HC Deb 29 April 1954 vol 526 cc1795-846

Nothing in this Act shall be deemed to authorise the Authority to produce a thermonuclear (or hydrogen) bomb unless a Resolution to that effect shall have been passed by each House of Parliament.—[Mr. Beswick.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

3.50 p.m.

Mr. F. Beswick (Uxbridge)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

On 5th April the House devoted a whole day to a discussion of the hydrogen bomb. At the end of the debate the House decided unanimously that the disclosures about this new weapon were so grave and that the importance of its potentialities was so great in human affairs, that the Government should propose immediately that the heads of the big Powers should get together to discuss their differences in the light of the knowledge of these awful powers of destruction which human beings now have at their disposal.

This afternoon the House has before it not a general Motion but a piece of precise legislation dealing with relevant administrative matters. The Bill provides for an organisation which, among other things, can develop weapons, including, if so directed, this ultimate weapon of destruction, the hydrogen bomb. The immediate question is whether, in view of all that we now know about this device, in view of all that has been said about it, in view of the feeling expressed in the country and the decision which this House has taken, Britain should build a hydrogen bomb without the British Parliament having a chance to say yea or nay. That is the issue.

There is nothing in the new Clause which seeks to deprive either the East or the West of these weapons. This is not a question of unilateral disarmament. This is not a proposal that we are putting forward to solve the international problems with which we are presented, although it would—as I shall try to argue—strengthen our hand in putting forward certain suggestions. The question is, shall there be an executive order given in secret or shall there be a full and proper debate with a democratic decision openly arrived at?

Let me give some reasons why I think that it would be utterly wrong and a profound mistake from any point of view, moral or material, for Britain to embark on this project unless it is agreed by Parliament. First, let me deal with an argument which the Minister may, but I hope will not, bring that the Government are only proposing to do what the Labour Government did before them. This is too serious a matter for any party debating point, but as the argument may be put forward, I should like to deal with it.

It is true, as the present Prime Minister has often reminded us, that the Labour Government did order the manufacture of the atom bomb and Parliament was kept completely in the dark. I supported that Government. For a time I had the privilege to be a junior member of that Government. I have the greatest respect for those who led it, but I think that we are now entitled to ask whether that secrecy has in fact profited us at all.

We all appreciate the integrity of those who took the responsibility but, looking back, what has it gained us? The Prime Minister said on 23rd October, 1952: As to the cost, I have said before, as an old Parliamentarian, that I was rather astonished that well over £100 million should be disbursed without Parliament being made aware of it. I was a bit astonished. Well he might have been. If £100 million can slip through, we may well wonder what kind of guardians we are of the public purse. As a House of Commons I am not sure that we ought not to feel slightly abashed before this knowledge. After all, we claim that we are the final authority on the affairs of the nation, and yet in this matter it was not until some years afterwards that we even knew what was going on. The Prime Minister went on to say: As for the future, we must be guided by the precedents established.…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd October, 1952; Vol. 505, c. 1271.] We may use that precedent so established for good purposes or ill, but I want to argue that, even on the basis of Labour Government policy, the present Government are not entitled to maintain the same secrecy with regard to this new device.

The hydrogen bomb is not just another weapon. It is so different in degree as to be entirely different in kind. Its destructive power marks an even greater advance over the atom bomb than that weapon did over the heaviest missiles that we dropped on Germany. The early atom bomb was l,000 times more powerful than the biggest bomb we dropped in Europe. The hydrogen bomb, even at this early stage of its development, is 750,000 times more powerful.

The atom bomb was a weapon of mass destruction. The hydrogen bomb is an instrument of world extinction. I have heard it said that phrases of that kind denote emotional irrationalism, but that is not emotionalism. One of the most respected, responsible and careful scientists, Sir George Thomson, who is especially qualified in this field, used these words in an appraisal of the hydrogen bomb. He said: Calculations are difficult and inexact, but when every allowance is made no physicist can doubt that the hydrogen bomb constitutes a threat to life on this globe … on any view mankind has for the first time reached the position in which the action of a small number of people might quickly render the earth uninhabitable for a time. This, of course, is quite apart from the actual damage done by the explosion to the nearest hundred square miles or so, and the killing by flash burn of people exposed in the open over an even larger area. Let us also recall the words of our own Resolution, which we passed unanimously, which said that this weapon: … constitutes a grave threat to civilisation. Where, then, is the precedent that has been established? There are no precedents for the present position. The question we have to ask is whether there is to be any succession to the present position.

In the past on other matters affecting defence in connection with what we now courteously term "conventional weapons," the Government of the day have acted on the basis of the advice given by their professional military experts. I am second to no one in this House in my admiration and respect for the professional experts who have served the country, especially in the last war and since; but I claim that the issues involved are wider than the military matters on which the professional should be called upon to advise.

We believe that there are political and social issues. There are also moral issues. But let us consider the question from the narrowest viewpoint—from the standpoint of military security. Should we really be disadvantaged, assuming that Parliament in its wisdom agreed after discussion to authorise manufacture, if any potential enemy knew of the decision that has been made? Can we really persuade ourselves that Soviet Russia and China might embark upon one course of action in the full knowledge that the United States of America have these weapons, but would turn round and do something different if they had the in formation that the British House of Commons had decided to manufacture the hydrogen weapon in this country?

The new Clause does not ask for a blueprint of the machine to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It asks that the decision should be taken by the people's representatives.

On the other hand, let us assume that we did make these weapons in secret. Does anyone think that we would use them in any surprise attack on others? Would their secrecy be of any value to us in any attack we might plan? Alternatively, does anyone else think that we would have the ability to use them after a surprise attack had been made on us? On any conservative estimate five of these weapons detonated over the United Kingdom would have the result that such human beings as were not mercifully destroyed would either die from the disease spread by unburied bodies or go mad in contemplation of the failure of human kind. There can be no question, therefore, of having the ability to launch counter-attacks as a reprisal for those made against us.

4.0 p.m.

But supposing this work were carried on under cover of secrecy, security rules, interrogations, screenings and all the rest of it, do we really suppose that even if innocent Members of Parliament, representatives of the people, were unaware of what was going on the enemy would be equally ignorant? Security so far has done more harm than good. At the Quebec Conference, about which so much was said recently, the late President Roosevelt suggested to the present Prime Minister that as Russia was, after all, our ally she might be told that this new atomic weapon was in the course of development. The Prime Minister, as I understand it, very energetically opposed such a disclosure. He was all for security. This was going to be the top secret of all top secret information.

Ultimately the two leaders met round the table with their Russian ally, "the gallant warrior, Stalin," as the Prime Minister used to refer to him. Not a word was said about the atomic bomb, but Stalin knew all the time as they sat there facing each other because Klaus Fuchs had already told him. I wonder what we gained from that incident of secrecy. I wonder how far that helped to establish mutual confidence, which we so sorely lacked at the end of the last war.

The point I want to make is that security in these matters has proved ineffective and it is fast becoming a habit-forming drug. It has destroyed more than it protects. It increases tension abroad and, worse still, it undermines social relationships at home. One of the factors which Parliament would need to take into account, if it had the opportunity of deciding policy in this field, would be the extent to which fear, suspicion and apprehension, which necessarily surround the manufacture of these weapons, and 'the consequent loss to the moral tone and purpose of society, would offset any allegedly military advantage which the destructive power might confer. Let us make no mistake about this. McCarthyism and all it stands for flourishes in the unhealthy, overheated atmosphere which possession of these weapons helps to engender.

It is claimed that these weapons will ensure caution of action between the Powers. In practice, they stimulate intolerance and a bullying mentality. These weapons make inevitable a Pearl Harbour strategy. The very term "security risk" is a product of the atomic age.

Let us consider for a moment the position before and during the Second World War. In those days the sabre rattling was done by the Fascists and Nazis. It was Hitler who boasted about secret terror weapons. Although we were slow in building up physical defences, there was a gradual build-up all the time of our moral strength. That was eventually to prove of immense physical value. It was the feeling of freedom which attracted the flow of scientists to the West and especially the New World. It was those refugees to freedom who really made possible the scientific advance that took place.

It is interesting to consider some of the names of those scientists, if I may, Mr. Speaker. As I see your eye upon me, I should add that I am going to relate this to the fact that in my view these scientists would be to some extent appeased if they knew that this decision would be made only after deliberation in Parliament rather than as the result of executive action. That is the argument that I am making, and I am saying that the physical power which was built up in the United States during the war was to a large extent due to the fact that in the early days there were these men who fled from countries where it was difficult for them to express freely what they thought, especially in the matter of political affairs.

Who were these people? I see that besides the British, French, Australian and Canadian teams there were men like Fermi—Italian; Teller, Neuman, Szilard—Hungarian; Hahn, Strassmann, Bethe—German; and others like Peirls, Meitner, Fritsch, Fischer, now working here; and there are many others, who were making it possible to speed that physical development which we saw during the war. There was, of course, the great Einstein himself who honoured the U.S.A. by seeking to become a citizen in what he thought was an enlightened, liberal atmosphere.

The question I now ask is whether, despite the immense material power which these new weapons bestow upon that nation as well as of the military strength, men of genius still look to that country as they used to do as the bright land of freedom. I heard it rather bitterly remarked when Charles Chaplin came back to Europe, that he was "the first refugee arriving back." It is my view—and this is the point—that these weapons engender this spirit of in tolerance. We may conceivably gain something by their manufacture in what we might call "fire power," but we should lose something infinitely more valuable—socially, politically, spiritually, call it what you will. That is one reason why I think the decision to manufacture this bomb should properly be made by Parliament and not by some secret executive direction.

But if any Member prefers to think in terms of material strength, let me say that in the long run—and not so long—we should gain if we settled these questions in the clear light of Parliamentary debate. It is no coincidence that the American governmental machine has now been turned upon Dr. Oppenheimer, the one American-born scientist who did more than any other to establish this lead in nuclear science. It is relevant to consider what the charge is. The "New York Herald-Tribune" in reporting that the President had directed that Dr. Robert J. Oppenheimer be stripped of access to atomic and hydrogen bomb secrets on the basis"—

Mr. Speaker

I think the hon. Member is going wide of the new Clause, which, after all, is confined to the simple proposition that this Authority shall not manufacture the hydrogen bomb without the approval of this House by resolution. I cannot see how these extraneous matters assist his argument in any way.

