HC Deb 20 December 1954 vol 535 cc2420-2
35. Mr. Collins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the increasing evidence of the harm to human, animal, and plant life and the belief that they are the cause of increasingly bad weather all over the world, he will now make representations to the Powers concerned to secure the prohibition of hydrogen bomb tests.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. R. H. Turton)

I have nothing to add to the reply which the Prime Minister gave to a similar Question on 2nd November by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson).

Mr. Collins

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that that means that the Government refuse even to make diplomatic representations in this matter? Does he realise further that there is a considerable volume of opinion among atomic scientists that atomic dust is causing great harm to animal, plant and marine life? Does he not feel that people are entitled to expect the Government to do something in peace-time to stop this murder from the skies?

Mr. Turton

I fully appreciate the points raised by the hon. Member. It is the view of the Government that this matter should be raised through the United Nations, that that is the proper forum. May I remind the hon. Gentleman that on 4th November the United Nations General Assembly recommended that the Disarmament Sub-Committee should be reconvened and discussions resumed in the New Year? That would appear to be the proper opportunity.

Mr. Collins

Does that mean that the Government hope that there will be no further hydrogen bomb explosions, at least pending the hoped-for development of the four-Power talks early next year?

53. Mr. Blenkinsop

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will instruct our representative to the United Nations to call for the reference of the effect of nuclear explosion upon plant life and food resources, and upon human health to the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, respectively.

74. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will propose to the United Nations World Health Organisation that it should itself investigate the extent and nature of the detrimental effects on health resulting from military and civil nuclear fission experimentation both in respect of those engaged in the experiments and of the general population.

Mr. Turton

The answer is, no, Sir, since these are some of the matters that are to be considered by the International Conference of Scientists on Atomic Energy.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Nevertheless, is it not desirable that these subjects should be referred to the United Nations organisation which, in fact, deals with them, particularly as the question of air conditions has been referred to the World Meteorological Office?

Mr. Turton

No, Sir. There are, I think, in the Library details of the Resolution dealing with this matter, and if hon. Members will refer to them they will see that the Specialised Agencies of the United Nations, including the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Health Organisation, have been invited to participate in the conference, and to take part in the preparations for it.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

As it seems unlikely that Question No. 55 will now be reached, Mr. Speaker, may I ask the Joint Under-Secretary whether it is not desirable to submit the whole question of the legality of the use of nuclear weapons to the International Court of Justice for an advisory opinion, through the agency of the United Nations, in view of the fact that there is a considerable body of legal opinion which holds that their use is illegal save in the most carefully prescribed circumstances, upon which it seems desirable that the International Court should pronounce?

Mr. Speaker

It is after Question Time.

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