HC Deb 30 July 1954 vol 531 cc124-5W
Mr. Grimond

asked the Minister of Supply if he will make a statement on the results of his official discussions with the United States defence authorities about guided missiles.

Mr. Sandys

The development of guided missiles raises a wide variety of complex technical and scientific problems of a novel kind in aerodynamics, electronics, chemistry and engineering. Both the United States and Britain have over a number of years been devoting a large and increasing effort to work in this field.

There has for some time past been a substantial exchange of information between the two countries about projects under development. However, in view of the urgency of introducing these new weapons and of the fact that the available scientific resources in both countries are not unlimited, it was felt that, in addition to exchanging information, it was desirable to consider the feasibility of more positive collaboration.

During the Whitsuntide Recess, I went to Washington to discuss these ideas with the United States Secretary of Defence, Mr. Charles Wilson, and other members of the Administration, and I was glad to find that they fully shared our view about the desirability of closer technical co-operation. We had a number of meetings, lasting four days, as a result of which we agreed in general terms the principles and procedure upon which our collaboration should be based. In addition, we drew up a first list of the more important projects, both existing and contemplated, to which particular attention should be paid.

These arrangements, which have since been formally confirmed by the two Governments, will I am sure, be of mutual benefit. In particular, they should enable both countries to make the most productive use of their available scientific and technical resources in this field and should help to speed up the development and introduction of guided missiles, which are urgently needed for the common defence.