Rocket Bases, United Kingdom

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1957.

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Photo of Viscount  Hinchingbrooke Viscount Hinchingbrooke , South Dorset 12:00 am, 18th December 1957

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.

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

I have been asked to reply.

My right hon. Friend has at present nothing to add to the information he gave to the House on this subject on 12th December.

Photo of Viscount  Hinchingbrooke Viscount Hinchingbrooke , South Dorset

Does my right hon. Friend think it likely that we shall have a full statement about this in the forthcoming debate on Friday?

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

I am afraid that I cannot add to what I have already said. I cannot give any indication that that will be so.

Photo of Viscount  Hinchingbrooke Viscount Hinchingbrooke , South Dorset

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?

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

Once again I will certainly bring to the attention of my right hon. Friend the representations which my noble Friend has just made.

Photo of Mr Frederick Bellenger Mr Frederick Bellenger , Bassetlaw

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?

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

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.