HC Deb 23 July 1957 vol 574 cc236-355

4.3 p.m.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)

The Foreign Secretary, in his White Paper, for which we thank him, confined himself to a survey of the efforts now being made in the Disarmament Sub-Committee of the United Nations to reach agreement on certain partial measures of disarmament. I know that the right hon. and learned Gentleman realises what a shock it is to outside opinion to learn that these rather meagre objectives are all that the Government are at present hoping to obtain and I am sure he regrets, as we do, how very partial these partial measures are.

I will discuss those measures a little later. I want, first, to put them against a wider background, against the very dangerous developments in armaments since 1952 and against the facts—the very gloomy facts—of the disarmament discussions since the United Nations set up its present Disarmament Commission in that year.

I start from several propositions with which, I hope, the whole Committee agrees: that no nation has a greater interest in international—not unilateral— disarmament than the people of our vulnerable and overcrowded island; that such disarmament ought now to be the major object of our policy, both in foreign affairs and in defence, and that Britain, with her Commonwealth partners, could wield an enormous influence in reaching a practical result. I shall ask how far the Government have used their influence in the last six years; and I shall say some things that express my doubts and my regret. But it is not my purpose to make a party speech. If our Government are to blame, so are many others.

For ten full years, right up to 1955, Russia was, as I think, guilty of obstruction and sabotage. Her delegates went on saying, "Ban the A-bomb" while she was herself feverishly making A-bombs and cynically rejecting, alone against the world, Dr. Oppenheimer's United Nations scheme for the abolition of those frightful weapons. Russia accused the United States of America of the race in H-bombs, although she herself had started to make the H-bomb before the U.S.A. Up to May. 1955, a date of which I will speak again, Russia, in my view, was overwhelmingly to blame.

Since then, the Western Governments, our own amongst them, have made some lamentable mistakes. And so have the smaller Powers. They have just as great an interest in disarmament as their larger neighbours, but they have been indifferent, spineless and defeatist. They have been content to shuffle off their responsibility on to the five-Power Sub-Committee, which we are now discussing.

That Sub-Committee, judged by its minutes and its results, is itself a most inadequate instrument for serious work. It has no chairman, no rules of procedure and no agenda. It meets in private, but none of the purposes of privacy—not even privacy—is obtained. Its records are an absolute nightmare, and not least the way in which, at long last, they reach the light of day. At the end of each series of Sub-Committee meetings, in practice once a year—this is how we have to find out about what is going on in disarmament—an immense pile of roneo-ed minutes is published, hundreds, if not thousands, of pages at a time. They contain the verbatim transcript of what was said many weeks or many months before. They do not contain the texts of the document discussed.

The Foreign Secretary admitted the grave defects of this system not long ago and the difficulties that they cause to hon. Members; but he added to those difficulties when he refused to print the records of the 1956 session as a Command Paper. He said that he could not do it: it would cost £700.

In the same week in which the Foreign Secretary gave me that reply. I chanced to see a Press report: U.K. publishes esoteric books. The Government Stationery Office announced today a list of new official publications, including:

  • Measurement of Small Holes, translated from the Russian.
  • Horseflies of the Ethiopian Region.
  • Scats for Female Shop Assistants.
  • Sex Life of the Elephant Seal."
The records of the Disarmament Sub-Committee are not less important than those esoteric works.

The implications of the new White Paper cannot be made intelligible without the minutes of 1956, and what is being said this year in the Sub-Committee is literally of vital importance to us all.

The present system has another serious defect. We get the text of Mr. Zorin's speeches in the Soviet News, but we have to rely on the Press for short and perhaps garbled reports of what the other delegates answer in reply. I hone that the Government will recognise that this is a matter of great importance, and that it is necessary that the public should be properly informed. I hope that at the forthcoming Assembly they will press that this business, and, indeed, the whole composition and work of the Sub-Committee, should be considered afresh.

It is high time that the Assembly had a grand inquest, reviewed its disarmament efforts over recent years, contrasted those efforts with the facts of the arms race and asked the brutal questions; "Do the Governments in the Sub-Committee really want to disarm? Have they begun to think of armaments reduction as a practical reality? Or are their proposals, their speeches and their pledges simply empty humbug, weapons of political warfare in the cold war of East and West?"

