Ballistic Missiles (Anglo-American Agreement)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th May 1958.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 14th May 1958

asked the Secretary of State for Air what progress has been made with the carrying into effect of the agreement with the United States of America on the supply of ballistic missiles to the United Kingdom.

Mr. Ward:

The first group of R.A.F. officers and airmen to be trained to operate the missiles leaves for the United States this week. Some American technicians have already arrived in this country.

Other arrangements for the carrying into effect of our agreement are well in hand.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that this agreement was accepted by many of us only on the understanding that the McMahon Act would be revised? Would not he agree that the implementation of this agreement, which suggests that British as opposed to American personnel are not to be trusted with the custody of the warheads, should proceed in step with the revision of the McMahon Act?

Mr. Ward:

That is not a matter for me. We are working in close collaboration with the Americans under our joint agreement.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Lincoln

Surely the point about the McMahon Act is the whole basis of the agreement and the planning. Surely the right hon. Gentleman can deal with that, since it must be something to do with him. After all, it is his Service which will operate it?

Mr. Ward:

We have reached an agreement with the Americans and we are working under that agreement. Any new agreement to be signed is not a matter for me.