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Nuclear Installations

Volume 974: debated on Tuesday 27 November 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what information he has as to how near the Russian border Western countries have sited their nuclear installations; and in which countries these are situated.

The hon. Gentleman cannot expect me to reveal operational details of this kind.

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the consternation being expressed about the 2,000 combat troops that the Soviet Union has in Cuba is being manufactured to jeopardise the SALT II agreement? Does he also agree that Lord Carrington's urging NATO to take a decision on medium-range missile replacement on 12 December will jeopardise the possibility of a SALT III agreement?

I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman. The presence of troops in Cuba is not a matter for Her Majesty's Government. The agreement that we hope to achieve on 12 December is in response to the increasing deployment of weapons by the Warsaw Pact countries. It is true that the ratification of SALT II is a preliminary to the beginning of SALT III. I do not think that the delay that is now occurring, however much we may regret it, will have the effect of stopping, preventing or delaying arms control negotiations, which we regard as an important part of the programme.

Will my right hon. Friend put in simple terms to the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) exactly what the balance of conventional forces is in Europe?

The House is aware that it is massively in favour of the Warsaw Pact countries.