The Quebec Agreement of 1943 dealt with the atomic bomb. The United States Government's decision to proceed with work on a hydrogen bomb was not taken until 1950. When the agreement was made we did not, of course, know whether the hydrogen bomb would ever become a reality.
Had the Quebec Agreement remained in force until the hydrogen bomb became a practical reality with the explosion of November, 1952, I should have regarded its provisions as applying to the hydrogen bomb also.
Has the attention of the Prime Minister been drawn to statements issued both from the White House and by Mr. Truman to the effect that the Quebec Agreement did not cover the hydrogen bomb? In these circumstances, would it not be fairer to withdraw his charge that the Labour Government gambled with Britain's vital interests in this matter in view of the fact that there was never an agreement for consultation on the hydrogen bomb? May I further ask whether, in view of the importance he attaches to the hydrogen bomb, the right hon. Gentleman himself has made any approach to the American Government to negotiate an agreement, or for consultation?
As in the debate last Monday we were concerned not so much with the atom bomb but with the hydrogen bomb tests and the future use of the hydrogen bomb, was it really necessary for the right hon. Gentleman, in view of the Quebec Agreement, which referred exclusively—as he has just said—to the atom bomb, to introduce extraneous matters?
I certainly thought over my action before I took it—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I certainly considered that the hydrogen bomb was, in a certain sense, the child and successor of the atom bomb.
Since the right hon. Gentleman gave serious thought to the subject before he made his statement last Monday, can he tell the House whether he has given any thought to what he did since?