G.O.C.-in-C., Western Command (Speech)

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

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Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West 12:00 am, 11th December 1957

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the announcement by Lieutenant-General Sir E. Otway Herbert, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, which was delivered to the Institution of Electrical Engineers at Chester on 11th November, to the effect that Russian scientific claims were not to be believed, was made with his authority; and whether he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Stephen Swingler Mr Stephen Swingler , Newcastle-under-Lyme

asked the Secretary of State for War whether the speech by Lieutenant-General Sir E. Otway Herbert. General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Command, at Chester on 11th November, declaring that the Soviet authorities must never be believed about anything they tell us, was made with the authority of his Department.

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

No authority was necessary. I understand that General Herbert's remark was that we should not believe everything the Russians tell us.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Whether or not the Secretary of State has done me the favour of reading this speech, is he aware that this officer did not believe there was a Sputnik and did not believe there was a dog in the Sputnik?

Photo of Sir Gerald Nabarro Sir Gerald Nabarro , Kidderminster

Was there a dog in the Sputnik?

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

If that officer holds those strange views of the Russian experiments, what view would he take of the American experiments?

Photo of Mr John Hare Mr John Hare , Sudbury and Woodbridge

The latter part of the supplementary question is somewhat hypothetical. I think the reports of this speech were somewhat exaggerated. I have indeed done the hon. Member the courtesy of looking into it, and I can assure him that what Lieutenant-General Herbert implied was that we should not believe everything the Russians tell us. I think that is probably wise advice.