HC Deb 23 February 1955 vol 537 c1263
20. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will propose to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that nuclear weapons should not be used by a member State except after consultation with the other members even in cases where that member State is engaged in military operations in which the other States take no part, in view of the fact that such action may endanger the safety of all member States alike.

The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)

A country such as ours with world-wide commitments could not accept control by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation over non-N.A.T.O. activities. We could not therefore propose that other countries should submit to such restrictions. The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation can therefore only impose restrictions on the actions of member Governments when they are acting as members of that Organisation. I may add that it is public knowledge that American Air forces based in Britain will only be used with the consent of Her Majesty's Government.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is great concern in this country about President Eisenhower's statement of 9th February that there was no understanding with America's allies that would restrain his right to use atomic or nuclear weapons in the Formosan situation? In view of the danger to this country from retaliation against American bases here if atomic or nuclear weapons were used over Formosa, does not the Prime Minister agree that we ought to close this gap in our control over the use of nuclear weapons by our allies in any part of the world?

The Prime Minister

Sir, we have a great deal of influence and widespread responsibilities, but we are not yet all-powerful.