HC Deb 27 June 1963 vol 679 cc1650-1
Q5. and 6. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister (1) whether he will propose to President Kennedy that the two Governments should seek to secure agreement on a settlement with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics before further building up the military power of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

> (2) if he will inform President Kennedy that any decision on British participation in a multilateral mixed-manned nuclear surface fleet will be deferred until after the next General Election.

The Prime Minister

I am sure the House will realise that it would not be appropriate to go into detail on the possible subjects for my talks with President Kennedy. But I will, of course, bear the hon. Gentleman's ideas in mind.

Mr. Zilliacus

While appreciating what the Prime Minister has just said—and I thank him for saying that he will bear these remarks in mind—would he also bear in mind the fact that the present situation is highly unsatisfactory; where any member of N.A.T.O. may commit us to be incinerated for policies over which we have no control and with which we do not agree; for example, that of the United States in the case of Cuba? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the military and political merits of the mixed-manned fleet have just been submitted to some fairly vigorous criticism in another place and that a high military authority, Lord Montgomery, without exaggeration may be said to have shown less than wholehearted enthusiasm for the proposal?

The Prime Minister

All these varied points will be borne in mind.

Mr. Edelman

Would the right hon. Gentleman answer one point of detail and say which language the proposed multilateral fleet would use? Would it be English or would it be multilateral?

The Prime Minister

That is another question which must be borne in mind.

Sir C. Osborne

Before my right hon. Friend makes a final decision on this difficult problem, will he give adequate consideration to the bitter opposition of the Soviet Government to the rearming of Germany, even by indirect methods, with nuclear weapons?

The Prime Minister

That, also, is relevant.