§ Mr. Healey
As announced in my hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Plymouth, Devonport (Dame Joan Vickers) on 6th March, we are working towards a simplified system of naval command at home in which there will be one major operational commander of ships and sea areas, and one major commander for administration and training.
Good progress is being made with the reorganisation of the sea command arrangements. On 5th June, the N.A.T.O. Naval Command in the Mediterranean will be adjusted with the formation of a new command under the Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe, to replace the present Allied Forces Mediterranean Command. On that date, the Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean will be withdrawn and the Commander-in-Chief Home Fleet will assume command of ships in the Mediterranean sea area. He will then be responsible for all our ships in sea areas West of Suez. His title will be altered to Commander-in-Chief Western Fleet. A rear admiral will be appointed as Flag Officer Malta responsible for Royal Navy installations in Malta.
The changes in command arrangements ashore in the United Kingdom are still under study.—[Vol. 742, c. 215.]