The Eighteen Nation Disarmament Committee has now adjourned for a short period, to allow for further discussions on the nonproliferation proposals within the Eastern and Western Alliances. We hope that these discussions will result in the tabling of a draft non-proliferation treaty when the Committee resumes. It is accepted by all concerned that the development of civil nuclear technology must be fully safeguarded by the treaty.
I do not regard that as a very helpful remark, nor do I accept Press reports as being any more likely to be accurate when they refer to foreign statesmen than when they refer to our own. On the first part of the question, what my hon. Friend alleges is not true. Many non-nuclear Powers are necessarily concerned to see that the treaty does not improperly discriminate against them. It is true of many, if not all, and not especially true of any one of them.
Would it not encourage the non-nuclear nations to renounce such weapons if we gave up our own? Did not the Government promise three years ago that they would get rid of our own so-called independent nuclear deterrent?
We have said that we have internationalised our own. That we have done. The question whether any of us should at any stage, as it were, get rid of the weapons we have would be a matter for negotiation. One would want to see what came in return for it.
Is it not a fact that civil reactors will be producing plutonium from 1970 onwards as a necessary byproduct of their action, and is not the clue to the answer a proper inspection and accountability for fissile material?
Will my right hon. Friend confirm that a non-proliferation treaty makes no sense unless, as the Indian delegate has insisted, it is a first step to nuclear disarmament, with inspection by the international authority of all powers?
I suppose that one could argue that nothing in this sphere makes any sense unless we reach nuclear disarmament, but everything that is a step towards reaching it makes a lot of sense.
Is not the reluctance of the West German Government to accept the non-proliferation treaty due to their desire some day—and it may be soon—to gain control and use of nuclear weapons? Would that not constitute a danger to peace?