Atlantic Nuclear Force

Oral Answers to Questions — Council of Europe – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st March 1965.

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Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South 12:00 am, 1st March 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the progress of consultations with other Governments on the proposals for an Atlantic nuclear force.

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

I have nothing to add at present to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence in reply to the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) on 15th February.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that, even if the negotiations for the setting up of an Atlantic nuclear force are successful, it is still the intention of the Government to retain some nuclear weapons under their own independent control?

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

This matter has been fully explained by the Prime Minister.

Photo of Mr Konni Zilliacus Mr Konni Zilliacus , Manchester, Gorton

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the Prime Minister's declaration of 23rd November still holds good, namely, that collective defence measures must not be of such a character as to make it more difficult to reach an agreement on the stopping of the spread of nuclear weapons? In view of recent declarations by the Warsaw Alliance, will my right hon. Friend take that factor into consideration in connection with the proposed Atlantic nuclear force?

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

I can certainly confirm what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said. One of the reasons for our putting forward the proposal for an Atlantic nuclear force was our belief that it would be both a better use of the resources of the Alliance and would not be a barrier to a disarmament agreement.

Photo of Lady  Grant of Monymusk Lady Grant of Monymusk , Aberdeen South

Are the Government still pressing forward with these proposals, despite the opposition of France?

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

The proposals contain provisions whereby the French Government, if they wish at a subsequent date to join, can do so.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

As the A.N.F. has done its job in sinking the M.L.F., have the Government any other proposals?

Photo of Mr Michael Maitland Stewart Mr Michael Maitland Stewart , Fulham

No, Sir. We have been engaged in bilateral talks on the A.N.F. and hope to proceed from them to multilateral talks.