Orders of the Day — Defence

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th March 1969.

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Order read for resuming adjourned debate on Amendment to Question[4th March]: That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1969, contained in Command Paper No. 3927.Which Amendment was, to leave out from the word ' House' to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: 'regrets that Government policies are reducing the strength of the armed forces to a level inadequate to maintain the security of this country and its overseas interests'.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Before I call the first speaker to open the debate, may I remind the House that many hon. Members wish to speak, including a number who sat all through yesterday's debate and have some claim to be considered to be called. Reasonably brief speeches will help.

4.9 p.m.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I have the sad task of asking the House to turn its attention from cheese to the mere matter of the defence of the country. I should begin by explaining that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition had hoped to catch your eye this afternoon, Mr. Speaker, but is, I am sorry to say, indisposed. Therefore, we have had to make a rapid change of dispositions. I have been fortunate enough to catch your eye in my right hon. Friend's place, and my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) hopes later to catch your eye in winding up the debate for the Opposition before the Secretary of State delivers his second speech, in accordance with the tradition of these debates.

My right hon. and learned Friend yesterday, in a very wide-ranging speech, set out very clearly the reasons why, in our Amendment, we declare that the Government have reduced the strength of the Armed Forces to a level inadequate to maintain the security of the country and its overseas interests. I will not go over the same ground again. I want to pick out four main points which seem to be of particular importance. The first is the situation in Europe, to which the Secretary of State referred at length yesterday, the second is the reserves and their totally inadequate state, the third is the very sorry story of recruiting, and the fourth is the abandonment of our obligations and interests east of Suez.

I believe that I should be right in saying these are the four matters upon which, most of all, we rest our case against the Government. The claim of the Secretary of State is that he has saved a great deal of money and strengthened the security of the country by concentrating in the way he has done on our defences in Europe. We on this side do not accept this. We do not accept the views he has expressed on Europe, to which I have referred; and, certainly, we totally reject the idea that Britain's true long-term interests are served by a total concentration on the European front to the neglect of our other manifold overseas interests.

Frankly, we are not entirely convinced either, by the Secretary of State's calculations about his economies, because we have noticed that apart from expenditure within the Defence Estimates there is a very large item for other military defence expenditure of which, I believe I am right in saying, the overwhelming item is purchases of American aircraft. To get a realistic figure this must be included. If we do include it, and quote the statistics given by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury himself to the House a little while ago, we can see that the total expenditure on defence by the Government, as a percentage of the gross national product, so far from falling, has, during the last few years been going up. This is the answer to the Secretary of State's claim.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

The right hon. Gentleman, as a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, is well aware that all the progress payments on deliveries of American aircraft are included in the defence budget figures to which I have referred. The figures he is including are what we would have paid if we had not financed our purchases through credits. He knows perfectly well that these payments are included in estimates for later years when the necessary progress payments are made. In other words, he is referring to something which is not expenditure at all in the year concerned. He knows that as well as I do.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Really, I did not think that even the Secretary of State would have thought of that. They purchase now and we pay in a few years' time. The true costs of defence are the figures given by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the total cost of defence expenditure in the Estimates with other military defence expenditure outside the Estimates. If the Secretary of State runs his accounts on the basis that as you do not have to pay for two years you do not have to worry then I am not surprised that he gets in the muddle he does. We can only look at the total expenditure in relation to national resources in a given year.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

It is not expenditure——

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

We cannot have a debate by running commentary, even from the Minister of Defence.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

If one acquires aircraft "on tick" one is spending something. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman's Government will not have to meet the bill, but the country will.

I turn to the position in Europe, to which the Minister gave so much attention yesterday. We are by no means convinced that he has made a very great contribution to increasing security in Western Europe; and in particular, he has not answered questions put by my right hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing), in a very powerful speech, about the degree to which any increase has been added to the total strength of N.A.T.O. by the measures announced by the Secretary of State. One squadron of Harriers. How much does that amount to? Further strengthening on the flanks of N.A.T.O. How much in practical terms, in terms of peace and war and aggression, does that mean?

We are not yet convinced that the addition to the strength of N.A.T.O. for which the right hon. Gentleman takes credit is more than a fairly marginal amount, but I want to deal particularly with the main doctrine of European defence, as the Secretary of State did yesterday. He talked about graduated deterrents and a flexible response. I am doubtful about these phrases. Some of this jargon does not help us very much. Once, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, I was unwise enough to speak of Purchase Tax as a "flexible weapon" and the hon. Member for Poplar (Mr. Mikardo) said that it sounded like a rubber hammer. We must not be bemused by these phrases.

The Secretary of State tried to prove that his approach to European defence was very different from ours. I just do not believe that at all. I believe that there is very little change. He is satisfied that the present level of N.A.T.O. forces is adequate for their purpose and, he said, adequate for anything short of a deliberate major attack. I am not sure what will be very important short of a deliberate major attack. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman would explain what circumstances he had in mind and what circumstances would be a really important factor in our military planning. Surely, there is not all that difference between his talk of a flexible response and the phrase used by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) in the past—"a trip wire".

Surely, there are three things which our defence in Europe must seek to do. First, pose to the Russians the real danger of a nuclear response—not, I agree, the certainty but the danger which should and surely would be enough deterrent against any aggressor. Secondly, we must be able to impose a temporary delay on any aggression to give the opportunity for discussion and negotiation and to avoid the immediate facing of the dilemma of nuclear destruction or total defeat. Thirdly, we must have the means of identifying and reacting to aggression, not a mere border incident.

This, surely, is the purpose of a trip wire just as much as it is the purpose of a flexible response. I do not think that we should argue on unrealities. The Secretary of State should not claim that there has been any change of policy in something which has not changed at all.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

In that case, how does the hon. Gentleman explain the statement of his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon), in opening the debate for the Opposition yesterday afternoon: But I am sure that we must agree as a matter of strategy that it was right for N. A.T.O. to abandon the former trip-wire doctrine of immediate massive nuclear retaliation in favour of the concept of a flexible response based on a stronger conventional capability in Europe."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 3rd March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 252.] Will the right hon. Gentleman try to sort this out with his right hon. and learned Friend, so that we have a common Opposition?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Whether we call it a flexible response or a trip wire we need adequate forces to identify the nature of the aggression and to maintain a period in which diplomatic contact can take place so that we can avoid the awful choice between nuclear conflict and a complete defeat.

My right hon. and learned Friend will speak later and, no doubt, will conduct a further dialogue, but there is little difference between the two sides on this and it would be a pity to try to manufacture differences. There are some doubts, though. I hope that the Secretary of State can deal with some of these particular questions. He says that we in the West of Europe cannot hope to match the forces of the Warsaw Pact. He may be right on that, but there are questions on it.

Mr. McNamara who is, after all, very wise and well informed in these matters, took a very different point of view. I had the pleasure of seeing him in Washington last month, and he adheres to his view on the matter, presumably on the same evidence as is available to the Secretary of State. We should like to hear a little more about the Government's calculations, because they are very alarming calculations, showing a preponderance in tank and aircraft strength a good deal larger than was ever accepted by Mr. McNamara or others.

The other factor, of course, is surprise. Until fairly recently the Secretary of State has said that we should have some warning of aggression in Western Europe by the heightening of political tension. Does he still say that after Czechoslovakia, and after his emphasis on the speed and efficiency with which Russian forces were able to move into Czechoslovakia under cover of so-called "manœuvres"? If he does, he has failed to learn the lesson of recent history.

Why should it be impossible for the Western countries, which in manpower and in wealth should be able to match the Soviet Union, to match them in military defence as well? This is a hard question to answer. The answer, I think, lies in the figures given by the Minister about the proportion of their national wealth that the Soviet countries devote to armament. If we did the same we could match their forces. The simple point is not that we cannot match their forces, but that we are not prepared to do so. I do not think that it is politically acceptable to any country in Western Europe to embark on a programme of that kind.

We must, therefore, look at our European strategy against that background. I agree with the Secretary of State that it is not acceptable to Western European countries to develop a conventional potential on the total scale of the Russians. We must, therefore, have our trip wire or our flexible response, but it must be an adequate trip wire or adequate flexibility.

In that respect, I cannot help finding in the White Paper a remarkable contrast in the Government's emphasis on the way that defence expenditure is escalating on the other side of the Iron Curtain while defence expenditure here is going down. This seems to me to be very strange indeed. If that is so, our relative ability to impose a delay, a trip, a flexible period or a threshold on the Soviet forces must be diminishing.

It is difficult to see how the Government can accept that when in the past, on more than one occasion, both the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister have talked about taking risks of a virtually unacceptable character. It was the Prime Minister who, in January, 1968, said: We recognise … that these changes involve risks, but in the circumstances we believe they are risks that must be accepted. There was the famous statement by the Secretary of State himself in November, 1967: I frankly admit that there is an element of risk here, an element of risk which I would be reluctant to take in normal circumstances … I believe that the degree of risk is one which, in the current situation, is acceptable."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th November, 1967; Vol. 755, c. 67.] Since then, however, on the right hon. Gentleman's own figures, the risk must have been growing, because if the right hon. Gentleman is right in his figures in the White Paper about the way that East European countries are spending their money and building up their strength while we cut ours down, relatively the risk must have been growing and the immediacy and nature of the risk has surely been emphasised very much indeed by the events in Czechoslovakia. Therefore, we on this side are right to pose seriously to the Government the question whether they are making adequate provision for the threshold which they see—I think, rightly—as a way of avoiding the awful choice between nuclear war and defeat by invasion.

This is, of course, a matter in which we are involved with our N.A.T.O. allies. It is right to say, as has been said and is probably accepted by the Secretary of State, that we should press upon our N.A.T.O. allies that they should make a bigger response to the common threat in many cases than they are doing at present. That I accept. It does not absolve us, however, from doing our share.

I find particular ground for concern in the total inadequacy of the reserves now available to this country. I do not see how the Secretary of State can hope to deploy and maintain the sort of strategy or flexibility of response which he has in mind without an adequate reserve organisation behind our Regular forces. Nor do I see how we can hope to have the flexibility of response across the whole globe, which we must have as a country, without adequate reserve forces behind our Regular forces.

I believe that the Secretary of State makes a fundamental error in being too certain of the success of his own logic. He thinks out problems with great logic, I agree, and he assumes that the answer which he brings out is the only possible answer. The one lesson of history, however, particularly of the last 20 years, is that what matters in military terms is the uncertain and the unexpected. It is the preparation and the ability to meet the uncertain that matters. I do not see this flexibility in the Minister's proposals.

Therefore, I turn to the reserves as a matter that gives us great concern. There is no doubt that the contrast between us and other European countries is very great. The Times this morning said that the degree by which the reserves available to other countries in terms of their available manpower exceed the reserves of this country is, on average, a factor of up to 10 to 1.

I know that our system is different, and, traditionally, it always has been different. I would not argue that we need reserves on the same scale as the Continental countries, but I am not certain that by saying this we can push on one side, as the Government appear to do, the need for really effective and adequate reserves in this country.

Look at the position now. As I understand—the Minister will, no doubt, correct me if I am wrong—the Government expect to have in the early 1970s Regular reserves of about 60,000 and a Territorial Army reserve of 80 per cent. of 56,000—say, 40,000 to 45,000. That, I understand, will be all. According to the best evidence that I can get, however, to bring the Regular Army up to establishment would need 60,000 reservists alone. So far as I can make out, to provide the logistic support which has been promised to the United Nations and to fulfil our commitment to B.A.O.R. would probably take all the reserves available, both Regular and volunteer. This would leave us denuded of home defence in this country.

There was a passage yesterday about a newspaper report. The Secretary of State spoke in his usual charming and forthright manner, as described in The Times of Monday with much accuracy, about that report. But we are concerned here that there is something of substance about home defence, the defence of British and N.A.T.O. military installations in this country against possible and probable attack, particularly air and parachute attack. On present Government plans, we do not see how any provision of an adequate kind will be made for this home defence.

Again, on a previous occasion, the Government have talked about several thousand Regular sailors and soldiers still being left in the United Kingdom after Rhine Army has been reinforced, but will they be left as coherent units or merely as men left behind for one reason or another? What coherent, command-able, plannable units will be left in this country in those circumstances to deal with the very important tasks of home defence? This we must know. Unless we get an adequate answer on this, we must be forced to the conclusion that the Government have stretched our defence resources so far as to leave no adequate protection whatever, in case of war, for the home base which is essential.

The position, therefore, of the reserves is immensely important. It is linked, of course, with the shabby treatment meted out by the Government to the Territorial Army. This we have debated very many time and I do not want to rehearse it again. It is a very sorry story of men who have a great spirit of service and endeavour shabbily treated by their Government, a story of total failure to understand what is meant by the voluntary response to public service, a story of muddle which has left us with a very sorry situation.

I do not want to go into that again—it is well known to all of us—but I want to turn to recruiting, because there can be no doubt that, on present trends, even the Government's defence plans cannot be fulfilled. This is a very serious matter. I think that I am right in saying that the shortfall in recruiting has been something like one-quarter recently and was slightly over one-quarter between the last two years taken comparatively one with another. Unless something can effectively be done about this in the very near future, we shall be facing a very difficult situation.

The Secretary of State yesterday talked about demographic factors—a splendid phrase meaning, as I understand it, that there will be fewer men available at the right time. It may be that he is right and that these are actuarial calculations, but if fewer people are available, the need to recruit them is all the greater, because the shortfall in people does not change the liability, the danger or the need. Therefore, the more that the Secretary of State emphasises that there are not so many people available, the more he should be concentrating on getting all that he requires from those who are available.

The reasons for the shortfall in recruiting are now fairly well known. There is, first, the constant uncertainty. We all talk to members of the forces in different parts of the country, and abroad, and constantly come up against this, that there have been so many chops and changes, so many White Papers, so many plans. Each time the Secretary of State says, "At last we have it right. We shall not change it any more", and when he says it again now I must tell him that nobody believes him. Why should they? It has happened so often.

We should not underestimate, too, the importance of the loss of opportunity for service overseas. This was enormously attractive to young men going into the Services, and the fact that it will not in future be available on the Government's policies is bound to be reflected in recruiting.

There is an impression in the forces and among those who might join that the Labour Party is opposed to the Armed Forces. There is a certain amount of evidence of that in the speeches and Amendments that come from below the gangway during the course of these debates.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves recruitment, will he clear up this point. Is he or is he not in favour of compulsory national service?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Of course I am not. My point is that if the Government do not do something about it, they will themselves be faced with a nasty dilemma on precisely this point. In speaking of the Labour Party's opposition to the forces, I am merely reporting what people have said to me on more than one occasion. This is a factor, and it should not be ignored by the party opposite.

The biggest factor of all, undoubtedly, is pay, and I want to deal with this particularly. I am certain that the Government are wrong to depart from the Grigg principle. This is a fundamental error. The pay of the Armed Forces is something quite special and quite separate. It cannot and must not be regarded as just another wage claim.

This is different for two reasons. First, because we must have the forces we need to protect our country as a first requirement, and, secondly, because the Armed Forces cannot bargain for themselves in the normal way, cannot threaten to go on strike, cannot go through the normal processes. Hence, I am sure that the principle of Grigg was right, that we guarantee to the Services that they would be kept in line with other people and, as the general level of incomes goes ahead, so, periodically, the level of income of the forces would be brought up in line with that.

As the House may be aware, I have strong views on the desirability of an incomes policy. I agree that comparability, if followed too seriously, can lead to considerable difficulties in the broad area of incomes policy, but this, the pay of the Armed Forces, is entirely different. It is different, first, for the reasons which I have just given about the need for the forces and the fact that they cannot go on strike and, secondly, because, by definition, the Services cannot set the pace, cannot be pace-setters in the incomes rise and cannot, therefore, take part in the process of leap-frogging, which is one of the great difficulties of the incomes policy.

The amount needed to bring the forces up in line with the general advance of incomes can fairly easily be calculated. Indeed, I would have hoped that a calculation of this kind would have been available as part of the background to the Defence Estimates, because it is relevant. The Economist estimated that by the time the National Board for Prices and Incomes reports the cost will be about a 10 per cent. increase and about £50 million. I would think that that is a broadly fair figure. What will the Government do when this happens?

If the N.B.P.I. makes an award of this character, will the Government accept it? If they do, they will have wasted a great deal of time and created suspicion by passing the matter over to the Board. If the Board recommends less than this, less than comparability, will the Government accept its report? Will the Government then place a decision which is central to the security of this country in the hands of Mr. Aubrey Jones? There are many decisions and many matters which are rightly handled by Mr. Jones and his Board, but I do not believe that a matter which is vital to our security should be left to the judgment of the N.B.P.I.

The Government will have to pay the necessary rate to get the recruits, or they will have to have conscription, or they will fail to provide the country with the defences it requires. This is the situation that they face, and the House is entitled to know now how they intend to handle it. Nothing is more important to the future of our defence than this vital question of pay, which underlies all the prospects of recruiting to the Services.

I come now to the final subject with which I wish to deal, and that is our position east of Suez, where, as the Minister knows, there is a great division of opinion between the two sides of the House. We say that the Government, by their policy, have defaulted on Britain's obligations and have neglected Britain's interests. I believe that they are pursuing a course which may lead to a division between the United States and Western Europe which could have long-term fundamental consequences of a serious character. Nobody has been able to specify the number of treaties, but there can be no doubt that the Government, by their action east of Suez, broke Britain's word to many people whom we promised to protect and who are in no position to protect themselves. That is the situation which has been created.

The Secretary of State may say that, as a result of this, things are happening, that people are getting together. Naturally, when people are put into that situation they have to look round for ways to protect themselves, and we all welcome the developments which are taking place in, for instance, the Trucial States. Why not? Of course, people will protect themselves when they are able to do so, but when they have relied on the word of Britain for so many years they are entitled to expect that Britain will keep her word.

The important point is time. As we all know, to form a federation takes a long time, and a hastily formed federation often leads to danger, for these smaller countries on the Gulf, the little countries; with large oil incomes, are totally incapable of defending themselves and certainly of defending themselves within a short time if British power, protection and interests are too rapidly withdrawn. I say once again to the Secretary of State that the plans for withdrawing from the Gulf are putting at risk British interests and British honour on a very great scale for a tiny reward.

Look at what the Russians are doing. They are moving round there, their naval units are appearing, their presence is being seen, and this fact appears in the White Paper. The Secretary of State says that the Russian naval units are there merely for their political results, not only in the Mediterranean but in the Indian Ocean. But if it is good for Russia politically to appear in the Gulf, why is it good for Britain to leave the Gulf?

Why is it different for us? We have friendships and interests there, so why is it good for us, who can maintain stability there and have done so for many years, to walk out, leaving a political vacuum Which will be filled either by the Russians or by the sort of discord and concatenation which bode no good for us or for our Western European allies?

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I respect his arguments; I have myself used them to some extent in the past. But if he is serious about the argument which he is now using, will he tell the House whether he plans to keep forces in the Gulf and the Far East on the scale on which we have them there now, with South Arabia and confrontation over? If so, we can form some judgment on the policy of the party opposite. If he is not prepared to answer that question, what he is saying now is simply humbug.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

The Secretary of State is a very polite man. I shall be delighted to answer his question. I would have done so anyway, during my speech.

The forces in the Gulf are very small and, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, we could have come to an agreement with our allies there which involved their carrying a substantial part of the burden. In a place like the Gulf a small British presence is vitally important. One man on the ground is worth 100 men over the horizon on the sea.

Our proposals on the Far East are that we should form with Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia a joint Commonwealth presence there. Obviously, the British contribution will be basically naval and air components and technical assistance. We would not contemplate the presence of large-scale ground forces, because they would be better provided by Malaysia and Singapore. Our proposal is a co-operative effort of this character in South-East Asia.

Surely the Secretary of State has not failed to notice what the Australian Prime Minister has recently said on the Australian proposal for maintaining a naval air presence and a small military presence in South-East Asia.

These are our proposals, and we are certain that they will add to the stability of South-East Asia. We cannot ignore this part of the world, whatever anyone says. If Australia were attacked, we would go to her defence, and the same applies I believe to India, Pakistan, Malaysia and the other Commonwealth countries. Whatever the formal obligations, we would go. Therefore, we have a fundamental interest in maintaining the peace east of Suez, and we can better maintain that peace by being there than by leaving the place.

Photo of Mr Christopher Mayhew Mr Christopher Mayhew , Woolwich East

Quite rightly, constant stress is laid on the point that if we are to have a presence east of Suez it must be by means of a contribution to a joint force. But what about the Gulf? With whom does the right hon. Gentleman suggest that we should contribute to a joint force in the Gulf?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

With the Trucial States, the people there themselves. I hope that the Trucial Oman Scouts will become the defence force of the new Trucial Emirate.

Photo of Mr Christopher Mayhew Mr Christopher Mayhew , Woolwich East

But the right hon. Gentleman has just been saying that the Trucial States are without defences and quite incapable of any military effort.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will do me the courtesy of listening to what I say. I have already said that countries of this character cannot build up their defences in a couple of years. They are building up their defences. It is to be hoped that the Trucial Oman Scouts will become the defence force of the Union of Arab Emirates, but, without a British presence, they will not be enough. We propose that they should co-operate with us, just as in the Far East our Commonwealth partners will co-operate with us there.

Then we must consider the position of the United States. The Prime Minister coined a graphic phrase a little while ago when talking about America confronting China "eyeball to eyeball". That is one of his phrases which is worth recalling. If we leave America to bear the whole burden east of Suez, the Americans will feel a political exposure in that part of the world of a severe character. There will be a real danger that the Americans will say, "If you and Europe want to look after your own affairs and ignore the wider interests of all the people of South-East Asia and the oil resources in the Gulf on which you depend, carry on. We will leave you to defend your European interests, and we will look after the rest of the world."

I do not say that that will happen, but it is a real danger. I would have thought that the recent disarray in Europe would have brought home once again to the United States the difficulty of getting the sort of concord with the Soviet Union that they seek.

There is a real danger that the United States would be tempted to reach an agreement with the Soviet Union over the heads of Western Europe simply because they took the view that, as we were not helping them in the rest of the world, why should they worry about Western Europe. Nothing would do more harm to the cause of Western freedom than such a split.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I follow the right hon. Gentleman's argument about the danger of the United States withdrawing either from Europe or elsewhere. But in 1950 and 1951, although America was ready to concentrate her capabilities in Europe, she joined with Australia and New Zealand in the Anzus Pact, accepting full responsibility for dealing with defence in that area, and that Great Britain was excluded from that pact. Is he aware of that?

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Of course, and it adds strength to my point. If the American gaze is diverted away from the Atlantic by reason of Europe's concentration on European problems, the division could become a real and dangerous possibility.

Those, therefore, are my main arguments. To summarise them, we are not convinced that the European strategy of the party opposite has been thought out fully. In particular, we are worried about the lack of adequate reserves in this country both for home defence and for giving an adequate flexibility for the world-wide deployment of our forces. Recruiting is obviously going badly and will continue to go badly unless the Government take definite measures. If recruiting continues to falter, the whole plans of the Government will be brought into question. Finally, east of Suez, the Government have betrayed Britain's trust and ignored our interests. For this, we condemn them.

4.45 p.m.

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) has been obliged to speak earlier today than originally intended, not because I did not want to hear him but because of the reasons which have forced him to speak now instead of winding up the debate for the Opposition. I hope that his right hon. Friend will soon recover from the bout of 'flu, or whatever it is which has laid him low.

I want to deal with one point straight away. I have spoken on it many times before, and I will not say a great deal about it today. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the shabby treatment of the Territorial Army by the Government. It is true that we have cut down considerably the number of soldiers in the TAVR as compared with the Territorial Army. However, if the right hon. Gentleman can spare a day later in the year and cares to come with me to visit a Territorial Army unit in camp, he will find that the way in which the Territorial Army units are treated now as compared with five years ago is far from shabby. If he sees for himself, I do not think that he will use that expression again.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I was thinking of the time when they had to go to camp at their own expense.

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

The vast bulk of the Territorial Army never had to do that. The vast bulk of them have had more money and overseas camps during the past three years than at any time during the previous 13 years. It was a very small number of Territorials who decided last year to go to camp at their own expense. I repeat my offer to the right hon. Gentleman. If he cares to come with me to Thetford or Dartmoor, during the coming camping season, I do not think that he will find anyone who thinks that he is being treated shabbily.

We shall be voting tonight on what is, in effect, a Motion of censure on the Government on what is, I suppose, about the most serious subject on which any Opposition can put down such a Motion. It accuses the Government of failing to provide for the defences of the country for which they are responsible.

In moving the Amendment, I found the speech of the right hon. and learned Member "or Hexham (Mr. Rippon) a little difficult in places to fit in with the Amendment. I am glad that he went out of his way to stress that there were some parts of the policy with which the Opposition were in agreement. However, he accused us of not providing adequately for the defence of the country. In part of his speech, he said that we are doing more in terms of N.A.T.O. defence than most of our European allies. He said that the R.A.F. represents a large part of the strike power of N.A.T.O., and that we provide the strongest of the European navies. Then he said that we alone amongst the European members of N.A.T.O. are involved in responsibilities for military action on every one of N.A.T.O.'s geographical fronts.

I agree with those statements completely. However, it is difficult to reconcile such statements with an Amendment which censures the Government for unduly running down our defences.

I was even more surprised when the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Hexham went on to say that, in his view, we have a right to argue that we are already over-committed to N.A.T.O. I thought at first that it was a slip of the tongue. I did not think that it was the view of the Opposition that we were over-committed to N.A.T.O. and are providing too much for the defence of Europe. The right hon. and learned Gentleman used the same word again a little later in his speech: We are in a sense already over-committed to N.A.T.O."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Tuesday, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 254.] I think that this is something which the right hon. and learned Gentleman should clear up later.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I accept the right hon. Gentleman's offer to deal with the point later. However, will he recognise that I was talking about our over-commitment in the sense of over-commitment to N.A.T.O. at the expense of our other interests, including home defence?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I was coming on to make that assumption. The fact remains, however, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman was suggesting that we should be using the troops which we have committed to N.A.T.O. for a worldwide rôle. Certainly, that was my assumption.

