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Test Ban Treaty

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now make it his policy to seek a mandate for the ad hoc committee of the conference on disarmament at Geneva to commence the negotiation of a comprehensive test ban treaty.

I have been asked to reply.As we have made clear on numerous occasions, it would be premature to resume negotiations until progress has been made in resolving verification issues.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the specific ways in which Her Majesty's Government are working towards the achievement of a test ban treaty.

I refer the hon. Member to the remarks made by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) during the Adjournment debate on 26 March at column 1049.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 13 May, Official Report, column 542, if he will list any discussions Her Majesty's Government have held with the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics since January 1980 on the absence of any effective verification procedures for a comprehensive test ban treaty.

I have been asked to reply.We have discussed arms control matters, including nuclear testing issues, with the Soviet Government on a number of occasions, most recently when my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the Member for Mid-Sussex (Mr. Renton) saw Mr. Karpov on 18 April.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 13 May, Official Report, column 542, if Her Majesty's Government are currently holding any discussions with the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in pursuit of Her Majesty's Government's wish to find a way to eliminate nuclear weapons as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.My right hon. and learned Friend will have an opportunity to discuss the broad ranges of arms control issues, including current nuclear arms control negotiations, when the Soviet Foreign Minister visits the United Kingdom on 14–15 July. However, as my right hon. and learned Friend said in a speech to the Foreign Press Association on 17 March, nuclear weapons will continue for the foreseeable future to make an essential contribution to preserving peace.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer given on 13 May, Official Report, column 542, if Her Majesty's Government plan to hold any discussions with the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on the absence of effective verification measures for a comprehensive test ban treaty and if he will make a statement.

I have been asked to reply.As my right hon. and learned Friend has informed the House, the Soviet Foreign Minister will be visiting the United Kingdom on 14–15 May and we expect the discussion will cover a wide range of issues including arms control.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the further measures on verification that are required of the Soviet Union in order that progress can be achieved on a comprehensive test ban.

I have been asked to reply.It is not possible to specify the measures that might be required in advance of further discussion at the conference on disarmament, which we favour.