HC Deb 17 December 1964 vol 704 cc565-7
Q5 Mr. loan L. Evans

asked the Prime Minister (1) if he discussed with President Johnson the possibility of calling a summit conference between Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Union of Soviet Sccialist Republics;

(2) if he will make an approach to, or if he has been approached by, the Premier of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics with a view to a top-level conference.

Q4 Mr. Rankin

asked the Prime Minister (1) what particular aspects of foreign policy he discussed with President Johnson; and if he will make a statement;

(2) if he will make a statement on the request he has received from President Johnson to provide British troops for South Vietnam.

Q12. Mr. Wall

asked the Prime Minister if he will, following his talks with President Johnson, now make a statement on defence policy covering such issues as nuclear arms, the multi- lateral force, the future of the TSR2 and P1154, overseas bases and increased supplies of conventional weapons.

Q15. Mr. Monslow

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he made with President Johnson during his recent talks with him about future meetings between them.

Q18. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he has now made with the United States of America for the re-negotiation of the Nassau Agreement.

Q26. Mr. Burden

asked the Prime Minister if it remains the intention of Her Majesty's Government to refuse British participation in a multilateral force.

The Prime Minister

I would refer hon. Members to the speech I made in the debate yesterday.

Mr. Monslow

Is my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister aware that his initiative has given intense satisfaction to many hon. Members in this House and has created a spirit of optimism in the country that his endeavours will be successful in preventing, an extension of the suicide plot?

Mr. Ioan L. Evans

May I join in congratulating my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, whose initiative is welcomed in the country? May I ask that he continue his efforts to reduce the £40,000 million that the world is spending on armaments so that some of these resources can be diverted to helping the under-developed areas?

Mr. Burden

Does not the Prime Minister remember that during the election he made a statement at Chatham in which he said that the M.L.F. was a complete and absolute waste of money—he certainly did not say that yesterday, when he left the door open—and, furthermore, emphasised his position regarding the M.L.F. by saying at Chatham that if returned as Prime Minister, he intended greatly to increase the size of the conventional Navy? This House and the country would like to know exactly where the Prime Minister stands.

The Prime Minister

On the second point, I said yesterday that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence will shortly be announcing our policy on the procurement side. As I have already explained to the House, we have first to make those much-needed cuts in the fantastic level of programmes that we inherited before we start talking about increasing any part of the expenditure programmes. With regard to the statement I made at Chatham and elsewhere,I certainly attacked in very strong terms the concept of the mixed-manned surface fleet and I showed yesterday what we thought about the mixed-manned surface fleet.

Mr. Wall

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether that part of Question No. 12 which I put down, affecting conventional weapons and types of aircraft, will be answered by his right hon. Friend today? If not, will he tell the House when we shall get an answer?

The Prime Minister

I did say yesterday that my right hon. Friend, before the time of the year comes for the Defence White Paper, will be dealing with this question about the weapons procurement programme.

Mr. Victor Yates

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he will bear in mind, in view of the alarming statements which are made in the Press, and are being made, and statements on the other side of the House, which are causing tension rather than relieving it, the urgent necessity for a top-level meeting as soon as it is possible?

The Prime Minister

Well, there are a number of meetings planned. I am not responsible, of course, for what is said in the Press, but certainly there are a whole series of meetings planned. They started last week and will be continuing in the new year.