HC Deb 11 March 1975 vol 888 cc255-6
18. Mr. Gow

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to complete the consultations with the NATO allies to which he referred in his statement to the House on 3rd December 1974.

Mr. Mason

The consultations with our NATO allies are nearing completion and I expect to publish details in the Defence White Paper later this month.

Mr. Gow

Will the right hon. Gentleman say what representations have been made to him by our NATO allies about the strength of British forces on the mainland of Europe?

Mr. Mason

I do not think that at this stage I can reveal that to the hon. Member. The White Paper is now being printed, and the conclusions of our consultations with our NATO allies will be embodied in that review. For the information of the House, it will be published next Wednesday 19th March.

Mr. Cryer

Will my right hon. Friend say what consultations he has had with our NATO allies about the removal of the American Polaris bases? When does he intend to carry out this aspect of the Labour Party manifesto policy?

Mr. Mason

On the first part of the question, at this stage there has been none. On the second part, as I have said many times, it will not be possible to have these multilateral talks on the removal of the Polaris bases until we have established conclusions on the conferences of CSCE and MBFR. After that, we may be able to start multilateral talks on the nuclear weaponry that we hold.

Miss Fookes

Will the Minister make clear in the White Paper whether there are any disagreements between ourselves and our allies on what should be done?

Mr. Mason

I think there will be indications of what our allies wish us to do, and of the extent to which we have acceded to their requests.