Mr. Beswick

If I could continue the quotation, Mr. Speaker, you will see that there is a reference to the manufacture of these weapons, and I submit it is of great relevance as I am assured that some scientists would be reassured if they knew that this decision instead of being made under executive secret direction, were made by the democratic decision of the House of Commons. I would, with respect, ask you to give me permission to quote the second part of this short report from the "New York Herald-Tribune," which went on to say: The basic charge against Dr. Oppenheimer is that he strongly opposed the development of a hydrogen bomb in l949 and continued his opposition even after it was decided to go ahead with the project. It would, of course, be wrong to comment on that case, but I think it right to say that it would be very strange indeed if any scientist of any sensitivity at all did not express some doubts about the instruction that had been given to him. If scientists are to be given these directions in secret by the Executive to proceed with work of this kind we shall either brutalise those we employ or end up by employing second or third-rate scientists. In either case the outlook for science and scientists is not a happy one.

I wonder whether I may take another illustration from the United States. I am sorry to draw my illustrations from that country, but it is not for the purpose of attacking the U.S.A. I know that the position is probably even worse on the other side of the Iron Curtain. But I am able to get references from the United States. We are able to draw upon them for an illustration of the sort of atmosphere which, I think, would develop in this country if secretly we were to under take the kind of work which this Bill makes possible.

A book was recently published under the title of "The Secret War for the A Bomb," which purports to prove that the first bombs in the U.S.S.R. were entirely made of components smuggled out of the U.S.A. by treacherous scientists. Apparently the author rests his case largely on the acts of espionage by Alan Nunn May, Klaus Fuchs, David Green-glass, Harry Gold and Julius Rosenberg, and also on the fact that the atomic scientists who helped to manufacture the original weapon were opposed to its use on Japan.

The point I am making here is that if we have a situation in which suspicion and doubt are cast upon all those upon whom we are dependent for the manufacture of weapons which we think are going to give us security, surely, there is some thing wrong. Am I not right in claiming that undue secrecy in this field will ultimately poison the roots of the nation's scientific inspiration?

I make one final point. It is said, hopefully—pathetically hopefully, I think, sometimes—that the existence of these weapons means the end of major war. If that is to be true, there must be negotiations, discussions—the kind of discussions for which this House called on 5th April. One nation will have to take the lead in all such discussions. It will have to create the necessary atmosphere.

Britain could take that lead. How much stronger would be our moral position if it could be said that Britain had refused blindly and secretly to go ahead and build these instruments of extinction; if we could show the world that we were not satisfied with the old phrases about governmental responsibility when the whole existence of the human race is at stake; if we did not accept the arguments about national security when we know that there is no security in the face of these weapons; if it could be said that we could not accept the plea that is put forward that the bigger the decision the smaller should be the number of people called upon to make it.

May I make my own position quite clear? I accept the truth of the plain, straightforward, unequivocal statement made by the Bishop of Chichester that the hydrogen bomb is a sin. I am therefore against having anything at all to do with its manufacture. There may be others among my hon. Friends who take a different view—

Sir Robert Boothby (Aberdeenshire, East)

Will the hon. Gentleman allow me to intervene? This is most important. Does he differentiate between the hydrogen bomb and the atomic bomb in regard to this?

Mr. Beswick

It could be argued by people of higher moral stature than I claim to be that it is wrong to kill on any grounds by any weapon. That can be argued, but I do not claim to be as morally good as that. When faced with this weapon—and I went to some length earlier in my remarks to show how different this weapon is from all others—I think that we have to face an entirely different problem, and, in answering that question, I give an answer different from that which I might have given in the case of the earlier weapons.

I believe that this new bomb, on the evidence of scientists rationally and quietly given, can put an end to human life on this planet, and, therefore, I am against its manufacture. But, as I was saying, I recognise that there may be colleagues of mine who take a different view. There may be other colleagues of mine who have not yet decided which view they will take, and, therefore I say that, as a genuine, adult and mature democracy, we should at least grant to ourselves the right to discuss this matter and to pass opinion upon it. That is what this new Clause seeks, and I hope it will be accepted.

4.l5 p.m.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

I beg to second the Motion.

I think I can do so very shortly, in view of the very able and detailed speech to which we have just listened from my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick). It is relevant to point out the very curious way in which this question of the hydrogen bomb has arisen in connection with this Bill. The Bill was introduced in February, and it had its Second Reading debate on 1st March. I think I am right in saying that, through out the Second Reading debate, there was no reference whatever to the hydrogen bomb, and that it was only at a later stage—late during the Committee stage of the Bill—that any reference at all was made to the hydrogen bomb.

When this Bill was first introduced, the Minister said that we were dealing with a matter of very great importance, and he argued the case for the Bill as a matter of administrative convenience. He recognised that atomic energy was a vitally important national matter, and that it was capable of being used both for war-like purposes and for peaceful purposes.

It was only some weeks after this Bill was introduced into this House that it dawned on the nation for the first time what are the immensely evil potentialities of the hydrogen bomb. A month or two ago, the nation was hardly aware of the dangers of the hydrogen bomb. It was the news of the thermo-nuclear explosion in the Pacific at the beginning of March that brought about in this country for the first time a realisation of the dreadful possibilities that are inherent in the manufacture and explosion of hydrogen bombs.

Therefore, I hope the Government will realise that it is a perfectly normal and sensible proposal that we are making from these benches that no hydrogen bomb should be produced or manufactured in this country, that there should be no experiments with hydrogen bombs or other thermo-nuclear explosions, un-less and until the whole question of their desirability or otherwise, their usefulness or otherwise, has been argued out and debated in this House.

It would be a tragic misfortune, apart from being thoroughly undemocratic, if, almost casually and by a side wind, as it were, the Government of the day, with-out reference to Parliamentary opinion, without reference to public opinion, were given the authority, under the terms of this Bill, to embark upon the manufacture of engines of destruction which, as my hon. Friend has pointed out, may well be fatal, not only for civilisation in this country, but for civilisation in the whole world and possibly for the human race itself. That is the issue with which we are dealing today.

May I draw attention to this fact, which is relevant to the whole purpose of the Bill? The object of the Bill is to transfer from the Government to an independent authority the whole apparatus of the power to deal with nuclear energy. Whereas atomic energy can be used either for warlike purposes or for pacific, utilitarian and industrial purposes, and whereas it will always be a major concern and responsibility of any Government of the day to decide how much expenditure and how much effort should be put into using atomic energy for peaceful, as distinct from warlike, purposes, one of the significant facts about the hydrogen bomb, as distinct from the atom bomb, is that it can never in any possible circumstances serve any useful purpose at all, but is purely and entirely destructive.

Atomic energy can be a great boon and a great blessing to mankind if properly used. Atomic weapons, unfortunately, are now spread amongst the various countries of the world, and, in the words of the Prime Minister himself, are almost becoming conventional weapons, as compared with the hydrogen bomb. The hydrogen bomb is a purely military conception; the manufacture of such bombs, the expenditure on their production and on any experiments with them can only be for warlike and destructive purposes.

Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)

This is a very important subject. Surely, the hon. Gentleman is becoming rather fantastic in the claim he is now making? Thermo-nuclear reactions in future may well be found to have other uses than destructive ones.

Mr. Fletcher

The right hon. Gentle man may have an opportunity of intervening in the debate, but if he sets out to say that he will be flying in the face of all the scientific opinion on the subject.

Mr. Elliot

I am refusing to prophesy, but I am sure that no scientist of any authority ventures to prophesy for all time in this matter.

Mr. John Rankin (Glasgow, Tradeston)

May I ask the Minister if he accepts the view put forward by his right hon. Friend, because on the Committee stage he disassociated himself from that view?

The Minister of Works (Sir David Eccles)

Perhaps I could answer this point. Of course the hydrogen bomb is really only an arrangement in another form of more or less the same materials. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am afraid it is so; I wish it was not. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I am sorry, but the House must believe me or not. The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) must remember that the experience gained by the explosion of the hydrogen bomb may one day have industrial application. That is quite possible, but I cannot prophesy about it.

Mr. Speaker

We are not now in Committee.

Mr. Fletcher

To carry this particular issue very much further would lead us into a wide scientific discussion. All the Minister has just said is that one may not be able to exclude the possibility that one day the explosion of hydrogen bombs may have some useful application. Hitherto it has been stated, or assumed, in all the literature on the subject which I have seen that the distinctive significance of the hydrogen bomb is that it is purely destructive. Obviously, atomic energy can have two forms. Once an atomic reactor is produced and is operating it is a matter for decision whether it should be used for industrial purposes or turned into the production of atomic bombs. What the Minister probably means is that there has to be an atomic bomb before there can be a hydrogen bomb, and that a hydrogen bomb could never be exploded without an atomic bomb having been produced to set off the energy released under the hydrogen cover or the cobalt cover, or whatever later refinement comes to be invented. But by no possible stretch of the imagination could hydrogen or cobalt bombs be produced for any useful purpose.

Mr. Elliot rose

Mr. Fletcher

I do not want to take up the time of the House too long. I should like to come back to what I was saying. The relevance of the hydrogen bomb, in relation to the atom bomb, could not have been better stated than it was by the Prime Minister in the debate in this House on 5th April, and there was nothing in his very unfortunate speech on that day which impressed me more than his words on this subject. He said: … we must realise that the gulf between the conventionial high explosive bomb in use at the end of the war with Germany on the one hand, and the atomic bomb used against Japan on the other, is smaller than the gulf developing between that bomb and the hydrogen bomb."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, l954; Vol. 526, c. 47.] That gives the measure of the distinction in degree, effect and destructive power of the new hydrogen bomb, of which this nation has suddenly become conscious, compared with the atomic bomb. That is why those who put forward this new Clause are saying, to reduce it to its simplest terms, surely the decision to produce such bombs ought to be taken after careful, serious and sustained debate in this House and ought not to be left, I will not say to the capricious decision, but to the secret, unknown decision of those who will be in authority if this Clause is not accepted. I have the greatest respect for Sir Edwin Plowden and his associates, but some of us have less respect for the Lord President of the Council and his associates, and we are here dealing with a matter of literally vital concern to the nation.

I do not want to elaborate the military argument adduced by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge. We cannot do anything about the production—as far as I can see—of the hydrogen bomb either by America or Russia. They are going to make them. We are in the middle. I do not know whether, as a military matter, if war were to break out between America and Russia, which God forbid, and they were both to use the hydrogen bombs, it is suggested that we should be safer in this island if we had a stock of hydrogen bombs. That proposition has only to be stated to answer itself.

Is it thought that by manufacturing hydrogen bombs we are going to have something in our arsenal which will be a deterrent or will protect us in a war between America and Russia? They may have stocks of hydrogen bombs which might be a deterrent one against the other, but it is obvious that if those two great nations start fighting and using hydrogen bombs, it is impossible to find words adequate to describe the situation in which we shall find ourselves. I am not now arguing whether hydrogen bombs should be produced or not. I have my own views about it, but that is not the issue today.

