European Nuclear Force

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th November 1972.

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Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East 12:00 am, 30th November 1972

asked the Minister of State for Defence what plans he now has for a European nuclear force: and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

That makes me wonder why the Secretary of State for Defence raised the matter at the Conservative Party Conference, which he presumably did with the agreement of the Prime Minister.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Order. Question, please.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

Does the Minister of State fully realise that any such plan would kill stone dead the growing détente between East and West in Europe?

Photo of Mr Ian Gilmour Mr Ian Gilmour , Norfolk Central

My answer to the hon. Gentleman's non-question is that my noble Friend made that speech because he was looking forward well into the future. The answer to the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question is that I do not think that it is true. As I said earlier, any such plans are well in the future.

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

Will the hon. Gentleman tell us how far the Secretary of State was looking into the future?

Photo of Mr Ian Gilmour Mr Ian Gilmour , Norfolk Central

My noble Friend made it clear last week that the only discussions there have been with the French have been to agree that any such development is a very long-term matter indeed.

Photo of Mr Roy Hattersley Mr Roy Hattersley , Birmingham Sparkbrook

Could the hon. Gentleman re-interpret the Secretary of State's speech in the House of Lords a little further and more clearly? Is the hon. Gentleman saying that it is the Secretary of State's view that there should be a European nuclear force but that he does not believe that our NATO partners agree with it? Is that the position advocated by the Secretary of State.