HC Deb 16 January 1964 vol 687 cc409-10
Q8. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Prime Minister what was the nature of his reply to the new year's message from Mr. Khrushchev; and what proposals he made regarding the level of arms expenditure in Great Britain.

The Prime Minister

The exchange of messages was published in the Press. There was no reference in these messages to the level of arms expenditure.

Mr. Allaun

Does the Prime Minister agree that the recent cuts by America and Russia without awaiting all-round agreement have had an excellent effect and are leading to further lessening of tension? Why is Britain lagging behind?

The Prime Minister

I have just given an Answer which I hope showed the hon. Memberthat in fact we are in front in this sense, because we spend a smaller proportion of our gross national product on arms than certain other countries. I gather than in a few moments the party opposite is likely to ask us to increase expenditure on conventional arms. Therefore, I think the hon. Member had better be a little careful and listen to his Front Bench.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Will the Prime Minister realise that Mr. Khrushchev's new year's message presented him with a splendid opportunity to invite Mr. Khrushchev to this country for peace talks? Will he now mend his ways, and invite Mr. Khrushchev for that purpose?

The Prime Minister

I do not think that that matter arises on this Question.