HC Deb 09 June 1964 vol 696 cc234-5
Q3. Mr. Mulley

asked the Prime Minister what arrangements he has made to co-ordinate the views of the Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence in putting forward alternative proposals for a multilateral nuclear force within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Study Group.

The Prime Minister

There is already effective co-ordination between the two Departments, and no special arrangements were necessary in this case.

Mr. Mulley

May we assume from the Prime Minister's Answer that the respective views of the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence are now reconciled about the multilateral force, and can he say which one prevailed? Secondly, will he confirm that there has been no commitment by Her Majesty's Government to participate in the proposed force? Is not there a danger that by putting forward proposals they will be construed by our allies as an acceptance, in principle, of that force, and a commitment to participate in it should it be set up?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. There is no commitment, and I do not think that by putting forward possible alternative methods we accept the principle, although I have always said that there is a lot to be said, on the political argument, in favour of this force. But, if there is to be such a force, we want to get the best military set-up. That is the wish of the Foreign Office and the Secretary of State for Defence.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Does that reply mean that the Government have not yet made up their mind whether they are for or against a multilateral force?

The Prime Minister

Nobody has made up his mind, in this Government or any other Government, because this is a matter which is being studied in Paris and Washington.