HC Deb 26 June 1956 vol 555 cc262-3
47. Mr. V. Yates

asked the Prime Minister when he proposes to deliver the reply to the letter from Mr. Bulganin regarding the new approach to disarmament by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

The Prime Minister

Mr. Bulganin's proposals were also made to six of our Allies. Their contents concern them as closely as they do us. We are at present discussing this matter with them.

Mr. Yates

Does not the Prime Minister consider that the decision of the Russian Government—which involves a demobilisation far in excess of the total of the Army, Navy and Air Force in Britain—is worthy of more prompt consideration? Why should there be such delay upon a matter which is so important?

The Prime Minister

All disarmament is relative. While we welcome all disarmament, it remains relative. Since these proposals were addressed to a number of Allied Governments, it seemed not only right but, to me, necessary that we should consider together what our reply should be and pursue a common policy which, we hope, will produce further good results.

Mr. Gaitskell

Can the Prime Minister say when these consultations with our Allies are likely to be completed, and when the proposed reply will be ready?

The Prime Minister

I am sorry, but I cannot, as the right hon. Gentleman understands, because it does not depend upon us when the joint reply will be ready. I can say that the discussions are already proceeding. I should not wish the delay to be unduly long. If it were, I would prefer an intermediate reply.