I think that right hon. and hon. Members must ask themselves these questions about our own country and Government; indeed, that is the true purpose of this debate. We must recall what our Ministers have said, consider what efforts they have made, and what the failure of the policy of disarmament would mean to us. Two years ago, when he was Minister of Defence, the Prime Minister said, at Harrow: The purpose of our defence policy is simple—to get disarmament. That is the only ultimate hope for world peace. He said in April of this year: …we must strive for full disarmament covering unconventional and conventional weapons alike."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 17th April, 1957; Vol. 568, c. 2047.] The Foreign Secretary told the United Nations Assembly: An armaments race is not only economically unsound, but in itself is a grave danger to peace. The Minister of Defence told us that modern weapons would obliterate Britain, and that there is at present no defence. He added: There will be no real safety in the world until there is disarmament. Do I misrepresent the right hon. Gentleman when I say that the real meaning of his words is that there is no defence for Britain except international disarmament today?

Several times since Christmas, the Minister of Defence has asked us to face the military realities of the present time. The most important and the least observed of these military realities are the vast sums now being spent on military research. I wonder how many hon. Members realise how our own research expenditure has recently increased. It was £6 million a year in 1938 on the eve of Hitler's war. It was £80 million in 1951; £100 million in 1953; and close on £200 million last year. These are fantastic sums, but the United States is spending ten times as much—£1,900 million this year, more than our total defence budget, and an increase of £500 million on 1956. Russia, no doubt is spending much the same.

These vast resources of human genius and research equipment are given to the making of weapons more deadly, more powerful, and more certain to penetrate defence. We are all getting what we pay for. There is hardly a weapon that was used in the Second World War that would be used for training a raw recruit today. Lancasters and Flying Fortresses carried 10 tons of bombs 1,000 miles; they are now outmoded by the Vulcan and the 200-ton B.52, which will carry a 15-megaton bomb to any target in the world and return to its base in the United States under cover of night.

The Schnorkel submarine was a great advance; it is outmoded by the atomic Nautilus, which has done 60,000 miles without refuelling, which can go round the world under water, which can cruise at 25 knots, faster than any convoy, and which soon will launch nuclear guided missiles without even coming to the surface at all.

The other day, the United States Government published a new Handbook on the Effects of Nuclear Weapons, and they took as their yardstick, or measuring factor, the casualties caused and the damage done by the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, in 1945. On 6th August, a fortnight from today, the people of Hiroshima will hold a day of mourning to remind the world of what occurred—100,000 people killed in an instant of time, another 100,000 wounded, hideously burned, struck by radiation sickness, many of them dying after weeks or months of agonising pain. Even now the bomb's work is not ended. About 90,000 of the survivors are still under medical supervision, 6,000 must have constant clinical treatment all their lives, and some are still dying of cancer, leukæmia and other delayed effects.

The Minister of Defence told the House the other day that "atomic weapons of the power of the Hiroshima bomb are now regarded as primarily suitable for tactical use by troops in the field." If that is true, the general staffs must have lost all contact with reality. I wish the Minister would go to Hiroshima on 6th August. Consider his use of the word "tactical", in the light of the simple facts of 1945. The casualties were three times the total number of our Army of the Rhine; a mighty empire brought to instant and unconditional surrender; two bombs the substitute for a planned campaign, which was expected to last 18 months, conducted by millions of men by land and sea and air.

When I was at the Air Ministry, ten years ago, the experts told me that as few as 30 Hiroshima bombs might end Britain's ability to wage war. Last year, the United States Air Force and Army conducted a joint exercise in Louisiana and tried out Hiroshima bombs in tactical support of troops in the field. They decided how many were required to knock out the tactical enemy targets they were given. It came to a total of 70. Louisiana is 48,000 square miles in area, which is a little less than England and Wales. When the exercise was over, the referees decided that all life in the whole State was extinct.

Hon. Members will recall the words used by Lord Tedder, not long ago: To believe that there will be tactical atomic weapons which could be used without leading to the use of the so-called strategic weapon is to live in a fool's paradise. Of course, the Hiroshima bomb cannot be tactical; it destroys so much too much. The Minister's experts simply misapply the word, because they now have other weapons, so much more powerful, at their command, which they like to call strategic.