Her Majesty's Government do not accept that we are over-committed to N.A.T.O. N.A.T.O. has been the linchpin of the defence of the United Kingdom for the last 20 years, and the N.A.T.O. nuclear deterrent in American hands, plus the N.A.T.O. conventional deterrent, including substantial United States ground forces, have maintained the peace in Central Europe since 1945.

In present circumstances, I see no alternative to a continuation of this policy with the two types of deterrent at both the conventional and nuclear level.

We all hope that the discussions, which are expected to start in the near future, between the United States and the U.S.S.R. on arms limitation will lead to a satisfactory conclusion and will ease tension not only in Europe but throughout the world. Such discussions, in which other members of N.A.T.O. and of the Warsaw Pact must play their proper part, are the only way to reduce this tension and lead eventually to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) referred to yesterday as multilateral disarmament under international control. That is the only long-term way that we can satisfactorily induce large reductions in arms without endangering the safety of this country.

Yesterday, the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham agreed that it was right for N.A.T.O. to abandon the tripwire doctrine and improve conventional capability. Some doubt has been cast on his authority to express that view on behalf of the Opposition by the right hon. Member for Barnet.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

Why does not the Minister quote col. 252, where I said: It is no good making a great thing of having changed the strategy from the tripwire that trips to the flexible response that lasts for only a few days."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 252.] That is just an academic play upon words.

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

There is a big difference between a trip-wire that trips for a few hours and a conventional arrangement that can delay a decision to use nuclear weapons for days when we are talking about decisions of that kind.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said so, too.

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that it was the right policy to go in for. If we are to start differentiating in a debate like this between a concept and a policy, I do not wish to enter into it.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman went on to argue that we were over-committed to N.A.T.O. and that it was a good thing to improve the conventional capability of N.A.T.O. But he argued that we should try to persuade other European members of N.A.T.O. to do that, so that we could reduce our commitments in Europe in order to play a world-wide rôle. This was the point which the right hon. and learned Gentleman tried to interject a moment or two ago.

We do not accept that particular doctrine. We do not automatically accept that we must maintain a world-wide rôle during the second half of the 20th century. Nor, when in power, does the Tory Party. During 13 years in office the Tories pursued a policy of reducing our world-wide commitments with considerable enthusiasm—and rightly so. They brought us out of the Continent of Africa.

The right hon. Member for Barnet spoke about leaving uncertainty in an area and allowing other people to move in. But it was a Conservative Government which brought us out of Africa. I am not criticising that decision. I am 100 per cent. in agreement. We get the impression that when the Conservatives are in office it is all right to reduce commitments overseas, but it is wrong when a Labour Government are in office.

Photo of Mr John Lee Mr John Lee , Reading

Before the Minister leaves Africa, will he deal with some other aspects of the matter which have not so far entered the debate? My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that in certain circumstances, if law and order broke down in Rhodesia, we would use military force, though he confined it to those circumstances. Has the Minister taken note of the need to provide forces to enable us to fulfil that rôle?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I have nothing to add to what the Prime Minister has said about that on several occasions. I do not think that my hon. Friend really expected me to say anything. We have said that as from the early part of the 1970s anything that we have to do outside Europe will be met from the capability that we maintain for our operations in Europe and as part of N.A.T.O.

When we took office we had three main areas east of Suez: Aden, the Gulf and Singapore and Malaysia. But the Tories tend to forget——

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

As the Minister is leaving Africa, may I ask him to say a word about Simonstown?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I did not leave Africa. I said that the Tories left Africa. Her Majesty's Government's ships do use the facilities of Simonstown when necessary. There is no secret about that.

We were in these three places east of Suez, but the Tory Government, before 1964, had promised independence to Aden and given the year in which it was to take place. We were right to go on after that to do the logical thing of withdrawing our troops at the time of independence.

I was interested to note that the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham continued yesterday on the old line, which is good for a debating point, of saying that members of the present Government, including my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence, were talking two years or more ago about how essential it was to have a British military presence in South-East Asia and how quickly we have changed our minds. I am not disputing this. That was the case. But what right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to have forgotten is that it is only two and a half years since confrontation came to an end in Malaysia.

We could hardly, at a time when our troops were engaged in confrontation in Malaysia, give consideration to how much longer we would remain in that area. We were committed to stay there whilst confrontation went on. We could not back out in the middle of it. A few months after confrontation came to an end we announced our intention of withdrawing from that part of the world in 1975. That date was brought forward, primarily for economic reasons, to 1971.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles , Winchester

The Minister is talking about confrontation. Is not confrontation a perfect example of the kind of bloodless victory and contribution to peacekeeping which British forces have made and can make in future?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

They have done that in many parts of the world in the past and there is no certainty that they will not have to do it in parts of the world in future. I accept that. But it is not necessary to keep large numbers of troops in Singapore sitting around waiting for it to happen out there again.

Our forces have successfully dealt with confrontation out there and we have the friendship of the countries we were helping to defend, for which they should be grateful. That was the time for us to come out of that area, having assisted them to stand on their own feet.

I recently visited Singapore for the handing over of the Royal Naval Dockyard to the Singapore Government, who are running it with Swan-Hunter in a commercial way. I was impressed by the way they were tackling the social and economic problems they have due to our military rundown and withdrawal from that part of the world. We applied what I believe to be the sensible policy of handing over assets required by the Singapore and Malaysian Governments for economic or defence purposes free of charge. From what I could see, they were making good use of those assets. They were taking them over smoothly and quickly and bringing them into use for their own economic or military purposes. We will operate a similar policy with assets in the Gulf.

The right hon. Member for Barnet and others have spoken of the comparatively small cost of maintaining forces in the Gulf. The cost of the troops on the ground is small. But any realistic effect that troops in the Gulf might have on potential aggressors or trouble-makers in that part of the world would quickly be lost if it was not known that there were substantial forces and equipment in the United Kingdom and elsewhere which could be got there in the event of trouble. Maintaining that kind of capability costs tens of millions of pounds. It is not just the cost of troops on the ground at any moment.

I now turn to particular points raised yesterday which, to some extent, have been followed up by the right hon. Member for Barnet today.

First, our commitments to N.AT.O. Both yesterday and today doubts were cast on the information given to the House and to the public about our commitments and extra commitments to N.A.T.O. over the past year or so. I should point out that in September, 1964, despite various W.E.U. commitments and other treaties, we had in B.A.O.R. 49,525 men. We have brought back to this country, as the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing) said yesterday, the 6th Brigade, which is one of the brigades in B.A.O.R. I think that the hon. Gentleman mentions 6,000 men. In fact, the number was 4,500, and they are stationed in the Catterick area. The total number in the B.A.O.R., including the men at Catterick, is 53,000. It follows from that that we have 48,500 men in Germany, 1,000 fewer than in 1964. It means, too, that as confrontation has come to an end, as we have come out of Aden, and as there is no trouble in any other part of the world, we are able to give a higher manning priority to the B.A.O.R. Despite the recruiting figures, we are confident that within the next 12 months we shall be able to post 1,000 more men to units in the B.A.O.R. In the coming year we shall have in the B.A.O.R. in Germany as many men as were there when we took over, plus a brigade of B.A.O.R. back in the Catterick area. This is a big improvement there, apart from anything else.

Photo of Mr Ian Orr-Ewing Mr Ian Orr-Ewing , Hendon North

Surely that defeats the argument of the Secretary of State, that we have come out from east of Suez to make a vast increase in what we are contributing to the B.A.O.R. All that we have done is to get back to the 1964 figure. Can the right hon. Gentleman say what the aircraft figures were to support these troops at tactical strength at 1964, and what they are today?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I do not think my right hon. Friend said that we were coming out of the Far East to build up the strength of the B.A.O.R. My right hon. Friend has argued that one reason for coming out of the Far East is to concentrate on the defence of Europe, which is the function of the B.A.O.R. I suggest that because of the commitments that we are gradually giving up in the Far East we shall be able to build up the strength of the B.A.O.R. units so that they are closer to their proper manning levels, and are much more effective as units than they were when they were several thousand men short in September, 1964. The aircraft are still there, and in the United Kingdom, as they have been in the past.

Perhaps I might now deal with other earmarked Forces. The 3rd Division, the majority of 16 Parachute Brigade, which has one infantry battalion, and 22 S.A.S. Regiment have been earmarked for SACEUR. This is a total of about 20,000 men. Previously the bulk of the 3rd Division was held available for activities outside the N.A.T.O. area.

The hon. Member for Hendon, North asked yesterday about amphibious forces, and mentioned four ships. He queried whether they carried 6,500 men. These are not all soldiers. One does not measure the strength of guided missile destroyers by the number of men who press the buttons. One takes the whole force. Thus, the four ships with their embarked commandos, their battalions, plus crews and other men necessary to make them operational, carry a total of 6,500 men.

The hon. Gentleman also queried the amount of time it might take for them to become operational. Normally one of them would be somewhere in the Mediterranean area. It is possible that one of them could be in the Far East between now and 1971. That will take time to get round, but for years N.A.T.O. planning has been based on the assumption that one will get considerable political warning before there is any danger of military action in the N.A.T.O. area, so we are convinced that if necessary the ships could be got there in time. After 1971 all these ships will be in home waters or in the North Atlantic area for most of the time and they could be made available.

The 48,500 troops in Germany are there, not to defend Germany or the Germans, but to defend N.A.T.O.'s eastern flank, and in so doing they are providing a defence for the United Kingdom far more effectively than if they were stationed on Salisbury Plain. It has been suggested that we have assigned all our Forces to SACEUR for the defence of the Continent without any regard for the defence of this country, and that the Supreme Allied Commander is free to strip us of these Forces, leaving us defenceless.

I have a number of comments to make about that suggestion. First, there has been no change in the command arrangements since 1961. It was decided then that the Air Defence Force of the R.A.F. Fighter Command should be assigned to SACEUR, and that the United Kingdom should form one of the air defence regions of N.A.T.O. As this is part of the integrated N.A.T.O. air defence system of Europe, the Supreme Allied Commander not only has these forces at his disposal but is responsible for the United Kingdom air defence. The operational commander is the A.O.C. 11 Group under the Commander-in-Chief Strike Command.

Secondly, although it is true that we have earmarked a certain additional amount of troops for SACEUR use in war, these are forces which the previous Government maintained primarily for use outside the N.A.T.O. area, as so-called strategic reserves. The real point is that in these days it makes no sense to regard the defence of this country as in any way separable from the defence of Europe as a whole. We have no doubt that we shall be protected in war by troops under SACEUR, just as will any other country in the N.A.T.O. area.

I must now deal with one other red herring, or perhaps I should say "red fleet", raised in a leading article in The Times this morning, which claimed that my right hon. Friend, because of his statement about how the Russian fleet could be dealt with in the event of hostilities had suggested a pre-emptive nuclear strike against Russian ships in the Mediterranean. Nuclear weapons would not be used for this operation. In fact, they would not be required for this purpose, and I hope that we shall not get any more allegations of that kind in responsible newspapers.

I propose to deal next with what has been the dominant theme of the debate, and it was referred to by the right hon. Gentleman, namely, recruiting. I admit that our experience over the last 12 months has not been good. The right hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Rams-den) tried to say that the sole reason for the Defence Estimates being £5 million down or last year's figure was because of the shortfall in Army recruiting. That would have been a fair point if recruiting had always been up to the manpower targets. I am sure that right hon. Gentleman is aware that in 1963 and 1964 when he was responsible for the Army Estimates, either as Under-Secretary of State or as Minister of Defence, the manpower targets were 182,000 in each year, but the figures on which his Estimates were framed were 175,000 in 1963 and 171,000 in 1964. I think that the right hon. Gentleman's point would have been fair if it had always been done as he suggested, but the fact is that the Estimates have never been prepared on the basis of planning targets but on the basis of the men one hopes to get. Even if we were fortunate enough during the next 12 months to recruit all the 9,500 men that we are short of in the Army because of last year's recruiting, it would cost only £2½ million during the current year because they would come in over the year as a whole, and not all at once.

The hon. and gallant Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles) said yesterday that I was not a scornful chap in private, but that I tended to be so when I was standing at this Dispatch Box. The fact is that it depends on the kind of speech made by the hon. and gallant Gentleman to which I am replying. I admit that I would have been scornful about some of his speeches, but I assure him that I have no intention of being scornful about his speech yesterday, and he therefore need not look as worried as he appears to be.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman talked about recruiting, and about Services pay, and I should like to deal with some of the points raised by him. Recruiting has not been good, and there are many reasons for this. No one can measure exactly the effect of each reason, but there are many of them. I think the most important is that there is now a large body of opinion, stretching across the major parties, which regards defence expenditure as wasteful and unnecessary. This is not the view of the Government, nor of the Opposition, nor of the vast majority of hon. Members, but it is the view of a great number of people in the community as a whole, and this has an effect on public attitudes. It has an effect on the attitude to our Forces, and this in turn has an effect on recruiting. How much effect I do not know, but it is something which does have an effect.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned uncertainty because of Defence Reviews. I admit that this is something else which has had an effect, though one cannot measure it, but in the last 12 months we have lost the best recruiting sergeant that one normally has, because British Forces have not been in action anywhere in the world. Not one Serviceman has been killed or wounded in action anywhere in the world in the last 12 months. This is the first time that this has been the case in this century. That is good, and I hope it goes on for many more years. The trouble is a nice little war going on somewhere is a good recruiting sergeant. The fact that there is not any trouble going on does not add to the glamour for people who want to be infantrymen or in the Forces.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Was the logic of that that if we did have a little war somewhere it would increase recruiting? Could the right hon. Gentleman explain why the recruiting situation is so bad in Scotland?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I do not think it is the fault of my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), but I know he would probably like to claim credit for some of it, at any rate.

There has not been any military, fighting activity for the Forces over the last 12 months. This undoubtedly has a rather dampening effect so far as recruiting is concerned.

Loss of opportunities for service overseas has also been mentioned. I would accept that as something which is bound to have an effect on recruitment. On the other hand, the Armoured Corps regiments which serve in the United Kingdom and Germany—there are not many elsewhere—seem to be able to recruit satisfactorily. Perhaps it is the attraction of 50 tons of metal round a chap's neck. Whilst I believe the loss of opportunity for service overseas does have an effect, I do not think it is a measurable one. It will have an effect of making recruiting in some respects more difficult, but all major units in the United Kingdom do spend one month a year overseas on some major training exercise.

Photo of Sir Peter Kirk Sir Peter Kirk , Saffron Walden

Is this not a rather false analogy. In a sense there is a technical element here. We always found any kind of technical recruiting went well whatever the situation was. The problem really arose for the infantry.

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

It is not quite so true now. I will give one or two reasons for that in a moment.

Pay has been mentioned, and I accept that as one of the factors.

Lastly, something which seemed to arouse a good deal of scorn from both the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham and the right hon. Member for Barnet is the demographic trends. I do not know why. They both of them cannot resist laughing when mentioning this aspect. It is the most important adverse aspect we have in the recruiting situation at the present moment. When we took over in 1964 the existing plans presupposed one would need some 44,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen, other rank recruits, each year in order to maintain the then postulated future level of defence forces. Under the plans the Government have now announced, by 1973 we shall want 35,000 soldiers, sailors and airmen, other rank recruits, each year to maintain the then planned level of forces. In 1964–65 the recruiting figures came very close to the requirement, producing some 43,400 men in 1964–65.

We recruit the vast majority of the men we require for the three Services from the 15 to 20-year age group)—all those who have finished full-time education. When we were able to get 43,000 men in 1965 there were 1,470,000 males who finished full-time education between the ages of 15 and 20 years inclusive. By 1974 the number of males between the ages of 15 and 20 who finish full-time education will have dropped from nearly 1½million to rather under 1 million—a drop of almost one third in the total area from which we shall be able to recruit. That number has been going down ever since 1965. It will go down by almost a third over the next few years.

Thus, if we get the same percentage of those who are in the market for us to recruit from in 1974 as we got in 1965—and 1965 was quite a good year—we shall only be able to recruit on exactly the same percentage, 29,500 of the 35,000 which we know we shall want in 1974. One has to remember that youngsters will be leaving school one year later.

Shall we get the same percentage in 1974 as in 1965? I am rather doubtful. Children will be leaving school one year later by that time. The Royal Navy, in particular, relies to a very large extent on recruiting 15-year olds. Will it be able to get the same number of 16-year olds after another year at school? No one knows the answer.

We have the Industrial Training Act of 1962. That is now booming ahead and the various industries, through their training boards, are rapidly improving the training facilities and apprenticeship schemes available. This is already having an effect on apprentice entry into the services. We believe it will probably have a continuing, increasing effect on the entry into the Services of men wanting skilled training.

There is also a general expansion of opportunities for further education of all kinds. It is likely that more and more people will be staying on for further education, thus reducing the number entering the forces.

Earlier marriages are taking place. Apron-strings are as good a tie as any to stop a man entering the forces. Marrying at 18 or 19 makes him less likely to join. There is increased competition from industry in what will be a smaller pool for everybody to fish in.

It will be very difficult to maintain the level of forces which the Government are planning for, let alone trying to get more men—which is what the Opposition Amendment says we ought to do.

I believe that we shall be able to meet the planned numbers, given the necessary incentives which we need. We will not be able to maintain total forces of over 400,000 men, which is what right hon. Gentlemen opposite seem to want, without financial incentives of an economically impossible size, or some form of conscription. That is the point on manpower. The Amendment is accusing us of reducing the manpower. The hon. Gentleman opposite will not be able to get the men without one of those two alternatives and I do not think either of the two alternatives would be acceptable to the country as a whole.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham said that he did not understand demographic matters; he should take advice on them very quickly. One has to consider the crippling effect of any defence measure providing for more men in 1974 than at the moment and having a handicapping effect on the numbers accounted for at the present time.

What are we doing? What can we do?

Photo of Mr Tufton Beamish Mr Tufton Beamish , Lewes

For this to make sense, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us what target figures he has for the three Armed Forces in 1972?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I cannot exactly remember the number. I understand that it is 341,000 for all Services. Roughly speaking, for every 10,000 men in the forces, one requires 1,000 recruits coming in every year.

To combat the difficulties we are having at the moment—which will get more difficult as time goes on—first, we have to make sure there is job satisfaction as far as the forces are concerned and, secondly, that the pay and conditions of service are right, so that we are competing in the field with some chance of success.

So far as job satisfaction is concerned, we have to make sure the man himself and the general public are convinced that the profession of arms is an honourable and vitally necessary one. Her Majesty's Government are firmly of that view. We try to do our best to convince as many other people in the country as possible. We are planning to spend £4 million on advertising during this coming year, an increase of 33 per cent. over the amount spent and provided for last year. About £250,000 of that will be spent on general advertising about the profession of arms rather than direct appeals for recruits of one kind or another. In addition, we are making £250,000 available between the three Services to be used to provide more open days and facilities for the public to see what their money is being spent on inside and in connection with military establishments and units.

It is a pity that due to the fact that the main part of the British Army with all the expensive equipment is in Germany. The ordinary taxpayer never gets an opportunity to see it. We want to try to give them the opportunity with this extra money, during the next 12 months, to see it himself—how the Services live, operate and train at present. Too many parents think the Army, Navy and Air Force have not changed from the time they were in it either during, immediately before, or after the last war. We must also ensure that the Serviceman knows that his period of service will be of use to him later when he leaves the Services and is in civilian life.

At this stage, I want to thank the Confederation of British Industry which, in co-operation with the Ministry, has allowed us to introduce a short service Army commission for three years with a guaranteed job in industry at the end of it. The number of applications we have received for this type of commission since that scheme was started in August of last year is over twice as many per advertisement as there were before the scheme was announced.

We must try to expand this type of arrangement so that the short-service man knows that what he has learned and done in the Services will be of good use to him when he returns to civilian life. This means looking at our trade structures and things of that nature, as well.

We are also providing for better opportunities within the Services for education, for both officers and other ranks, and are making it possible for all permanent Regular officers, if they are able to do it and wish to do it, to obtain a degree while they are serving. We have the services and assistance in arranging this, which will be a slighly different arrangement in each of the three Services, of an Academic Advisory Council of the Royal Defence Academy.

Dr. F. A. Vick, Vice Chancellor, the Queen's University, Belfast, has agreed to act as Chairman. Other members who have agreed to serve are—Mr. Michael Howard, Fellow of All Soul's College, Oxford; Professor Norman Gibbs, Fellow of All Soul's College, Oxford; Mr. E. T. Williams, Warden of Rhodes House, Oxford; Dr. Brian Thwaites, Principal of Westfield College, University of London; Dr. T. A. F. Noble, Vice Chancellor, University of Leicester; Mr. B. G. Robbins, Chairman of the Royal Military College of Science Advisory Board; Mr. G. S. Bosworth, Director of the Newcastle-upon-Tyne Polytechnic; and Mr. Donald Lindsay, Headmaster of Malvern College.

These gentlemen will advise us on the way in which we can ensure that officers and Servicemen who wish to do so and who are able to do so can obtain a degree while they are serving. Nowadays many other ranks have the ability to obtain this level of qualification. We shall try to ensure that the opportunities are open to them as well.

There is another thing which we are doing at present. Regulations have been laid today providing for 3-year short-service engagements in infantry, Royal Artillery and the Royal Armoured Corps in the Army. There will also be a limited number of other vacancies in the Army for 3-year engagements. This will give an opportunity for people who want to try it out for a shorter period to do so. It will enable the Army to try to persuade these people while they are serving that it is worth their while to sign on for higher pay for a longer period. The percentage which will be taken into any particular corps will be limited.

Before I finish I want to say a few words about pay. We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman, from the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester and from others, that it was wrong to abandon the Grigg pay scheme. I agree that the scheme served the forces very well for a considerable number of years—about 12 years or more. It meant that every two years officers' pay was adjusted to take account of percentage increases in the executive grades in the Civil Service and the pay of soldiers, sailors and airmen was increased by the same percentage as adult males in industry had obtained over the previous two years.

During the last four years the average increase in pay—I stress pay, not allowances—for the single soldier under the Grigg scheme has worked out at about 25 per cent., including an 18 per cent. increase two and a half years ago which, I remind the right hon. Member for Barnet, was the biggest increase ever and was given by a party which, he said, was perhaps not particularly interested in seeing that soldiers, sailors and airmen got a fair deal.

We must face the fact that just to carry on with percentage increases on a 12-year old base figure is not exactly the best way of continuing to decide what sort of relativity we should have between Service pay and pay outside the Services. It related to pay only, whereas, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman is well aware, pay as such forms only part of the total emoluments of the Serviceman, whether officer or other rank.

So, more than two years ago within the Ministry of Defence, we started looking in considerable detail at our pay structure and at the way in which pay scales are worked out. We need two basic things at least from a pay structure. We want to ensure that the rates of pay for the new recruit are sufficient to attract him in. We must also ensure that the rates of pay further up the scale are sufficient to offer a career to the right number of people in the right number of trades and ranks that we want to stay on for full pensionable service.

Yesterday, the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester quoted some rates of pay. I shall not discuss them with him at present, because the trouble is that in considering pay, ration allowance, whether a man is married or single, whether he is in official quarters or out of them—all these things have to be taken into account before one can try to work out what a man's total emoluments are as compared with those of a person in a similar job outside. Even with a single man, it is a question of pay, his keep, and the provision of accommodation.

Looking at all this has led us to have a look at what has been called in the Press lately the military salary concept. After the various studies that we have had in the Ministry, we have concluded that there is only one way of ensuring that we can make it possible for the soldier, sailor or airman to compare what he is getting in total pay with what is being earned outside. This is to pay him a military salary which includes everything he is entitled to—the rate for the job. He must have, when comparing it with outside employment, a percentage added to compensate him for what in Service slang is referred to as a word which begins with "b "—I will not pronounce the full word, in view of the trouble which the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) got himself into—which has homosexual connotations later and which finishes with the letters "ance".

This means the compulsory movement to which Servicemen are subject, the discipline they have to take up, and the fact that they are from time to time necessarily separated from their wives and families. So there must be an allowance on top of any proper comparison that we can make with pay outside the Services.

It is easy enough, as the hon. and gallant Gentleman did, to compare the pay of a man flying a VC10 in Air Support Command with the pay of one flying a VC10 for B.O.A.C. There is not any comparison which can be made, however, for one who is flying a Lightning in the Royal Air Force. There is not a civil job similar. It is very difficult indeed to find fur comparisons, but we think that they can be worked out and if we can then go towards a military salary—we can work it out, we think, though there will be a great number of difficulties—a soldier, sailor or airman will know exactly the monetary value which the nation places upon the task he is carrying out on behalf of the nation. He will then have to pay something for food and accommodation. The food charge will be fairly standard, but there are obvious difficulties over accommodation. We could not charge the same for a man in a submarine or in a ship as we charged someone who was quartered in a modern barracks, or at the extreme, someone who was in a slit trench.

There are many difficulties. We have done a great deal of work on it over the last few years and we are still working on it. Right hon. and hon. Members will know that Service pay was made the subject of a reference to the National Board for Prices and Incomes. The Board was asked to carry out its review by 30th May of this year.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

I recognise the importance of comparability plus, but will the responsibility for determining what the right rate is to get recruits rest with the the Minister or with the Board?

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

If the right hon. Gentleman will bear with me for a couple of minutes he will find that I will deal with that point fully.

We are expecting the report of the Board in the next three months. We asked for it within 12 months, and the 12 months will be up by 30th May of this year. During the period in which the Board has been studying this question it has devoted a great deal of time and labour to a searching study of the Services' pay structure and to the important and complicated task of examining the relativity between the work of Service officers and other ranks in various employments and that of civilians in comparable tasks. In the latter task the Board is making use of the services of industrial consultants.

Members of the Board have visited and are still visiting Service establishments in the United Kingdom and in Germany. The Board is paying special attention to the remuneration of doctors and dentists in the Services and to the relativity between their pay, job content and conditions and those of their civilian counterparts. In this task the Board has received the co-operation of the B.M.A. and of the National Health Service.

