HC Deb 02 December 1958 vol 596 cc122-3W
Mr. Bevan

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps are being taken to arm units of the West German army with nuclear or atomic weapons of any kind; and whether Her Majesty's Government will now propose a postponement of further action until efforts have been made to open discussions on a new plan for European security.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The North Atlantic Council at their meeting at Ministerial level in December, 1957, resolved to achieve the most effective pattern of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation defensive strength taking into account the most recent developments in weapons and techniques. They decided to establish stocks of nuclear warheads which would be available for the defence of the Alliance in case of need. The deployment of these stocks and arrangements for their use was to be decided in conformity with N.A.T.O. defence plans and in agreement with the States directly concerned.

In accordance with this decision the N.A.T.O. military authorities have planned with the approval of the Council that the great majority of countries in the Alliance, including Germany, should be equipped with the latest weapons. In carrying out this decision the delivery systems are being made available wherever necessary and national units are being trained in their use. The stockpiles of nuclear weapons are of American manufacture and are being held in American custody on behalf of SACEUR. Under agreed N.A.T.O. policy, there are no plans or proposals for handing over these nuclear warheads or bombs to any individual national force in Germany. Under the revised Brussels Treaty Germany undertook not to manufacture nuclear weapons in its territory. This undertaking holds good and is not being revised.

I cannot give details of these plans, but they represent an essential element in N.A.T.O. military strategy. The Supreme Allied Commander considers that the forces under his command in Germany irrespective of their nationality must be armed with the most modern weapons.

Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to propose a postponement of these plans.