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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 640: debated on Thursday 11 May 1961

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asked the Prime Minister whether he will propose to President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev that the three nuclear powers should immediately conclude a treaty not to transfer nuclear weapons to other countries or groups of nations.

I have every sympathy with the right hon. and learned Gentleman's objective. I think that the most effective first step towards this objective would be the speedy conclusion of a Treaty to stop the testing of nuclear weapons.

Does the Prime Minister agree that it is very much in the general interest to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons? Would not such a treaty make a substantial contribution to achieving that result?

Yes, but if we cannot make progress with the much easier treaty to arrange, namely, the one now being discussed at Geneva, I do not think that we are likely to make progress in this wider sphere. I reiterate the hope which is widely felt in every part of the House and the country, namely, that progress will be made and that the Soviet representatives will adopt a more constructive attitude at the Geneva Conference.