By 1952, atomic fission bombs had already been made ten times as powerful as the first, and some people believe that now they are twenty times as powerful. In that year, a rudimentary hydrogen device blew an island out of the Pacific; we called it a "low yield" weapon. Two years later, there was the 15-megaton explosion, 750 Hiroshimas in one, with the deadly fall-out which covered 10,000 square miles of open sea. It had an outer sheath of uranium 238, which made the poisonous fall-out, which is so dangerously cheap, and which, besides the fall-out, gives a megaton, a million tons of blast and fire for £5,000.

Now, we are getting rid of the uranium sheath, and we are getting "clean" hydrogen bombs instead. I wonder whether that is not the most sinister development of all. A "clean" 10-megaton bomb, so a Home Office manual informs us, would finish London, where in an inner circle seven miles across, everything would be pulverised to dust, and in an outer circle, 20 miles across, everything and everybody would be inexorably consumed in flames. "Clean" bombs are weapons of indiscriminate mass destruction which an aggressor could use without the risk of radioactive fall-out on his own territory or his own troops.

Vast stocks of nuclear weapons now exist. Dr. Lapp, an ex-member of the Atomic Energy Commission of the United States, said in 1955 that the United States stockpile was equivalent to several tons of T.N.T. for every inhabitant of the globe. Most of Hitler's bombs on London carried less than a single ton.

Some experts—and I mean experts—believe that gas and bacteria are as dangerous as nuclear weapons, and more likely to be used. In the First World War the primitive gases then employed caused, ton for ton, four times as many casualties as high explosive. Now we have the nerve gases, which the Nazis called Tabun. One cannot see Tabun. One cannot feel it. One cannot smell it. It penetrates the clothing. Three drops on the nose or throat, or skin will drive one mad before one dies.

Major-General Chisholm, the very able and, indeed, famous chief of the Canadian R.A.M.C. throughout the Second World War, himself then in charge of bacterial weapons, said in 1949 that "one bacterial weapon developed late in that war could wipe out all human life in a given area within six hours and yet leave the area habitable afterwards." He added: Hundreds of millions of human beings could be killed in a few hours. Do hon. Members think that the progress of invention will be less in the next five years than it has been in the past? Let them contemplate the guided missile. The development costs of guided missiles in the United States will be just double those of the atomic bomb. The major purpose is the I.C.B.M., Atlas and Thor, intercontinental missiles which are projected hundreds of miles—600, 800 miles—into the stratosphere, which travel 5,000 miles in 20 minutes, and which are guided to their targets at 20 times the speed of sound. One Atlas test that failed cost a million dollars. One launching site will cost £30 million.

What kind of war is it we are preparing for today? What has happened to the moral standards of mankind? We all remember the storm of indignation that was aroused when the Communists accused the United Nations forces of using bacteria in Korea in 1951. But in 1955 the United States Secretary for War approved the report of an advisory committee of eminent civilians who urged that gas and germ weapons are inherently less horrifying than nuclear weapons and that new and uninhibited research should be undertaken to develop a complete family of chemical, biological and radiological weapons for actual use. The Committee pointed to the advantages of these weapons in subduing an enemy without destroying property which the victor might wish to save. The report was approved, the commands appointed and the money voted. These "special purpose weapons"—note the phrase—are no longer listed in "the mass destruction category."

Of course, Russia and other nations are doing the same. I do not blame the United States Secretary for War. That is how the arms race works. But, remembering our anger at the stories of "infected spiders" in Korea a few years ago. I find it hard to stomach when bacteria and gas are described as "special purpose weapons." It fills me with resentment and despair when Government handbooks describe the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima as the "nominal" bomb—"nominal" of all the words in the world to choose—and when they call a bomb that equals 200,000 of the 10-ton block busters which devastated Berlin a "low yield thermo-nuclear device". The man who thought up these nauseating euphemisms ought to be made President of the Escapers' Club. He is a very master of the semantics of hypocrisy and self-deception.

The public are being fed with terrible ideas. The day after the first Christmas Island test a London daily newspaper printed an article—I have it here—by a general who was Controller of Atomic Weapons until last year. He said that our H-bomb would be useless unless we were resolved to use it first. He said: People must be made to realise this about the hydrogen bomb: if we are not the first to use it we shall never use it at all. I wonder what the Russians made of that.

There have been these immense developments in weapons in the last few years, and weapons now matter far more than men. And yet, even after the recent reductions, there are probably about three times as many armed men in the world today as ever before in time of peace. The world expenditure on armaments is perhaps four or five times that of 1938.

