§ 50. Mr. Beswick
asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what change of policy agreed between the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force is indicated by the decision to withdraw the Washington bomber; and what air craft are now charged with the responsibilities hitherto assigned to the Washington.
There is no change of policy. A further stage has been reached in the re-equipment of our expanding bomber force with modern jet aircraft. Moreover, the experience gained in operating Canberras will be invaluable when we begin to form medium jet bomber squadrons as the Valiant, the Vulcan and the Victor become available.
§ Mr. Beswick
The Under-Secretary has made it clear that the new bomber to which he has referred cannot do the task previously assigned to the 1293 Washington. Will he answer the second part of my Question, which asks which aircraft is now going to undertake this task, and can he say quite definitely that the United States Air Force is not to be responsible for all strategic bombing from this country?
I can start by giving the hon. Gentleman an assurance which he asked for in the second part of his Question. I am sure he realises that this is a complicated subject, but I should like to say in reply to him that the departure of the Washington will not in any way reduce the ability of the Royal Air Force to carry out its commitments.