§ 15. Dr. Glyn
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in his negotiations with the United States Administration with regard to the final settlement of the real cost of Trident, the revised estimate of the date it will be in service and its use under the direct control of Her Majesty's Government.
§ Mr. Pym
On the question of negotiations with the United States Government, I refer to the answer I gave earlier today to my hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Mr. Hamilton). As to the costs, in-service date and control of Trident, my hon. Friend will have seen the exchange of letters between the Prime Minister and President Carter, published in Cmnd. 7979, and the memorandum on the future United Kingdom strategic nuclear deterrent force, which I published in July.
§ Dr. Glyn
I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. I am sure that I speak for all my hon. Friends in congratulating him on the work that he has done on this important missile. Does he agree that the missile provides an umbrella of protection not only for ourselves but for NATO and our allies in Europe? Would it not be appropriate if they made some contribution towards the cost of the weapon?
§ Mr. Pym
All the members of NATO contribute to NATO in different ways. A unique feature of the British contribution is Polaris, and later it will be the Trident missile system, which no other country in Europe could provide. It is part of our total defence contribution. Other countries spend more money on, and have a greater presence in terms of, for instance, their armies. I think that it is best to leave matters in that way. In other words, we share the total contribution by the different ways in which we contribute to NATO.