Oral Answers to Questions — Disarmament

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd August 1965.

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Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South 12:00 am, 2nd August 1965

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the work done and the results achieved by the Minister of State responsible for disarmament.

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

My right hon. and noble Friend has set up to assist him a research unit in the Foreign Office and an advisory panel, and with their help has been examining the whole field of disarmament policy. He has made wide contacts on disarmament, particularly in the United States and Scandinavia. He has attended the United Nations Disarmament Commission, and is now attending the Eighteen Nation Disarmament Conference at Geneva. There, as the House will know, we hope to take an initiative on the non-dissemination of nuclear weapons, which my right hon. and noble Friend recently discussed in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Will the Foreign Secretary tell the House of one new practical proposal, including the initiative we are to expect on non-dissemination, which his noble Friend has made and which was not made by the previous Government?

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

As I have already informed the House, we are concerned also to get a comprehensive test ban treaty, a freeze of strategic nuclear delivery vehicles, possibly some measures against surprise attack and other matters which are relevant to the Question that I have just answered.

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

Have Her Majesty's Government made an explicit statement to the Soviet Government that if a non-dissemination agreement were achieved Her Majesty's Government would oppose any arrangement of N.A.T.O. nuclear arms in contravention to any such non-dissemination agreement?

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

Certainly, if we are able to conclude a non-dissemination treaty we should not wish to enter, and we should not enter, into any arrangement which was inconsistent with it. But, as I have told the House, I do not accept the view—and I do not think it can be maintained—that the A.N.F. proposal as it now stands is inconsistent with non-dissemination.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling Mr Reginald Maudling , Barnet

Will the right hon. Gentleman answer the supplementary question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker), asking what the Government have done? The right hon. Gentleman replied saying that the Government were concerned about many things That may be wise, but what have they done?

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

If the right hon. Gentleman has been following these affairs, he will be aware that my noble Friend is now engaged at the Geneva Conference in endeavouring to get an agreement on non-dissemination. I do not think that we should wish to embarrass him in that task.

Photo of Mr William Hamling Mr William Hamling , Woolwich West

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what response has been made by the Warsaw Treaty countries to Her Majesty's Government's initiatives on disarmament; and what reply he has sent.

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

Our initiatives on disarmament will be presented at the Geneva Conference, where there are representatives of the Warsaw Pact, and where our proposals will no doubt be fully discussed.

Photo of Mr Cyril Osborne Mr Cyril Osborne , Louth Borough

As no practical disarmament steps can be taken unless there is agreement with Moscow, why is it that the Prime Minister's proposed visit to Moscow and Mr. Kosygin's proposed visit to this country this year have both failed to come off?

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

It is not correct to say that they have failed to come off. It is still understood in principle that these visits will occur, but a date was not at any time fixed and has not yet been fixed.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Will the right hon. Gentleman now take the opportunity to answer the supplementary question which I addressed to him earlier and say what new initiatives the Government are taking?

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

I answered that supplementary question at the time.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

If progress is not rapidly made in Geneva, will the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister undertake to do what Conservative Ministers undertook to do but never carried out—namely, go themselves to Geneva to help to break the deadlock?

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

I am quite sure that my right hon. Friend and I will be prepared to take any action which would be useful in promoting the negotiations at Geneva. But I think it is agreed that my noble Friend there is presenting a good case, and I think we should wish him well.

Photo of Mr Peter Thomas Mr Peter Thomas , Conway

Is it not the case that there is a Minister and a member of Her Majesty's Government in Geneva?

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

Yes, Sir; I have just said so.