HC Deb 12 May 1964 vol 695 cc220-1
Q4. Mr. Warbey

asked the Prime Minister what steps are taken to coordinate, in areas of the world where British forces are on active service, the political responsibilities of the Foreign Office, the Commonwealth Relations Office, and the Ministry of Defence.

The Prime Minister

Arrangements are mace in all the areas concerned to ensure that the appropriate political advice is available to the Commanders-in-Chief or Commanders of British Forces. 'The arrangements vary in different areas. Co-ordination of policy for every theatre takes place in London by regular consultation between the Ministers and Departments concerned.

Mr. Warbey

I recognise that the Prime Minister has accepted personal responsibility for our present neo-jingoistic policy, but can he say exactly how this machinery which he describes can be made to work in such a way as to prevent the Commonwealth Relations Office and the Ministry of Defence from constantly embarrassing the Foreign Secretary in his relations with foreign Powers and the United Nations?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is making quite unreasonable assumptions. With the High Commission, we have our military advisers. With the Commanders-in-Chief, we have political advisers. In this way we get the advice back to London, and it is co-ordinated between the different Departments.

Mr. Rankin

Will the Prime Minister say on what advice he ordered the recent bombing in the South Arabian war?

The Prime Minister

I think that I made this quite clear yesterday—that our troops were in need of air cover, and I am going to see that they get the air cover. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]