HC Deb 24 November 1952 vol 508 cc23-4
55. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what progress has been made in respect of the United Nations Disarmament Commission.

Mr. Nutting

A full factual account of the work of the Commission is contained in the Commission's Report of 13th October, a copy of which is available in the Library. This Report is to be debated at the present session of the First Committee of the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Sorensen

Can the Minister say whether the Commission is likely to continue its efforts and whether it is likely to reach a definite conclusion?

Mr. Nutting

I cannot say definitely whether the Commission is to reach a definite conclusion until we can be a little more certain whether we shall get the co-operation of Soviet and satellite Governments.

Mr. A. Henderson

Will the hon. Gentleman place a copy of this Report in the Vote Office?

Mr. Nutting

I cannot say what the proprieties of that would be, but copies are available in the Library. I will certainly look into the question of whether a copy can be put in the Vote Office. Perhaps it would have to be a White Paper but, unfortunately, as I had to reply to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Noel-Baker), the cost of printing and publishing would be excessive.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Does the hon. Gentleman recall that the Foreign Secretary said in the last foreign affairs debate that he would urge that the Commission should draw up a draft disarmament convention, even if the Russians did not agree on all points? Will the hon. Gentleman urge again on our delegation that that should be our policy?

Mr. Nutting

I think I have the words of my right hon. Friend. He said we would not wait beyond a certain point for the Russians to agree and that is certainly our policy.

Mr. Beswick

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that those members of the public whose reading is confined to the British Press are almost in total ignorance of what this Commission has been doing? Will he see whether a summary of the Report can be made available as a White Paper?

Mr. Nutting

I would hesitate to publish a summary of any document as a White Paper, because I think the House generally feels that it should be published in toto, or not at all, but I will see what can be done to get publicity in the newspapers for this most important Report.