In all aspects of its work the Board has been in close touch with the Ministry of Defence, from which it has received much evidence on current emoluments and current duties in the forces and with whom it has exchanged ideas for an improved pay structure for the future. I cannot anticipate the conclusions of the Board. I hope that a solution will emerge from the review. But the decision must be entirely for the Government. This was the point raised by the right hon. Member for Barnet. The Board can only advise the Government. I hope that, from this, we shall get a solution which is scrupulously fair to existing Servicemen and one which will enable us to ensure that people outside find a Service career attractive.

One good thing came out of yesterday's debate. Until yesterday, hon. Gentlemen opposite had always denied that there were figures in the Ministry of Defence in 1964 to show that they were planning to spend hundreds of millions of pounds more than has, in fact, been spent since then. Yesterday, they admitted that the figures were there. They tried to say, "Of course they were there, but we would have cut them down anyway, because they were the long-term costing figures and each year, in the Budget, we would have reduced them." But we have cut them down and every cut has been opposed by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite. What we still do not know, and what I should still like to know, is how many of those cuts they will go back on so as to provide the extra forces which they now say we should have. We still do not know that.

5.31 p.m.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

The Minister of Defence finished his hasty gallop with the subject of forces' pay. on which many of us would have liked to hear more. There is no fancy way around this problem. The idea of the military salary, imagining that, by merely anteing up the overall figure and then making deductions, will not impress anyone——

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

It depends on how much it is ante-ed up.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

Yes, but also on how much it is knocked down again.

When one realises the trouble over the amount that trainee nurses have to pay for their accommodation and the ill-will which this breeds, one doubts whether it is the right answer for the Services. The real answer is that the Government must face the issue of supply and demand. If they are not getting the necessary recruits they must ante-up Service pay so as to out-bid industry and other employers. Conditions of service must be good, as well.

The right hon. Gentleman also mentioned job satisfaction, which is very important. One difficulty in the last few years over this continuing defence review, which we hope is now finished, is that there has not been the same satisfaction in the Services because of the uncertainty about whether it would be a long career. The right hon. Gentleman will know of the large number of young officers, captains, and so on who have been dithering during the last year over whether to get out while the going was good. I hope that they will now accept that there is a career for them in the Services, although I do not go all the way with the right hon. Gentleman's anxiety about the demographic situation.

The right hon. Gentleman seems to be prepared for a situation in which he will not get the right number of recruits and seems to be giving reasons other than the real ones. He seems to have no answer to the problem, because he suggested there were two alternatives—uneconomic rates of pay or conscription, neither of which was acceptable, which seems to show that there was no alternative way of getting the necessary numbers——

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

I was saying that those two ways would be needed to get over 400,000, as hon. Gentlemen opposite want. I thought that, with reasonable incentives, we could get the numbers that we require.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is right, but by dismissing those two alternatives he is cutting down his options.

The right hon. Gentleman was not fair about the numbers in B.A.O.R. Governments use figures in different ways, but he suggested that the 48,500 in Germany at the moment, with, he hoped, another 1,000 in the next 12 months, would amount to more than in 1964, but he did not say that, at that time, B.A.O.R. was depleted because large numbers of troops had been sent to Borneo for the confrontation. This must be faced by any Government. Once we concentrate on Europe, figures for one year can be made to prove that B.A.O.R. is being badly serviced, when troops have only been withdrawn to another theatre.

The right hon. Gentleman said also that his right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) was right to say that multilateral disarmament was the only safe way to disarm. That comes strangely from a Government who have been doing a heavy job of unilateral disarmament over the last four or five years. Indeed, the Secretary of State said yesterday: N.A.T.O. must, however, accept that any reduction in its conventional capability will involve heavier dependence on the nuclear component of its deterrent strategy and thereby reduce the flexibility of N.A.T.O.'s reaction to the unforeseen."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 242.] This is true, as is the corollary—the more conventional troops we have in N.A.T.O., the greater the flexibility and the less likely we are to have to rely on a nuclear response. Yet the Government are still reducing the numbers of our forces.

In introducing his seventh Statement on Defence in four and a half years, the Secretary of State spoke yesterday with the same arrogance and complacency which we have come to expect of him. He is the only one to be taken in by his arguments and fools only himself. He should try reading his various White Papers, starting from when he came to office, and his speeches in the House introducing them, when he would understand why his policies are so completely discredited and why, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) was forced to say today, no one finds it possible to believe him when he says that a period of stability is now here.

Extraordinary though it may seem, the Secretary of State seems to have learnt nothing from the last four and a half years. The principal objective of his policy is still to fit our forces to a financial target which he decided years ago instead of deciding that, with certain tasks to do, we must have the required forces and must, therefore, find the money to provide them. He is still obsessed with talk of economic realities, a phrase which appears again and again in his speeches and White Papers and he brags of spending a reducing percentage of the gross national product on our defences. Nowhere does he show signs of appreciating that the security of this country and its overseas interests is and must always be a first priority in Government expenditure.

The right hon. Gentleman says in the White Paper that, if our security is not maintained, all our other national endeavours fall to the ground, which makes it most odd that he should reckon that he can, therefore, constantly try to work to a figure instead of regarding that as a first priority. As in all the right hon. Gentleman's other statements, we see the theme of reducing expenditure regardless of the consequences.

The White Paper refers to the continuing growth of Russian forces and the military power of the Warsaw Pact countries. It is extraordinary that the right hon. Gentleman should be accentuating the increase in the size of their forces—the higher percentage of their G.N.P. being spent on defence compared with the N.A.T.O. Powers and the dangers that might arise from this increase in Russian military activity—and at the same time be recommending that we should continue to reduce our forces as if none of those things were happening.

In other words, the right hon. Gentleman accepts that, militarily, things are becoming worse from our point of view, yet he is not allowing that fact to colour his policies. His aim is still to run down our military strength and to meet the financial targets which he set himself when he first took office.

Having set in train the withdrawal east of Suez on purely economic grounds——

Photo of Mr Gerald Reynolds Mr Gerald Reynolds , Islington North

Mr. Reynoldsindicated dissent.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

—for that is known to be the case, he now pretends that that move was part of a deliberate policy to concentrate our defence on Europe. Paragraph 2 of the White Paper tells us: The essential feature of our current defence policy is a readiness to recognise that political and economic realities reinforce the defence arguments for concentrating Britain's military role on Europe. The original arguments were not defence arguments but economic ones. We were staying east of Suez right up to the point when the right hon. Gentleman decided that he had to cut back at an earlier date.

We know what the political and economic realities are. I suppose that the political realities are that the Secretary of State has been under constant pressure from his hon. Friends below the Gangway to reduce the cost of defence. The economic realities are, of course, the failure of the Government to manage our affairs properly.

No doubt the right hon. Gentleman's pretence that this was all a part of a deliberate policy to concentrate on Europe was intended to further his right hon. Friend's ham-fisted attempts to enter the E.E.C. In that context we see the same sign of bodging the job all round. In an endeavour to justify this pretence, we are told in paragraph 5 of the White Paper: In the past year, the advantages of concentrating our military effort West of Suez have been strongly underlined by the events in Czechoslovakia and the increase of Soviet naval activity in the Mediterranean. I do not know what advantages appeared at the time of the rape of Czechoslovakia from the point of view of our being in Europe, with N.A.T.O. This, therefore, seems to be a specious argument.

This sudden realisation that Russia is still a threat to the free countries of the world is a complete volte face. In previous White Papers the right hon. Gentleman has constantly talked about the period of détente through which we were passing and about the need to assess the threat to us on the political intentions of the Communist world rather than on the actual military power that lay the other side of the Iron Curtain. Year after year that point was pressed in successive White Papers, completely in contrast to the advice which the Secretary of State was geting from General Lemnitzer, who has never stopped telling hon. Members that it is the military power which is the threat because political intentions can change overnight.

Then, in the 1968 White Paper, we had the proud announcement by the right hon. Gentleman that at last he had succeeded in persuading the other N.A.T.O. Governments that we could all relax and withdraw some of our forces. His theory was that we would always have plenty of warning and that we could, therefore, lower our guard. Yet after the rape of Czechoslovakia the Secretary of State was the first to lecture our N.A.T.O. allies on the need to increase our forces in Europe—having spent all those years persuading them, because it fitted in with his economic policy, that we should reduce them.

The Secretary of State is not only continuing the run-down of our forces, but is persisting in the massive run-down of our stocks. It is disturbing to read in the White Paper that war reserve stocks are being sold off and run down. If this trend continues, it seems that we shall not only not have any reserves to reinforce B.A.O.R. once it has been brought up to a war footing—the figures show that we shall have thousands of ex-conscript reserves in this country who will then have finished their reserve liability and just be individuals not organised into units—but we shall not have any stocks of ammunition and equipment with which to keep our forces supplied in the event of a prolonged conventional conflict. Nor will we have any organised troops for home defence. This point has been worrying many people, despite the cavalier fashion with which the Secretary of State yesterday dismissed an important article by Chapman Pincher.

The Secretary of State's policies have so damaged confidence in the Services as a career that he cannot recruit those he needs to maintain our forces at the very reduced level he plans. My hon. Friends have constantly urged the Secretary of State to realise that if he continues with the constant changing and chopping of policies—with new White Papers announcing cut-backs in commitments and so on—eventually the run-down will get out of control and that, sooner or later it will begin to snowball on its own momentum because there will be no control by the Government in view of the lack of confidence. I hope that that point has not been reached, but it is worrying to find that the Government are having to fall back on an extension of the five-year reserve period in an effort to make up the numbers they need.

I have had enough of the right hon. Gentleman's White Papers, and people throughout the country are saying the same. The best thing that he can do is to go and hand over the job to somebody who will have the confidence of the Services and the nation. We want the conviction that we have a Secretary of State who will see that the country and its interests are properly secured.

5.49 p.m.

Mr. E. Shin well:

The hon. Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) began by saying that he was not impressed by anything that the Government had said. I am bound to tell him, with the utmost respect, that I have not been in the least impressed by what he has had to say.

The Government are engaged on two fronts. They are being assailed by a barrage of artillery from hon. Gentlemen opposite, led by three formidable generals or admirals supported by some corporals and subordinate officers, with shots being fired by some snipers on these benches. I urge the Government to take little heed of what has been said by hon. Gentlemen opposite and to concentrate on the remarks of my hon. Friends.

The Government can make up their minds quite definitely. Nothing they say, however logical the argument, however faultless the case they present, will convince the other side. They are not there to be convinced. We have had some cantakerous and rancorous criticism of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. He should not be in the least dismayed. There may be difference of opinion on this side of the House, but, after listening to the two right hon. Gentlemen who have spoken from the Opposition Front Bench, I am convinced that the Opposition have not yet made up their minds, clearly and logically on what the defence position of the United Kingdom should be.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us where he thought that my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) and I had any disagreement?

Mr. Shin well:

There was fundamental disagreement.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I was about to pay a compliment to the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). I was about to congratulate him on his maiden speech as shadow Secretary of State for Defence. I hope that he remains the shadow Minister for a long time to come. I congratulate him not on the substance and content of his speech, but on his impeccable delivery. It was exceptional and clearly stated, but the content and substance was, of course, nebulous in character, as we might expect. Still, he is new to the game. I have no doubt he will improve in time, and I hope that he gets plenty of time to enable him to improve.

Instead of this type of debate, with bits and pieces about recruitment, about expenditure and the like, I would have preferred us to have had an academic debate on the strategy of defence and what it is all about, not talking about recruitment, whether it is progressive or reactionary and about expenditure, whether it is adequate or otherwise. The issue is, first, whether we need defence; is it necessary? If the reply is in the affirmative, what is the nature of that defence? That is the issue. We do not get down to these fundamental issues in our defence debates, largely because all sorts of extraneous issues—which are not entirely irrelevant but are extraneous to the main issue which confronts this nation and the whole of Europe in the context of defence.

I support the Secretary of State and his colleagues. There is not a great deal of difference, fundamentally, between the two Front Benches. Both sides want an adequate N.A.T.O. that can stand up to aggression, or, if it is not required to stand up physically to aggression, to frighten aggression off by the presentation of adequate forces. Both sides agree on that; there is no difference of opinion on it whatever. If there is, no doubt the right hon. and learned Member will tell us.

What is the trouble about? Is it recruitment? I do not accept the demographic concept, or the pill concept about recruitment. This is the only country associated with N.A.T.O. that has a Regular Army, Navy and Air Force. The rest are all conscripted. Having gone through a rather long period of National Service and then abandoned it, it is not surprising that we have difficulties over recruiting volunteers to the Regular forces. That is one of the troubles.

It has been suggested that the way in which it could be done would be to increase the pay for the Regular forces. I do not know if hon. Members are aware of what is the cost of the Regular forces, I reckon that with pay and allowances, married quarters and a variety of other ancillaries, the cost of the forces of the United Kingdom, however inadequate they are regarded for the purpose intended, amounts to nearly £1,000 million a year, almost 50 per cent. of the total cost of our defence.

If anyone wishes to challenge that, let him do so. It is proposed now that to provide adequate forces to stand up to possible aggression we should increase the cost above 50 per cent. of the total defence budget. That is a very serious matter. If the right hon. and learned Member and his party are of opinion that we can solve the problem of recruitment in that fashion, they are very much mistaken.

A question was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) when the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) was speaking. The right hon. Member was talking about the need for the more adequate reserves. I accept that view. My hon. Friend asked whether the right hon. Gentleman, speaking on behalf of his party, was in favour of compulsory service. The right hon. Gentleman said that that was a matter for the Government, who might be forced into that position unless voluntary recruitment was more adequate. That was running away from the problem. That, after all, is a fundamental issue in the context of recruitment and the kind of volunteer forces we require.

We can do two or three things, or a combination of all of them. We can pay vast sums in addition to the sums now being charged against the Government for defence in increasing the pay of members of the three Services in the hope of recruiting more. I doubt very much whether that would succeed, and I dismiss it. We could adopt selective service, which is objectionable. We could proceed to outright conscription. We have to face the problem, or we can say—as the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham said yesterday, although an attempt was made today to modify and correct what he said—that in the sphere of N.A.T.O. defence the United Kingdom is over-committed. What is the interpretation of that?

The only possible interpretation is that none of the other N.A.T.O. countries is playing its full part in the contribution that is essential to provide an adequate N.A.T.O. force. That is perfectly true. I have been saying that in almost every defence debate during the last 15 years and I was aware of it when I was Minister of Defence. Take the case of France. I recall that when we were faced with tension in Europe and trouble in Korea, French Ministers of Defence—I had to face several of them in my short period as Minister—presented, on paper, 15 divisions, 20 divisions, 25 divisions. Now they have contracted out so far as naval forces are concerned. They have contracted out entirely from N.A.T.O. apart from a promise to provide some forces in an emergency.

We are told that the Germans have 350,000 men. Have they? Are they up to strength? How many divisions have they? How many could act in an emergency? What is their equipment? What about Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg? What about Canada, with one brigade? What about the United States? We are always hearing about the hefty contributions made by the United States. What are the facts? There are no more than three actual divisions, two of which I believe are armoured. That is probably because of what is happening in Vietnam. However, let us face the facts. What do we require to stand up to the Russians?

In his Munich speech, in a number of articles he has written and possibly again yesterday, though I do not remember it, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State referred to the enormous strength of the Soviet Union and the number of divisions available to her. I can recall giving the figures in the House on several occasions. The Russians have an overwhelming force in manpower, in tanks, in equipment of all kinds and in every possible category of hardware. To stand up to them, we require at least 30 divisions fully up to strength. Without such a force, what chance have we?

It may be said that the Soviet Union does not contemplate anything in the nature of war, and that seems to be true. But we cannot ignore what happened in Czechoslovakia, any more than we can ignore the intransigence of the East Germans at present, and even a minor conflict in relation to Berlin.

The fact is that N.A.T.O.'s forces are totally inadequate for the purpose. I am not blaming my right hon. Friend or the Government. I am blaming the European countries associated with N.A.T.O. who have never played their full part, and it does not seem likely that they will.

Photo of Captain Walter Elliot Captain Walter Elliot , Carshalton

No matter how weak we are in Europe—though I have no doubt that we are as strong today as have been in the last decades—it would be odd if the Russians attacked us at our strongest point, which is in Western Europe. Are not their operations in such places as the Indian Ocean more dangerous than anything that they are likely to do in Western Europe?

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

If the Russians attack, they will not give us any warning, any more than they did Czechoslovakia. If we face the facts, we know that if the Russians intended to attack they would attack without warning and with overwhelming forces. I am not interested in any talk about trip-wires. There would be no warning.

It is impossible to face up to them. It is no use talking about deterring them by the threat of a secondary strike. The Russians would not trouble about nonsense of that kind. If they intended to strike with overwhelming conventional forces and feared that they would be unsuccessful, they would use nuclear weapons. Certainly, they would use tactical nuclear weapons.

In that situation, what course should we take? First, I want N.A.T.O. to remain, and I will give an illustration to support my contention. When I was Minister of Defence, we were faced with the Korean affair and high tension in Europe. I had to alert a brigade to send to Korea, and we had to send out naval forces. It is not easy to alert a brigade and to integrate various regiments or battalions. However, it was done. Because we were able to alert a brigade, after the United Nations had endorsed the United States action in Korea, we were able to do something which was much more important.

We were able to advise our Prime Minister, Clement Attlee, to meet President Truman and persuade him to order General MacArthur not to carry out his threat to bomb the installations in the Yalu river. That was an achievement. If we had not been able to bargain having made our contribution in Korea, it is doubtful whether President Truman would have received the Prime Minister, and General MacArthur would have had his own way. Indeed, the General made some difficulty about President Truman's decision, and eventually had to resign.

The same situation applies to Europe. If we have something which appears to be in the nature of a defence, however, inadequate, if there is a will to resist aggression, if the various countries associated with N.A.T.O. show a determination and resolution not to put up with what the Czechoslovakians have been compelled to contend with, that is a deterrent. In my opinion, it is the only possible one, because I place no reliance on what is called the nuclear deterrent.

There is something more. What is the cause of the trouble in Europe? It is related to foreign policy, by which I mean that, if the West German Federal Government, who are as anxious for peace as anyone, were ready to renounce any intention to have returned to them the territories ceded to Poland after the last war, that would remove one festering sore. Then, again, we are clear about this talk on the reunification of Germany. Her Majesty's Government are in favour of reunification. Indeed, I understand that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister discussed it with President Nixon. If that could be got out of the way, and it was clearly understood that we have to recognise the East German Government, despite our repugnance for Communist philsophy, it would remove another of the festering sores of Europe which are the fundamental causes of the present state of affairs in Europe that gives rise to the need for European and United Kingdom defence.

I want to turn now to some of the expressions of opinion to which we have listened from this side of the House. I have not had an opportunity to give notice to my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) that I would be referring to him. His speech yesterday was impressive; his speeches always are. He said that the overwhelming nuclear power in the possession of the Soviet Union was capable of causing vast destruction and devastation, if used. I accept that. We all accept it. It has been said again and again, and my right hon. Friend was only repeating what he has said previously.

My right hon. Friend's prescription was multilateral disarmament, and I accept that, as we all do. However, in the present situation in Europe, in the Middle East, in Vietnam, in South-East Asia, in Rhodesia and in other parts of the world, does anyone detect evidence of a desire to proceed along the lines of multilateral disarmament? There is none. It is regrettable, but let us be realistic and face the facts.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South has devoted almost all his adult life to promoting disarmament. If ever there was a devotee of peace, it is he. But he talks about something of which there is no possibility of implementation in the foreseeable future.

Then my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) told us about the possibility of a ballistic missile coming to this country and of the devastating effect it would have—and I agree. But what was his prescription? It was to reduce United Kingdom defence expenditure by £200 million or £300 million. What irrelevance! What possible effect could that have in the circumstances? I dismiss the idea that, by reducing expenditure, one can even approach a solution to the problem.

The most logical Member on this side of the House is my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire. He is against defence in its entirety. I do not agree with him, because a nation like ours must present some evidence of being ready to defend itself, and if we cannot have multilateral disarmament we must have the weapons and manpower to undertake that defence. But my hon. Friend is at least logical.

But some of my other hon. Friends—and I say this with great respect to them, for I understand their genuine convictions—believe that, by reducing defence expenditure, we should be solving the problem. We should be doing nothing of the sort. We should only be weakening our position. Far better to have no defences at all. But we have to have defences if we are to stand up to the Russians, to face a potential aggressor. We must have adequate defences even if it means sacrifices. I support the Government on this issue.

My right hon. Friend the Defence Secretary made one of his excellent speeches yesterday—a coherent analysis of the Government's capabilities in defence. Of course, he is faced with Treasury difficulties. Do not I know it! I had the experience myself at a time when there was more intransigence in the world than now and when we were actually engaged in conflict. He has to make the best of what he has, just as I had, and he is doing so. But I am sure that he is under no illusion that he has enough to stand up to the Russians. All we can do is to make them feel that we are ready to stand up to them and also hope that they are not ready to risk attacking the N.A.T.O. forces or any forces which have the disposition to reply to them.

I say to hon. Members around me that I accept N.A.T.O. I want an adequate N.A.T.O. I do not want too much expenditure, any more than my hon Friends do. But I am convinced that, without N.A.T.O., with nothing at all, we would be taken advantage of. No benefit would be conferred upon us. Nor do I believe that public opinion in this country would accept it. Of course we want to reduce expenditure, but not at a price which would mean eventual surrender.

6.14 p.m.

Photo of Mr Philip Goodhart Mr Philip Goodhart , Beckenham

I hope that the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) will take it as a compliment, for I mean it as such, when I say that the vigour and force with which he has delivered his speech makes nonsense of the Government's desire, expressed in the Parliament (No. 2) Bill, to limit the right of voting in at least part of Parliament to those age 72 or less, because I understand that he is already 12 years over that age, and, if his performance today is any indication, it looks as though he will be well capable of casting a vote in part of Parliament for many years to come.

But I fear that I must part company with the right hon. Gentleman when he approves of some of the recent speeches of the Secretary of State for Defence. Indeed, here he seems to be in a minority in the House, because not many hon. Member;; have expressed approval so far in the debate for the Defence Secretary's speeches.

I was ashamed of the Defence Secretary's pronouncement about that fact, if it is a fact, that the Soviet fleet in the Mediterranean could be sunk in a matter of minutes. It seems to me that the correct posture for a Secretary of Defence of this or any other allied country is the one laid down by President Theodore Roosevelt, "Talk softly, but carry a big stick". But what we have seen is a whittling away of the stick we carry, while Ministerial pronouncements have begun to take on that rather shrill note that one has come to associate with the Defence Ministries of Baghdad or Damascus, but not, so far, with our own Ministry of Defence. So I was rather sorry to detect this bragging note creeping into the Secretary of State's pronouncements.

I take rather more seriously, however, the right hon. Gentleman's remarks about the effectiveness of N.A.T.O. I note that his views are shared by the right hon. Member for Easington. It may well be that the Secretary of State's remarks are right and that the conventional shield of N.A.T.O. is much too weak. There are others—Mr. McNamara and Mr. Enthoven—who are also in a position to know the facts, but who hold different views. But I wonder what the point is of reiterating them quite as clearly as the Secretary of State has done.

Let us consider the effect on morale of the N.A.T.O. forces themselves. Morale is an important factor in any conflict. Suppose that Admiral Nelson, before the Battle of Trafalgar, instead of hoisting the signal "England expects every man to do his duty", had hoisted, "England expects that all our ships will be sunk". That would have had a profound effect on the morale of the British seamen and the result of the battle might not have been as glorious as it was. The Secretary of State's remarks about the con ventional strength of N.A.T.O. can have done little to raise the morale of the British forces or, indeed, of any forces in N.A.T.O.

But I think rather more serious have been the Secretary of State's remarks casting some doubt as to the wisdom of our present strategic doctrine. He is putting all our defence eggs into the European basket—that is the meaning of his statement. He is putting all our national defence eggs into a basket which he says himself is weak, is rotten, and will crack the moment any strain is put upon it.

While we all appreciate the importance of N.A.T.O. to this country, we wonder whether it is wise to concentrate all our power in this part of the world. I believe that the decision to withdraw from the Persian Gulf was a disaster. The hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson), in yesterday's debate, questioned whether the presence of British forces in the Gulf had done any good in the past. The hon. Member has served in the Gulf, and his strategic views seemed to have been semi-baked by the sun that beats in that part of the world. During the past 25 years, despite the fact that in the Persian Gulf there is an extraordinarily explosive mixture of Arabs, oil and immense sums of money, there has been less bloodshed and disturbance than in any other part of the Arab world, from the borders of Persia to Morocco.

One of the reasons for the relative peace and quiet was that the presence of British forces made it relatively unnecessary for the local Arab States to build up their own defences. One of the major factors in the revolution and instability in that part of the world is the establishment of defensive forces. Our departure from the Gulf is already leading to the build-up of forces in the Trucial States, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia which, as has happened in Iraq, Syria and Aden, can be a factor of instability, as they fill the vacuum left by the British withdrawal.

Should we return to the Gulf? I do not know. A large part of the damage has probably already been done and is irreversible, but I believe that when we are returned to office we should undertake the responsibility of maintaining some forces there if necessary. The situation in the Far East is a very great deal clearer than in the Gulf. Following withdrawal, there was a danger that the Australians would withdraw into a "fortress Australia" posture, leaving South-East Asia to look after itself. We know from the speech of Mr. John Gorton, the Australian Prime Minister, on 25th February, that Australia does not intend to withdraw to within her own frontiers. She intends to leave in South-East Asia, in conjunction with the Governments of Singapore, Malaya and New Zealand, 42 aircraft, a battalion of 1,200 men and a warship.

Some absurd figures have been given—£300 million from the Government Front Bench, £500 million from the Liberal bench yesterday—as to the cost of any return to the Far East under a Conservative Government. It would be sensible and desirable for us to be associated with the Australians, matching them man for man, aircraft for aircraft and ship for ship, but the figure of £500 million or £300 million is absolutely ludicrous. It would cost less than one-tenth of that amount. The real question is not what the cost would be if peace and quiet was made a permanent condition of that, alas, often unsettled part of the world, but what would happen if trouble did break out there.

