HC Deb 05 March 1963 vol 673 cc221-351

Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question [4th March]. That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1963, contained in Command Paper No. 1936.—[Mr. Thorneycroft.]

Which Amendment was, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: has no confidence in a Government whose defence policies have collapsed repeatedly over eleven years and which now presents no policy to justify asking the taxpayers for the biggest defence expenditure in the peacetime history of Great Britain".—[Mr. Healey.]

Question again proposed, That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question.

4.19 p.m.

Mr. Gordon Walker (Smethwick)

Anyone who is concerned with the power and influence of Britain in the world must have been very depressed and disturbed by the two speeches we heard yesterday from the Government Front Bench and by the White Paper presented to us by the Government. The Secretary of State for War gave us a swashbuckling speech in his favourite rôle of a pocket Palmerston; I will have more to say about the contents of that speech later. The Minister of Defence made some very perfunctory remarks—and I regret that he is not in his place at the moment—about defence; that part of his speech was really as blank as his own White Paper.

The Minister of Defence then devoted almost the whole of his speech to the question of the integration of the Services. The timing of this announcement by the Minister of Defence is very odd. He gave us rather half-baked, ill-thought out and incomplete proposals, and the reason why he did it at this particular moment is, I think, quite clear. This is the old trick of holding back something which sounds important until the last possible moment and then produce it to divert attention from things which the right hon. Gentleman does not want discussed, namely, the convulsion of the Government's policy as a result of the Skybolt fiasco.

The Minister of Defence said that the Government had taken a decision in principle. What matters is not a decision in principle but hard decisions of practice, organisation and command which have to be taken. The decision in principle, after all, was taken as long ago as 1957 and was embodied in the 1958 White Paper. We were told then that the Services were being subordinated to the Ministry of Defence.

The right hon. Gentleman left almost all of the critical questions open. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) said, the Government have not even decided whether there should be one accounting officer. This is a crucial question. A single accounting officer is absolutely indispensable to a single Ministry of Defence. If there are four accounting officers the cake will still be cut up in the way described by the right hon. Gentleman and which we want to avoid. Apparently the right hon. Gentleman is not even sure whether there will still be a Board of Admiralty and similar bodies. I understand that the Chiefs of Staff will still individually give the advice of their own Services and will have individual access to the Prime Minister.

Nonetheless, I welcome this as a step in the right direction. It is something which the Labour Party has long asked for. But we must tackle this question in a much more radical way. The central and fundamental problem which we face is finding a defence policy which can be effectively supported by small regular forces in conditions which are really no longer suited to the historical evolution of three Services each concerned with its own natural element.

The Minister was woolly on this point. He said yesterday: Fighting efficiency depends in the last resort upon the pride a man takes in his ship, in his regiment or his squadron. We do not want to blur that."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, c. 38.] But this is not the issue. The issue is not the unit, squadron or ship in which a man takes pride. The real issue is the independence of the Service. After all, each regiment and each unit is now integrated into a Service. It does not thereby lose its identity and men do not lose their pride in it, although it is subordinated to an overall direction of policy. The same thing applies to joint operations. When there are joint operations, units remain the same and are still a source of pride.

We have to achieve for the three Services in combination what each Service has achieved within itself. The importance of men having pride in their units is not the issue. The Service is the issue.

We must come back to this point at a later stage. As my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley said, we must have a White Paper with proposals properly set out in it and we must have a full debate.

We do not propose to be diverted from the main issue of this debate, namely, what is the fundamental reason for the continual failure of important Government defence policies? We have had so many of them that the Government's defence policy is in ruins. The fundamental reason for this is the Government's stubborn refusal to get their priorities and principles right.

I do not say that it is easy to get the defence problems of Britain in proper focus and to solve them. We must tackle very grave and onerous questions in working out the proper defence policy for Britain. Our guiding aim must be to secure for Britain as great an influence in the world as we possibly can. I resented the rather cheap jibes of the Secretary of State for War last night about our wanting to strip the country of its defences and leave it naked. That is all right for a platform speech, but it is not worthy of a Minister of the Crown speaking in what is meant to be a serious defence debate.

Therefore, the first step is to get the principles and priorities right. As I see it, our defence policy must rest on two principal foundations. First, we must at last reach a clear-cut decision to end the hopelessly extravagant and wasteful attempt to maintain a British independent nuclear deterrent. The Skybolt fiasco means that our V-bombers will rather more rapidly lose their strategic rôle. I take it that that is why they have been handed over to N.A.T.O. in a tactical rôle. That decision was right. This is the start of the tapering off of our powerful but, as it is becoming, obsolescent V-bomber force. What is wrong is the Government's determination to cling to the idea of maintaining an independent deterrent in other forms.

I do not wish to go over the technical and detailed matters which we discussed in the debate on the Nassau Agreement. I want to go straight to the major remaining argument of the Government in support of this policy. It is—and the Minister of Defence and the Secretary of State for War stated it yesterday—that without a nuclear weapon of our own we shall be exposed to nuclear blackmail. This is the fundamental argument of the Government in justifying their policy.

The Secretary of State for War at last gave us an example of what he meant by this yesterday when he said: …it may well suit Russia to say on some future occasion, 'Let one British soldier, or perhaps a marine, set foot on the soil of such and such a land, even if by invitation of those who dwell there, and we will deliver a devastating nuclear attack on your island home.'"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, c. 155.] This is the first clear statement that we have had of this argument and which makes some attempt at giving an example. However, if one analyses this, it appears a grotesque proposition. It is, first, based on a distrust of the United States, a belief that they would not stand by us when we were threatened by a nuclear attack from Russia which might start a nuclear war. This is the real basic idea.

Everything is possible, but in defence and foreign policy one must make some assumptions, and it seems to me that the safest and most realistic assumption is that the United States would not abandon us or Europe in their own interests. They would never, and could never, allow the Soviet Union to move its missile bases further West—nearer the United States. That is one reason. Another reason is that if they abandoned Europe they would leave themselves in a crisis with only one choice, which would be that of nuclear war. They would deprive themselves of the conventional option, which America could never dream of doing.

Apart from that, the right hon. Gentleman gives the wrong answer to the fundamental question of what deters Russia from making a nuclear attack on Britain alone and in isolation. This is the point which the right hon. Gentleman made. The thing which deters Russia from doing that is simply their fear that they would be exposed to the terrifying annihilating first-strike weapon from America. This could happen if they started attacking us in this way—[An HON. MEMBER: "Threatening us."] All right, threatening us. If we stand up to the threat, the threat will not be delivered because the Russians would fear that, if they attacked us in isolation, the Americans would deliver a devastating first-strike attack upon them. However slight the risk might be, it is a risk that Russia cannot conceivably run. It is that which protects us from nuclear blackmail and not the two or three Polaris submarines—which might be all that would be operational at any one moment.

The second foundation of our defence—

Sir Cyril Osborne (Louth)

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider it absurd to think that Russia would launch an attack on us because one of our soldiers went to one country?

Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)

That was what the Minister said.

Mr. Gordon Walker

To that I say "Hear, hear". The Minister stated exactly that. I agree with the hon. Member that it was nonsense.

Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)

It is the best speech that the hon. Member has made in the House.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I say to the Secretary of State for War that there are times when we all say, "Save us from our friends".

The second foundation on which we must base our defence policy is that we must have first-class conventional forces. This is not so much a question, as some hon. Members opposite argued yesterday, of enlarging our conventional forces as of giving them first-rate equipment so that they are the best we can have, maybe the best in the world.

This is something that we owe to our soldiers. Our forces are frighteningly under-equipped, particularly in Germany. The Memorandum accompanying the Army Estimates, which is bound up with the White Paper, is a piece of camouflage. It paints a picture of a wonderfully equipped modern army. But when one reads the fine type, however, one finds a catalogue of weapons which do not yet exist, which may not exist for six or seven years or which are coming under design study. The picture when one reads it carefully with all its qualifying phrases, is very different from the general impression that is attempted to be given.

The present state of B.A.O.R. is alarming. I am talking not about morale and discipline, which are, without question, first-class, but about equipment, which is the Government's responsibility. We are dangerously undergunned and outgunned. At last, we are to get the close-support Abbot, a good gun. At last, we will be able to replace the 25-pounder, which is the only close-support gun we have. As to the long-range gun, the Minister of Defence was ambiguous. I hope that if he winds up the debate tonight, he will be able to give us a little more clarity.

The Minister of Defence said that subject to satisfactory contract arrangements, if an order is placed now, the American 175 mm. gun—which is an excellent one—should come into delivery in 1964. There are a lot of qualifications there. Is a contract or order to be placed? Will the gun come forward? We want a clearer statement, because the provision of a long-range gun is essential if we are to equip our soldiers properly and equally in Germany. Incidentally, we need a medium-range gun. I do not think that one is in sight. We have never been told about one. We have no weapon for countering low-flying aircraft, which the Russians on their side are developing and which may be one of the chief dangers to which our men might well be exposed.

Apart from the need to equip our soldiers properly, first-class conventional forces would be in the general national interest. They would be far better suited to the defence and protection of our overseas interests. A shortage of conventional forces exposes those interests to great dangers. Secondly, the provision of first-class conventional forces would enlarge and not diminish our influence in the Alliance and in the world. This is a basic difference between the two sides and I want to state it as clearly as I can. We are not stripping the country naked; we are not doing that sort of thing. We are trying to find a way to enlarge and increase the influence of this country in the Alliance and in the world.

A nuclear deterrent of our own makes a marginal contribution to the Western deterrent. It does not buy us influence, as was shown over Cuba. If we spent that money on the equipment, the improvement, the modernisation and the mobility of our conventional forces, this would make an indispensable contribution to the Alliance and not a dispensable or marginal contribution. That would give us, not all the influence in the world, but correspondingly increased influence.

We should use this increased influence to take the initiative to reorganise N.A.T.O. I am very disturbed about the state of N.A.T.O. I am even more disturbed about the prospects that seem ahead in N.A.T.O. It seems to me that we are in grave danger of moving from our original concept of a single alliance to a new concept of two linked alliances, one on each side of the Atlantic. The notion of an alliance within an alliance must weaken and ultimately ruin N.A.T.O. Our guiding aim must be to resist this sort of development of two linked alliances displacing a single N.A.T.O. alliance.

In that connection, one must face the problem of the challenge and the difficulty of General de Gaulle. We are all in danger of getting too much flustered by the General. We let him get us too worried and we think too much about all the difficulties that he can cause. We must criticise his attitudes, particularly towards N.A.T.O., but we should not exaggerate, as some people do, his capacity to upset the apple cart.

The internal economic position of France is not as strong as many people think. The very large devaluation which General de Gaulle made, and from which his country derived great economic benefits, is beginning to wear out. Nor can he escape the facts of the world. France is not a super-Power. France cannot be equal to Russia or the United States. It can never displace the United States as the indispensable nuclear protector of Europe and, indeed, of France itself. In the attempt to do so, General de Gaulle is already slashing his conventional forces, and will have to continue to do so, thereby reducing his value to his allies and neighbours in N.A.T.O. and Europe. Certainly, we should not follow General de Gaulle's example. We should realise that he is following our example and making the same sort of mistake that we made in the 1957 White Paper.

General de Gaulle may sulk in his tent, and this can weaken and embarrass the Alliance—there is no point in disguising that—but certainly he has no capacity to destroy N.A.T.O. if we go about things in the right way and keep our heads.

I want to say clearly that I think that the United States is not helping by producing the present flood of proposals for multilateral, multinational and all the other kinds of deterrents. I agree with the aim of the United States to achieve a greater sharing between allies of nuclear strategy and policy, but it seems to me that the United States, by producing all these proposals for multilateral and other similar kinds of deterrent, is not achieving that aim and is endangering other aims which she rightly regards as of great importance.

The proposals for multilateral deterrents are bound, first, to divert and dissipate the energy of the Alliance. They require a great deal of talk, discussion, and so on, which we should devote to other matters. Secondly, they are bound to divide the Alliance. We know that Canada and the Scandinavian allies are doubtful about this proposition. There will be great argument and division unnecessarily over this matter.

All these proposals are designed, as I see them, to create the illusion that European nations have a nuclear independence which, in fact, they will not possess, because when one looks at all these proposals one sees that they all go back to an ultimate United States command. This would be an illusion of independence. If any real proposals were made that would put nuclear forces under complete independent European control without going back to American command, this would be much worse. It would split N.A.T.O. into two alliances and it would spread nuclear weapons and make disarmament more difficult.

I also notice that all these proposals are devices to get European nations to bear part of the cost of the American nuclear missile programme. It seems to me that it must endanger any alliance if the principle were to be established that the lesser allies paid the major ally an actual sort of levy. This would be a source of great weakness to the Alliance. I am in favour of paying our contribution in full to the Western Alliance, to the club, but I want to pay it in first-class conventional forces; I want to pay it in real coin, not in prestige paper money.

Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes)

This will not make real sense to the House or the country. Everyone naturally wants to know what sort of size of conventionally armed forces the Opposition has in mind, by how much their size would he increased and how they would be raised. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not leave that subject without saying anything about it.

Mr. Gordon Walker

I want, of course as large conventional forces as we can get by recruitment. I am not thinking so much—I made this clear in my speech—of enlarging the conventional forces as of enormously improving their equipment, mobility and armament. This is the issue in my mind, but, of course, if we can recruit more all the better.

Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear whether he is in favour of limiting what is reached by voluntary recruitment, or whether he would be definitely against having conscription?

Mr. Gordon Walker

I certainly think that we can achieve our aims without conscription and that Regular forces have a very great advantage over conscripted forces.

Viscount Lambton

What number?

Mr. Gordon Walker

I am not in Government. I cannot say exactly what number. As a matter of fact, the Government are varying the numbers almost every month. We cannot in Opposition answer detailed precise questions of that kind.

Viscount Lambton

They are important questions.

Mr. Gordon Walker

They are important questions and they are questions which we shall answer very quickly when we are in office, which will be very soon.

Our aim should be to use the enhanced, increased influence that we should get by very good conventional forces, far better equipped than we have today, to secure the reorganisation of N.A.T.O. which would give the allies of America a very real share of control in N.A.T.O. over nuclear strategy and policy. Our principal aim should be the simple one that it is better to have an effective share in the total Western deterrent than a partial share in a partial deterrent. This should be the principle on which we go. But we must be clear what is obtainable and what is not obtainable. I do not think that there is any substitute for one man having the power to press the button in the event of having to answer a Russian first strike. There is no substitute for that, but there is the possibility of a real and effective share in the very terrible responsibility of shaping nuclear strategy.

The allies could share with the United States in decisions about forward production and plans, about deployment and targeting. These are all hard and difficult decisions in which we could share. Also in shaping the general concept about the possible use of these weapons. We should also share—I attach immense importance to this—in shaping N.A.T.O. doctrine about tactical nuclear weapons in Europe.

I want to make it clear, because this was apparently misunderstood in some speeches yesterday, that these tactical nuclear weapons must exist in Europe so long as Russia has them. We cannot expose our men with unequal weapons in points of danger and, indeed, the mere presence of these weapons would inhibit the conventional massing of forces by Russia. But we must get away from the very dangerous over-dependence upon these weapons which exists today. All N.A.T.O. exercises, I think, have shown that our forces act on the assumption of an automatic, almost immediate resort to tactical nuclear weapons in almost every conceivable kind of emergency that might arise in Europe.

In our own military interest, we should redeploy these tactical nuclear weapons. We should withdraw them, so far as possible, from our front line forces and defences. So far as possible, we should withdraw them physically—there are limits here depending upon range—but we should absolutely withdraw them in terms of command structure. They should be put under a separate command which ultimately goes up to S.A.C.E.U.R., of course, but which is distinct from that of our conventional fighting forces. All the forces in Europe, and ours, too, ought to rely mentally and tactically on the use of conventional arms, and not mentally and tactically on the assumption that nuclear weapons would come very early indeed to their aid. It makes a fundamental difference to the approach, organisation and tactics of the forces whether we have a dependence on tactical nuclear weapons and automatic assumption of their use, or whether we work on the opposite principle.

This redeployment in our own interests would be a step towards something to which the Labour Party attaches very great importance, namely, the achievement of a nuclear-free zone in Central Europe, based upon the maintenance of a balance of military forces. In this connection, it is very significant that it is not only on this side of the Iron Curtain that this discussion is going on about conventional and nuclear forces; a very vigorous controversy is going on also in the Russian Armed Forces.

If we are to get our principles and priorities right, we must never forget that the ultimate aim of defence and foreign policy must, of course, be disarmament. The purpose of defence is, after all, to reduce the dangers to which the country is exposed, and we cannot do this more surely or better than by agreed all-round disarmament. That is a more effective way, if one can achieve it, of reducing the dangers to which the country is exposed than even the best armaments.

We feel that the pursuit and study of disarmament should not be a sort of adjunct to Government policy, experts in conferences and so forth, but should become an integral part of defence policy. That is why we want to set up a disarmament Department or office in the heart of the structure of Government. The duty of such a Department or office would be to make continuous hard- headed study of the techniques, methods and scientific problems of disarmament, and it should be organised in such a way that its ideas are continuously and constantly in the minds of Ministers and the Cabinet. This must figure as much in the minds of the Government as the problems of defence in the ordinary sense and of foreign policy.

We realise fully, of course, the difficulties and great stumbling blocks in the way of an advance towards disarmament, but we are not altogether unhopeful about the prospects. After all, the United States and Russia have a certain limited mutual interest in securing disarmament or, at any rate, a check on the enormously increasing cost of armaments. This mutual interest has, I think, been shown by the very great narrowing of the gap on the question of a test ban and also—perhaps more significant—the relatively similar approach which both sides have made to the broader problems of disarmament.

But, clearly, it is not just a matter of wishing and hoping for disarmament. We can achieve disarmament in the modern horribly complex world only by tackling hard and complex technical problems. I do not think that the British Government have made a sufficiently powerful, effective and impressive contribution to this working out of the technical, scientific and similar details and problems of disarmament. My own dearest wish would be to see Britain play a decisive rôle in helping to lift from humanity the burden of dread which has rested upon it since Hiroshima.

4.50 p.m.

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Julian Amery)

The problems we are facing and discussing in our debate are singularly baffling, and I pay tribute to the objectivity with which the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) attempted to face them in his speech. He accepted the difficulty of the problems on which the Government have to pronounce, and on which it is the duty of the Opposition to offer criticism. He stuck to the facts. He expressed clear recognition of the very great power of the V-force of Bomber Command today. If I may say it without offence, I think that in this his speech was in singular contrast to those of his two hon. Friends who spoke yesterday and who tried to tackle these problems in a sweeping way as if they were really quite easy and could be dealt with in a Daily Mirror leading article style.

The right hon. Gentleman said that the problem had two foundations. The first foundation, he said, speaking for his own side, was the desire to end the deterrent. He based himself on the claim that nuclear blackmail of this country was unlikely. He could not, he said, envisage circumstances in which the United States could possibly abandon us. The right hon. Gentleman will remember Mr. Christian Herter's Press conference at the end of President Eisenhower's régime. Coming to more recent times, it is interesting to note what President Kennedy himself has said about the relevant phrase in the Nassau communiqué referring to our supreme national interests.

When asked in what circumstances he thought that this clause in the agreement might apply, President Kennedy said: …if they were threatened with a bombardment of their island, they might feel that they wanted to have the capacity to respond. He went on: I think probably the interest of any nation, if they are going to put that much of an effort into it"— meaning the deterrent— every nation is conscious that there may be a moment when it is isolated and when its national interests are involved. The British have had several of those experiences. They had them certainly at the beginning of the Second War. So I think the concept of their having to be alone is rather a strong one in the British. He went on to say: Yet to operate in the case of Cuba, we had the support of the Alliance. We might have had a situation where we did not. I think we"— the Americans, he means— would probably want to feel that after due notice, we had some control over these weapons". The President was recognising that every country may feel, if it makes the effort necessary to build a deterrent, that it must ultimately have control over it.

I can quite see that it is open to any private politician, journalist, critic or observer to gamble on this and say, "I think that the odds are that we can be safe under the American nuclear umbrella". But a Government cannot gamble with the safety of the nation and the people. One is thinking in terms of the situation not today but 10 years ahead. It takes 10 years to develop a weapon system. Therefore, in my view, it is irresponsible to believe that, 10 years ahead, one can rely on forces not in one's control. We have seen some pretty big changes in the last 10 years. I go a step further. It seems very strange that the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues should wish us to strip ourselves of our nuclear power in a period in which it is almost certain that both France and China as well as Russia and America will become nuclear Powers.

Mr. Gordon Walker

The Minister says that we must look 10 years ahead and not rely on anybody else. Is not he relying on America to provide Polaris just about 10 years from now?

Mr. Amery

There is a great difference between the supply of weapons by allies and facing a situation which many hon. Members opposite have often described as national suicide.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to speak about first-class conventional forces well equipped. I find it a little difficult to follow his thinking here—it was the second foundation which he put—because, as far as I could judge, his contribution to equipping them more effectively was to withdraw the tactical forces from the front line.

In my view, there is a third foundation of defence policy, and to this I now turn. My right hon. Friend will deal with the great questions of the deterrent when he winds up tonight, but there is a side to all this which has not, I feel, been sufficiently discussed in the debate. I refer to the scientific, technological and industrial base without which one cannot equip fighting forces or give them the support which they need. Partly, of course, this is a matter of money, but more important than money and even harder to get are the qualified scientists without whose help one cannot develop the weapon systems one will need in the future.

The Department over which I have the honour to preside employs nearly 3,000 qualified scientists and engineers, and this makes us one of the biggest single employers of scientists in the world. We sponsor most of the research in the aviation industry and very nearly half the research in the electronics industry. This is a formidable total—about 20 per cent. of the total research of the country, and 80 per cent. of it is done on defence account.

Hon. Members will, of course, have seen the report of the Royal Society on the drain of scientists from this country to the United States. I am glad to say that there have not been many from the Ministry of Aviation. We have lost four during the past five years. On the industrial side—I refer to the aviation and military electronics industry—the loss has been less than 1 per cent. The truth is that both in our establishments and in industry our research scientists have had a challenging job to do, and this has, I think, made up to a considerable extent for any difference in the salaries or facilities we have been able to offer.

These scientific resources are very precious, and it is important to make the best use of them. Here I pay tribute to the work which my right hon. Friend the present Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations did in regrouping the aircraft industry, and which has substantially eliminated duplication of scientific effort. When there were several airframe companies, there was, inevitably, a good deal of duplication. With the reorganisation of the industry, the same total of scientific effort has been applied to the solution of a much wider range of problems.

Now, a few words about how we use, in the military interest, our scientific and technological resources. Rather more than half our effort goes into monitoring and supervising the development and production of equipment for the forces. The remainder goes into research. Broadly, there are two kinds of research. There is research aimed at particular projects—the TSR2, the P1154, or whatever it may be—and there is general research which absorbs about one-third of the effort.

By general research I mean research which has no direct or immediate relation to a particular military or even civil requirement, but which is of intrinsic scientific value. Unless we do work of this kind, we shall not be able to meet the increased requirements of the future. I will give one or two examples.

Our fastest firm operational requirement at present calls for speeds of Mach 3. We are at present experimenting and studying at Farnborough a need which we think will arise for sub-orbital manned flight at speeds of Mach 14.

A great deal of research is going on into materials. It is easy enough to grasp the possibilities of hypersonic flight, or satellites in space, but we shall not be able to do much about them unless we can develop the necessary materials, the coolants, sealants and transparencies, as the scientists call what we would call anti-freeze, glue and windows. My scientists have laid great stress on the importance of work on these materials. We have accordingly set up at Farnborough a new Chemistry, Physics and Metallurgy Department and a new materials group at the Explosives Research and Development Establishment. At the Royal Radar Establishment we are making a special study of the electrical properties of pure materials at low temperature.

This is a field of research which may well bring advances as dramatic as the transistor and the laser. This may one day allow a complete break-through in the generation and transmission of electrical power. We are also doing a great deal of work on micro-miniaturisation. Hon. Members will know what an ordinary computer looks like. It is a box about eighteen inches high. We have now at the Royal Radar Establishment reduced that to the size of the tiny object I hold in my hand for the House to see. There are 350 units in a box of this kind, which represents an effective computer.

Most of this research work is carried out on the Defence Vote, but of course much of it has quite important civil application. For instance, the evolution of the slender delta wing which is paid for on the Defence Vote is fundamental to the development of the Concord project. Data handling research for radar defence has led directly to computers and machine-tool control.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

The right hon. Gentleman might elucidate what he is driving at. Do we understand that all this research, with all the 3,000 scientists at the right hon. Gentleman's command and all the paraphernalia associated with research and development, is directed to the production of aircraft? But what about the nuclear deterrent; or do the Government regard the nuclear deterrent as being confined, apart from contributions from the United States which may come along in due course, to the production of aircraft?

Mr. Amery

The right hon. Gentleman no doubt will have the patience to hear me out and I will be dealing with some of the nuclear aspects presently. What I have been trying to explain—and not enough attention has been paid to it in debate—is the importance not only of having an effective force of scientists, technologists and industry but of providing the industry for them, and this goes across the board of the conventional side as well as the nuclear side, in which hon. Members opposite have expressed interest.

In asking the House, therefore, to endorse our expenditure on general research, it is fair to claim that there is a very valuable pay-off in terms of the civil exploitation of military discoveries. Our whole technology is strengthened in the process for peaceful as well as warlike purposes.

I should like to turn for a moment to research on particular projects, or rather to research and development, because we cannot separate the two. The process of development gives rise continuously to problems which can be resolved only by research. Research and development is something of a controversial issue. We have been under a great deal of fire because of the cost in time and money. The sums involved are very great and I admit that estimates in terms of time and cost have proved wildly inaccurate. All this has given rise to a good deal of criticism and, as a former Secretary of State for Air, I have been among the critics. I know better than most how slippages in time and cost can jeopardise military planning and make nonsense of defence budgeting. It is right, therefore, to devote a few moments to this issue, if the right hon. Member for Easington will allow me.

