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Germany (Defence Organisation)

Volume 529: debated on Monday 21 June 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs under what conditions the West German Government is entitled to create a defence organisation; how far the consent of the occupying Powers is required; and how far action has already been taken by the German Government.

Pending the entry into force of the Bonn Conventions and the European Defence Community Treaty, the Occupation Statute for Germany reserves to the occupying Powers all matters concerned with "disarmament and demilitarisation." The West German Government cannot, therefore, at present create a defence organisation without the consent of the occupying Powers.

In order to enable the German Federal Government to prepare for the entry into force of the European Defence Community Treaty the occupying Powers have agreed to German representation on the European Defence Community Interim Committee and to the Federal Government undertaking preliminary defence plans and studies.

I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for that reply, but can he say whether any preliminary measures have been taken by the Bonn Government in preparation for the, defence organisation? Have they not created a Ministry of Defence and are they not raising forces in readiness either for entry into E.D.C. or N.A.T.O.?

The only force that has been raised is the frontier police force, armed with light weapons and amounting to 10,000 men, which was authorised by the occupying Powers in 1951. Apart from that, I understand that the Federal Government are keeping within the terms of the authorisation by undertaking preliminary defence plans and studies.

Would my right hon. and learned Friend consider laying a White Paper which would describe how far West Germany is now rearming in the sense of police requirements and frontier troops?

I will consider that suggestion. It might be a very good thing if the House could see exactly the difference between frontier forces in East Germany and in West Germany.

Is the Minister aware that it would be a very good thing if we had a White Paper and that I hope he will consider that suggestion? If he publishes one, will he give all the available information on the preliminary steps that some believe have now been taken in preparation for a defence organisation?

I will certainly consider that. It would be well if the House bad the fullest information.

In view of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman said in answer to the previous supplementary question, if he does publish a White Paper will he produce fuller information about the greater degree, the substantial degree, of rearmament that has taken place in Eastern Germany?