HC Deb 06 March 1969 vol 779 c171W
Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has of the extra number of Europe-based North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces required to form a conventional deterrent.

Mr. Healey

I cannot give a precise estimate, but the order of increase in N.A.T.O. conventional forces that would be necessary without the possible use of nuclear weapons to deter effectively an all-out conventional attack by Warsaw Pact forces is beyond the realm of practical possibility in present circumstances. For this and other reasons, as I explained to the House on 4th March, the only strategy which is compatible with the views and interests of the European N.A.T.O. members involves a mixture of conventional and nuclear capability along the lines which N.A.T.O. is now following; and in terms of numbers of major units the present level of N.A.T.O.'s conventional forces is a reasonable one although there is scope for improving their effectiveness.—[Vol. 779, c. 242.]