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Defence Resources (Deployment)

Volume 78: debated on Tuesday 30 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if Her Majesty's Government will consider seeking to deploy defence resources from Germany to Scandinavia.

No. However, as I said in my reply to my hon. Friend on 26 March, there is a strong United Kingdom commitment, through NATO, to the defence of the NATO countries of northern Europe.

Given the existing deployment balance of the Warsaw pact and NATO, does my hon. Friend agree that NATO is far more vulnerable in Denmark and northern Europe than it is on the central front? Given the calamitous consequences for the United Kingdom should Denmark or Norway fall, should we not be thinking of ways to change that balance?

My hon. Friend will be aware that we must take into account primarily the deployment pattern of Warsaw pact forces. As he will be aware, the great concentration of those forces, both nuclear and conventional, is on the central front rather than in the northern region. Our deployment response must reflect that.

As to Scandinavia, does my hon. Friend agree that an important step forward has come about through the pre-positioning of equipment there so that we can fly in our forces speedily to reinforce the area referred to in the question, and heavy equipment will be available for their use?

My hon. and learned Friend is entirely right. The Norwegian Government's agreement to more prepositioning by Britain and the United States has been extremely helpful.