• Short Summary

    BRITAIN IS TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF ITS FORCES IN WEST GERMANY IF NO QUICK SOLUTION IS FOUND TO THE DRAIN ON ITS FOREIGN CURRENCY.

  • Description

    BRITAIN IS TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF ITS FORCES IN WEST GERMANY IF NO QUICK SOLUTION IS FOUND TO THE DRAIN ON ITS FOREIGN CURRENCY. THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT, NOW FACING SERIOUS ECONOMIC TROUBLES AT HOME, WANTS TO CUT DOWN ITS OVERSEAS SPENDING OF STERLING BY AT LEAST GBP100 MILLION.

    ABOUT 61,000 SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN STATIONED IN GERMANY - INCLUDING THE GARRISON IN BERLIN - IS COSTING BRITAIN GBP94 MILLION A YEAR IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE. SHE HAS NOW ASKED THE WEST GERMAN GOVERNMENT TO MEET THESE COSTS IN FULL OR BE PREPARED FOR ONE OF THE LARGEST PEACETIME WITHDRAWALS EVER MADE BY THE BRITISH ARMY.

    THE BRITISH ARMY OF THE RHINE (BAOR) IS AN IMPORTANT PART OF NATO'S "FRONT LINE" OF DEFENCE. IT HAS BEEN IN GERMANY FOR 21 YEARS AND HAS BEEN BUILT UP INTO ONE OF THE BEST TRAINED AND EQUIPPED FORCES BRITAIN HAS HAD IN PEACETIME.

    THE LARGEST ITEMS IN BRITAIN'S EXCHANGE BILL ARE APPROXIMATELY AS FOLLOWS: GBP34 ???? MILLION ON GERMAN CIVILIAN LABOUR; GBP27 ???? MILLION ON SERVICEMEN'S PERSONAL SPENDING; GBP8 ???? MILLION ON REPAIRS TO ROADS AND RANGES, AND COMPENSATION FOR MILITARY EXERCISE DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, AND GBP5 ???? MILLIONS ON RENTS FOR LAND, HOUSES AND OTHER ACCOMMODATION.

    THERE ARE 24,000 SERVICEMEN'S WIVES THEIR 40,000 CHILDREN IN GERMANY WHO HAVE TO BE HOUSED, TRANSPORTED AND SUPPLIED WITH FOOD. THEY ALSO RECEIVE MEDICAL ATTENTION, DENTISTRY, CHILD-WELFARE AND SCHOOLING.

    STRONG ARGUMENTS HAVE BEEN PUT FORWARD FOR RETAINING THE GERMAN CIVILIAN STAFF. THERE ARE 41,000 CIVILIANS DOING MAINTENANCE AND CLERICAL WORK WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE HAVE TO BE DONE BY SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN. APART FROM THE SHORTAGE OF MILITARY STAFF, DUE TO OTHER BRITISH COMMITMENTS OVERSEAS, THE CIVILIAN LABOUR IS SAID TO BE MUCH CHEAPER.

    IN PURCHASES FROM BRITISH FIRMS THE GERMANS ARE ALREADY MEETING GBP57 MILLION OF THE BRITISH FOREIGN EXCHANGE BURDEN - ABOUT TWO-THIRDS OF THE TOTAL COST. THESE PURCHASES ARE MADE UNDER THE PRESENT ANGLO-GERMAN OFFSET AGREEMENT WHICH EXPIRES IN MARCH, 1967. THE WEST GERMAN GOVERNMENT SAY THAT ITS 1967 BUDGET WILL ALLOW ONLY GBP27 MILLION TO MEET THE EXCHANGE COSTS.

    WEST GERMANY WANTS THE BRITISH FORCES TO STAY BUT IS ITSELF UNDERGOING ECONOMIC DIFFICULTIES. FEDERAL EXPENDITURE IS SOARING AT A TIME WHEN THE COUNTRY HAS DEVELOPED A BALANCE OF PAYMENTS GAP. THE STOCK MARKET IS REPORTED TO BE SO QUIET THAT THE TREASURY IS NOT MAKING ENOUGH MONEY FROM BONDS. AND THERE HAS BEEN A RECESSION IN THE IRON AND STEEL INDUSTRIES.

    AMERICA IS ALSO ASKING FOR MORE FINANCIAL HELP IN MAINTAINING ITS 225,000-MAN SEVENTH ARMY IN WEST GERMANY. BUT THE BONN GOVERNMENT IS EXPECTED TO FALL SOME GBP214 - GBP250 MILLION SHORT OF ITS COMMITMENT TO OFF-SET U.S. FOREIGN EXCHANGE COSTS. NO PLANS HAVE BEEN REVEALED, HOWEVER, FOR A REDUCTION OF THE AMERICAN FORCES IN GERMANY.

    MR CALLAGHAN, THE BRITISH CHANCELLOR OF THE EXCHEQUER HAD RECENT TALKS ON THE PROBLEM WITH DR. ROLF DAHLGRUEN, THE WEST GERMAN FINANCE MINISTER. ON HIS RETURN FROM BONN HE STILL DID NOT KNOW WHAT PROPOSALS WEST GERMANY WOULD MAKE TO OFFSET THE SERVICEMEN'S MAINTENANCE COSTS. DURING HIS TALKS MR CALLAGHAN WARNED THAT BRITAIN WOULD REDUCE THE SIZE OF ITS FORCES IN THE COUNTRY UNLESS GERMANY MET THE FOREIGN EXCHANGE BILL IN FULL - BUT NO DEADLINE HAD BEEN SET FOR THIS.

    ONE RESULT OF THE TALKS WAS THAT AN ANGLO-GERMAN COMMISSION WOULD BE SET UP TO CONSIDER WAYS OF MEETING BRITAIN'S EXCHANGE COSTS. THE COMMISSION WAS DUE TO MEET IN LONDON ON AUGUST 4TH TO PLAN DISCUSSIONS TO SEE HOW GERMANY COULD SPEND GBP94 MILLION IN BRITAIN TO COUNTER-BALANCE ITS EXPENDITURE OF MARKS.

    AT A NATO COUNCIL MEETING IN PARIS ON JULY 25TH, MR HEALEY, THE BRITISH DEFENCE MINISTER, SAID NO CUTS WOULD BE MADE IN THE RHINE ARMY IF HIS COUNTRY'S FOREIGN EXCHANGE PROBLEMS COULD BE MET. BRITAIN DID NOT WANT IT TO HAPPEN BUT SHOULD A WITHDRAWAL BE NECESSARY IT WOULD BE SOON. HE HOPED IT COULD BE MADE WITHOUT DAMAGE TO WESTERN SECURITY. HE SAID THAT IF BONN COULD NOT PAY, PERHAPS THERE COULD BE A MULTILATERAL SHARING OF COSTS.

    IF BRITAIN DECIDES TO WITHDRAW PART OF ITS RHINE ARMY SHE WOULD ASK NATO AND THE WESTERN EUROPEAN UNION FOR FORMAL PERMISSION TO DO SO. UNDER THE WEU TREATY BRITAIN IS BOUND TO KEEP 55,000 TROOPS IN GERMANY PERMANENTLY.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAD7H4PK30TALC0HW9FVQRSB5LP
    Media URN:
    VLVAD7H4PK30TALC0HW9FVQRSB5LP
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    03/08/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:05:00:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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