asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he has now had an opportunity of completing his study of the text of the recent statement by General Thomas White, United States Air Force Chief of Staff, before a United States Senate Committee, that Her Majesty's Government regards Thor missiles in this country as being operational and ready to be fired; and whether it remains Her Majesty's Government's policy that these missiles shall be used merely for training until they are modified as a result of tests in the United States of America.
I have now received a verbatim report which I have sent to the hon. Member. General White correctly stated that we have accepted the first emplacement for Thor as operational. This means that the ground equipment has been satisfactorily demonstrated. So far as missiles are concerned, the position remains as stated by my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State in reply to the hon. Member's Question on 18th March.
While very much welcoming that assurance, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether it is not about time that there was more coordination between him and the United States authorities on Thor, because almost monthly and sometimes even weekly we have these contradictory statements coming out of the United States?