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Neutron Bomb

Volume 648: debated on Wednesday 8 November 1961

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10.

asked the Minister of Defence what plans Her Majesty's Government have for the manufacture of a neutron bomb.

It would not be in the public interest to make any statement on plans for the manufacture of specific types of nuclear weapons.

Has the Minister seen the report which came from Washington on 2nd November, that rays from the neutron bomb can penetrate through three feet of concrete? What is he going to do to strengthen 10, Downing Street and the Ministry of Defence?

That is quite another question. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will put it down.

Does what the right hon. Gentleman has just said apply also to preparations for the manufacture of chemical and bacteriological weapons?

18.

asked the Minister of Defence what proposals have been submitted to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation by the United States Government concerning the testing of a large neutron bomb whose principal new contribution to nuclear strategy is its alleged capacity to kill people without damaging property.

Has not the right hon. Gentleman seen frequent and quite authoritative statements that the United States is preparing at this moment to test such a bomb? Does he not think it worth while to make some inquiry to see whether this is so? Does he realise that, if such a test were made, this would be represented in many parts of the world as the final triumph of capitalist priorities? Will he undertake that the United Kingdom would never undertake itself, or be associated, with genocidal mania of this kind? Will he inform the United States, or ask his right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary to do so, that we would not regard such a weapon as compatible with the maintenance of our alliance with any Power that tested or used it?

I have no knowledge of all the allegations the hon. Gentleman is making, and our general position on tests was clearly set out by the Prime Minister the other day.

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of the terrifyingly unsatisfactory Answer given by the Defence Minister, who seems quite unable to appreciate the importance—

Order. I have had repeatedly to ask the House to confine notice to the traditional phraseology. We experience great difficulty in getting on with Questions, and I need the help of the House in these matters.

I apologise, Sir, if I was improperly disturbed by the Minister's callousness, but what I want to do is to give notice to raise this matter at the earliest possible opportunity.