Oral Answers to Questions — General Norstad (Speech)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1960.

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Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East 12:00 am, 28th November 1960

asked the Lord Privy Seal to what extent Her Majesty's Government was consulted concerning the speech of the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Parliamentarians' Conference on 21st November.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Her Majesty's Government were not consulted.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that great concern as well as great interest was shown in the House at the report of this speech in Paris? While there was considerable sympathy for General Norstad's view that there must be political control of the use of atomic weapons in the alliance, there was a very strong feeling on this side of the House about his other proposal that intermediate range missiles should be put as tactical weapons under General Norstad's command on the Continent? When are the Government going to break their deafening silence on this question and give us their views on a matter of great concern, not only to this country but to the rest of the alliance?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

This Question concerns Genera I Norstad's views, and he put these views forward in his capacity as Supreme Commander, Europe. He did not consult Her Majesty's Government.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Is it not the case that General Norstad is responsible to this Government, as well as to the other fourteen N.A.T.O. Governments? When are Her Majesty's Government going to speak up for Britain in this alliance?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

General Norstad is responsible to the N.A.T.O. Council, consisting of fifteen Governments, and he expresses his views as the personal views of the Commander-in-Chief.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Will the Minister consult General Norstad and tell him that there is widespread anxiety about this speech, and that, if he wishes to make any such pronouncements in future, it would be just as well that he should get in touch with Her Majesty's Government?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Her Majesty's Government will have an opportunity to express their views in the N.A.T.O. Council.