N.A.T.O. Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic (Statement)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Navy – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th December 1957.

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Mr. Dugdale:

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Admiralty whether the statement of the Commander-in-Chief of the Home Fleet that the naval forces at the disposal of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are insufficient to carry out the duties which would fall to them in the event of war was made with his approval.

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

This officer was speaking in his capacity as the N.A.T.O. Commander-in-Chief, Eastern Atlantic. In this capacity he did not require to obtain my noble Friend's approval before making the statement. Similar views to those of the Commander-in-Chief were expressed by the Supreme Allied Commander Atlantic.

Mr. Dugdale:

Is the hon. Gentleman saying that those views are the same as the views held by his noble Friend the First Lord of the Admiralty? If he does hold those views, is it not time that he resigned his position as First Lord of the Admiralty, if he considers that the Government have imposed tasks upon him which he is unable to perform with the forces given to him by that Government?

Photo of Mr Christopher Soames Mr Christopher Soames , Bedford

The officer concerned was not referring to the forces of any one particular country. He was referring to N.A.T.O. forces in the Atlantic, which are provided by a number of countries, and he took great care not to pick out any particular Navy for comment.