§ Mr. Kershaw
asked the Minister of Defence what progress is being made in the policy of standardisation of weapons within the Western European Union; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Watkinson
The feasibility of increasing standardisation is under continuous study in both Western European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.
If it is to succeed, standardisation must be tackled at the beginning, when the military characteristics of new weapons are being considered. W.E.U. has agreed upon the characteristics of various advanced army weapons, and further agreements are in prospect. The agreements are forwarded to N.A.T.O. where it has been found that practical measures of co-operation in research development and production can most profitably be discussed.
On the naval side, work initiated in W.E.U. on co-operation in research and development has been transferred to N.A.T.O. Discussion on air force items has taken place in W.E.U. but is now being pursued in N.A.T.O.