Nuclear Weapons

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry, Trade and Regional Development – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 23rd July 1964.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton 12:00 am, 23rd July 1964

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the announcement in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' communiqué in support of an agreement prohibiting the further dissemination of nuclear weapons, he will propose to President Johnson and Mr. Khrushchev a next step agreement covering the above proposal.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Both my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and I have many times proposed this. But the Russians have not agreed. I hope this will be one of the matters which my right hon. Friend will have an opportunity to discuss in Moscow.

Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton

Is not the main obstacle to a non-dissemination agreement the opposition of the Soviet Union to a multilateral nuclear force? Can we be assured that the proposal for a multilateral force will not be allowed by the Government to prevent the achievement of a non-dissemination agreement?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

This has been the official Russian reaction. It is difficult to see why, because, as I have said before, and, I think, in this House, the creation of a multilateral force must mean more fingers on the safety catch, if I may put it that way. On the other hand, it is quite possible to devise a non-dissemination agreement and an agreement on a multilateral force which would not be inconsistent with each other.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his colleague, the Minister without Portfolio, yesterday in another place defended the multilateral force on the ground that it would make national deterrents unnecessary? Does not this blow the gaff on the whole of the Government's policy, and do the Government intend to give up the British deterrent if the multilateral force comes into being?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

If the hon. Gentleman wants to hand over the whole of the nuclear defence of our island to another country — [Interruption.] — the hon. Gentleman asked the question in his own way, and I shall give my answer in my own way. If the hon. Gentleman is proposing to hand over the nuclear defence of our country to another country, I cannot agree with him.