HC Deb 10 July 1957 vol 573 cc359-60
22. Mr. Beswick

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what assurances have been given to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation that the present disarmament proposals submitted by the Western Powers to the United Nations Sub-Committee will not deprive the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation of nuclear armament.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The recent four-Power statement was made with the full knowledge of the North Atlantic Council. The statement refers to a first-stage disarmament agreement, and there is no intention of depriving anyone of the protection of nuclear weapons at this stage.

Mr. Beswick

Is it not a fact that, according to the New York Times of 2nd July this year, quoting what it described as "authoritative Allied sources," the North Atlantic Treaty Powers have been assured that Western plans for disarmament will not involve the abandonment of a deterrent to global war through nuclear arms defence."? Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that those words sound ominously like the words used both in Paris and the Pentagon before the Geneva Summit Conference which effectively sabotaged the disarmament conference which was then taking place? Can he assure the House that we are not, on the one hand, in the Sub-Committee, appearing to seek disarmament and, on the other hand, giving to our military advisers assurances that we do not really mean what we say?

Mr. Lloyd

I cannot accept all the inferences of the hon. Gentleman's question. There is some confusion of thought. In this first-stage agreement there can be no question of our abandoning the deterrent of nuclear weapons.

Mr. Bevan

I hope we are not saying in the negotiations over the first stage anything which would make it clear that we are not prepared to negotiate over the subsequent stages. Surely that is the important thing to make clear.

Mr. Lloyd

Certainly. We have consistently made it clear. We have said again and again that when there has been a sufficient degree of conventional disarmament we are also prepared to have, pari passu with that, nuclear disarmament.