HC Deb 09 February 1955 vol 536 cc214-5W
67. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Defence to state, concerning each member-State of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the proportion of national income spent on defence and the proportion of male population in the Armed Forces; and what information he possesses on these matters concerning the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I will, with permission, circulate the available information in the OFFICIAL REPORT. I should point out, however, that figures of this kind do not provide a valid basis for comparison of defence burdens.

Country Percentage of gross national product spent on defence in 1953 Percentage of total population in Armed Forces (full-time) in 1953
(1) (2) (3)
1953 figures
Belgium Official figures not available but probably about 6.0 1.7
Denmark 3.7 1.0
France 12.6 2.2
Greece 6.5 2.2
Italy 4.8 1.0
Luxembourg 3.8 0.8
Netherlands 6.2 1.3
Norway 5.6 0.9
Portugal 4.3 0.8
Turkey 7.8 1.9
United Kingdom 11.3 1.8
U.S.S.R. 20.0 2.4


  1. (a) The percentages quoted have been derived from figures published by N.A.T.O., O.E.E.C., and national sources. It has not been possible to obtain manpower figures on a male population basis.
  2. (b) Figures of defence expenditure used are on the N.A.T.O. definition of defence expenditure.
  3. (c) Figures of Gross National Product used are based on national accounts data which are not fully comparable between countries.
  4. (d) The figures in column (2) are a very incomplete guide to the relative defence burdens of countries; they cannot take account of the complex politico-economic circumstances which determine what proportion of total output of goods and services each country might reasonably be expected to devote to defence.


Figures are estimates by the Ministry of Defence on a basis as closely comparable as possible with the other figures.