The only question in a new Clause is whether this important decision should be taken in this casual way. There are all kinds of arguments on both sides, but I shall not enter into them because they are not relevant today. I am convinced that if there were such a war and hydrogen bombs were used it would probably mean the end of civilisation. I am not now arguing whether the end of civilisation would be a good thing or a bad thing. It is almost universally assumed that it would be a bad thing.

But in this context one has to remember that there have for centuries been certain schools of thought which have not accepted the view that the end of the world is a necessary evil. Christian theology for 20 centuries has always anticipated that the end of the world would come, and has certainly not regarded it as something to be afraid of. The ways of the Deity are inscrutable. What Providence holds out for the human race we do not know. All we know is that as a result of scientific discoveries in recent days there has now been put into the hands of man the means of bringing about, if not the total destruction, at least certain wide spread destruction of civilisation and the human race.

We all pray that no irresponsible decision will be taken in any quarter of the globe which will produce that catastrophe. So far as we have responsibility here for preserving the peace of the world, we must continue to do everything we can by our example and influence to ensure that our own record is clean. A petition against the hydrogen bomb is being signed now by millions of people in this island. I think it is most urgent on this occasion that we should press on the Government the importance of not allowing ourselves to slide into conditions in which we shall wake up in a year's time to find that the Government have been producing hydrogen bombs. It will be no use producing them unless they can experiment with them. Where will they make those experiments; in the Atlantic or the Pacific? Will they do it in secret? On what scale are they to do it? These are terrible decisions for the Government of the day to take, and it baffles me to think they want to take them without the full confidence of the House.

4.30 p.m.

I have never been an advocate of the mandate theory in its extreme form. I think there are limitations on the arguments drawn from the mandate, but I am sure the Government have no mandate from the electorate of this country to produce hydrogen bombs, which may well precipitate the end of civilisation. After all, there must be some limitation on the powers given by Parliamentary democracy to the Government of the day. All we are asking for is an opportunity to ensure that these decisions, if they are to be taken, shall be taken in the full light of day by a responsible Government, by a Parliament with responsibility to its electors. We should not allow ourselves by this Bill, which deals primarily with administration, to put into the hands of the Government of the day, unknown to Parliament and the country, the power to embark with other nations on the manufacture and production of this deadly engine of destruction.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)

I do not think that die House will complain at all that two hon. Members have seized a corner of this Bill in order to stage a debate on the hydrogen bomb. I think that most people are confused about this subject, and I doubt whether any hon. Member can see his way clearly in the matter. Nevertheless, though this is a second debate on the subject in recent days, it does not come amiss, because in discussing this matter we can perhaps help to clear each other's minds and in so doing help to clarify the situation in the country.

We must, however, recognise that this debate is taking place on the Bill and we must consider the effect of adding this proposed new Clause to the Bill. It seems to me that however we look at it, there are very considerable objections to this new Clause. The hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) said that it was a normal and sensible new Clause. It does not seem to me to be either. It is not sensible because it excludes various weapons which could be even more devastating than the hydrogen bomb. It excludes, for example, quite a small atom bomb fired from a cannon, but one which has a cobalt casing.

We have been told in recent days that the danger of the cobalt bomb can be far greater than that of the hydrogen bomb. Moreover, this new Clause does not deal with atom bombs as such in the sense that it would require the Government to apply to this House before further atom bombs are made. Therefore, it is not an all-inclusive Clause, and fails upon those grounds.

Neither is the Clause a normal Clause, as the hon. Member for Islington, East described it. It fails on constitutional grounds. The rights of this House extend to finance and not to specific items of defence expenditure. It would be establishing an entirely new precedent if we were to try to abolish the right of the Executive to produce the latest weapons of war. Having voted the funds which it is considered this country will stand for the purpose of defence, it is constitutionally correct for the Executive to decide what weapon should be developed.

Mr. Rankin

Is it not the case that Parliament has the power to limit the duration of the period of conscription, and are our troops not an instrument of war? If we have that power in a specific case, why should we not have it in this specific case?

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

We certainly vote the effectives annually, but it would be a constitutional innovation if this House were to decide what weapons the Armed Forces of the Crown should have.

Mr. John Strachey (Dundee, West)

What about the debate on the Belgian rifle? We may have different views on these subjects, but there is no constitutional reason why we should not debate that in this House.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

It is by no means unconstitutional to have a debate on any topic in the world. We are having one now on the hydrogen bomb, but it would be unconstitutional if, in the course of the debate on the Army and Air Force (Annual) Bill, an Amendment were moved to forbid or require the use of the Belgian rifle or any other weapon.

I want now to come to a slightly wider point. The hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) said that Britain must take the lead at international conferences, and the suggestion was that we would take a more effective lead in trying to get the hydrogen bomb suppressed if we did not have that bomb. I cannot believe that. I cannot believe that any nation in the world, crawling on its knees, with its hands held out in supplication to an international conference, will be respected or have its policies acted upon.

On those grounds alone, I think that if we are to achieve an all-round settlement of these vast topics and get the atom bomb or the hydrogen bomb or the cobalt bomb excluded from the armed preparations of nations, we can do it more effectively if we have possession of the very weapons which we desire should be subjected to multilateral disarmament.

For my part, I do not believe that the world should be disarmed of these weapons. The truth is that the House has not made up its mind whether the hydrogen bomb or the cobalt bomb is a protection or a menace. I think that in general hon. Members opposite still consider it to be a menace. That, at any rates, was the purport of the debate which they staged the other day.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

It was the Resolution of the House.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Indeed, it was the Resolution of the House, which was not fully endorsed on this side by argument, albeit, that it was, in fact, carried by the House. It enshrined the idea that the hydrogen bomb was a menace. Since then, however, a number of people have begun to think otherwise. Air Marshal Sir John Slessor, lately Chief of the Air Staff, has so expressed himself on more than one occasion. The Prime Minister last night at the Royal Academy dinner seemed to me to express himself in those terms. In my own humble view, those people and many others, who have so expressed them selves, are more correct in their thinking than was the general first reaction of our people when the news was broken.

If this bomb is a protection, if under the awful canopy of the hydrogen bomb nations are going to maintain peace, does not that demand that, so far as our slender resources permit, we also should be responsible for bearing that canopy aloft? Does that not mean that the more responsible and powerful nations of the world have this terrible weapon, the greater the general protection is to mankind?

I should have thought that it would be most foolish indeed on the grounds of high public policy, of maintaining peace, of giving a strong thrust to our foreign policy, if Her Majesty's Government were to refuse to manufacture this weapon. I say that subject always to the view. which I have maintained for years past, that any military activity must be conducted in conformity with a general rising standard of living. Otherwise we admit through the back door the enemy that we are trying to fight overseas. Within those resources, if it can be done, on the highest political grounds, and also on moral and religious grounds, I maintain that this country has as much right to manufacture the hydrogen bomb as has any other nation in the world.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

I think we have all a common purpose when we discuss this question—we do not want people to drop hydrogen bombs; least of all do we want them to drop hydrogen bombs here. As to whether this proposal is designed to further that purpose, however, we may have very different opinions. It is a proposal put forward by two of my hon. Friends. It cuts across party. Indeed, it seems, as the speech of the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) has demonstrated, to cut not only across party but across what the popular Press refers to as the Bevan group, to which the noble Lord is believed to adhere. We have these differences and divisions upon this question of great public importance.

This is a bad proposal, for a variety of reasons; first, because it is an emotional proposal, and an emotional reaction is seldom the best way of meeting a danger. That it is an emotional proposal was demonstrated in the eloquent speeches of both the proposer and seconder of the new Clause. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) referred to the expectations of the Christian theology of the end of the world. I take second place to nobody in my admiration and respect for the power of this House, but I do not really think that a new Clause to postpone or abolish the end of the world is likely to prove effective.

My hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) said, in a desire which I think we all feel to see the use of this weapon prohibited or prevented for all of us, that we should be in a stronger position if we did not possess it. Surely that is a remarkable proposal. I should have thought that at any disarmament conference the people who have not got tanks would be in favour of abolishing tanks and the people who have not got aeroplanes would be in favour of abolishing aeroplanes, but that their views would not be very effective against those who have tanks and aeroplanes.

If one seeks to abolish something, surely one will carry more weight if one is in a position to give up whatever it is one wants to abolish than if one is not. That is a very important aspect in regard to this proposal if we are to have an effective voice in the control of this weapon. We shall not have that voice unless we have the weapon. I shall revert to that point in a few moments.

There is the point which the noble Lord put that if the Government are responsible for defence, the decision as to what weapons are necessary for defence must be a decision of the Government. It really is a constitutional monstrosity to say that the Government shall be hamstrung by the necessity to obtain Resolutions from two Houses as to the weapons they require to defend the country. It is certainly something entirely new within any concept of democracy that I know.

Mr. Beswick

It is a new weapon.

Mr. Paget

It is a new weapon.

4.45 p.m.

Another point to be made here, which I think was the point to which my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge gave almost the greatest importance, was the security consideration. He said that security is probably mischievous and certainly ineffective with regard to atomic weapons. That may or may not be so. It is not awfully important if security fails and the other side knows what one is getting; it is probably much more dangerous if the other side knows what one has not got; and that is precisely the form of security to which this proposal would be absolutely fatal, because for the Government to come to the House for a Resolution would be an announcement to the world and to the enemy, "We have not got this weapon, we shall not have it for years and you need not be frightened of us." That seems to me to be a very dangerous thing to do.

After all, what is our defence and our security? Does anybody seriously imagine that we can protect ourselves against the modern aeroplane by antiaircraft fire? Does anybody suggest that at the pace and height at which they fly modern aircraft will be intercepted by fighter aircraft, except on the rarest occasions? The Americans have said that with the far greater warning which they have from their radar screen in the Arctic they might, if the enemy came in daylight, in fair weather, be able with their scheme of defence, to stop l5 per cent, of the enemy aircraft. We should not have a hope of stopping anything like that percentage.

So far as homing missiles are concerned, surely the scientific task of diverting them is infinitely easier than the task of bringing them on to their target, so that as a means of defence the homing missile is a slender hope indeed. There is not the slightest possibility of preventing an enemy who intends to deliver atomic bombs or hydrogen bombs on this island from doing so, and such bombs will be totally and completely destructive to civilisation in this island.

What, then, is our defence? That those who can deliver the weapon without fear of retaliation will do so was demonstrated by the Americans in Japan.

Mr. Beswick

I am trying to understand my hon. and learned Friend's remarks. Is he saying that we on this island having been totally destroyed, we are then going to retaliate?