I should like to examine why our estimates have so often been wide of the mark. The problem facing the Ministry is quite different in scale, and to some extent even in kind, from the old supply problems as we knew them even as re- cently as the Korean War. There is hardly any problem today which our scientists and engineers cannot solve—given the time and the resources. The difficulty is to estimate accurately how much time and how much of the resources.

When, for instance, it is decided to develop a new aircraft or guided weapon one is designing a weapons system which is aimed at overcoming the defences which one thinks a potential enemy will have developed in 10 years' time. It is a sort of chess-board manoeuvre. One tries to meet, well ahead, the move which one thinks the other side will make. This is well expressed in the phrase "anti-missile missile".

It is easy enough to work out solutions to these problems on paper, but when it comes to cutting metal and fitting black boxes for something which has never been done before it is very difficult to say how long it will take and how much it will cost. What is more, in the course of the cycle of development and production, there will be changes in defence policy, or new intelligence will come in about the intentions of a potential enemy. All this may well lead to changes in the requirements and therefore to modifications.

Let the House take, for instance, a project like the TSR2. This aircraft has to fly at supersonic speed pretty well on the deck. It must be able to follow the contours of the ground. It must also fly at supersonic speed high up. It needs a short take-off capability. It must be rugged enough to land and to take off from unprepared strips. It must provide a stable platform not only for the reliable delivery of nuclear weapons but also to carry a range of conventional weapons. Originally conceived in the tactical rôle, it is now to be equipped to fulfil a strategic rôle. On top of all these things, it has to give its crew a safe and reasonably comfortable ride. None of these things have been done before in a single aircraft. They involve new inventions and any error in one component may well lead to modifications in another.

As one develops an aircraft like this one is bound to run into problems which one did not expect. To solve them takes time, and in these things time is money. Every extra month spent on solving a problem means an extra month in which one has to pay the salaries of the design staff and the overheads of the firm.

This is not just a British problem. The Harvard Business School recently investigated a dozen major American weapon programmes. Its report shows that the ultimate cost of development has been anything from twice to seven times the original estimate. There was one remarkable instance where a project was completed on time and for less than the original estimate, but I am told that it was scrapped as obsolete as soon as the development was finished.

I have called for a similar study, but I do not say that this will be an answer to the problem. It is clear that this is not just a British problem. The Americans have it and the French have it, and I dare say it is known behind the Iron Curtain too. I am sure that the House will agree that in these circumstances it is not altogether surprising if our estimating has been sometimes at fault. But to explain failure in estimating does not excuse us from the duty of trying to do a great deal better than we have done so far, because until we can prepare more accurate estimates it will be very difficult to achieve effective forward planning for defence.

The House is already familiar with the different stages in the development of a weapons system—the operational requirements, the feasibility study, the project study and the development contract. I will not cover this ground again today, but I should like to mention one or two new steps we have taken to improve our estimating. For every major project, we have now set up a management board. These boards meet at regular intervals to consider progress and take major new decisions when these are called for. They are attended by administrators and scientists from the Ministry, top representatives of the different contractors on the airframe, engine and electronic sides and by representatives of the customers—for example, the Royal.Air Force or the Royal Navy.

These boards are served by a project director in the Ministry who may be a scientist, engineer or a Service officer and whose job is to co-ordinate the Government side of the work. He has to make sure that all the information on the project is brought at once to the attention of our best experts on the airframe, engine and electronic sides, so that any problem can be solved as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

We are also devoting rather more of our scientific resources to monitoring industry's work. This is an effective method of control, but I should be reluctant to push it too far because monitoring—that is to say, putting Government scientists in to supervise the work of industrial engineers—means the duplication of effort and also means taking them off original work.

Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

My right hon. Friend refers to customer's representatives—in other words, from the Service Departments—on the projects. Has any note been taken of the recommendation in the Zuckerman Report that serving officers concerned with matters of this kind ought to be able to spend rather more years on this work than has been the practice hitherto? Cross-posting has happened so often and just as a man has become expert he has had to move.

Mr. Amery

That is a matter which is more for my right hon. Friends the heads of the Services than for me.

The prime responsibility, of course, for the efficient management of a project rests with the contractor. But we are insisting in certain cases that management introduce programme evaluation reporting techniques and other methods of technical and costs control. All this will help to produce an improvement in our estimating.

Research and development expenditure by my Department on defence projects is about four times as great as on civil projects but this expenditure on defence nevertheless has an important pay-off on the civil side. For instance, the Olympus engine for the TSR2 is basically the engine which will power the Concord.

In the same way, the Blue Streak missile, first developed for military purposes, is to be the first stage of a civil space launcher. The blind landing system which proved so effective during last December's smog at London Airport has been developed on the defence account for the V-bombers and the Belfast. It has now also been installed in the VC10 and is to go into the Trident. It may well revolutionise civil flying as well as pay a decent dividend to London Airport.

Only last week we placed an order on military account with Westlands for a new hovercraft, the SRN3. We cannot yet be sure whether the hovercraft has a valid military application. Early studies suggest that it may be useful to the Royal Navy in an anti-submarine rôle and possibly to the Army for amphibious operations. The only way to make sure is to experiment, and the new hovercraft when built will be handed over to the Navy for trials. The results of these trials are bound to have important implications for civil exploitation.

We are also investigating the possibility of giving an aircraft vertical lift by means of helicopter blades. After take-off, the blades would be retracted, rather like a wine whisk, to allow the aircraft to fly at normal high speeds.

The defence budget, of course, benefits from research and development on the civil side. The VC10, the DH125, and the Avro 748, for instance, were all developed for civil purposes very largely, if not entirely, at the expense of the firms concerned. All three of these aircraft have now been ordered for the Royal Air Force, so here are examples of the industry helping to finance the military research and development budget.

I have concentrated so far on the scientific and technological base of our defence efforts. I now turn to the industrial base. Last July, a few hours after I became Minister of Aviation, we had a debate on the aircraft industry. Hon. Members on both sides of the House discussed the prospects of British aviation and expressed deep anxiety. The chiefs of the industry were also very worried men at the time. Exports were falling off and the prospect of large redundancies loomed ahead both for design staffs and production workers.

I was urged from every quarter of the House to do what I could to speed up decisions and get orders placed. I think that I can now report some progress. Since our debate last July the following decisions have been taken. First, six further VC10s have been ordered for Transport Command, Contract negotiations are in progress and a substantial share of work is to be sub-contracted to Shorts.

Mr. Wigg

Will the right hon. Gentleman also state exactly how many times these projects have been announced before. This first one was announced on 10th August as a camouflage of the cancellation of Blue Water. Will he say, when he is stating an item, how many times it has been announced already and whether it has been included in a special announcement?

Mr. Amery

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to what I said he would have heard me say that I was summarising the decisions taken since last July. Of course they have been announced before. In July the House charged me to get decisions taken and I am now reporting to the House the work I have done.

Secondly, a full project study contract has been placed for the P1154 and is nearly complete. Design work has begun and the firm will soon start cutting metal. The P1154 leads the world as a vertical take-off fighter aircraft.

Yesterday the hon. Member for Sheffield Park (Mr. Mulley)—and I am sorry that he is not here at the moment —complained that we have not done anything to live up to our professions last year of trying to build aircraft that would serve more than one purpose. But it is expected that the P1154 will serve as a replacement for both the Hunter and the Sea Vixen.

Third, a contract is under negotiation to supply the DH125 to R.A.F. Training Command. The DH125 is basically an executive aircraft which flies at high subsonic speeds, comparable to those of the Comet or the Boeing. It sells in the civil market at about half the price of its American competitors. The R.A.F. will use it to replace the Varsity. Work on this aircraft has begun.

Fourth, preliminary development and production work has begun on the military version of the Avro 748. This is to be a short range version for the R.A.F.

Fifth, we are advancing £10 million to Shorts to complete orders for the Belfast long-range freighter and for the Seacat.

Sixth, deliveries of the Scout helicopter for the Army have begun and are now well under way.

Seventh, as I told the House earlier today, we have decided to place an order with Hawker Siddeley for the Hastings/Beverley replacement. In range, pay load, speed and take-off performance this aircraft promises to be the most advanced tactical freighter in the world.

Lastly, on the civil side, the decision has been taken to join with the French Government to develop the Concord. All these decisions have been taken since July. In addition, development continues on the P1127 vertical take-off fighter and the TSR2 which, I am convinced, will prove to be the outstanding combat aircraft of this decade. The cancellation of Skybolt has only underlined its importance and the soundness of the Government's decision to develop it.

Production work also continues on the V-bombers, the Buccaneer, the Lightnings, the Sea Vixen and the Argosy. In addition, there is a substantial civil programme centering on the VC10, the Trident and the BAC111.

Taken together, all this adds up to a programme of work which should provide a high and steady level of employment for both design and production sides of the aircraft industry and should also ensure an effective base in our defence policy.

But one cannot fly aircraft without engines and this programme, of course, involves a corresponding load of work for the engine groups. Here I would mention specially the Olympus engine, a variant of which is to be used in the TSR2, the Spey, which will power the Trident and the Buccaneer, and the Pegasus, which provides both lift and forward thrust for the P1127.

The electronic equipment carried by a modern aircraft represents a very high proportion of its cost. The development and production orders which I have mentioned carry with them consequential orders for the electronics industry. Reconnaissance aircraft, for instance, can now be fitted with electric scanning devices, using the line-scan principle, which take pictures by day or night and present the information on a radar display so that it is immediately available for operational use. Electronic countermeasures are also vital to all three Services, and more particularly to Bomber Command. In addition to the electronic equipment for the aircraft, our defence programme calls for ever more orders for the electronics industry. Under plan Hobart, the Army's signal system is to be entirely re-equipped, and work on this has begun.

I should like now to say a word about the guided weapons side of the industry. It is the cancellations which, like the unhappy marriages, usually hit the headlines. Let me say a word about cancellations. Of course it is heart-breaking for a design team when production has to be cancelled, but we cannot always pick a winner.

Mr. Wigg

Hear, hear.

Mr. Amery

If we never betted except on a certainty we would never place a bet, and the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg), who knows the racecourse better than most, should appreciate that.

It is the old choice between the sins of omission and the sins of commission, and, whatever the moralists may say, I have always preferred the latter. A cancellation clause is an escape route which justifies us in taking a risk, and it is quite wrong to think that a cancellation is money down the drain. The work we have done on Blue Streak and Blue Water, for example, is the foundation of our present capability both to produce ballistic missiles and to have a space programme. Here I can correct the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), who said yesterday that the Government had spent £300 million on Blue Streak. In fact, the cost of Blue Streak up to cancellation was £84 million. The hon. Member was something of a poet in his younger days, but he must keep his imagination in check. I commend to him General Donovan's old motto— "In God we trust, the rest we check".

We hear a good deal about Blue Streak and Blue Water, but nothing like as much about the success stories, about Bloodhound, Thunderbird, Seacat and Firestreak. Yet all these systems are in service and have given a very good account of themselves. I wonder how many hon. Members realise that the Seacat missile has been sold to Australia, New Zealand, Sweden and Germany, or that both Sweden and Switzerland have bought Bloodhound. The last two countries are particularly good judges of a good missile. They are under no financial or political pressure to buy from any particular source. They are free to take what they think best.

A new generation of guided weapons is now coming in. Bloodhound will be deployed next year and the development of Red Top is well advanced. The Vigilant anti-tank weapon is now in quantity production and will go into service this year. Development has begun on Swing-fire, a new anti-tank weapon for the Army, and on CF299, a new anti-aircraft guided weapon for smaller ships.

On deterrents, Blue Steel, at which right hon. Gentlemen opposite used to mock so often, is now in service, and trials at Woomera have confirmed its accuracy and its reliability. In addition —and here I come to the right hon. Gentleman's point—we are taking other measures to reinforce our national airborne deterrent in the period before Polaris comes into service. The House will not expect me to go into details about the further strategic nuclear weapon which we are developing for carriage by the TSR2, but this will mean more work for the industry.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to go into detail about this new weapon, but can he give us some idea of the order of the increase in range which it will add to the projected range of the TSR2—scores of miles, or hundreds of miles?

Mr. Amery

It would not be in the public interest to go any further into that matter. Clearly, it means more work for the industry as well as greater power for the R.A.F. Meanwhile, my Department will have a good deal of work to do in conjunction with the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment in connection with the development and production of warheads both for the Polaris and for our airborne systems.

The guided weapon and electronics side of the industry is very much concerned with space. It looks as though the pioneering work in space will, for once, be done on the civil rather than on the military side. Completion of the E.L.D.O. launcher and the development of the communications satellite are perhaps the most likely first steps, but I have long been convinced that space will also have important implications for the defence programme. Work done on rockets means that we could easily produce—

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

My right hon. Friend has mentioned a very important matter in referring to E.L.D.O. Can he say whether, if E.L.D.O. should fall and not be successful in Europe, we would be capable of producing our own satellite launching scheme for putting a telecommunications satellite into orbit?

Mr. Amery

My hon. Friend interrupted me in mid-stream. I was saying that the work we have done on rockets would enable us—E.L.D.O. is a civil organisation—to produce an all-British launcher for military purposes if we needed one, not at very high cost, but at fairly small cost. Our establishments over the last two or three years have also done a good deal of work on satellite research and we have recently been studying the feasibility of certain draft operational requirements for the military use of space, which my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Air has put to us. One of these has a direct bearing on our research work on a manned spacecraft, about which I spoke to the House some months ago.

All in all, the Government will be spending some £375 million in the current year on research, development and production contracts with the aviation and electronics industries. In addition, we shall be spending £50 million on intramural research at our own establishments. Of this total, £340 million in industry and £30 million at our establishments is a direct result of the defence programme. All this represents a very full load of work for the industry, both now and for many years ahead.

The civil pay-off for the production side of the aviation industry comes very largely in the form of exports, exports of aircraft, engines, guided weapons, and defence electronics. These are a very important item in our trading account. Last year, military exports earned us £55 million as against £80 million on the civil side. The graph of exports fluctuates up and down a bit and we should not be too depressed by the fall in last year's figures. One big order for a new military or civil aircraft could easily redress the balance.

I hope that I have said enough to convince the House that the British aviation industry provides a fully effective scientific, technological and industrial base for the defence policy which my right hon. Friend has outlined. But there are some problems ahead.

Technologically speaking, Britain can undertake any project which it wants. What is becoming more doubtful is how far we can undertake all the projects which we need. Have we the means to meet all our requirements for aircraft and missiles for the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy and the Army, and to equip our civil air corporations and to make a contribution in space? This is a question which has to be answered against the knowledge that research and development costs are continually increasing as projects become more sophisticated.

To solve the problem is partly a question of money and partly of human resources. Extra money can always be found if we are prepared to forgo other expenditure. More scientists can be trained, but it takes time. Meanwhile, one way of solving the problem, as my right hon. Friend suggested yesterday, is by interdependence.

Interdependence can take several forms. We can buy a complete weapons system off the shelf abroad. We are doing this with the French AS30 air-to-ground missile. It is also what we are doing with Polaris. British industry would be perfectly capable of developing a submarine-launched missile, but this would take longer than buying from the United States and there would be a stiff bill for the development. Buying off the shelf is only likely to pay in the long run if there is a two-way traffic—if other countries buy from us.

That is not easy where our largest ally, the United States, is concerned. The United States has a very powerful and influential defence industry, and it is not easy to sell our weapons over there. There may be rather more scope with our European allies whose economies are more comparable with our own.

Another form of interdependence is for several countries to invest in the development of a particular national project. Thus the United States and Germany have joined us in the development of Hawker P1127. France and Germany have joined us in the development of the RB162 lightweight vertical take-off engine. But to my mind the most in- teresting form of interdependence is the joint project. In the civil field we have joined France, Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands to produce the E.L.D.O. space launcher. In the same way we have joined France to produce the Concord supersonic airliner.

It may well be that the Concord type of agreement is one which could usefully be extended to military projects. On two recent visits to France I discussed with M. Messmer and other French Ministers a number of projects on which we might co-operate. We are in close touch and will explore and pursue the possibilities of such co-operation between our two countries. This kind of joint project has special attractions from the point of view of exports. If two countries put their money into developing an aircraft, this virtually doubles the market for the aircraft. But it means more than that, because they both stand a good chance of selling it to their traditional customers

Competition with the Americans in the export of both military and civil aircraft is pretty fierce. The Americans have the great advantage of selling over the top of a big home market, and at the end of a very long production run. They also have the intangible, but real, advantage of being the leading Power, military and financial, in the Western Alliance. But a joint project on Concord lines is one of the ways in which we can extend our home market and put ourselves in a better posture to compete.

Of course, interdependence is not a panacea nor an end in itself. There will be projects for which we will welcome support from abroad. There will be others where we shall want to expand our own inventions on a national basis. In any case, I think that as a general rule it will be found that one only gets serious foreign support for a project when one is prepared if necessary to go ahead on one's own.

There is a Motion on the Notice Paper, in the names of a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite, which calls on the Government to end the dilatoriness and lack of forward planning which has brought the aircraft industry into its present difficulties. Frankly, I do not think that this charge will stick. Most of the major military programmes for aircraft and guided weapons have now been settled. They were not easy decisions to take, but I cannot think of any instance where redundancy would have been affected one way or the other if we had taken our decisions a few weeks, or even a few months, earlier than we did.

There is also an Amendment to the Motion I have mentioned. It is in the name of the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) and some of his hon. Friends, and recommends measures to take into public ownership as much of the industry as may be necessary to make it as efficient as, or competitive with, foreign aircraft manufacturers, including those that have been nationalised in France and elsewhere. … I do not think that there is much point in comparing the structure of our industry with that of other countries. The French aircraft industry was smashed in the war. It was reduced by the Germans to subcontracting. It had to be rebuilt almost from its foundations, and this at a time when France was ruined.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

On a point of order. I have been wondering for some time how this very long essay was in any way relevant to the Motion which we are discussing. The secret seems to have emerged that the right hon. Gentleman is addressing himself to quite another Motion which is not before the House.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

I have not taken that view. I understand defence to be the theme of the right hon. Gentleman's speech.

Mr. George Brown (Belper)

Further to that point of order. The Minister has said that he is dealing with a Motion on the Notice Paper in the name of some hon. Gentlemen, and an Amendment to that Motion in the name of other hon. Members. Neither the Motion nor the Amendment to which he is referring is before the House.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker

The right hon. Gentleman is right in saying that, but in general the Minister is speaking on the general subject of defence, and I believe that to he in order in this debate.

Mr. Amery

I am grateful to you, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. I can understand that the right hon. Gentleman would wish to bury this Motion and the Amendment as quickly as he can, but there is a lot of comment on the same lines as this Motion, and it is natural that I should refer to it.

It is unrealistic to compare the structure of the French industry with our own, but I think—

Mr. Paget

Is it significant?

Mr. Amery

Yes. We are talking about the industrial base of our defence policy, and there is comment, not only in this Motion but elsewhere, on how the industry ought to be organised, and it is my duty, as the Minister sponsoring the industry, to express to the House the views I hold on the way it should be organised.

To those who seek comparisons with France, I draw atttention to the fact that the Mirage IIIV aircraft, to which the hon. Member for Loughborough (Mr. Cronin) referred at Question Time yesterday, is an interesting example of an aircraft which has come out of the private side of the French industry. I am grateful that hon. Gentlemen opposite should have expressed an interest in the nationalisation of the aircraft industry. It is a handsome political present, and we shall make the best use of it, but I beg the House to dismiss any idea of this kind.

The British aircraft industry has a rather special history. It has grown up—

Mr. John Cronin (Loughborough)

It is intolerable that the right hon. Gentleman should erect these Aunt Sallies. There is nothing whatsoever about nationalising the industry in the Opposition Amendment.

Mr. Amery

I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman should dissociate himself from it, but the tag will stick.

The industry has a rather special history. It has grown up over the years as a result of close partnership between Government and the firms, under whatever political party has been in power, and this is a partnership which has proved itself in the two greatest wars in our history.

On the Government side there have been outstanding administrators, and some of the best scientists in the country. On the industry's side we have had brilliant designers, daring test pilots, and some of the best management in British industry. No one who has worked closely, as I have, with Sir Roy Dobson or Sir George Edwards, can doubt the industry's ability to develop, to produce, and to sell aircraft and guided weapons as good as any in the world. An industry which can develop the TSR2 and the P1154 stands in no need of nationalisation. It is in good heart and good shape, a vital element in our defence, and one which, like the Fighting Services, deserves the salute of the House.

5.38 p.m.

Mr. George Wigg (Dudley)

I count myself singularly fortunate in following the right hon. Gentleman, and perhaps a little later I shall address a few words to him, but I must not be deflected from my main quarry.

My first thoughts turn to the conditions under which the Government's statement on defence is published this year. I can understand the argument—it was used from the Benches opposite yesterday—that there is a case for not publishing a general statement of policy year after year, but if the Government had intended to discontinue the practice of an annual defence statement, I would have thought that a year ago, when they produced their statement laying down the principles for the next five years, they would also have said, "Well, this is our statement for the next five years, and from now on we shall leave it to the three Service Ministers".

In a year in which the Government have clearly been giving the closest attention to the organisation of defence, in a year in which they have been faced —whether they are to blame or somebody else is to blame does not matter—with a major collapse in terms of their weapon policy, in a year in which they have not been able to get away from conscription—whatever they might say they are still landed with it—in a year in which their Reserve policy has been exposed as having the greatest weakness, in a year in which they have failed to carry out the promised examination of the reserve system about which they talked in last year's White Paper, one would think that they would come forward with some sort of explanation, if not to convince the Opposition, at least to instruct those Members on the Benches opposite who have the patriotism, the courage, and the wisdom to pay more attention to the defences of this country than to the political fortunes of their own party. I therefore did a little exercise, as I always do, and tried to anticipate what the White Paper would contain. I reached the conclusion that there was not going to be one.

Having reached that conclusion, I addressed myself to the question why there would not be one. I was absolutely sure that there would be some echoes from what is called the Mountbatten Plan. If ever we want to know what Government thinking is we read Mr. Chapman Pincher. He knows nothing about defence, but he knows the Minister of Aviation very well. If anybody wants direct evidence of that, I can tell him that the worst speech that I have ever heard from any Front Bench speaker of any kind during the seventeen years that I have been in the House was a speech by the Minister of Aviation—and the next morning the Daily Express said that it was the greatest speech ever! That is direct confirmation of what I am saying.

These are the sources of my information. I do not know the position of Lord Beaverbrook in this respect, but I rely on Mr. Chapman Pincher. He is a jolly good journalist, although he knows nothing about defence, and he has excellent sources of information. When I see someone tipping winners, I follow him. I followed this one. I guessed that this statement would be made.

The Minister of Defence, for whom I have considerable admiration—if the party opposite wants to revive its fortunes, it should follow him; he is the most skilled Tory tactician in the House —yesterday managed to reduce the temperature of the House degree by degree by degree in a masterly diversionary exercise. What he did was right. When he took up the job of Minister of Defence, being a man of great courage he considered the whole problem and told the Prime Minister, "We will have to reorganise the Ministry of Defence". My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) could teach the right hon. Gentleman nothing in the art of getting away with it. I pay tribute where tribute is due.

I have seen this sort of work at close quarters. There is no better opportunity for seeing it than when one is one of the seconds, watching what goes on. Why did the Government do this? Here I will venture a guess. In my opinion, the Government are engaged in the major activity of switching the whole of their defence policy. The Minister of Defence no longer believes that a policy based upon the deterrent can be made to work. But let us consider what the poor Prime Minister had to face—the speech from the hon. Baronet the Member for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn).

I do not mind the same sort of speech from the hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth); he is a highly competent soldier, and I know that he does not believe a word that he is saying. I always take note of the order of battle, and whenever I see somebody who is called early in the debate putting up the conventional line I know that it means that the Whips have been round. Yesterday, the hon. and gallant Gentleman put up a brilliant exercise in defence of the Tory Party. But when the hon. Member for Dorset, North makes the same speech my bowels turn to water. But after a bit he receives murmurs of "Hear, hear" from his colleagues.

He, poor man, believes every word of it. He honestly believes that this country commands 20 per cent. of the deterrent. He honestly believes that President Kennedy sits down every morning and says to Mr. McNamara, "Let me have the battle order. How many V-bombers have they got? How many V-bombers are ready to go? Let Strategic Air Command know." The hon. Member speaks as though the whole defence and foreign policy of the Western world depends on our defence policy. I do not believe a word of this, and I do not believe that the Minister of Defence believes it. Further, my regard for the Prime Minister is such that I am sure he does not believe it, either.

Let us do another little exercise. Let us start by being grown up and deal with the facts. First, I want to utter a word of criticism of one of my hon. Friends. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) yesterday referred to Brunei as a "blow-pipe operation". I beg him not to do that. Let us strive after reality. When we went into Brunei we went in in the dark. It may be amusing to talk about a blow-pipe operation, but our troops were carrying out the most difficult of operations and there were 19 casualties in the first three hours. There is one officer of our flesh and blood who will never come back.

Whenever I have talked about defence in the last seventeen years I have said over and over again that I am interested because I know what it is like to be at the receiving end. I have seen the review of the book on Lloyd George and the failure in Chanak. I was serving in Chanak and in Istanbul during that operation, when the Tory Party once again put its fortunes before the good of this country. I calculated in my mind whether I could swim far enough to reach the nearest battle cruiser if things went wrong.

I have seen these things happening over and over again. When, by some piece of misfortune—or good fortune—I came to this House and interested myself in defence, that was the sort of thing that urged me on. I always try to play fair and be true to the things to which I was brought up. That is why it has always been easy for me to avoid quarrelling with people like Viscount Head. He and I share the same tradition, and we have tried to fight the same battle.

