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I assume the right hon. and learned Gentleman is referring to exchanges which took place in the Canadian House of Commons on 12th November during which the Canadian Prime Minister made it clear that the suggestion was—to use his own words:
…not a matter of national Government consideration".
The question does not, therefore, arise.
Surely the Prime Minister can go as far as the Canadian Prime Minister went? Did he not say in the same statement that in his view a meeting of the scientists of the world for this purpose could make a definite contribution furthering peace in the world? Is not the Prime Minister prepared to go as far as that?
I wish I were so confident that the mere knowledge of a danger automatically produces the methods of reducing it. The scientific facts about the dangers are, of course, well established and well known to the public, at least on this side of the Iron Curtain. Whether a special scientific conference would be valuable or not, while I would consider it, I feel rather doubtful. At any rate, the whole matter is now being fully studied under the aegis of the United Nations.
asked the Prime Minister whether the policy of Her Majesty's Government is still guided by the declaration of his predecessor, Sir Anthony Eden, at the July, 1955 summit conference, Geneva, to the effect that a nuclear war would mean the annihilation of both the belligerents and the neutrals; and what steps he proposes to take to prepare and summon another summit conference in order to avert this possibility.
The policy of the nuclear deterrent is outlined in the White Paper on Defence. I have nothing to add to what I told the hon. Member on 12th November, about a summit conference. The danger of nuclear war could best be averted if the Soviet Government would accept the Western Powers' proposals for partial disarmament.
Do the Government seriously contend that after a major nuclear attack it will be possible to resume the life of this country smoothly and quickly? Is not that an attempt to deceive the people as to the true nature of hydrogen-bomb warfare?