HC Deb 08 February 1989 vol 146 cc979-80
20. Mr. Thurnham

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what he expects the main subjects for discussion at the ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council on 8 and 9 June will be and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Waldegrave

The ministerial meeting of the North Atlantic Council in June will address, as have other recent council meetings, the maintenance of Alliance security in an improving East-West atmosphere. Four months ahead of the meeting is too soon to know what specific issues will head the agenda.

Mr. Thurnham

Will my hon. Friend impress on our European allies the importance of a positive attitude towards burden sharing in view of the enormous size of the American contribution to our defence effort?

Mr. Waldegrave

Yes. The Alliance should recognise the share that the United Kingdom takes. From time to time we have had to draw attention to the fact that others in western Europe have been cutting their defence budgets, which is a bad signal for the maintenance of Alliance coherence.

Mr. Richard Holt (Langbaurgh)

On a point of order., Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Greg Knight (Derby, North)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I shall take points of order later.

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