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Written Answers

Volume 463: debated on Friday 8 April 1949

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Written Answers To Questions

Friday, 8th April, 1949

Brussels Treaty Powers (Usa Military Aid)

asked the Prime Minister what request has been addressed to the Government of the United States of America by His Majesty's Government in association with the other signatories of the Brussels Treaty, for American military assistance to the Brussels Treaty Powers; and what reply to such request has been received by His Majesty's Government.

Yes. The Brussels Treaty Powers have had under consideration their common defence programme, and have drawn up a request to the United States Government for assistance in carrying out this programme. This request was sent to the United States Government on 5th April. The United States Government replied on 6th April that they were prepared to recommend to Congress that this assistance should be given.The texts of the request by the Five Powers, and of the American reply. are as follows:

Request from Brussels Treaty Powers to the United States Government for Military Assistance

1. Since the signature of the Brussels Treaty the five Governments have had under consideration a common defence programme. Convinced of the necessity for such a programme, they believe that its formulation and application must be based on entire solidarity between them. They have reached the conclusion that if this defence programme is to be effective the material assistance of the United States Government is essential. The principles on which the programme should be based are set out in the following paragraphs

2. The main principles would be self-help, mutual aid, and common action in defence against an armed attack. The immediate objective is the achievement of arrangements for collective self-defence between the Brussels Treaty Powers within the terms of the Charter of the United Nations. The programme would be considered as a further step in the development of Western European security in the spirit of the statement made by President Truman to Congress on March 17, 1948, the day of the signature of the Brussels Treaty. It would be in accordance with the general objective of Article 3 of the North Atlantic Pact, and would result in each party, consistent with its situation and resources, contributing in the most effective form such mutual aid as could reasonably be expected of it. It would also be in accordance with the principles expressed in the resolution of the Senate of the United States of June 11, 1948.

3. The military strength of the participating Powers should be developed without endangering economic recovery and the attainment of economic viability, which should accordingly have priority.

4. In applying these general principles of a common defence programme the signatories of the Brussels Treaty attach importance to the following points:

  • (a) The armed forces of the European participating countries should be developed on a coordinated basis in order that in the event of aggression they can operate in accordance with a common strategic plan.
  • (b) They should be integrated so as to give the maximum efficiency with the minimum necessary expenditure of manpower, money and materials.
  • (c) Increased military effort, including increased arms production, should be consistent with economic objectives and the maintenance of economic viability. Additional local currency costs should be met from non-inflationary sources.
  • (d) Arrangements concerning the transfer of military equipment and supplies for such production among the European participating countries should permit transfer, in so far as possible, without regard to foreign exchange problems and without disrupting the intra-European payment scheme.
  • 5. In order to carry out a common defence programme on the basis of the above principles, there is urgent need for United States material and financial assistance. The signatories of the Brussels Treaty will therefore be glad to learn whether the United States Government is prepared to provide this assistance to them

    6. In the event of a favourable reply in relation to the above request, a detailed statement of the specific needs of the signatories of the Brussels Treaty for the year 1949–50 will be transmitted to the United States Government at the earliest possible date.

    5th April, 1949.

    Reply of the United States Government to the Request from the Brussels Treaty Powers to the United States Government for Military Assistance dated April 5, 1949.

    1. The Government of the United States refers to the memorandum dated April 5, 1949, from the Brussels Treaty Powers which inquires whether the United States will provide military assistance in the form of military equipment and financial aid to the Brussels Treaty Powers and which sets forth the principles on which such request is made.

    2. The Executive Branch of the United States Government is prepared to recommend to the United States Congress that the United States provide military assistance to countries signatory to the Brussels Treaty, in order to assist them to meet the material requirements of their defence programme. Such assistance would be extended in recognition of the principle of self-help and mutual aid contained in the Atlantic Pact, under which Pact members will extend to each other such reciprocal assistance as each country can reasonably be expected to contribute, consistent with its geographic location and resources, and in the form in which each can most effectively furnish assistance.

    3. It will be requested of the Congress that such assistance be in the form of military equipment from the United States required by their common defence programme and the provision of some financial assistance for increased military efforts on their part required by such defence programme. It will be understood that the allocation of this material and financial assistance will be effected by common agreement between the Brussels Treaty Powers and the United States.

    4. The United States Government will accordingly appreciate receiving as soon as possible the detailed statement of the specific needs of the signatories of the Brussels Treaty for the year 1949–50 as proposed in para. (6) of the request from the Brussels Treaty Powers.

    6th April, 1949.


    Street Lighting, Abersoch

    asked the Minister of Fuel and Power if he will make timber poles available in connection with the scheme for street lighting at Abersoch, Caernarvonshire, undertaken by the Merseyside and North Wales Electricity Board in view of the high financial burden which the use of steel poles will impose upon the parish council.

    I have been asked to reply. The Abersoch Parish Council have made no application to my Department in connection with this scheme, but timber poles are scarce and cannot be made available for street lighting purposes. If the parish council will consult my divisional road engineer he will advise them about using other kinds of lamp standards.

    Road Safety Campaign

    asked the Minister of Transport what is the total cost of the road safety campaign for the year 1948–49, under the headings advertising, outdoor publicity and films, subsidies to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents on the basis of excess of expenditure over receipts, grants made by his Department to local authorities, and approved expenditure by local authorities, respectively.

