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Hydrogen Bomb

Volume 526: debated on Wednesday 7 April 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will seek consultations with the Government of the United States of America concerning the forthcoming hydrogen bomb tests in tine Pacific with a view to ensuring that British shipping will be adequately protected.

As the Prime Minister informed the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) on 5th April, warnings to shipping have been issued covering the danger area surrounding the place where the tests are held. Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that adequate measures are being taken for the protection of British shipping.

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that the official American Government statements on the hydrogen bomb tests showed that, despite precautions, shipping was still found within the danger area? In view of our activities as a maritime nation, does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that further safeguards are necessary? Furthermore, would he not agree that the hydrogen bomb test has proved to know no national boundaries, and will he therefore reconsider the question of submitting representations to the United States Government to see whether we can hold up the tests pending the kind of effort that the right hon. Gentleman is at present undertaking?

We have already discussed fairly fully whether or not representations should be made as such. So far as precautions are concerned, I am satisfied that these are very fully taken. The legal position is, of course, that the United States deals with territorial waters, and that, so far as wider areas are concerned, warnings to shipping are given.