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Strategic Arms Limitation Talks

Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 19 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the US Government concerning the recent talks on strategic arms limitation between Warsaw Pact countries and NATO countries.

Consultations take place at regular intervals with the United States about the US-Soviet strategic arms limitation talks. The talks between NATO and Warsaw Pact countries in Vienna are concerned with mutual and balanced force reductions in Central Europe and do not cover strategic arms.

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the basis of the SALT, which provide for a considerable increase in strategic arms over their present levels? If he is so satisfied, how does he reconcile it with the Government's repeated statement that they hope for a successful outcome to the review conference on the non-proliferation treaty, when the main stumbling block will be the failure of the nuclear Powers to achieve genuine nuclear disarmament?

We welcome the Soviet-American agreement at Vladivostock—it was an agreement—and we look forward to further limitation of strategic offensive weapons and to reductions in their numbers. I realise that there is some arithmetical and statistical dispute about this, but there can be no doubt in my judgment that, as a result of Vladivostock, there is a growing understanding and confidence between the two super-Powers who hold these weapons. I believe that agreement there can lead to limitations in their use and to reduction in their numbers.