§ 9. Mr. Emrys Hughes
asked the Minister of Supply whether this country is now able to manufacture the atomic bomb.
§ Mr. Hughes
Could the Minister tell us whether this information was revealed to the Leader of the Opposition in the recent conversation, or is the Leader of the Opposition being left in ignorance, too, for security reasons?
§ Mr. Beswick
Can my right hon. Friend tell us exactly in what way the public interest is served by withholding this information?
§ Mr. Strauss
The development on any defence project is always withheld from public information, I should have thought for obvious reasons.
§ Mr. Platts-Mills
Is it a fact that the Americans have told us quite positively that we are not to use the knowledge we have, and are not to be allowed to make the bomb?
§ Mr. Blackburn
May I ask my right hon. Friend, with great respect, whether he will review this secrecy provision in relation to atomic energy, because it is the generally-held view among American scientists that to get rid of secrecy would enable us to get on more rapidly with the project?
§ Mr. Strauss
There is no secrecy regarding technical information on basic atomic research. I know that every effort is made to see that that is not secret.
§ Mr. Sydney Silverman
Since it is known that the United States of America can make it, and since it is also known that the Soviet Union can make it, and since neither country thinks it inconsistent with its public interest to have those facts known, why should it be against the public interest to know whether we can make it or not?