HC Deb 05 May 1964 vol 694 cc1093-4
14. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will now make a statement about his discussions on the difficulties which have arisen in connection with the promise made a few months ago by the Federal Republic of Germany to purchase arms from Great Britain to cover the cost of maintaining the British Army of the Rhine.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am not clear what promise the hon. Member has in mind. The two-year agreement on this subject which ran up to the end of March, 1964, has been fully implemented, as I informed the House on 7th April. It related to the foreign exchange costs of maintaining British forces in Germany. As regards the future, during his visit to London in January, the Federal German Chancellor told my right hon. Friend, the Prime Minister, that the Federal Government would give urgent and sympathetic consideration to the question of new arrangements regarding the foreign exchange costs of maintaining British forces in Germany. We are in contact with the Federal authorities with a view to detailed discussions in the near future.

Mr. Fernyhough

But does not the right hon. Gentleman think that it is time that we came to a firm arrangement about these costs to make it clear to the Federal Government that if they are reluctant to purchase British arms we shall not mind if they purchase British cars, British ships or textiles, to the equivalent value, since many of us think that that would be better for them, better for us, and better for the peace of the world?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Of course, it is with a view to coming to just such a firm arrangement that the discussions to which I referred in my main Answer are taking place. As regards the subject matter of the purchases, I think the main thing is that there should be a substantial volume of them, and that is probably more important, as the hon. Gentleman says, than their precise character.

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