Mr. Paget

Certainly, that is the point I am coming to—the effect of the absolutely certain knowledge that, whatever else the enemy can destroy, they cannot destroy our power to retaliate. It can be summarised by saying that our power of defence is the bee's power of defence: it is our sting, a sting which, if we are forced to deliver it, will kill us, as its sting kills the bee. Nevertheless the possession of that sting provides, I believe, a highly effective means of security.

I now turn to the other point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge when he said that by attacking this island retaliation could be prevented. The hydrogen bomb and the atomic bomb are something against which general protection cannot be provided, but they are something against which one can provide entirely effective particular protection.

It is the duty of those who are responsible for the defence of this island to let it be known that our bombers, our guided missiles—or whatever it be which would deliver our sting were we forced to do it—are in a position where an attempt to anticipate and prevent retaliation cannot damage them and that, whatever other damage may be done to this island, our power to retaliate will be protected.

That is, I think, the essential and the only effective defence available today—the certainty in anyone's mind, "If you use this weapon, then without doubt or peradventure, you will suffer from this weapon." The certainty that murder also means suicide provides humanity with the very best hope of maintaining peace which the world has yet seen.

Professor Blackett pointed out a few weeks ago in a most able article in the "New Statesman" that it does not really matter who has the most atomic weapons or hydrogen weapons. It is worth nobody's while to accept the injury even from a lesser supply of atomic weapons. No one has yet started a war unless they thought they could get away with it with minor injuries. No one today can start a major war without the certainty that they will themselves suffer appalling and terrible injuries.

Unilateral disarmament, which is the essence of this proposal, will not help us. "Constitutional monstrosity" is really not right—what is really intended here is that we should not have this weapon. To deny oneself the most effective weapons is to accept unilateral disarmament. It will require skill, patience and resolution to organise the world so that this insane mistake is not made by anyone.

If we, as the most experienced of the nations, are to have an effective voice, it will be because we possess the weapons which the others have, that in terms of power and armament we are in a position to attack, and can speak as people who have something to give up in any limitation of armaments or any reduction or abolition of them. I believe that this proposed new Clause is misguided, and that it would injure our safety and not promote it. I hope my hon. Friends will not press it to a Division. If they do, I shall certainly consider it my duty to vote against it.

Mr. Peter Roberts (Sheffield, Heeley)

I agree with practically everything the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has said. I should like to take one of his arguments a step further and link it with the argument of the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) when he spoke of the atom bomb being a sin. Although I am not going to argue the matter with learned bishops, I do not think the hon. Member has the matter right. Surely the sin is the will to wage war, and it is that which we have to attack.

The hon. and learned Member for Northampton said that for the first time in history we have produced something which will kill the will to wage war. For the first time in 6,000 years it is possible to say that anyone who starts a war will definitely not get any benefit from it. One can look back to all the wars in history—and to the latest war. Hitler started that because he thought he would get an advantage. Every argument this afternoon has shown that it is almost suicidal destruction for any Power, whichever it may be, to start a major war at the present time.

Therefore, it seems to me that for the first time we are able to attack the sin of the will to wage war. It is now for the churches and for those who deal in theology to go on to preach the virtues of universal peace. The one does not prevent the other. Against the sin to wage war we have a deterrent through fear and that, though not the best, is something. No one has suggested that a deterrent through fear is, in itself, a bad thing.

I suggest that the arguments which we have had from the hon. Member for Uxbridge and from his friend the hon.

Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) are misconceived. They appear to assume that some major Power may use these bombs in the future. If their argument is to carry weight, they have to convince not only the House but the country that there is a practical likelihood of either the United States, this country or the Soviet Union using one of these enormous weapons. They are, indeed, enormous weapons. They can only be produced on the most vast scale of power, energy and money. They cannot be produced without it being known. In those facts lies the greatest safeguard. I believe that the people in this world will now realise that the Governments will not use it.

Mr. Emrys Hughes rose

Mr. Roberts

I believe the hon. Member was trying to draw a distinction between the hydrogen and the atomic bombs—

Mr. Hughes

The point I wished to make was that I remember the hon. Gentleman himself wanting to use the atomic bomb.

Mr. Roberts

I was wanting the United Nations to prevent war and the spread of war in Korea by the threat of the use of that weapon. The hon. Member can look up my words. I said that there should be a threat from the United Nations—which had just been considering the matter—to use that weapon. It is the very conception of the threat which I am trying to impress upon the House this afternoon. It is because of that threat that I believe we shall not again be involved in such an outbreak.

I want to come to the distinction between the hydrogen and the atomic bombs which the hon. Member for Islington, East tried to draw. I do not think such a distinction can be made. As I understand it, the atom bomb is the explosion of uranium; the hydrogen bomb is merely the atomic explosion of uranium and hydrogen, with which one may explode other materials such as cobalt and the rest. The principle cannot in any way be divided. It is wrong for anyone to think one type of atomic development can be banned and not another. If the hon. Member for Uxbridge would be consistent he must deal not only with the atom bomb but with all forms of nuclear reaction. I do not believe that at this stage that is a practical suggestion.

We come to the final point raised by the hon. Member—discussion in this House. I believe that the production of this weapon by Her Majesty's Government is a necessity. That was also the view of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton. Hon. Members will remember that the Labour Government produced the atomic weapon without any announcement to this House. Personally. I believe that in that they were wrong. I think that when they had gone as far as they had they should have made such an announcement. I do not believe we should say," We are about to make such a weapon," but that when we have gone a long way towards making it an announcement should be made. I put this point to the Foreign Secretary in a recent debate, and I put it to the Minister of Works today, that as soon as the Government are in a position to make a statement upon this matter they should do so

5.0 p.m.

Mr. G. R. Strauss (Vauxhall)

The hon. Gentleman is wrong on a matter of fact, and I am sure he would like to be corrected. The Labour Government did announce, through the Minister of Defence at the time, that they were proceeding to make an atomic bomb.

Mr. Roberts

I am obliged for that correction. The fact had not been brought to my notice. It was not generally known. That may not have been the fault of the late Government, but that fact was not generally known. I believe it should have been generally known.

I do not think the new Clause would produce the effect that the hon. Member suggested. Announcements can be made in this House and discussions held here on this subject and notice taken of them without the new Clause. I suggest that the hon. Member withdraws it. Nevertheless, he has raised a vital subject, one which must be discussed in the House, one from which we must not run away, one by which we must not be frightened, and I believe we can move into an era when we are likely to maintain a more stable peace than any yet achieved in the history of this world.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, South-East)

It seems to me that the hon. Member for Heeley (Mr. P. Roberts) is making the mistake which has been made by. for example, the Prime Minister, in believing that the existence of the hydrogen bomb is a deterrent to war. What is going on at Dien Bien Phu is a proof that it is not. If it is a deterrent to anything, it is a deterrent to the use of such bombs.

Mr. P. Roberts

We really must make a distinction in this matter between what is internal insurrection and aggression across a national frontier.

Mr. Healey

If the atomic bomb was not an adequate deterrent to aggression in Korea, it is very unlikely that the hydrogen bomb as such is likely to be in itself an adequate deterrent to similar local aggression in some other part of the world, and we all know by bitter experience how possible it is for a local aggression to develop into a world war. That is one of the problems we face now in Indo-China.

The problem worrying me about the Clause proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) is what it means. We all of us agree that the hydrogen bomb is a terrible weapon, and we all devoutly hope it will never be used by any Government on earth. The question we have to discuss is whether the new Clause will help to prevent a hydrogen bomb from being used. The new Clause refers, quite properly, simply to the production by Britain of a hydrogen bomb. Clearly, the Clause cannot affect the production by other countries of hydrogen bombs. We know that at least two great Powers, the Soviet Union and the United States of America, are already producing hydrogen bombs, in, perhaps, large numbers, and we heard this week from Mr. Malenkov and Mr. Kruschev, I think it was, that the Soviet Union at least will have no scruple in using this weapon should another war occur. My hon. Friend had something to say about the effect of the Clause on the Soviet attitude.

Mr. John Baird (Wolverhampton, North-East)

The Russians did not say they would have no scruple in using the bomb but that if it were used against them they might use it in retaliation.

Mr. Healey

Mr. Malenkov said that, but the other speaker—I forget who it was, whether it was Mr. Kruschev or one of the other people—did not make that distinction clear. [HoN. MEMBERS: "He did."] My hon. Friend had something to say about the Russian attitude towards this Clause. He said Russia would not be influenced one way or the other by the fact that Britain had or had not possession of a hydrogen bomb of her own, and I think that probably he is right in saying that, within certain limits that I shall come to later. He also said, and may be right in saying, that Russia will know whether or not we have the hydrogen bomb whether we announced it in Parliament or not. Certainly he was right in this respect so far as the atomic bomb was concerned. So I think the one thing we can be clear about is that this Clause as drafted is not likely to affect in any way, on its proposer's argument, the attitude of the Russians on this question.

My hon. Friend also referred to America several times. He had a great deal to say which was extremely interesting and with which most of us, I think, will agree about the effects of the American production of hydrogen bombs on civil liberties in the United States; he cited the case of Professor Oppenheimer. But all he said in that respect was completely irrelevant to this Clause, because the Americans publicly decided they were going to produce the hydrogen bomb. The decision was taken in public and debated in the Congress of the United States in l950.

It is fairly certain that the Russians decided to produce the hydrogen bomb not only in secret—that is certain—but also before the Americans decided to pro duce the hydrogen bomb. At any rate, we do know that the Russians exploded their first hydrogen bomb before the Americans produced their first hydrogen bomb, because the explosion that took place at Eniwetok—I think it was—in l950 was not of a bomb but of a device which was quite incapable of use in warfare. So it seems to me that the likely behaviour of the two countries that now possess the hydrogen bomb, as far as the Clause is concerned, is largely irrelevant on my hon. Friend's own arguments.

My hon. Friend, and my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher), who seconded, made it quite clear that they were opposed not so much to the production of a hydrogen bomb without Parliament's consent but to the production of a hydrogen bomb by Britain at all, and, indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge produced some arguments to support this thesis that the possibility of the use of the hydrogen bomb in war would be favourably affected by Britain's refusal to produce the hydrogen bomb.

The first argument which was used was that if Britain abstains from producing the hydrogen bomb we shall influence the United States and the Soviet Union to accept a form of atomic disarmament. I think my hon. Friend himself in his argument pointed out that our possession of the bomb would not one way or the other affect the Soviet Union. As far as America is concerned, she made it clear eight years ago that she was prepared to accept international atomic disarmament. It has always been the Russians who have made the problem in this respect.