Brigadier Sir John Smyth (Norwood)

I am grateful to the hon. Member for what he has said about the Brunei operation. It naturally caused great resentment when the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) yesterday claimed that the operation in Brunei was a blow-pipe and bow-and-arrow operation, when we remember that battalions like the 1/2nd Gurkhas suffered heavy casualties and lost a British officer—actually a son of a former colonel of the regiment. I am grateful to the hon. Member for putting that point right. The troops greatly resent statements like the one we heard yesterday from the hon. Member for Leeds, East.

Mr. Wigg

I am obliged to the hon. and gallant Gentleman for his words of approval—especially as I had just said some rather hard things about him. But whether it was the Gurkha Regiment or part of the Royal Tank Regiment, it does not make any difference, we are dealing with men of our own flesh and blood and we are placing on them obligations that we should never ask them to undertake when we deny them the means of carrying them out.

I now turn to the question of manpower. So far the debate has been carried on as though we had got rid of conscription. In the debate we had on 30th and 31st January the Prime Minister was up to the old trick—and last night the Sorcerer's Apprentice, the Secretary of State for War, was at it again—of trying to smear my party, first, by saying that it is against the deterrent and, secondly, that it wants conscription. Nobody wants conscription. I do not want it, and hon. Members opposite do not. For the 900th or perhaps the 1,000th time, let me make it clear that the first person in this House to make any attempt to get rid of conscription was my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington, as long ago as the Whitsun debate of 1952. But we sought to lay down conditions that must be brought about in the meantime. We said that it was necessary to introduce a long-service engagement and a differential rate of pay. What the Government did in 1957 was to get rid of conscription and only afterwards to bring in the long-service engagement.

Some of us forecast in advance what would happen, and we have been justified up to the hilt. The present Viscount Head, who was then Minister of Defence, said that we had chosen as our planning figure the figure that we expected to recruit, and that later on we would see how it worked out on the ground. The first figure announced was 375,000 for all three Services. In 1958, for the first time, the figures of 165,000 for the Army, 135,000 for the Royal Air Force and 88,000 for the Royal Navy were announced, making a total of 388,000. Then the plot thickened.

In March, 1959, the then Secretary of State for War said that 165,000 was not good enough and that we wanted another 15,000. He told us what the 15,000 were needed for. In the OFFICIAL REPORT of 3rd March hon. Members will find, at columns 229–30, that the Secretary of State for War complained that the size of an infantry battalion at 635 was too small, and he gave examples. In Korea it had not worked and in Cyprus it had not worked, and we needed at least 700 to a battalion. I will give the Secretary of State for War a little information which he can look up and check from his own files. The decision was taken by the Secretary of State that 8,440 men should be added to the infantry establishment and that in consequence infantry units should have their peace-time establishments raised to 774. As the right hon. Gentleman and I both know very well, the war establishment is much higher, but I will not mention that figure. The figure of 774 was to be the strength of an infantry battalion, and that figure was laid down in 1959. If we add 15,000 to 388,000, we get 403,000; and then in 1960 the Minister of Defence said that the figure was 400,000.

The figure which is of interest and the first figure which one should look at in this interesting White Paper is to be found in Annexe 1. There we find what the Government recruited on 1st April—what is here needed is a break-down figure as at 1st January—and the figure is less than 388,000. The figures for the Royal Air Force and the Navy are both well below the stated figure. Let us consider an example of how it works out and see whether the Government's supporters will cheer.

H.M.S. "Blake" cost £15 million, and its full complement was gathered on board. Suddenly this vessel had to be put into reserve and its complement of 800 men dispersed because they were short of a dozen electricians. Recently we were going into Brunei. There were two brigades in the Strategic Reserve, the 51st and the 19th and units of the 51st Brigade were selected to stand by. Of this Brigade, the Devon and Dorsets were so short of men that they could not go—

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Profumo)

May I be allowed to explain to the hon. Gentleman that the Devon and Dorsets are not in the Strategic Reserve.

Mr. Wigg

They are in the 51st Brigade, that is all I know—

Mr. Profumo

But not in the Strategic Reserve.

Mr. Wigg

That is good. I have done my homework very well, for I know all the units of the 51st Brigade—even those which are there but ought not to be there for some special reason, and that is good enough. I am quite happy to take on the Secretary of State for War regarding this one. If the Devon and Dorsets are in the 51st Brigade and ought not to be, the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers—they were unbrigaded—were brought in to do their job and they had a strength of 450. The Royal Welch Fusiliers were sent out with a strength of 550.

The Secretary of State himself has given the overall answer. I asked a Question of the right hon. Gentleman, and hon. Members can find the answer in the Written Answers in the OFFICIAL REPORT. There are 30 battalions of the line which at the present time are under establishment. Let us make clear what this means. We have now a total of 68 battalions—that includes eight battalions of the Gurkhas—of which at least 30 are under strength. The Secretary of State for War knows that were he honest and if he took the advice of his military advisers he would undertake the reorganisation of the infantry. He does not do that because of the alarm and despondency which it would create among hon. Members on the benches opposite.

Turning to the question of the reserves, we were told upon the introduction of the Army Reserve Bill that a new force was being created, the "Ever-readies." There were to be bounties of £150 and 15,000 men would be recruited. They were to be the elite of the Territorial Army and would be available at a moment's notice to "top up the batteries" of the Rhine Army. How many of these men have been recruited? Is it 15,000? Hon. Members should notice that there is not a word about them in the White Paper. If the Government had succeeded in recruiting 15,000 this would not have been announced once or twice, but half a dozen times. I think that the Minister has got about 4,000. A year ago—it is in the 1962 White Paper in paragraph 38—the Minister promised an examination of the whole reserve system. But there is not a single word about it. Has anything been done?

My hon. Friend should note a fact about all this—that there is a settling day. The Government have managed to stave off that settling day. They have done everything to get round it by talk- ing about the Army Reserve and introducing the "Ever-readies" and having units well under establishment. Were they faced with an emergency, heaven knows what they would do. They have been gambling with the reserves, and that is why they have not had a long-term examination and dare not tell the House. But in May, 1965, the fun and games will start, because the last National Service man will have passed through the provisions of the reserve legislation and the Government will be brought down to whatever number they can recruit. This is the gamble which they have taken with the fortunes of this country in respect of men. Now let us turn to the question of equipment.

The Minister of Aviation has left the Chamber. I was surprised that the right hon. Gentleman made the kind of speech which he did this afternoon. But I suppose he thought that he would get away with it. What are the overall figures in terms of expenditure? These Defence Estimates bring up the bill, since the present Government have been in office, to £18,400 million, of which £7,500 million has gone in equipment. No wonder my hon. Friend the Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) talks about nationalisation. Since 1947, £4,800 million has gone into the aircraft industry from all sources. Of this £4,800 million, £3,400 million went from public sources. What have we had in exchange? Since the present Administration has been in office, or since the end of the war, there have been 300 aircraft projects of various kinds, and of that number not more than a dozen can be in any way regarded as successes. Of that dozen not more than three or four have sold overseas. I should say that the winners were the Meteor, the Vampire—and they are marginal—the Viscount, and to some extent the Hunter, particularly because of off-shore purchases.

Of missiles, only one anywhere near a winner is the Bloodhound. The tragedy is that we take too long to make up our minds whatever may be the reason—perhaps when they get into the Government my right hon. Friends will discover what is the reason. But for some unaccountable reason we take far too long to make up our minds and so we get left behind.

I will make a prophecy. We have said that the TSR2 is the best strike and possibly the best aircraft of its kind in the world. It has not yet flown. But it weighs 90,000 1b. If we had been wiser and not so imbued with paranoia, we should have gone in for something half the size. The American F4H and the A3J can do now what it is claimed that this aircraft will do, not tomorrow but several years ahead. I think that the Government must always have three white elephants in the stable. As fast as one moves out another one moves in.

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)

I am interested in the performance of the TSR2 and other American planes which have been developed on the same lines. Does the hon. Gentleman know what the performance of the TSR2 is supposed to be?

Mr. Wigg

No. But what I do know is that the TSR2 has had a somewhat chequered political life. In 1957 the Government announced that they would not produce a successor to the manned bomber, and then, under pressure exerted by the Air Staff, in Conference Prospect they had to come forward with this project which was a successor to the manned bomber. At present, no one knows what it is. Its performance is secret. But, judging on past performances, I do not think that the Government know either. What I do know is that the Phantom and the Vigilante are two wonderful aircraft in terms of speed and performance. It is extremely doubtful what, in fact, an aircraft like the TSR2 and its weight can do.

Mr. John Hall

I am extremely perplexed by this, because if the hon. Gentleman does not know the performance of the TSR2 how on earth can he claim to be able to compare it?

Mr. Wigg

Again, we know that it is a strike tactical reconnaissance aircraft. We have been told that it is going to have a supersonic speed at both high and low altitudes. We also know that no weapon has been planned for it. We are told in the Defence White Paper prepared by the Secretary of State for Air last year that the AS30 will go on the TSR2. We also know that the Bullpup is going on the Buccaneer. So we know, roughly at least, the kind of weapon the Government have in mind; that it is to go in at supersonic speed, and we know its weight and scope.

Again, what is so highly suggestive—and here I help the hon. Gentleman if he wishes to be helped—is to watch the Government's public relations exercises. I have brought down to the House on previous occasions the Evening News which said in 1959: Blue Streak Wins. Macmillan talks from strength We have had another one from the same paper. Missile X, the Atom Wonder. The most versatile strike weapon in history". This is 20th February last. I will lend it out to hon. Members afterwards.

It is just a question of a little detective work. We know the range of the AS30, we know what the Bullpup can do, and so in actual fact this wonder weapon has a range of five or six miles.

Mr. John Hall

How do you know?

Mr. Wigg

The hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. John Hall) is going back to Standard II. All that the Government has said about weapons in relation to the aircraft is that it has a tactical weapon with a range of six miles.

I want to end this part of my speech by just saying this—the TSR2 will fall flat on its face. After an astronomical cost of £300 million or £400 million it will in due course be cancelled, and the Government will not dispose of one. In the same way I have been proved right about the Belfast, and for exactly the same reasons. The A3J and F4H have got the edge on it.

Now I want to look back to the Secretary of State for War. He wanted to fasten on to my hon. Friend the responsibility for saying "No" to the deterrent. I will not read it again, but last night my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) read an extract from his speech on 4th March, in column 155, in which he said that if the Russians saw the landing of one British soldier on some corner of a foreign field they would deliver a devastating nuclear attack on us. This is an utterance by a Minister who is responsible for a Service Department. Although on the face of it obviously it is arrant nonsense—and we all know the Secretary of State for War—let us give it some serious attention for a moment. Where shall we say this foreign field is? I do not want to press it too far, and I do not mind whether it is in the Mediterranean or in the Far East. I will move it about to suit his convenience. Let us assume at the moment that it is in the Mediterranean. We have got the advantage of something which the hon. Gentleman must have forgotten about. Operation Fallex took place last year in the Mediterranean, and on 27th September last the defence correspondent of The Times, describing an operation by the Americans which was attended by the Secretary of State for Air, when the Americans put 2,000 marines on the coast in Greece, said: The important factor for British defence planners, however, is the immense and costly organisation which lies behind the 2,000 marines which were put ashore with such skill yesterday. The task force which carried them to the landing area consisted of over 30 major naval units, including minesweepers, antisubmarine and anti-aircraft frigates, a strike carrier and various support and logistic craft. He goes on to say: The great cost of the concept in men and money has caused more than one senior British officer here to express doubts about the ability of Britain to maintain effective naval task forces in the Indian Ocean, as planned in the 1962 Defence White Paper. It also says that the marine corps which was standing behind this force of 2,000 men wits larger than the whole of the British Army. So we now have an idea of the size of the force which was meant to frighten the Russians into a total nuclear strike which would destroy these islands. Supposing, for the purposes of the Secretary of State's arguments, that the Russians are really frightened and this force of 2,000 lands at a point which in fact is highly sensitive to Russian interests. Why should the Russians threaten that nuclear force? I have no doubt that somewhere there is a Russian Steptoe and Son and they would borrow a couple of planes of the last war and fly in and wipe them out.

The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) asked the right hon. Gentleman whether he was aware of the fact that the Americans had seven types of anti-aircraft defences. I engaged in some correspondence with the Secretary of State for War and I will lend it to the hon. Member if he likes, because the right hon. Gentleman said in his reply that he was dependent upon missiles. When I asked him to tell me the name of the missile, when the order was placed and how far it had been developed, he wrote back his usual courteous and kindly reply that it was all in the process of discussion. So the Russians will not have much to fear from anti-aircraft except the last war Bofors.

When they land, what have they got to face them? The old 25-pounder, and what about anti-tank weapons? The Secretary of State for War, for the purposes of a political argument—and no wonder he wants to sink into his seat—comes down here and, in order to embarrass and scarify the consciences of my hon. Friends, he says we have got to have a deterrent in case of a Russian threat. What piffle and what nonsense. The truth of the matter is that hon. Gentlemen opposite should be their age. If the worst comes to the worst and the deterrent of the Strategic Air Command and the vast complex of missiles that the Americans are building up are not substantial enough to deter the Russians, we have had it. Surely what we ought to do is to plan our defence policy not on the basis that we are going to die but on the basis that we are going to live, and that we are going to live in a world in which the vital British interest of law and order will be maintained, and that we shall have conventional forces of sufficient mobility and the right balance to carry out the political decisions of the Government.

Arguments are carried on here about the British Army of the Rhine as though it was something which had been cooked up by my right hon. Friends. Of course it was not; it was a commitment which a Conservative Administration entered into. I was against it, but once an obligation is entered into, irrespective of which party enters into it, it is our duty to see that its implications are carried out. The problem should be put fairly and squarely to the country, but that is not done. I am not blaming the editor of the Evening News—this is the fault of the Ministry of Defence's Press relations. They told them to get this in.

This is not the only example, for a week ago we had a Panorama broadcast on the state of the Army. I listened to it and to my astonishment found that it picked out in terms of wastage one of the best units. It gave the wastage figures for the R.E.s as 10 per cent., but it is not 10 per cent. but 15.8 per cent., and the worst is the Pioneer Corps, which is nearly 40 per cent. There was a programme called "Tonight" about missiles which was 50 per cent. inaccurate. We can go on to case after case in the Press, the B.B.C. and I.T.V. and find that it is the same story. The facts about defence are concealed.

I am all for freedom of opinion, but I believe that in all these great instruments which instruct the public the one thing which matters above all is factual integrity. If any hon. Member has the skill to draft a Bill which would require those organs in relation to our survival to observe factual integrity and, if they did not, to be called before the courts because the facts were violated, I should hold up my hands in support. We have a gigantic bill of £1,838 million. The Minister of Defence knows that it is not enough and that it will have to go higher if the demands implicit in this White Paper are to be fully met and met against the time scale. I am sure the Minister would not deny that all the pressures are in terms of higher expenditure, not lower. I do not believe that we can get the people of the country to face these facts unless they are told the truth.

I went to the Vassal Tribunal. There was a classic example in the first few days of the kind of Press we have in this country. There was the Observer, a very exalted paper, with a private line to heaven. The membership of its editorial board is of such god-like people that their religions are chosen for them, and sometimes their race. For example, on a major issue of defence the paper's correspondent—a sailor of great distinction who has been decorated, and I acknowledge his prowess and gallantry—had to admit that on this major story one aspect had been pinched from the defence correspondent of the Daily Herald. I freely admit that one cannot go lower than that. [Laughter.] Oh, yes, this is the truth. The second had been pinched from the Evening News, which is second on the list. The third had come from the Daily Express, and the Daily Express had admitted that it was pinched from three other sources.

When asked if he checked, he said that he did not check for it was enough for him that the stories be used had not been denied. That is not because the Press comprises wicked men or that those who control the B.B.C. and I.T.V. programmes are wicked, but because there has grown up in the Ministry of Defence and the Service Departments the strongest public relations organisation which gives guidance, and more than guidance—it twists arms sometimes—and the victims are, first, the British public, and the House of Commons ought to know better. Secondly, the victims are the Armed Forces of the Crown. In the few months left to him in office, I wish the Minister of Defence well. I think his proposals about reorganisation of the Ministry should be looked at with care. I hope that he will bring a White Paper to the House giving details and will give us an opportunity to thrash out the whole matter.

I wish that in the few months he will take his courage in both hands and start to put this horrible mess right, because it is a horrible mess. I admit that as to conscription this is water that has gone over the wheel. The public conscience in this matter has now been lulled into the belief that conscription has to go. I shall not reopen the argument, but now that he is in sight of getting rid of it he has to carry out reorganisation of the Army and a realignment of our commitments so that our obligations shall match our resources. If he does not do that, even though there are a few months left, those months may bring catastrophe, a catastrophe which I am sure the House would wish to avoid asking the Armed Forces to bear.

6.16 p.m.

Mr. Nigel Birch (Flint, West)

The House may be startled to know that, according to my calculations, there are still 295 days before next Christmas. We have made a slow start in this debate. The hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) is extremely well-informed. He would, I am sure, make an admirable assistant to the Adjutant-General—he probably is one. He always gives the classic argument which leads inevitably to the conclusion that we ought to have selective service, but then bounces off.

Mr. Wigg

If the right hon. Member thinks that, may I be allowed to say that I have said in our party meeting, I have said in this House and say it again, that I believe that selective service is absolutely essential. Is that good enough for him?

Mr. Birch

I am grateful to the hon. Member and accept that from him.

I do not complain about the form of the White Paper. I think that in the present state of the debate in N.A.T.O. any new initiative would be out of place, but, if I were to produce a White Paper like this I think I should have had the photographs printed in colour. One thing I do wish to complain about is that my right hon. Friend introduced extremely important proposals for the re-organisation of defence at the end of a 40 minute speech. If precedent is any guide, these things ought to be introduced either after a Report by an independent body or after a White Paper issued by the Government. I should much prefer to see that because one of the things which the Minister ought to pick up are the reactions of the House to his plans and if he does not give time for consideration he will not get valuable reactions.

I want to say a certain amount about reorganisation. The reason we have gone wrong in this country is not so much in the organisation of our defence as in the background thinking, not only of both parties, but of the country as a whole. There is so much atavism about it, so many submerged thoughts and so many things in our subconscious which we have not brought out that it is very difficult for us to make the correct decision which we ought to make. It is not at all unnatural that that should be so if we think of the extraordinary pace of events since the war.

America and Russia have become super Powers and have presented us with a change of scale such as that which faced Holland after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1714, and there have been great changes in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth was always a very doubtful military asset, but now, with so much of it composed of neutralist republics often not working in favour of our defence and foreign policy, I think it constitutes a grave political risk. Then there is the rise of Europe, the ambitions of de Gaulle, the pace of scientific advance in defence and the expenditure on research. Expenditure on research has been accelerating and not decelerating 17 years after the war. This is apt to leave people a little breathless.

No one can know all the answers and no one pretends to. A really professional know-all like the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) pretends to know, but the rest of us do not. We must get our basic thinking up to date and, to do this, there is one method we might employ. We should take a leaf out of the American experience and use academic and scientific brain power—outside the Civil Service and the Armed Forces—more than we do at present. If one thinks about it, it is sometimes a little frightening to realise the tremendous decisions on which the senior scientific adviser to the Minister of Defence must advise. It is a tremendous super-structure to raise on the body of a single zoologist, and I hardly think that that is altogether desirable.

Anyone who has been to the Pentagon, or has even looked at the car park there, will know that the Americans are not at all short of staff officers. Yet they have farmed out a great deal of their fundamental thinking to bodies and institutions outside the Government service. For example, the best known one is the "Rand Project" which was started more than 10 years ago and which does a lot of basic thinking for the Air Force. Then there is the centre of Naval analysis, the Research Analysis Corporation, which looks after the Army, and the Institute of Defence Analysis which looks after the overall defence thinking.

These are non-profit-making bodies staffed largely by academic types and scientists who keep in the closest touch with the universities. They have put to them problems of analysis involving scientific and other questions and, apart from that, they do all sorts of other pertinent research; and they come up with the answers. They also produce papers on their own in which they try to sell, so to speak, their ideas to the American Government. That Government is not bound to accept those ideas, but there is a lot in this, for the simple reason that most civil servants and practically all Service men in staff jobs are cumbered about with too many files. One cannot really do any basic thinking if one is passing files around all day long. One needs to have the ideas fed in from outside.

There is another important advantage. If we could do something which would enable us to farm out some of our thinking, help might be forthcoming in another respect, for it is difficult to keep the Government and Opposition in some sort of touch on defence matters. It is worth remembering that Lord Balfour did a great deal of work before the First World War in the old Imperial Defence Committee. My right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) also did a lot of work on radar when out of office by means of a subcommittee of the Imperial Defence Committee.

I consider that some of the more interesting papers should be circulated to, say, the Leader of the Opposition, his shadow Foreign Secretary and shadow Defence Minister. In this connection, another aspect might help us, as it helps in America. The sort of dons who man these American organisations very much like writing papers, and they can write admirable ones without containing classified information. Such papers help to form that consensus of opinion from outside which can help politicians to pursue sensible policies.

We must get our basic thinking right. That brings me to the important question of my right hon. Friend's actual reforms. I congratulate him on having made a break through. A great many of his predecessors have tried to do this, but he has got away with it. He appears to have done it with the agreement or understanding of his colleagues and, I think, with the agreement of the Service Ministries. Something may flow from that but I do not think that we want to assume that his proposals will necessarily stop all the quarrelling between the Services. If one wants to stop three barrow boys quarrelling one will not necessarily do it by moving their barrows on to the same pitch. Perhaps "quarrelling" is rather a pejorative word. There are, always have been and always will be, legitimate differences between the Services and, at that level, they have political implications. It is essential, therefore, if decisions are to be decided aright, that those differences should be clearly brought out and not fudged.

For example, after the First World War the Army and the Navy made a determined effort to sever the infant body of the Air Force. Had the Air Force not had a very able Chief of Air Staff and an efficient Secretary of State the Army and the Navy might have succeeded. What would have happened I do not know; but it might have resulted in our losing the war. It is all the more important, therefore, that these decisions should not be fudged.

That brings me to some other suggestions I should like to make concerning the reforms. It is exceptionally important to remember that now my right hon. Friend has decided to move all the chiefs of staff into one building, he should endeavour to get rid of the supremo; the Chief of the Defence Staff. I say that for two reasons. The first is because this is a job where Buggins's turn becomes an iron law. On the question of Buggins, he is bound to be a very senior officer, indeed, and there is bound to be a virement between the three Services. Any one can tell who is going to be the new supremo, but I will not mention any names. So one is stuck with a man who has not necessarily spent his life thinking about strategic problems. The Government have a very limited choice indeed, and there is a temptation for the Minister of Defence to deal with the other Services through the supremo.

What happens is that the issue gets fudged because he tends to produce the lowest common denominator of agreement. I believe that when the Minister of Defence deals with the three chiefs of staff in his own Department the Chief of the Defence Staff becomes a fourth wheel on his tricycle. He had better, therefore, deal with the three chiefs of staff directly.

There should be a much stronger military secretariat in the Ministry of Defence, as there used to be in the old Imperial Defence Committee. When I was a boy at school my father was the Master General of the Ordnance engaged in getting through a reform about the second, third and fourth line repair of motor vehicles. There were letters in The Times and meetings of the Cabinet about it. He told me later that he would not have got it through without a certain Major Ismay. That Major Ismay, of course, went on from the early 'twenties until the end of the last war with great distinction.

The Ministry of Defence, to get an adequate secretariat, could choose men from the Services at any rank and, when a good one was found, he could be kept for life. Such are the people the Ministry wants in Whitehall; people who will know their way about and who will have the confidence of the Services and the confidence of politicians of all parties. This would provide a better link between the Minister and the various Service advisers than a supremo.

I have done, and many other hon. Members want to speak. I have suggested more disembodied thinking, the abolition of the Chief of the Defence Staff, and a stronger secretariat. I hope that my right hon. Friend will meditate upon these suggestions.

6.30 p.m.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) has suggested to hon. Members that we should indulge in some rethinking on defence, yet it will be noted that the only contribution he made was the suggestion—an amazing one in the circumstances—that we should adopt the American system and bring from outside to supervise our defence organisation and decide our defence policy some industrial tycoons, or it may be those who on previous occasions served the Government in Service Departments but thereafter departed to take their place in industry.

If that is the kind of thinking we are to indulge in, the Minister of Defence will find himself unemployed, and presumably Lord Lennox-Boyd or Lord Chandos, having experimented in industry, will be transferred to the Government to undertake the task of supervising our defence. That is no contribution to our defence organisation. It is a reductio ad absurdum, and I would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman that if he had come to that conclusion before he became Secretary of State for Air some years ago he would not have occupied that position.

I want to pose a simple question to the House. Do we want any defence at all? Apart from a very small minority, some in this assembly and some in the country, the answer to that question is in the affirmative. We require a measure of defence in order to maintain our security, and we require it because it happens to be traditional. The question we have to consider is what kind of defence. What form should it take? Should it take the form of a contribution to what is described as the nuclear deterrent, or should it take the form of building up our conventional forces and weapons? That dispute has characterised our debates on defence for many years past.

Members of the Government and their supporters, with some exceptions, take the line that this country must have an independent nuclear deterrent. On the other hand, my hon. Friends—though there may be some exceptions—hold the view that an independent nuclear deterrent has no validity in the existing circumstances or in circumstances which are foreseeable. That is the dispute between us. I know that it is impossible to convince the Government that their view about the independent nuclear deterrent is wrong, but I would beg them to understand that a very large and growing section of the community is coming to the conclusion that this country cannot afford an independent nuclear deterrent, and that, even if it could afford it, it would be unnecessary and undesirable to have one.

