HC Deb 26 May 1966 vol 729 cc720-1
Q2. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Headquarters will not be located in London.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to the Answer I gave on 26th April to a Question by the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Eldon Griffiths).

Mr. Hamilton

Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that, if and when we manage to get some of these international organisations' headquarters in this country, they will not be sited in London since this would conflict with the Government's policy of diversification and decentralisation to the provinces?

The Prime Minister

We are pushing ahead with decentralisation of British Government offices to different parts of Britain. I think that my hon. Friend is at least one jump ahead in the race, because this decision will have to be taken by the allies collectively. We have not begun to discuss even in what country any of these installations might be established, following the French decision that they shall not be in France.

Mr. Heath

As President de Gaulle is apparently willing for the Council itself to remain in Paris, what is the Government's attitude towards this?

The Prime Minister

This is a matter which we must discuss with our colleagues in N.A.T.O. There are arguments both ways, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, about whether the Council should be in the same place as the military headquarters. There is the question of the Military Committee. We had better have further discussions and then I will make a statement to the House.