So far as our behaviour is likely one way or another to affect the position, I agree with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), who said that a country with the hydrogen bomb or any other weapon is likely to be influenced only by the policy of another country which possesses that weapon. Indeed, it seems to me quite clear from the statements of the Soviet leaders this week that the reason why the Soviet Union did not agree to internationally controlled atomic disarmament at the time when she did not possess any atomic weapons was that she prefers the deterrent of mutual terror to international control and inspection which is the only alternative.

In other words, Russia believes that her own possession of this terrible weapon is a more effective or, let us say, a less risky deterrent to the use of these weapons against her by other countries than any form of international disarmament, which implies effective inspection and control. That is the reason why Russia went ahead with the production of these weapons herself at the time when the only country then possessing those weapons was quite prepared to surrender them to an international atomic authority.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

If my hon. Friend were a Russian, according to his argument, would he be in favour of the adoption of the hydrogen bomb by Russia?

Mr. Healey

If I were a Russian I should not be a supporter of the present regime, and I believe my own position would be against developing the hydrogen bomb and in favour of co-operation with other countries. I believe that that is the view that is shared by the overwhelming majority of the Russians, as would be proved if they got a chance to express their opinions in free elections.

We must face the fact—and I say this with no pleasure at all—that whether it is desirable or not, the only effective guarantee against the use of these terrible weapons in the future will be, as the Prime Minister, my hon. Friends and many other speakers have said to day and in the past, the possession by both possible contenders of the weapons.

In other words, the certainty of retaliation may be an effective guarantee against the use of these weapons in the first instance. It certainly is not l00 per cent, effective as a guarantee, and a peace which depends on a balance of mutual terror is certain to be a very dangerous peace; but there is no historical evidence to suggest that the Soviet Union is at present prepared to accept the only alternative, which is atomic disarmament by an effective system of international control, inspection and management.

If this is so in practice, how does it affect our own possession of these weapons? I suggest that if the only deterrent against the use of these weapons is the possession of them by the country which might be attacked by the aggressor, then in that case it is essential that we ourselves should possess them. If we do not do so, we must surrender to a Soviet threat to use the weapons against us, unless we are allied with another country which has the weapons.

If we do not have this weapon ourselves, we are l00 per cent, committed to an alliance with another country which has it. The one thing which I cannot understand is how some of my hon. Friends who are in favour of breaking the alliance with the United States—in certain circumstances—should support a Clause which in effect means denying us the possibility of breaking that alliance. If we want to preserve any possibility whatever for ourselves, in a crisis, of breaking with the United States —and although, as is known, I am a supporter of the Anglo-American alliance, I believe that we must preserve this right if we are to operate effectively as a partner within it—then clearly we must have the hydrogen bomb ourselves. For this reason, it seems to me that, although in the Clause as drafted there is nothing with which I could disagree—although it may contradict the behaviour of the Labour Government some years ago in the case of the atom bomb—it is quite clear from the arguments used by the supporters of the Clause that it is intended to imply disagreement with the British production of hydrogen bombs.

Mr. Arthur Palmer (Cleveland)


Mr. Healey

The justification for my saying that is that the proposer of the Motion, in his speech moving it, made it quite clear that he was opposed to Britain producing these weapons. He gave his reasons for that. The proposer of a Motion has no right to put personal views forward in proposing the Motion. If my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge had chosen to speak later in the debate, I could have understood it, but I must discuss a Clause in the light of the arguments which are put forward for it, and in those circumstances it seems to me that it would be very difficult for any hon. Member who values the independence of this country in world affairs to vote for the Clause.

5.l5 p.m.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

I should like to pick up the last point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey). In moving this Motion, with which my name is associated, my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) said that this Clause did not affect our right to make a hydrogen bomb if we wished to make one. He went on to say that personally he was opposed to the making of the hydrogen bomb; but we must concern ourselves with the words of the Clause, and we are not saying in the Clause that we in this country should not make a hydrogen bomb.

We are here considering a matter of supreme importance, not only to the British people but to the whole of mankind. It is not necessary to go into any scientific discussion of what constitutes a hydrogen bomb, although I imagine that what makes up a hydrogen bomb is not a matter of great secrecy. The know-how of how to put the ingredients together may be a matter of great secrecy at the moment, but, whatever may be the constitution and how the ingredients are put together, there is no doubt that the hydrogen bomb and its successor, the hydrogen bomb with a cobalt casing, present a horrible threat to the very existence of life on this planet. It would be strange if this threat to human life and to the social communities and the civilisations which the people of this world have built up could develop in such a way that the political democracies themselves had no control over it.

In my opinion, the people of the world will be making a grave mistake—those who can express their opinions and make their own decisions—if they become the helpless victims of a destruction which they cannot control. It is altogether right and proper that here, in a free democratic Parliament, we should seek to bring control of the weapons which the scientists have created, and which can perhaps destroy all human life, into the hands of the people. We ought to do this because in the Bill we are giving final form to that part of the machinery of Government which will control the weapons of mass destruction which may be made in this country. We have to decide not only the form of the machine on which these tasks will devolve but also the limits of Parliamentary control over that machine.

In the circumstances in which atomic research started, there may have been a need for secrecy. It is no use going back over that. In war, things have to be done in secret in this field, and the secrecy continues, but in this Bill we are seeking to continue measures for securing secrecy even though the need for it is obviously less today than it was at the beginning and even though the need for secrecy becomes less and less important as other nations know how to make atomic weapons. Other nations know how to make hydrogen bombs, and no one can say of those nations which are engaged in atomic research, but whose knowledge has not yet reached the stage which the Americans and the Russians and ourselves have reached, how long it will be before they, too, following their own lines of research, will obtain information which is now confined to one or two or three countries. We must ask ourselves how long it will be before this final knowledge of the weapons of mass destruction becomes common knowledge.

It would be unprofitable to try to assess what might have happened to the relations between the nations in the post war era if there had been no secrecy about atomic development and if the Parliaments of the world had openly discussed and decided what their Governments should do. It is well to remember, as my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) said, that the great principles which ought to guide human behaviour in this matter are simple principles. Those who are motivated by Christian ethics know that that is true.

Equally, our course in this matter ought to be decided by very simple principles. We should ask ourselves these questions. First of all, is there still a need for secrecy in this matter? Are we not making the issue far too complex by trying to set up the apparatus of secrecy which we needed in the past—setting it up again for the new developments which are foreshadowed in the Bill? Are we not creating increasing difficulties for ourselves and making worse the relations between nations, which is a matter of great importance, even perhaps bringing us to the brink of war, by putting on one side principles which ought to guide us in deciding what our relations should be with other democratic nations and the other nations of the world which may be outside the democracies?

I would rather pursue this course: that we ought to bring all atomic development, including the hydrogen bomb, under the control of the United Nations, and we can do this by announcing to the United Nations and all the other nations of the world that we have given up secrecy—that we are going to let every body know how to make these things. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Germans?"] Everybody should know that the only way that we can control this threat to mankind is to see the United Nations dealing with it.

I think that the British people themselves have to decide whether this should be done. I may be wrong. But I think that is how the relations between the nations in this matter ought to be conducted, and I think that the peace of the world would be far better served if we said now that the knowledge which the scientists have created should belong to all mankind, there should be no more secrecy, and the time has come for the ordinary people of the world to decide their own destiny.

I think that we should begin in this British Parliament and announce to the world that this Parliament will from now on decide what the atomic development of this country shall be. I think that a statement of that kind would be of great benefit to the whole world and would serve the peace of the world. It is something that ought to be done here and now in connection with this Bill.

Sir D. Eccles

The hon. Member for Hillsborough (Mr. G. Darling) was talking about the secrets involved and what would happen if we accepted this new Clause. Of course, that would not help anybody else to make a bomb; it would merely give away the information as to whether or not this country was going to make a bomb. I think that is a rather different question. All the hon. Gentlemen who have intervened in this interesting discussion have shown how deeply moved we are about this power to multiply death and disease which has suddenly been revealed.

I think that we all understand what is at the back of this new Clause, namely, we all want to find a way to prevent any atomic bomb from being dropped. That, I think, was brought out by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) among others. Our object is to prevent an atomic war. Would this new Clause assist us to attain that object? I think that is really what the House wants to consider. I do not think that it would.

In the first place, it must have the effect of encouraging a potential enemy to think that this country might shrink from doing what it was necessary to do—to have a bomb to overcome an aggressor. It would be bound to be taken that way by those who possess the bomb already. It is, of course, the most destructive weapon of all of which we now know, but at the same time I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South, (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) pointed out this was only one of a number of very destructive weapons. It is the latest model in the atomic family which is growing in the East and the West, and if we are to see this matter in perspective we have to consider this bomb as part of the arsenal in the defences of our country.

We should remember that while this House every year votes the money and, therefore, has control over the total size of the defence programme, it really must be left to the Government of the day to say how that money is spent as between one weapon and another. Supposing that we accepted the new Clause: it would be bound to give some comfort to a potential enemy because if the Government had to come to the House to seek approval for starting to make this bomb, everybody would know that we had not then got it and there would be a certain period of time before we had it, and, of course, they would take that fact into their military conclusions. One of the oldest principles of war is to keep the enemy guessing.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

About what?

Sir D. Eccles

About the strength of our defences and the manner in which, if an enemy chose to attack us, we would be able to attack. I am sure that with safety to get rid of this bomb and all atomic weapons we have to get rid of war in all its aspects. It is not possible to isolate one weapon. The object of the mover of this Clause was clearly to stop this country from manufacturing this bomb. That was made perfectly clear by hon. Members opposite, and a number of other hon. Members on the other side made it equally clear that they thought we ought to have this weapon.

Therefore, this is a matter on which the House is divided, and we are now having a discussion on the very fact of whether atomic weapons are useful in our national policy or not. If we can get rid of war in all its aspects that would be best, but at least before depriving ourselves of any particular weapon, we ought to have world agreement that everyone else should do the same.

The hon. Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey), with great experience of these matters, thought that there was no chance of getting the Russians to agree to a satisfactory scheme of disarmament with inspection. I admit that the prospects do not look good, but surely we have to pursue them with all the power we can, and, indeed, discussions are opening at Lancaster House on l3th May.

I cannot see how it would help our country if we took a decision not to have this weapon or, indeed, said, at the present moment, whether we have it or do not have it. I am certain that if we follow the policy of the Government, which, I think, is endorsed by the Front Bench opposite—that is to negotiate peace through strength—

Mr. S. Silverman

Everyone is doing that.

Sir D. Eccles

There may be other people who will get the lead. We must be strong if our influence is to be effective.

Mr. Beswick

Would the right hon. Gentleman say that the lead President Nehru has given the world is in any way less strong because he has not any atomic or hydrogen weapon?

