Chapman, Donald||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Ross, William|
|Cliffe, Michael||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Colllck, Percy||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Kelley, Richard||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Kenyon, Clifford||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Crosland, Anthony||Key, Rt.Hon. C.W.||Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||King, Dr. Horace||Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Lawson, George||Small, William|
|Dalyell, Tam||Ledger, Ron||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Darling, George||Lee, Frederick(Newton)||Snow, Julian|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Davies S. O. (Merthyr)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Deer, George||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Steele, Thomas|
|Delargy, Hugh||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Dempsey, James||Lipton, Marcus||Stonehouse, John|
|Dodds, Norman||Loughlin, Charles||Stones, William|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lubbock, Eric||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John|
|Driberg, Tom||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||McCann, John||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||MacColl, James||Swain, Thomas|
|Edelman, Maurice||MacDermot, Niall||Swingler, Stephen|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||McInnes, James||Taverne, D.|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Evans, Albert||McLeavy, Frank||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)|
|Finch, Harold||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)|
|Fitch, Alan||Mahon, Simon||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mallalleu, E. L. (Brigg)||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Timmons, John|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Manuel, Archie||Tomney, Frank|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mapp, Charles||Wade, Donald|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||Marsh, Richard||Wainwright, Edwin|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Mason, Roy||Warbey, William|
|Ginsburg, David||Mayhew, Christopher||Watkins, Tudor|
|Cordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mellish, R. J.||Weitzman, David|
|Gourlay, Harry||Millan, Bruce||wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Milne, Edward||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Grey, Charles||Mitchison, G. R.||Whitlock, William|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Monslow, Walter||Wigg, George|
|Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||Moody, A. S.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Morris, John||Willey, Frederick|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Moyle, Arthur||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Hamilton, William (West Fife)||Neal, Harold||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Hannan, William||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Harper, Joseph||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby,S.)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Oliver, G. H.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Oram, A. E.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Healey, Denis||Oswald, Thomas||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Herbison, Miss Margaret||Padley, W. E.||Woof, Robert|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Paget, R. T.||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Pargiter, G. A.||Yates, victor (Ladywood)|
|Hilton, A. V.||Parker, John||Zilliacus, K.|
|Holman, Percy||Parkin, B. T.|
|Holt, Arthur||Pavitt, Laurence||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Hooson, H. E.||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Mr. Short and Mr. Redhead.|
|Houghton, Douglas||Peart, Frederick|
§ Main Question put:—1264
§ The House divided: Ayes 330, Noes 236.1269
|Division No. 36.]||AYES||[10.10 p.m.|
|Agnew, sir Peter||Allason, James||Ashton, sir Hubert|
|Aitken, W. T.||Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian||Atkins, Humphrey|
|Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)||Arbuthnot, John||Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham)|
|Balniel, Lord||Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)||Longbottom, Charles|
|Barber, Anthony||Freeth, Denzil||Longden, Gilbert|
|Barlow, Sir John||Gammans, Lady||Loveys, Walter H.|
|Barter, John||Gardner, Edward||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn|
|Batsford, Brian||George, Sir John (Pollok)||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)||Gibson-Watt, David||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk Central)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bell, Ronald||Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)||McLaren, Martin|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Glover, Sir Douglas||McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)||Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Berkeley, Humphry||Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N. Ayrs)|
|Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Godber, J. B.||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Bidgood, John C.||Goodhart, Philip||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Biffen, John||Goodhew, Victor||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Bingham, R. M.||Gough, Frederick||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Cower, Raymond||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Grant-Ferris, R.||Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Green, Alan||Maddan, Martin|
|Bossom, Hon. Clive||Gresham Cooke, R.||Maginnis, John E.|
|Bourne-Arton, A.||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Maitland, Sir John|
|Box, Donald||Gurden, Harold||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John||Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)||Marlowe, Anthony|
|Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Hare, Rt. Hon. John||Marples, Rt. Hon. Ernest|
|Braine, Bernard||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Marshall, Douglas|
