Oral Answers to Questions — Nuclear Weapons

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud 12:00 am, 3rd December 1964

asked the Prime Minister (1) what proposals he has made to the United States Government about the United Kingdom sharing control of United States nuclear weapons;

(2) to what extent he proposes to share control of British nuclear weapons with other nations; with which nations; and on what basis.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I have nothing at present to add to what I said in the House on 23rd November.

Photo of Mr Anthony Kershaw Mr Anthony Kershaw , Stroud

Now that the Prime Minister is abandoning one by one his Socialist policies, both financial and economic, now that he is keeping Polaris and Phantom and keeping up B.A.O.R. and our overseas bases and building a new aircraft carrier, how soon may we expect him also to take over Tory nuclear policy?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I did not know that it was the general view of hon. Members opposite that we were abandoning Socialist policies. I thought that the line of the Leader of the Opposition was that we were not, and should be doing. The hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. In regard to the long catalogue of defence announcements from the hon Gentleman—and we are always interested to know what defence announcements he has to make, although most of them relate to things about which we have not yet taken decisions; if he wants to announce them that is all right by us—[Interruption.]—these are all parts of our defence review which I have said is taking place. When we are ready with our decisions they will be announced to the House. As to the question of our nuclear policy, I said that I had nothing to add to what I stated on 23rd November.

The Earl of Dalkeith:

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he has full control over the Left wing of his own party on defence matters? Since it appears that many hon. Members opposite are against the idea of sharing weapons and providing bases for our American allies, can he assure us that he has complete control over those hon. Members?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I shall be going to Washington with a far more united party behind me than Mr. Macmillan had when he went to Nassau, when, on two or three issues, decisions which he took had to be reversed under pressure from the Suez Group.

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

I should not like to comment on the delicate matter of the unity of the right hon. Gentleman's party, but does he understand that we want a most definite statement of his decision on the Polaris submarines as soon as we can possibly get it from him?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I can understand the right hon. Gentleman's reluctance when he cannot even speak for the unity of his own Front Bench, when he finds the former Chancellor of the Exchequer and the former President of the Board of Trade in complete disagreement on one question and all of them in disagreement with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) on both incomes policy and economic planning.