Is there any way in which we could stop ourselves from being sucked into another confrontation, which absorbed the energies of 50,000 or more men a few years ago? Although our last experience with confrontation was a success, and most certainly saved our investments and trade in Malaysia and Singapore, we ought not to get sucked into another such situation. We have to ask: is there a reasonable cut-off point to our commitments? I think so. Just as I think it would be reasonable to say to the Australians that we will match them man for man in South-East Asia, so it would be reasonable to say that, come what may, we will not put in to South-East Asia more men than the Australians are prepared to deploy outside Australia.

We know that the Australians and New Zealanders cannot deploy more than, say. 10,000 men. There is an understandable and acceptable cut-off point to our commitment in that area. What is the depth of that commitment? My right hon. Friend the Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) read out yesterday evening some of the Australian Prime Minister's words explaining why Australian forces were being committed on a permanent basis to that part of the world. Those words were almost exactly paraphrased a few years ago, when it was written: In recent years, the threat to peace has been far greater outside Europe than within it. When such instability leads to open war, it may imperil not only economic interests in the area, but even world peace. In some parts of the world, the visible presence of British forces by itself is a deterrent to local conflict. No country with a sense of international responsibility would surrender this position without good reason unless it was satisfied that others could, and would, assume a similar role. Those words come from the vaunted Defence Review of three years ago, published by the Government. They are correct. One of the problems at the moment is that it is intellectually impossible to support this Government's defence policy in all the courses it has taken in recent years. About four and a half or five years ago the policy of right hon. and hon. Members opposite was to do away with the so-called independent, so-called British, so-called nuclear deterrent. They were going through a phase of building-up the conventional forces. They then went through a phase in which the frontiers of this country were found on the Himalayas, which found its finest expression in the Defence Statement of February 1966, a statement with which, I must admit, I agreed in large measure. We moved from that to a wholly European policy and from a European policy to a European nuclear policy.

I wonder where they will go to next. I suspect that as this year's Defence Statement devotes only seven lines to home defence, next year's Defence Statement—if, unfortunately, the present Government are responsible for preparing one—will be devoted to the importance of home defence, with everything having to be devoted to that end. But there is one underlying thread that has gone through all these twists and turns and that is the word "reduction"—reduction in power, reduction in recruiting, reduction in credibility. Ministers themselves may be pleased wth this record, but I certainly am not.

6.32 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Kettering

The hon. Gentleman the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) has referred, as was appropriate in a defence debate, to Nelson's famous signal at Trafalgar. I am not worried that it would have to be revised today as he suggested, but I am worried at the idea that it would be written in that international language which, in N.A.T.O., now passes for English, so that, judging by what I have seen at N.A.T.O., we should have, instead of short, sharp words: United Kingdom anticipates as regards the current emergency that personnel will face up to the issues involved and exercise the functions allotted to their respective occupation groups. That would be deadly, terrible and not inspiring. This is one of the problems of internationalising our language.

Since many hon. Members wish to speak, I will concentrate on only one aspect of N.A.T.O. I come, first, to the big issue of the debate, the axis between Salford, Bast and Hexham, that we are over-committed to N.A.T.O. I do not believe so. I believe that we must preserve our commitments to N.A.T.O. and I shall concentrate on the one point of how we should strengthen N.A.T.O. I am worried not only by the gulf that can develop in an organisation like this between the military and the Governments, but also between the Governments and the Parliaments.

Except for Greece and Portugal we are all democracies and as Members of Parliament we have a duty to our constituents to see that they are defended and, also, that our resources are allocated according to priorities they understand. This is particularly important in dealing with collective defence. Since the invasion of Czechoslovakia, I have been worried, too, by the gulf that appears between Parliament and people, to which my right hon. Friend on the Front Bench referred. I find it staggering that since Czechoslovakia I have not had one letter from one constituent on the subject of defence. I find that amazing. One of our duties as Members of Parliament is to educate our constituents in the way they should judge defence and judge how we are spending money.

Like most other hon. Members, I believe that N.A.T.O. should be strong. I believe that particularly for two reasons, first, so that it is in balance with the Warsaw pact, so that fear is removed from both sides and there is created a climate in which there may be détente. Secondly, I believe that N.A.T.O. should be strong for the obvious, straightforward point, to deter any Russian invasion of the West.

I am convinced that there can be no détente unless there is this balance of strength between N.A.T.O. and the Warsaw Pact, thus removing fear. At the Council of Europe we have four neutral countries and over the last few years, in this balance, we were gradually moving towards an acceptance of having Eastern European Ministers coming to take part in our debates. I want to make clear that there was no question of admitting so-called "Parliamentarians" from these countries. These were Ministers and they are not necessarily "Parliamentarians". Until the invasion of Czechoslovakia there was this atmosphere and we were working towards that.

My second reason for wishing to maintain N.A.T.O's strength is, frankly, to deter; and since it is clear that in spite of Czechoslovakia our public, and some hon. Members too, are not so convinced I want the Government to do something to encourage public interest, such as big debates and discussion internationally by Members of Parliament of the N.A.T.O. Alliance and United States Senators and Congressmen. I would ask my right hon. Friend to say, when he replies tonight, that the Government will agree to make official the annual unofficial meeting of N.A.T.O. Members of Parliament. There are many good reasons for this and I will give a few of them.

One is that by making that meeting official these debates will be conducted with good preparatory documents. It is interesting to contrast the quality of the documentation at the official Assemblies of the Council of Europe and Western European Union with the rather pathetic documents which come from the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians Conference because the latter are not official and have not the staff. I believe that this would lead to another point which seems important to me: that if these reports existed the journalists who follow these debates would be able to pass them over to the general public.

I have heard many debates in both places and have seen the reports in the Press afterwards. In each case the quality is far higher where there have been officially prepared reports on which Members of Parliament debate. Journalists have been frank in telling me that the reason is that since they come fairly new to the particular topic they have a report on which to base their work.

My right hon. Friend drew attention to the political purpose of the Russian fleet in the Mediterranean. The political build-up of N.A.T.O. is not discussed often enough by M.P.s of the alliance and is not sufficiently understood. If this had been so it would not have been possible to argue in this House that we should reduce our defence contribution because our allies have reduced theirs. I would certainly argue that we should reduce our contribution if the other side had reduced theirs, because this is the basis of preserving a balance. This is exactly what the North Atlantic Council offered to do last year. What was the answer? The invasion of Czechoslovakia.

My last particular point on why I believe it would be good to make this Assembly official is that these well-prepared debates, with American and Canadian Senators and Congressmen talking with Europeans would enable us gradually to get across, as a group, the fact that while East and West is an important confrontation U Thant himself pointed out that in future the battle may be between the poor and the wealthy countries.

This is a subject we would consider. It is particularly important that our American allies should be present, because it is a fact that the richest country in the world ranks only eighth in the proportion of its gross national product which it provides for development aid. I hoped that my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) would be present to understand that I am much concerned about that, too.

The N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians Conference as long ago as 1966 passed a resolution which was sent to Ministers asking for its annual assembly to be made official so that it would be a better place in which to debate the problems of N.A.T.O. and involve to a much greater extent Members of Parliament and Congressmen. I ask my right hon. Friend to say that the Government will get this Report—because they have it—out of the pigeonhole and implement it.

We all agree that in a democracy we need parliamentary criticism. Cannot we also accept that in an international alliance for the defence of democracy we need the criticism of an international, not Parliament, but an international Parliamentary assembly? It is generally agreed that war is too important to be left to the generals. I argue that international defence is too important and too expensive to be left to the Ministers.

6.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

I am glad to follow in debate the right hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas), partly because I agree with nearly everything that he said and partly because he has made a considerable contribution to European understanding.

I cannot speak with any knowledge of the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians Conference because I have never been there, but I see a slight danger in an undue multiplication of the various international bodies which discuss these questions. The more they can be concentrated, the better. I was glad to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that we must preserve our commitments to N.A.T.O. and that, because some of the others did not seem to be entirely pulling their weight, that was no reason for us not to do so. I could not agree more.

The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shin well) said that this was an occasion to speak about major defence strategy. That is what I propose to do. Ever since I started to attend our defence debates, which is a long time ago, they seem to have been preoccupied with two subjects—money and manpower. There is plenty to worry about in both at present. I am alarmed at the recruiting figures. I do not believe that one can bribe people into the forces or that higher pay is the answer. Those who think so should read the accounts of the journalist who interviewed Soviet troops in Prague after the occupation. They would then realise for how little the troops were willing to serve and with how little leave. But, as the right hon. Member for Easington said, pay has become a very large percentage of the whole of the defence budget at the very time that weapons are becoming so expensive.

That brings me back to money. This is bound to be a worry at any time, but particularly at a time like the present, when we have balance of payments difficulties. We know of the struggles which go on between the Defence Departments and the Treasury. Only a year ago the Secretary of State was telling us of four different reviews within two years. That is a bit more than average. But those of us with experience of the Defence Department know how often they occur and how unsettling they are.

Nevertheless, I was very surprised to read in the White Paper that we had come to "a period of stability and progress". I cannot see that either in terms of manpower or in terms of money, nor can I see it from the outside point of view. However, I should like to talk for a few moments about the external threat against which we are trying to defend ourselves. I shall try to do so in a non-political way.

The time has come to reassess the external threat. N.A.T.O. has been going for 19 years, and it is very easy to forget how much conditions have changed in that time, some for the better, some for the worse. We can draw up a kind of profit and loss account in this respect. There are improvements in the outlook. Because of the availability of more troops, it has been possible to move the N.A.T.O. line very much closer to the Iron Curtain.

The great disruption of the French withdrawal from N.A.T.O., but not the alliance, has been amazingly overcome, as anyone who has visited S.H.A.P.E. at Casteau or A.F.C.E.N.T. headquarters in Limburg, would agree. They have overcome those difficulties, and there is a lot to be proud about. Although the French withdrawal has been very disturbing in many ways, it has meant that A.F.C.E.N.T. is operating virtually in one language instead of two. Anyone with experience of combined headquarters will agree that a common language is of tremendous use. There will be a problem there if and when, as I hope, the French return.

Secondly, there is an improvement in the N.A.T.O. position because of the anxieties of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union has anxieties because of the threat of the break-up of its satellite empire in Eastern Europe. This is a favourite theme of the Secretary of State. He points out, quite rightly, that dangers can arise at moments of break-up. But it must be an advantage that the Soviet Union felt so strongly that it had to hold on to Czechoslovakia that it was willing to take very brutal action there.

The Soviet Union has another cause for anxiety in China. This anxiety has been reinforced in the last few days. In the summer we read that half a million extra Chinese troops had been concentrated on the frontier. We read in the newspapers yesterday about great demonstrations by the Chinese against the Russians. This must affect the mentality of the Soviet Union and reduce any tendency it might have to threaten us, although that may not be immediately apparent, in Berlin.

But that is not the whole picture. When we analyse the position, we see a deterioration of the position of N.A.T.O. in six ways. First, nuclear parity has come very much nearer. If we look back to the Institute of Strategic Studies' assessment in 1962, we can see what a preponderance of medium and long-range bombers and in other ways we had in those days compared with the Soviet Union. Therefore, the tide has been flowing against us in that respect.

A second very important point is that the United States is within full nuclear range. Anyone who expects me to believe that that will not influence American decisions must think again. He will never convince me that the United States will not be more reluctant to use the nuclear deterrent, about which the Secretary of State talks so much, and that it will want longer to negotiate before having to take that terrible decision. This has an influence on the need for conventional forces.

Thirdly, I believe that the Warsaw Pact forces are very much more powerful than they were. Anyone who doubts that has only to look at the speed and efficiency with which they moved into Czechoslovakia under an extremely unified Russian command such as we cannot possibly enjoy under N.A.T.O.

Those three points add up to the fact that the deterrent has become less credible. Suicide is never a very convincing argument. Also, longer is needed for negotiation before the appalling choice of surrender or suicide is made.

There are further points where the position of N.A.T.O. has, unfortunately, deteriorated. The first is the weakening of the N.A.T.O. southern flank. Nineteen years ago N.A.T.O. was virtually in control of the Northern coast of Africa. Today, Egypt is full of Soviet arms and under great Soviet influence, which has now extended to Algeria. We do not know whether or not a base will be set up now that the French have got out of Mers el Kebir, but the whole of the North African coast is quite a different proposition from what it used to be.

I do not know whether or not we could destroy the Soviet Mediterranean fleet in two minutes—I still do not understand why that is the correct period of time—but it must be reducing the efficiency of the American Sixth Fleet by its constant shadowing.

Fifthly, we come gack to France. This is a new disadvantage for N.A.T.O. because General Lemnitzer is not in a position to know in what circumstances the French would or would not be with them. General Lemnitzer has to do double planning, and planning for various contingencies is difficult enough in a loose alliance of 14 countries without the additional difficulty of having to make plans which both include the French and exclude them.

Sixthly, the events in Czechoslovakia have led to a deterioration of the position of N.A.T.O. and introduced a new element of doubt in that this was something that no one though would happen. N.A.T.O. has consequently been presented with new problems, the most serious of which is "uncertainty", which has been mentioned more than once by the Foreign Secretary. There is uncertainty about what we ought to be prepared to defend ourselves against. We must take what steps we can to bring back the credibility of the deterrent.

The use of the nuclear deterrent is purely a matter for American decision, and it is not easy for us to see how or in what circumstances that decision would be made. It is an element on the good side that the Polaris submarine introduces a European element in the deterrent for the first time.

Our conventional troops are not equal to, and are nowhere near——

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Will the hon. Gentleman explain the element of "fear"? Is it here or in Russia?

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

I think that the hon. Gentleman has misunderstood me. I do not remember saying anything about an element of fear.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

What does the hon. Gentleman mean, then?

Photo of Mr Simon Digby Mr Simon Digby , West Dorset

I believe that we must have conventional forces as part of the element of deterrence. With such conventional inequality the deterrent is no longer as convincing as it was.

It has been said that Europe is strong enough in terms of industrial potential and manpower to defend itself. Indeed, hon. Members opposite were asking why the people of the Persian Gulf could not defend themselves. Americans must sometimes ask themselves that question about Europe. We have the manpower and the industrial potential, but we are not prepared to spend enough to secure this defence. However, that is no excuse for not spending what we can. In future, the countries of Europe must be prepared to come closer together and to play a larger part in its defence. Although the Americans are completely committed in Europe at present, we have no right to expect that that will go on for ever.

The number of our troops in B.A.O.R. has been mentioned several times, and it is a little less than in 1964. This brings me to the question of a British general commanding the Northern Army Group. I do not see how we could possibly hang on to that command with a smaller number than we have now.

In this new position of insecurity various types of attack are possible. There is the possibility of a major attack, in the event of which, the Secretary of State told us, it could be only a few days before surrender or suicide. Surely a longer time than a few days is needed for negotiation.

There is the possibility of a limited incursion, and here there is the difficulty of whether or not the French would be willing to co-operate. A Soviet penetration would almost certainly happen, and this would bring Soviet forces into highly populated N.A.T.O. territory. It could hardly be otherwise, and that would lead to great difficulties in negotiating about the incident in the second stage.

There is the possibility of Soviet attack within their satellite system. Mr. Brezhnev has declared that in certain circumstances he is justified in going anywhere within the Socialist camp, and this new policy is a cause for anxiety. There is Yugoslavia to be worried about, and Rumania, and we read with some anxiety that General Jakubovsky has gone there to organise manœuvres. One thing is quite certain, and that is the manœuvres in Czechoslovakia carried out a reconnaissance and paved the way for the actual invasion.

There are other territories, usually referred to as the grey areas, which fall neither within the Warsaw Pact bloc nor with the N.A.T.O. pact. We must agree that attack there is much more likely, and it is also much harder to see what could be done about it. I suppose that Yugoslavia comes into this category, so does Austria, and there would be some alarming strategic implications if an incursion into Austria were to cross the Danube. Shortly after the Czechoslovak incident the Russians were claiming a right of intervention in certain circumstances in West Germany, and that doctrine could easily be extended to Austria.

The new defence treaty between Albania and the Chinese conjures up interesting thoughts of possible confrontation between China and Russia in Europe. It would be extremely hard for N.A.T.O. to render assistance in any of these territories because they are so far away and, in many cases, the guns fire Russian ammunition.

In conclusion, I am disappointed with the failure of the White Paper to measure up to what I conceive to be the new threat to us. I notice, for example, that research has been cut by no less than £30 million. Some account must be taken of this rather complacent White Paper and of what I regard as the deterioration of the position in N.A.T.O. I must agree that the Government have gone some way with our European allies to try and draw the European nations within N.A.T.O. closer together. However, it is up to this country to take more of a lead than it has done in strengthening the position.

7.0 p.m.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

The hon. Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wingfield Digby) has referred to the events in Czechoslovakia, and, to a large extent, the situation there has been one of the focal points in this debate. However, in my opinion, hon. Members have drawn the wrong conclusions about Czechoslovakia. I do not know any body of opinion in this country which has favoured the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. Indeed, one of the strongest critics of the Soviet Government at the time was the British Communist Party.

I have yet to hear any hon. Member say in the debate what he would have done if he had been in the position of Mr. Dubcek. Would hon. Members have fought? Would they have made the customary call to join the colours and fight to the last man and the last drop of blood? Of course they would not.

The Czechs recognised that military force was no answer to the Russian invasion. They had quite a formidable military force. They had an air force and a considerable army. However, the President of Czechoslovakia and his Cabinet decided that it was quite impossible to save the country with military forces and that, if they had tried, the country would have been destroyed in the fighting which would have followed and, with the country, the beautiful city of Prague.

Instead, it was decided to send the; army back into barracks, not to use the air force, and to adopt a policy of passive resistance. What else could they do? They were faced with overwhelming forces. They decided that not to fight in the conventional military sense was the wisest policy, and I applaud them.

There is a parallel between Czechoslovakia and this country—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] The Czechoslovak Government took the view that they had nothing to gain by military resistance because their country would be destroyed. We are in the same position, when we consider the possibility of nuclear war. If we went into a nuclear war, we would be destroyed.

The lesson of Czechoslovakia is that passive resistance is more in the interests of the people of the country than all this paraphernalia of armies, navies and tanks, to say nothing of nuclear weapons.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

To take my hon. Friend's argument to its logical conclusion, does not he think that he should advise the Russians to give up all their tanks, and so on, and let us have a bit of passive resistance on that side, too?

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

If my hon. Friend had studied some of my books, he would know that in one of them I relate how the Russians repudiated me because of my pacifist views. It appears that I am criticised by the Warsaw Pact countries and by the N.A.T.O. countries. I occupy the position of the person who says that military resistance and war are completely obsolete in the modern age, and that it is foolishness and futility to adopt these methods and think in those terms. That is why I apply that argument to this country today.

What is the argument of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State? He says that we are faced with overwhelming military force in Europe and that, whatever we do, the Russian military organisation is so strong that we cannot hope to defeat it by conventional military methods. Therefore, he says, we must be prepared to use nuclear weapons.

How does that square with the argument of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister? He is on record several times as saying that we will never be the first to use nuclear weapons. I have heard him say it in Glasgow. He says that we will never drop the atom bomb first. I have heard him say the same in this House. How can we square the Prime Minister's argument that we must not be the first to use nuclear weapons with the Secretary of State's statement at Munich that he was prepared to meet a conventional attack with the use of nuclear weapons? I do not understand the contradiction, and I think that it will be very difficult to explain.

I have heard the presentation of the Labour Party's defence policy for many years. It is extraordinarily different when the party is in office and when it is in opposition. The same applies to the Conservative Party, of course. In opposition, the argument of my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State was that we must not have nuclear weapons because they are a waste of money, and we must be prepared to strengthen our conventional forces. Now their argument is different.

I do not think that the Government have any coherent defence policy. They are pushed from one position to another, and the result is this peculiar mixture of a White Paper.

Photo of Mr Tam Dalyell Mr Tam Dalyell , West Lothian

As my hon. Friend knows, in the past I have been critical of the Government's defence policy. However, that is a complete travesty of the Prime Minister's position. It is just not true.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

My hon. Friend will be able to develop this argument in his own way——

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

If it is not true, it is not true. But I was here, and I saw the Government of the day assailed again and again because they did not have sufficient conventional forces. That was the argument then. Now the Government's policy is this extraordinary mixture.

The Opposition, on the other hand, attack the Government because of what is alleged to be their failure to supply adequate defence forces. They complain about recruiting. Earlier today, I asked the right hon. Member for Bannet (Mr. Maudling) if the Conservative Party was in favour of conscription or national service. He said, "Of course not." He does not deny it. Although the Conservative Party says that we cannot get sufficient forces in the conventional way, it is not prepared to be politically daring enough to do as the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) and Lord Wigg have been, and say that the logical result is conscription.

What is the position on these benches? We, too, are against conscription. We say that we have not got a big enough Army to undertake the responsibilities of N.A.T.O., yet neither political party dares go to the country and say that it is in favour of National Service. The reason is that it is well known that the country is against it.

What about these recruiting figures? I live in an area where it is very difficult to see a soldier. I do not suppose that there has been a rush of recruiting in Barnet. There is no rush of recruiting anywhere. Last year we spent £3 million on advertising for recruits for the Army. The result is a considerable lack of soldiers. I do not see any possibility of recruits coming forward.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) said that this country is in favour of N.A.T.O. That reminds me of a story. After the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, Lenin, when urged, "This country has not voted for peace", seeing the soldiers streaming back from the front, said, "They are not voting by the ballot box, but they are voting with their feet".

The young men of this country today are not voting with their feet. They are not marching into the recruiting offices. There is no sign that they will be attracted, bribed or bullied there. That is the situation. They are not pacifists, like me. It is simply that the ordinary man looks at the situation and says, "Army life is not for me. It is completely irrelevant to the world in a time of atom bombs".

There was a time when we could make an appeal to the ordinary man, as in the 1914–18 War, "Your King and country need you. Go to the Army. Go to Europe and defend your wife and children against the Germans". What is the position today? According to the Minister, our forces will be met by superior forces, nuclear weapons will come into operation, and, in the chain reaction, this country will be bombed and the wives and children of our soldiers at the front will probably be among the first casualties. Nuclear warfare has completely changed the psychology of the people. I do not think that we will ever get young men rushing to join the Army again, because they realise this perhaps better than the Ministers.

We are told that we must support N.A.T.O. The hon. Member for Dorset, West has given six reasons why N.A.T.O. is deteriorating. N.A.T.O. certainly is deteriorating. I remember the first debates in this House when N.A.T.O. was formed. I have good reason to remember, because I was the Teller in the Division against the Labour Government. I do not think that anyone else survives that small minority who went into the Lobby against the formation of N.A.T.O. I remember the affectionate look that the Chief Whip at that time gave me as we met.

What is the positition in N.A.T.O. today? France is out of N.A.T.O. The idea that N.A.T.O. is strong and can get a renewal of activity by this meeting of conventional N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians is, to me, a delusion.

Many people are doubtful about the usefulness of N.A.T.O. What is the opinion of the man who knows most about N.A.T.O., Field Marshal Lord Montgomery, who was the leading spirit in N.A.T.O. for many years? Last year there was some criticism of the Government because they made cuts in our military forces, which Lord Montgomery reluctantly accepted. But they were not enough for him. I heard him speak in the House of Lords. His view was that they wanted … savage attacks on the enormous Headquarters of N.A.T.O.: the huge staffs, all planning for a war which is not going to take place; and the massed armies of civil servants, turning out papers, half of which no one can read intelligently, and the other half not worth reading."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 13th March, 1968; Vol. 290, c. 242.] This is the man who knows most about it. If this is a true portrayal of the headquarters of N.A.T.O., what is it like in the rank and file?

N.A.T.O. can do nothing about Czechoslovakia. The Czechs are against the Russians. They do not want N.A.T.O. Neither do the Yugoslavs, nor the Rumanians. They all realise that they are the victims of the struggle in power politics of one big powerful bloc against the other.

Dominating N.A.T.O. is the United States of America. How much consultation did Mr. Macmillan and his Government have when they nearly had the confrontation over Cuba? They were told 40 hours later. N.A.T.O. is not an organisation which can be relied upon to save this country in the situation prevailing today.

Reference has been made to Polaris. In opposition we strongly denounced Polaris, but in government we support it—at least to the extent of four-fifths. I remember the day when Mr. Macmillan stood at the Dispatch Box and announced the Polaris programme. There was fierce reaction by the then Minister of State. This is in the recollection of hon. Members. We adopted four-fifths of the Polaris programme. As a result, we are committed to an expanding programme. The figure quoted yesterday was £350 million. But there are items which are expanding. We have the missile depot at Coulport. The original estimate was £10 million. It has now gone up to £13 million. We shall have to modify our Polaris submarines because the missiles are out of date. So we have this expensive white elephant which brings enormous dangers to people in the West of Scotland.

I, and many other Scottish Members, have read a report of a recent seminar of the Church of Scotland, held in Glasgow, in which an adviser on civil defence said: It is a danger to the civil population. If you get a nuclear bomb dropped anywhere near the Polaris base, it means the destruction of civil life in the whole of southern Scotland. We are not defending the people when we follow this kind of policy. We are wasting our money.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

How would the hon. Gentleman defend this country if we experienced the same thing that the Czechs are experiencing?

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

A country cannot be defended in an atomic age by conventional military weapons or conventional military forces. The bill is soaring. The economic position is getting more serious. We cannot support this arms policy if we are to remain solvent.

In the last paragraph of the Amendment that I have put down, I have given Japan as an example. Japan is our most serious competitor in commerce and industry. Her economy is growing, and she does not have a balance of payments problem. She is driving us away from the markets of the Middle East. One reason for this is that she is not squandering £2,000 million of her money every year on armaments and nuclear weapons. She is working out a new policy. I think that we should look at Japan to see how she has become prosperous and is growing although the Government there do not accept the conventional strategy of the West.