Sir D. Eccles

There is the famous remark of Mr. Stalin about the Pope. He asked how many divisions the Pope had.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

President Nehru is not Mr. Stalin.

Sir D. Eccles

No doubt the calculations of Russia are influenced by what weapons of war exist, and so it has always been in history.

The Prime Minister has answered a number of Questions in the House on the hydrogen bomb in this country, and he said that it would be wrong to limit the Government's great responsibility in the matter of the choice of weapons. He said that this responsibility was a heavy burden, and, indeed, it is—it is heavier than it has ever been because of the destructive power of this weapon—and he said that we would like to be rid of the burden if we could. We should all like to shed such a terrible responsibility, but it is not in the interests of this country that we should discuss our defensive programme weapon by weapon.

I hope, therefore, that after hearing how divided the House is and after so many good speeches, we may take it that the ventilation of this subject has done good but that the movers of the new Clause will not press it to a Division.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

I know that a number of my hon. Friends wish to speak and I shall not, therefore, detain the House for more than a few minutes. The noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) said at the opening of his speech that the discussion was useful because it helped to clarify our minds. I hope that I shall be able to show that my mind has not undergone that transformation. I am as confused now as I was at the beginning of the debate. We now just do not know where we are.

We have been told ever since l945 by the Prime Minister, when he was Leader of the Opposition, that the peace of the world was preserved by the American possession of the atom bomb, and that had it not been for the fact that the United States possessed a weapon of such deterrent power the Soviet Union would have launched its armies across the plains of Europe. That view has been confirmed also by a number of hon. and right hon. Members on this side of the House.

This afternoon, however, both sides, apparently, have agreed upon entirely the opposite principle: that the only way in which a third world war might be avoided is by everybody knowing all about the worst weapons. Therefore, if that logic, which was the logic advanced also by my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South-East (Mr. D. Healey), be correct, we are driven to the conclusion that it is an excellent thing for the prevention of war that the Soviet Union discovered the atom bomb and that it is a much better thing that they have now got the hydrogen bomb.

Mr. Healey

Let me make it quite clear to my right hon. Friend, as I did to the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Major Legge-Bourke), that I specifically said that the chances of war were not reduced by the Russian possession of the hydrogen bomb, but that the chances of a hydrogen bomb being used in war were reduced.

Mr. Bevan

We will discuss that separately.

Mr. Healey

It is a different point.

Mr. Bevan

But it does not invalidate mine.

We have discussed the distinction between conventional and unconventional weapons again. I remind my hon. Friend that the Leader of the Opposition gave the answer to that in the House the other day. My hon. Friend knows the answer, and it is not necessary to repeat it. And so this artificial distinction, this specialist distinction, between wars conducted with conventional weapons and those conducted with unconventional weapons, really confuses the whole issue.

The Bill is now made complete nonsense by the speeches from the other side and from this side, because the Bill is destined to prevent the secrets from being known. But if it is true that the universal possession of these weapons is such a deterrent, all the secrets ought to be spread all over the world. That is the logic of the hon. Member opposite who said that it was not the weapons that were bad, but it was man's intentions; so that, therefore, we are not only free, but wise, in piling up a vast mass of combustible material and pouring petrol on it, and if the Churches come along and say, "You ought not to do this thing," we should answer, "But it is your job to stop us from setting it alight. We are perfectly free to pile it up." On this logic, we now reach the position that we proceed to discover all the secrets of the hydrogen bomb ourselves and as soon as we have got them we must give them away, otherwise the other man will not have the deterrent which we have. That is the logic of the whole argument.

Will the Minister now tell me what the Bill is about? Apparently, if that logic be correct, we were in the gravest danger of a war with only the United States having the secret. But the risk of war has receded. That was the logic of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), who said that we must have the secret of the hydrogen bomb in order to be able to give it up. Obviously, if what he has said is correct, we must have the secret of the hydrogen bomb not only to give the bomb up, but to tell the other chap about it, because if we do not tell him about it the deterrent is too limited. That is exactly my hon. and learned Friend's argument.

What is the Bill about? It is destined to confine secrets as much as possible. But safety is supposed to be obtained by spreading the information. So all our secrecy organisation is the most perilous kind of expense, because it brings war nearer. That is the logic. The Clause says nothing about making the hydrogen bomb, but the Minister did not answer one single part of the relevant debate. The Clause is about asking the permission of Parliament before proceeding to make the hydrogen bomb.

What is wrong with that? It is no use for the Minister to say that we cannot draw this distinction between weapons. The House drew the distinction the other day. It is because we realised there was a great deal of difference between this dreadful weapon and the others that we had made, that we had a discussion in the House and we said that not only the consequences of using this weapon, but the consequences of finding how to use it, were so dreadful that we ought immediately to summon the statesmen of the world to see whether a stop cannot be put to this madness. That is what we decided.

Is it, therefore, now reasonable, whilst the Authority proceeds to find out whether it can make the bomb, that before it is made the House should have an opportunity of reviewing the situation and seeing what steps have been taken by the statesmen of the world to give effect to the Resolution of the House? It is no use saying that this is only a difference of degree. That is always a stupid philosophical argument. There is only a difference between a tea-pot and the sea: a person can drown in one but not in the other. I do not want to repeat the whole Hegelian formula about qualitative differences bringing about quantitative changes, but the House said so the other day in the most simple language. It said that the hydrogen bomb was so very much worse than the others that the time had come now for us to pay some attention to it.

I ask the House to consider another aspect. Suppose that all the nations that were able to do this proceeded to do it. Remember that as science applies itself to the manufacture of the bomb, as distinct from the discovery of the principle, the "know-how" will be much more simplified and it will be much easier to make bigger and bigger bombs with less and less effort. When that becomes known, the smaller nations will make them as well.

We were told the other day that, without asking our permission, the U.S.A. had decided to have a series of experimental explosions in the Pacific. Suppose that all the nations of the world which were able to do so proceeded to make experimental explosions in any part of the world where they gave notice to somebody else to clear out because they were doing so. There is nothing at all to stop the Soviet Union from announcing that she will detonate a number of hydrogen bombs in the Pacific, and then the United States clears out. Then, we give notice and the others clear out; and the French give notice.

We are in a remarkable situation. Unless we are careful, we shall be destroyed by the experiments, one succeeding each other. There is no reason why it should not be so. It would have seemed to me, therefore, sensible in the circumstances that the House should have the opportunity of discussing all the aspects of this matter before it places this stupid, silly, out-of-date Bill on the Statute Book.

I hope my hon. Friends will carry this new Clause to a Division. It is not, of course, a fact that the new Clause is technically so constructed that it can stop the Government doing any other than asking us for permission to make the bomb. The idea that the House of Commons must never be allowed to express a view about the quantity or nature of weapons is an extraordinary one. What about, "We want eight and we won't wait"? The House has been discussing weapons, the nature of weapons and the number of them for centuries. There is nothing unconstitutional in that, and it certainly will not be put aside because of a procedural refinement. It seems to me that the case for the new Clause has been made out.

Let me end by referring to something that my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge said just now. This idea that the weight of a nation and the influence of a nation is dependent upon its striking power is becoming more and more old-fashioned. This is not the case with India. My hon. Friend said that the fact that we had not got the hydrogen bomb makes us more dependent upon the United States and less able to take effective action. India is independent of both.

The very fact that the great nations of the world are frustrating themselves by their colossal, metaphysical power makes it necessary for some other nation to mobilise the moral forces of the world in order to bring them to bear upon this crisis in mankind's affairs. That is the reason I have been so anxious for this nation to recover its independence of action and to give the lead which the world now wants. People outside will not be able to understand the House of Commons if in one week it summons the statesmen of the world to a conference to consider the crisis brought about by these dreadful weapons, and then in the next week gives permission to the Government to make the same weapons.

Mr. Maurice Edelman (Coventry, North)

I listened with sympathy and interest to the powerful case put by my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick) in moving the new Clause. Nonetheless, I should like briefly to advance a few reasons for asking my hon. Friends not to support it. The fact is that we are not concerned this after-noon so much with how many people have the power to make the bomb, but how many people have the power to use it. That is the prime consideration which must be in all our minds when we consider the terrible and iniquitous power which resides in the bomb itself.

I believe that this Clause, if it were to be accepted, would rather hinder international agreement to abolish the manufacture and the use of atomic weapons and of weapons of mass destruction, and precisely for that reason I urge my hon. Friends not to support it. Nevertheless, I feel that the grave arguments which have been put forward by my hon. Friends should be given close attention and scrutiny.

I noticed that when the hydrogen explosion took place in the United States, a high official spokesman, who declined to be quoted by name, said, "We are well pleased with the bang." It is understandable that a person who could use such mildness in speaking of what is inherently the most disastrous event that has ever taken place in the history of mankind should not wish to be referred to by name.

My hon. Friend, in submitting certain moral considerations to the House, made a statement from which the hon. Member for Heeley (Mr. P. Roberts) seemed to run away. He seemed to imply that there were no new moral considerations when we turn our attention to the hydrogen bomb. But I would ask the House to consider what would happen if, as now seems likely, scientists were to have the means at their disposal of creating a monster with three heads and six hands. Would that not be considered morally iniquitous? Would that not introduce an entirely new element into scientific development from which we would recoil in horror?

5.45 p.m.

The fact is that the hydrogen bomb introduces new biological developments into our scientific knowledge which may be disastrous to the whole of mankind. We know already that the hydrogen bomb, from its radioactive properties, can produce sterility. It may be capable of sterilising a whole generation. Those are moral considerations which certainly should be in our minds when considering this weapon.

But this new Clause would have the final effect of limiting our strength when we go to an international conference to consider the banning of the hydrogen bomb. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because we would go to an international conference stripped of the power which would be inherent in the possibility that we might be the possessor of the bomb. For that reason, I ask my hon. Friends not to support this new Clause.

Mr. Jack Jones (Rotherham)

I have been listening to what has been said this afternoon. It is not often that I speak on matters of this description, but I want to apply my mind to the effect of this debate on the ordinary man and woman in the street. I should like the speech just delivered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) to be given to a world Government gathering. If that type of speech could be made where there is a meeting of world representatives seeking peace, there is not the slightest doubt that it would do an enormous amount of good.

I want to give credit to my hon. Friend the Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick), who moved this new Clause, and my other hon. Friends who have supported him. I do not think they seek to put this new Clause into the Bill because of any effect upon the world production of hydrogen bombs. I think their intention is to focus the opinion of the House upon the problem of the terrible weapons of war that are now being made and to secure more information for the people than has hitherto been given. I do not see how this new Clause, if it were incorporated in the Bill, would have any effect upon the word production of hydrogen bombs.

