China (Nuclear Weapons)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Labour – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th February 1966.

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Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds 12:00 am, 7th February 1966

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what is the best estimate available to Her Majesty's Government of the Chinese People's Republic's nuclear weapons capacity.

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

The Government of the Chinese People's Republic detonated nuclear devices on 16th October, 1964 and 14th May, 1965. The Chinese capability is very limited, but weapons of nominal yield developed from their tests could be delivered by aircraft against lightly-defended targets.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the combination of China's increasing nuclear power and the aggressive statements of some of its leaders is an alarming source of anxiety in the Far East? Does not he also agree that it is one reason why Her Majesty's Government are not only looking for a non-proliferation agreement but are supporting our American allies in seeking to contain this power in the Far East?

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

Everyone would probably agree with the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question. I also agree that it is important to seek a non-proliferation treaty. But our policy towards China must be seen in rather larger terms than the hon. Member has used. It is the view of Her Majesty's Government that one part of our policy towards China should be to endeavour, whatever the difficulties, to get her into the international community of the United Nations.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

If that is the conclusion that my right hon. Friend has reached—and it is a very wise one—why not try to bring more pressure to bear, or at any rate why not use persuasion on the United States Government so that they can escape from their intransigence in this respect in order to obtain consent for and acceptance of the Chinese People's Republic into the United Nations?

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

I have taken many opportunities to make our point of view clear to the United States Government.