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Nuclear Test Ban

Volume 76: debated on Wednesday 3 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what were the existing verification procedures to ensure compliance with a nuclear test ban considered adequate by the United Nations General Assembly in resolution 39/52; why the United Kingdom voted against this resolution; and what attitude was taken by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Resolution 39/52 contained no indication of the measures its Warsaw Pact sponsors considered adequate to ensure compliance with a nuclear test ban. Because it was an unbalanced declaratory resolution which did nothing to advance the prospects for real progress towards a comprehensive test ban, the United Kingdom and the majority of our NATO Allies did not support it. The Soviet Union voted in favour of it. As I told the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Strang) on 11 December 1984, at column 450, we believe that for a test ban to command general acceptance it must contain adequate safeguards against the danger of non-compliance by any of its signatory parties. A first step towards ensuring this would be the improvement of current verification techniques. We will continue to play an active part in any discussions of this aspect of a CTB at the Geneva conference on disarmament.

asked the Secretary of State for foreign and Commonwealth Affairs why the United Kingdom voted against resolution 39/60 of the United Nations General Assembly regarding the immediate cessation and non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.

The resolution referred to by the hon. Member called for the immediate cessation of nuclear weapons testing and urged the conference on disarmament to proceed with negotiations on a treaty. I would also refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him to his previous question.Our vote against this resolution in no way lessens our determination to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons. We are fully committed to the non-proliferation regime established by the non-proliferation treaty.