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Nuclear Weapons

Volume 124: debated on Monday 7 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what is his policy towards collaboration in relation to the joint targeting and maintenance of nuclear weapons within NATO, with specific reference to the United Kingdom and French deterrent forces.

All our nuclear forces are assigned to NATO although they remain at all times under the control of the British Government and are capable of being employed independently when supreme national interests are at stake. In their NATO role, United Kingdom nuclear warheads are targeted by SACEUR in accordance with the Alliance's general political guidelines. The servicing or maintenance of United Kingdom nuclear warheads has always been and will continue to be a purely national responsibility.France's nuclear forces are outside the integrated military structure of the Alliance.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the answer of 13 November, Official Report, column 334, regarding nuclear weapons in Europe, how the minimum number of weapons to be maintained by NATO will be assessed; and if he will make a statement.

The size of NATO's forces in Europe is determined by politico-military assessments of what is required to implement the strategy of flexible response. Details of these assessments are classified.