asked the Minister of Defence (1) whether he will make the establishment of four rocket bases in the United Kingdom conditional on the repeal by the United States Congress of the restrictive clauses of the MacMahon Act;
(2) when the proposal to establish four rocket bases in the United Kingdom was first mooted, and by whom; whether these weapons are designed to be an effective counter to the Soviet intercontinental missiles; or to what other new military threat they are directed.
Do my right hon. Friend and the Government realise that if these rocket bases are established without an effective quid pro quo from the United States, that gives the United States a very distinct diplomatic and military advantage over us? Furthermore, if they are established here and other N.A.T.O. countries are refusing, for various reasons, to have them established, will not that introduce grave dissimilarities into the N.A.T.O. organisation?
Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that it is because his right hon. Friend is detained elsewhere and not for any other reason that he is giving these stalling answers?
I really thought it was within the knowledge of the House, and I am sure that it is within the knowledge of the right hon. Gentleman, that my right hon. Friend is attending a very vital conference in Paris at the moment. I am sure that the House understands the reason for his absence.