HC Deb 25 June 1969 vol 785 cc1503-4
47. Captain W. Elliot

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what further action he now proposes to reinforce the credibility of the Western nuclear deterrent.

Mr. John Morris

The credibility of the Western nuclear deterrent is kept continually under review. No specific proposals affecting United Kingdom forces arise at this time.

Captain Elliot

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that in recent months the Minister of Defence has laid great stress on the fact that nothing should be said to raise any doubt that N.A.T.O. would be ready to use her nuclear weapons? If the Canadians or anybody else withdraw conventional forces from Europe, does the Minister think that this will reinforce or reduce the deterrent?

Mr. Morris

On the Canadian issue, the position of the conventional forces in Europe, as my right hon. Friend has indicated, is important, and if there is agreement to a substantial withdrawal of Canadian forces, even though they play only a fairly small part in the total amount there, it would obviously affect the nuclear threshold.