HL Deb 31 March 1954 vol 186 cc880-1

My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, (1) whether any statement can be made on the formidable number of German Nazis and Communists employed in various branches of the Egyptian Army: and (2) whether the West German Government possesses any means of diminishing the number of Germans engaged in seconding the Egyptian policy of assassination.]


My Lords, I believe that about eighty Germans are at present employed by the Egyptian Ministry of War and Marine. Their main duty is to advise on the training and establishment of the Egyptian armed forces, but a small number of them are concerned with arms manufacture and research, and some are known to be assisting in the development and production of sabotage weapons and to have instructed in sabotage and guerilla techniques. The majority of the advisers are not political extremists, but I understand that some of them are ex-Nazis and former S.S. officers. I have no evidence of any Communist influence amongst them.

As regards the second part of the noble Lord's Question, I must point out that all these Germans are private individuals, and the Federal Government has no formal control over their activities. The Federal Government has been willing to do what it can in this respect, but the difficulty is that the more extreme of the advisers are the least susceptible to the Federal Government's moderating influence. I assure the noble Lord that Her Majesty's Government will continue to watch the situation carefully.


My Lords, I thank the noble Marquess for his reply. I confess that I am greatly relieved by it, especially by the figure of eighty, because my figure was considerably more alarming. I should like also to express my gratitude for what he said about the attitude of the West German Government in this matter, which is evidently quite satisfactory.