HC Deb 01 May 1952 vol 499 cc1658-9
45. Mr. T. Driberg

asked the Prime Minister what steps are being taken by the Ministry of Supply and the Department of Commonwealth Relations, in consultation with the Australian authorities, to protect from harm Australian aborigines likely to be in the neighbourhood of the impending atomic bomb tests.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Winston Churchill)

As the statement made by the two Governments on 18th February indicated, arrangements have been made for the test of the United Kingdom atomic weapon to be conducted in conditions which will ensure that there is no danger whatever to the health or safety of people in Australia.

Mr. Driberg

Can the right hon. Gentleman say, however, whether it is not the case that the testing-ground is quite near to the Central Aboriginal Reserve? Is he aware that authorities who know the area well say that it will be quite impossible completely to clear that Reserve of the several thousand men and women who live scattered all about the wilds of it, or for that matter, of animals?

The Prime Minister

That point is covered by my answer.

Mr. Martin Lindsay

Is not this a matter which we could leave with complete confidence to the common sense of the Dominion Government concerned?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Australian aborigines who are converted to Christianity are now thinking of sending missionaries to this country, because they think that the atom bomb can only have been invented by savages and barbarians?

The Prime Minister

I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will not feel unduly hurt.