HC Deb 15 June 1964 vol 696 cc921-2
20. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how many treaties involve military obligations to overseas countries; and what are the countries to which such treaties apply.

Mr. P. Thomas

The United Kingdom is party to a number of multilateral treaties involving military obligations to other members. The principal ones are the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Central Treaty Organisation and the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation. The United Kingdom also has commitments to other countries under various bilateral treaties. Since the list of treaties and of the countries to which they apply is rather long, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Shinwell

Is the reason why the right hon. Gentleman is unable to furnish me with details of the military obligations undertaken by the United Kingdom the fact that it would take a long time? Can he say whether our military capabilities match up to those obligations? Woud it not be wiser—in future, at any rate—before entering into obligations which involve military action at some stage, to consider whether we are able to fulfil our obligations? May I take this opportunity of congratulating the right hon. Gentleman, and of assuring him that his appointment does not mean that he will have any privileges from this side from anybody?

Mr. Thomas

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman, and I certainly accept every word of the last part of his supplementary question. My reason for not giving the full list is that it is long, as he will see when it appears in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that our military capabilities will match up to our obligations.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Can my right hon. Friend say whether, up to date, Britain has fallen down on any of her obligations?

Mr. Thomas

No, Sir. I think that it is right to say that over the last few months we have shown full well that we can match up with our treaty obligations.

Mr. Benn

Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House whether the Tripartite Declaration is one of the treaties that will be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

Mr. Thomas

No, Sir. I do not think that it is.

Following is the information:







Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands

Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Norway





Philippines, Thailand


United States of America

Bahrain, Qatar and the Trucial Sheikdoms

Australia, New Zealand