Let hon. Members contrast this immense machinery of war, with its almost limitless resources, with so much of human genius at its command, with its remorseless drive year after year for greater and ever greater military power—let them contrast that with the efforts to disarm made by the Governments since 1952. The Governments admit that against these modern weapons there is no defence. The Minister of Defence admits it. The Kremlin admits it. President Eisenhower says it every day. In 1952, the Governments pledged themselves to a disarmament programme founded on that fact.

The United Nations Assembly adopted a Resolution, for which both Sir Anthony Eden and the Foreign Secretary claimed a share of credit, which they deserve. It set up a new Disarmament Commission and it gave the Commission an urgent mandate in precise and comprehensive terms. The Commission was instructed to prepare proposals embodied in a Draft Treaty for the balanced reduction of all armed forces and all armaments; for the elimination of all major weapons adaptable to mass destruction; and for the international control of atomic energy. The drafting of treaty clauses, the making of the technical framework of an armament reduction system, was the essence of the Commission's task. It is only when one drafts, as the Foreign Secretary and Minister of State are finding now, that the real difficulties of reaching agreement first appear.

How have the Government sought to carry out the mandate of that Resolution? In 1952, the Commission agreed unanimously, except for Russia, to some admirable principles which set out as the Governments' purpose the genuine demilitarisation of the world. It agreed, except for Russia, that in the first disarmament treaty the manpower of the major nations should be reduced to—these were the British delegate's words— 1 million or at most 1.5 million men"— 750,000 for Britain and France, 1 per cent. of population for the rest. It agreed, except for Russia, that conventional arms should be reduced in proportion with manpower cuts. The other weapons were to be abolished.

But, alas, they never began to draft these plans in detailed clauses. They left them as headlines and nothing more. After six months, with various discussions pending, the Commission was prorogued. A few weeks later, the first H-bomb exploded, A few months after that, a Russian test showed that they had got it, too. That was a frightful new development in the arms race, a hundred times more serious than the first atomic bomb in 1945. Hon. Members remember what happened after that first atomic bomb fell—how Lord Attlee went to Washington to propose a scheme of international abolition and control, how the leading statesmen and the greatest scientists gave their minds for years to working out what ultimately became Dr. Oppenheimer's United Nations plan.

What happened after these first H-bombs were exploded, with the infinitely greater menace that they held? Just nothing at all. The Disarmament Commission did not even meet for 18 months. When the 15-megaton Bikini bomb exploded in 1954, the practical action that resulted was the decision to base the whole of N.A.T.O. strategy on nuclear defence.

I shall now say something which the Foreign Secretary will think unfair; and I add that I admired and still admire the work on disarmament which he did in 1954 when the Sub-Committee first began. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is finding out now that what I am going to say is all too true. I want to show how little effort and attention, how little drive and thought, the Government have given to the practical problems of disarmament since that 15-megaton explosion in 1954.

At the first session of the United Nations Sub-Committee three years ago, the Foreign Secretary helped to draft the so-called Anglo-French memorandum, a sound though modest document, for which we on this side of the Committee gave him our support. This year, three years later, he and the Prime Minister have told us, not once but often, that the Anglo-French plan for disarmament, put forward in June, 1954, was the best disarmament plan which has yet been put forward."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st April, 1957; Vol. 568, c. 162–3.] Those are very revealing words.

The memorandum consisted of nine short paragraphs, 61 lines, 1¼ pages of Government print. How can anyone set out a plan for reducing armies, navies and air forces, manpower, weapons and military budgets, for international inspection and control, within the space of 1¼ pages of a White Paper? Of course, it was not a disarmament plan at all. It reproduced the broad objectives—which I will read later—given to the Commission by the United Nations Assembly and then it set out a kind of timetable of the steps or stages by which these objectives might be obtained. It dealt with none of the practical problems—how to define manpower, how to relate manpower to the reduction of conventional weapons, and the rest, with which even the present proposals about "partial" disarmament must deal. The fact that still, in 1957, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary call it a disarmament plan simply shows that for these three years they have never given their minds to these practical problems at all.

But, most unfortunate of all, the Western Governments in the Sub-Committee have thrown over the objectives of the United Nations Assembly Resolution by which the Sub-Committee was set up and to which they had pledged themselves again in the Anglo-French memorandum of 1954. They threw them over just when the Russians, for the first time, looked like doing serious business.