I should like to quote from sources which I think would be acceptable to hon. Members. The first quotation is from a leading article in The Times which, dealing with the so-called White Paper, expresses a view about the proposal to adopt the Polaris submarine in due course when it should arrive.

It says: There is good reason to believe that the cost to Britain of building and keeping a fleet of Polaris submarines has never been fully assessed, and that it may yet prove to be more than the country can afford. It goes on to say: If, as a result of the American initiative, some form of nuclear deterrent under an effective allied control begins to take shape, the British Government may decide that nuclear independence is, after all, an expensive luxury. This is not a contribution from hon. Members on this side of the House. It is a contribution from a reputable newspaper, no doubt subscribed to by its very able defence correspondent. It is undoubtedly a contribution which the Government cannot ignore. I agree that what it says is based on the assumption that the American initiative about the nuclear deterrent will be acceptable, but whether that will be so I am unable to say.

I submit another quotation from an ex-military source which is bound to be acceptable to the House, because it is a statement in a letter by Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor. He says, among other things, that in this country … we cling to the myth of an Independent British Nuclear Deterrent … He describes it as a myth, and I observe that the right hon. and gallant Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) yesterday, in his able contribution dealing primarily with conventional forces, seemed to throw cold water on the independent nuclear deterrent. I am not sure whether I describe his point of view accurately, but so it seemed to me. And, of course, we have had contributions from the benches opposite in previous defence debates which indicate that there is not complete unanimity on that side of the House on the need for such a deterrent.

Sir J. Smyth

I should like to correct the right hon. Gentleman. I am in favour of an independent nuclear deterrent. I did not deal with it in my speech yesterday because I was confining that speech to another subject.

Mr. Shinwell

I am sorry if I have misunderstood the right hon. and gallant Gentleman, but that is what it appeared to be to me. It seemed to me to be an oblique reference to the undesirability of indulging in excessive expenditure on a nuclear deterrent of an independent character instead of devoting more of our expenditure to the building up of our conventional forces.

I want to deal with conventional forces, because there is no use arguing with the Government about the independent nuclear deterrent. They have made up their minds, and only time will tell whether it has any validity at all. Perhaps in ten years' time we shall discover whether the Russians have been deterred from making a violent assault on this country because we possess 200 V-bombers, which will be obsolescent in the course of a few years, or because we are in possession of Polaris submarines. We cannot say. If, however, it should happen that for some reason the Russians mount an assault on this country using nuclear weapons, obviously we shall be wiped out and nothing more need be said about it.

I turn to the subject of conventional weapons and, in so doing, I will indulge in repetition, of which we have had plenty during the debate. My repetition takes the form of referring to the position of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Only the other week I asked the Minister of Defence a Question about the contribution made by the French in conventional forces to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. The right hon. Gentleman's Answer, which is contained in the columns of the OFFICIAL REPORT, was to the effect that this information was confidential. I can, however, furnish the right hon. Gentleman with references by several of his predecessors to the actual numerical strength of our contribution to N.A.T.O. Indeed, it has been referred to during this debate. Figures of 50,000 and 55,000 have been bandied about indicating the strength of our conventional land forces in the European arena.

I presume that one of the reasons, if not the principal reason, why the right hon. Gentleman refused to disclose the facts about the French contribution to N.A.T.O. was not because it was confidential but because it was inadvisable—

Mr. Frank Tomney (Hammersmith, North)

It was non-existent.

Mr. Shinwell

—to demonstrate to the House that the French had, in fact, made no contribution in conventional forces to N.A.T.O. ever since it was formed, except on paper. I make that challenge to the right hon. Gentleman.

Therefore, when we debate the strength of N.A.T.O.—and reference has been made to the N.A.T.O. alliance by the Front Bench on this side as well as on the Government side, and by back benchers on both sides—I think that the time has come when the House must address itself to the facts and not allow itself to be fobbed off by statements about the strength of N.A.T.O.—a strength which does not really exist—or allow itself to be fooled by answers to questions which are unsatisfactory for the reason that security might be infringed. I shall be pleased to hear at the end of this debate that I am proved wrong about the French contribution, but my experience of the French goes back some time.

I remember when I was Minister of Defence having to negotiate with M. Pleven, who was Minister of Defence and subsequently became Prime Minister, and also with M. Jules Moch, on the subject of the French contribution. Frequently, they gave their assurance that they would make a contribution—first, of fifteen divisions, then ten divisions and then five. There were variations because of their difficulties in Indo-China, and later they had their difficulties about Algeria. On no single occasion, however, have they made an actual contribution in the sense in which we talk about a contribution to the conventional strength of N.A.T.O. What the French have done as regards an air contribution I am unable to say, but, no doubt, the Minister of Defence will be able to tell us.

It may be asked what this has to do with the subject of defence. My answer is that it has a great deal to do with the question: first, whether we should build up our conventional forces; secondly, whether we increase the number of our land forces in the European theatre; and, thirdly, whether we should retain any troops there at all.

I should like to bring to my aid the opinion of somebody who, I think everybody would agree, is a military expert. I refer to Field Marshal Montgomery. [Interruption.] I expected derision when Field Marshal Montgomery's name was mentioned, but he was a great fighting soldier. He was something more—he was Chief of the Imperial General Staff. If Field Marshal Montgomery had not been in possession of the administrative ability and the strategic knowledge which some people now deny him, obviously he should never have been transferred to the War Office and elevated to the position of Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

What did Field Marshal Montgomery say in an article which he wrote recently in the Sunday Times? I shall not quote the whole of it, because I do not want to occupy too much time. In any event, I can represent the Field Marshal's viewpoint in almost a sentence. He said: The sooner we reduce our forces in Germany and bring the bulk back to Britain, the better—financially, and in all other respects. That is the Field Marshal's view. He said a great deal more, fortifying and reinforcing the view to which I have just referred. But he is not the only one who holds that view.

I want to express my opinion. Of course, I am not a military expert like the Field Marshal—nothing like it—but when I read the other day that the Government were proposing to withdraw a brigade group from Germany, I was very glad to hear it. Why do I say that? All this talk about building up forces and the number of men we require to provide a balanced force is quite beside the point. The fact is that there would be advantage in withdrawing some of our land forces from Germany or wherever they may be in the European theatre so as to create a better balance of forces.

I understand that there are difficulties about technicians, signallers and those associated with communications. If we withdraw some of our forces, it is possible for us by adjustment—and that, of course, is a matter for the technicians, the people at the War Office and elsewhere—to create a better balance of forces. The right balance of forces, even if they are much reduced in numbers, is far more satisfactory and makes the strength of the forces much more adequate than large numbers of men scattered over Germany.

Sir Arthur Vere Harvey (Macclesfield)

While I agree with what the right hon. Gentleman is saying, may I ask him to explain why his Front Bench always asks the Government to get more British troops into Germany?

Mr. Shinwell

I do not believe that that is the view of my Front Bench or of hon. Members on this side. They have not asked for increased numbers of men. They have criticised the Government for presenting the numbers in many variations; the recruiting figures go up and down and there is talk about the "Ever-readies" and the strength of the reserves. We have rightly criticised the Government for their failures in this respect, but we have never demanded that there should be more than 50,000 or 55,000 men, which was our commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

My view—I put it in the strongest and firmest fashion I can, and I should like an answer to this—is that unless it is possible for the Government to demontrate that the French, the Belgians, the Dutch and the Scandinavian countries which are associated with N.A.T.O. are making an effective contribution in ground forces, they have no right to demand from us that we should continue our commitment.

I should like to say a word about this commitment, because I had something to do with it. It is true that in 1955 Mr. Anthony Eden, as he then was, agreed that we should make a commitment of four divisions to N.A.T.O. Loose language was used, but that commitment was to continue until the end of the century. When we were in office, we agreed, in the course of the suggestion made by the Americans and by the Supreme Commander who was appointed in 1951, to have two divisions in Germany. Subsequently, because of tension, it was decided to increase the numbers and a commitment was entered into by the Conservative Government under Mr. Anthony Eden in 1955. It never has been understood in the strict sense, however, that that commitment meant that our forces were to remain there all the time and that we could never withdraw them. We were entitled to withdraw as many as we liked if the circumstances demanded it. I hope that is clearly understood. Unless it can be demonstrated that the other countries associated with N.A.T.O. are making their contribution, we should refuse to continue with our contribution until they do or withdraw our troops.

It may be said that that would mean the smash-up of N.A.T.O. altogether. I should like to say to the right hon. Gentleman—and I say it to my own Front Bench and to hon. Members on both sides of the House—the more this debate has gone on—I have listened very carefully to most of it, except the speech of the Secretary of State for War last night, which I read this morning and which I should like to refer to in a moment—the more I have come to the conclusion, very reluctantly, that a proposition to create a Committee of Defence in this House would be a very sensible proposition indeed.

What have we had in this debate? We have had allegations from this side, replies from the other side; suggestions about the inability of the Government to provide the necessary equipment, and denials from the Government. We are spending a lot of money on defence. Let me put it in the correct fashion—we are spending a lot of money in order to promote defence. Whether we have actually got it we do not really know. The Government say that we have; hon. Members on this side doubt it; even hon. Members opposite are sceptical about it. It seems to me that the time is arriving when it might be desirable to create a Committee of Defence, not consisting exclusively of Privy Councillors, but of hon. Members who have interested themselves in the subject of defence, bringing them together, not for the purpose of being subordinate to the Minister of Defence or to the Service Ministers, but for the purpose of interrogating behind closed doors the Minister of Defence and ascertaining the facts. On the basis of those facts it would be possible to engage in a more satisfactory debate.

No one will regard this as a satisfactory debate. I venture the opinion that at the end of this two-day debate hon. Members, if they are true to themselves, will have come to the conclusion, not because of my contribution, that the facts are still unknown and the Government's case still unproven. Therefore, the time has come to consider it. If I am told that it is no use making propositions of this kind if nothing comes of them, I would draw attention to the next matter to which I wish to devote a little time, and that is the subject of the reorganisation of defence.

I read the speech of the Secretary of State for War this morning. I was really shocked when I read that one of the reasons why we were annoyed, or appeared to be annoyed, at the right hon. Gentleman's statement to us yesterday on his proposals for a reform of the defence organisation was because we were jealous. The Secretary of State for War—he is not here at the moment, and I would prefer to say it to his face—was very childish to indulge in observations of that kind.

When I was Minister of Defence—and I only say that for the purpose of the argument—I was very conscious of the fact that the system was most unsatisfactory—in fact, I knew it when I was at the War Office—we were able to promote the utmost co-operation because there was good will between the Minister of Defence and his three Service colleagues and I was able to initiate a regular system of meetings bringing in the three Service Ministers, with junior Ministers occasionally and the First. Second and Fourth Sea Lords—the Fourth Sea Lord was very often Lord Mountbatten sitting at the end of the table and listening to the rest of them—and the other members of the Service Department. They were regular meetings with an agenda discussing all sorts of matters, affecting not one Service but all of them. It was because of that that we were able to carry on fairly effectively. There was very little criticism of the Ministry of Defence at that time, nor has there been very much since as far as I know.

I want to make certain suggestions to the right hon. Gentleman. He came here yesterday and said, "I am trying to collect the voices; I want to know what you think and I shall produce a White Paper and come along with my proposals". I will tell him what I think he ought to do. Unless there is centralised control over every aspect of finance relating to defence it will not be effective. He will meet with no success. I know what the system is. When Estimates are being prepared the various Departments make their submissions and the totals come before the Minister of Defence. He looks at them, he consults the Treasury, and then he probably has a word with the Prime Minister. Then he says, "We will cut this out, cut that out and cut something else out". It is done in that rule of thumb fashion without regard to the needs of the whole of the Services and without regard to the strategic needs of defence.

I recall an incident that occurred when the Labour Government of 1950 decided to have a three years' programme, because it was the Labour Government which initiated the three-year programme idea on defence expenditure. We initiated the programme of £3,700 million covering the three-year period and then the Korean War came along and we had to increase it to a larger sum. What did we do. We asked the Chiefs of Staff and the Service Ministers to prepare on the basis of calculated risks what they thought was necessary financially, and along they came with a demand for £6,000 million—just like that.

I am recalling facts. I am not violating the Official Secrets Act—at least I think not. Perhaps it is just as well that this should be told. It might help the right hon. Gentleman. He might meet with a similar experience. I looked at the list and at the demands made by the War Office. Having been at the War Office, I knew something about the game it played, and I struck out this and that because I knew that it had far more of the equipment it was demanding than it could ever use. That is a rule of thumb method and a most unsatisfactory method of dealing with it. I repeat that the essential prerequisite of sound defence organisation of a unified character is that we have complete and centralised control over finance. That is the first thing. The second is this. I beg the Minister not to soft-pedal about this business and not to pull his punches. I can understand the heartburning of the various Service Ministers. They will perhaps be relegated to Ministers of State or perhaps Parliamentary Secretaries, but I hope not Parliamentary Secretaries. First let us change the nomenclature. Let us not have "a First Lord of the Admiralty". Get rid of that stupid tradition; there is no need for it. "Secretary to the Navy" would be all right, the assistant to the Minister of Defence in charge of the Naval establishments and administration associated with the Navy. He would have nothing to do with strategy. Strategy is not for him. Strategy is for the Minister of Defence in consultation with his chiefs of staff. I shall come to the matter of Supremo in a moment.

As regards the Army, I think that the time has arrived—I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will do it very soon—to abandon the title "Chief of the Imperial General Sstaff". There is no such thing as an Imperial General Staff anyway. Chief of Staff or Chief of the General Staff—something like that—would do perfectly well. The Secretary of State for War should be Secretary for the Army. Again, the Secretary of State for Air should be not Secretary of State but Secretary for Air. They should be colleagues of the Minister of Defence, subordinated to him, carrying out his instructions and in complete and frequent consultation with him on all matters relating to the defence system.

As regards day-to-day administration, I would go so far as to use the illustration of what is often said by Ministers when questioned about the nationalised industries. They say that we must not ask questions about day-to-day administration but we may ask questions about general policy. The Minister is responsible for general policy, and his subordinates—I prefer to speak of his assistants, since I prefer that name to the other—are responsible for day-to-day administration.

I come now to the question of the Supremo. I heard what the right hon. Member for Flint, West said. He does no want a Supremo, though whether this is because he dislikes Lord Mountbatten or not, I do not know. I do not care very much for the gentleman myself. In any case, I say frankly that I do not think that he is of much value to the Minister of Defence. Every time I open a newspaper, I notice that he is going off on a trip somewhere, to South America, to Greece, to Brazil or wherever it may be, no doubt at considerable expense. What it all has to do with defence I do not know. Usually, he is going on a good will mission. If someone is required to go on a good will mission, why not pick on one of the civil Ministers or ask some Members of the House to go? We should be only too glad to go. Why Lord Mountbatten?

Although I understand that Lord Mountbatten is alleged to be responsible for initiating the idea of reorganisation, I hope that, if we are to have a Supremo, the right hon. Gentleman will manage without Lord Mountbatten. I disagree with the right hon. Member for Flint, East. I think that the Minister is bound to have somebody in addition to the Chiefs of Staff; he must have a chief military adviser. It is for him to decide who it should be.

A great deal more could be said on this subject, but I think that the Minister of Defence understands that this is a revolutionary step, and, moreover, unless it is a revolutionary step, it will be ineffective. There must be a unified command. There must be unification as regards strategy and as regards expenditure. Ordinary administration can be left to his military assistants.

I trust that the Minister will not imagine that this is an original idea. Time and again, I have asked Questions in the House about it. In almost every defence debate, as others have done, I have argued the case for more centralisation. I do not use the term "integration" because I do not think that it really applies. What I want is effective coordination, co-ordination as regards hospitals, catering arrangements, contracting, the purchase of equipment and stores. I want these things to be done not by the three different Departments but by one.

Last but not least, if the Admiralty plays any tricks, stop it. For instance, the Admiralty will say that it must conduct its own research. That is what it does now. Even when research was transferred to the Ministry of Supply, the Admiralty insisted on conducting its own research. The remarkable thing about the Admiralty is that it hardly ever asks for anything. It gets it without asking. This is traditional. Of course, the Navy is the silent Service. I know very well what is done. Naval people are excellent from the military point of view. They are splendid, gallant, brave, courageous—I give them all those qualities—but they know what they are about.

The right hon. Gentleman should get rid of the Board of Admiralty. It is no use. A Secretary to the Navy, with, perhaps, an assistant and a chief of staff on the naval side will be quite enough without the Board of Admiralty. We do not want the First Sea Lord, the Second Sea Lord, the Third Sea Lord and the Fourth Sea Lord. In fact, I think that we have a Fifth and Sixth. We do not want them.

The same applies to the Army Council. I used to be a member of it. Believe me—it does not make any difference. Things will go on just as well without the Army Council sitting round a table and talking, very often about nothing, or trying to work up something to talk about. The same goes for the Air Council. Get rid of all these silly fripperies. I call them frivolities. If the right hon. Gentleman wants to conduct the defence of this country properly, let him be realistic about it.

I welcome what the right hon. Gentleman has done. I welcome his initiative, but I warn him that, if he does not come forward with something really substantial, we shall criticise him even more strongly than we have done in the past.

7.5 p.m.

Colonel Sir Tufton Beamish (Lewes)

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the speeches of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) the hors-d'oeuvre which he offers to the House is always interesting and tasty; it has something sweet and something sour in it, something meaty and something fishy. I shall not comment at length about his very interesting speech, but one thing he said completely confused me. It seemed to be a crashing non sequitur when he said that, because some of our allies in N.A.T.O. were not, in his opinion, contributing as much as they should to the Western Alliance, then this country, in face of the Soviet threat, should further weaken N.A.T.O. by threatening to withdraw all its forces as well. From an ex-Minister of Defence, that must take first prize. Although I shall not comment further on the right hon. Gentleman's speech, I shall give him an honourable mention later in what I have to say, and I hope that he will be here to hear it.

The Opposition Amendment amounts to a Motion of censure. For any Opposition to censure the Government implies the existence of an agreed constructive alternative policy. If the censure is purely negative, it loses most, if not all, of its value. It is my object to consider whether the Opposition have an agreed alternative policy and whether that policy, if any, is constructive or not. I shall examine the Opposition's policy in one particular respect as closely as they have been, all yesterday and today, examining our policies. I am sure that they will not mind.

On this side of the House, there are, of course, wide differences of opinion about important aspects of our defence policy. It is natural that this should be so. If we find it difficult to agree about what sort of rifle would be right for the British Army, then, for heaven's sake, is it not natural that we should have different views about whether Skybolt or Polaris is the right strategic nuclear deterrent? However, in spite of these differences of opinion, the party is, with very few exceptions indeed, united about Britain's proper rôle as a major contributor to the free world's defences.

Yesterday, the Minister of Defence drew attention to what he referred to as sincere differences between the two sides, and he said—this is my paraphrase—that this was no bad thing. With great respect to my right hon. Friend, I think it most unfortunate that such a fundamental difference should now be exposed between the two sides of the House. I have myself always favoured a bipartisan approach to defence questions, and I shall always do so; but there is no point in deluding ourselves that common ground exists between the two sides of the House if, in fact, it does not.

As has been made perfectly clear yesterday and today, there is a fundamental difference of approach between the two parties to the question of the British nuclear deterrent. Yesterday, the hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) described the British nuclear deterrent as a "will-o'-the-wisp" and as a "fiction". One cannot go further than that. In my opinion—I have no shadow of doubt about it at all—the British nuclear deterrent is highly credible in the Kremlin's eyes.

A year or so ago, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation—I think I recall it aright—said that the weight of bombs or, should I say, the destructive effect of the British deterrent was equivalent to 29 million heavy bombers of the last war. That was a year ago, and it is more now.

Mr. Gordon Walker

On a first strike.

Sir T. Beamish

On a first strike, yes. Therefore, in my opinion, the British deterrent weapon is highly credible in the eyes of the Kremlin. I am strongly in favour of retaining and improving it.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Does not the hon. and gallant Gentleman realise that it is not possible to have a first-strike deterrent? The deterrent presupposes that one strikes second in order to deter the attacker.

Sir T. Beamish

I do not agree. The point of deterrence is to stop the enemy from attacking at all. If one uses the deterrent it has failed. If the right hon. Gentleman does not know that, he does not know anything at all. I am therefore strongly in favour of it in principle and I greatly regret that the political structure does not exist in Europe to enable us to have a genuine multilateral nuclear force. The sooner that that structure can be created, the happier I shall be.

There is this fundamental difference in the approach of the two parties. The Socialist Party has now made it absolutely clear, although it did not do so before, that it is opposed to Britain retaining the strategic deterrent at all. This is correct, is it not? The Opposition, I understand—I do not want to do them any injustice—make a sharp difference between the tactical nuclear deterrent and the strategic nuclear deterrent. That is right, too, I am sure. They say that we should retain the tactical nuclear weapons which are integrated in N.A.T.O. That includes Sergeant, which, from memory, has, I think, a range of about 400 or 500 miles.

Mr. G. Brown

Have we got Sergeant?

Sir T. Beamish

Sergeant is integrated in N.A.T.O and no doubt will form part of Britain's forces one of these days. Pershing is coming along. This is a tactical nuclear weapon.

Mr. Brown

We have not got that, either.

Sir T. Beamish

We have long-range tactical nuclear weapons which are integrated with N.A.T.O.'s forces. The right hon. Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) knows that that is so.

Mr. Brown

Since the hon. and gallant Gentleman is being tough on us, may we have his own facts right? He referred to us having Sergeant. We have no such weapon. He said that Pershing was coming along. There is no proposal that we should have it. The hon. and gallant Gentleman is assuming things that we have not got.

Sir T. Beamish

In that case, I should like to know what are the tactical nuclear weapons to be withdrawn from the front line, according to the hon. Member for Leeds, East. Is he talking about Davy Crockett, which has a range of 2,000 or 3,000 yards? How far will that be withdrawn so that it can be used if required?

Mr. Brown

We have not that either.

Sir T. Beamish

What was the point of saying that Britain's tactical nuclear weapons integrated with N.A.T.O. should be withdrawn from the front line? What was the Opposition Front Bench spokesman saying? Apparently nothing.

The point is established that the Opposition are in favour of keeping tactical nuclear weapons with N.A.T.O. Never mind who has what weapons, they are to be retained, and therefore the Opposition make a sharp distinction between tactical and strategic weapons. They think that it is morally and militarily correct that tactical weapons should be kept with N.A.T.O.'s forces on the ground in Europe. On the other hand, they apparently think it morally and militarily wrong that we should have strategic weapons.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Nor morally.

Sir T. Beamish

I am glad to hear that. It therefore seems that it is the distance which the weapon travels before it hits the ground which makes the difference between whether we should have it or not.

I turn to the strategic nuclear weapons. Apparently, they are all to be disposed of. The guided missile launching ships would be disposed of by the party opposite if it were in power. The whole V-bomber force, we were told yesterday, would be assigned to N.A.T.O. I do not know whether it would be given or sold to N.A.T.O., but it would be assigned to N.A.T.O. The hon. Member for Leeds, East said that he was in favour of a "tremendous reduction in the Royal Air Force," yet he wishes to assign the whole V-bomber force to N.A.T.O. I could not make much sense of that. If the party opposite were in power, what would we do with our stocks of A and H bombs? What would we do with Blue Steel and with the promised nuclear guided bomb for the TSR2? What would we do with the TSR2 itself and with the Polaris order? We have not been told these things.

I calculate that if we have spent about 10 per cent. of our defence budget on the nuclear aspect of our defence forces the cost of the nuclear deterrent has been well over £2,000 million. We know that it was the party opposite which decided to make the A-bomb, although it was frightened to tell the House and the country about it. It was the party opposite which gave its blessing to the manufacture of the H-bomb. If these policies are to make sense to the country, we should be told whether, when the strategic nuclear deterrent is scrapped, we shall sell it or give it away. We have not been told this and therefore the Opposition's policies do not make sense to me. The Opposition are flatly and officially in favour of scrapping the nuclear deterrent. If it were in power, I understand that this country would not possess, manufacture or test nuclear weapons. I want to get that absolutely clear. Is that right?

The next point that I raise arises from something which the right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) said. I think that I took his words down correctly. He said that we could "rely wholly on the United States to protect us against nuclear blackmail". I am glad to hear that he believes that to be the case, but, if that is so, I should like to know whether he agrees with the views of next year's chairman of the Labour Party, the hon. Member for Rossendale (Mr. Greenwood), who was kind enough to tell me that he could not be in his place today. He said in December, 1960: We have got to break away from nuclear strategy, get rid of all nuclear bases in this country, and start a new approach to the whole problem of foreign policy. He said the same thing in 1962. He had previously said that he was a lifelong unilateralist and was the first Member of Parliament to walk round the West End carrying a sandwich board.

Does this represent the Opposition's policy? If so, how does it square with what we were told by the hon. Member for Leeds, East yesterday when he said: Until disarmament is achieved our national survival depends on cur membership of N.A.T.O."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, c. 57.] Apparently we are to be loyal members of N.A.T.O.: by telling America to quit all her bases in Britain. Is that right? I want to know from the right hon. Gentleman who will wind up the debate whether that is right. Are we to be loyal members of N.A.T.O. by asking the United States to quit all her bases in Britain?

Mr. Gordon Walker


Sir T. Beamish

If I have done nothing else, I have at least elicited that from the shadow Foreign Secretary. I am glad to hear it because I am a great believer in the bipartisan approach to these questions. That is good.

When the hon. Member for Leeds, East moved away from this subject, he touched on the question of nuclear-free zones and, although he did not use the word, went on to what is commonly called disengagement.

Mr. J. J. Mendelson (Penistone)

Is not the real issue whether the Government or the hon. and gallant Gentleman contemplate any situation in which Her Majesty's Government would take the decision to use nuclear arms without the agreement of the United States and the other members of N.A.T.O.?

