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Hydrogen Bomb Tests

Volume 557: debated on Tuesday 31 July 1956

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asked the Prime Minister what reply he has sent to the resolution forwarded to him by the Provincial Assembly of Presbyterian and Unitarian Ministers and Congregations of Lancashire and Cheshire on the dangers of hydrogen bomb tests and the need for international agreement to abolish them.

I received a printed circular from this body containing a resolution, which I acknowledged.

Does the Prime Minister not think that an expression of anxiety by a serious body like this warrants more careful attention, and more courteous attention? [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Is the Prime Minister aware that this resolution was passed in June and he received it three weeks before the meeting of the Disarmament Commission in New York at which the hydrogen bomb tests were discussed? In view of this plea to the Government to take the initiative to secure international agreement, why was not action taken?

I cannot accept that any discourtesy of any kind was shown. Very large numbers of communications are received in Downing Street, with a great many of which I deal myself, but this was a printed circular signed by the reverend gentleman in print. If he wished to draw my personal attention, I do not think that it would have been asking too much of him that he should have signed his name to the document.

Would the Prime Minister answer the last part of the supplementary question in which my hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn (Mrs. Castle) asked why no initiative was taken by Her Majesty's Government's representative at the United Nations discussion on disarmament?

I have several times explained our attitude to limitation, and if the hon. Member wishes to raise that matter he should put it on the Order Paper.