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Nuclear Weapons (Dissemination)

Volume 721: debated on Thursday 25 November 1965

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Q1.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about the steps being taken by Her Majesty's Government to prevent the further dissemination of nuclear weapons.

First, by the earliest possible reconvening of the Geneva conference, second, through discussions with the President of the United States, third through discussions with the Soviet Union on my right hon. Friend's visit next week, and fourth, through discussions within the alliance on the non-dissemination guarantees proposed in our proposal for an Atlantic Nuclear Force.

The Prime Minister will no doubt agree that one of the problems is the question whether India would now be prepared to sign a non-dissemination agreement without further guarantees of her security. Will he ask his right hon. Friend when he is in Moscow to explore with the Soviet leaders the question whether they would be prepared to join in giving such guarantees to India, through the Security Council of the United Nations?

The hon. Member has put a finger on what we would all agree to be one of the fundamental problems concerning non-dissemination at present. In discussions of this matter in international circles this question has been raised. I shall certainly discuss it with my right hon. Friend before he goes.

In regard to the problem of nuclear sharing in Europe, does not he think that a solution along the lines proposed by Mr. McNamara—of a special committee—would be more conducive and more likely to produce an eventual non-dissemination treaty than would the pursuit of the alternative solution of either an A.N.F. or M.L.F.?

We would all feel that there is great merit in the proposal of Mr. McNamara. One of the big problems here is the competing European propositions for a separate European deterrent, which the right hon. Gentleman has sometimes supported. This would be the end of any hope of non-dissemination.