We are members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. We are in the United Nations, and I understand from recent conversations that this country may be committed to some form of Asian pact. [Hon. Members: "We hope not."] Some of my hon. Friends say they hope not, and I hope not if it means that we are committed to any further action against anybody. But that is an aside which takes me from my main theme.

The suggestion in this new Clause is that we should seek not to manufacture the hydrogen bomb in this country.

Mr. Palmer

indicated dissent.

Mr. Jones

The suggestion is that we should seek not to manufacture the hydrogen bomb in this country without the permission of the House. But any Clause which is embodied in any Bill has to receive the consent of the House before the Bill goes on to the Statute Book.

Mr. S. Silverman

My hon. Friend is mistaken. If the Clause is not added to the Bill, the Government could request the Authority which the Bill sets up to proceed to manufacture a hydrogen bomb without telling anybody about it, without telling Parliament beforehand, and probably without telling Parliament about it at all. On the other hand, if the Clause is added to the Bill, the Government could still give authority for the manufacture of a hydrogen bomb but, before it could do so, it would have to get the specific authority of the House.

Mr. Jones

I am glad that one of our most able and brilliant legal minds has explained in legal terms exactly what I understood in my simple mind. I want to come back to the point that, assuming for the moment the Government sought the permission of the House, and also assuming that the Clause had been accepted, the Government did not receive such permission from the House. [An Hon. Member: "The Government would fall."] Yes, but if the Government agreed to accept the Clause, what effect would that have upon the world production of hydrogen bombs?

I come back to that point. We are committed to our share of defence within the framework of N.A.T.O. and E.D.C.—we, the country, not this party, but this Government and this country. I submit to the House that, in the event of man-power and raw materials and cash not being used in this country for the manufacture of hydrogen bombs, to that extent this country would be relieved but would be called upon to go ahead, to the extent that we are committed, with producing conventional weapons of war. And to that extent one can assume that the other nations would be relieved to the same extent of that amount of the production of conventional weapons of war, and this would enable them to go ahead with an increased amount of hydrogen bomb production if they so wished.

That would be the physical effect of this new Clause if it were added to the Bill. I am against London policemen being armed even with truncheons because I want to see a world where even police are without weapons of defence, but we have not got there yet. I want to see a world in which there is no fear of war in any shape or form; but while there is the present international situation it is necessary for force to be met with force. If this Clause were accepted, it would have no effect upon those people—on the one hand, the so-called great capitalist nation which is afraid of oppression and, on the other hand, that great Communist nation which also is full of fear of aggressive intentions by the capitalist nations. This Clause would have not the slightest effect upon them.

The discussion of this proposed new Clause will do a tremendous amount of good in continuing to focus the attention of this country and of the world upon this vile, vicious weapon. It will make clear that the people of this nation and hon.

Members on both sides of this House want world peace and want to see hydrogen bombs, atomic weapons and conventional weapons completely outlawed. But because I believe that its insertion cannot bring that about, I shall not be in a position to support it.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

I want to say a few words about this new Clause which has been so ably moved and supported by a number of my colleagues, and which has been opposed with equal eloquence and passion by a number of others.

One thing will probably be agreed—that the issue it raises causes considerable difficulty in the minds of a number of hon. Members, anyhow on this side of the House, because it has been interpreted in a different way by various spokesmen who have entered this debate. It has given us a most valuable opportunity, the first this House has had, of discussing the manufacture in this country of the hydrogen bomb, its relation to warfare generally, and the wisdom of this country proceeding with its manufacture. No doubt there will be many other occasions in the not-far-distant future when this important subject can be further discussed.

The question arises whether it is possible, or even desirable, at the fag end of a comparatively minor Bill—the purpose of which is to transfer the manufacture and development of all atomic matters from the Ministry of Supply to a new Authority—to use the occasion as an appropriate one for Parliament to settle some of the important questions raised by hon. Members who have spoken in this debate.

There seem to be two strands in the arguments put forward by those in favour of the new Clause. The first is that this country should not, under any circumstances, proceed with the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb, and that this new Clause would be a device which would in effect prevent this country from so proceeding. That was an argument inherent in many speeches.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

May I point out that this argument has not yet been adduced? We have not had an opportunity of doing so.

Mr. Strauss

I think that argument was inherent in a number of speeches. I am sure, moreover, that my hon. Friend, if he catches your eye, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, will put the argument forcibly that there should be no manufacture of hydrogen bombs. The new Clause has been strongly supported by that argument and, while it may have considerable merit, those opposed to the new Clause have also a very strong case. It has been the universal decision of all parties in this House, including my own party, that there should not be unilateral disarmament of this or any other weapon, and, until we decide that there should be a contrary policy pursued, that argument is not one which I or my party as a whole could support. Indeed, the policy of my party has been firmly and clearly developed by our Leader in this House and it has received the support of the House as a whole.

Mr. Hughes

The House was against the H bomb.

Mr. Strauss

That policy was for immediate discussions by the leaders of all the important nations involved for the purpose of seeing what steps could be taken in the general disarmament of all weapons.

Mr. Hughes

My right hon. Friend has referred to an inherent argument, but surely what was inherent in the argument of the Leader of the Opposition was that the H bomb was likely to destroy civilisation. We cannot say that one day and then support the bomb three weeks later.

Mr. Strauss

I am saying that I would not be prepared at this stage to declare, and I think that most of my colleagues feel that we, at this moment, cannot declare, that this country alone will not produce the hydrogen bomb.

Mr. I. Mikardo (Reading, South)

My right hon. Friend has said that some of those who have supported this new Clause want it as a device for securing that the H Bomb should not be manufactured in this country, but he must realise that it could only be an effective device for that purpose if the Government could not get a majority in this House, whereas it is the general characteristic of Governments that they get majorities. If anyone were relying on this as a device to secure unilateral disarmament, it would be a pretty poor device.

Mr. Strauss

I do not disagree with what my hon. Friend says. I am only saying that, like many of my hon. Friends, I disagree with one of the arguments used in support of the proposed new Clause.

There is another argument with which I have great sympathy—that it is desirable that this House should know when the Government are in process of producing, or propose to produce, the hydrogen bomb. I think there is a great deal to be said for and against that argument. I would remind the House that before the hydrogen bomb was produced in the United States there was an announcement by President Truman, and before we produced the atomic bomb in this country it was announced in this House. I think there is a great deal to be said for the case put forward by a number of my hon. Friends that this House should be informed at the earliest possible date when the Government propose to produce this weapon.

Mr. P. Roberts

To make the matter clear, would the right hon. Gentleman say when that statement was made?

Mr. Strauss

I can only remember it being made by Lord Alexander, as he now is, when he was Minister of Defence. I cannot remember the exact date, but it was during a defence debate when he stated that we were producing the atomic bomb.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is not my right hon. Friend inadvertently missing the whole point of the proposed new Clause? He is talking now about the desirability of the Government announcing what they propose to do. The object of the new Clause, if I understand it correctly, is merely to secure the elementary democratic principle that the Government shall not in fact, whatever they propose or would like, carry out the creation or the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb unless a majority of the House of Commons is in favour of their doing so. The Clause would achieve nothing more than that. If the Government secured a majority, they would be able to produce the bomb. If they had no majority, they ought not to do so. That is what the Clause is about.

Mr. Strauss

I am perfectly well aware of that, and I was making the comment that there is a great deal to be said for Parliament being informed at the appropriate time. Then, in one way or another, hon. Members could express an opinion about the decision of the Government on the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb. I have some sympathy with that aspect of the argument.

The question is whether it would be appropriate to embody this new Clause in the Bill at this moment. I find myself in this difficulty. This House has recently decided that it would be desirable that there should be an early meeting of the Powers concerned to consider general disarmament, bearing in mind particularly the hydrogen bomb. We all hope that such a conference will be held shortly and that it will be successful. After a short discussion such as this, in which neither the Prime Minister nor the Leader of the Opposition has participated, or the Minister of Defence, I am doubtful whether we should include this proposed new Clause in the Bill.

If we did so, it will appear to the world that we are taking unilateral action ourselves in limiting our right to manufacture the hydrogen bomb. That might not be the effect of this new Clause—in fact it would not be—but that is what would appear to the world to be the effect of it. For that reason, and not because I consider the basic purpose of the Clause to be wrong, I suggest that it would be wise not to vote on the matter now. We can bear in mind all the arguments that have been advanced today when we discuss the matter on another occasion. It may not be long before we have an opportunity to discuss this matter in more detail, when Parliament, if it so desires, can insist that before the Government proceed with the manufacture of this weapon they shall make some declaration to the House and provide an opportunity for the House to discuss the matter. I cannot believe that this is the right occasion to do so.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. P. G. T. Buchan-Hepburn)

rose in his place and claimed to move, "That the Question be now put."

Question put, "That the Question be now put."

The House divided: Ayes, 220; Noes, 192.

