NATO Nuclear Doctrine

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd June 1993.

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Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence) 12:00 am, 22nd June 1993

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he next intends to meet the Secretary-General of NATO; and if he proposes to discuss with him NATO's nuclear doctrine.

Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind The Secretary of State for Defence

I expect to meet the NATO Secretary-General at a regular meeting of NATO Defence Ministers in the autumn. As is usual on these occasions, a.wide range of Alliance issues will be discussed.

Photo of Menzies Campbell Menzies Campbell Shadow Spokesperson (Defence), Shadow Spokesperson (Defence)

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider that it may be time, in the interests of economy and security, to seek greater co-operation between ourselves, the French and the United States? Would it not be consistent with the doctrine of minimum nuclear deterrence to seek to achieve operational arrangements which, while providing a constant nuclear capability for NATO, may be provided at a lower level than at present?

Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind The Secretary of State for Defence

There are many indications that the French Government are interested in closer dialogue with the United Kingdom on nuclear and other matters of mutual interest. It is right and proper that all the nuclear countries of the NATO alliance—the United States, France and ourselves—should co-operate to the maximum extent possible, and I believe that in the post-cold war situation, Paris is showing more interest in doing that than has perhaps been the case for a number of years.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Dickens Mr Geoffrey Dickens , Littleborough and Saddleworth

When my right hon. and learned Friend next meets the Secretary-General of the United Nations, will he remind him of the excellent news today that Vickers has won more orders for the excellent Challenger tank, which is very good news indeed? Are we not the inventors of the world, with television having been born out of radar, a British design, and the jet engine, also a British design, having made the world smaller? Let us tell the world that when you buy British, you buy the best.

Photo of Malcolm Rifkind Malcolm Rifkind The Secretary of State for Defence

My hon. Friend is correct, and he might have added that our Prime Minister signed that deal with the Sultan of Oman on his visit. That was a great achievement for British sales and British industry.