We would be well advised to follow Japan's example, and keep out of alignments within N.A.T.O., keep away from American plans for nuclear war, and work out a new policy which is far more likely to benefit our people.

7.21 p.m.

Photo of Miss Joan Vickers Miss Joan Vickers , Plymouth, Devonport

I do not propose to follow what was said by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). I merely remind him that it is America which protects Japan, and that, therefore, Japan does not have to spend her money on defence. Czechoslovakia learned from the disasters of Hungary and she has no allies. I maintain that we are fortunate in having some. If we had followed the hon. Gentleman's policy he would not be speaking so freely today; there would not be a House in which he would be allowed to speak. The hon. Gentleman is enjoying the benefits of what he is trying to destroy.

I propose to say a few words about the West Country and what is happening there. Our prosperity and employment has been hit many time by Government action. The Plymouth Command will be closing shortly. It has been there for 185 years, and for all that time has had a commander-in-chief. Before 1752 we had a port officer. I pay tribute to these various officers who have served us so well in the West Country. I pay tribute to them for the way in which they as temporary citizens in the area have served the city as well as the Royal Navy. They have played a most important part in local affairs, and we shall miss their services.

Perhaps the Minister will let me know the final date for the closing down of the Plymouth Command, as I understand that the admiral has been appointed Governor of Guernsey and will be leaving in May. I hope that whoever is put in command in the new post will be given the facilities which exist now for receiving navies from overseas. We have many visits from overseas navies, including our N.A.T.O. allies, and this diplomatic exchange between the British Navy and overseas navies is extremely advantageous.

In winding up the debate last night the Minister of Defence for Equipment said: As regards the production facilities which we run ourselves, the Government have recently set up a Committee under Sir John Mallabar to see whether, and if so how, the efficiency of our large-scale establishments, including R.O.F.s and Naval Dockyards, can be increased. The emphasis throughout is on better information, better management and great efficiency to give better value for money."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 357.] It will be interesting to know how this is to be undertaken. There is to be a real reorganisation of the dockyard, and we think there is to be a senior executive officer, a kind of Lord Beeching. I should like to know what his duties will be, and what kind of salary he will receive, because if there is to be an official of this type he will need a good salary to undertake this job. And what qualifications will he have to have?

I hope that the run-down, which will involve 2,500 men, will be eased as much as possible over the years. Perhaps the Minster will say whether he has had successful talks with the trade unions about the retraining of men in the dockyard so that they can find other jobs and not be made redundant.

I think—and this probably applies to other dockyards—that it will be necessary to attract younger people into the dockyards, but young men and apprentices will not come in if they do not have adequate wages and security for the future. The other day I was informed that the basic wage for an unskilled man is just over £12 a week. Some of these men are married. I have checked this point and I discovered that in some cases it is necessary to provide food vouchers, because without them some of these young men cannot support their wives. It is wrong that many of these people should have to rely on overtime to get an adequate living wage, and I hope that this matter will be looked into with a sense of urgency as for generations the people of Plymouth have done an excellent job in the dockyard.

I gather that the "Ark Royal" will be ready for commissioning in February 1970, and as more than £30 million will have been spent on her perhaps we can be told what is to be the future of this great ship when she ends her carrier career in the 1970s. Not long ago, at the Staff College, the Secretary of State for Defence said that the carriers were the "virility of the Navy". The right hon. Gentleman seems to have changed his mind, but there must be a rôle for this ship, otherwise the taxpaper will not be pleased at having to pay this vast amount of money.

I propose now to say something about recruiting. I did not hear the broadcast, but it has been reported to me that the right hon. Gentleman gave the impression that the Services were to get a rise in the near future—I know from personal contacts and from letters which I have received. The Prices and Incomes Board is involved in assessing future pay. I have not seen the confidential document, but I understand that officers and men have been given a form to fill in. I gather that although the questions are carefully worded they are rather confusing and may not give the real picture of the situation in deciding future pay. I hope that the Minister may be able to look at the questions which are being asked, because I fear that he may not get the answers which he wants if the form goes forward in its present style.

I have two suggestions to make about recruiting for the Royal Navy. The Navy, when going overseas, either had to leave families behind, often with relatives, or take them overseas, but now they are in considerable difficulty over housing. I should like consideration to be given to what I call roof to roof housing. In other words, there should be a small surplus of hirings or houses or flats for Royal Navy families. Service personnel are getting married at a much younger age now than they used to, and one reason for the bad recruiting figures is that they cannot house their families. If the age of majority is to be brought down to 18 and men will be entitled to get married at that age without Service or parental consent, will they receive a marriage allowance, and will they be given married quarters which they do not get now?

I come, next, to the vexed question of pensions. I should like to see a change in the present arrangement. I suggest that instead of giving long-service people pensions, men of the Royal Navy should get extra money for the time they go to sea, because that is the most expensive spell of duty. Men who have been in the Service for 22 years often want to commute their pensions. In days gone by a pension was the only thing on which these men had to rely when they retired, very often when they were in their forties, having served for 22 years. Now they can get another job, and if they have sufficient money they can pay for a pension other than the retirement pension granted by the State, but a lump sum payment would be of great advantage to them because it would enable them to set up a small business, to buy a house, or to make an investment.

I hope that this will be considered in the future, as there is considerable anxiety at the moment in recruiting personnel who do not want to go overseas. If extra money could be obtained for extra sea time it might make a great difference to recruiting.

Turning to the question of the Western European Union, I am glad to see the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Robert Edwards), who has done so much in the work of W.E.U.

I was very pleased to learn that in Brussels, on 16th January, N.A.T.O. Defence Ministers approved the "On call" system for the allied naval forces in the Mediterranean. I gathered that they would be assembled twice a year for exercising and for good will visits. I would like to know what part we will play in this. How many ships will we be able to provide for this exercise?

There has been a suggestion that the Western European Union should also have an "On-call force". I would deprecate this action. I know the reasons that have been suggested. N.A.T.O. has agreed to an on-call force and the Americans are in that, but they would not be in anything dealing with the Western European Union, so I hope that this will not be considered. Even the French Foreign Minister, in November, 1968, agreed that "the situation brought about by the expansion of Soviet activity required vigilance to safeguard allied security". I hope that in the future France may consider rejoining N.A.T.O. The present situation demands that Europe should be co-ordinating more and more.

I hope that Germany and Italy may be persuaded to contribute more to the expenses, because their share is comparatively small to the rest of the allies. The Western European Union is a very important organisation, and we should use this far more for political co-operation. I was surprised that when we went to these meetings we were briefed only from the Foreign Office and not the Ministry of Defence. It is absolutely essential that it should assist as we are not given sufficient briefing before we go to meetings. There are many things we could have known for the last meeting. It was very disadvantageous that we did not know them. Either we were not trusted with the information before we went, or it is not considered necessary to give us this. This should be rectified if we are to be efficient.

I would suggest that perhaps some time should be given to debating some of the reports produced by Western European Union. The hon. Member for Bilston, who was Chairman of the Defence Committe has produced excellent reports on several occasions, one of which I quoted in the previous debate. My hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, West (Mr. Wing-field-Digby) also produced a very fine report on Czechoslovakia and my hon. Friend the Member for Bury St. Edmunds (Mr. Eldon Griffiths) produced one dealing with the Mediterranean. These have been extremely well documented both in English and French. Infinite pains have been taken over them by the rapporteur and those who helped to compile them and it is a pity that they should be wasted.

When we had the last N.A.T.O. exercises it was stated that the Royal Navy employed every available ship. Merchant ships were chartered, and naval reservists called up. What does "every available ship" mean? Supposing that there had been some flare-up in another part of the world, had we sufficient forces to undertake any action, for instance, in the Pacific? There is general unease in the country, particularly amongst the young and the women, and diplomatic relations have not been very successful recently. One of the difficulties is that the right hon. Gentleman the Minister sees only too clearly his own point of view.

I would end by quoting from The Times leading article this morning: Mr. Healey's strategic thinking would inspire more confidence if it avoided giving the impression that the future can turn out only his way. This is what I fear very much; he does give that impression, though he has the help of many experts. The unknown is still the general condition in international affairs, both in peace and war. In no period of history has there ever been a more frightening situation and have we been less prepared. I hope that we shall continue to contribute to the N.A.T.O. Alliance for the sake not only of this country, but of Europe.

7.37 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robert Edwards Mr Robert Edwards , Bilston

I would follow the remarks of the hon. Lady the Member for Plymouth, Devon-port (Dame Joan Vickers) in connection with the work of the Western European Union, but I hope she will forgive me if I concentrate on other issues which I think are just as important in a debate of this nature.

It has been my privilege to preside over the Defence and Armaments Committee of the Western European Union for some years. I have had the very active support of Members on both sides of the House. I produced three reports on the cost of defending Europe. In the process of producing these three reports, with the help of the members of the Committee, I came to the conclusion that our responsibilities for defence in the Western world was overstretched, that we were making a far bigger contribution than we should be expected to make. That is why I have signed the Amendment, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun).

There are four views which have arisen in this debate. The view of my good friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes), a friend from the days of the Independent Labour Party, who has always been a pacifist. I was a pacifist along with him up to the time of the Spanish Civil War. I went out to fight in the Spanish Civil War because I was disillusioned about pacifism and thought that one reached a period in one's life when one had to defend one's ideals—the ideals of human freedom. I can quite understand and appreciate, therefore, the views of my hon. Friend, and I wish there were more people in the world like him. I am sure that in a few decades the pacifist view will be the accepted view in our world because we shall have reached a more civilised state in every country. We will realise the utter stupidity, the suicidal stupidity, of involving the human race in war.

Much has been said in this debate about the manpower problem, the problem of recruitment and the contribution we make, of fail to make, to the defence of the West. I have looked at this problem and discovered just what was happening in the world. I find that the percentage of the Regular and Armed Forces of military age is in Britain 4 per cent., France 4·9 per cent., Germany 3·9 per cent.—so we are well above Germany, and all these are conscripted armies except our own—Italy, 3·1 per cent., the Netherlands 4·1 per cent., Sweden—a neutral country—3·7 per cent., Australia 3·4 per cent., Canada 2·5 per cent., and New Zealand just over 1 per cent.

I do not know what the argument is all about. We are making a very good contribution as far as the percentage of those of military age is concerned. Our percentage is higher than the average for Western Europe. That argument about manpower is not related to reality.

As to the figure of 170,000 British reserves continental countries need massive reserves. Britain has not been invaded for hundreds of years and does not need strong reserves: on the home front they are a waste of money.

I come to the percentage of gross national product which various countries devote to defence expenditure. Belgium, a relatively rich country, spends only 2·8 per cent. and receives many N.A.T.O. contracts which probably enable her to recoup about one-half of that expenditure. Denmark spends 2·6 per cent., Germany 4·3 per cent., Luxembourg 1·2 per cent., the Netherlands 4 per cent., Norway 3·7 per cent., and Australia, about which we have heard so much from the hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), spends 4·9 per cent. Britain, faced with balance of payments problems every year, spends a larger proportion of her gross national product on defence—6 percent.—than most of the countries in the alliance. The arguments advanced by my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) and by my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) are not valid, nor are the arguments of hon. Members opposite. We cannot afford to spend more of our gross national product on defence than our wealthy allies. It is not nonsense to table an Amendment to suggest that these defence costs and responsibilities must be harmonised.

The British Army of the Rhine costs us £200 million a year, of which we must find £90 million in German currency. We employ nearly 40,000 German civilians in bases and pay them in marks. Those marks must be earned by the toil and intelligence of the British people.

It is not asking too much that the 14 nations in the Alliance should be willing to accept the burden of the offset costs which are borne by a country like Britain.

I hope that those hon. Members opposite who work with me in some of the Committees of Europe will forgive me for taking up the points they make about the Persian Gulf and our presence east of Suez. These are only party political arguments. One-sixteenth of all Government expenditure, or £600 million a year, was going on bases abroad. We cannot afford that money any longer. We are no longer a world power. We have not a great empire to protect. We had, and still have, British Servicemen in 23 different countries. In some of these countries British Servicemen could not leave the bases in khaki. They were so unpopular that before leaving the bases they had to don civilian clothes. They could not carry their equipment. The whole orientation of our foreign and defence policy must change with the great revolution of human rights which has swept the world and compelled us, sometimes reluctantly, to give independence to our former colonies. It was costing us £150 million to stay in the Persian Gulf.

Photo of Mr Ian Orr-Ewing Mr Ian Orr-Ewing , Hendon North

The hon. Gentleman is mistaken. Annex H to last year's Defence Statement put the figure at £15 million. Annex H to this year's Statement says that the cost in foreign exchange is £11 million. As there are only 6,500 troops in the Persian Gulf, it is unrealistic to say that the cost is £150 million. Our presence there yields us £130 million a year in dividends, and perhaps that is what the hon. Gentleman is thinking of.

Photo of Mr Robert Edwards Mr Robert Edwards , Bilston

For three years I was Chairman of the Defence and Overseas Sub-Committee of the Estimates Committee. Our bases had never been costed before. We went to the bases and costed them. It is contended that we get all this money back from investments in oil. Other countries—France, for example—had bases in the Arab world. De Gaulle wound them all up. There are no American or Japanese bases in the Persian Gulf, but they get a good deal of their oil from the Middle East. Eighty per cent. of all the oil coming to Europe comes from the Middle East. During the six days' war only oil destined for Britain was stopped, and that was because we had bases in the Middle East and were regarded as the wicked imperialists who were supporting the Israelis.

In any case, these bases were rapidly becoming death traps for our Servicemen. In Aden our base was surrounded by a quarter of million hostile Arabs. How can such a base be maintained? How can a base be maintained in Bahrain when the whole population of the island was opposed to our having a base there? How can we maintain bases in the hot deserts of the Trucial Coast, with 16 different little sheikhdoms?

We reach the point when we cannot police the world any longer. We have no right to do it. In any case, it is not practical politics. We cannot afford it. In so far as the Government have decided to withdraw our bases east of Suez, in line with their manifestos at two General Elections, they deserve the support of reasonable men and women and of Members of Parliament in particular.

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that, were it not for the decision of the Secretary of State of Defence, much of the £15 million would have been paid for by the local sheikhs? If they were prepared to pay the money to keep us there, are we so unpopular?

Photo of Mr Robert Edwards Mr Robert Edwards , Bilston

We were keeping the local sheikhs and sultans, these oil millionaires, in power, and we have been keeping them in power too long because they belong to the past and not the future. We trained an army in South Arabia and set up an executive committee of sheikhs and sultans. As soon as we decided to leave the base the army turned against us and shot 22 British Servicemen. And what happened to the sheikhs and sultans? As soon as we started to withdrawn they disappeared as though they had never existed. They are exiled in Cairo, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. They never had the support of their own people. Why should we keep these people in power when they have no visible means of support in their own countries?

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

Am I not correct in saying that we should support the Government because they are withdrawing from our bases east of Suez? But would my hon. Friend not agree that the rôle which we are giving up in the Far East is being taken over by the United States with our support?

Photo of Mr Robert Edwards Mr Robert Edwards , Bilston

Some hon. Members have been waiting for two days to take part in the debate, so, although I am not uninterested in the issue which my hon. Friend raises, I will not deal with it now.

The huge base in Singapore, of course, cost us—there is no question of the figures—£40 million a year. We employed 35,000 people there. The confrontation cost over £200 million a year. That is more than our total income from all our investments in Malaysia and Singapore, which makes it a very costly investment.

How far could they be defended when Indonesia took over our plantations, insurance companies and banks? Did we send our battleships to Indonesia and say, "Hand them over or we will shoot into your villages as we did in the past"? We did nothing of the kind. These old gunboat arguments about defending British investments against the sweeping revolution of human rights belong to the past and not to modern history.

The Government's White Paper is a move in the right direction. There is room for considerable reductions in defence expenditure. We can save millions of £s a year by civilianising the Army and the Air orce as we have civilianised the Navy right up to the fighting ships. We can save a good deal of money in Europe. For example, there is a major in S.H.A.P.E. who organises 13 buses every day to take children to school. In a military organisation, that is nonsense; the contracts should go to local bus interests.

There is too much duplication. The whole early warning system in Europe, which will cost £200 million, is outmoded. The six-day war proved that those systems are of no avail, because the bomber planes and the missiles go just underneath that ceiling and no warning can be given. This is a waste of people's money. Then we think of all the hospitals and schools and houses which we could build with this money. I do not know what is in the Opposition's mind. Every man, woman and child in this country has to find every week 15s. 10d. for defence alone. We have reached the limits of what the economy can stand for defence costs and it is time that we stopped this suicidal madness which is getting us nowhere.

As for the defence of Western Europe, there are 7,600 tactical nuclear weapons in Western Europe, half of them with a greater explosive power than that dropped on Hiroshima. The amount of explosive in the world is now equivalent to over 1,100 tons of T.N.T. for every man, woman and child. This is the nth degree of human stupidity and it is time that we had realistic discussions about cutting down this expenditure and talking peace, not war.

7.55 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , West Derbyshire

I disagree with almost everything which the hon. Member for Bilston (Mr. Robert Edwards) said. I disagreed with his figures and the conclusions which he drew from them. If I did not know him, I would have thought that he had gone back in his philosophy to the days before he fought in the Spanish Civil War and now shared the views of his hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes). What makes it more unfortunate is the position that he holds. He is, after all, the Chairman of the Defence Committee of the Western European Union. He might have done us the courtesy of doing his homework before he came here——

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , West Derbyshire

Then he has obviously not studied the White Paper. His figures were corrected by my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing). The cost of our bases in the Persian Gulf is £11 million, for the Far East £72 million. The incomes from those two bases are entirely different from what the hon. Gentleman said. That from the Far East is £134 million a year. The hon. Member should do more homework on that.

The same applies to most of the other figures which he gave about the W.E.U. and the percentage which was being spent by various countries. The nub of the debate and of our argument is that the European defence effort by this country is not enough to meet likely future circumstances. Far from cutting down our percentage of the g.n.p. devoted to defence to that of other European countries, we are urging that they should increase theirs to our level. Many of them are not playing their part.

Most of the figures the hon. Member gave were interesting in underlining the point that other European countries are not spending the percentage which they should be and which many have undertaken to spend. I hope that when he goes back to the Defence Committee the hon. Member will tell the other countries to increase their expenditure in line with ours and not speak as he has done tonight.

Most of the speeches in this debate, from both sides, have shown a good deal of unanimity about our difficulties and problems. I was particularly impressed by the speech yesterday of the hon. Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) and his closely reasoned argument. I agreed with much of what the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Sninwell) said, but, as always when he is making an interesting speech, he posed many questions but did not actually answer any of them. He did answer one question today when he said that N.A.T.O. must have a credible deterrent in the European theatre.

In his quick gallop round the world—and he indeed spoke rapidly—the Minister of Defence for Administration made some extraordinary statements. When referring to the Gulf and our position in Aden he said that there was not much point in our remaining in that area because we had no capability in Africa. However, he went on to say that we were maintaining a perfectly credible force there, although he omitted to mention the Simonstown base.

The Minister said that if we withdrew from our base in the Gulf costs would be reduced. I found it difficult to comprehend the figures he gave because he said that the forces to be withdrawn from the Gulf would be returned to Britain and would have to be maintained either here or committed to N.A.T.O. His remarks were contradictory to say the least.

There has been considerable agreement between the two sides of the House about the danger which exists in Europe and the possibility of a confrontation with the Communist bloc. Are we in a position to meet such a threat? Is our deterrent credible? Could we stop an attack if it came in strength on the European central front through Germany or on the flanks of N.A.T.O.?

It is almost inconceivable that either we or the Americans would be prepared to initiate a nuclear strike. The Prime Minister has taken this view all along. Repeatedly he has said that he could not conceive of Britain or America being the first to press the nuclear button. Yet the defence policy of the Secretary of State now is that we must have a flexible response—the word "tripwire" is no longer used—and that when that fails a nuclear response will be necessary to stop an attack.

My hon. Friend the Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) made it clear in his speech yesterday that once one starts using tactical nuclear weapons escalation to a strategic strike is inevitable. This means that the Secretary of State is saying that we must have conventional forces to delay an attack for a limited time to allow negotiations to take place and that if nothing successful comes of that we will adopt a first strike policy. In other words, we will stop an attacker initially by tactical nuclear weapons—use them on the enemy's communication centres and so on—and escalate up from there. I cannot believe that the right hon. Gentleman considers this to be credible.

If the Secretary of State is relying on a conventional response to an attack at the centre or on the flanks of N.A.T.O., such a response must be flexible. The hon. Member for Bilston made it clear that N.A.T.O.'s defences are not adequate to meet a possible threat at the conventional level. The Secretary of State must, therefore, get the balance right, not only by encouraging our N.A.T.O. allies to increase their contribution but by ensuring that we are making our maximum contribution.

Throughout the debate hon. Members have spoken of the necessity to increase the strength of our forces—Army, Air Force and Navy—but there has not been much talk of increasing the fire power which the Services can deploy in the field. When we debate the Army Estimates this will, no doubt, be a central theme. Fire power is as important as the number of people on the ground. In any warfare one must have a certain number of people to pull the triggers, but the quantity of fire that they can spend out is equally if not more important.

Photo of Mr James Davidson Mr James Davidson , Aberdeenshire West

I agree entirely with the hon. Gentleman about the need to increase our conventional contribution to N.A.T.O. in Europe. How does he tie this in with the remark made yesterday by his right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) that we are over-committed in N.A.T.O.?

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , West Derbyshire

My right hon. and learned Friend was saying that we were over-committed in N.A.T.O. compared with the total forces available to us. In our view we are not committed solely to N.A.T.O. We have commitments in, for example, the Near East. We have a presence, with our allies, in the Far East. We are not like hon. Gentlemen opposite in this matter. We do not break our promises and leave our friends in the lurch.

In considering the question of conventional forces in Europe, what worries me particularly is not so much a central blow through the plains of Germany—if that were to happen I hope that we shall have sufficient forces in due course to meet it, including a confrontation over Berlin, although I do not believe that that will happen—but an attack on the flanks of the N.A.T.O. screen, particularly its southern flanks. There is much more possibility of danger arising there. I cannot believe that at present either we or N.A.T.O. have sufficient forces available on the northern or southern flanks to contain any threat that might at a future date come from the Communist bloc.

Hon. Members have referred to Yugoslavia, Rumania and Austria. All of these are possible areas where there might be a threat to security. Despite the Secretary of State's comment that we could blow every Russian ship out of the water in the Mediterranean, I do not believe that we have sufficient forces in this area either. We must increase our conventional forces in terms of manpower and fire power, and particularly our forces assigned to N.A.T.O.

In his speech yesterday the hon. Member for Lewisham, North said that there was a danger of the Americans saying should we build up our strength sufficiently, "Now that you are building up to a sufficient strength in Europe, we will go home and concentrate our defence forces on the Far East and the Pacific." This danger exists, and that is why we should make it clear that we have commitments, in addition to N.A.T.O., to honour. We have commitments not only in the Near East but in the Far East. Our forces in those areas will be sharing the defence burdens which are being carried by our allies there. If we take that view, I am sure that the Americans will continue to uphold their commitment to Europe. If they were not to do so, N.A.T.O. and Europe could be in the gravest possible difficulties.

We have heard a lot about the reasons for mistakes with reference to recruiting. I do not know whether or not we can put them right. I hope that we can. The whole of the argument and talk that has gone on yesterday and this afternoon will be wasted time if we cannot get recruiting on an upward rather than a downward trend. I understood from the Minister of Defence for Administration this afternoon that we face a shortage of 9,000 this year, which will rise to 14,000 for the Army alone in the year ahead. That is a calamitous figure. There is no one to blame but the Secretary of State for Defence. The Government have made savage cuts which have been announced without warning and then made piecemeal patching of the Armed Forces to make the best of a bad job. There is complete lack of knowledge of what kind of career those in the Armed Forces can have. There is tremendous dubiety among officers about how they should proceed and what will happen to them.

The dropping of territorial recruitment of famous named regiments was a grave error. Everything that the Secretary of State and the Government have done in this field in the last few years has been wrong. The result is that the morale of the Forces is low. There is no getting away from that. The reasons given by the hon. Member for South Ayrshire for men not joining the Armed Forces are not true. People still have a spirit of adventure and want to serve their country and to see that it is not brow-beaten by an aggressor from overseas. This may sound strange to his ears, but many young men are still proud to be English and to serve Her Majesty. But we cannot get them to join unless we change the atmosphere.

The situation over reserves is more parlous than ever. I shall not go into the question of who would defend us against a parachute attack, because that has been dealt with. At the moment we have only 56,000 reserves earmarked to reinforce existing Regular forces. There are no complete units left in the reserve forces. These 56,000 are to fill in gaps in the Regular army overseas. It is utterly wrong that whole units should have been disbanded and none left within the reserve army.

I hope that even at this late hour the Secretary of State will review his ideas about having a reserve army and resuscitating the TAVR III. Unless the right hon. Gentleman changes his policy, I must accuse him of putting the country in jeopardy, for I do not believe he is carrying out the rôle of Secretary of State for Defence in seeing that the defences of the country are proper, viable and credible. I do not believe that under the right hon. Gentleman they are.

8.15 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

The hon. Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Scott-Hopkins) will forgive me if I do not follow him in all his arguments. I was intrigued by his words when he repeated the mistake so often made by hon. Members opposite in confusing the image of the Forces and their attraction for those outside, which is understandably damaged by the carping criticism of the Opposition, with the state of morale inside the Services themselves. The level of re-engagement in the Services speaks for itself. This contradicts the sweeping generalisations about morale made by the Opposition.

The fundamental truth about the nuclear age is interdependence of human society. Economically and strategically our interests are inextricably linked with those of the world community as a whole. In every international conflict, however geographically remote, and in some national crises there are the seeds of a conflagration which could spell annihilation for Britain. We cannot afford to limit our concern for security to any one continent or region.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, in a characteristically lucid speech yesterday, dwelt at great length on our retrenchment in Europe. It is undeniable that we are unable to police the world alone. The Government deserve great credit for having faced up to this, but we cannot retreat ostrich-like into Europe, pretending that problems elsewhere do not threaten our survival. The least likely cause of nuclear war is a direct confrontation between the super Powers in Europe or elsewhere. A far more likely cause is the escalation of a so-called localised conflict into which the super Powers may be indirectly drawn.

