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Disarmament Conference

Volume 656: debated on Monday 26 March 1962

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asked the Lord Privy Seal what concessions have been offered by the United Kingdom and United States Governments with a view to achieving a nuclear test ban at the Geneva Conference; and to what extent progress has been made towards an agreement on this matter.

The treaty put forward by the two Governments in April, 1961, excluded certain small underground tests which could not be detected with existing seismic instruments. Although the Soviet Government agreed to this limitation, it expressed a preference for a treaty which would prohibit all tests without exception. The major concession the two Governments offered the Soviet Government on 15th March was to make the treaty a comprehensive one. That is one to cover all tests. They have also made compromise proposals covering a number of other points.No progress has been made towards agreement because the Soviet Government have refused to accept any form of international inspection or verification.