Sir T. Beamish

I am glad to answer that. That question has been fully explained so often in the House that I am surprised to hear it asked again. Speaking for myself, I have not the slightest doubt that, with the present American Administration, we can rely wholly on America. But I do not know what the next Administration will be like. I do not know whether the United States will be tired of Europe and her problems and the failure to unite, or tired of the French Government's attitude. I do not know whether there will be an isolationist Government in America next time. It is perfectly possible, but highly improbable.

However, even if that did not happen, what matters, if peace is to be preserved, is whether the British nuclear deterrent is credible in Soviet eyes and whether the Soviet Union is certain now and will be certain in the future that the United States would regard as vital something which Europe regarded as vital. If the Kremlin had doubt about that, it would obviously be in the best interests of peace that Britain should have the deterrent. That was clearly recognised by President Kennedy, who was quoted today by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.

Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)


Sir T. Beamish

I am sorry, but time is getting on. I do not want to give way again. I must have prolonged my speech by more than five minutes already by giving way to interesting interruptions.

It has been suggested by hon. Members opposite that the cure all for the world's problems and the cold war is some form of disengagement—it is often stated by the bon. Member for Leeds, East—and that these areas could be in the Far East, the Middle East and Europe. Although the hon. Gentleman did not mention it in his speech yesterday, perhaps the Labour Party may be going back to the idea of the non-nuclear club which was rejected absolutely by Earl Alexander of Hillsborough in another place in 1959 as being a completely impracticable suggestion. Proposals of this sort mean nothing at all unless the Soviet Union is willing to accept a substantial measure of international control and inspection—and that it has consistently, over the years, refused to accept.

A few days ago Mr. Khrushchev'g speech to his electors was published in the Daily Mail. I wonder how much the Soviet Embassy paid for these two pages. How nice it would be if Pravda would publish my election address. In that speech Mr. Khrushchev said that it must not be assumed that because the Soviet Union was willing to take two or three black boxes it would for one moment agree to what he described as "N.A.T.O. reconnaissance" of the Warsaw countries or "espionage". He himself used those words.

People must be clear that this idea is a real will-o'-the-wisp, a smoke-screen put up by the Opposition to pretend that the problems of the world and the cold war can be solved by nuclear-free zones.

Could there be a nuclear-free zone in the Far East? Is China likely to be willing to have the Soviet-Chinese border, or North Korea, or Tibet, or North Vietnam inspected? Is this serious, practical politics? Really, it just does not make sense.

I want to quote some pronouncements made by the Opposition on the subject of the nuclear deterrent. I do not want to put words into the mouths of other people and that is why I am anxious to refer to them. I regret that there are so many of them but only the first one is a little long. I want to start with 1955. This statement was contained in "Labour's View: The Bomb." It was a resolution adopted by the National Executive Committee at its meeting on 30th March, 1955, and circulated as a party election pamphlet that year—and very useful it was to us on this side of the House. It said: Until world disarmament can be achieved weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Britain and her allies in N.A.T.O. form the most effective deterrent against aggression by a potential disturber of the peace possessing not only these weapons but also overwhelming force in what are called conventional weapons … Labour believes that it is undesirable that Britain should be dependent on another country for this vital weapon. If we were, our influence for peace would be lessened in the counsels of the world. It was for this reason that the Labour Government decided on the manufacture of the atom bomb, and that we support the production of the hydrogen bomb in this country. On 4th March, 1958 the right hon. Member for Easington—here conies his honourable mention—in a letter to The Times said: … I am only too well aware that our contribution to the deterrent is a modest one, but to refuse to make a contribution would lose us the friendship of the United Sates, destroy N.A.T.O., and leave us at the mercy of the Kremlin …". I also quote the late Mr. Aneurin Bevan in an interview with Mr. William Clark in AT.V.'s "Right to Reply" on 11th May, 1959: … What I have said is this, that we cannot deliver up the bomb ourselves on moral grounds and yet rely upon our Allies possessing it because that would be sheltering behind their guilt. That is the answer to the moral argument.

On the 10th February, 1960, the hon. Member for Leeds, East who was then shadow Foreign Secretary—I see that as shadow Minister of Defence he is not now in his place; I am sorry that he is not, for I thought we would have seen him here—said: I confess that the great majority of us still consider that it would be unwise for Britain to deprive herself of atomic weapons without the guarantee that the atomic arms race can be stopped at this point."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th February, 1960; Vol. 617, c. 489.] What guarantee have we got that if we deprived ourselves now of the weapons the arms race could be "stopped at this point"? Is there any guarantee? As far as I know, there is none whatever. But six months later the hon. Gentleman in a speech at Lincoln on the 19th September, 1960, somersaulted and said: Britain should cease producing her own atomic weapons and should no longer have her own H-bomb. But that was contradicted five months later by the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) on his return from an East-West conference in Warsaw. He told the Yorkshire Post on 8th February, 1961: Unilateral disarmament is a frivolous irrelevancy. It was even more flatly contradicted less than 12 months ago by Earl Alexander of Hillsborough, when he said that he would like to have the deterrent bomb held as long as possible. He made that statement in another place as recently as 21st March last. He is the defence spokeman of the party opposite in another place. All these contradictions take a lot of explaining.

The new Leader of the Opposition, in the debate on the Nassau Agreement on 31st January last, said: Britain should cease to attempt to remain an independent nuclear Power."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 31st January, 1963; Vol. 670, c. 1242.] I think that I may have found some explanation for all this. Perhaps it was given by the right hon. Gentleman the new Leader of the Opposition himself in an article in the Daily Herald on 28th October, 1960. I am indebted to a Liberal Party pamphlet for this quotation. The right hon. Gentleman said: It is essential to put Socialist foreign policy first and defence second … we must resist the present excessive and perilous dependence on a N.A.T.O. H-bomb strategy. Perhaps that is the explanation. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman was giving the real reason for the new swerve to the Left we have all noticed. Does the Opposition's present attitude arise because it considers the British deterrent no longer credible—why offer it to N.A.T.O. if it is not? The right hon. Member for Smethwick has described our V-bomber force as "powerful and becoming obsolescent". So it is not because it is no longer credible that the Opposition are against it. Nor is it because it is too expensive, because the right hon. Member for Smethwick said not long ago that our expenditure on the retention of nuclear weapons represented a very considerable sum of money which would be better spent on other branches of defence. He added that we could not have defence on the cheap and that equipping our conventional forces would be very expensive. Thus it is not on grounds of expense, on the ground that we cannot afford 7 per cent. of the gross national product, that the party opposite is now opposed to the nuclear deterrent. The right hon. Gentleman himself said in an intervention a few minutes ago that it is not because they regard the bomb as immoral. Mr. Bevan confirmed that, and I have quoted him. It is never immoral to be ready to defend yourself if attacked and thus to maintain the peace.

Nor is it to stop other countries getting the bomb, which some people have suggested was the reason for the non-nuclear club. That was swiftly disposed of by the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) when he said that "the only non-nuclear club which could mean anything would be one which everyone joined, including the two giants". For once in my life I found myself in complete agreement with the hon. Member.

The simple truth is that in order to conceal the fact that they are rent from top to bottom on this greatest of all defence issues, the Opposition must swerve violently from right to left and from left to right in order to try to hide their total lack of policy and, furthermore, to try to present the facade of a united party to the British public. But the facade is transparent and everyone can tell that the Socialist Party has no constructive defence policy, nor are any of the fundamentals agreed. Behind the facade, cousins and brothers, speaking totally different languages, are squabbling fiercely about whether Britain should have a share in the free world's nuclear deterrent power.

It would indeed be a disaster for the British people if the party opposite, which openly admits that the defence of the country is less important than the conduct of Socialist foreign policy and less important than maintaining the fiction of party unity, were ever to be entrusted with the reins of power. The right hon. Member for Smethwick would no doubt describe his party's policy in words which he used three times today—"getting the principles and priorities right". In moving their censure Amendment today, the Opposition have been guilty of an incredible piece of cheek, and I do not think that the Amendment is worth the paper it is written on.

7.31 p.m.

Mr. Dick Taverne (Lincoln)

There were a number of fairly astonishing statements in the speech of the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish). He regarded it as something heinous that someone should put foreign policy as something which should be considered first and defence as something which should be considered second.

Sir T. Beamish

Socialist foreign policy.

Mr. Gordon Walker

What about Tory foreign policy?

Mr. Taverne

Foreign policy is something which must be considered first, because one of the greatest follies which can possibly be committed is to consider defence in isolation, without considering the implications which defence has for foreign policy and foreign policy has for defence. In the course of the same sentence, the hon. and gallant Gentleman said that somehow or other a statement in a journal that one's policy should be to lessen the dependence of N.A.T.O. on nuclear weapons was a sign of a swing to the Left. It has been a remarkable swing to the Left, particularly noticeable in the pronouncement by the American Secretary of Defence, Mr. McNamara, who has been stressing all the time that one thing which N.A.T.O. needs is lesser dependence on nuclear weapons and a greater number of options, as my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) said in his excellent speech yesterday.

That was not the only astonishing statement in that speech. The hon. and gallant Member talks about a first strike deterrent, whereas all the other arguments which have been advanced in the House for Britain's independent nuclear deterrents have been that Britain must have something to strike back if there is any threat of a nuclear attack or if there is any nuclear attack by the Russians. The hon. and gallant Member has not understood the arguments advanced from his own side and which have been that Britain's nuclear forces must be retaliatory nuclear forces. What the hon. and gallant Gentleman has been doing is resurrecting the discredited doctrine of 1957 of massive retaliation for conventional attack.

He completely confused the position about tactical weapons in N.A.T.O. He said that we wanted to withdraw them from the front line.

Sir T. Beamish

The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) said that.

Mr. Taverne

He said that somehow or other we accepted the fact that we had these tactical weapons, because we wanted to withdraw them from the front line, and he thought that there was something inconsistent in saying that Britain should not have its independent nuclear deterrent and saying that it should withdraw its tactical weapons from the front line. What he failed to realise was that the tactical nuclear weapons are integrated into N.A.T.O. and are not part of the independent British nuclear deterrent in any event.

He seemed to regard the statement by the Opposition that they would assign the H-bomber force to N.A.T.O. as some startling departure, whereas it is part of the Nassau Agreement and precisely the one thing on which there is a certain measure of agreement between the Government and the Opposition. He went on to ask my right hon. Friend the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) whether he was a unilateralist. This was just one of the many ways which seemed to suggest that the hon. and gallant Gentleman had not been following defence developments or policy statements from either side of the House with as great an interest as he might have shown.

I wish to turn to the organisation of N.A.T.O. and, in particular, to the latest American proposals. I do not wish to consider these themselves. The position to some extent is slightly confused, and every day one hears new reports and new explanations of precisely what proposals have been put forward for the manner of control, and exactly what a multinational or multilateral force is to mean. I confess that I am somewhat bewildered by the various permutations of whether it is to be ten-nation control or five-nation control with more fingers on the safety catch and what kind of American veto, if any, should be retained, and so on.

It is perhaps rather more profitable than examining some of these permutations to look at what it is the Americans are trying to do, what is the situation which they are trying to remedy and how it has come about. The aim of the American change of policy toward N.A.T.O. is directed towards stopping the emerging of more independent nuclear Powers in Europe and, in particular, to stop the emergence of an independent German nuclear power in addition to those which already exist in Britain and France. Why is there this gradual process of more and more nations of Europe wishing to develop into independent nuclear Powers? We have to recognise the fact that this trend exists and that there is a certain logic about it.

There are four reasons—I would not say that they were exhaustive—for this trend. The first is the increasing nuclear parity between the United States and Russia. Both the United States and Russia are becoming more and more invulnerable to the kind of first-strike attack which the hon. and gallant Member for Lewes envisaged. The position has now arrived when neither can destroy the other without disaster to himself. It is a position in which we should rejoice, for it means that not even the most reckless general would intentionally start any nuclear conflict. All the time, the whole process is to push back the moment when any decision has to be made in order to make such a decision less likely.

While this is a welcome trend, it means that there are increasing suspicions inside Europe about whether America would take the decision to use nuclear weapons unless its own safety and survival were threatened. We would be making a mistake if we thought that only de Gaulle reasoned on these lines, of if we thought that in Germany only Strauss reasoned on these lines. Hon. Members opposite have advanced a number of arguments of precisely the same kind, and if they are the sort of arguments which appeal to hon. Members opposite, they are also the sort of arguments which appeal to various people in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. If the United States becomes less likely to act, then the fear arises whether a greater temptation does not exist for some sort of show of force or some sort of threat from Russia if America is not likely to intervene.

The second reason is the existence of more H-bomb Powers themselves. This point has been developed many times by hon. Gentlemen on this side. There is no particular reason why Germany should accept inferiority of status to either France or to Britain. But another reason which perhaps has not been sufficiently explored is that as there are now two more Powers which are independent nuclear Powers, the danger to the Americans increases of them being somehow or other involved against their will by a unilateral act on the part of one of these independent nuclear Powers.

Once again this is something which would seem to make the Americans more likely to draw back. Once again the very fact that the Americans may be less willing to be involved may increase the fears in Europe, which once again is part of the logical trend leading more and more nations to look towards the setting up of their own independent nuclear forces.

The third reason is the weakness of the conventional forces of N.A.T.O., a weakness which not only my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition was seeking to avoid when he wrote his article in 1960 but, as I have observed, a weakness which the Americans above all have been determined to try to remedy. In fact, this was a direct result of the strategy of N.A.T.O. and of this country in 1953 and the rest of the 'fifties. If there is such a great weakness in N.A.T.O. that N.A.T.O. is not a force which can resist, by conventional means, even a local coup de main of some strength, then naturally the tendency to rely on nuclear deterrents becomes greater.

Many hon. Gentlemen opposite have seemed to suggest that they belong to the "all-or-nothing" school, that either one faces a complete holocaust or one cannot resist; that there is no point whatsoever in strengthening the conventional forces in Europe, because if they are engaged automatically a nuclear conflict would result. I submit that this is a dangerous policy and it is the very fact of the weakness of our conventional forces which makes hon. Gentlemen opposite take that view, which makes other Powers take that view, which makes other Powers look towards an independent nuclear deterrent of their own against the background of the parity of the forces of Russia and the United States. Hon. Gentlemen opposite are in danger of falling into the trap which the Americans are trying to avoid, that of having only two choices—utter humiliation or utter destruction. The maximisation of choice is as important to N.A.T.O. as a whole and to this country as it is to the Americans.

The fourth reason for this pressure, this trend towards the creation of independent nuclear forces on the part of various powers in Europe, is the complexities of N.A.T.O. planning. The planning of the strategy and the sharing of control in N.A.T.O. is something which presents the most formidable difficulties. What is it that we are now being asked to share? We are being asked to share manning of the weapons, but this, of course, is no substitute for a share in the decisions. This is no substitute for the sort of worries, the sort of fears, which I have outlined. All that it might produce is confusion at operational level.

Is there to be sharing in the strategic planning of N.A.T.O.? If there is, this is something to be welcomed, something which is eminently sensible, but this in itself again cannot be any substitute for this desire on the part of many countries in Europe who want to take an independent decision because the Americans may not wish to be involved.

Mr. Anthony Kershaw (Stroud)

The hon. Gentleman is basing his argument on the fact that there are a number of countries in Europe which are striving towards the independent nuclear deterrent. In fact, is there any country but France which has said anything of the sort? Is it not the fact that they have all said exactly the opposite?

Mr. Taverne

I ask the hon. Gentleman to consider why it is that the Americans have changed their policy towards N.A.T.O. I ask him to bear in mind this fact, that the reason for this change is that the Americans have become more and more aware of the logic of de Gaulle's position if something is not done to divert this into other means. There have been forces in Germany which have been calling for a greater share in the decision, forces in Germany which, if the present trend goes on, may well be directed towards the idea of an independent deterrent either shared with France or one of their own.

There is an increasing wish to take part in the decision. The difficulties about the decisions are perfectly clear. First, there is not at the moment the consensus on any sort of unified policy. Secondly, it is extremely unlikely that the Americans will ever relinquish their veto, and if more vetoes are to be imposed, the N.A.T.O. deterrent becomes less credible, and if it becomes less credible it becomes less of a deterrent, and it becomes doubtful what any country has to gain from relying on the N.A.T.O. deterrent rather than a simple United States guarantee.

Above all, these difficulties of consensus and reaching any kind of agreement on planning or any other level are increased by the weakness once again of the conventional forces in Europe. The weaker the conventional forces of N.A.T.O. in Europe, the more the contingencies that arise on which some sort of decision would have to be reached in principle to use non-conventional forces, and the more contingencies which have to be met, the more difficult it is to reach agreement about the kind of action which has to be taken.

All these forces, the greater nuclear parity of the United States and Russia, the very fact that there are now more independent nuclear Powers, the weakness of our coventional forces, and the complexities of decision-sharing in N.A.T.O., have tended in the same direction to reinforce this logic of events which I think has led us all to underestimate the force of de Gaulleism in Europe. I think that we dismiss de Gaulle too lightly. We think that de Gaulle and the French take one attitude, and the rest of Europe a different one.

We may turn out to be wrong about this. There is a certain logic about de Gaulle's position which has its attraction to other Powers. It has its attraction to hon. Gentlemen opposite, and unless we divert this tendency we shall get a proliferation of independent nuclear Powers. The moral of this, as far as Britain is concerned, is plain. It all points in the same direction, which is that we can help to some extent to divert this trend if we concentrate on our conventional forces and suspend striving towards nuclear status.

On a number of occasions hon. Gentleman opposite have asked how we are going to strengthen our conventional forces. They have also on a number of occasions said that abandoning the nuclear deterrent would not make any difference to the expense. Hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot have it both ways. If we save money on the nuclear deterrent and still spend the same amount, then additional amounts will be available for improving the quality of our conventional forces. This would not only be a more effective contribution towards N.A.T.O.; it would not only be more effective from a military point of view; but, as defence is so closely linked to disarmament, it would increase the opportunities for an effective policy towards disarmament, and I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick made this point this afternoon.

If we have stronger non-nuclear forces, stronger conventional forces, in Western Europe, the chances of some sort of limited disarmament zone will be infinitely increased. Part of the objection so far has been that of the West, that we would be in a position of weakness because we have no conventional forces which would be of any use whatsoever if they were deprived of the nuclear umbrella. And even if it did not make military sense—and it does—to concentrate on conventional forces, it would still be worth while making some small sacrifice to our defence position if the prospects for disarmament were improved. In the long run the only safeguard is some sort of agreement on disarmament—an agreement that can be extended.

There are three main objectives for which we should strive. We should, first, aim at some sort of agreement on arms control; secondly, a stronger and more effective N.A.T.O., through a more effective conventional contribution, and, thirdly, an end to the risks of the proliferation of nuclear weapons. I have sat through almost the whole of this two-day debate, and I have not heard one hon. Member opposite who, at any stage, has seemed to be aware of the danger in the proliferation of these weapons. The Minister of Defence has at no time mentioned it, or considered it as a problem. The Americans recognise it as a problem, although it apparently completely escapes the minds of those in charge of our defence.

I urge upon the House the fact that it is one of the most difficult problems which the West has to face, because the more of these independent forces that come into existence the more remote becomes the chance of a unified Western defence policy, and the more any chance of a disarmament agreement recedes into the distance.

7.51 p.m.

Sir Fitzroy Maclean (Bute and North Ayrshire)

The hon. Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) has given a very interesting analysis of certain aspects of the defence situation. He did not—and I do not know why he should—put forward anything that one could call a policy on behalf of his party, any more than any other hon. Members opposite have done today. It seems to have taken the Opposition Front Bench the best part of six years to discover that there was anything wrong with the Government's defence policy, and it now seems as though they will take another six years working out a policy of their own. I can only say that I hope they will have at least as long as that in which to do so. If there has not been a plethora of statements on policy from the benches opposite—except for the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who seems to have worked out a policy with his former Chief of the Imperial General Staff which bears very little relation to anything at all—neither does there seem to me to have been anything that one could really call a statement of defence policy from the Government.

I will not say that I did not like the White Paper. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch), I liked the photographs. They reflect the high standards of feminine beauty held by the Secretary of State for War. But I could not help being disappointed, not so much by the lack of any statement of policy in the White Paper—because there is a reason for that—but by the lack of a statement of policy from any of my right hon. Friends who have so far spoken from the Front Bench. That disappoints me very much, because it had seemed to me, during the last month or two, that there were some slight signs—some straws in the wind—to indicate that under the pressure of events, or perhaps under pressure from their allies, the Government were veering in the direction of a defence policy which would bear slightly more relation to reality than the one that they have been pursuing up till now.

First, the Nassau Agreement seemed to me to clear up a number of issues and to provide a number of pointers. There were those who regretted the passing of Skybolt. I have not been able to sympathise with them. Mr. McNamara, who, after all ordered the thing—or anyhow counter-ordered it—and presumably knows what he is talking about, called it a high-cost, low voltage piece of hardware for which there was no need, and I am prepared to accept his view on that.

As for Polaris, at first sight it seems to the layman to have certain advantages. I live near the Holy Loch, and I like other hon. Members have visited Polaris submarines and have been impressed when I have been told that they are invulnerable second-strike weapons which, if there were such a thing, as the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, could be made into first-strike weapons. But there is little point in hon. Members discussing these technical issue, of which we can understand nothing.

I sympathise with my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn), who said yesterday that when he visited these submarines he saw a multitude of dials, switches and levers in every corridor, reaching shoulder high, and it all involves the most intricate electronics."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, c. 87.] That is the impression that I get even when I look at a simple household gadget, such as a washing machine or a television set, so why should I, or most other hon. Members, lay down the law on the question whether Skybolt or Polaris is better one than the other?

What should now be clear, even to the layman—and what the events leading up to the Bahamas meetings made abundantly clear—is that the development of a credible independent nuclear deterrent, and, in particular, the development of a delivery system, is economically beyond this country, and that henceforth, if we are to remain a nuclear power we must depend on the Americans to provide us with the end-product of costly processes of trial and error which we cannot possibly afford. In the circumstances, to claim that for very much longer we shall have an independent deterrent, in the ordinary sense of the word "independent", seems highly unrealistic. It seems equally unrealistic to envisage the use of such a deterrent independently of the Americans. I cannot say that I was convinced otherwise by the example given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.

It seems to me that any deterrent that we have must be considered in the context of the Alliance. Being old-fashioned, I think it would be very nice if this country had a deterrent of the size of the American and Russian deterrents rolled into one, but anybody who compares relative expenditures—we spend about £180 million and the Americans spend about £5,000 million on the deterrent—will understand that this is not possible. What makes much more sense is that we should contribute to the best of our ability to an Atlantic deterrent—if the Government like to call it an independent contribution, good luck to them. That would give us some measure of control in its use and also, with any luck, help to prevent proliferation. I hope that that is the idea behind the Nassau Agreement.

It is an undisputed fact that we have nuclear weapons, and we should exploit that fact. We should use our possession of nuclear weapons to arrive at an arrangement with the United States for their joint control—an arrangement which might serve as a model to other countries in Europe, and might show them that nuclear independence is not the only criterion for a say in world affairs. It seems to me that the whole thing is largely a question of emphasis and of defining the meaning of the word "independent", and so on. The thing for us to do now is not so much to stress independence as interdependence. I think it was the hon. Member for Sheffield, Park (Mr. Mulley) who quoted the 1958 White Paper in this context. I will not repeat what the hon. Gentleman quoted, but I wish to refer to another sentence in which it states that the members of the Alliance must accept that inevitably they will become more and more inextricably dependent on each other. It seems to me that that is something the Government should accept more than they do, as it is one of the more sensible things in an otherwise rather foolish White Paper. Not only should they accept it, they should rejoice in it.

From our point of view, it is a good thing that there should be this interdependence. It means not only that we should depend on America but that the Americans should come to depend upon us. We should take over indispensable functions in the Alliance, particularly functions in the conventional field. The Americans should have bases here and we, possibly, have bases in America. We should share our knowhow and, in the words of the 1958 White Paper, we should become inextricably involved one with the other. That would be a much better way to avoid being left out in the cold than simply rattling borrowed rockets or envisaging the possibility of blackmailing our best friends.

Surely Cuba illustrated that and at the same time illustrated that the rôle of the conventional deterrent is every bit as important as the rôle of the nuclear deterrent. In all this we ought also to remember that at the present time there is an American Administration more European-minded and, I would say, more pro-British than any previous American Administration. It is bending over backwards to help us—not always with very happy results. But, whatever the result, that Administration is doing its best.

We should also remember that in the course of time the Americans may become tired of keeping 400,000 men in Europe to defend a Europe which at times seems very little inclined to defend itself. I was deeply shocked by the reactions in this country to the Skybolt episode and to the suggestion that we had in any way been let down by our American allies. We must remember that if for any reason the Anglo-American alliance disintegrated it would be the beginning of the end for the free world as a whole. Any dissensions in the alliance can benefit only the Russians—and the Chinese, though they have their troubles too.

In all this we must be careful not to sacrifice the substance for the shadow. We are told that Nassau enabled us to retain our membership of the nuclear club. I am in favour of retaining our membership, provided that we can afford the subscription. It is often said that our possession of nuclear weapons—we possess 3 per cent. or 4 per cent. of the Western deterrent as against 96 per cent. or 97 per cent. held by the Americans—gives us a say in the councils of the nations. What would give us a much greater say and much more influence both within the alliance and outside, and what would provide us with a much more real and true independence, would be the possession of adequate properly equipped and properly balanced conventional forces.

I hope it is not the case, and I should like to be re-assured on the point—perhaps the Minister of Defence may say a word about this—but I am afraid that the cost of the development contemplated under the Nassau Agreement, if proceeded with, may involve still further cuts in our already inadequate conventional strength. It is bound to be a choice. That is a choice with which the Ministry of Defence should be familiar, if he thinks back to his much quoted speech of January, 1958, in which he spoke of matching missile with missile and anti-missile with anti-missile. I only hope that, faced with the choice, my right hon. Friend makes the right selection. Otherwise it would indeed be sacrificing substance for shadow.

