§ 10. Mr. Eastham
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what decisions he has made about the role of the Army following a possible conventional forces in Europe agreement.
§ Mr. Archie Hamilton
No decisions have yet been taken regarding the future role of the Army, although we are examining the options for change in the light of changing international circumstances.
§ Mr. Eastham
In view of the dramatic discussions between East and West Germany and the ultimate withdrawal of Russian troops, does the Minister recognise that there is no longer any justification for the retention of 55,000 British troops in Germany? Can he assure us that the Government will not try to introduce some strategy under which those 55,000 troops will be deployed somewhere else in the world, in a continuation of the imperialism that we used to experience 100 years ago?
§ Mr. Hamilton
"Options for Change" recognises the dramatic alterations in the scene in Europe generally and especially in east-west relations. It will therefore deal with the size of the Rhine Army.
§ Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman
Does my hon. Friend accept that whatever agreement may be reached on conventional forces, the Territorial Army must always be maintained as a back-up to the regular forces? Will he congratulate those who serve in the Territorial Army in my area on the opening last Thursday of the Alexandra barracks by Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra? They will provide magnificent training opportunities for the Territorial Army of the future.
§ Mr. Hamilton
I am glad to hear what great support is being given to the Territorial Army in my hon. Friend's area. It is an invaluable and essential part of our commitment to reinforce NATO at a time of conflict.