HC Deb 24 November 1954 vol 533 cc1242-3
31. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, in view of the fact that Articles 13 and 14 of Protocol No. IV on the Agency of Western European Union for the control of armaments do not specifically control or limit the holding of stocks of atomic and thermo-nuclear weapons by the Federal German Republic, whether he will seek to add, in consultation with the other signatories of the Paris Agreements, a protocol clarifying this point.

Sir Anthony Eden

There is no need for a supplementary protocol since Article 7 of the existing Protocol IV provides an adequate method of controlling and limiting the possession of atomic and thermo-nuclear weapons by all the participating countries including the Federal Republic. Any proposal to equip the German forces with such weapons would be known in advance to N.A.T.O. and the Western European Union, and would be subject to approval by the North Atlantic Council.

Mr. Wyatt

Does that make it quite clear that it will be impossible for Germany to hold atomic or thermonuclear weapons without the approval of N.A.T.O., which presumably will be only given by a majority of the members, or perhaps by a unanimous decision?

Sir A. Eden

Yes, unanimous. I think that the position is absolutely clear. The hon. Member will see, in Article 7, in page 46 of the White Paper, the control laid down for atomic and other weapons. The Article states: This control shall extend to production and imports to the extent required to make the control of stocks effective.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Will my right hon. Friend make clear, either now or in reply to a Question if I address one to him later, whether the new civilian experimental plant to which he referred in his speech, and which was the subject of notes between him and Dr. Adenauer, will be included in the Western European Union arrangements regarding control and inspection, or whether it will be entirely within the jurisdiction of the West German Government?

Sir A. Eden

Perhaps my noble Friend would put a Question on the Order Paper on that point, but broadly the position is that the Federal German Government gave the assurance about the manufacture of atomic weapons which is in the White Paper. As to nuclear power for civilian purposes, that is an undertaking which the Chancellor has given to Her Majesty's Government, through me, and to certain other Governments.

Mr. S. Silverman

In order that the British public can know exactly what the treaties mean in this respect, will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that although the treaties provide that these weapons cannot get into German hands without the knowledge of other members of the organisation, nevertheless, apart from the manufacturing of them, there is no more prohibition on the Federal Republic of Germany holding and using these weapons than there is on any other member of the organisation?

Sir A. Eden

There will be complete information from every single member of the Western European Union on armaments subject to control. That is something which has never existed in the history of the world before, and is something which I should have thought everybody who cares for international peace would warmly welcome.