Some of them, and they would still have to be released by the President of the United States to the supreme allied commander before he would have the authority to use them. I do not say necessarily a few minutes before. There may be conditions set under which he may use them that I would not know, but they would have to be released by the President of the United States.
A question was asked whether our 104 squadrons would use nuclear weapons. All I can say there is that they would have the capability of using these weapons. Whether they would be allowed to operate with them from French bases I do not know. I am sure the Leader of the Opposition is aware of all the discussion there has been about that matter. That would have to be arranged by the NATO supreme allied commander with the French government and, in any event, we have air bases in Germany as well as in France. That is a problem which will have to be faced when the new aircraft become available.
I cannot accept the suggestions made by the hon. member for Trinity about the unsuitability of the 104. As I said the day before yesterday, the 104 has been chosen by other NATO countries for this dual role, and after the most careful investigation we decided it was the most suitable aircraft. I know that for various reasons the hon. member for Trinity does not like that particular aircraft, but we had to make a decision and we have decided that it is a good aircraft. Only minor modifications are being made to it. Nothing like new development is being done, as the hon. member suggested. It is not a wholly new project. Only minor alterations are being made. It is a proved type and, as I said before, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy have all accepted that aircraft and I believe other countries are also accepting it.
One hon. member raised a question about manpower cuts. I think I made it quite clear that as long as Canada has commitments for her armed forces, which we have accepted, there can be no substantial reduction in the number of the forces. I have said that over and over again. While it was mentioned today that I had said we were looking into the question of reducing the numbers, I stressed the point that in my previous statements I have said there would be no substantial cuts. We are always looking for ways whereby we can economize, particularly in manpower and
Supply-National Defence particularly in the administrative branch, be it military or civilian personnel. I am fully aware of the fact that for general economic reasons we cannot expect any large increase in the defence budget, and we find costs of operation, costs of maintenance, costs of personnel, always going up, as well as the costs of acquiring new equipment. It is difficult to adjust these. We do, therefore, regularly examine all our establishments to see if there can be any reductions there.
One other question was asked and that was connected with survival operations. The hon. member asked if the militia were receiving training equipment for survival operations. As I mentioned yesterday, the militia is doing admirable work in these survival operations. I do attach a great deal of importance both to the training of the regular and militia units. While it is not possible to obtain much of the equipment, because it is not procurable at the present time and there is not sufficient money to get all the equipment which the troops could use, we are getting enough training equipment and a good deal of operational equipment as well, both for the regular forces and the militia.
I think I have covered most of the points which were raised. If I have left out any, perhaps hon. members would ask the questions when we are considering the other votes and I have the officials here to fill in the details.
Topic: DEPARTMENT OF NATIONAL DEFENCE