HC Deb 01 May 1968 vol 763 cc1090-1
18. Mr. Norwood

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions have taken place with the United States Government about the defence arrangements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries after 1969.

44. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about his discussions with the United States or other Governments, about the defence arrangements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries after 1969.

Mr. Healey

The first five-year rolling programme adopted last December will be updated annually; the allies together will make the necessary decisions.

Mr. Norwood

Is the Minister aware of reports which have appeared in Scandinavia and some other countries that the United States Government are seeking bilateral agreements with individual member countries of N.A.T.O. permitting the immediate use of United States forces in those countries without involving any permanent forces being maintained in them? Have Her Majesty's Government been involved in discussions of this kind? Have they been informed about such discussions, and, if they have, and have acquiesced in them, does this not go back very heavily to the cold war philosophy?

Mr. Healey

I am not aware of any such reports or any such facts. I think my hon. Friend may be confusing United States action with N.A.T.O. countries and the action of the Soviet Union in buttressing the Warsaw Pact with bilateral agreements with each of those Eastern European countries.

Mr. Frank Allaun

As N.A.T.O. started talks on balanced mutual force reductions five months ago and no proposals so far have been made, will the Government tell them to get on with it, particularly as we are spending £207 million a year in Germany, plus N.A.T.O. expenses in addition?

Mr. Healey

As I have made clear on many occasions in this House, the Alliance is very anxious to negotiate with the Warsaw Powers on a reciprocal reduction on both sides of the Iron Curtain. I only wish that there had been more signs that redeployment by the United States, Britain and Belgium had been reciprocated on the Eastern side of the Iron Curtain.