Division No. 78.] AYES [6.5 p.m.
Aitken, W. T. Hay, John O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Alport, C. J. M. Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionet Orr, Capt, L. P. S.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Heath, Edward Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Higgs, J. M. C. Page, R. G.
Arbuthnot, John Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Perkins, Sir Robert
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Baldwin, A. E. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Barlow, Sir John Hirst, Geoffrey Pilkington, Capt. R. A
Baxter, A. B. Holland-Martin, C J Powell, J. Enoch
Beach, Maj. Hicks Hollis, M C. Profumo, J. D.
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Hope, Lo d John Raikes, Sir Victor
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Hornsby-Smith, Miss; M. P Rayner, Brig. R.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Horobin, I. M. Redmayne, M.
Bishop, F. P. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Rees-Davies, W. R
Black, C. W. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Remnant, Hon. P
Bossom, Sir A. C. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Renton, D. L. M.
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Ridsdale, J. E.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (Elb'rgh, W.) Robertson, Sir David
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Brooman-White, R. C. Iremonger, T. L. Roper, Sir Harold
Browne, Jack (Govan) Johnson, Eric (Blackkey) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. POT Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Russell, R. S.
Bullard, D. G. Jones, A. (Hall Green) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D
Burden, F. F. A. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W Sandys, Rt. Hon. D
Butcher, Sir Herbert Kaberry, D. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Campbell, Sir David Kerby, Capt. H. J Schofield, Lt.-Col. W
Carr, Robert Kerr, H. W. Scott, R. Donald
Channon, H. Lancaster, Col. C. G Shepherd, William
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Langford-Holt, J. A. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Clarke, Brig Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Legh, Hon. Peter (Peter [...] field) Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
Cole, Norman Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T Spearman, A. C. M
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Linstead, Sir H. N. Speir, R. M.
Cooper, Sun. Ldr. Albert Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.) Spans, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Cooper-Key, F. M. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J C. Stevens, G. P.
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C. Low, A. R. W. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Crowder, Petrie (Ruislip—Northwood) Lucas. P, B. (Brentford) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Davidson, Viscountess McAdden, S. J. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Deedes, w. F. McCorquodale, Rt. Hon. M. S. Studholme, H. G.
Digby, S. Wingfield Macdonald, Sir Peter Summers, G. S.
Dodds-Parker, A. D McKibbin, A. J. Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Doughty, C. J. A. Maokie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Maclay, lit. Hon. John Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Drayson, G. B. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Teeling, W.
Drewe, Sir C. Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Dugdate, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Duncan, Capt. J. A. L. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horneastle) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Manningham-Buller, Sir R. E Tilney, John
Fell, A. Markham Major Sir Frank Touche, Sir Gordon
Finlay, Graeme Marlowe, A. A. H. Vane, W. M. F.
Fisher, Nigel Marples, A. E. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Vosper, D. F.
Fletcher-Cooke, C Maude, Angus Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Fort, R. Maudling, R. Walker-Smith, D. C
Foster, John Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C Wall, P. H. B.
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Medlicott, Brig. F. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Mellor, Sir John Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Molson, A. H. E. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Garner-Evans, E. H. Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Watkinson, H. A.
Godber, J. B. Moore, Sir Thomas Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Gower, H. R. Nabarro, G. D. N. Wellwood, W.
Graham, Sir Fergus Neave, Airey Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Nicholls, Harmar Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hare, Hon. J. H. Nield, Basil (Chester) Wills, Gerald
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nugent, G. R. H Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Nutting, Anthony
Harvie-Watt, Sir George Odey, G. W TELLERS FOR THE AXES:
Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Allan.
Adams, Richard Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R Bonn, Hon. Wedgwood
Albu, A. H. Bacon, Mist Alice Benson, G.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Baird, J. Berwick, F.
Allen, Seholefield (Crow) Bartley, P Bevan, Rt. Hon A (Ebbw Vale)
Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven) Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Bing, G. H. C.
Blackburn, F. Holman, P. Reeves, J.
Blenkinsop, A. Houghton, Douglas Reid, Thomas (Swindon)
Blyten, W. R. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Reid, William (Camlachie)
Boardman, H. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Rhodes, H.
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Richards, R.
Bowden, H. W. Hynd, H. (Aecrington) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Bowen, E. R. Irving W. J. '(Wood Green) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Bowles, F. G. Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Paneras, N.)
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Jeger, George (Goole) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford) Ross, William
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Johnson, James (Rugby) Royle, C.
Burton, Miss F. E. Jones, David (Hartlepool) Shackleton, E. A. A.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.) Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley
Chapman, W. D. Keenan, W. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Chetwynd, G. R Key, Rt. Hon. C. W Short, E. W.
Clunie, J. King, D H. M. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Collick, P. H. Lawson G. M. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Cove, W. G. Lever, Leslie (Ardwick) Skeffington, A. M.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Lindgren, G. S. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Grossman, R. H. S. Lipton Lt.-Col. M Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
Daines, P. MacColl, J. E. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) McGhee, H. G. Sorensen, R. W.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) McGove n, J. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, Harold (Leak) MaLoavy, F. Sparks, J. A.
Deer, G. Ma lalieu E. L. (Brigg) Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Delargy, H. J. Mann, Mrs. Jean Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Dodds, N. N. Manuel, A. C. Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Donnelly, D. L. Mason, Roy Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich) Mellish, R. J. Swingler, S. T.
Edelman, M. Messer, Sir F- Taylor, Rt. Hon. Robert (Morpeth)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighoule) Mikardo, Ian Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin)
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Mitchison, G. R Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Moody, A. S. Timmons, J.
Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Morgan, Dr. H. B. W Tomney, F.
Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury) Morley, R. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Fernyhough, E. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Viant, S. P.
Fienburgh, W. Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.) Warbey, W. N.
Fletcher, Erio (Islington, E.) Moyle, A. Webb, Rt. Hon. M. (Bradford, C.)
Follick, M. Mulley, F. W. Weitzman, D.
Forman, J. C. Neal, Harold (Bolsover) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Oliver, G. H. Wells, William (Walsall)
Gibson, C. W. Orbach, M. Wheeldon, W. E.
Glanville, James Oswald, T. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)
Gordon. Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Padley, W. E. Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wigg, George
Gray, C, F. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Wilkins, W. A.
Griffiths, David (Bother Valley) Palmer, A. M. F. Willey, F. T.
Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Pannell, Charles Williams, David (Neath)
Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.) Pargiter, G. A. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
Hamilton, W. W Parker, J. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Hannan, W. Parkin, B. T Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'H'y)
Hargreaves, A. Pearson, A. Williams, W. T. (Hammerswith, S.)
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.) Peart, T. F. Willis, E. G.
Hayman, F. H. Plummer, Sir Leslie Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
Healey, Denis (Leeds, S. E.) Popplewell, E. Wyatt, W. L
Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis) Porter, G. Yates, V. F.
Herbison, Miss M. Proctor, W. T
Hewitson, Capt. M. Pryde, D. J. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hobson, C. R. Rankin, John Mr. Wallace and Mr, John Taylor.

Question put accordingly, "That the Clause be read a Second times."

The House divided Ayes, 63; Noes, 219.

Division No. 79.] AYES [6.15.p.m.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Donnelly, D. L. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Baird, J. Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Orbach, M.
Benn, Hon. Wedgwood Evans, Edward (Lowestoft) Padley, W. E.
Beswick, F. Fernyhough, E. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Fletcher, Erio (Islington, E.) Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Bing, G. H. C. Forman, J. C. Pargiter, G. A.
Blenkinsop, A. Greenwood, Anthony (Rossendale) Parker, J.
Bowles, F. G. Hudson, James (Ealing, N.) Parkin, B. T.
Chetwynd, G. R Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Plummer., Sir Leslie
Clunie, J. Hynd, H. (Accring ton) Rankin, John
Cove, W. G. Irving, W. J. (Wood Green) Reeves, J.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) King, Dr. H. M. Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Crossman, R. H. S. Lipton, Lt.-Col. M. Royle, C.
Darling, George (Hillsborougth) MacColl, J. E. Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) McGhee, H. G. Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Davies, Harold (Leek) McKay, John (Wallsend) Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
Delargy, H. J. Manuel, A. C. Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
Snow, J. W. Warbey, W. N. Willis, E. G.
Sorensen, R. W. Weitzman, D. Yates, V. F.
Swingler, S. T. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Taylor, John (West Lothian) Wills, F. T. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Thomas, Ivor Owen (Wrekin) Williams W. T. (Hammersmith, S.) Mr. Mikardo and Mr. Palmer.
Aitken, W. T. Hay, John Orr, Capt. L. P. S
Alporl, C. J. M. Heath, Edward Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N)
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Higgs, J. M. C. Page, R. G.
Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J. Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton) Perkins, Sir Robert
Arbulhnot, John Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Peto, Brig. C. H. M.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.) Hinohingbrooke, Viscount Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Baldwin, A. E. Hirst, Geoffrey Pilkington, Capt. R. A
Barlow, Sir John Holland-Martin, C. J Powell, J. Enoch
Baxter, A. B. Hollis, M. C. Profumo, J. D.
Beach, Maj. Hicks Hope, Lord John Raikes, Sir Victor
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Hornsby-Smith, Miss M P. Rayner, Brig. R.
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Horobin, I. M. Redmayne, M.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Rees-Davies, W. R
Bishop, F. P. Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Remnant, Hon. P.
Black, C. W. Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.) Renton, D. L. M
Bossom, Sir A. C Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Ridsdale, J. E.
BOWMI, E. R. Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J. Roberts, Peter (Heeley)
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.) Robertson, Sir David
Boyle, Sir Edward Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M. Robinson, Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Hylton-Foster, H. B. H. Rodger s, John (Sevenoaks)
Braithwaite, Sir Gurney Iremonger, T. L. Roper, Sir Harold
Brooke, Henry (Hampstead) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Brooman-White, R. C. Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Russell, R. S.
Browne, Jack (Go van) Jones, A. (Hall Green) Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.
Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G T Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W Sandys, Rt. Han. D.
Bullard, D. G. Kaberry, D. Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
Burden, F. F. A Kerby, Capt. H. J. Schofield, Lt.-Col W.
Butcher, Sir Herbert Kerr, H. W. Scott, R Donald
Campbell, Sir David Lancaster, Col. C. G. Shepherd, William
Carr, Robert Langford-Hol1, J. A. Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
Channon, H. Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Smyth, Brjg. J. G. (Norwood)
Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Spearman, A. C M.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.) Linstead, Sir H. N. Speir, R. M.
Cole, Norman Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew. E.) Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
Conant, Maj. R. J. E. Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwn (Wirral) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. Albert Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C. Stevens, G. P.
Cooper-Key, F. M. Low, A. R. W. Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.) Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C Lucas, P. B. (Brentford) Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. 0. E. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) McAdden, S. J. Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.) McCorouodale, Rl. Hon. M. S Studholme, H. G.
Davidson, Viscountess Macdonald, Sir Peter Summers, G. S.
Deedes, W. F. MaKbbin, A. J. Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
Digby, S. Wingfield Mackie, J. H. (Galloway) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
Doughty, C. J. A. MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty) Teeling, W.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord Malcolm Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley) Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
Drayson, G. B. Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Drewe, Sir C. Maitland, Comdr. J. F. W. (Horneastle) Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
Dugdak, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond) Maitland, Patrick (Lanark) Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N
Duncan, Capt J. A. L. Mannjngham-Buller, Sir R. E Tilney, John
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M. Markham, Major Sir Frank Touche, Sir Gordon
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Marlowe, A. A. H. Vane, W. M. F.
Fell, A. Marples, A. E. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K
Finlay, Graeme Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin) Vosper, D. F.
Fisher, Nigel Maude Angus Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F Maudling, R, Walker-Smith, D. C.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Maydon, Lt, -Comdr, S. L. C Wall, P. H. B.
Fort, R. Medlicott, Brig, F. Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)
Foster, John Mellor, Sir John Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Molson, A. H. E. Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C
Fraser, Sir Ian (Morecambe & Lonsdale) Monokion, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter Watkimon, H. A.
Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead) Moore, Sir Thomas Webbe, Sir H. (London & Westminster)
Garner-Evans, E. H. Nabarro, G. D. N. Wellwood, W.
Gower, H. R. Neave, Airey Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Graham, sir Fergus Nicholls, Harmar Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Hall, John (Wyoombe) Nield, Basil (Chester) Wills, Gerald
Hare, Hon. J. H. Nugent, G. R. H. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Nutting, Anthony
Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfield) Odey, G. W. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Harvie-Watt, Sir George O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.) Mr. Oakshott and Mr. Allan