Oral Answers to Questions — Nuclear Weapons

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th April 1967.

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Photo of Mr Robert Maxwell Mr Robert Maxwell , Buckingham 12:00 am, 27th April 1967

asked the Prime Minister what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to a Franco-British European nuclear force.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

As has been explained before, the Government's policy is to internationalise our strategic nuclear forces as a powerful contribution to the overall Western nuclear deterrent.

Photo of Mr Robert Maxwell Mr Robert Maxwell , Buckingham

I thank my right hon. Friend for his answer. Can he tell us why Britain should hold on to these weapons by herself and deny them to other European countries? Further, can he say in what way the internationalisation of our nuclear weapons really is helping to convince the Europeans that we are Europe an in politics as well as in trade?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

This matter has been fully debated at the length called for by such a question, and my hon. Friend will recognise the great importance of securing a non-proliferation agreement, in which we are playing a very leading part at this time. I do not believe that my hon. Friend would be right in suggesting that this is causing difficulties at present in our discussions with Europe.

Photo of Mr Peter Blaker Mr Peter Blaker , Blackpool South

Is the Prime Minister aware that his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary told us last week that Britain has already internationalised her nuclear deterrent? Is he now saying that that is not so? If so, will he tell the House what further steps he contemplates?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I did not say that it was not so. Nothing that I said was incompatible with what my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said. These forces are allocated to N.A.T.O. To that extent, they are internationalised. But the House will know that we are seeking for clearer arrangements within N.A.T.O. on the basis under which our strategic deterrent will be internationalised.