Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th January 1979.

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Photo of Dr David Owen Dr David Owen , Plymouth, Devonport 12:00 am, 17th January 1979

I believe that it is fully compatible to have a SALT agreement limiting strategic arms and also to pursue a comprehensive test ban. What one is after in a comprehensive test ban is to try to persuade those countries which are on the threshold of becoming nuclear States not to cross that threshold. They wish to be convinced that the nuclear weapon States are themselves contributing to disarmament and that it is not merely a one-way process. We should not always ask the non-nuclear weapon States to exercise restraint while we, the nuclear weapon States, continue to test an increasingly sophisticated range of weapon systems.