HC Deb 07 April 1964 vol 692 cc772-3
2. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what agreement has been reached with the Federal Government of Germany on the subject of support costs.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

By the end of last month the Federal Government had completed payments of 1,200 million deutschemarks to the United Kingdom over a two-year period, principally under contracts for military procurement, and had therefore fully implemented the agreement negotiated in 1962 by my right hon. Friend the present Home Secretary.

I had a preliminary discussion of the question of a further agreement in this field with Dr. Dahlgruen, the Federal German Minister of Finance, during his visit to London on 16th–17th March, and I hope to visit Bonn in the near future with a view to the conclusion of a new agreement.

Mr. Shinwell

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman what was the purpose of meeting his opposite number from the West German Government? Was it to bring about a reduction in support costs? Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that we are paying about £80 million in support costs, which is far too great a burden for this country to assume? If the West German Government are not prepared to make a further contribution to support costs, why not withdraw some of our troops from Germany?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

There were two purposes in my discussions with the German Minister: first, to secure that arrangements were made—and as my Answer indicates they successfully were—for the full implementation of the agreement negotiated by my right hon. Friend two years ago, and, secondly, preliminary discussions with a view to an agreement for the future.

The wider questions to which the right hon. Gentleman refers are, I think, much more matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.

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