Chemical and Biological Warfare Laboratories (Inspection)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th April 1967.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney 12:00 am, 12th April 1967

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the Government's policy towards the international inspection of chemical and biological warfare laboratories, in the light of the Report of the 13th Pugwash Conference, a copy of which has been sent to him.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

Her Majesty's Government would like to see progress made towards international agreement on measures to deal with chemical and biological weapons. The Western Plan for General and Complete Disarmament makes proposals to this end. We hope that it will, in due course, be possible for the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee at Geneva to examine the problems involved and we naturally welcome contributions such as those by the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs to their solution.

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney

Does my right hon. Friend agree that chemical and biological warfare must be mainly directed at the civilian population and that, for this reason, it is a particularly dangerous development, and that the United States Government appear to be trying it out in Vietnam? Will he, therefore, regard this matter with rather greater urgency than has perhaps been done hitherto?

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

I cannot accept my hon. Friend's implied criticism of the urgency with which we regard this matter, but I agree that it would be desirable in all our interests if we could reach an agreement to ensure that these weapons were neither produced nor used.