Multilateral Nuclear Force

Oral Answers to Questions — South Africa – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1964.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Henderson Mr Arthur Henderson , Rowley Regis and Tipton 12:00 am, 27th July 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations have been received from the Soviet Government with regard to the proposed multilateral nuclear force; and if he will make a statement.

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

The Soviet Government addressed a Note to Her Majesty's Government on 11th July on this subject. Similar Notes were addressed to some of our allies, and we are considering them in conjunction with our Allies.

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

In view of the statement by the Minister without Portfolio in another place last week that the establishment of multilateral nuclear force would make national nuclear forces both unnecessary and unacceptable, may we take it that it is now the policy of Her Majesty's Government that if a multilateral force were established they would hand over all our national nuclear forces to that international force?

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

No, Sir; that is a misapprehension of the nature of our own forces and the nature of the multilateral force.

Photo of Mr John Mendelson Mr John Mendelson , Penistone

In view of the recent proposals for an experimental study of other forms of multilateral nuclear force which have been advanced by Her Majesty's Government, will the right hon. Gentleman give his assurance that during the Recess and during the period when the present House of Commons will not exist Her Majesty's Government will not in any case or in any form commit this country to participation in an international multilateral nuclear force?

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

There is no intention of taking a decision on a multilateral force at present.

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

Are we to take it from the Foreign Secretary's reply that he repudiates the statement by the Minister without Portfolio when he said that national nuclear forces would be unwanted and unnecessary if a multilateral force were established?

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

I have not read into my noble Friend's speech the interpretation given by the right hon. and learned Gentleman.