Thor Missiles and Equipment (Deliveries)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28 January 1959.

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Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper 12:00, 28 January 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many delivery flights per month are being made by United States Globemasters bringing

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Thor missiles and their support equipment to this country.

Mr. Ward:

About forty, but the great majority of these flights do, of course, carry support equipment.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that although last week he denied that there were sixty of these missiles here, I have since been able to find a statement made as long ago as 21st November to the effect that there were to be sixty of these missiles here by the end of 1958 and that thirty Globe-master journeys per month were scheduled to bring the missiles and their supply equipment here? Does the right hon. Gentleman say that that information, as well as what I said last week, is wrong or does he know nothing about it at all?

Mr. Ward:

I do not know where the right hon. Gentleman gets that statement which he said was made in November, Where does it come from?

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

The information that I am quoting is from an announcement made in the journal called the Aeroplane of 21st November, quoting United States statements—[Interruption.]Yes, but the Thors are coming from the United States. Last week the American general who was in command of them was apparently wrong. Is the Minister aware that the reports upon which he has cast doubt are coming from the manufacturers, from Douglas? If neither the commander nor the manufacturers know what they are talking about and the Minister knows nothing about anything, what are we to believe?

Mr. Ward:

Let us get this quite straight. The only fault lies in the fact that the right hon. Gentleman consistently misquotes what people say. What the American, General Schriever, said was that the first squadron of missiles would be on their pads in February, and that is correct.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

Would the right hon. Gentleman tell me what is the misquotation here?— United States reports state that 60 Thor I.R.B.M.s are to be delivered to Britain by the end of 1958. The missiles and their support equipment are being flown to Britain from Long Beach, California, in Douglas Globemasters. Thirty delivery flights a month are scheduled. What is the misquotation there? If the right hon. Gentleman now says that there is not a misquotation, would he say what part of that statement is wrong?

Mr. Ward:

The right hon. Gentleman asked for the facts and I have given him the facts. He can believe me or believe the Aeroplane, whichever he likes.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

I have no doubt which I would believe.