HC Deb 24 March 1955 vol 538 cc2269-70
47. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the resources required for modern armaments, the destructive power of new weapons, and the international tensions which powerful armaments aggravate, he will appoint, as a member of the Cabinet, a Minister for Disarmament.

52. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Prime Minister whether he will appoint a Minister or Minister of State for Disarmament.

The Prime Minister

I have little to add to the reply I gave to the hon. and learned Gentleman, the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes) last Tuesday. The internal organisation of the Foreign Office already provides that the study of disarmament is handled by a single department, called the United Nations Department.

My right hon. Friend the Minister of State in the Foreign Office deals inter alia with the affairs of the United Nations under the authority, of course, of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State who is himself guided by the Cabinet. Disarmament is handled by the Disarmament Commission, which is an organ of the United Nations. The present arrangements are therefore natural and convenient from every point of view.

Mr. Noel-Baker

May I press the Prime Minister to reconsider his decision? Does he not think that, in view of the very urgent importance and the great complexity of the questions involved, it would be of advantage to have a Minister of high authority to give his whole time to this work?

The Prime Minister

The Minister of State speaks with the full authority and acts with the full authority in this respect of the Foreign Secretary and of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Strachey

Would not the Prime Minister agree that even more important than this would be for the Government to change their policy on disarmament and come out in favour of abolishing test experiments in nuclear weapons?