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Oral Answers to Questions — Nuclear Tests

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what official representations he has made to the Governments concerned with a view to securing that the British, United States and Soviet Governments should jointly present a draft international convention banning nuclear test explosions to the next session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

The agreement under negotiation at Geneva is already in the form of a multilateral treaty suitable for accession by other parties. It would be premature to say precisely what action will be taken to invite such accession once a treaty has been achieved.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Can the Minister of State tell us whether the British Government and the other two Governments now negotiating on this matter at Geneva consider that the duration and validity of the agreement which they signed should be dependent on the accession of other Governments?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

No, Sir, not necessarily.

Photo of Mr Aneurin Bevan Mr Aneurin Bevan , Ebbw Vale

Would not the situation be ironic if the three Governments concerned signed an agreement of this sort and then other nations proceeded to hold tests? Would not that have the effect to some extent of invalidating their decision?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

It is the hope of Her Majesty's Government that other nations will join in with this.

Photo of Mr Christopher Boyd Mr Christopher Boyd , Bristol North West

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will give an assurance to the House that the United Kingdom will not resume nuclear test explosions following a French explosion, but will seek negotiations with France for an agreement that both countries refrain from further such tests.

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I can assure the hon. Member that a nuclear test explosion by France would not in itself be a cause for Her Majesty's Government to resume testing. As regards the second part of the Question, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on 9th July, our first objective should be to get an agreement with America and Russia to which we should then try to get other countries to accede.