HC Deb 17 April 1957 vol 568 cc1901-2
11. Mr. E. Fleteher

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the request of President Adenauer that the West German troops in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation be provided with atomic weapons.

17. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will state the present policy of Her Majesty's Government regarding agreement to the arming of West German military forces with tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

In the view of Her Majesty's Government similar types of weapons should as a general principle be available to all the forces of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Mr. Fletcher

Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind that a great many people in this country endorse the warnings recently issued by 15 of West Germany's leading scientists, to the effect that it would be a danger not only to the Federal Republic but to the peace of Europe if West German forces were armed with nuclear weapons and urging Dr. Adenauer's Government to refuse to accept any such suggestions? Would Her Majesty's Government, therefore, use their influence to ensure that West German forces are not supplied with nuclear weapons?

Mr. Lloyd

We are not dealing here with the question of manufacture at all. I think that it is quite unreasonable to expect troops of different nations to serve under a unified command and yet have a differentiation in the weapons supplied to them.

Mr. Warbey

Does the Foreign Secretary not appreciate that public opinion in this country and in Germany is appalled by the present plans to scatter these frightful weapons over a number of countries in Europe, including Germany? Would not the Government now call a halt to this mad nuclear race before it gets completely out of control?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that the great bulk of opinion in Western Europe realises the continued necessity for an effective deterrent.

Mr. Younger

In view of the obscurity in which the speech of the Minister of Defence yesterday left the House about the consequence of using tactical atomic weapons in Europe, will the Foreign Secretary give some further thought to the question whether it might not be advisable to concentrate first on the use of conventional weapons in the front lines in N. A. T. O., not only on the part of Germans but on the part of others?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not, of course, admit the premise of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, but I think that in the course of today's debate there will be more suitable opportunities for elucidating these matters than in reply to a supplementary question.