On 10th May, 1955—and I wish that hon. Members would read that volume of the Sub-Committee's records, which is in print—the Russians suddenly accepted seven points on which, for many weeks, the Western delegates had been exerting sustained and very heavy pressure: the manpower level of 1 million to 1.5 million men; the proportionate reduction of conventional arms; the Western formula on the ban on the use of nuclear weapons; the Western plan for starting to convert all nuclear stocks to peaceful uses when 75 per cent. of the conventional reductions have been made; a single international organ of inspection and control with expanding powers, instead of the two which Russia had proposed; and on the powers and functions of the control organ the Russians went very far.

For the first time it looked like business. Then, alas, what happened? Instead of settling down to write a treaty, the Sub-Committee was immediately dismissed. When it met again, three months later, the Western proposals—the manpower levels, the conventional reductions, the conversion of nuclear stocks, and the formula for the ban—were all withdrawn. At the very moment the Russians became serious we ran away. If we are faced today with these inadequate, partial proposals for disarmament, that is really why. I must, in candour, say that we on this side of the Committee still bitterly regret what seems to us the grave mistake that the Western Governments then made.

I add that that past history, while it is vital to an understanding of Russian thinking and Russian speeches, will not affect our attitude towards the new proposals which the White Paper now explains. We will support "partial" disarmament measures, if they are genuine, with all our power. We want anything that will check the arms race and make the next step easier to take. But, as the White Paper tells us, there are still difficulties ahead. With "partial" measures it may be harder, not easier as it seems at first, to reach a fair balance of reduction, than it would be with a more comprehensive plan. Partial disarmament—the White Paper admits it—will be harder to control; and if control is ineffective, real confidence will not grow.

And partial disarmament will be extremely fragile unless it is strictly followed by a comprehensive plan. We had far more disarmament between the wars than the Governments are proposing now. There were the big reductions of the Washington and London Naval Treaties, the disarmament of Germany and her allies, the treaty pledge that other Governments would similarly disarm, and the tacit world-wide truce, not in weapon development, but in manpower and in budgets, which lasted fifteen years until the Geneva Conference broke down. It was a considerable measure of partial disarmament, but it was swept away, and very swiftly, when Hitler came to power, because the general treaty covering all armaments had not been made.

As the White Paper fairly points out, there are still great difficulties to be overcome even about these partial measures. There is agreement that the manpower levels, at the first reduction, shall be 2.5 million for the United States and Russia, and 750,000 for France and Britain. But, says paragraph 16 of the White Paper, the "Report on the Disarmament Talks—1957": The definition of 'manpower' for this purpose is still to be agreed. That is because, after five years of headline arguments about manpower levels, the Sub-Committee has never faced the practical problem of what manpower means.

It is not easy. Does manpower include civilians employed by the Armed Forces? The United States forces employ million. Does it include armed security police? The Russians have hundreds of thousands. What do you do about other para-military forces? How do you balance conscript armies against armies of long-term volunteers? How do you limit trained reserves? Until these questions have been answered, the figure of 2½ million has literally no meaning.

The same is true about conventional weapons. Under the proposal each Government is to submit a list of weapons which it is prepared to scrap—tanks, aircraft, artillery, warships and the rest. The lists must be …fair in relation to each other and to the manpower reductions of the party concerned. But: the procedure for submitting and agreeing the lists has still to be worked out. In plain language, this, again, is a pious aspiration and nothing more. Inevitably, it must mean—and this is the point I am making—a long and very difficult negotiation.

The paragraph on budgetary reductions is even vaguer. Everybody wants to do something, no one has suggested what. But military budgetary systems vary so greatly from country to country that without a common system of presentation, a common system of accountancy and control, limitation might mean lust nothing at all.

The Sub-Committee is not yet agreed about the system of control posts for the suspension of nuclear tests, about the system of control for the "cut-off" of new fissionable material for military use, about the aerial survey and ground observation to prevent surprise attacks. All this being so, we warmly support the proposal of the Foreign Secretary that working groups should be set up to draft. We think that the Russians are quite wrong to oppose it. The Sub-Committee will never pass the stage of headlines until it starts on concrete detailed texts.

If the Russians go on opposing, there is a simple way around it which the Government could adopt. They say in the White Paper that on the question of conventional armament ceilings, the United Kingdom has tabled a working paper for dealing with this technical problem. I am very glad. Why do they not table working papers, draft schemes and clauses on the definition of manpower, on budgetary limitation, on the nuclear "cutoff" and on nuclear tests. Nothing could do so much to promote the chances of success.