Recent events have shown all too clearly how dangerously denuded we are. Our feeble example in Europe, our refusal to fulfil our N.A.T.O. obligations, our refusal to share with our allies the burden of conscription, has not been without its effect. One could say, "What about the French?" It is true that the French have done even worse. But it is no more justification for us to allude to that than it would have been justification for us to say in 1940, "The French have collapsed and we have every moral justification for collapsing too." We do not necessarily take our lead from the French.

Overseas the Government have tried feverishly to cut our commitments in order to match our reduced forces. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation has played his part in both processes; first at the War Office in cutting the size of the Army, and secondly, and rather less successfully, at the Colonial Office in trying to cut our commitments. In fact, with weakened defences trouble crops up not less but more all over the world. At present our forces everywhere are under strength and overstretched. Now it appears that, despite the frantic demands of the Commander-in-Chief on the spot, we cannot even send a brigade to reinforce our base in South-East Asia without denuding this country and our forces in Germany. Units involved are known—it is public knowledge—to be grossly under strength. There are infantry battalions of 300 to 400 men, and if a Gurkha Signals Squadron is sent out to South-East Asia one cannot be sent to B.A.O.R.

I see one slight encouragement in the contents of the White Paper although I should never have thought that I would derive consolation from such a thing. It is the reference to the return to the 1959 target of 180,000 men for the Army. All one can say about it is that 180,000 is better than 165,000. I have never been among those who said that the Government would not reach their target of 165,000 or thereabouts. I have too much faith not so much in the Government as in the Government actuaries who first fixed this figure. What still shocks me, and always has shocked me, is the way in which, instead of deciding how many troops they need and then taking steps to get the troops, the Government first see how many troops they can get and then either cut our commitments or stretch our forces by spreading the butter very thinly in order to make them fit.

The Minister of Aviation said in the course of his speech that a Government cannot gamble with the safety of the nation and the people. It seems that so far as the Army is concerned the Government have been doing exactly that for the last six years. They have been gambling with our national security. First, in 1957, there was the famous streamlined nuclear force of 165,000 men which the Prime Minister said at the time could only be reduced to that number because of our dependence on nuclear weapons. It was followed in 1959, when recruiting seemed to be going a bit better, by the figure of 180,000 or 182,000 as the target. It was followed in 1960, when recruiting did not seem to be going quite so well, by the figure of 165,000. It was then that my right hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Watkinson) said that the Army might want more but they would have to manage with 165,000.

It was followed late last year by triumphant announcements that the Army looked like getting the figure which was first set, 165,000. The note of triumph did not correspond to the tremendous certainty that it would get that figure which had been expressed earlier. Now that recruiting once again is going better than was expected—I congratulate my right hon. Friend on the undoubted success he has had in this field and I hope it keeps up—we are again told that it is to be 180,000. That I welcome, because if it does not do anything else, it will at least make unnecessary any further disbandments and amalgamations which so many soldiers so badly dreaded. It is said that that figure was arrived at after dinner at Chequers by the Prime Minister and the Chief of the Imperial General Staff, but I am informed that my right hon. Friend also played a part. As Dr. Johnson said "When a man is to be hanged it sharpens his wits tremendously." But let us have no illusions; 180,000 is still nothing like enough. The right figure is round about 200,000, which was arrived at more than six years ago by the present Chief of the Imperial General Staff in a previous incarnation.

If it is argued that that figure is now out of, date, all I can say is that there is nothing to show that the commitments of our conventional forces have in any way been reduced since then. If anything, they have been increased, and since then the rest of the world—our American allies, in particular—have discarded as completely out of date the old Foster Dulles doctrine of "a bigger bang for a buck", massive retaliation and so on, and have come round very strongly to the need for a conventional option for a wider choice, as the President has put it,—"humiliation or all-out nuclear action." For that reason, all our allies, and pretty well all our opponents, have not weakened but greatly strengthened their conventional forces. Why Her Majesty's Government should still persist in clinging to this out-dated concept is more than I can fathom.

A lot has been said on both sides of the House about mobility and increased striking power. That is largely a matter of armament and equipment. I only observe, supplementing what has been said by the hon. Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) and others, that what the White Paper has to say on this score is still largely in the future tense. I am all for mobility, and so is everyone, but the fact remains that it does not replace men on the ground. We are dealing with deterrents. B.A.O.R. is a deterrent; so is our garrison in Aden or in Singapore. Just as one hopes that the hydrogen bomb will never be used, so one hopes that our conventional forces will never be used. What is important is their presence and credibility.

There is no doubt that an unacclimatised stage army shifted about the world in commando carriers and transport aircraft, if we happen to have them, after the event, is not the same thing as men on the ground on the spot before the trouble starts. That is the real deterrent. What has to be remembered about the Strategic Reserve, which was amply illustrated a month or so ago over South-East Asia, is that nobody can be in two places at once, not even the Minister of Defence with his three new hats.

If we want to make a reality of the alliance and play our proper part in it, if we want to avoid the hot war and win the cold war, if we want to have a real say in world affairs and real independence, we must be able to make a proper contribution to N.A.T.O. We must have sufficient, properly balanced, properly equipped conventional forces to perform the tasks they have to perform all over the world. That at the moment we have not got. The first task of the Government is to remedy that.

8.18 p.m.

Dr. Jeremy Bray (Middlesbrough, West)

It is a pleasure to follow the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean). I do not think I have any criticism to offer on his speech except perhaps on his modesty about his ability to handle washing machines.

There is a feeling outside the House—I put it no higher than a suspicion—that sometimes we do not know what we are talking about. I think it is nowhere more dangerous than in defence, and probably it is nowhere more true. The problems which are both technical and political are difficult enough, but they are inevitably shrouded in a certain amount of secrecy—far too much in my view. The right hon. Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) made an extremely interesting point in suggesting that there was a wide field of defence in which outside public discussion could play a most useful part in this country, as it certainly does in America.

Perhaps because of this danger of ignorance, a number of hon. Members on both sides were very glad to accept the invitation of the U.S. Navy to visit a Polaris submarine and to see the Polaris system a week ago. The hon. Members for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn), Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby), and Bournemouth, West (Mr. Eden) were all members of that party. Quite clearly, their speeches were coloured by what they saw. I was rather appalled that the hon. Member for Bournemouth, West could say that his attitude in the recent kerfuffle over Skybolt was due to his ignorance about the Polaris system and the arrangements made concerning Polaris. It is extraordinary that a major crisis in the defence policy of this country could have resulted from the action of such ill-informed hon. Members as that.

Certainly we all felt that Polaris is a formidable and efficient deterrent. My hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) made the point that we should always consider the disarmament aspect of weapons systems, and I think that one of the merits of Polaris is that it is as easy to inspect as it is difficult to detect in operation. One cannot supply a Polaris submarine without a massive supply organisation which would be the easiest possible thing to bring within the scope of any disarmament inspection system.

Technologically the submarine, and its incredible destructive "birds", as the Americans call them, is probably the most advanced engineering feat mankind has ever devised. I think that one can refer to the crews in the same high terms. The relaxation and easy discipline which members of the British forces sometimes find a little perplexing about the American forces tightens into the most cracking precision when any action is needed and there are no frills of etiquette to slow down the flow of information, command and response when a manoeuvre must be carried out. There is no hysteria or trace of bravado.

We were told enough to satisfy ourselves that an accidental firing—whether due to the failure of the communications system, a technical failure in the submarine or a human failure on the part of the crew—is beyond the bounds of possibility—at least at the submarine end. I hope that the Prime Minister has checked at the White House end because I am sure that he would find the President as forthcoming as the naval officers were in the submarine.

This far, I think, I would not differ from hon. Members opposite who were on this visit; but I would not go any further. The Government have accepted arrangements for a small fleet of British Polaris submarines to provide an allegedly independent nuclear weapons system. As someone said to the aged Falstaff when he was lechering after Doll Tear-Sheet, "Is it not strange that desire should so many years outlive performance?". We are to have four or five Polaris submarines to cost more than £400 million. The missiles are to he made as part of the ordinary production run for American missiles. That is technically possible, but the submarines are to be built in Britain. The submarine and missile, however, is really a single system; so much so that the link between the missile and the submarine is called "an umbilical cord" which is severed only at the last minute.

I have with me a list of major contractors in the Polaris system. There are 11,000 contractors altogether, but I wish to refer to the major ones. Four of these contractors only are connected with the building of the submarine. Six are connected with the missile, but there are 13 contractors—more than the submarine and the missile put together—concerned with the navigational, guidance and missile preparation system. Who is to provide these link systems? If we are to do so and they are to be made by British industry—as some hon. Members opposite have suggested—it would be extremely difficult and fabulously expensive and we should be committed to development costs probably near to about half of those the Americans themselves incurred in the development of the Polaris system.

It certainly would not be very rewarding for British industry and technology to be aping the Americans with a lag of about seven years. I am sure that the Government will be forced into the position of getting all these systems direct from the Americans and that it will not simply be on a basis of purchasing the systems and then having nothing further to do with the American suppliers. As was said in the Bahamas communiqué, the systems will be supplied on a con- tinuing basis. This mean a continuing supply of spares, access to modifications which must be expected if the system is to be maintained in working order and a continuing contact with the American manufacturers right through the whole range of the technologies involved.

It can be done and I am sure that any British officers and engineers involved would find, as always, that it is a stimulating experience to work with the Americans. But in what sense can the resulting deterrent be called "independent"? In what sense can this massive interconnection with the American Service organisations and defence industry leave Britain with in any sense an independent deterrent? I cannot imagine that the Prime Minister at Nassau had any conception of the technology of the system he was talking about. Certainly the communiqué reads that way. Whenever there is a technical matter dealt with we read something like "The President says this" and the Prime Minister is listed as entering his reservations about the independent use of it.

I was talking yesterday to an engineer in a British defence contracting firm which has had more than its fair share of knocks from the Government's defence policy. He gave it as his opinion that to continue the effort of maintaining an independent deterrent would reduce the British defence industries to the status of the industries in Switzerland.

We cannot possibly survive by trying to devise whole systems or tagging after the Americans and trying to duplicate parts of their systems. Someone suggested that we should find a man like Admiral Rickover to take over the job of looking after the British Polaris fleet. We cannot do that because a man with any guts about him would not put himself into such an impossible position. A man of drive, energy and imagination needs to be given scope to work in a viable, practical, original system making a real contribution where he can call on the loyalty and tremendous efforts of a wide range of people throughout the Services and industry. That kind of effort cannot possibly come in today in support of a Polaris system after the kind of fiasco we had over Skybolt.

Dr. Alan Thompson (Dunfermline, Burghs)

If I may reinforce the point which my hon. Friend is making, I would like to voice the concern shown by naval dockyards, including Rosyth in my constituency, on the question of whether they will have a share in the maintenance of Polaris submarines if there is diversion from conventional shipbuilding to the new forms proposed.

Dr. Bray

I appreciate the argument that the independent deterrent gives one a voice in the affairs of the world, but clearly if we are to have that voice we must certainly make a contribution to the defensive systems of the West. We on this side of the House have emphasised, and I add my words to that emphasis, conventional defence and conventional forces, but I would also suggest that as long as there is a call for highly advanced and highly technologically developed working systems we should seek the kind of arrangements suggested by the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire.

I suggest that we put so many millions into a defence pool and that in turn we should have a part of the American defence system coming as contracts to this country. I suggest, for example, the navigational system for space launching, something which would take us right into the vanguard of technical progress and something to which British industry could make a series of vital contributions.

We are told that the Americans will not accept any contribution that Britain might make because of the power of the American services and defence lobbies. I do no think that this is true. I do not think that anybody who says this appreciates the concern that exists in America about the fantastic suggestions of multilateral pools. The Americans would not ask us to supply an absolutely indispensable part of their defence system, but we could certainly supply an integral part—one of the divers possibilities which my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) referred to yesterday as part of the defence outlook of the American Secretary of State for Defence, Mr. McNamara.

Obviously we should also extend into areas like space-launched vehicles where it seems to me we are quite wrong in trying to uphold a wholly independent effort. If we do not learn the lessons and learn to contribute much more to the advanced aspects of modern industry and engineering in the defence field, and if the Government will not back action, I am much afraid that the brightest British engineers will do so on their own. A number of British engineers are working in American missile firms today. I think that the inanities of the Lord President of the Council about the brain drain to the United States are totally ill-conceived. There is a tremendous stimulus to be gained by this kind of exchange, but for goodness' sake let the mutual exchange be put on a realistic basis so that it can contribute to the strength of the West and to the standing of this country.

Perhaps the ultimate reason why we are in such a dreadful muddle and we are facing these inevitable dilemmas, which sooner or later will confront the Government when they realise that they do not have and cannot claim to have an independent deterrent, is that the technological and economic aspects of defence which have baffled them in the past 10 years can be solved only within the framework of a sane political defence policy. It was interesting to read the comments of the Minister of Defence on the reorganisation of the Government defence machine. There has been a great deal of discussion about the office of the Minister of Defence himself, but the Minister said yesterday: The formulation of defence policy falls into two parts The first goes beyond defence proper. It is concerned with foreign policy … The second broad area, the area with which I am more closely concerned, deals with problems of a specifically military character.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, c. 37.] I hope that whoever replies to the debate will deal rather more fully with this first part—the formulation of defence policy in the full context of Government foreign and economic policy. There is obviously a problem of communication here between the forward planning efforts of the Foreign Office and the practical implementation of defence programmes. There is a vital need for bringing disarmament seriously into the centre of the Government defence planning machine in the way suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker). I hope that these forward-looking aspects of defence will at least find an echo in the replying speech from the Government Front Bench which we have not been able to detect in the speeches so far.

I refer, finally, to the electioneering defence speeches which we have heard from the benches opposite. I ask the House to consider whether it is entirely patriotic for the Government to ascribe to the party which commands the support of the greater part of the country, and the party which, in all probability—at least, in some possibility—will within a few months be asked to form the Government of the country, a defence policy which they know quite well to be utterly false. Is it right for them to misrepresent our defence policy in the way that they have done, knowing the kind of misconception that this breeds in Washington, Moscow and Paris? The Government and their back benchers should be a little more responsible in this matter.

If hon. Members opposite behave in that kind of way, they will not merely provoke a reaction from the British public which will cost them dearly at the election, but they will also be undermining the country's standing before our allies in the Western Alliance.

8.36 p.m.

Miss Joan Vickers (Plymouth, Devonport)

I am glad of the opportunity to follow the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, West (Dr. Bray), but I hope that he will not mind if I do not discuss the details of his speech, since I have not had the same opportunity as the hon. Member of visiting a Polaris submarine. I hope, however, to refer to one of two of the points made by the hon. Member.

Speaking in the House of Commons on defence matters is the only occasion when I feel like a woman Member of Parliament. Usually, of course, one likes to feel complete equality, but one cannot, of course, have had the same experience in these matters as many right hon. and hon. Members have had. Therefore, I speak as an amateur. One has to remember that up till 1914, the rôle of women was rather to watch and wait. Since then, however, as the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) has reminded us, everybody has been in danger. No one is free from it, and it is for the Government to protect the people. That is what the House is today considering. The main difficulty is the best method of doing it. We all realise that whatever Government are in power, it is their duty to protect the people. The disagreement concerns the methods by which this should be done. I hope that today some of these difficulties will be resolved.

Much emphasis has been placed on conventional weapons. I should like to remind the House that in the 1914 war, conventional weapons inflicted great misery on the people of Belgium and Holland. They were equally as dangerous in their day as the present weapons are.

What we are considering is how to keep the peace. Having listened to ail the speeches of the last two days, I have decided that, in view of the present circumstances, it is essential to keep a nuclear deterrent and that we should try to remain a nuclear Power. When I use the word "remain", I remind the House that we are not today changing our policy. We are changing only the types of weapon. If we are to have the nuclear weapon, as the sea represents one-seventh of the earth's surface. I should have thought that all our people would consider it desirable for us to have the Polaris submarine and that it would make us much less vulnerable.

It has not been mentioned today that the Government's policy, as set out in the 1962 White Paper, laid stress in paragraph 10 on the fact that The Government's object remains the achievement of general and complete international disarmament, to be attained by stages subject to effective control. It went on to say: Nevertheless, no one who has really understood the significance of the advent of nuclear weapons can seriously propose that the elimination of nuclear weapons can be separated from conventional disarmament. The point to be remembered is that the two types of weapon must go hand in hand. To have one without the other might not lessen, but increase, the risk of large-scale conventional war, which appears less terrible only by comparison with nuclear war. Nuclear and conventional disarmament must therefore go hand in hand. I am quite certain that the Government are fulfilling in the many negotiations that are going on that pledge which they gave in the White Paper in 1962.

The main job of the Government at the present time is to keep the security of this country, to protect British territories, to fulfil our many treaty obligations, and finally to prevent war. No one has suggested during the debate that we should do away with all weapons. Everyone has recognised that we need some type of protection, and the only real point between us is, I think, the best method to provide this.

I wonder how Service men would feel if they went into battle without the knowledge that they were fighting for a country which had the backing of nuclear arms. One remembers the use of gas in the First World War and the treaty that it would not be used, but the Germans did use it and we know the misery that was caused. We do not want to find ourselves in a similar kind of position.

The debate has tended to concentrate on Europe, but I think that it is essential to remember the dangers of the Far East. China has been very successful in disrupting the economy of India. We are giving India about £7 million, and the fact that she has had to rearm is, of course, putting back the raising of the standard of living of her people. I should like to see China brought into discussions in the future. I know that up to the present she has been refused admittance to the United Nations, but surely it is not beyond our powers to bring China into some discussions, because I cannot see how we are ever to get disarmament if Russia and other countries are looking over their shoulders to see what is happening in China. Surely it is quite unrealistic to go on with various discussions and conferences if we are not to take possibly one of the largest nuclear Powers into consideration in these conferences.

I welcome the statement which my right hon. Friend made about the reorganisation of the Service Departments. I gather that this was first suggested in 1958, but he has had the courage to bring it to fruition and I wish him every success. I presume that the Board of Admiralty and the Air and Army Councils will disappear, and I hope that he will give us some more information about that when he replies to the debate. If they are to be done away with, I should like to express great appreciation of the work done by the Board of Admiralty.

We were asked in my right hon. Friend's opening speech to consider the question of reorganisation and perhaps to make some suggestions. I hope that reorganisation will not stop at what I would call the office level. I hope that Coastal Command, R.A.F., will come under Navy command and that Transport Command will go over to the Army, so that they can have far more exercises together, and that the Estimates will be pooled in future so that they can be fluid according to the necessities of one Service.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) mentioned the question of the Ministry of Public Building and Works taking over the work of the Service Departments. With the exception of housing, I think that this is a specialised type of work. If the work is to be taken over, I should much prefer to see it under the Ministry of Defence, but if it is to be taken over by another Department I hope that my right hon. Friend will see that the people transferred to that Department have real knowledge of the very specialised type of work needed both for the Army and the Navy.

Now, a question about recruitment. If a man joins a Service in future, will it be possible for him to be transferred from one Service to another? Let us suppose that the Navy is 3 per cent. short of recruits and that the Army has more than enough. Can people be transferred, on either a permanent or a temporary basis, from one Service to another in the interests of the Services generally? I believe that this is unlikely, but I am sure that individual men would like an assurance about it. There has been talk of the building of new ships, but it is no good building new ships unless we can man them. It is for this reason that I make these few remarks about recruitment. One of the difficulties in recruiting is that there are not sufficient houses for the wives. As has been pointed out, men are getting married at 22 and girls at 21. As we have very few permanent bases overseas now, I hope that it will be possible to have more housing in this country.

In view of the many changes coming about, is my right hon. Friend considering having a meeting of Commonwealth Defence Ministers in order to acquaint them of our changes and to find out what the position is in the various Commonwealth countries? What will be the future of our bases? We know, for instance, that there have been tentative agreements in regard to Singapore, but we know, also, that there are troops tied down in Malacca which are only for use internally in the country. I should like there to be a meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers in order that full discussions could be had on what is to happen about our bases overseas. If we are to plan ahead, this is a very important matter to be borne in mind.

Little has been said of the rôle of the Navy which, I believe, is becoming increasingly important. There is no new strategy for the Navy. Polaris is a weapon for general use. Therefore, the Navy will have to carry on with its normal work. We have been told that mobility is very important, and I mention again in this connection that we are likely to have few bases overseas. We are particularly short of aircraft carriers. These and commando carriers, I suggest, will be much more needed in future if we are to have local warfare such as we had in Brunei. We have the excellent "Tribal" class ships, the "Ashanti", the "Nubian" and the others coming along, but I think that the aircraft carrier is essential if the Navy is to fulfil even a peace-time rôle.

This was stressed by that great expert the late Admiral Sir Charles Lamb when he said that, unless we find some entirely new strategy, we shall go on needing aircraft carriers. I see in the White Paper that the design for the next carrier, the "Victorious", is supposed to be well on the way, but I should like to know what the Minister's policy is to be in future.

My object in speaking for the few minutes I have taken has been to put forward a few points which I regard as important. There are other matters, including civil defence, which I should like to have discussed, but, in view of the shortness of time, I have kept my remarks brief. I hope that my right hon. Friend will answer the few important questions I have put to him and will take it that he has my support in the reorganisation he is undertaking.

8.50 p.m.

Mr. George Brown (Belper)

I do not know whether other hon. Members who have sat through most of the debate, as I have, feel in the same way that I do, but I begin to sense a growing feeling of cynicism, if not boredom, with our defence debates. I have had this feeling during this debate, particularly in view of the empty benches which we have had for most of the time that it has been conducted. I do not think that the reason for this is to be found in the speeches of Members generally, although we have had at least one silly speech from the other side of the House this afternoon, and one or two which were irrelevant, and we have had the speech of the Minister of Aviation, which managed to be both.

Broadly speaking, I do not think that that is the reason for this state of affairs. I think that it has to do with the attitude which Ministers are now uniformly adopting in defence debates. They come to the House and act and speak as though they are miming a charade instead of going through a serious debating exercise. One has the feeling that they hardly bother to listen to arguments. They continually repeat assertions in debate after debate which bear no relation to reality, and clearly they see no reason why they should not go on doing so. To every question which is put to them, whether by way of interjection or in speeches, they have one stock answer, which is that the House would not expect them to tell the truth about our defences. If one admits that, it seems pointless to hold debates. Since what we are talking about for the most part is the deterrent, and since the important thing about the deterrent is to let the other chap know how powerful it is, keeping it dark does not seem to be an awfully good way of going about it. Mr. Khrushchev does not conduct his affairs in that way.

Because Ministers get away with the repetition of assertions, they go on making claims which bear no relation to reality. It is claimed that weapons and vehicles exist now when production orders have not even been placed for them. Aeroplanes are put forward again and again, year after year, as new super-machines when not even the prototype has flown. Today, the Minister of Aviation was claiming for the second or third time—he did not know how many times it had been claimed—aeroplanes as having been ordered when everybody knows that the first plane has not yet got into the air. When the paper exercise which Ministers conduct begins to wear thin, things are equally easy for Ministers. They have done it again this time. They just change the name of the aeroplane that they are talking about or redescribe its function and then, hey presto, we are off again.

If anyone thinks that I am exaggerating, I invite him to look at what the Minister of Defence said in columns 34 to 36 of yesterday's HANSARD. The Minister there told us about a number of weapons which he said would be absolute winners. He spoke of the Chieftain tank, and said: … we hope confidently to place a … production order … for delivery early in 1965. We have not yet placed the order! he hopes confidently to be able to place an order for delivery early in 1965.

The right hon. Gentleman went on to talk about the Abbot. He said: It is already in production", and then quickly corrected himself and said: … that is to say, the long lead items are being ordered"— a quite different thing from being in production— and it should start to arrive in 1965. The right hon. Gentleman then went on to talk about the 175 mm. gun and said: Subject to satisfactory contract arrangements"— that is quite a qualification— if an order is now placed"— he said not that it is being placed but if it is placed— it should come into delivery in 1964"— There is quite a lot of qualification about that. Later, he talked about aircraft which are already flying. But by "flying" he did not mean that they were in service or available. He meant the very early prototypes. He talked about the TSR2 being due to fly in 1964. But he did not mean that it would be flying in service but that the first prototype should, with a bit of luck, fly next year. He added: Looking at the equipment which these Services have today and looking at the equipment which I have outlined, I think I can say that never in peacetime in our history have we had Services better equipped or better disposed in the various theatres which we are considering to meet any threat which they may have to he called upon to meet."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, c. 34–36.] That is a very big claim. It was then that I asked the right hon. Gentleman When will all this he so? The reply was, "It is so now". But it is not so. If these statements are not intended to be dishonest, one wonders how to deal with men who are capable of such self-deception. It seems impossible to get over to them the idea that one cannot run defence policy on the basis of taking credit for, taking account of, and making claims on, weapons that do not exist.

This Ministerial attitude applies also to policy. The right hon. Gentleman must not be surprised if we view with scepticism his announcement of a new defence structure reorganisation. We have had similar pronouncements over the years. We heard it in 1958 and have heard it again and again since. Nothing has yet happened. In what may be an equal piece of dissembling, all that the Minister now says is that a decision has been taken in principle. He does not mean that a decision has been taken to do it. The very next passage in his speech makes it clear that the Government are going to listen to what people have to say and that he hopes that something positive will be before the House in legislation in the late summer.

I have been in this House quite a long time, and I know very well that if a major Bill comes before the House in the later summer one can guarantee that it will not be through by the end of the Session. Therefore, if the right hon. Gentleman thinks of bringing forward this legislation in about July, the conclusion is that he does not expect to have it ready or that it really will not be through in this Session, and therefore that all the talk about a decision having been made is a lot of "all my eye and Betty Martin"—which is just the sort of thing we have heard before through the years.

