Chemical and Biological Weapons (Geneva Protocol)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney 12:00 am, 27th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will seek international agreement that the Geneva Protocol be held to prohibit the use in war of all chemical and biological weapons against persons, animals or plants, in view of the Canadian Government's initiative in this matter.

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

We seek international agreement on effective measures to supplement existing international constraints against the use of chemical and biological weapons. A convention on biological weapons will be signed shortly. In Geneva we are taking an active part in discussions to try to strengthen the Geneva Protocol in relation to chemical weapons.

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney

Has there not been some withdrawal from the original interpretation of the Geneva Protocol, and is there not also a disagreement between the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence on this matter? Is not the Foreign Office anxious to return to the original interpretation of the Geneva Protocol while the Ministry of Defence opposes this, largely because it thinks that it might interfere with the sales of British CS gas to the United States? Will the hon. Gentleman ask the Prime Minister to intervene and come down on the side of the Canadians, who have taken a considerable initiative in the matter, and, incidentally, on the side of civilisation?

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

The hon. Gentleman will recall that I replied to an Adjournment debate raised by him last year on this matter which I covered in great detail, including the fact that there was no disagreement between the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office. As regards CS gas, we are continuing to give this complex matter our most serious consideration.

Photo of Mr Lewis Carter-Jones Mr Lewis Carter-Jones , Eccles

Some of us deplore the developments which are taking place in certain places, but will the hon. Gentleman consider publishing freely, quickly and to all nations all information which is beneficial to mankind?

Photo of Mr Anthony Royle Mr Anthony Royle , Richmond (Surrey)

This Government always publish information which is beneficial to mankind.