I identify three areas where this could happen. First, there is the Middle East. Several hon. Members have driven home the fact that the presence of the Soviet Union and the West in that area emphasises that the conflict is not confined to Arabs and Israelis. Secondly, there is South-East Asia. The dangers there hardly need to be spelled out yet again. Thirdly, there is the sphere of Southern Africa. While the danger there may not be so immediate, it is nonetheless present.

My right hon. Friend, as spokesman on African and Commonwealth Affairs when we were in Opposition, pointed out clearly that, however slowly the beginnings, once the Africans of Southern Africa decided that they could achieve their objectives only by force the course of events would be no longer in doubt. Articulate leaders are now making that decision. Already in the Portuguese territories of Mozambique and Angola, in proportion to population and national income, Portugal has more men and resources involved in active combat than the Americans have in Vietnam.

In Rhodesia, South West Africa and the Caprivi Strip, while it would be foolish to exaggerate their scale, the first guerrilla actions have already taken place. There is a real danger that the only practical support for these guerrillas will be forthcoming from the Communist world, and that as the white minority comes under pressure the West will find itself increasingly involved on the side of the minority. We might find ourselves in a new Vietnam-type predicament, for which Britain would carry a great deal of direct responsibility.

If we cannot police the world alone, we must obviously give a great deal more thought than is evident in the White Paper to collective security agreements throughout the world under the United Nations in which we must be ready to play our part. I always have an admiration for countries such as Canada, Ireland, our close neighbour, and others in Scandinavia, which take this prospect very seriously. Such agreements would obviously need to be guaranteed by the super Powers.

We also need to reopen discussions on the feasibility of a United Nations police force, discussions which have been conspicuous by their absence in recent years. Why do we always turn to the United Nations for action in international crises as a last resort, when everything else has been tried? To speak of projects of this kind may seem like supporting forlorn hopes at this moment, but unless we keep plugging away on this front we can be accused of courting disaster.

The late President Kennedy spoke of the U.N. as our last best hope. It would be an indictment of our society should we ever decide to accept for all time the theory of the deterrent with its potential elimination of countless millions of men and women as the basis for our security. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) said yesterday, our best guarantee of lasting defence will always be comprehensive and general disarmament. It is sad that this objective was nowhere mentioned in the speech of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State yesterday.

The defeatism of my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) today was uncharacteristic. Would he recommend, as is logical if he is to follow his own argument, the abolition of the post of Minister with special responsibility for disarmament? It is high time we brought disarmament from the back rooms of the Foreign Office and put it in the centre of our defence considerations where it belongs. For a start, we should know a good deal more about our arms sale policy.

The Secretary of State said yesterday that the one development which might lead the Soviet Union to consider a preemptive strike would be the nuclear arming of West Germany. A number of right hon. and hon. Members have referred to the Munich speech in this respect. What worries me at least as much are the possible implications in terms of defence and disarmament of the gas centrifuge developments in which we are proposing technological co-operation with the Germans. An unavoidable by-product of this will be the spreading of the raw materials with which nuclear weapons can be made. Are we completely satisfied that we are not putting the trigger on the West German finger?

Our defence policy is motivated by the desire to defend what is best in our way of life—freedom and democracy. If N.A.T.O. is to be the cornerstone of that defence policy it is a shaky cornerstone while it contains such contradictions to its expressed objectives as the Governments of Greece and Portugal. It exposes some notable contradictions in British policy.

For example, my right hon. Friend, referring to Southern Africa, said on 18th December last year, in answer to a supplementary Question by the hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison): … many considerations of foreign policy as well as security have to be borne in mind when decisions on this type of matter are taken. I believe that it is important for the interests of the United Kingdom that we should be seen to be in support of the natural desire of the African peoples for independence."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 18th December, 1968; Vol. 775, c. 1363.] It is difficult to see how this will be recognised by the African peoples so long as we have a close ally, the Government of Portugal, which is waging such a cruel war of repression in Mozambique and Angola. What action are the Government taking to pressurise our more wayward Allies?

Both international and national defence programmes require support facilities, and the White Paper has a good deal to say about streamlining ours. Speaking as the Member for a constituency very much involved in one such support facility, I should like to place on record how much we appreciate the conclusion of the Dockyard Review. If I pose a few questions to the Minister, it is to probe the more detailed thinking behind the general paragraphs, which certainly point in the right direction.

Portsmouth now knows where it stands vis-à-vis the Navy and its dockyard for a long time ahead. We welcome the news of specialisaton, and will be proud to look after the modern and sophisticated guided missile destroyers. We know that the proposed rundown in the size of the labour force by the mid-1970s is very much in line with the rate of natural wastage in recent years, and we are reassured by pledges that there will be no redundancies if unions and management co-operate in retraining, and by the offer of establishment to all those with more than five years' service.

Of course, a modernised yard with better working conditions and pay for those employed there is what everybody wants to see, but how far are the Department's management plans geared to ensure this? A new executive at Bath or somewhere else, and more power for the general managers, are all very well, but what other detailed arrangements have been made? Is a Civil Service structure really suited to a production job of this kind? Do not we need to move towards a specialised corporation with each yard producing an annual profit and loss account, as in the United States? Is not genuine local accountability essential? What of the duplication of management between naval and civilian staff? Is this efficient? Are the dividing lines between the responsibilities of the general managers and Flag Officers or Admiral Superintendents clear? What about the position further down the line? How about worker-management relationships? Are they all that they could be? What of the white-collar-blue-collar union relations? Are there too many unions in the yards? Is there too much national negotiation and too little at the local level? Should the new Commission on Industrial Relations perhaps look at the yards in this respect? From my experience, I know that there have been failures in communication.

The Navy puts a commendable emphasis these days on its public relations with city leaders, but how many men in the dockyard have a clear picture of their overall task, let alone of the overall rôle of the Navy they are servicing? The men do not accept the increasing ratio of pre-planning staff to production workers as either efficient or necessary. If it is efficient and necessary, why has this credibility gap developed? Dockyard newspapers, like Trident in Portsmouth, may be a welcome innovation, but no one could pretend that they are the complete answer. There are also widespread misgivings among the men about the criteria used when deciding whether to put work out to private contract.

In the other direction, I should be interested to know why there cannot be more dynamic and methodical arrangements to bring civil or other defence work into the yards. It cannot be beyond the wit of management to devise developments in this respect which would not interfere with naval priorities. Why not use the capital resources and skill of the men as a model growth point in our economy? The Government should set standards in industry. These and other questions will no doubt be considered by the Mallabar Committee. They are important if the generalised wish for better dockyards is to be translated into reality.

Quite apart from achieving the reduced size of labour force without redundancy, is my right hon. Friend convinced that he can hold the right calibre of management and labour at the proposed new level? Average national earnings for male manual workers are just about £23 a week. In the South East the average is higher. But in the Portsmouth dockyard the most skilled men have average earnings of only a little over £23 a week—£23 5s. 10d. to be precise. Semi-skilled men have average earnings of £20 4s. 10d., and non-skilled have average earnings of £16 4s. 5d. Those are all averages; there are not a few men in the yards who earn less than £16 a week. Younger men are not only leaving the yard but, because of the shortage of alternative work, are leaving Portsmouth altogether. Quite apart from productivity agreements, what is the Department to do about this critical situation?

The social significance for a city with above-average unemployment of a 20 per cent. reduction in the job opportunities in the dockyard should not be underestimated. A Government committed to social and economic planning must at once make sure that the city's leaders are invited to the Board of Trade, the Department of Economic Affairs, and the Department of Employment and Productivity to discuss alternative economic development in the city. The Defence Department must be kept under pressure for the release of Service land for other industry and commerce.

In the dockyard and other Service establishments, the people of Portsmouth, like those of other dockyard cities, have been proud to service what has been the greatest Navy in the world and is still the greatest of Europe. We owe it to these communities to assist them in every possible way in the adjustments which we now expect them to make.

The White Paper as a whole points firmly in a sensible direction. It is surely a score for civilisation that we are now spending as a nation more on education than on defence. It is a pity that we are still spending 12 times as much, in terms of gross national product, on defence as on overseas aid and development. No Socialist can ever rest content with that. It is sometimes said that what is wrong with politicians today is that it is all tactics and no strategy. We have an outstanding Secretary of State for Defence. He must avoid temptations to become preoccupied with reflex tactics. In the nuclear age, tactics without strategy in the building of peace are the road to eventual disaster.

8.30 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

I hope that the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) will forgive me if I do not follow his argument. Without any unkindness, I would say to him that we on this side very much look forward to the return to the House of his predecessor, who would put forward a rather more robust argument than he has done.

I wish that I could see the utopia that many hon. Members opposite believe can take place—namely, when the nations of the world will not need any defences at all, when we shall all live peacefully with each other. But I fear that we are a long way from that day. Until it arrives, we have to see that we have an effective defence force for the free world.

But no defence force can be effective without efficient recruitment. Much has been said by other hon. Members about recruiting. I believe that it is the whole basis of our future defence. Every weekend we see newspaper advertisements, on which the Government spend a lot of money, extolling the merits of the forces. One only has to see them to realise how desperate the Government are and how much they recognise that recruiting has dropped. It is typical of the Government that, as they run a thing down, they spend a lot of money advertising its merits. The Postmaster-General has done this with the Post Office.

In 1964, the Royal Navy and Royal Marines had a strength of 84,251. In December, 1968, the figure was 77,467. The number in the Army, during the same period, dropped from 155,000 to 148,000. The Royal Air Force registered an even more astonishing drop—from 102,770 to 88,539. There has been a drop all round. What caused it? I believe that my right hon. and hon. Friends and hon. Members opposite are right when they say that it is largely to do with pay. I want to put a case which I do not think has yet been made in the debate. It concerns the pay of skilled tradesmen in the Services.

There is a great discrepancy between what they receive and what they would receive in civil life. I want to emphasise that fact. Having been in the Services myself, I know how skilled some of these men can be. For example, at regimental level, the L.A.D. has extremely skilled mechanics, who should be paid the rate for the job. So many of the weapons these men handle today are highly complex and very sophisticated.

Then there is the uncertainty. This, too, is a very important factor. When I was in the Far East last September, in the New Territories of Hong Kong, I talked to a bombardier, a young married man. He was extremely worried. I asked him what he was going to do. He replied, "I do not know. I am being posted back to England and my regiment is being disbanded. Whether I shall be made redundant, or can get another posting, I do not know". He was not the only man who spoke to me like that. These men are worried. They do not know what their future is to be.

Another point on which I think we are all agreed is that young men are getting married much earlier than in the past. I do not believe that there are enough married quarters in this country, although there are in other parts of the world—Malta being a fine example. But if we do not have enough married quarters here and young men therefore cannot get married, this is a great deterrent to their joining the forces.

Then, of course, there is the question of the excitement of overseas tours. One of the inducements for young men to join the forces in the past was the idea that they would travel and see the world, not just soldier in this country. I am afraid that the time may come when an overseas posting will be the Isle of Wight. I hope that will not come about, but it is the tendency with the present Government. The other point which has affected recruiting is the difficulty for wives. A soldier, or an airman particularly, goes on an unaccompanied tour to a place like Gann. There is the problem for the wives left behind. They cannot necessarily live with in-laws and may not be able to carry on with the quarters they had. We must pay attention to this.

I deal now with the Far East. I was out there recently and was extremely interested in what I saw, and grateful for the opportunity of seeing it. The Secretary of State was misleading when he said that the Opposition would maintain, indefinitely, existing commitments in the Far East and the Gulf. This is not true, because as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said in a powerful speech: We shall be acting in South-East Asia not as a solitary great power, but as one of a group of like-minded countries who share the same aims. In this connection I would like to suggest that one possibility which might then be well worth considering would be for the Government of Singapore to lease some of the present base facilities in so far as they are necessary on the island to a joint organisation of the five Commonwealth Governments concerned—that is, Singapore itself. Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand and Britain. Such an arrangement would be a genuine and practical proof of the determination of these five Governments to cooperate in the defence of their common aims. They are exactly our proposals. We do not intend to carry on with the vast bases we had in the past, far from it, but we want to have our presence felt out there. Much has been said about the Russian presence in the Mediterranean, the Gulf and the Red Sea. It has been said that this is a purely political. If they are there, and if it is important politically for them to be there, it is also important for the free world to make our presence felt.

Many people have forgotten that we have £3,000 million invested in the Gulf, Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. That is a large sum of money, and it brings in a very good return. Surely it is essential that we should have a presence out there to stop some minor—initially—attack.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

What will the hon. Gentleman do about the £3,000 million, when Hong Kong reverts to China under the agreement to which we are signatories?

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

I do not think that Hong Kong will revert to China. I have spoken to people out there about this. It is far too valuable to Mao for getting currency backwards and forwards. When the lease has expired I think that the arrangement will be carried on. But who can tell? Nevertheless, I do not believe that it is an absolute certainty that we will not carry on there. In any case, the investments are not only in Hong Kong, there is a large amount in the Gulf and Singapore.

I have mentioned the idea of a combined operation between the nation members of the Commonwealth. This is not a piped ream, because we have seen it in operation at Terendah, in Malaysia. We saw two infantry brigades there, one Australian and one British with quite a lot of support from local Malaysian troops and civilians. It worked very well and I do not see why it should not be extended. Further north, at Butterfield, there is a joint air station. The station commander is an extremely able Australian. It is a first-class station, doing a first-class job of work.

I believe very definitely that we should build up this joint operation. One of the things which worried me when I was in the Far East was the way in which people thought, and told us, that we had let them down. I did not like that at all. Quite apart from the question of our investments, which is a selfish part of the argument, we also have in the Far East our honour and our commitments to our friends there; and it was not pleasant to hear very nice people saying, "You have let us down".

In the New Territories near Hong Kong there is a fairly large border with Red China. Thanks to the fact that we have a brigade of Gurkhas and other troops there, Mao has not attempted anything because he knows that there is a little more than a trip wire and that he would lose face if he made a minor attack there and was driven back. There is no question that if he chose to mount a major attack we could not stay there for any length of time. But the mere fact that those Gurkha troops are on that border is, I am certain, one of the reasons we have preserved the peace, because do not forget that Macao had no defence——

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

It is not rubbish at all. Go and discuss this with the Army commanders and the people there who really know their job. What you are saying is nonsense. There is no question about that.

Photo of Mr Harry Gourlay Mr Harry Gourlay , Kirkcaldy District of Burghs

Order. I made no remarks whatever.

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

I beg your pardon, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I sincerely hope that in saying we are going to get out of the Far East by the end of 1971 the Government will not do what they did over the TSR2, that is, made quite certain that no one could ever resuscitate it by destroying the jigs. Are the Government going to make it impossible to return there and carry on with out promises and the commitments which we have given to those people out there? I would like to hear the answer to that.

I come back towards home, to Simons-town. With the Suez Canal closed, it must be obvious that Simonstown is of vital importance to us. Various hon. Members on the other side have said that the amount we are spending on defence is vast and the amount we have to pay for the Army in Germany is very great in foreign currency. Why will not the Government drop their bitter hatred of South Africa and start once again to supply that country with aircraft and frigates which could never, never, under any circumstances be used for keeping down a civil riot there? Why do we not earn more money in that way and, at the same time, support our colleagues out there in the defence of the free would?

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Will the hon. Gentleman please define what he means by the free world, because I do not understand how he equates South Africa with the free world?

Photo of Mr James Dance Mr James Dance , Bromsgrove

I am referring to those who believe in the kind of freedom in which we all believe. I do not like apartheid any more than the hon. Gentleman does, but I am much closer to South Africa than I am to Communism.

Let us come nearer home, into the Mediterranean, to Malta. I cannot for the life of me see why the Government should let our friends in Malta down by pulling out of there. Admittedly, Malta is not the best terrain in the world for Army exercises; that is perfectly true. But not very far away, in Libya, there is terrain which could be used. I believe I am right in saying that it was the 1st Guards Brigade who, a year or so ago, had a very successful exercise called "Starlight", when they landed at El Adem and made an advance to Derna.

There may be a reason for not using ordinary ground forces there, but one thing which cannot be denied is that from the training point of view, in the air and on and beneath the sea, there is nowhere equal to Malta. As a civilian, I have been fortunate to have had experience of all three. I have been in a Shackleton searching for a submarine; I have been in a Diamond class destroyer searching for a submarine; and I have been in an "S" Class submarine trying to avoid detection. I have also been in a carrier. I know perfectly well, and anybody who knows anything about this will agree, that Malta is an ideal training place in these respects.

I return to the question of married quarters. Close to a flat which I own in Malta are St. Andrew's Barracks. They are magnificent and quite modern. It is tragic to see them empty and, at the same time, realise that we do not have in this country the accommodation we require, particularly for married people. This is in a sterling area and will not cost a penny in foreign currency. I beseech the Government to think again about letting down our friends, because withdrawal of our troops has made a big difference to the economy in Malta. At present, there is one Shackleton squadron there. I hope that that will remain. However, I should like to see a build-up of troops in the island.

We rightly condemn the Government. They have cut by a very small amount—and in true terms I do not think that they have cut at all—expenditure on defence. But what have they got? We have very little defence left. We do not have any good aircraft. The Government scrapped the TSR2. Many projects which would have kept us powerful and strong have been scrapped by the Government. We are not getting fair value for money.

8.47 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ronald Atkins Mr Ronald Atkins , Preston North

I hope that the hon. Member for Bromsgrove (Mr. Dance) will forgive me if I do not refer to all his points, in view of the lack of time. However, I should like to take up the statement about the east of Suez policy and the need to renew it. We still suffer from illusions of grandeur which we should get rid of. With, say, 40 divisions of Russians facing an even larger number of Chinese, we would hardly be noticed in the Far East. People who would notice us would be the people who did not want us there. It would be used as propaganda against our military strength and trade. We are suffering from years of unpopularity in East Asia. It would be a disaster for us to go back there.

We see a new trend in the Defence Estimates which shows a reduction of the percentage of the gross national product spent on armaments from 7 to 6 per cent., or possibly 6·25 per cent. if we remember what the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in answer to Questions yesterday. This is sensible, because we are moving to what the economy can bear. It is a great mistake, shared by too many hon. Members, to assume that a nation's strength depends entirely on the number of men it has under arms.

There is great necessity for every country to have a strong industrial structure which enables it to renew, replenish and sustain a large military force. It is remarkable to note how often, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the strong industrial Powers have come out on top. If we destroy our economic roots and our industrial vitality by excessive defence expenditure we weaken ourselves.

After the self-congratulatory first page of the White Paper, I am surprised at the misleading statement on the gross national product in paragraph 8. I address this to the Front Bench as they may have an explanation. It reads as follows: In terms of percentage of the Gross National Product, the defence spending of the Warsaw Pact countries together is nearly twice that of the European members of N.A.T.O.… Why has the word "European" been put in there? It is well known that the country with the biggest gross national product in the world is the United States of America. It is also well known that the United States of America spends a larger proportion of its income on armaments than any other country. If the word "European" were left out, the figures would be greatly changed; as they are, they are most misleading.

The second part of the sentence reads: … it is 50 per cent. higher on a per capita basis. Why has America been left out, if Russia is included on the other side? The Warsaw Pact countries and the N.A.T.O. countries are part of two world blocs—the chief problem in the world today. The total resources of each bloc should be included in considering the gross national product and the percentage spent on armaments.

In the second half of the sentence which I quoted from the White Paper, a dimension has been left out. If reference is made to heads of population, why should not reference be made to the territory which is covered? Why not say what is the percentage per square mile of territory, or per mile of frontier? That has always been an important dimension in considering military strategy and expenditure.

The motive behind military expenditure by Communist Powers is the same as our motive, it is fear. I do not know whether or not the two bellicose speeches of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State increased that fear, but he scared the living daylight out of me. I will give way if the Front Bench will say why the United States was excluded from those figures, which have been referred to so often in the debate and which are so misleading.

Why have the figures been manipulated in this way? They seem to run contrary to the self-congratulatory statement on the first page of the White Paper, which speaks of the reduction in the percentage of the gross national product which we are spending on armaments. It is madness to do what my right hon. Friend did, to rattle a sabre and, at the same time, tell the enemy that one's sword is shorter than his. I cannot understand the motive. It is certainly not to appease the Opposition; to be fair, my right hon. Friend never placates the Opposition. I hope that it is to persuade our N.A.T.O. allies who are not pulling their weight to increase the percentage of their contribution.

If so, I hope that it will be printed in all the languages necessary. I would like to see it printed especially in German, because I am still irked by the fact that we have not yet got a fair offset agreement. I know that there is a reference on page 49 to the fact that about 90 per cent. of the overseas currency element of our stationing costs has been recovered, but so little detail has been given that I wonder how the figure is made up.

The trade figures in respect of Germany for the last month have taken a big dive, whereas we have exported more to other countries. If that is a result of our offset agreement, it is not a very good one. I suspect that many of the goods that we would have sold anyway are included in it, but no details have been given, nor have they been available when asked for. I am certain, too, that part of the offset consists of credits. It is utterly disgraceful that we should become indebted in an offset agreement to a country which is fat with financialreserves when we are so very thin. It is disgraceful that we should be able to supply a market to German manufacturers of about 80,000 people on our pay. I do not think bringing back one brigade is a bad idea. I would like to see several brought back unless this offset agreement is settled satisfactorily.

We speak in much stronger terms when we are in opposition. Although I have not time now, I was hoping to read the statement of my right hon. Friend the present Home Secretary when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer. He was referring to the Defence White Paper of that year. It seemed to me, when I was cheering myself hoarse, that we should get a settlement in that year. We are still nowhere near it. I cannot imagine Britain being in Germany's situation. If Germany had been distributing military largesse to so many allies, I cannot imagine that we would refuse to help her, as we have expected help in this matter.

A lot has been said about the numbers of people needed in the Armed Forces. On this occasion, we are told that we require 340,000 men. I have a sneaking suspicion that, when a Government are considering how many men they need in the forces, they look ahead to the following year, decide how many they will get, add that number to what they have already, and say that that is the number that they need.

If we are withdrawing forces from east of Suez to concentrate them in a central base here and so supply some of the home defence about which right hon. and hon. Members opposite have spoken, it occurs to me that it is possible to use them more efficiently, since lines are not stretched so far. In that case, I hope that the Ministry of Defence will take that into consideration.

Much has been said about quantity. However, I do not think that a single hon. Member has referred to quality, which applies not only to troops in active service but to the reserves as well. My right hon. Friend the Member for Easing-ton (Mr. Shinwell) said recently that we had not any "brass-hats" on this side of the House to put up against those on the other side, so I hope that I shall be forgiven for quoting the views of a field marshal on numbers. I refer to Lord Montgomery, and I am reading from a speech of his in the other place in 1967.

The noble Lord said, in delightful language, at least in his later remarks: … we need a small, very highly efficient Army of, say, 140,000, 150,000—that sort of figure—kept mostly in the United Kingdom. With a small highly-trained professional Army we ought to aim to reduce all unnecessary top hamper,"— a wonderful nautical term for a field marshal— a very heavy attack being launched on large staffs".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 2nd May, 1967; Vol. 282, c. 869.] I imagine that the field marshal would not be satisfied with the 3 per cent. reduction which has taken place in headquarters staff. However, we hope that this is just the beginning and that there will be a further reduction.

I think that the field marshal made the point that these troops should be well-equipped and efficient. When they are based in the home country, and are made mobile, they should be available readily to any part of Western Europe. If the Americans think it feasible and practicable to transport troops over 3,000 miles to the European sphere, we ought to be able to manage to transport them 300 miles, if we have sufficient transport. I think that we should do that. Incidentally, from the economic and industrial point of view, it is a great advantage.

I differ from my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun), who objected to the agreement which the Defence Secretary has been trying to conclude with a number of European countries for the multipurpose aircraft. It is silly to refer to a single figure when so many planes are to be built by so many countries over so many years if we are to rely upon our own equipment and aeroplanes. It is also silly to talk about stopping importing American aircraft if we are not to build our own. This is absolutely essential, and the Defence Secretary is to be congratulated for going on with this matter.

It will be realised that international security and peace can come not only from armaments, but from a sensible foreign policy which is concerned about other countries, about the differences in wealth, and is determined to do right rather than what is expedient concerning our allies. Defence is the handmaiden of foreign policy, but no master should be too demanding on his servant.

9.3 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

In view of the illness of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, I hope that I may have the leave of the House to speak again.

Whatever may be the differences between the Government and the Opposition and the divisions within the ranks of hon. Members opposite, I think that we can all agree that the speeches to which we have listened have been directed to making a contribution to a debate on issues which we would all be wise to recognise do not lie within the realm of dogmatic certainty.

Concerning future commitments and the the state of international affairs, we must all—I think even the Secretary of State, who is always so sure at the time of the wisdom of his fluctuating policies and strategies—to some extent be crystal-gazers.

As to modern weapons, the state of the art of attack and defence changes in a way which means that final decisions can only be taken by those who have all the information—much of which must necessarily be secret. In this regard, I think that we must all be grateful to the Minister of Defence for Equipment for his speech last night. Within the restrictions imposed by security, he gave us information about the highlights in weapon development in each of the Services that we on this side of the House certainly found both helpful and informative. I think he has thereby ensured that the debates we have in detail on the Service Estimates will be carried on as constructively as possible.

We particularly welcomed also the assurance that he gave that no decision had been taken about the future of our aircraft carriers in the period after 1971. I think that great importance also attaches to what he said about the potentialities of the new super-Harrier, and the prospects of its use from ships as well as from land bases. We are also encouraged to know that the design studies for new ships will, as a matter of course, take account of these new developments.