My feeling that the grandiloquent nature of his remarks did not make a great advance was heightened by the fact that he could not answer a single relevant question put to him. My hon. Friend the Member for Dudley (Mr. Wigg) put what he described as the "64,000-dollar question" about financial arrangements, about whether there would be a single accounting officer. The Minister agreed that it was a good question, but he left it there. I am at a loss to understand how one can announce a decision, even in principle, much less a decision to go ahead with something, if one has not even considered that aspect.

The hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) asked an equally important and relevant question, to which the right hon. Gentleman equally had no answer, about the status of the other Ministers. The right hon. Gentleman asked his hon. Friend to wait until later in the speech, and, as usual, he never got there at all.

The hon. Member for Sunderland, South (Mr. P. Williams), whom the right hon. Gentleman desperately tried to keep out, finally managed, with persistence, to get in on the back of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) to put an equally apposite question about the procurement of supplies. The right hon. Gentleman replied that the Minister of Aviation would answer today. But that was one thing which the Minister of Aviation did not do. The only certainty is that questions like that have not been considered.

I have the firm conviction on this, as on Skybolt and as on the Polaris agreement at Nassau, that the Government continually grab at what looks like a dramatic project. Every time they need a fresh shot in the arm they decide—in principle, of course—about it and, having decided, leave the thinking out of the details to others. The difficulties involved are comprehended only afterwards; the consequences which have to be faced are thought about only afterwards; and the snags involved are thought about only afterwards. That is why with Skybolt and Polaris and every decision since 1958 they have run away and looked for some fresh gimmick to overlay the previous one. They are always looking for something to turn up, like a gang of feckless adventurers, and they always assume that somehow or other they will be able to dupe the gullible, and as far as hon. Members opposite are concerned they always do.

It is out of this unhappy approach by Ministers that the boredom and cynicism around our defence debates grow. It is out of this unhappy attitude by Ministers that there come the lack of relevant defences today and our total absence of defence policy. I want to consider two or three of the things which have come out of the debate and to turn, first, to the question of the proposed reorganisation and to try to state what I hope will be our point of view and what I think our point of view generally is and what is certainly mine. [HON. MEMBERS: "Does he not know?"] On a matter like this, Members of Parliament ought to be free to make up their own minds. This is a constitutional issue of tremendous importance. I would not dream of suggesting that some people on these benches would not take a view different from mine, but I believe that what I have to say will carry most of my hon. Friends with it.

If this scheme of reorganisation is carried through, and if the consequential changes which are needed to give it practical effect are made, it will be a sensible operation and a sensible start to what must lead ultimately to a still greater degree of integration among the Services. In the end there is an unanswerable case for two Services rather than three, whether one approaches it on a functional basis or not. There will be one Service which will have the strike operation, one which will have the transport operation and one which will have the land duties to perform. [HON. MEMBERS: "That is three."] There is a case for two Services rather than three, one may be the naval and flying force and the other the land force. The present operation is an important and sensible beginning on the road which may well end there.

Not only will we have greater integration Service-wise, but we need greater integration financially, and that is why we shall have to come to the idea of one defence budget and one accounting officer. I see no reason to discourage the Minister of Defence from making this reorganisation effective. I confess my doubts about whether in fact he will, but I hope that he will. On these beaches we have campaigned for this reorganisation for a long time. When I made my first speech on defence in Opposition in 1956, I supported the then Minister of Defence, and in 1958 it looked as though he was looking that way. Several years ago, some of my hon. Friends and I consulted a number of distinguished gentlemen about the kind of way in which this could be done.

It is worth recalling that one of those whom we consulted was Sir Ian Jacob. We listened very carefully to the ideas which he made public in 1956, and a very large part of the Minister's present scheme is the scheme which Sir Ian made public in 1956 and which he was good enough to discuss with us a couple of years later. Since then, although our views have always been tossed contemptuously aside by the Minister's predecessors, we have consistently put them forward in the House, in lectures to the I.D.C., to the Institute of Strategic Studies, and to pretty well all the staff colleges. What I think has happened is that what we were putting forward there has trickled back to the Government who called in the advisers who advised us. But the difference is that they got their advice several years later than we got ours.

We shall return, as we must, to a discussion on this as and when we get the opportunity to do so. There are many details of vital importance to be cleared up, and I should like to emphasise the importance of the need for time and opportunity to discuss this. This is a far-reaching and vital constitutional change. It needs some guarantee that thought, expertise and great care has been involved in working it out. I have always taken the view that this is not the sort of thing, even though broadly I agree with it, which ought to be done on the ipse dixit of a Minister or even the Government. That is why I favour the idea of setting up a new Esher Committee of weight and standing to give its authority to this change because of the help that would be in overcoming the fears, worries and anxieties of the people in the Services and elsewhere.

I suggest to the Minister that before he pushes this through there is a lot to be said for setting up a body of weighty authoritative opinion—not that Sir Ian Jacob or Lord Ismay are not—under an acceptable chairman so that we can be sure that the consequences of this change have been fully thought out, and that when the decision is put into practice we shall not be leaving a lot of loose ends behind us.

But even if it will improve the situation in future, it is no answer to our case either on the present state of the forces or the present state of policy. I want to look first at the state of the forces. It is my submission to the House that on this aspect Ministers exceed the bounds permissible in their denial of facts. Yesterday the Secretary of State for War accused my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) of making what he called a damaging statement. He said: The hon. Member for Leeds, East said, in a rather damaging passage in his speech, that B.A.O.R. was sc. depleted and lacking in equipment that it was not able to do its job. I know that he is new to this"— he is not as new as all that— but I assure him that such statements are damaging without being truthful. Later the right hon. Gentleman said: It is all right for the hon. Member to say that we have not gone fast enough, or planned well enough, but I hope he will not assert that at any time B.A.O.R. was not able to carry out its job, because that is damaging to the truth. And if that was not enough, later, when talking about strategy, he said: Up to the present our forces have not only been trained according to the lines of the orders of the Commander in Chief but have been capable at all times of carrying out the orders that have been given."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1963; Vol. 673, col 159–60.] I assert that not only was my hon. Friend not damaging the truth but was saying exactly what was the situation in B.A.O.R. Indeed, it is the Minister who is damaging the truth. The fact of the matter is that not in equipment, nor in efficiency, nor in the strategy as between nuclear and conventional warfare, has B.A.O.R. until recently—or as far as I know even now—been in a position to carry out the rôle which its position in the S.H.A.P.E. line would require it to do. It just has not been so. It may be damaging if that is the case, but the damage is not in saying it. The damage lies in the fact that this is the situation.

It is not just we who say this. Anyone who has visited B.A.O.R., or has been up to First Corps, or has been to S.H.A.P.E., or has discussed the situation with the Commander of the First Corps, and has discussed that in turn with the S.H.A.P.E. Commander and strategists, or has looked at the equipment and at the mobility, knows that this is the situation.

None of us is free to reveal details of the briefings given to us on those occasions. That is why it is difficult to deal with Ministers who deny what we, what journalists and what all other people know to be the position. All I can say is that that is my view of the position, and it accords entirely with that of my hon. Friend. We must allow the public to make a choice between us.

There must have been some improvement in the state of equipment in B.A.O.R. since I was there nearly a year ago; it would be surprising if that were not the case. But it is clear that it is not all that much, from the speech of the Minister himself. He was still talking about guns that are still to come, and about signals equipment that is still being brought up and being improved, and saying that now we are going to have more modern equipment. The clearest commentary on the situation was discovered by me last Saturday, when I opened a civil defence headquarters in my county. When I looked at the signals vehicles drawn up for inspection I realised that they have more modern signals equipment in the civil defence vehicles at home than they had even in the best equipped unit that I saw in B.A.O.R. a year ago.

I can only assert that under this Government Britain has not met her alliance commitments in Europe, and that no branch of our forces, at this time, is adequately armed or equipped for its rôle—even supposing that its rôle is known. The rôle is not known in all cases. I was fascinated to hear the Minister of Defence say yesterday that we now have to answer the tremendously important question: what is the rôle for the Navy in the 1970s? Good gracious me—the then Minister of Defence said that in 1958. That was part of the famous White Paper. That was one of the things that we were going to work out. We are still going to work it out. The Government do not know the future rôle of the Navy yet.

In my view, the reasons for this lie partly in administrative blockages—the sort of thing that the Minister of Aviation was talking about today; the fact that we have not got any procurement arrangements right ever since the Minister of Supply was superseded, not that I suggest that it was right even then—partly in inter-Service conflicts, with the opportunities for vested interests to obstruct changes—and the new defence structure is intended to remove some of that—and partly in the downright inability of Ministers to make decisions, stay with them, and carry them through; but above all, it lies in the failure to establish a policy for this country on a basis that is either relevant to our needs or possible within the limits of our resources.

Let me look first at the question of policy, including foreign policy. My hon. Friends the Members for Leeds, East and Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) yesterday dealt with the basic failures of foreign policy. I need do no more at the end of the debate than restate the weaknesses as we see them. The Government have never made up their mind what answers to give to three essential questions. The first is: what is the nature of the threat that we are trying to guard against? The second is: what, if any, independent "go-it-alone" rôle is open to Britain in the modern world, and the third is: what is the extent of our commitment, in terms of policy, of association and of forces, inside our alliances, together with the related question concerning the degree of limitation which that commitment imposes on our individual freedom of action?

Until we answer those questions firmly, in accord with the facts, and not as hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite may like to answer them, the defence planners will have a totally impossible job. It does not matter whether we put them in a new Pentagon in Whitehall or leave them in their present offices; they can make their plans only if Ministers will give them the answers to those questions and stay with them. I submit that in so far as the Minister of Defence tried to answer this yesterday he, quite clearly, still got it wrong. He gave three basic factors—they were restated in slightly different words but with the same meaning by the Secretary of State for War last night. The right hon. Gentleman said that the three basic factors for a defence policy were, first, to provide for national defence; secondly, to provide a continental Army and nuclear support for N.A.T.O. and, thirdly, to fulfil the wider world rôle.

I do not believe that to be the right definition of our defence requirements at all. I think it wrong because the national defence of these islands seems not to be an issue capable of being divorced from our association and commitments to N.A.T.O. It is within N.A.T.O. that we provide for the national defence of these islands. If we try to provide that national defence first, and carry out our commitments to N.A.T.O. with what is left, we shall not be fulfilling the first task. The third matter, the wider world rôle, is rapidly diminishing.

Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will not accept the facts of life in this respect. This is a hang-over from the old so-called imperial commitments of imperial times. Already there are very few places in the world where the local authority now dare call on British national forces for their protection or support. It is not a question of whether they would like to, or whether we would like to provide them. If they do, they are out of the local political forces and that is something which they have to take into account. Things that recently happened could not now be repeated because of political developments which have since taken place. There are fewer and fewer places left in the world—shortly no places at all—where this will be our rôle as an individual nation. We may provide a contingent in an international force, or an alliance force. But as an actual national rôle for us this is diminishing.

Because Ministers will not see the facts this out-dated concept continues to bedevil their approach to the nature, the size and the equipment of the forces we provide. The Minister has himself said that because we concentrated on this we have not dealt with the real requirements of the Army in Europe. Conservatives must get it into their heads that there is nothing disloyal, nothing unpatriotic, in recognising the facts of world political development over the last 20 years. There has been a tremendous political revolution since the beginning of the Second World War, and it has proceeded much faster in the last decade. It is not unpatriotic to recognise that that is so. I believe that if Conservatives would do this, they would cease to make some of the disastrous defence mistakes which they have made throughout the last 11 years and which have been so potentially harmful to Britain's real interests.

There is little excuse for them failing to do so, because it was a similar patriotic disillusion which led them to regard Communism as a greater threat that Fascism in the 'thirties, and which led directly to the defence tragedies of those years. They thought then that they were patriotically picking the bigger threat. They failed to realise the change which had come over the world in the 1930s compared with the 1920s and they adjusted themselves to the wrong threat. They were unable, unprepared and unwilling to deal with the real threat which we had to face in 1939.

I beg them to think differently about this. If they would do so, then the Secretary of State and the Minister of Aviation would be spared and we would be spared those silly, rather cheap political 10 minutes or so which so disfigured the speeches of each of them. We understand that we might get it wrong, but we are trying to address ourselves to the issues as we see them. Ever since the beginning of this century it is an historical fact that it has always been the Conservative Party which was wrong and the Radical party which has had to come in to put defence right.

Similarly, they should face the changes in nuclear power relationships. It was fascinating to find how very few speeches by hon. Members opposite suggested that they know the difference between them and rocketry development. There has been an enormous change here even since 1958, a tremendous change. I went over this in the debate on the Nassau Agreement. I do not think that there has been any contradiction either in that debate or this of the arguments I then put forward. I can only assume that Ministers and their supporters do not want to see the facts which are there.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Dudley. I am quite sure that within a year or so—assuming, which heaven forbid, that they should still be in office—right hon. Members opposite will accept these things. I believe that they are in the process of changing policy. I believe that one of the reasons for the desire for a defence structure change is that the top advisers want to be sure to produce a different outlook and policy through the Minister of Defence. Some speeches made by hon. Members opposite will look very silly when that happens.

I wish to reassert some things which seem to me to be clear. One is that the V-bomber force has been a credible independent deterrent force. I am talking of it as an independent force at the moment. It is certainly much less credible as an independent deterrent today than it has been, and quite soon it will cease to be credible as an independent deterrent force at all. Let us get one or two things clear. The credibility of our V-bomber force as an independent force has to exist in the mind of somebody we are trying to deter. It is not how much we want to think of it as an independent force; it is what he thinks about it that really matters.

The point of the matter is that it is not, as hon. Members opposite have said, the weight or tonnage or whatever other unit is used for these wretched things, it is not the amount of destructive power which notionally can be dropped by one bomber, by 50 bombers or 150 bombers. The credibility does not reside in that. The credibility resides in the likelihood or the certainty of the force getting through, and that credibility is disappearing. There comes a point when the bombers may still be well able to fly and may still be able to play an effective rôle as part of the N.A.T.O. force, a combined force, but the chances of their getting through are so little, and therefore what we would achieve by sending them as a first-strike weapon is so little, that they become a provocation and no longer a deterrent used in that form. I suggest to Ministers that it is time they looked at facts in this way.

There is, it seems, no feasible or practical means by which we can provide independently a delivery system to succeed the V-bombers. It is no good saying that we are not responsible for this. Hon. Members opposite have been talking as if somehow this were a black mark against hon. Members on this side of the House. Blue Streak collapsed under this Government, not under us. When Blue Streak collapsed and we gave up Blue Steel Mach II and various other rocket developments, we went out of the rocketry business for the purpose of an independent development force. When I say "we" I mean Great Britain, because it was the Government who took us out. If we were to try to get back, by the time we got back it might be satellites we would have to deter and not rockets. We should be back in the wrong business.

We must face realities and stop expensive pretences. Skybolt was an expensive pretence that did not come off. Polaris may come off, but it is still an expensive pretence because it can never be independent in any genuine sense of the word and it will cost us an enormous sum of money. Honestly, the four or five submarines concerned are never going to be even as much of a credible deterrent as is the present V-bomber force. The only effect of going on with all this is to give support, by example, to the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout the other forces of N.A.T.O.

The only sensible course, like it or hate it as one will—and some will prefer it while others will find it distasteful—is, whatever one's emotions, to drop the pretence. That is the only sensible course. This would save the money which it is proposed to put into expanding the thing after the V-bombers have been phased out, and that money could be used for the urgent task of bringing our conventional forces up to scratch and giving them the mobility of equipment they need. This would make defence sense because with the money that would be saved the Government could each year buy a lot of better equipment and achieve mobility.

It is not only a question of that, for it goes much further. We should be able to get the influence in the alliance which the possession of a deterrent that is only a pretence certainly cannot buy us. This brings me to the extraordinary collection of widely differing ideas and fantasies grouped together under the generic title of the N.A.T.O. deterrent. No two advocates mean the same thing. Some seem to mean the putting together of essential national forces, internationally commanded, and able to be drawn back in time of need. But the Americans do not mean that. They mean creating a new force, manning it with mixed crews of all nations and creating something subject to direction by three or four nations. The Continentals, on the other hand, do not mean either of those things. The motives are also mixed. Some want to curb the Germans, some want to curb General de Gaulle and some put it for- ward because the present system seems illogical. Some in America consider that it is because the nations of the West should make a financial contribution to the cost of the nuclear deterrent.

It seems crystal clear that no one is asking for it to improve either the credibility or the power of the existing Western deterrent. It cannot increase its power or its size. It can only cause confusion in command and thereby lessen its credibility. It is not a matter of whether there are 15 fingers on the trigger or on the safety catch. The person who might be likely to attack will not believe in it more because there are 15 or 16 people involved instead of one.

It must be an extremely costly business because the United States insist on a contribution from everyone here. At present the N.A.T.O. apportionment will mean a lot of money from N.A.T.O. Powers which are already defaulting on their conventional responsibilities because, they say, they cannot find the money. Thus, if it came about—which I doubt—it would lead back to the trip-wire theory in Europe, because the conventional shield would be reduced and it would make the use of nuclear weapons more likely than less likely. I would regard that as disastrous and I most certainly do not think that it would deter General de Gaulle.

The conclusion I draw at the end of the debate is that clearly, on their own speeches and statements, the Government have no policy. Secondly, equally clearly, Great Britain has today totally inadequate and largely irrelevant defence provisions. Thirdly, the Government even today are not facing, let alone meeting, the vital defence issues but are keeping up the pretence, are continuing the double-talk, and are spending an unprecedented sum of money while they are doing it. For all these reasons, I submit to the House that anybody who puts nation before party will vote for us and deny the Government any confidence tonight.

9.30 p.m.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Peter Thornecroft)

We are at the concluding stages of a defence debate which has ranged over grave and complicated matters. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Belper (Mr. G. Brown) started by expressing a feeling of bore- dom and cynicism. He complained that Ministers never listened to the arguments. I must say that I have heard almost every speech in the debate. I have certainly sought to listen to the arguments, and I will certainly try to reply to his, because, if I may say so, if not at the beginning and not very much at the end, in the middle of his speech I detected a moment when he really was addressing himself to some of the fundamental issues before us.

The Amendment is, in effect, a Motion of censure. It is couched in terms which complain about the absence of a policy or the collapse of a policy, but the reality of the Opposition's case, as the right hon. Member for Belper made quite clear, is something quite different from the terms of the Amendment. The terms of the Amendment conceal really sharp differences of policy. I believe it was my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Lewes (Sir T. Beamish) who said that it might be a good thing if we were bipartisan in this, but it is no good trying to conceal differences if they exist. Our policy, as he rightly stated, is deterring an attack on this island, providing conventional and nuclear support for Europe, and carrying out a worldwide rôle, particularly between Singapore and Suez. [HON. MEMBERS: "Suez?"] Yes. This is a policy which can be criticised, and it certainly is a policy which costs money. It can be said of it that it places, as it does, a very heavy strain indeed upon our resources, but in no circumstances can it be said either to have collapsed or to be non-existent.

It seems to me that it would have been much better and far more intelligent if the Amendment had been directed to a challenge of the policy on its merits and we had voted on the merits of the policy. [HON. MEMBERS: "What policy?"] I should like to examine the attack which has been made. The real attack was expressed much better, if I may say so, from the Opposition back benches than from the Opposition Front Bench. I thought that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins) made a speech of real capacity which went to the roots of this matter.

The real case which the Opposition are seeking to put forward is that they are opposed to the British strategic deterrent. They wish to withdraw the tactical nuclear weapons from the front line of N.A.T.O., and they wish to withdraw troops from the world-wide rôle—which I think the right hon. Member for Belper said was something of rapidly diminishing importance—in order to put them into Europe. These are important points. We disagree with all of them. We differ sharply with the Opposition on these, and they certainly merit debate. I should like to examine these differences for a few moments.

Our policy is firmly based on the deterrent. The Opposition seek to blur this issue. They either criticise the weapon or claim for some reason that what one owns is not available to one, or that if we target it in co-operation with an ally this somehow or other denies it to us. The requirement for a deterrent was put in an extremely able speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, West (Mr. Eden), in which he said that what we require is sufficient nuclear strength to make the threat of nuclear attack against us unrealistic. That is exactly what we require.

The truth is that the decision to abandon Polaris—and that is plainly the Opposition's policy—would leave the deterrent to Russia, to the United States and to General de Gaulle. At least, that is a very big decision in foreign policy. It is not easy to forecast all forms of emergency ahead, particularly in defence, but our dependence for any attitude or action in foreign policy on agreement with the Russians, the Americans or the French would be certainly much increased by any decision to scrap it.

The Opposition make one very big assumption—the right hon. Member for Belper made it—that never in any circumstances would we be faced with a threat or that if we were faced with one we would always have an ally who would be ready on our side. I pray that they are right, but that is a huge assumption to make. Obviously, if those responsible for our defence policy started by making that assumption, our policy would be much cheaper than it is today. Very few responsible Governments, however, would ever decide to make that decision for the future. I doubt whether the majority of the British people would be quite as sanguine as the right hon. Member for Belper about the future.

The second difference concerns N.A.T.O. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) spoke for a long time and nobody shouted at him.

Mr. Healey

The right hon. Gentleman is putting an interesting point, but, surely, it applies no less to the West German Government than to our own. If he concedes this, how is it compatible with the rest of his policy?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The hon. Member, who at some time had a nodding acquaintance with foreign affairs, must know that the West German Government is under treaty obligation not to manufacture nuclear weapons.

The second difference concerns N.A.T.O. The Opposition claim that they support N.A.T.O. Indeed, they say that it is the cornerstone of their policy. I say to the hon. Member for Leeds, East that to withdraw tactical nuclear weapons from the front line would be an odd contribution to that alliance. If the hon. Member's point is to prevent the Germans making their own weapons, surely it is most astonishing to suggest that the first thing to do is to take away from them the weapons which they have.

The object of having tactical nuclear weapons forward is simply that they are tactical. If they are removed out of the range of their targets, we might as well remove them altogether, unless the plan is to shoot at either our own troops or our own civilians. [Interruption.]

Neither do our policy differences end with tactical nuclear weapons. We envisage a N.A.T.O. nuclear force. I agree with the right hon. Member for Belper that this is a difficult and complex subject. He referred to it as a contradiction in terms or as an absolute disaster, which is not much of a contribution to the subject. If the Opposition want to avoid the proliferation of nuclear weapons, there is surely something to be said for helping our European allies to share at least the targeting and planning of nuclear weapons.

Surely, the most hopeful way, and certainly the quickest, is for all of us to subscribe part or all of what we have, whether it is V-bombers, Polaris, the F104s of the Germans or even the Mirage of the French. If ever we are to hope to get co-operation in the nuclear field, it is not unreasonable to start by putting in what we have and inviting our allies to target and plan with us. These suggestions should not be treated with scorn, certainly not by hon. Members who claim to support N.A.T.O. These are really fundamental differences in policy. The third point of difference is on the world wide rôle. It has not been much debated. It was just referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, but it is really crucial to our defence policy, and indeed is regarded as such by our largest ally, the United States of America.

To keep forces east of Suez, is, of course, a costly burden. If we are to cut them out of Aden or Singapore, I think that our critics ought to say so openly. If we are to hold these bases, we need substantial forces of all three Services in those great areas of the world. It seems to me that the choice here which faces all sections of the Opposition is that either they must cut our overseas rôle to reinforce Europe or reintroduce conscription, or they will not reinforce Europe at all. These are the differences which it seems to me divide us on policy. It is not a question of the Opposition or the Government not having a policy; it is that it does not happen to be the same policy. It is far better that we should face that fact.

I turn to some of the arguments put in the debate. I start with the question of reorganisation. As the right hon. Member for Belper said, this really is a constitutional issue of considerable importance, and I am grateful to him for saying that he thinks that on the whole it is a sensible start. It is not, as his hon. Friend suggested, a mere reconstruction of machinery for making decisions at the official level. It is something which goes much more deeply into the future conduct of defence machinery.

Of course I accept that this is not an original idea. I did not put it forward as an original idea. There are plenty of ideas about; the job of politicians is to translate them into action. That is a much more difficult thing. I do not complain at all that the right hon. Gentleman may have advocated this. He has advocated a lot of things in his time, including a deterrent, and I hope that he sticks to this one. I believe that any party, never mind on which side of the House, will benefit by having the best central organisation for defence that is possible. I have been asked a few questions on this. The hon. Member for Leeds, East, my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) and my hon. Friend the Member for Maldon (Mr. B. Harrison) referred to the rôle of the Chiefs of Staff. They are, and I think rightly, to stay the heads of their Services, because that is the way they will carry weight in their advice. They will be the chief advisers to the Prime Minister, as they are today, and to the Minister of Defence. The question of attending the Cabinet and other Committees remains as it is today. They are in attendance at meetings of the Defence Committee and they may be invited to the Cabinet, as is necessary.

The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), who has some knowledge of these matters and great experience, I think really approves this step forward in organisation. He gave me some advice about finance and I think that there is great force in his argument. Certainly, if we are to control defence we have to control the finance of defence, but it is a matter for consideration just what is the best machinery for doing that. I make no apology for giving some consideration to that matter before I make a final decision upon it. The other thing which I am grateful to him for saying is this. I think that there is really some limit to the number and type of questions that any Minister of Defence can conceivably be called upon to answer in the House of Commons. If he were put into the position of having to answer on every facet of administration in any of the three Services, it would be an impossible position. This leads one to the view that the Ministers in charge of the three Service branches must be of sufficient standing for the House to be willing to accept their answers to questions affecting those branches, except where matters of policy are concerned. Finally, I assure the right hon. Member for Easington that, if I hear of any further goodwill missions, I shall certainly bear his name in mind.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) referred to the subject of organisation. I agreed generally with most of what he said, but I did not altogether agree with one suggestion which he and one or two others made that, somehow, we should have had a sort of Esher Committee or outside committee. This is one way of approaching the matter, but I ask the House to ponder whether it is not better for the Government who are responsible for this machinery to call in on a Departmental basis all the advice they like from anybody, to listen to it and then to make their own decisions on the subject. One does advance things a little bit faster that way. I do not believe that we should be anywhere near the point we are at now if we had adopted the other approach.

