Hydrogen and Atom Bomb Tests

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th May 1954.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton 12:00 am, 13th May 1954

asked the Prime Minister whether information has now been received from the United States Government with regard to the hydrogen test series of explosions which took place during March and April; and whether he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I am not prepared as at present advised to give any information beyond that which has appeared in the Press.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

In view of the great public concern over the development of the hydrogen bomb, would the Prime Minister consider proposing that there should be a suspension of all hydrogen tests and explosions pending the outcome of the Disarmament Commission, which began its deliberations this morning?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I think we dealt with that at an early stage in the experiments. I have no power to give directions on the subject to the United States or to the Soviet Union.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

I did not ask the Prime Minister to give directions. What I asked him was whether he will consider proposing the suspension of these tests?

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

I do not think it would be much use deciding to propose such a course without some consideration of whether it was likely to be adopted or not.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

asked the Prime Minister how many underwater atomic or hydrogen explosions have been recorded by the scientific instruments at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government; and which of them appear to have been connected with experimental explosions by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Photo of Mr Winston Churchill Mr Winston Churchill , Woodford

The answer to this Question would reveal the degree of efficiency of our apparatus for the detection of atomic explosions and this would not be in the public interest.