HC Deb 02 November 1954 vol 532 cc210-1
46. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the further nuclear explosions in Russian territory, he will propose to President Eisenhower and Mr. Malenkov that all nuclear and atomic explosions should be suspended pending the outcome of the further meetings of the sub-committee of the United Nations Disarmament Commission.

The Prime Minister

We should all be much happier if there were no need for nuclear and atomic explosions.

There are several proposals regarding these weapons before the United Nations; it is there that a solution should be sought at the present time, and I am not at present persuaded that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's suggestion would aid the solution.

Mr. Henderson

Would not the Prime Minister agree that the suspension of nuclear and atomic explosions would greatly lessen the suspicion and mistrust which today exist, and which are making the achievement of a world disarmament agreement so difficult?

The Prime Minister

I am not convinced that the cessation, wholly or partly, of these explosions would be best advanced by our intervention, or by my personal intervention, at the present time.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Would my right hon. Friend be prepared to make clear at some suitable time his attitude on the question of a treaty or pact of renunciation by the leading world Powers of the first use of the atomic bomb or the hydrogen bomb?

The Prime Minister

Well, Sir, I think that should be considered along with all other proposals to lift this cloud of peril from the world.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Has not the suggestion of the noble Lord been embodied in the Anglo-French Memorandum which the United Nations Disarmament Commission is now considering?

The Prime Minister

That is very good.

Mr. Paget

Can the Prime Minister tell us how many of these explosions it will take to make the atmosphere lethal, and whether they are cumulative?

The Prime Minister

I believe they are cumulative, and certainly an undue number of them might have very serious effects. I am informed, however, that 5,000 years is about the limit of the time during which the atmosphere would be afflicted. I do not mean to treat in a facetious manner what is perpetually in all our minds.