My right hon. Friend asked also for what he called some disembodied thinking, that is, thinking and advice from people outside Whitehall interested in defence matters. I think that this is quite right. Perhaps the Americans do too much, but I think that it is almost certain that, in general, we have done too little. However, one of the roles of the chief scientific adviser is not to do all the disembodied thinking himself but to be a focus to which other disembodied thinkers can come. In principle, I support what my right hon. Friend said.

I do not agree with him about the Chief of the Defence Staff. I think that we must keep the Chief of the Defence Staff, but the Chief of the Defence Staff should not be an obstacle between the Minister of Defence and the direct access of the other Chiefs of Staff.

My right hon. Friend referred to some strengthening of the Defence Staff. I hope that we can give consideration to this, and I think that we may be able to go some way to meet him in that direction.

The hon. Member for Stechford made what I thought was one of the most interesting speeches in the debate. Among other things, he paid attention to the policy of options. It is rather an attractive idea that one should have such a range of methods of retaliation that one can judge the form of attack and act accordingly. A missile is dropping. One says, "Are they attacking our missiles, our armies, our cities, or, indeed, us at all?" Then one measures the retaliation according to the type of attack.

This is, I suggest, of a little more interest to a large country like the United States of America than to this country. It would be very difficult, if anything started dropping on this country, to say just precisely what the intentions of those who shot it really were. I think that there is a danger in too theoretical an approach to nuclear matters. The idea that one can have a limited tactical nuclear war, a limited strategic nuclear war, or even a limited conventional war in Western Europe is all very dangerous thinking indeed. The dangers of escalation in matters of that kind are very considerable.

The hon. Gentleman wanted closer consultation with the United States. So did the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond), and so did the Liberal pamphlet. Why should the Americans co-operate with us in nuclear research and development if we announce in advance that we intend to take no part in it, and, therefore, have no real contribution to make before we start the consultation?

If I may say so, the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland had a somewhat confused view of the deterrent. He seemed to form the view that one could not have an independent deterrent and subscribe it to N.A.T.O. I cannot see why. Why cannot a nation subscribe forces which it has? Why should it have lost them for all time once it has subscribed them? Suppose that the British Expeditionary Force in the last war had been subscribed to the Alliance in the way that the right hon. Gentleman suggests. We could not have taken it out through Dunkirk and we should have been in a very difficult position. One does not lose something by subscribing one's strength to the Alliance. If we approach defence policy on these terms, it is no wonder we get into considerable difficulty.

The right hon. Gentleman also asked what had been the effect of the N.A.T.O. nuclear committee set up after Athens to lay down certain guide lines. Guide lines tend to be a little academic unless there is something specific to guide. The whole point of the Nassau Agreement was that it provided something to lay down guide lines about, and as a result we have been able to put in, or to offer, the whole of our V-bomber force. The Americans have put forward the Polaris, and there are other suggestions for mixed manned forces. I think that these actions will lend a great deal of point and purpose to a N.A.T.O. nuclear committee which was rather absent before.

My right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Norwood (Sir J. Smyth) made an important speech on conventional forces. He asked a very proper question, namely, what is the purpose of pouring more men into Europe? This is a good question to ask, because it is the very basis of the policy which the Opposition are putting to us. I want to make my position clear. Our policy is to bring our Forces in Germany up to 55,000 troops, and we expect to get there by next year. But the Opposition say that they want to increase this. The Liberal Party wants to increase it to 75,000. Hon. Members should consider very carefully what the purpose of this is. Do they think it is possible with a force of, say, 25, 30 or even 35 divisions to fight a conventional war in Europe against a really major attack by the Russian forces? I do not believe that anyone who gives his mind to this subject really thinks that that is possible or imagines that such a battle could be fought or won without nuclear weapons, tactical nuclear weapons to start with, being used at a fairly early stage. The Russians understand this. They know it and we know it, and I think that everyone who has thought about it knows it. Therefore, do not let us go round pretending that by some magical device we can put in masses of conventional forces and forget all about the nuclear weapons. The truth is that a proper defence policy must be based on a balance of both nuclear and conventional forces in Europe, and that certainly is our policy.

My right hon. and gallant Friend, like a number of other hon. Members, stressed the importance of reserves. The reserves are not for one particular theatre. The whole object of having reserves is that one can send them to North Borneo or to Europe. The moment we start earmarking reserves in advance as being available for only one theatre of war we lose a policy of very great value.

The right hon. Member for Smethwick (Mr. Gordon Walker) also referred to conventional forces. For three-quarters of his speech, I thought that he made a very novel approach to this subject, but then he was pressed by some of my hon. Friends and I found that all he intended was that we should have the same number of conventional forces as was provided for by the Government. This is not a very novel or dramatic approach. It is true that he said that they would have more equipment. But suppose that one doubled all the equipment mentioned in the Statement on Defence and all the massive and rather expensive equipment about which my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation spoke this afternoon. It still would not have such a dramatic effect as would justify the abolition of the deterrent or the scrapping of tactical or strategic nuclear weapons.

When it came to the deterrent, the right hon. Member for Smethwick said that he had absolute trust in any future United States Government. No matter what the threat to them was, no matter whether Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles were aimed at Washington and New York, he was confident that they would always come to our aid. Yet for some quite extraordinary reason he thought that we should not have any trust in them on the possibility of delivering Polaris. That is the most extraordinarily confused view of American reliability.

My hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, North (Sir Richard Glyn) raised the question of the strength of our nuclear strike, as did many other hon. Members and a good deal of discussion ranged as to what percentage it was of the American capacity. What matters is what it looks like from the point of view of a potential aggressor. In the debate in January, the right hon. Member for Belper suggested figures which indicated that it was about 2,500 times the size of Hiroshima. One can say many things about the nuclear deterrent but one cannot say that that is not a very formidable deterrent indeed.

The hon. Member for Leeds, East referred to our V-bombers. It is a pity to talk about American bombers as though they were the latest wonders of modern science but to talk about anything British as obsolescent. The truth is that they are part of the same force and are working very happily and proudly together at the moment. They are now at the very peak of their power.

The hon. Gentleman proposes that we should assign them to NA.T.O., but without any power to withdraw them. That is the same proposal as is contained in the pink paper produced by the Liberal Party. The proposition is that one should be able to use them in everybody else's defence but never in any circumstances should one be allowed to use them in our own defence.

The right hon. Member for Easington asked me whether we would accept a mixed manned force in substitution for our Polaris submarines. The answer is quite simply that we would not accept a mixed manned force as a substitute for our submarines.

It is, of course, fashionable or convenient to decry the effectiveness of the Services or to say that our units are so undermanned or ill-equipped that they are unable to carry out a rôle. The fact is that recruiting has gone very well and that we are going to have a volunteer, regular professional force, well suited to our

national purposes, this year. The fact is that a flow of new equipment has been coming in and much more is on the way, including ships, aircraft, signalling equipment, guided missiles and tanks.

Our policy is to deter an attack upon these islands, to contribute to N.A.T.O. both conventional and nuclear weapons, and to go on fulfilling our important world-wide rôle. The Opposition have not put forward an alternative, of are fearful of doing so, and are therefore driven back on pretending that this defence statement is not a policy. Some of them wish to strip Britain of her weapons and others to deprive her allies of their bases. Neither of these two ways provides the basis for a Motion of censure on a British Government, and I ask the House to reject it

Question put, That the words proposed to be out stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 333, Noes 237.

Division No.66] AYES [10.0 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Fell, Anthony
Aitken, W. T. Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Fisher, Nigel
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Allason, James Cary, Sir Robert Forrest, George
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Channon, H. P. G. Foster, John
Arbuthnot, John Chataway, Christopher Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone)
Ashton, Sir Hubert Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Freeth, Denzil
Balniel, Lord Cleaver, Leonard Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Barber, Anthony Cole, Norman Gammans, Lady
Barlow, Sir John Cooke, Robert Gardner, Edward
Barter, John Cooper, A. E. George, J. C. (Pollok)
Batsford, Brian Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Gibson-Watt, David
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk Central)
Bell, Ronald Cordle, John Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Corfield, F. V. Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Berkeley, Humphry Costain, A. P. Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, H.)
Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Coulson, Michael Godber, J. B.
Bidgood, John C. Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Goodhart, Philip
Biffen, John Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorns) Goodhew, Victor
Biggs-Davison, John Crawley, Aldan Gough, Frederick
Bingham, R. M. Critchley, Julian Gower, Raymond
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Grant-Ferris, R.
Bishop, F, P. Crowder, F. P. Green, Alan
Black, Sir Cyril Cunningham, Knox Gresham Cooke, R.
Bossom, Hon. Clive Curran, Charles Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.
Bourne-Arton, A. Currie, G. B. H. Curden, Harold
Box, Donald Dalkeith, Earl of Hall, John (Wycombe)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Dance, James Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hare, Rt. Hon. John
Braine, Bernard Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)
Brewis, John Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Digby, Simon Wingfield Harrison, Brian (Maldon)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Brooman-White, R. Doughty, Charles Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) du Cann, Edward Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Duncan, Sir James Harvie Anderson, Miss
Bryan, Paul Eden, John Hastings, Stephen
Buck, Antony Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Hay, John
Bullard, Denys Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Emery, Peter Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward
Burden, F. A. Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Henderson, John (Cathcart)
Butcher, Sir Herbert Errington, Sir Eric Hendry, Forbes
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Farey-Jones, F. W. Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Farr, John Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythemhawe)
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Marshall, Douglas Sharples, Richard
Hirst, Geoffrey Marten, Neil Shepherd, William
Hobson, Sir John Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Skeet, T. H. H.
Hocking, Philip N. Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Holland, Philip Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald Smithers, Peter
Hollingworth, John Mawby, Ray Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Hopkins, Alan Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hornby, R. P. Mills, Stratton Speir, Rupert
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Miscampbell, Norman Stanley, Hon. Richard
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Montgomery, Fergus Stevens, Geoffrey
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John More, Jasper (Ludlow) Stodart, J. A.
Hughes-Young, Michael Morgan, William Stoddart-Scott, Cot. Sir Malcolm
Hulbert, Sir Norman Morrison, John Storey, Sir Samuel
Hurd, Sir Anthony Nabarro, Sir Gerald Studholme, Sir Henry
Hutchison, Michael Clark Neave, Airey Summers, Sir Spencer
Iremonger, T. L. Nicholls, Sir Harmar Talbot, John E.
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Nicholson, Sir Godfrey Tapsell, Peter
Jackson, John Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
James, David Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Orr-Ewing, C. Ian Teeling, Sir William
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Osborn, John (Hallam) Temple, John M.
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Page, Graham (Crosby) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Page, John (Harrow, West) Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Thompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Partridge, E. Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Kershaw, Anthony Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Kimball, Marcus Peel, John Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Kirk, Peter Percival, Ian Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Kitson, Timothy Peyton, John Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Lagden, Godfrey Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Turner, Colin
Lambton, Viscount Pike, Miss Mervyn Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Lancaster, Col. C. G. Pilkington, Sir Richard Tweedsmuir, Lady
Leather, Sir Edwin Pitman, Sir James van Straubenzee, W. R.
Leavey, J. A. Pitt, Dame Edith Vane, W. M. F.
Leburn, Gilmour Pott, Percivall vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Vickers, Miss Joan
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Price, David (Eastleigh)
Lilley, F. J. P. Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.) Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Lindsay, Sir Martin Prior, J. M. L. Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Linstead, Sir Hugh Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho Walder, David
Litchfield, Capt. John Profumo, Rt. Hon. John Walker, Peter
Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Proudfoot, Wilfred Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Pym, Francis wall, Patrick
Longbottom, Charles Quennell, Miss J. M. Ward, Dame Irene
Longden, Gilbert Ramsden, James Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Loveys, Walter H. Rawlinson, Sir Peter Webster, David
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Wells, John (Maidstone)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Rees, Hugh Whitelaw, William
McAdden, Sir Stephen Rees-Davies, W. R. Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
MacArthur, Ian Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
McLaren, Martin Renton, Rt. Hon. David Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Ridley, Hon. Nicholas Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ridsdale, Julian Wise, A. R.
Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N.Ayra) Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey Wolrige-Cordon, Patrick
Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld) wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Robson Brown, Sir William Woodhouse, C. M.
McMaster, Stanley R. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Woodnutt, Mark
Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Woollam, John
Maddan, Martin Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey) Worsley, Marcus
Maginnis, John E. Russell, Ronald Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Maitland, Sir John St. Clair, M.
Markham, Major Sir Frank Scott-Hopkins, James TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Marlowe, Anthony Seymour, Leslie Mr. Chichester-Clark and
Mr. Finlay.
Abse, Leo Benson, Sir George Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.
Ainsley, William Blackburn, F. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)
Albu, Austen Blyton, William Brown, Thomas (Ince)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Boardman, H. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Bacon, Miss Alice Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics, S.W.) Callaghan, James
Baird, John Bowen, Roderic, (Cardigan) Carmichael, Neil
Barnett, Guy Bowles, Frank Castle, Mrs. Barbara
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Boyden, James Chapman, Donald
Beaney, Alan Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Cliffe, Michael
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F, J. Bradley, Tom Collick, Percy
Bence, Cyril Bray, Dr. Jeremy Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Brockway, A. Fenner Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Cronin, John Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Crosland, Anthony Jeger, George Probert, Arthur
Grossman, R. H. S. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Proctor, W. T.
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Rankin, John
Darling, George Jones, Dan (Burnley) Redhead, E. C.
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhonnda, E.) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Reid, William
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Reynolds, G. W.
Davies, Ifor (Cower) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Rhodes, H.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Kelley, Richard Roberts, Albert (Narmanton)
Deer, George Kenyon, Clifford Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Delargy, Hugh Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Robertson, John (Paisley)
Dempsey, James King, Dr. Horace Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Diamond, John Lawson, George Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Dodds, Norman Ledger, Ron Ross, William
Donnelly, Descond Lee, Frederick (Newton) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Driberg, Tom Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Lipton, Marcus Skeffington, Arthur
Edelman, Maurice Lubbock, Eric Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McCann, John Small, William
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) MacColl, James Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Evans, Albert MacDermot, Niall Snow, Julian
Finch, Harold McInnes, James Sorensen, R. W.
Fitch, Alan McKay, John (Wallsend) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Fletcher, Eric Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Spriggs, Leslie
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) McLeavy, Frank Steele, Thomas
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Forman, J. C. Mahon, Simon Stonehouse, John
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Strauss, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Vauxhall)
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Ginsburg, David Manuel, Archie Swingler, Stephen
Gooch, E. G. Mapp, Charles Taverne, D.
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Marsh, Richard Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Gourlay, Harry Mason, Roy Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Greenwood, Anthony Mayhew, Christopher Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Grey, Charles Mellish, R. J. Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Griffiths, David (Bother Valley) Mendelson, J. J. Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Griffiths,.Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Millan, Bruce Thornton, Ernest
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Milne, Edward Thorpe, Jeremy
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Mitchison, G. R. Timmons, John
Gunter, Ray Moody, A. S. Tomney, Frank
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Morris, John Wade, Donald
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Moyle, Arthur Wainwright, Edwin
Hannan, William Mulley, Frederick Warbey, William
Harper, Joseph Neal, Harold Watkins, Tudor
Hart, Mrs. Judith Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Weitzman, David
Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.) Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Healey, Denis Oliver, G. H. White, Mrs. Eirens
Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regls) Oram, A. E. Whitlock, William
Hewitson, Capt. M. Oswald, Thomas Wigg, George
Hilton, A. V. Owen, Will Wilkins, W. A.
Holman, Percy Padley, W. E. Willey, Frederick
Holt, Arthur Paget, R. T. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Hooson, H. E. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Houghton, Douglas Pargiter, G. A. Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Parker, John Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Parkin, B. T. Winterbottom, R. E.
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Paton, John Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Pavitt, Laurence Woof, Robert
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, H.) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Wyatt, Woodrow
Hunter, A. E. Peart, Frederick Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pentland, Norman Zilliacus, K.
Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Popplewell, Ernest TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Prentice, R. E. Mr. Short and Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.

Main Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 323, Noes 237.

Division No.67.] AYES 10.13 p.m.
Agnew, Sir Peter Barber, Anthony Bidgood, John C.
Aitken, W. T. Barlow, Sir John Biffen, John
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.) Barter, John Biggs, Davison, John
Allason, James Batsford, Brian Bingham, R. M.
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel
Arbuthnot, John Bell, Ronald Bishop, F. P.
Ashton, Sir Hubert Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm) Black, Sir Cyril
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Berkeley, Humphry Bossom, Clive
Balniel, Lord Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Bourne-Arton, A.
Box, Donald Hall, John (Wycombe) Mawby, Ray
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Hare, Rt. Hon. John Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Braine, Bernard Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Miscampbell, Norman
Brewis, John Harris, Reader (Heston) Montgomery, Fergus
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir Walter Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Moore, Sir Thomas (Ayr)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) More, Jasper (Ludlow)
Brooman-White, R. Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Morgan, William
Brown, Alan {Tottenham) Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Morrison, John
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Harvie Anderson, Miss Nabarro, Gerald
Bryan, Paul Hastings, Stephen Weave, Airey
Buck, Anthony Hay, John Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Bullard, Denys Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Nicholson, Sir Godfrey
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Heath, Rt. Hon. Edward Noble, Rt. Hon. Michael
Burden, F, A. Henderson, John (Cathcart) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard
Butcher, Sir Herbert Hendry, Forbes Oakshott, Sir Hendrie
Butler Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Orr-Ewing, C. Ian
Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.) Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Osborn, John (Hallam)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hirst, Geoffrey Page, Graham (Crosby)
Carr, Robert (Mitcham) Hobson, Sir John Page, John (Harrow, West)
Gary, Sir Robert Hocking, Philip N. Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)
Channon, H. P. G. Holland, Philip
Chataway, Christopher Hollingworth, John Partridge, E.
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord John Pearson Frank (Clitheroe)
Cleaver, Leonard Hopkins, Alan Peel, John
Cole, Norman Hornby, R. P. Percival, Ian
Cooke, Robert Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Peyton, John
Cooper, A. E. Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives) Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Cooper-Key, Sir Neill Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John Pilkington, Sir Richard
Cordle, John Hughes-Young, Michael Pitman, Sir James
Corfield, F. V. Hulbert, Sir Norman Pitt, Dame Edith
Costain, A. P. Hurd, Sir Anthony Pott, Percival
Coulson, Michael Hutchison, Michael Clark Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Iremonger, T. L. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Craddock, Sir Beresford Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Price, H. A. (Lewisham, W.)
Crawley, Aldan James, David Prior, J. M. L.
Critchley, Julian Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Profumo, Rt. Hon. John
Crowder, F. P. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Proudfoot, Wilfred
Cunningham, Knox Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Pym, Francis
Curran, Charles Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Dalkeith, Earl of Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Ramsden, James
Dance, James Kaberry, Sir Donald Rawlinson, Sir Peter
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Kerr, Sir Hamilton Rees, Hugh
Digby, Simon Wingfield Kershaw, Anthony Rees-Davies, W. R.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Kimball, Marcus Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Doughty, Charles Kirk, Peter Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
du Cann, Edward Kitson, Timothy Ridsdale, Julian
Duncan, sir James Lambton, Viscount Rippon, Rt. Hon. Geoffrey
Eden, John Lancaster, Col. C. G. Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Leather, Sir Edwin Robson Brown, Sir William
Elliott, R. W. (Nwcastle-upon-Tyne, N.) Leavey, J. A. Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Emery, Peter Leburn, Gilmour Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Royle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Errington, Sir Eric Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Russell, Ronald
Farey-Jones, F. W. Lilley, F. J. P. St. Clair, M.
Farr, John Lindsay, Sir Martin Scott-Hopkins, James
Fell, Anthony Linstead, Sir Hugh Seymour, Leslie
Fisher, Nigel Litchfield, Capt. John Sharples, Richard
Fletcher-Cooks, Charles Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Shepherd, William
Foster, John Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Skeet, T. H. H.
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (Stafford & Stone) Longbottom, Charles Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Longden, Gilbert Smithers, Peter
Freeth, Denzil Loveys, Walter H. Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Calbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Soames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Cammans, Lady Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Gardner, Edward McAdden, Sir Stephen Spearman, Sir Alexander
George, J. C. (Pollok) MacArthur, Ian Speir, Rupert
Gibson-Watt, David McLaren, Martin Stanley, Hon. Richard
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk Central) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Stevens, Geoffrey
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute&N.Ayrs) Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Stodart, J. A.
Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty) Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Godber, J. B. Macpherson, Rt. Hn. Niall (Dumfries) Storey, Sir Samuel
Goodhart, Philip Maddan, Martin Studholme, Sir Henry
Goodhew, Victor Maitland, Sir John Summers, Sir Spencer
Cough, Frederick Markham, Major Sir Frank Talbot, John E.
Gower, Raymond Marlowe, Anthony Tapsell, Peter
Grant-Ferris, R. Marshall, Douglas Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Green, Alan Marten, Neil Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Gresham Cooke, R. Mathew, Robert (Honiton) Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Matthews, Gordon (Meriden) Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Gurden, Harold Maudling, Rt. Hon. Reginald reeling, Sir William
Temple, John M. Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret Vickers, Miss Joan Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury) Vosper, Rt. Hon, Dennis Wise, A. R.
Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton) Wakefield, Sir Wavell Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.) Walder, David Wood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter Walker, Peter Woodhouse, C. M.
Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir Derek Woodnutt, Mark
Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.) Wall, Patrick Woollam, John
Tilney, John (Wavertree) Ward, Dame Irene Worsley, Marcus
Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Turner, Colin Webster, David
Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Wells, John (Maidstone) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Tweedsmuir, Lady Whitelaw, William Mr. Chichester-Clark and
van Straubenzee, W. R. Williams, Dudley (Exeter) Mr. Finlay.
Vane, W. M. F. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Abse, Leo Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Ainsley, William Forman, J. C. Mahon, Simon
Albu, Austen Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Crmrthn) Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)
Awbery, Stan (Bristol Central) Ginsburg, David Manuel, Archie
Bacon, Miss Alice Gooch, E. G. Mapp, Charles
Baird, John Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Marsh, Richard
Barnett, Guy Gourlay, Harry Mason, Roy
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Greenwood, Anthony Mayhew, Christopher
Beaney, Alan Grey, Charles Mellish, R. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mendelson, J. J.
Bence, Cyril Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Millan, Bruce
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Milne, Edward
Benson, Sir George Grimond, Rt. Hon, J. Mitchison, G. R.
Blackburn, F. Gunter, Ray Moody, A. S.
Blyton, William Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Morris, John
Boardman, H. Hamilton, William (West Fife) Moyle, Arthur
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hannan, William Mulley, Frederick
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W. (Leics, S.W.) Harper, Joseph Neal, Harold
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan) Hart, Mrs. Judith Noel-Baker, Francie (Swindon)
Bowles, Frank Hayman, F. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Boyden, James Healey, Denis Oliver, G. H.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Henderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis) Oram A. E.
Bradley, Tom Hewitson, Capt. M. Oswald, Thomas
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Hilton, A. V. Owen, Will
Brockway, A. Fenner Holman, Percy Padley, W. E.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Holt, Arthur Paget, R. T.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Hooson, H. E. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Houghton, Douglas Pargiter, G. A.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Howell, Charles A. (Perry Barr) Parker, John
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Parkin, B. T.
Callaghan, James Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Paton, John
Carmichael, Neil Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Pavitt, Laurence
Castle, Mrs. Barbarra Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Chapman, Donald Hunter, A. E. Peart, Frederick
Cliffe, Michael Hynd, H. (Accrington) Pentland, Norman
Collick, Percy Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Plummer, Sir Leslie
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Popplewell, Ernest
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Prentice, R. E.
Cronin, John Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas
Crosland, Anthony Jeger, George Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Crossman, R. H. S. Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Probert, Arthur
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Proctor, W. T.
Dalyell, Tam Jones, Rt. Hn. A. Creech (Wakefield) Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Darling, George Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rankin, John
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Redhead, E. C.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Reid, William
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Reynolds, G. W.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Kelley, Richard Rhodes, H.
Deer, George Kenyon, Clifford Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Delargy, Hugh Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Dempsey, James King, Dr. Horace Robertson, John (Paisley)
Diamond, John Lawson, George Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Dodds, Norman Ledger, Ron Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Donnelly, Desmond Lee, Frederick (Newton) Ross, William
Driberg, Tom Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Lipton, Marcus Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Edelman, Maurice Lubbock, Eric Skeffington, Arthur
Edward, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McCann, John Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) MacColl, James Small, William
Evans, Albert MacDermot, Niall Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Finch, Harold McInnes, James Snow, Julian
Fitch, Alan McKay, John (Wallsend) Sorensen, R. W.
Fletcher, Eric Mackie, John (Enfield, East) Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Foot, Dingle (Ipswich) McLeavy, Frank Spriggs, Leslie
Steele, Thomas Timmons, John Williams, Ll. (Abertillery)
Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Tomney, Frank Williams, W. R. (Openahaw)
Stonehouse, John Wade Donald Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall) Wainwright, Edwin Winterbottom, R. E.
Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.) Warbey, William Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Swingler, Stephen Watkins, Tudor Woof, Robert
Taverne, D. Weitzman, David Wyatt, Woodrow
Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Wells, William (Walsall, N.) Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.) White, Mrs. Elrene Zilliacus, K.
Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Whitlock, William
Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline) Wigg, George TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.) Wilkins, W. A. Mr. Short and
Thornton, Ernest Willey, Frederick Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.
Thorpe, Jeremy Williams, D. J. (Neath)

Resolved, That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1963 contained Command Paper No. 1936