§ Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can yet state the precise nature and extent of our military commitments in Europe; and give any estimate of the number of troops required to fulfil these commitments for the next twelve months.
§ Mr. Lawson
Our military commitments in Europe may be summarised as follow:
- (a) Maintenance of law and order in ex-enemy countries.
- (b) Assistance to the Government of Greece.
- (c) The disbandment of the Wehrmacht. Although considerable progress has, been made there are still large numbers on our hands.
- (d) The disarmament of Germany. Search for, collection and disposal of arms and ammunition. Demolition of fortifications, special structures and underground factories.
- (e) The guarding and patrolling of the frontiers of our zones in Germany and Austria, to prevent the passage of unauthorised persons and goods.
- (f) The control and repatriation of displaced persons. There are at present one million in the British zones.
- (g) Tasks of reconstruction such as the reorganisation of railway systems, rebuilding of road and rail bridges, repairing of houses, and the distribution of food and coal.
It is very difficult to forecast what reduction can be made in our Forces while fulfilling these commitments during the next 12 months. Much will depend on how the situation in the various countries concerned develops.