Europe (British Forces)

Oral Answers to Questions — United Nations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Manchester, Gorton 12:00 am, 14th December 1964

asked the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs whether the Government will now exercise the right reserved to them, in the assurance given to the Brussels Treaty powers in October, 1954, about the maintenance of United Kingdom forces on the Continent of Europe, to invite the North Atlantic Council to review the financial conditions on which these formations are maintained, on the ground that their maintenance in present conditions throws too heavy a strain on the external finances of the United Kingdom.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Manchester, Gorton

Would my hon. Friend recall that the assurance given was in the following terms, that if the maintenance of United Kingdom forces on the Continent of Europe throws at any time too heavy a strain on the external finance of the United Kingdom it will inform the North Atlantic Council who will review the financial conditions on which formations are maintained? Why do not the Government put this to the N.A.T.O. Council? Why do we have to bear this burden when there is a strain on our finances, as all the evidence shows? Does he not think that the old-age pensioners would like us to get tough with Germany rather than get tough with them?

Photo of Mr Walter Padley Mr Walter Padley , Ogmore

I am, of course, aware of the provisions to which my hon. Friend refers, but I do not think they need to be invoked at the present time.

Photo of Sir Knox Cunningham Sir Knox Cunningham , South Antrim

Could the hon. Gentleman say whether some of his back benchers stick up for their own country?

Hon. Members:

Answer.