Civil Defence (Manuals)

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South 12:00 am, 23rd July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will publish in a single volume available to the general public at a cheap price the following Manuals prepared by Her Majesty's Government for Civil Defence workers and Service Departments Home Office, Volume I, Pamphlet No. 1, Nuclear Weapons, 1956, Medical Manual of Chemical Warfare, 4th Edition, 1955, issued by Her Majesty's Stationery Office for the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry, Fire Research Bulletin No. 1, Fire and the Atomic Bomb, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, 1954, and Manual on Biological Warfare, Home Office.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

No, Sir. Although no restriction has ever been placed on the sale of these manuals, they are designed for those who need to make a close study of the subject, and, quite apart from questions of price, they are too detailed to be suitable for general reading. The facts about nuclear weapons are summarised in non-technical language for the general reader in "The Hydrogen Bomb" published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, price 9d.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Will the Home Secretary consider making available similar popular papers about biological, chemical, incendiary and other weapons of mass destruction now being prepared?

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

I do not think I can add to my statement, but I am always ready to examine anything that the right hon. Gentleman puts before me.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

May I press the Home Secretary? It is really desirable that the public should have some knowledge of the kind of warfare now being prepared.

Photo of Mr R.A. Butler Mr R.A. Butler , Saffron Walden

Yes, and that is why we published this particular document. Some of the language in the documents to which the right hon. Gentleman refers is really unsuitable for the public to understand. I am unable to understand it myself.