Will the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will be as tough with the Germans over this matter as Her Majesty's Government are in relation to the employees engaged in the National Health Service? Will he make it perfectly clear to the Germans that unless they are prepared to pay as much this year as last year—£50 million in total, which still would leave some leeway to make up—we shall have no alternative but to reduce our forces in Germany to correspond with the amount by which the Germans have fallen below what we expect them to pay?
The hon. Member has stated his view, but if I were entering negotiation with him I do not think I would find him a very good partner. A negotiation is a negotiation. We are talking to our friends and hope to reach agreement agreeable to both sides. We have our claims, which we believe in and which we shall put forward, but they have to be negotiated first through W.E.U. and N.A.T.O. We believe that with good will a solution to this problem is to be found.
Will the Prime Minister put it to the Germans that no self-respecting nation like the Germans would expect the British taxpayer to pay for their defence until they were able to defend themselves?
Yes, Sir, but there are two quite different problems. There is the short-term problem. We have maintained, successfully up to now, that until the Germans make a defence effort of equivalent value to ours, they have a duty as good partners to help us in this matter. Then there is the quite separate problem, even when they have reached that point where they could claim that they were making equal contributions, the problem of exchange, because our troops are stationed in another country. Even if the money contributions on both sides are equal that makes a heavy burden on the exchange, and that is a long-term problem quite separate from the short-term problem of the equivalence of effort.