HC Deb 01 February 1956 vol 548 cc920-2
45. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he is aware of the expression of opinion in Britain against the manufacture, testing and use of napalm and hydrogen bombs; if he will now state the policy of the Government in relation to taking steps to secure a national and international ban on the manufacture, testing and use of these bombs; and what steps he has taken during the last two months, and what steps he intends to take, to implement that policy.

The Lord Privy Seal (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I have been asked to reply.

Her Majesty's Government are aware of many expressions of opinion both for and against the production and use of various types of weapons. The Government's position has been repeatedly made clear by my right hon. Friend. I would refer the hon. and learned Member in particular to my right hon. Friend's reply to the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) on 6th December in connection with tests of nuclear weapons. It remains the view of Her Majesty's Government that a comprehensive disarmament agreement is the only final solution to all these problems.

Mr. Hughes

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Prime Minister will take advantage of his present visit to the United States and Canada to discuss these vital problems?

Mr. Butler

While there is no fixed agenda for those talks, I think they will range over all the great important issues such as this. It seems likely, therefore, that this subject will be among those which will naturally be considered.

Mr. Strachey

While appreciating that this country must not be put in a position of inferiority in the matter of hydrogen bomb tests, cannot the Government understand that that is no reason for failing to press for a ban on further tests at a suitable date or after a suitable period?

Mr. Butler

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister answered the hon. Member for Barnsley (Mr. Mason) on that point on 6th December. I would further remind the right hon. Gentleman that the Sub-Committee of the United Nations Disarmament Commission has been invited to meet again in London, and it will probably meet at the beginning of March.