    The payments made from the Road Fund in the year 1948–49 in respect of the road safety campaign were as follows:

    Outdoor publicity150,000
    Royal Society for the Prevention Of Accidents105,000
    Payments made on account of grants to local authorities (see Note)98,000

    Note.—At 31st March, 1949, the total estimated cost of road safety propaganda schemes submitted by local authorities and approved for 50 per cent. grant from the Road Fund was £356,000. The payments are less than 50 per cent. of approved expenditure because approved expenditure was not fully incurred and because of the time lag in the presentation of claims.

    Trinidad (New Constitution)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the people of Trinidad have expressed their support through local councils upon the meetings and labour organisations for the constitution proposed in the Solomon Minority Report, and that his despatch of 7th January, 1949, has consequently caused grave disappointment; and whether he will now hold a referendum on the proposed new Constitution before it is put into operation.

    I am aware that various bodies have supported the proposals in the Minority Report. Others have accepted the proposals in my right hon. Friend's despatch of 7th January. I do not consider that a referendum is a reliable means of assessing public opinion on a complicated issue and I believe that such opinion is best expressed through normal constitutional channels. The views of the various sections of opinion in Trinidad were fully ventilated in the debate upon the report of the Constitution Committee last year, and the conclusions in the Secretary of State's despatch were reached after the most careful consideration of all the views expressed in this debate and in many subsequent representations. My right hon. Friend remains of the view that the best course is to give a full trial to the new constitution which is to be introduced.

    Tanganyika (Local Industries)

    asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what effect he anticipates that the Industrial Licensing Ordinance of 1948 will have on the free development of local industries in Tanganyika.

    The purpose of the Tanganyika Industrial Licensing Ordinance of 1948 is to ensure the sound development of the industries scheduled under the Ordinance by persons with the necessary commercial skill and knowledge to undertake business in a competent manner and with reasonable prospects of success. The African population of the territory must be protected from speculative competition that might tempt them from their normal livelihood and then subject them to losses, unemployment and distress. If Africans are to be given increased opportunities and higher standards of living through the growth of secondary industries, there must be some regulation of industry in the public interest. I hope, therefore, that the effect of the Ordinance will be to promote the free development of local industries in Tanganyika in an orderly manner in the interests of the inhabitants of the territory.

    Tea Ration (Midwives)

    asked the Minister of Food if, in view of the long and irregular hours worked by midwives and private maternity nurses, he will consider the possibility of granting an extra tea ration to people doing this work.

    I am afraid I cannot add to the reply I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for South Salford (Mr. Hardy) on 19th April, 1948.

    Thames Catchmentarea

    asked the Minister of Health if he will give in the form of a table particulars of the authorities and private companies supplying water to residents within the Thames Catchment area; what are the charges made by each, respectively; what cost is involved by the schemes for extension which have been severally submitted to him; and how many of these authorities and companies obtain water from the River Thames direct.

    I regret that the information is not readily available. The work involved in supplying it would not, in my view, be justified by the results.

    1939–45 War (Histories)

    asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give a list of those battles in the 1939–45 war about which official accounts have been written or are being written, whether for training or other purposes; and how much money has been spent in compiling such accounts since 1945.

    Official accounts of battles in the 1939–45 war figure in so many different kinds of document that it would not be possible without undue labour to furnish the information for which the hon. Member asks. If he has any particular kind of account in mind, perhaps he would let me know.

    asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give a list of the authors who are compiling semi-official histories of the various campaigns in the 1939–45 war; and what progress has, so far, been made by each.

    The following semiofficial histories of campaigns in the 1939. 45 war are in preparation:

  • (a) Arms and the Men, 1939–45 (the growth and development of the Army during the war), by Major-General Beith (Ian Hay).
  • (b) The Italian Campaign, by Eric Linklater.
  • (c) The African Campaign, by Captain E. J. Simpson (Evan John).
  • (d) The Subsidiary Campaigns. by Christopher Buckley.
  • (e) The Campaign in North Western Europe, by John North.
  • (f) The Burma Campaign, by Frank Owen.
  • (a) and (b) are in type and proofs are now being read.
  • (c) and (d) manuscripts are complete and are being finally checked before being sent to the printer.
  • (e) and (f) have not yet been completed, by the authors.
  • The above list includes only the semi official histories sponsored by my Department; other histories sponsored by the Admiralty and Air Ministry are also being prepared.

    Government Advertising

    asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer the total amount of money paid by His Majesty's Government to the Belfast "Evening Telegraph" from January, 1945, to December, 1948, for advertising; and if he will give details of all Government advertisements which this paper has refused or accepted only subject to modifications, with the reasons given?

    £6,850 including commission to the agents. In common with other newspapers this newspaper has not been able, because of shortage of space, to include all advertisements offered. No record of any refusal or conditional acceptance of any advertisement of His Majesty's Government on other grounds can be traced.

    Jet Aircraft (Fuel)

    asked the Minister of Fuel and Power whether he is satisfied that the supply of kerosene suitable for jet fighter aircraft will be obtained in sufficient quantities under the development plans for oil refining in this country.

    The refinery expansion programme in this country is, of course, still in its early stages, but the plants will be capable of producing a full range of petroleum fuels, including kerosene suitable for jet fighter aircraft. British companies' refineries overseas are also capable of providing substantial quantities of aviation turbine fuels and I have no reason to think that supplies will not be available in sufficient quantity to meet the requirements of jet fighter aircraft.