Oral Answers to Questions — Nuclear Weapons

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd March 1966.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 3rd March 1966

asked the Prime Minister what progress he expects in the next year towards the negotiation of an anti-proliferation agreement on the spread of nuclear weapons.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I explained on 1st February how we are tackling the need for progress on a non-proliferation treaty. We have urged the Geneva Disarmament Committee to get down to the discussion of texts during the present session, and we shall do everything in our power to promote agreement as soon as possible.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Will my right hon. Friend consider, when he comes back after 31st March, issuing an invitation to the Chinese leaders to come to Britain to deal with this matter, since we cannot get an international agreement on it unless the Chinese are involved?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I believe the fact that more than one nuclear Power has not accepted, for example, the test ban agreement, creates anxiety for some countries which are neighbours of China—for example, India. This is a new problem which we discussed in Moscow. A comprehensive agreement would have to take account of the factors mentioned by my hon. Friend.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

Could an anti-proliferation agreement be expanded to include extension of the nuclear test ban treaty to underground tests? What changes have there been in the Soviet attitude to on-site inspection? In view of the advances in seismology in the West, can we moderate our demands for such inspection?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Yes, Sir. We had a considerable discussion on this. It is a separate subject although I believe that it may be possible to make progress on the two issues together. The Russians have not changed their attitude in relation to inspections and continually press that the seismological advances make such inspections unnnecessary. We do not go all the way with them in that view, but improvements are being made each year in the ability to check tests from some distance away.

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

The right hon. Gentleman said that there had been some progress towards disarmament in the talks on the question of a non-proliferation agreement. Was there any change in the Soviet attitude towards the proposed A.N.F. or the Nuclear Committee?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The Soviet Government maintained their position strongly. The House has been aware for many years of their obsession—and I do not apologise for using the word—about the German position. We were able to get more progress on this occasion in explaining to them the difference between the M.L.F.—which I think we were able to get off the international scene a year ago—and the A.N.F. But they are still very obsessed by the question of any indirect German connection with nuclear affairs.