HC Deb 12 April 1967 vol 744 cc182-3W
48. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for Defence how many officers above the rank of brigadier of the Army and the equivalent in the Navy and Air Forces representing the various countries are on the headquarters staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Mr. Foley

I can answer only for the United Kingdom's contribution. Excluding officers who hold a national appointment which also carries a N.A.T.O. responsibility, there are ten British officers above the rank of brigadier or equivalent serving as Allied Commanders-in-Chief or on the headquarters staff of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his meeting in Washington with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Nuclear Planning Group.

Mr. Healey

I am glad to report that at its first meeting the Nuclear Planning Group made valuable progress on a wide variety of nuclear policy questions. Because of the importance of these matters I reproduce below the text of the Agreed Communiqué issued at the close of the meetingsThe N.A.T.O. Nuclear Planning Group, composed of Ministers of Defence of seven N.A.T.O. countries, adjourned today after a two-day conference in Washington. Attending the first meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group were Paul Hellyer, Canada: Gerhard Schroeder, Germany: Romberto Tremelloni, Italy: Willem Den Toom, Netherlands: Ahmet Topaloglu, Turkey: Denis Healey, United Kingdom: and Robert S. McNamara, United States. N.A.T.O. Secretary-General Manlio Brosio was Chairman. The United States Secretary of Defense, Mr. Robert S. McNamara, led a discussion of the strategic nuclear forces of the alliance and anti-ballastic missile defence. The Ministers reviewed the changes which have occurred in the strategic nuclear threat facing the Alliance since the meeting of the Nuclear Planning Working Group in February 1966, and the means and plans available to counter that threat. They concluded that the size of existing strategic nuclear forces and the plans for employing them are adequate to the need. They discussed the technical, strategic and financial aspects of ballistic missile defense including both the Soviet deployments and the U.S. R. and D. program, and agreed to keep this subject under review. The Ministers also received a report from Secretary McNamara on the current status of discussions initiated by the U.S. with the Soviet Government to explore ways of preventing a further spiralling of the arms race. The Ministers noted that the U.S. Government intends to keep its allies fully advised as these discussions progress. The United Kingdom Secretary of State for Defence Mr. Denis Healey, led a discussion of tactical nuclear forces. The Ministers agreed that the number of tactical nuclear weapons available to the Allied Commanders in Europe and the Atlantic are adequate but that the appropriate distribution of types of weapons should be kept under continuous review. They also agreed to initiate a number of specific studies to help in clarifying important questions related to the use of tactical nuclear weapons. Mr. Ahmet Topagloglu, the Minister of Defence of Turkey, led a discussion of Atomic Demolition Munitions and considerations related to the possible use of these weapons in the defence of the Treaty area. The Ministers agreed to conduct further studies on this subject. Dr. Gerhard Schroeder, Minister of Defence of the Federal Republic of Germany, led a discussion on the role of host countries in Allied arrangements for the planning and use of nuclear weapons. The Ministers noted that the Nuclear Planning Group itself as well as the Military Committee of the Alliance offer the opportunity for National Governments to exert a direct influence on nuclear planning in the Alliance through their senior political and military authorities. They will conduct further detailed studies on specific aspects of this question and will continue their discussion at the next Ministerial Meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group. The Ministers set a work program for the future and agreed to meet again in Ankara in September 1967. The Nuclear Planning Group is part of the permanent structure established by the North Atlantic Council at its Ministerial Meeting in Paris in December 1966. At that time, the Council established the Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee, open to all N.A.T.O. countries, to advise the Council on Nuclear Policy. At the same time the seven-nation Nuclear Planning Group was created to handle the detailed work of the Nuclear Defence Affairs Committee.

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