HC Deb 12 May 1952 vol 500 cc848-9
32. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will propose to the United Nations that the United Nations' troops in Korea should discontinue the use of the napalm bomb during the cease-fire negotiations.

Mr. Eden

No, Sir.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Foreign Secretary aware of the very grave concern recently expressed by the Archbishop of York about the effect of the napalm bomb? In view of the right hon. Gentleman's concern about the humane treatment of prisoners from North Korea, does he not think there is a case to consider the humane treatment of people before they become prisoners?

Mr. Eden

I think the House understands that the whole of this question of the use of weapons is one in which it is extremely difficult to pronounce judgment. What the hon. Gentleman has asked is whether, during the armistice, I can take a special step in connection with a single weapon. I do not think that we can reach an armistice by stages by weapon. I think that the armistice must be concluded as a whole.

Mr. Hughes

Will not the Foreign Secretary express some horror about the burning of people alive?

Mr. Eden

Yes. I expressed horror at the original Communist invasion which started this whole business.

Brigadier Medlicott

Is not the Foreign Secretary aware that there is a good deal of disquiet about the use of this weapon which is not confined to the other side of the House, and that if we are to regain the moral leadership in international affairs, we must be prepared to take a stand somewhere against the use of weapons which are very disturbing to the conscience of a Christian society.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Would it not be helpful if the Soviet delegates to the Disarmament Commission would agree to our proposals for the abolition of all weapons of mass destruction?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir. Unfortunately, the Soviet delegates refuse to discuss anything unless the weapons which they do not possess are first removed.

Dr. Horace King

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many Christian church folk in this country regard with profound disquiet the continued use of the napalm bomb, in view of the atrocious sufferings it inflicts upon innocent civilian people?

Mr. Eden

Yes, Sir, but I think the House will understand—many of us understand—that almost all weapons create the most terrible suffering and I really do not think that the solution of this matter is to be found by placing one weapon in a particular category of horror. The truth is that it is only by stopping the fighting that we can meet the situation.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I will raise the matter again.