HC Deb 26 April 1966 vol 727 cc533-4
Q3. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Prime Minister if he will invite the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation to establish its European headquarters in Great Britain.

The Prime Minister

This is certainly a possibility, but I think we should first wait to see how matters develop. Such a decision would, of course, have to be taken by the allies collectively.

Mr. Griffiths

Would not the Prime Minister agree that the actions of the French President have caused a genuine crisis in N.A.T.O.? What are the British Government doing about it?

The Prime Minister

Similar Questions were put to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary yesterday, including the question of the siting of N.A.T.O. headquarters, and my right hon. Friend answered them. My right hon. Friend said that it would be more helpful if the case could be dealt with more fully in the debate today.

Sir G. de Freitas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the matters affecting President de Gaulle is the overwhelming power and influence of the English-speaking members of the alliance? May there not be something to be said for siting the headquarters on the Continent, possibly in Brussels?

The Prime Minister

There are a number of things to consider, but first we have to look at the basic issues raised by the French position before we start even considering any question of siting. But the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) is one of the important aspects that need to be considered collectively.

Mr. Zilliacus

In considering the crisis in N.A.T.O., will my right hon. Friend apply the Government's principle that defence must be the servant and not the master of foreign policy and accordingly refuse to accept any further military obligations in N.A.T.O., failing agreement on Labour's proposals for a European settlement?

The Prime Minister

We shall certainly apply the Government's principles, but to do everything my hon. Friend suggests would be to make defence the enemy of foreign policy.