HC Deb 22 June 1993 vol 227 c163
10. Mr. Menzies Campbell

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next intends to meet the Secretary-General of NATO; and if he proposes to discuss with him NATO's nuclear doctrine.

Mr. Rifkind

I expect to meet the NATO Secretary-General at a regular meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in the autumn. As is usual on these occasions, a.wide range of Alliance issues will be discussed.

Mr. Campbell

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider that it may be time, in the interests of economy and security, to seek greater co-operation between ourselves, the French and the United States? Would it not be consistent with the doctrine of minimum nuclear deterrence to seek to achieve operational arrangements which, while providing a constant nuclear capability for NATO, may be provided at a lower level than at present?

Mr. Rifkind

There are many indications that the French Government are interested in closer dialogue with the United Kingdom on nuclear and other matters of mutual interest. It is right and proper that all the nuclear countries of the NATO alliance—the United States, France and ourselves—should co-operate to the maximum extent possible, and I believe that in the post-cold war situation, Paris is showing more interest in doing that than has perhaps been the case for a number of years.

Mr. Dickens

When my right hon. and learned Friend next meets the Secretary-General of the United Nations, will he remind him of the excellent news today that Vickers has won more orders for the excellent Challenger tank, which is very good news indeed? Are we not the inventors of the world, with television having been born out of radar, a British design, and the jet engine, also a British design, having made the world smaller? Let us tell the world that when you buy British, you buy the best.

Mr. Rifkind

My hon. Friend is correct, and he might have added that our Prime Minister signed that deal with the Sultan of Oman on his visit. That was a great achievement for British sales and British industry.