HC Deb 08 April 1957 vol 568 cc796-8
6. Mr. Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why he no longer proposes to seek the limitation and ending of hydrogen bomb tests apart from a comprehensive disarmament agreement.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

It has never been the policy of Her Majesty's Government to abolish nuclear tests apart from a comprehensive disarmament agreement. As regards the limitation of tests, I would refer the hon. Member to what the Prime Minister said in the House on 1st April and 2nd April, and to what I have said in answer to the first Question this afternoon.

Mr. Allaun

Does not that conflict with what the former Prime Minister told us in December? Secondly, does not the Minister think that a lead from Britain, in the form of an announcement of the postponement of the Christmas Island explosions, would have a dramatic effect in breaking the vicious circle, lessening world tension and producing an atmosphere in which agreement to end this suicidal race in H-bombs might be achieved?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

No, Sir. It is Her Majesty's Government's case that it would not produce that result. As regards the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, in the debate last week the Prime Minister made it perfectly clear why the proposals put forward by Sir Anthony Eden last December were no longer practicable.

Sir T. Moore

Can my right hon. Friend say—if it is within his knowledge—whether it is the practice in the engineering industry to design and manufacture a very important and costly tool arid then refuse to test it in order to discover its efficiency?

Mr. Speaker

The Minister is not responsible for the engineering industry.

Mr. Mason

The Prime Minister said that they could not go forward with the Eden proposals because thermo-nuclear explosions cannot now be detected. Will the right hon. Gentleman explain why they cannot now be detected?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is not what my right hon. Friend said. He did not say that no tests could be detected. All he said was that it was now possible to carry out a test which was not detectable at great range.

Mr. Younger

Does not the Minister of State think that the most important thing in this matter is that Her Majesy's Government should now be putting forward very effective proposals, particularly in view of the fact that other Powers are apparently carrying on with their explosions in the meantime? If he is not prepared to tell us anything about these proposals until it is too late to affect any of the discussions, is he aware that he is accepting a very heavy responsibility and that we shall look forward to his telling us afterwards that he has put forward something very effective?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

All lean say is that certain proposals for limitation are being put before the Sub-Committee and the right hon. Gentleman must now wait and see whether those proposals work in practice.

15. Mrs. Butler

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reply he has sent to the Japanese Co-operative Fishermen's Association in reply to their representations to him concerning their fears in regard to the hydrogen bomb tests at Christmas Island.

Mr. Ian Harvey

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Morpeth (Mr. Owen) on 2nd April.

Mrs. Butler

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in his reply he stated that the Japanese have been using this fishing ground only in the last three or four years, but that, in fact, they were returning to their pre-war fishing grounds which they were unable to use during the period of the occupation? Is the hon. Gentleman further aware that, as Her Majesty's Government have concluded an agreement with Japan for the import of £500,000 worth of canned tuna into this country in the coming years there is a grave danger that part of the food supply of this country may be contaminated by this radioactive fall out as well as contamination of the basic food of Japan, and will he reconsider the representations made to him?

Mr. Harvey

I have noted the hon. Lady's remarks about Japan's position in the last war. As far as the particular fishing ground is concerned, we have already given assurances about that. I do not think that the danger she envisages is real.

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