HC Deb 02 June 1954 vol 528 cc1279-80
42. Mr. Iremonger

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is satisfied, in view of the fact that the inhabitants of two atolls in the Marshall Islands have suffered from the effects of nuclear-fission bomb experiments in the Pacific, that these experiments are unlikely to cause harm to Her Majesty's subjects in the Northern Gilbert Islands; and what action he is taking in this matter.

Mr. Lyttelton

I am informed by the High Commissioner for the Western Pacific that no harm has been caused to British subjects in the Northern Gilbert Islands. Her Majesty's Government have already been in touch with the American authorities, who have informed them that tests are not carried out when there is any danger of the radio-active cloud drifting southwards.

Mr. Iremonger

Has my right hon. Friend given consideration to the fact that it was obviously not envisaged by the American Government that any harm would be done to the inhabitants of the Marshall Islands? Will he also bear in mind the fact that the frigate birds and the fish which they catch and the other fish which the Gilbert Islanders catch travel vast distances over the Pacific Ocean, and that the interests of those people ought also to be seriously considered?

Mr. Lyttelton

The Gilbert Islands are very much further away from the testing ground than the Marshall Islands. The nearest British island is 450 miles away. My hon. Friend will no doubt like to know that this series of tests has been concluded.

Mr. J. Johnson

Will the right hon. Gentleman consult his hon Friend the Member for Sutton Coldfield (Sir J. Mellor) about any thermo-nuclear fission now taking place in the Conservative Party?

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