HC Deb 13 June 1955 vol 542 cc254-5
22. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now take steps to secure agreement between the Powers which have tested, or are in a position to test, atomic, hydrogen or thermo-nuclear bombs, so as to entitle all Powers involved to give notice of the intention of any such Power to make an experimental explosion of any such bomb.

Mr. H. Macmillan

I am not persuaded that it would be wise to isolate this issue, at any rate at present. Our efforts should rather be directed towards seeking a general disarmament agreement which would provide a solution to this and other problems relating to nuclear weapons. Meanwhile, both the United States and the United Kingdom do give notice of any forthcoming tests.

Mr. Hughes

In the absence of notice, what protection has Britain against the experimental explosion of a thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb in the North Sea or in the Straits of Dover? [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] On a point of order. That was a question which might affect the people of this country, and I want an answer to it.

Mr. Macmillan

The only protection at the moment from any such test in any such place is that I hope and believe it is very unlikely that the Soviet Government would do anything so foolish.

Mr. Hughes

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that this is not a laughing matter and that the country wants it to be treated as a serious matter?