Just as the Government have now accepted our view of the importance of our nuclear deterrent, so it seems they have accepted not only our arguments for changes in the naval strategy in the Mediterranean, but also our view of carriers and the future of naval aviation. It is perhaps rather ironic that within the space of two years Government policy has changed from scrapping carriers and staying east of Suez to keeping carriers and leaving east of Suez.

While we must welcome international co-operation and collaboration wherever it is feasible and sensible, we must never underrate the contribution which our military research and development programme makes, not only to our defence, but to our economy, and much of what has been done in our defence research establishments has proved of enormous value to British industry. Perhaps, therefore, when the Secretary of State replies he will make it clear that the proposed reduction of £30 million in our defence research and development programme is not just another part of his claim that cuts in defence expenditure must take place here as elsewhere.

We do not want needless dependence on imported equipment and weapons. This apart from the fact, which the Secretary of State did not seem to appreciate, that if they are financed on credit they are not in the Defence Budget, and may show a spurious cut in the current Estimates and throw the cost on to the future. And if the right hon. Gentleman looks at the Written Answer of the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 11th February of this year at c. 278 he will see that what my right hon. Friend said in opening is pertinent to this issue. Needless expenditure on imported equipment and weapons involves a double detriment to the country. It not only puts a strain on our balance of payments through additional imports, but in the long run it may involve lost exports, and that seems to be a sizeable matter when we see that the Defence Statement says that our defence exports are expected to reach over £170 million in 1969–70.

There were two matters which the Minister did not deal with last night, and which presumably he has left the Secretary of State to cover this evening. The first relates to reports that we are not to go ahead with the provision of another nuclear submarine depot ship. If this is true, we ought to be told how that is to be done without undermining the worldwide effectiveness of our nuclear Polaris submarine fleet.

The second matter is the progress in the provision of the nuclear powered Hunter/ Killer submarines. The Minister said that there were three in the fleet, and four under construction, and we hope to order an eighth submarine shortly."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 355.] Perhaps we can be told that that hope is a certainty. It was the Prime Minister who, in January, 1968, announced a slowing down in the rate of new naval construction and said, for example in the nuclear-powered Hunter/ Killer submarines."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th January, 1968; Vol. 756, c. 1583.] Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman could tell us the cost of speeding up the programme to its original planned rate.

This is an important issue, because the Supplementary Statement on Defence Policy, 1967, said "From the middle 1970s the main striking power of the Navy, apart from the Polaris submarines, will be provided by the growing force of Fleet submarines". As things stand, it would not appear that the main striking power of the Navy is to be very strong, and we would be glad if the right hon. Gentleman could tell us the eventual planned size of the force.

On the broad issues of strategy with which the Secretary of State dealt yesterday, I have been taken up by the right hon. Gentleman, both yesterday and this afternoon, for saying that we were over-committed to N.A.T.O. in the sense that we are neglecting our interests in the rest of the world and home defence. If he reads what I said yesterday at columns 254 and 255, he will see that my meaning is perfectly clear. I am very grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire, West (Mr. Scott-Hopkins) for his helpful intervention and for putting this matter so clearly.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Am I right that the right hon. and learned Gentleman accepts as desirable increases in N.A.T.O. which Her Majesty's Government have made in the last year? I understand that is what he means.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

I will say a little more about that later on.

Could the Secretary of State, in the same context, say something about our commitments through C.E.N.T.O. to Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, and how we are prepared to fulfil them? Could he indicate how the Government now feel we can exercise influence on the drift of events in the Middle East. Before he brushes our concerns aside, let me just read what he was saying as recently as April, 1967: The Gulf is an area of such vital importance, not only to the economy of Western Europe as a whole but also to world peace. that it would be totally irresponsible for us to withdraw our forces from the area. As far as east of Suez is concerned, the Minister of Defence for Administration maintained this afternoon that the Government case for our presence east of Suez only applied when confrontation was going on. That argument really does not bear examination for an instant.

What are the facts? The agreement to end confrontation was signed in Bangkok on 1st June, 1966. On 14th June the Prime Minister was asked in this House, at column 1239, if the assurance of the Secretary of State for Defence to the Australians in Canberra in February of that year that Britain would remain a world military Power until 1980 or beyond remained Government policy. Our Prime Minister replied, in his characteristic crisp fashion, "Yes".

On the same day the Prime Minister addressed the Parliamentary Labour Party. He took then the unusual step of publishing the full text in The Times next morning. This was his way of avoiding what he described as "continual leaks". [HON. GENTLEMEN: "Where is he?"]e are not surprised at his absence. He is very reluctant to expose himself in this House on many occasions. He said then in quite impassioned defence of British presence east of Suez: I believe that Britain through history, through geography and Commonwealth connection, has a vital contribution to make—I believe a socialist Britain has even more. Perhaps there are some members who would like to contract out and leave it to the Americans and Chinese, eyeball to eyeball, to face this thing out. The world is too small for that kind of attitude today. It is the surest prescription for a nuclear holocaust I could think of. So it goes on for about four columns of The Times—splendid stuff. Having said that, with all the power of his office, is it any wonder that there is today nowhere in the world where anything that this Government says can receive the slightest degree of credibility?

Let the Secretary of State say why he used to think that outside Europe we had commitments which we must honour and that our presence made a substantial contribution to peacekeeping and stability and why these contributions no longer apply? Will he also say why he has come to the conclusion that we must no longer face what he called "the fact that the main danger of war today lies inside Europe and not outside it"? Will he also agree, as he used to do, that in meeting our various commitments throughout the world we have a claim upon our allies in Europe to the extent that we will be serving their interests as well as ours?

If, as I suspect, he will be unable to resist the temptation to cost Conservative policies in some extraordinary way, will he tell us what the current cost of our operations east of Suez is, and will he ensure that he does not base his calculations on the assumption that anyone is proposing to keep 50,000 troops on the Malayan peninsula, as we did at the time of occupation?

In dealing with these issues, I hope that the Secretary of State will not try to give the impression, which he seemed to try to do when he interrupted me earlier, although I believe that he understood my explanation just now, that we on these benches in any way wish to diminish our contribution to N.A.T.O. and to Europe. We are arguing for him in the present situation not to go ahead with the planned cuts and reductions in forces and reserves. The Secretary of State is a late convert to the European cause, and he need not act as if he had discovered the continent himself.

Our case is that we cannot cut our forces and reserves to the point where we make a contribution to European defence at the expense of all our other commitments and considerations. We have advocated the action taken in the Mediterranean to protect the southern flank of N.A.T.O. in the face of the increase in Soviet naval strength. We have advocated that for some time, and I welcomed it in our last debate. That was largely a matter of redeployment. We welcomed also what was really the only substantial increase to our total forces, namely the decision to provide an extra 12 Harriers in 1971.

We recognise the need for this additional contribution to the strength of N.A.T.O., and it may be that we and our European allies will have to increase our conventional forces still further if we are to make a reality of this doctrine of flexible response. That is the issue. Will we be able to make a reality of this concept? We are agreed with the Secretary of State on the broad strategy of N.A.T.O.—our argument is about its implementation. As I said yesterday, and as my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) said today, it is playing with words to substitute the doctrine of the trip-wire for the doctrine of flexible response if at the end of the day, we still have only a few days before there is resort to nuclear weapons. The Minister of Defence for Administration said that the "trip-wire" meant only a few hours, but under the Government's and N.A.T.O.'s new policy we were prevented from having a nuclear war for a few days. That was never so.

It was always part of the N.A.T.O. strategy and planning that there would be a period of days during which we could hold up the Soviet forces and see if agreement could be reached before using nuclear weapons. I am sure we all agree that we must not get bogged down, the Government or anyone else, in futile attempts to create divisions that do not exist. I listened, as I am sure the House did, with my usual interest to the speech of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell). Whether we agree with the substance or content of his speeches, he has a refreshing way of facing facts and realities and refusing, in spite of the schoolmasterly strictures of the Minister of Defence for Administration, to become bogged down in academic: phraseology whether about N.A.T.O. or the effect of demography and the "pill" on recruiting.

I am sure that in any general increase in conventional forces in Europe, which must be determined by the alliance as a whole, we are entitled to be given full weight for the contribution we are already making, bearing in mind the proportion of the gross national product which we are devoting to defence—which is higher than most countries in Western Europe—and also for the cost of our commitments elsewhere, which are part and parcel of the defence of European interests as a whole.

Much has been said about the likely future attitude of the U.S. to the part it plays in European defence, conventional as well as nuclear.

I do not believe for one moment that the United States will abandon their allies or any of their commitments or responsibilities. I do not see any danger under the present administration of President Nixon of a retreat into "fortress America", but I believe that we are living in a fool's paradise if we think that the Americans will for ever acquiesce in a situation in which they have more men in uniform than the whole of Western Europe combined, although we have a population half as great again as that of the United States.

Meanwhile, we must see that the Alliance makes it clear beyond a per adventure to the Soviet Union that we intend to stand firm on Berlin as well as in relation to any attack upon Central Europe. The Secretary of State spoke yesterday of the signs that the Russian empire in Eastern Europe is crumbling and we may expect further explosions like those we have already seen in the past in Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Berlin. In the short term, that may well increase our peril. The danger, as the Yorkshire Post said in its leader today, is that the Soviet Union may either be looking for trouble or unable to turn away from it. Therefore, we must make it clear that the doctrine of flexible response does not imply any weakening of Western resolve. It may be that we should be wise to talk in terms, not so much of a flexible response, but rather of a flexible strategy coupled with a firm response.

Turning now briefly to the question of home defence, the Secretary of State agreed yesterday that in the event of an assault on central Europe. our ports, our airfields and our communications would be under heavy attack by bombing and even by paratroopers."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 240–56.] We had some discussion about the informal arrangements that are made for our defence with N.A.T.O. and SACEUR. No doubt these exist. In a matter so vital to the safety of our people, we think that we are entitled to know more about the general character of this contingency planning. Can we be told something, within the limits of security, of what is being arranged? Can the Secretary of State confirm the report in today's Daily Express by Mr. Chapman Pincher that there are moves to bring this matter up at the general review of the N.A.T.O. Treaty? Will the Secretary of State say if there is any truth in the statement that present contingency planning does not cover the situation entirely?

Quite apart from that, what we need to know is what protection will be afforded in the event of an attack by bombing or paratroopers, and what will be done to protect our defence installations on the ground. What troops will be available for that purpose? The Minister of Defence for Administration spoke about many things this afternoon, but he did not say much about this. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet said earlier, all we know is that some thousands of troops will be left behind for this purpose. We want to know how many and broadly how they will be organised. These are matters of corncern.

Will the Secretary of State confirm the fact, referred to again by my right hon. Friend this afternoon, that our reserves are well below those of our N.A.T.O. allies? I think he can do that if he refers to Table 5 of the Institute of Strategic Studies' document "Military Balance 1968–69", which show our trained reservists and para-military forces as numbering 170,000—and they are falling. This compares with a figure of 475,000 for France, 780,000 for Germany, 705,000 for Italy, and 223,000 for the Netherlands. It may well be argued that ours will be more highly trained and effective in war. What the Government have done is to destroy completely the second line of reserves—those who would be capable of providing protection and aid in this country. The Secretary of State must tell us what is going to be done to aid the civilian population of Britain and to deal with the devastation that would follow a conventional attack, quite apart from the appalling consequences of a nuclear attack.

As I said yesterday, the Secretary of State has to deal with the present situation in the context of our pitifully inadequate reserves, the fact that the Territorial Army is now half the size that it was in 1964, and the fact that the Labour Government have taken what we regard as the wholly irresponsible decision to put civil defence on a care and maintenance basis. How can the Government posibly take pride in the statement that our total expenditure on home defence is likely to fall to between £7 million and £8 million a year?

If the Secretary of State wants to do a costing exercise that has real meaning, would he say what it would cost to restore the home defences to the 1964 position? The Government take pride in the fact that the cost of our reserve forces, regular and volunteer, during 1969–70 will be only £22 million. What would it cost if we had reserve forces of the order we possessed in 1964?

We on these benches have never accepted, and we shall never accept, the Government's view that the sole task of the Territorial Army, however it may be constituted, is simply to supply reinforcements for B.A.O.R. To restore the strength of our reserves and to provide the T.A. with a Civil Defence capability that can give aid and protection in the event of war to the civilian population of the nation is a Conservative commitment to which we give the highest priority.

We must all agree that frequent changes in defence policy are wasteful and disturbing. My hon. Friends and I will continue to make an attempt to establish a broad framework within which long-term planning can proceed without the fear that successive Governments will needlessly change plans or cancel projects for merely political purposes, which happened when the Labour Party came to power.

At the same time, experience has shown—we must accept this—that the rapid progress of scientific technology and fluctuations in the international situation make it difficult to foresee future military requirements with any certainty and that, consequently, there must be a good deal of flexibility.

Unfortunately, my hon. Friends and I fear that we must agree with the verdict of The Times leading article today, which said that the present Secretary of State's thinking would inspire more confidence if he avoided giving the impression that the future can only turn out his way. It has not happened that way before.

It is because we believe that the Government are not justified either in concentrating our total effort in Europe, regardless of all other considerations, or in cutting our forces and reserves that we shall press our Amendment to a Division.

9.27 p.m.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

I beg leave to speak again.

This has been a valuable and wide-ranging debate, but I fear that I shall have to leave some of the questions which have been raised to be dealt with in the Service debates during the next two weeks. I wish to concentrate, as did the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon), on the major issues on which most speakers, both from the Front Benches and back benches, have spent their time.

An interesting feature of this debate is the fact that there is a good deal more agreement between the two sides of the House than has existed on any previous occasion since 1964. I hope that I do not embarrass the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham when I say that I much prefer his tone to that of some of his predecessors as Opposition defence spokesman. I very much appreciate his readiness to give the Government credit where he thinks it due.

Like my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence for Administration, I particularly welcome his admission that, far from our forces being cut to the bone, we are the strongest European military Power. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman said yesterday: Apart from our contribution to the strategic nuclear deterrent and to B.A.O.R., the R.A.F. represents a large part of the strike power of N.A.T.O. and we also provide the strongest of the European navies."—[OFFICIAL RFPORT. 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 254.] So it is not a feather in our scabbard, after all. It is a powerful sword.

I hope that there will be no more nonsense in future from hon. Gentlemen opposite about the Labour Government destroying Britain's Armed Forces. I hope that they will use their influence with the Press to see that the truth is told in future, as it was by the right hon. and learned Gentleman yesterday on behalf, I trust, of the party for which he speaks.

I also welcome his support for the changes which we have introduced into N.A.T.O. strategy. In view of the views expressed last year in the House by his right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home), it took courage for the right hon. and learned Gentleman to say yesterday: … I am sure that we must agree as a matter of strategy that it was right for N.A.T.O. to abandon the former trip-wire doctrine of immediate massive nuclear retaliation in favour of the concept of a flexible response based on a stronger conventional capability in Europe".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; Vol. 779, c. 252.] I am glad, too, that the right hon. and learned Gentleman frankly admitted, and he repealed it tonight, that, nevertheless, N.A.T.O. cannot forgo reliance on nuclear escalation in face of a large-scale attack.

I agree that the impact of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said was slightly weakened by the remarks of the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) this afternoon, in a charming and perfunctory speech, as usual. I have never known a man do so much housework with so little homework. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] It was a little surprising. He did not even listen to what his right hon. and learned Friend said yesterday afternoon, when he was actually sitting by his side.

If we can agree on N.A.T.O. strategy and agree, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman made very clear in his winding-up speech this evening, on Britain's contribution to N.A.T.O., this at least is something of great importance to our allies and our forces. If we can build on this area of agreement perhaps the day may come when our defence debates will be less distorted by party polemic and we can engage on an examination of the real problems.

We do this regularly when we meet outside the Chamber. The right hon. Gentleman and I did it the other day at Munich and many do it in the N.A.T.O. Parliamentarians' Conference. I agree with everything my right hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) said about that this afternoon. Her Majesty's Government fully support his view that the conference should be given official standing in N.A.T.O. Unfortunately, we have not yet persuaded all our colleagues on the N.A.T.O. Council to agree.

While there are these very important areas of agreement in the House there is still disagreement on N.A.T.O. strategy on the back benches on both sides of the House. Indeed, this brought the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire (Sir F. Maclean) into a rare, if perhaps temporary, alliance with my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun). This disagreement is echoed in some national newspapers.

I think that neither the hon. Member for Bute and North Ayrshire or my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East will be too offended if I say that their common position on N.A.T.O. strategy stems from a common failure to recognise that, as the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham so rightly stressed, since the survival of the British people can be achieved only through N.A.T.O.—and our strategy must be a N.A.T.O. strategy—we must have a strategy which is acceptable to our N.A.T.O. allies, and, in particular, to those of our allies in the front line who are more exposed than we are.

The idea of The Times, for example, that we should cut our Regular forces in Germany to provide more reserves in the United Kingdom would be quite unacceptable to our allies as well as reducing the security of Europe as a whole. Here, I very much agree with what was said yesterday by the hon. Member for Hendon, North (Sir Ian Orr-Ewing) that we have learned as a result of the Czech affair and similar pressures that it is the presence of efficient and trained men on the ground that is the important factor from the point of view of deterrence.

The Government believe—here again I welcome the right hon. and learned Gentleman's agreement with this view—that there is need for closer defence cooperation among the European members of N.A.T.O., particularly in view of the pressures on the American Administration, which my hon. Friend the Member for Lewisham, North (Mr. Moyle) so perceptively described last night, but this makes it all the more necessary for us to achieve a thorough understanding of views and interests of our European allies.

Of course, they do not prefer the idea of nuclear war to the idea of prolonged conventional war, and I have never suggested that they did. The Times grossly distorted what I said on this as on other matters in its leader this morning. What our European allies do believe, and here I agree with them, is that N.A.T.O.'s present strategy—relying as it does on a mixture of conventional and nuclear weapons to pose a credible threat in face of attack—can prevent any war at all. They want to prevent war, not to fight one or even to win one; and so do I.

If N.A.T.O. abandoned its nuclear strategy and attempted, instead, to build a conventional defence, they believe that this would not be capable of preventing war, and that the consequences of war to them would be totally unacceptable even if nuclear weapons were not used. For them—and they would be on the battle field—the results of a conventional war would be just as unacceptable as the results of a nuclear war. I am glad to see that the right hon. and learned Gentleman agrees with them.

That is why the German Defence White Paper published a fortnight ago, the first the Germans have ever produced, stresses that the greater flexibility of response now aimed at by N.A.T.O. does not, and must not, bring into question the need for massive retaliation in the event of general war. Yet we must accept it as a fact, however much hon. Members may regret it—and I ask some of my hon. Friends to accept this—that if N.A.T.O. were to abandon its present strategy of deterrence, or if the allies lost confidence in that strategy, the result would not be to persuade the exposed European members of N.A.T.O. that they must increase their conventional forces. On the contrary, the result would be to stimulate irresistible pressures for national nuclear forces, not least in Germany, the most exposed country of all. After all, we have seen France set the example.

N.A.T.O. has always had a double purpose—not only to prevent war in Europe, which would lead to Armageddon, but also to provide a framework within which Germany can contribute to her own defence and that of Europe as a whole in ways which do not risk provoking the very attack they are designed to prevent. Those who want to destroy the integrated framework of N.A.T.O. and the agreed allied strategy it exists to implement, whether they live in Salford or Paris, or for that matter in Bute, risk producing a result which I know is exactly the opposite of what they intend.

I ask hon. Members to accept this for what I believe it to be—a fact, and to accept as a fact that countries in this position and with this attitude have the physical and political ability in 1969 to act on their views if we ever face them with this type of choice.

I would address a special word to my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East if he were here this evening.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Perhaps I may finish this point.

My hon. Friend spent a good deal of his speech last night on a totally unjustified attack on our German friends and allies. I would remind him and those who share his views that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Robert Howarth) said last night, German troops have been used only once since 1945 to invade a neighbouring country. They were the forces of Communist East Germany, and they were used to invade the territory of a Communist ally against its will.

Our West German allies, on the other hand, have integrated all their armed forces into the structure of the Atlantic Alliance. They have no troops whatever under purely national command. They are making a vital contribution to out security as well as to their own, and they have a right to expect that their allies should take their exposed position into account when the collective strategy of the alliance is formulated. It is as much our interest as our duty to see that their views are taken into account.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

May I just explain that my hon. Friend the Member for Salford, East (Mr. Frank Allaun) is on his way to Biafra and Nigeria?

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

I accept that, of course.

I am extremely pleased, as I know those in the Services will be, that this broad area of agreement about N.A.T.O. has emerged so clearly during the past two days. I am also relieved that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has succeeded in explaining what he meant when he said that we were over-committed to N.A.T.O. I accept everything he says.

The real argument between the parties is whether, on top of all we are paying for our security through N.A.T.O., we should pay a lot more to protect our interests overseas and for home defence. It is difficult to discuss this problem unless one knows how much more the Opposition propose to spend. They have made it clear that they think that what we are paying is inadequate. That presumes that they know what is adequate, but they have steadfastly resisted any invitation to tell us what they think would be adequate. However, they have said enough in the last two days to enable me to make a stab at defining what their policy is.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked me to tell him what was the cost of our forces now in the Far East and the Gulf—and I assume that this relates to the statements that he and other right hon. Members opposite have made during the last two days to the effect that they never had any intention of restoring the position as it was during confrontation, that they would have made some reduction after confrontation and, I presume, after leaving Aden, although they objected to that decision in any case. I will answer that question directly.

The answer is given in part in Annex H to the White Paper, which gives the foreign exchange cost. The foreign exchange cost alone of our forces this year in the Far East, excluding Hong Kong—that is, Singapore and Malaysia—is over £70 million. The foreign exchange cost alone of our forces in the Gulf is over £10 million. This is excluding our forces in Masirah and Gan, the cost of which is included in the figures in the White Paper.

Of course, this is just the foreign exchange cost, and it is broadly the case that the total cost in resources of forces stationed abroad—that is to say, including their equipment, training and support—is roughly three times as much as the foreign exchange cost. In other words, the broad cost of our forces in the Far East and the Gulf at the moment is something over £240 million a year.

But we can get at the Opposition's policy by another route. In a ringing peroration to his speech yesterday, which was cheered to the echo by his right hon. and hon. Friends, the right hon. and learned Gentleman said—and I am sure that they will cheer it again when I repeat it— It is our judgment that the cuts which the Government have imposed—and those which are still to be made—are reducing our defences below the safety level and placing our national security and interests in peril."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th March, 1969; vol. 779, c. 264.] Cheers? I notice a little caution now, and a very wise caution, because, if they think that the cuts we have made and are still to make axe placing us in peril, presumably they intend, and would wish us to make, no more cuts whatever; and on top of that to restore the cuts we have made. If that is not their intention, I do not quite see what that ringing peroration meant.

I will come in a moment to the problem of restoring cuts we have already made. Many hon. Members opposite suggest that we should not make any more and that, if they were elected to office tomorrow, they would stop the run-down of the forces. The cost of doing so was clearly indicated in last year's White Paper. The cost of the extra men and equipment whom the country will not need when the withdrawal from east of Suez is completed is £300 million a year. If right hon. Members opposite wish to come to the Ministry to look at the figures in detail, I would have not the slightest hesitation in showing them how they are made up.

If that is what Conservative policy is—and I see no means of interpreting the right hon. and learned Gentleman's words, and, indeed, the whole posture of the Opposition, in any other way—then there is a real disagreement between us, a disagreement of great importance, and we can have a perfectly rational debate as to whether the gains we would get for this extra £300 million a year are worth the expenditure.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

The right hon. Gentleman is making a very helpful explanation, up to a point. Would he say whether or not the foreign exchange costs to which he referred are gross and whether or not he has paid any attention to the footnote to Annex H and whether or not he is including the same troops in the £300 million as he has already included in the £240 million?

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

This is quite clear, I believe. These are figures which can be approached by either route. Whether one looks at the cost in resources of the men at present stationed in the Far East and the Gulf, which comes out at about £250 million; or at the cost of maintaining all the men whom we are planning to withdraw from the Far East and the Gulf, which is another way of coming at it and which comes out at £300 million; whichever way one looks at it, the policy of the hon. Members opposite, as they themselves have defined it—I shall come to other components in their policy—is between £250 million and £300 million. If either of the right hon. Gentlemen would like to sit down with me in the Ministry of Defence, we can agree together on precisely which way they would like to calculate the figure.

But, of course, on this matter, the party opposite has steadily lost its candour. Indeed, the recent speeches of hon. Members opposite on this matter have been as shifty and as weasel-worded as their speeches on immigration and crime. They are deliberately intended to sound one way in Canberra and Singapore, another way in the House of Commons defence debates; and you can bet your bottom dollar that they will sound another way when we debate the need to cut taxes in the Budget——

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Rippon Mr Geoffrey Rippon , Hexham

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that if we went back to the same number of civil servants that we had in 1964 we should then be able to afford the additional defence expenditure?

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

I am glad to see that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is totally unable to dispute my figures or meet my argument. Of course, the fact is that their presence east of Suez, to which the Leader of the Opposition committed himself the other day, is not really flesh and blood: it is ectoplasm—" Now you see it, now you don't." All that I would say to hon. Members opposite is that, if their speeches are honest, they are expensive, and if their speeches are dishonest they are contemptible——

Hon. Members:

Give way.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. If the Secretary of States does not give way, the hon. Gentleman must not persist.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

This £250 million to £300 million is only the beginning. This is without the fifth Polaris boat which the right hon. and learned Gentleman promised yesterday to produce. That would cost £55 million in capital expenditure and £4 million a year in running expenditure. It is without the increase in the hunter-killer programme which, I can tell the right hon. and learned Gentleman, would cost £30 million over 10 years.

It is without the increases in stocks and support facilities which he said yesterday that we were running down too fast; and it is without the home defence forces which he and his right hon. Friends said that we might need to deal with large-scale Soviet paratroop attack in the case of general war—[Interruption.] No, let the right hon. Gentleman possess himself for a moment: he will find some interesting things to come.

