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Overseas Stations (Army Council Visits)

Volume 496: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1952

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asked the Secretary of State for War what visits have been paid to overseas stations by members of the Army Council in recent months.

In the past year the Chief of the Imperial General Staff visited Berlin and Austria and attended the manoeuvres of the British Army of the Rhine. The Quartermaster-General paid two visits to the Middle East Land Forces and one to Germany. The Adjutant-General visited Germany.

In view of the absence of any visit by a member of the Army Council to the Far East Land Forces, could the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is his intention that he personally or some senior member of the Army Council should visit that area, particularly as it now seems from the Prime Minister's edict yesterday that no hon. Members of this House are allowed to visit that area?

I have many intentions, all of which are subject to approval from other authorities. I should not like to go further than that.

Then may we take it from that answer that the right hon. Gentleman is free himself to visit troops in the Far East if he wants to go, in spite of what the Prime Minister said?

Yes, Sir, but the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that in all these matters there are questions such as Parliamentary Sessions, and I have to obtain the approval of my superiors. I can assure him that I have the point very much in mind.

Surely the right hon. Gentleman is not saying that he is free to go to the Far East, or anywhere else overseas, without consulting the Prime Minister?

No, Sir, and that is exactly what I intended to say. I think it is what I did say.

May we also take it that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to ask permission for a delegation of hon. Members of both sides of the House to go to Korea?