HC Deb 10 February 1955 vol 536 cc2061-2
50. Mr. Beswick

asked the Prime Minister if he is now in a position to assure the House that the procedure under which the political authority of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation will make any decision regarding the possible use of atomic and thermo-nuclear weapons, is agreed by Her Majesty's Government.

The Prime Minister

All decisions of the North Atlantic Council are taken on the authorisation given to it by member Governments. I am not prepared to go into the detailed arrangements for this matter.

Mr. Beswick

Are we to take it, then, that arrangements are not yet agreed, and is it not a quite extraordinary situation that these nuclear weapons are prepared, with the aircraft both in this country and elsewhere ready to take off within one hour's notice to deliver them, and yet no one knows under what procedure the order to take off is to be given, or by whom it is to be given?

The Prime Minister

These matters have been the subject of much discussion between the nations concerned. Of course, the decisions of the North Atlantic Council have to be unanimous and it is the Governments who have to give the decisions.