If this were ever a real problem, this problem could only arise after the defeat of N.A.T.O. in Europe without the use of nuclear weapons. This is a thesis which we both reject. It could also arise only after the failure of N.A.T.O.'s air defence system, which covers the United Kingdom as I explained and the right hon. and learned Gentleman did not dispute yesterday. But, of course, if N.A.T.O. had been wiped-out and the air defence of this country had been wiped out, the Russians could arrive by commercial airline. If we were seriously to plan for this contingency we would need all our Armed Forces permanently in the United Kingdom. This is what the Daily Express would like, but I do not think that it is what hon. Members opposite would like.

We believe that it is very much more sensible to prevent this contingency ever arising by preventing a war through our contribution to N.A.T.O. We believe that this is a problem which should be met on the Elbe and not on the Thames. Hon. Members opposite made a good deal of preparation for the unforeseen; but the unforeseen is infinite. If we sit down and try to imagine everything which could conceivably happen, there is no limit to what preparations we would make. But the important thing is that we should not prepare for the unforeseen at the expense of preparing for the seen. Preparing for contingencies which we can reasonably expect may arise is absolutely essential. Then we can leave a little bit over for the unforeseen.

We have heard no figures of expenditure from the Conservative Party in this debate, but we have given detailed figures both of our expenditure and of what the Opposition plan to do enshrined in the long-term costings which I found on my desk when I came to the Ministry of Defence. I am glad that now that I have published those costings in HANSARD they are not disputed by the Opposition as long-term costings. As the right hon. Member for Harrogate (Mr. Ramsden) said yesterday, long-term costings are the best estimate which could be made by the Ministry concerned of what its programme will cost over five years initially and 10 years in the longer run. The right hon. Gentleman tried to get out of this difficulty by saying that the Opposition would not have spent it because they would have cut their programme as time went on.

But what would they have cut? Would they have cut the TSR2? Would they have cut the P1154? Would they have cut the 681? Would they have cut the carrier? Would they have cut £20 million on the Territorial Army and the reserve forces? Would they have cut the size of our forces? No. They have voted, on a three-line whip, against every reduction we have made in their programme. Either their opposition over the last four-and-a-half years has been totally dishonest, or the argument they are using today is totally dishonest.

The fact is that there are only two ways to cut a programme other than through better management—and I assume that right hon. and hon. Members opposite thought that their management was as good as it could be when they did the long-term costings. One way is to carry the programme out more slowly, and that is very much more expensive in the long run. The other way is to cancel equipment programmes and reduce the size of the forces, which means reducing commitments. It means taking very difficult painful policy decisions. We have taken those decisions on aircraft, on ships, on men and on equipment, and this is why we have achieved the savings.

Some of my hon. Friends say that we should go further than we have planned, although we shall reach, in 1972, 5 per cent. of our gross national product, the same as the European average, as I pointed out in an Answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead (Mr. Whitaker) the other day. But they say, at the same time, that we must stop relying on nuclear weapons for the defence of Europe. As I hope I have demonstrated to everybody's satisfaction, if that is the right word, it is quite impossible to get away from the need for nuclear escalation inside N.A.T.O. in case of a large-scale attack without having an enormous increase in conventional forces and without this country reintroducing conscription.

I have tried to argue during the last two days, and I hope that my argument has at least been listened to, that their policy would wreck N.A.T.O., it would lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons throughout Western Europe and it would make war infinitely more likely.

My hon. Friend the Member for Sal-ford, East, in his speech yesterday, made a good deal of the benefits which could be achieved by cutting defence. I ask him, and those who think like him, to recognise what social and economic benefits this country has gained over the last four-and-a-half years from the cuts in defence which have been introduced by this Government. Because we have saved £2,000 million in our first five years in office, education for the first time in our history is getting more money than defence in 1969–70. Because we have taken these difficult decisions because we have saved this money: expenditure on housing is up 31 per cent., on health is up 55 per cent., on education is up 56 per cent., on social security is up 68 per cent. and on overseas aid is up 19 per cent.

I am proud to have played a part in making these improvements and this change of priorities possible. I believe that this represents the sort of change in priorities which the Socialist Party is elected to carry out; but I warn my hon. Friends who agree with the Amendment on the Order Paper that once we cut defence expenditure to the extent where our security is imperilled, we have no houses, we have no hospitals, we have no schools. We have a heap of cinders.

I believe that the contribution we are making to the defence of Western Europe through N.A.T.O. is an indispensable condition for achieving all our social and economic aims. I also believe that it is an indispensable condition for achieving security—not by competition but by cooperation with those who are our political adversaries; and here again the two Front Benches agree that deterrence is the only basis for peace. For that reason I hope that those of my hon. Friends who signed the Amendment, reflecting on what I have said and on what they have heard during the last two days, will recognise that the policy of the Government achieves security for the British people, makes possible the achievement of our social and economic aims and deserves support in the Lobby tonight. I ask the House to approve the Government's Motion.

Photo of Mr Charles Grey Mr Charles Grey , City of Durham

Mr. Charles Grey (Treasurer of Her Majesty's Household) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Photo of Sir Douglas Glover Sir Douglas Glover , Ormskirk

On a point of order.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

There is no point of order at this moment, not even for the hon. Gentleman.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 231, Noes 310.

Division No. 108.]AYES[9.59 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnCordle, John
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir EdwardCorfield, F. V.
Astor, JohnBraine, BernardCostain, A. P.
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)Brewis, JohnCrouch, David
Awdry, DanielBrinton, Sir TattonCrowder, F. P.
Baker, Kenneth (Acton?Bromley-Davenport, Lt. -Col. Sir WalterCunningham, Sir Knox
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Currie, G. B. H.
Balniel, LordBruce-Gardyne, J.Dalkeith, Earl of
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyBryan, PaulDance, James
Batsford, BrianBuchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonBuck, Antony (Colchester)Dean, Paul
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Bullus, Sir EricDigby, Simon Wingfield
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)Burden, F. A.Dodds-Parker, Douglas
Berry, Hn. AnthonyCampbell, B. (Oldham, W.)Donnelly, Desmond
Biffen, JohnCampbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Doughty, Charles
Biggs-Davison, JohnCarlisle, MarkDouglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec
Birch, Rt. Hn. NigelCarr, Rt. Hn. Robertdu Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward
Black, Sir CyrilChannon, H. P. C.Eden, Sir John
Blaker, PeterChichester-Clark, R.Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Clegg, WalterEmery, Peter
Body, RichardCooke, RobertEyre, Reginald
Bossom, Sir CliveCooper-Key, Sir NeillFarr, John
Fisher, NigelLambton, ViscountPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Fortescue, TimLancaster Col. C. G.Prior, J. M. L.
Foster, Sir JohnLane, DavidPym, Francis
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)Langford-Holt, Sir JohnQuennell, Miss J. M.
Galbraith, Hn. T. G.Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryRamsden, Rt. Hn. James
Gibson-Watt, DavidLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Giles, Rear-Adm. MorganLloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)Rees-Davies, W. R.
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife. E.)Longden, GilbertRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Glover, Sir DouglasLoveys, W. H.Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Glyn, Sir RichardMcAdden, Sir StephenRidsdale, Julian
Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Mac Arthur, IanRippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey
Goodhart, PhilipMaclean, Sir FitzroyRobson Brown, Sir William
Goodhew, VictorMacleod, Rt. Hn. IainRodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)
Gower, RaymondMcMaster, StanleyRoyle, Anthony
Grant, Anthony Grant-Ferris, R.Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)Russell, Sir Ronald
Grant-Ferris, R.
Gresham Cooke R.McNair-Wilson. PatrickSt. John-Stevas, Norman
Gurden, HarlodMaddan, MartinSandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Hall, John (wycombe)Maginnis, John E.Scott, Nicholas
Hall-Davis, A. G. F.Marples, Rt. Hn. ErnestScott-Hopkins, James
Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)Marten, NeilShaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Maude, AngusSilvester, Frederick
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)Maudling, Rt. Hn. ReginaldSmith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Harris, Reader (Heston)Mawby, RaySmith, John (London & W'minster)
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.Speed, Keith
Harvey, Sir Arthur VereMaydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Statinton, Keith
Harvie Anderson, MissMills, Peter (Torrington)Stodart, Anthony
Hastings, StephenMills, Stratton (Belfast. N.)Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.
Hawkins, PaulMiscampbell, NormanTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hay, JohnMitchell, David (Basingstoke)Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir LionelMonro, HectorTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Heseltine, MichaelMontgomery, FergusTilney, John
Higgins, Terence L.Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Hill, J. E. B.Morrison, Charles (Devizes)van Straubenzee, W. R.
Hogg, Rt. Hn. QuintinMott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesVaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Holland, PhilipMunro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughVickers, Dame Joan
Hordern, PeterMurton, OscarWaddington, David
Hornby, RichardNabarro, Sir GeraldWalker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Howell, David (Guildford)Neave, AireyWalters, Dennis
Hunt, JohnNicholls, Sir HarmarWard, Dame Irene
Hutchison, Michael ClarkNoble, Rt. Hn. MichaelWeatherril, Bernard
Iremonger, r. L.Nott, JohnWells, John (Maidstone)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Onslow, CranleyWhitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Orr, Capt. L. P. S.Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Jennings, J. C. (Burton)Orr-Ewing, Sir IanWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Osborn, John (Hallam)Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Jopling, MichaelPage, Graham (Crosby)Woodnutt, Mark
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithPage, John (Harrow, W.)Worsley Marcus
Kaberry, Sir DonaldPearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)Wright, Esmond
Kenyon, CliffordPeel, JohnWylie, N. R.
Kerby, Capt. HenryPercival, IanYounger, Hn. George
Kershaw, AnthonyPeyton, John
Kimball, MarcusPink, R. BonnerTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Kirk, PeterPounder, RaftonMr. R. W. Elliott and
Kitson, TimothyPowell, Rt. Hn. J. EnochMr. Jasper More.
Albu, AustenBrookes, EdwinDavidson, Arthur (Accnington)
Alldritt, WalterBroughton, Dr. A. D. D.Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)
Anderson, DonaldBrown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Archer, PeterBrown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)
Ashley, JackBrown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)Davies, Harold (Leek)
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)Buchan, NormanDavies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Bacon, Rt. Hn. AliceBuchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Bagier, Gordon A. T,Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Delargy, Hugh
Barnes, MichaelButler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Dell, Edmund
Barnett, JoelCallaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesDempsey, James
Beaney, AlanCarmichaet, NellDewar, Donald
Bene, CyrilCarter-Jones, LewisDiamond, Rt. Hn. John
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodCastle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraDickens, James
Binns, JohnChapman, DonaldDobson, Ray
Bishop, E. S.Coe, DenisDoig, Peter
Blackburn, F.Coleman, DonaldDriberg, Tom
Blenkinsop, ArthurConlan, BernardDunn, James A.
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Corbet, Mrs. FredaDunnett, Jack
Booth, AlbertCronin, JohnDunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)
Boston, TerenceCrossman, Rt. Hn. RichardDunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)
Boyden, JamesCullen, Mrs. AliceEadie, Alex
Bradley, TomDalyell, TamEdelman, Maurice
Bray, Dr. JeremyDarling, Rt. Hn. GeorgeEdwards, Robert (Bilston)
Edwards, William (Merioneth)Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)Pavitt, Laurence
Ellis, JohnKerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
English, MichaelKerr, Russell (Feltham)Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Ennals, DavidLawson, GeorgePentland, Norman
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)Leadbitter, TedPerry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Evans, Joan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.
Ewing, Mrs. WinifredLee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Faulds, AndrewLee, John (Reading)Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Fernyhough, E.Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Price, William (Rugby)
Finch, HaroldLever, L. M. (Ardwick)Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)Randall, Harry
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Rankin, John
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Lipton, MarcusRees, Merlyn
Foley, MauriceLomas, KennethReynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)Loughlin, CharlesRhodes, Geoffrey
Ford, BenLuard, EvanRichard, Ivor
Forrester, JohnLubbock, EricRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Fowler, GerryLyon, Alexander W. (York)Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy
Fraser, John (Norwood)Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Freeson, ReginaldMabon, Dr. J. DicksonRobertson, John (Paisley)
Galpern, Sir MyerMcBride, NeilRobinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)
Gardner, TonyMcCann JohnRoebuck, Roy
Garrett, W. E.MacColl JamesRogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Ginsburg, DavidMacDermot, NiallRose, Paul
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.Macdonald, A. H.Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)McKay, Mrs. MargaretRowlands, E.
Gregory, ArnoldMackenzie, AIasdair (Ross&Crom'ty)Ryan, John
Grey, Charles (Durham)Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Mackie, JohnSheldon, Robert
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)Mackintosh, John P.Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)Maclennan, RobertShore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Griffiths, Will (Exchange)MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Hamilton, James (Bothwell)McNamara, J. KevinSilkin, Hn. S. C. (Dutwich)
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)MacPherson, MalcolmSilverman, Julius
Hamling, WilliamMahon, Peter (Preston, S.)Skeffington, Arthur
Hannan, WilliamMahon, Simon (Bootle)Small, William
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)Spriggs, Leslie
Hart, Rt. Hn. JudithManuel, ArchieSteel, David (Roxburgh)
Haseldine, NormanMapp, CharlesSteele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Hattersley, RoyMarks, KennethStewart, Rt. Hn. Michael
Hazell, BertMarquand, DavidStonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisMarsh, Rt. Hn. RichardStrauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Heffer, Eric S.Mason, Rt. Hn. RoySummerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Henig, StanleyMaxwell, RobertTaverne, Dick
Herbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretMayhew, ChristopherThomas, Rt. Hn. George
Hilton, W. S.Mellish, Rt. Hn. RobertThomson, Rt. Hn. George
Hobden, DennisMendelson, J. J.Thornton, Ernest
Hooley, FrankMillan, BruceThorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Horner, JohnMiller, Dr. M. S.Tinn James
Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMilne, Edward (Blyth)Tuck, Raphael
Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)Urwin, T. W.
Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)Molloy, WilliamVarley, Eric G.
Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Moonman, EricWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)
Howie, W.Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)Walden, Brian (All Saints)
Hoy, JamesMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Huckfield, LeslieMorris, Charles R. (Openshaw)Wallace, George
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Morris, John (Aberavon)Watkins, David (Consett)
Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)Mulley, Rt. Hn. FrederickWatkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Murray, AlbertWeitzman, David
Hughes, Roy (Newport)Newens, StanWellbeloved, James
Hunter, AdamNoel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)Whitaker, Ben
Hynd, JohnNorwood, ChristopherWhite, Mrs. Eirene
Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)Oakes, GordonWilkins, W. A.
Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)Ogden, EricWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)O'Malley, BrianWilliams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Janner, Sir BarnettOram, Albert E.Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasOrbach, MauriceWilliams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Jeger, George (Goole)Orme, StanleyWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Oswald, ThomasWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn, Roy (Stechford)Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Owen, Will (Morpeth)Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Padley, WalterWilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Palmer, ArthurWinnick, David
Jones, Dan (Burley)Pannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesWoodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)Pardoe, JohnWoof, Robert
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Park, TrevorWyatt, Woodrow
Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)Parker, John (Dagenham)
Judd, FrankParkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Kelley, RichardParkyn, Brian (Bedford)Mr. Joseph Harper and
Kenyon, CliffordMr. J. D. Concannon.

Main Question put accordingly:

The House divided: Ayes 279, Noes 232.

Division No. 109.]AYES[10.12 p.m.
Albu, AustenFord, BenMacdonald, A. H.
Alldritt, WalterForrester, JohnMcKay, Mrs. Margaret
Anderson, DonaldFowler, GerryMackenzie, Alasdair (Ross&Crom'ty)
Archer, PeterFraser, John (Norwood)Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)
Ashley, JackFreeson, ReginaldMackie, John
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)Gardner, TonyMackintosh, John P.
Bacon, Rt. Hn. AliceGarrett, W. E.Maclennan, Robert
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Ginsburg, DavidMcMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)
Barnes, MichaelGordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.McNamara, J. Kevin
Barnett, JoelGray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)MacPherson, Malcolm
Beaney, AlanGregory, ArnoldMahon, Peter (Preston, S.)
Bence, CyrilGrey, Charles (Durham)Mahon, Simon (Bootle)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodGriffiths, David (Rother Valley)Mallalieu, J.P.W.(Huddersfield, E.)
Binns, JohnGriffiths, Eddie (Brightside)Manuel, Archie
Bishop, E. S.Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)Mapp, Charles
Blackburn, F.Griffiths, Will (Exchange)Marks, Kenneth
Blenkinsop, ArthurGunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.Marquand, David
Boardman, H. (Leigh)Hamilton, James (Bothwell)Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard
Boston, TerinceHamilton, William (Fife, W.)Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy
Boyden, JamesHamling, WilliamMaxwell, Robert
Bradley, TomHannan, WilliamMayhew, Christopher
Bray, Dr. JeremyHarrison, Walter (Wakefield)Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert
Brooks, EdwinHart, Rt. Hn. JudithMendelson, J. J.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Haseldine, NormanMillan, Bruce
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)Hattersley, RoyMiller, Dr. M. S.
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)Hazell, BertMilne, Edward (Blyth)
Brown, Bob (N'c'te-upon-Tyne, W.)Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisMitchell, R C. (S'th'pton, Test)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)Henig, StanleyMolloy, William
Buchan, NormanHerbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretMoonman, Eric
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)Hilton, W. S.Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Hobden, DennisMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Callaghan, Ht. Hn. JamesHoughton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMorris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Carmichael, NellHowarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Carter-Jones, LewisHowarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)Morris, Jonn (Aberavon)
Castle, Rt. Hn. BarbaraHowell, Denis (Smalt Heath)Morris, John (Aberavon)
Chapman, DonaldHowie, W.Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Coe, DenisHoy, JamesMurray, Albert
Coleman, DonaldHughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Conlan, BernardHughes, Hector (Aberdeen N.)Oakes, Gordon
Corbet, Mrs. FredaHughes, Roy (Newport)Ogden, Eric
O'Malley, Brian
Cronin, JohnHunter, AdamOram, Albert E.
Cullen, Miss AliceHynd, JohnOrbach, Maurice
Dalyell, TamIrvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)Oswald, Thomas
Darling, Rt. Hn. GeorgeJackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)Janner, Sir BarnettOwen, Will (Morpeth)
Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasPadley, Walter
Davies, Ednyted Hudson (Conway)Jeger, George (Goole)Palmer, Arthur
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles
Davies, Dr. Emest (Stretford)Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Pardoe, John
Davies, Harold (Leek)Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Parker, John (Dagenham)
Davies, Ifor (Cower)Johnston, Russell (Inverness)Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)
de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir GeoffreyJones, Dan (Burnley)Pavitt, Laurence
Delargy, HughJones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Dell, EdmundJones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred
Dempsey, JamesJones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)Pentland, Norman
Dewar, DonaldJudd, FrankPerry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Diamond, Rt. Hn. JohnKelley, RichardPrentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.
Dobson, RayKenyon, CliffordPrice, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Doig, PeterLawson, GeorgePrice, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Dunn, James A,Leadbitter, TedPrice, William (Rugby)
Dutnnett, JackLee Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)Randall, Harry
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Rees, Merlyn
Eadie, AlexLever, L. M. (Ardwick)Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.
Edelman, MauriceLewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)Rhodes, Geoffrey
Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Richard, Ivor
Edwards, William (Merioneth)Lipton, MarcusRoberts, Albert (Normanton)
Ellis, JohnLomas, KennethRoberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy
English, MichaelLoughlin, CharlesRoberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Ennals, DavidLuard, EvanRobertson, John (Paisley)
Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)Lubbock, EricRobinson, Rt. Hn. Kenneth (St. P'c'as)
Evans, loan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)Lyon, Alexander W. (York)Roebuck, Roy
Faulds, AndrewLyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Fernyhough, E.Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonRose, Paul
Finch, HaroldMcBride, NeilRoss, Rt. Hn. William
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)McCann, JohnShaw, Arnold (llford, S.)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)MacColl, JamesSheldon, Robert
Foley, MauriceMacDermot, NiallShinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)Thornton, ErnestWilliams, Alan (Swansea, w.)
Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)Thorpe, Rt. Hn. JeremyWilliams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)
Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)Tinn, JamesWilliams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)Tuck, RaphaelWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Silverman, JuliusUrwin, T. W.Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Skeffington, ArthurVarley, Eric G.Willis, Rt. Hn. George
Small, WilliamWainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Spriggs, LeslieWalden, Brian (All Saints)Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Steel, David (Roxburgh)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)Winnick, David
Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)Wallace, GeorgeWoodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Stewart, Rt. Hn. MichaelWatkins, David (Consett)Woof, Robert
Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. JohnWatkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)Wyatt, Woodrow
Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.Weitzman, David
Summerskill, Hn. Dr. ShirleyWell beloved, JamesTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Taverne, DickWhite, Mrs. EireneMr. Joseph Harper and
Thomas, Rt. Hn. GeorgeWilkins, W. A.Mr. J. D. Concannon.
Thomson, Rt. Hn. GeorgeWilley Rt. Hn. Frederick
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Eyre, ReginaldLegge-Bourke, Sir Harry
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Farr, JohnLewis, Kenneth (Rutland)
Astor, JohnFisher, NigelLloyd, Ian (P'ts'th, Langstone)
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)Fortescue, TimLloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)
Awdry, DanielFoster, Sir JohnLongden, Gilbert
Baker, Kernneth (Acton)Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)Loveys, W. H
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)Galbraith, Hn. T. G.McAdden, Sir Stephen
Balniel, LordGibson-Watt, DavidMacArthur, Ian
Barber, Rt. Hn. AnthonyGiles, Rear-Adm. MorganMaclean, Sir Fitzroy
Batsford, BrianGilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonGilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)McMaster, Stanley
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)Glover, Sir DouglasMacmillan, Maurice (Farnham)
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Cos. & Fhm)Glyn, Sir RichardMcNair-Wilson, Patrick
Berry, Hn. AnthonyGodber, Rt. Hn. J. B.Maddan, Martin
Biffen, JohnGoodhart, PhilipMaginnis, John E.
Biggs-Davison, JohnGoodhew, VictorMarples, Rt. Hn. Ernest
Birch, Rt. Hn. NigelGower, RaymondMarten, Neil
Black, Sir CyrilGrant, AnthonyMaude, Angus
Blaker, PeterGrant-Ferris, R.Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)Gresham Cooke, R.Mawby, Ray
Body, RichardGurden, HaroldMaxwell-Hyslop, R. J.
Bossom, Sir CliveHall, John (Wycombe)Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. JohnHall-Davis, A. G. F.Mills, Peter (Torrington)
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir EdwardHamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)
Braine, BernardHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Miscampbell, Norman
Brewis, JohnHarris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Brinton, Sir TattonHarris, Reader (Heston)Monro, Hector
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. Sir WalterHarrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)Montgomery, Fergus
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Harvey, Sir Arthur VereMorgan, Geraint (Denbigh)
Bruce-Gardyne, J.Harvie Anderson, MissMorrison, Charles (Devizes)
Bryan, PaulHastings, StephenMott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)Hawkins, PaulMunro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Buck, Antony (Colchester)Hay, JohnMurton, Oscar
Bullus, Sir EricHeald, Rt. Hn. Sir LionelNabarro, Sir Gerald
Burden, F. A.Heseltine, MichaelNeave, Airey
Campbell, B. (Oldham, W.)Higging, Terence L.Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Hill, J. E. B.Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Carlisle, MarkHirst, GeoffreyNott, John
Carr, Rt. Hn. RobertHogg, Rt. Hn. QuintinOnslow, Cranley
Channon, H. P. G.Holland, PhilipOrr, Capt. L. P S.
Chichester-Clark, R.Hordern, PeterOrr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Clegg, WalterHornby, RichardOsborne, John (Halam)
Cooke, RobertHowell, David (Guildford)Osbome, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Cooper-Key, Sir NeillHunt, JohnPage, Graham (Crosby)
Cordle, JohnHutchison, Michael ClarkPage, John (Harrow, W.)
Iremonger, T. L.
Corfield, F. V.Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Pearson, Sir Fank (Clitheroe)
Costain, A. P.Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Peel, John
Crouch, DavidJennings, J. C. (Burton)Percival, Ian
Crowder, F. P.Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)Peyton, John
Cunningham, Sir Knox
Currie, G. B. H.Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Pink, R. Bonner
Dalkeith, Earl ofJopling, MichaelPounder, Rafton
Dalkeith, Earl ofJoseph, Rt. Hn. Sir KeithPowell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir HenryKaberry, Sir DonaldPrice, David (Eastleigh)
Dean, PaulKerby, Capt. HenryPrior, J. M. L.
Digby, Simon WingfieldKershaw, AnthonyPym, Francis
Dodds-Parker, DouglasKimball, MarcusQuennell, Miss J. M.
Donnelly, DesmondKing, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Doughty, CharlesKirk, PeterRawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir AlecKitson, TimothyRees-Davies, W. R.
du Cann, Rt. Hn. EdwardLambton, ViscountRonton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Eden, Sir JohnLancaster, Col. C. G.Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)Lane, DavidRidley, Hn. Nicholas
Emery, PeterLangford-Hott, Sir JohnRidsdale, Rt. Hn. Julian
Rippon, Rt. Hn. GeoffreyStodart, AnthonyWells, John (Maidstone)
Robson Brown, Sir WilliamStoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoakt)Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)Williams, Donald (Dudley)
Royle, AnthonyTaylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Russell, Sir RonaldTaylor, Frank (Moss Side)Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
St. John-Stevas, NormanTilney, JohnWood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.Woodnutt, Mark
Scott, Nicholasvan Straubenzee, W. R.Worsley, Marcus
Scott-Hopkins, JamesVaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir JohnWright, Esmond
Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)Vickers, Dame JoanWylie, N. R.
Silvester, FrederickWaddington, DavidYounger, Hn. George
Smith, Dudley (W'wlck & L'mington)Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Smith, John (London & W'minster)Walters, DennisTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Speed, KeithWard, Dame IreneMr. R. W. Elliott and
Stainton, KeithWeatherill, BernardMr. Jasper More.
That this House approves the Statement on Defence, 1969, contained in Command Paper No. 3927.