|Brewis, John||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Marten, Neil|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)||Mathew, Robert (Honiton)|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||Matthews, Gordon (Meriden)|
|Brooman-White, R.||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald|
|Brown, Alan (Tottenham)||Hastings, Stephen||Mawby, Ray|
|Bryan, Paul||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sit Lionel|
|Buck, Antony||Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Bullard, Denys||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander Eric||Hendry, Forbes||Mills, Stratton|
|Burden, F. A.||Hicks Beach, Maj. W.||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Hiley, Joseph||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. Sir D. (Belfast, S.)||Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe)||More, Jasper (Ludlow)|
|Carr, Compton (Barons Court)||Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)||Morrison, John|
|Carr, Robert (Mitcham)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hobson, Sir John||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Hocking, Philip N.||Neave, Airey|
|Chataway, Christopher||Holland, Philip||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)||Hollingworth, John||Nicholson, Sir Codfrey|
|Clark, William (Nottingham, S.)||Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John||Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hopkins, Alan||Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard|
|Cleaver, Leonard||Hornby, R. P.||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Cole, Norman||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P.||Orr-Ewing, C. Ian|
|Cooke, Robert||Howard, Hon. G. B. (St. Ives)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Cooper, A. E.||Howard, John (Southampton, Test)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Cordle, John||Hughes-Young, Michael||Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)|
|Corfield, F. V.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Partridge, E.|
|Costaln, A. P.||Hurd, Sir Anthony||Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Coulson, Michael||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Peel, John|
|Courtney, Cdr. Anthony||Iremonger, T. L.||Percival, Ian|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Peyton, John|
|Crawley, Aldan||James, David||Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Crowder, F. P.||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Pilkington, Sir Richard|
|Cunningham, Knox||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Pitman, Sir James|
|Curran, Charles||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Pitt, Dame Edith|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S)||Pott, Percivall|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith||Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch|
|Dance, James||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kerans, Cdr. J. S.||Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Kerr, Sir Hamilton||Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.||Kershaw, Anthony||Profumo, Rt. Hon. John|
|Doughty, Charles||Kimball, Marcus||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kirk, Peter||Pym, Francis|
|du Cann, Edward||Lagden, Codfrey||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Eden, John||Lancaster, Col. C. C.||Ramsden, James|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Langford-Hoft, Sir John||Rawlinson, Sir Peter|
|Elliott, R. W.(Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Leather, Sir Edwin||Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin|
|Emery, Peter||Leavey, J. A.||Rees, Hugh|
|Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Leburn, Gilmour||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Erroll, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Renton, Rt. Hon. David|
|Farey-Jones, F. W.||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Ridley, Hon. Nicholas|
|Farr, John||Lilley, F. J. P.||Rldsdale, Julian|
|Fisher, Nigel||Lindsay, Sir Martin||Rlppon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Linstead, Sir Hugh||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)|
|Forrest, George||Litchfield, Capt. John||Robinson Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool, S.)|
|Foster, John||Lloyd, Rt.Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford&Stone)||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Roots, William|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Talbot, John E.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell|
|Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)||Tapsell, Peter||Walder, David|
|Russell, Ronald||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Walker, Peter|
|St. Clair, M.||Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek|
|Sandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan||Taylor, Frank (M'ch'str, Moss Side)||Wall, Patrick|
|Scott-Hopkins, James||Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Seymour, Leslie||Teeling, Sir William||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Sharpies, Richard||Temple, John M.||Webster, David|
|Shaw, M.||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Shepherd, William||Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)||Whitelaw, William|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Thomas, Peter (Conway)||Williams, Dudley (Exeter)|
|Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)||Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Smithers, Peter||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter||Wise, A. R.|
|Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher||Thornton-Kemnsley, Sir Colin||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Spearman, Sir Alexander||Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)||Woodhouse, C. M.|
|Speir, Rupert||Tilney, John (Wavertree)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Stanley, Hon. Richard||Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon||Woollam, John|
|Stevens, Geoffrey||Turner, Colin||Worsley, Marcus|
|Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Stodart, J. A.||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Vane, W. M. F.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Storey, Sir Samuel||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John||Mr. Chichester-Clark and|
