Oral Answers to Questions — United States Nuclear Missiles (United Kingdom)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge 12:00 am, 12th December 1957

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the fact that, on his last visit to the United States of America when agreement was reached to base United States nuclear missiles in the United Kingdom, no discussions took place on the question of political authority responsible for ordering the use of such weapons, he will now seek further talks to discuss this matter.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

The restrictions on the use of American missiles based in the United Kingdom will be similar to those placed on American bomber aircraft here.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

Does not the Prime Minister accept that, although the existence of these bombs may be important, the question of the use to which they are put is vastly more important? Will not the right hon. Gentleman answer the question which is troubling us, both as regards these future guided missiles and the present Strategic Air Force bombers? Within the time limit in which we are working, how can the two Governments come together and agree upon a decision before missiles or bombers go into action?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

That is another problem. All I am saying is that both under the Attlee agreement and under the agreement made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill) it is not within the power of either Government to use the missiles or bombers without the approval of the other.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

Is not the Prime Minister dodging the issue? At the time of the Attlee agreement we were not working within this narrow time-scale. We are now dealing with a different category of weapons entirely. Why did not the right hon. Gentleman discuss this position when he was in Washington?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley

I do not think that the time-scale is very different. It is the character of the weapons which is different. The time-scale is not very dissimilar.