HC Deb 23 October 1956 vol 558 cc485-6
51. Mr. Swingler

asked the Prime Minister if he will now initiate the calling of a conference of the heads of Governments of the Great Powers for the purpose of making an international agreement to ban hydrogen bomb tests.

The Prime Minister

In the view of Her Majesty's Government, the question of banning nuclear test explosions should be treated as an integral part of a comprehensive disarmament plan. Such a plan is best considered by the Disarmament Commission of the United Nations and its Sub-Committee. As regard the limitation of tests, which is another question, my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has a Question on this subject tomorrow.

Mr. Swingler

Does not the Prime Minister recall that at the beginning of July he said in the House that he was prepared to initiate discussions on the subject of hydrogen bomb tests independently of the general disarmament discussions if he thought there was an opportunity of reaching rapid and general agreement on the subject? Would he say, therefore, if he still has it in mind to take this initiative, and at what stage he conceives it would be worth while to do so?

The Prime Minister

There are two questions there, banning and limitation. Several times I have told the House that I think we should begin by limitation. Banning, of course, would have to be agreed by a large number of countries. As regards limitation, my right hon. and learned Friend has a statement to make on that subject tomorrow.