HC Deb 16 January 1964 vol 687 cc407-8
Q5. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Prime Minister if, at his meeting with President Johnson, he will discuss the extent of British defence commitments with a view to a reduction of Great Britain's arms expenditure on a scale proportionate to the net annual saving of £350 million recently decided on by the President, or the £240 million reduction announced by Mr. Khrushchev.

The Prime Minister

I hope todiscuss with the President of the United States a variety of subjects across the whole field of world affairs but against a rather broader background than the hon. Member suggests.

Mr. Allaun

But is it not distinctly unhelpful that the British Government, in contrast, are proposing to increase our arms burden by £265 million a year? Was the Prime Minister's recent profession honest when he declared that his main objective was to cut our arms programme when the very next day the Government White Paper proposed a big increase? Alternatively, was he in the position of his predecessor, namely, that nobody told him?

The Prime Minister

I think that we shall discuss some of these matters a little later today, but I am satisfied that our expenditure and commitments are in the right relationship. Taking the proportion of the gross national product of the United States, the U.S.S.R. and ourselves which goes on military expenditure, that of the U.S.S.R. is 13 per cent., of the United States 9 per cent. and of ourselves 7 per cent.

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