Oral Answers to Questions — Defence Expenditure

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd July 1952.

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Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington 12:00 am, 22nd July 1952

asked the Prime Minister what reductions in defence expenditure as compared with the original estimates are contemplated by the Government; and whether other Governments in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will be consulted.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to await the debate which will take place next week.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that that answer is by no means original: it has been given on at least three occasions? Is it not desirable that we should be placed in possession of facts regarding the proposals of the Government before the debate so that we would know what we are to talk about, and also know what the Government are intending to talk about? We ought to have some facts into which we can get our teeth.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

How can I, in the three-quarters of a minute which may perhaps remain to me, condense a statement of Government policy on this highly complicated matter?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the latter part of my Question? Is it intended to consult other Governments with whom we are associated in N.A.T.O.?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

That point is fully covered by the answer which I gave originally.

Photo of Mr Hugh Gaitskell Mr Hugh Gaitskell , Leeds South

In view of the confusion in the Press arising out of the Prime Minister's last replies on this subject, would he at least inform the House whether he referred to grave and far-reaching "matters" or to grave and far-reaching "measures" when he was last questioned? Some newspapers took one view and some another, and I think that it would be extremely valuable to all of us to have that point cleared up.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I recognise the epithet, but I cannot, without further reference, be sure as to the noun.