|Studholme, Sir Henry||Vickers, Miss Joan||Mr. Finlay.|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis|
|Abse, Leo||Edwards, Walter (Stepney)||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Ainsley, William||Evans, Albert||King, Dr. Horace|
|Albu, Austen||Fernyhough, E.||Lawson, Ceorge|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Finch, Harold||Ledger, Ron|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Fitch, Alan||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central)||Fletcher, Erlc||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Foot, Dingle (Ipswich)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Baird, John||Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)|
|Barnett, Guy||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)|
|Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lipton, Marcus|
|Beaney, Alan||George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Bence, Cyril||Ginsburg, David||Lubbock, Eric|
|Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Benson, Sir George||Gourlay, Harry||McCann, John|
|Blackburn, F.||Greenwood, Anthony||MacColl, James|
|Blyton, William||Grey, Charles||MacDermot, Niall|
|Boardman, H.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||McInnes, James|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Griffiths, W. (Exchange)||McKay, John (Wallsend)|
|Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.)||Grimond, Rt. Hon. J.||Mackie, John (Enfield, East)|
|Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)||Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||McLeavy, Frank|
|Bowles, Frank||Hamilton, William (West Fife)||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)|
|Boyden, James||Hannan, William||MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Harper, Joseph||Mahon, Simon|
|Bradley, Tom||Hart, Mrs. Judith||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Hayman, F. H.||Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Brockway, A. Fenner||Healey, Denis||Manuel, Archie|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Herbison, Miss Margaret||Mapp, Charles|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Hewitson, Capt. M.||Marsh, Richard|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Hill, J. (Midlothian)||Mason, Roy|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hilton, A. V.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Holman, Percy||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Castle, Mrs. Barbara||Holt, Arthur||Mellish, R. J.|
|Chapman, Donald||Hooson, H. E.||Millan, Bruce|
|Cliffe, Michael||Houghton, Douglas||Milne, Edward|
|Collick, Percy||Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr)||Mitchison, G. R.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Monslow, Walter|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Hoy, James H.||Moody, A. S.|
|Crosland, Anthony||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, John|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Moyle, Arthur|
|Cullen, Mrs. Alice||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Neal, Harold|
|Dalyell, Tarn||Hunter, A. E.||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)|
|Darling, George||Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Hynd, John (Attercliffe)||Oliver, G. H.|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Oram, A. E.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Deer, George||Janner, Sir Barnett||Padley, W. E.|
|Delargy, Hugh||Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas||Page, John (Harrow, West)|
|Dempsey, James||Jeger, George||Paget, R. T.|
|Dodds, Norman||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Pargiter, G. A.|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield)||Parker, John|
|Driberg, Tom||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Parkin, B. T.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John||Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)||Pavitt, Laurence|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. C.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Peart, Frederick|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Kelley, Richard||Pentland, Norman|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Kenyon, Clifford||Plummer, Sir Leslie|
|Popplewell, Ernest||Snow, Julian||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Prentice, R. E.||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Warbey, William|
|Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Spriggs, Leslie||Watkins, Tudor|
|Probert, Arthur||Steele, Thomas||Weitzman, David|
|Proctor, W. T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Pursey, Cmdr. Harry||Stonehouse, John||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Rankin, John||Stones, William||Whitlock, William|
|Reid, William||Strachey, Rt. Hon. John||Wigg, George|
|Reynolds, G. W.||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Rhodes, H.||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)||Willey, Frederick|
|Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Swain, Thomas||Williams, LI. (Abertillery)|
|Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Swingler, Stephen||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Taverns, D.||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)||Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Rodgers, w. T. (Stockton)||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Ross, William||Thomas, lorwerth (Rhondda, W.)||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)||Woof, Robert|
|Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Thornton, Ernest||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Skeffington, Arthur||Thorpe, Jeremy||Yates, Victor (Ladywood)|
|Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)||Timmons, John||Zilliacus, K.|
|Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)||Tomney, Frank|
|Small, William||van Straubenzee, W. R.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)||Wade, Donald||Mr. Short and Mr. Redhead.|
|That this House approves the Statement on Nuclear Defence Systems issued following the Bahamas Meeting in December 1962 (Command Paper No. 1915).|