HC Deb 08 February 1954 vol 523 cc818-9
26. Mr. E. Fletcher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what concrete steps are now contemplated by Her Majesty's Government to give effect to President Eisenhower's suggestion for international co-ordination of the possibilities of using atomic energy for peaceful civilian purposes.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

As I informed the hon. Member for Coventry, North (Mr. Edelman) on 25th January, discussions on the procedure for handling President Eisenhower's proposal for setting up an international agency for the peaceful development of atomic energy have taken place between the United States and Soviet Governments and are continuing in Berlin.

The President's proposal has received very careful consideration, but it would be premature to make a public statement on the lines requested by the hon. Gentleman.

Mr. Fletcher

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that this field, which transcends all political frontiers, offers immense possibilities of economic progress to the people of all countries, particularly our own, and will the Government do everything possible to respond to and encourage President Eisenhower's initiative on the subject?

Mr. Lloyd

I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman as to the importance of the matter and to the importance of responding to President Eisenhower's initiative.

Mr. Harold Davies

Have the British Government been invited to take part in the discussions between America and the U.S.S.R. on this subject?

Mr. Lloyd

No, Sir. It was thought better that at this stage the matter should be handled direct between the Soviet Government and the United States Government.

Mr. Beswick

Why was it thought better to exclude Britain?

Mr. Lloyd

There is no question of excluding Britain. We were informed and, indeed, consulted about the matter. At this procedural stage, it is better that discussion should take place direct between those two Governments.

Forward to