Bacteriological Weapons

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28 January 1959.

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Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire 12:00, 28 January 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Air to what extent Royal Air Force personnel are trained for the purpose of delivering bombs containing bacteriological weapons.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

asked the Secretary of State for Air what training is being given for distribution by air of botulinus toxin and other bacteriological weapons.

Mr. Ward:

No such training is given.

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

Is the Minister aware that the Ministry of Supply has a research department for manufacturing substances for spraying over enemy crops in war time and that this factory has been visited by the Daily Express scientific correspondent, who reports this in his paper? Will the Minister give an assurance that the Royal Air Force will have nothing to do with this dirty business?

Mr. Ward:

I can only repeat that we are not giving such training.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

Have discussions taken place at any time on this matter between the Ministries of Air and Supply? Secondly, in view of the widespread revulsion over this utterly inhuman business of germ warfare, whether used against human beings or enemy crops, will the Minister state that the Air Force will never undertake such an operation?

Mr. Ward:

In reply to the first part of that supplementary question, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Supply dealt fully with this matter earlier in the week and said that the study was being made for purely defensive reasons. On the second point, subject to the proviso that they have reserved the right to retaliate in kind against any power which uses bateriological and chemical weapons, Her Majesty's Government are bound by the Geneva protocol of 1930 which forbids the use of such weapons.

Photo of Mr Frank Allaun Mr Frank Allaun , Salford East

I asked the Minister whether any such discussions had taken place. Will he give an answer?