We think that this is of particular importance over nuclear tests. I believe that in a week our scientists could make a plan for the control posts needed to police the suspension of the tests. It would only be a basis of discussion, but it might lead to a quick agreement on this vital point. I must add this about the tests: we still think very firmly that the tests should he dealt with in a separate agreement, not tied to other measures, hut made the first and opening stage of whatever "partial" disarmament may be done.

There are three reasons why we think that. There is the undoubted risk to human health, whatever the Government may say, if the tests go on. Secondly, tests are held to improve the nuclear weapons and to adapt them to new kinds of military use. They are the nuclear arms race in its most dangerous form: and we want that to stop. Thirdly, the stopping of the tests, the setting up of U.N. control posts on the territory of the nuclear Powers, would be a positive step forward, a visible and concrete sign, that could hardly fail to make it easier to get agreement on the second stage.

If, however, we tie, as the Government now propose, the stopping of the tests to the long negotiations about manpower, conventional arms and budgetary reductions which have still to be carried through, the Sub-Committee will inevitably separate again with nothing done. It will be a major victory for the opponents of disarmament, with all the public disillusionment that this will mean.

Of course, suspension would be provisional until the other "partial" measures entered into force. On those "partial" measures we support the proposals of the Western Governments which, we think, should constitute a very early second stage, namely, the reduction of manpower to 2.5 million for Russia and the United States and 750,000 for France and ourselves, and the "cut-off" of new nuclear production, to be followed by what Mr. Stassen called "progressive transfers" from nuclear stocks to peaceful use.

I only make these comments. The manpower levels of 2.5 million and 750,000 must be compared to Hitler's 1.1 million in his forces in 1938 and to our 620,000 now. As disarmament, they do not amount to much. The "cut-off" of new nuclear production will only be accepted, not by Russia only, but by France, Sweden and other countries, if we make a firm commitment that Mr. Stassen's "progressive transfers" are to lead to the ultimate elimination of all our nuclear weapon stocks. That is, as we believe, the absolute condition of stopping a general world-wide nuclear race.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset. South)

May I interrupt the right hon. Gentleman? I think that he has made a statement of some significance which seems to be in fundamental conflict with the policy of his party, as recently announced, to support the manufacture and testing of the hydrogen bomb.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Not at all, we have never believed in unilateral disarmament. We want to get rid of the nuclear stocks by a world-wide agreement to which all subscribe and which is placed under rigid international control.

When we come to the later stages of the Government's plans we think that something more ambitious than the White Paper proposals is required. No one will attach much importance to the partial measures unless the Government show that for later on a real disarmament is being planned.

On manpower, we think that "1 million, or, at most, 1.5 million" should be the target and not the 1.7 million which is the ultimate reduction now proposed. We think it wholly wrong that further reductions below 2.5 million should be made dependent on future "political conditions", and we think it quite fantastic that when the Russians ask us, "What political settlements do you mean?" we simply answer, "We really cannot say." Of course, we want political settlements as much as anyone; of course, parallel political and disarmament negotiations could go on; of course, a real European security system is very much to be desired. But disarmament in itself, as the Foreign Secretary has said, will help to get the political settlements we want.

I would summarise our answers to the arguments which the Government have used about "political conditions" by saying this. Suppose we had agreed with Russia in May,1955; suppose the Russian forces had been reduced, under international control, to 1 million men, would any Western interest have been imperilled? Would not N.A.T.O. have become far stronger relatively to Russia than it is today? Would not the prospects for German unity and for the freedom of the satellites have been enormously improved?

More important in the later stages even than the manpower reduction are the plans proposed for weapons and armaments by land and sea and air. There we are resolutely convinced that the British Government—any British Government—must steadfastly adhere to the programme of objectives which, so short a time ago, our Government helped to draft. The Anglo-French memorandum of 1954 said that the draft disarmament Treaty must include The total prohibition of the use and manufacture of nuclear weapons, and weapons of mass destruction of every type, together with the conversion of existing stocks of nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes. The memorandum followed a United Nations Assembly Resolution which the Foreign Secretary had also helped to draft. That resolution enjoined …the elimination and prohibition of atomic, hydrogen bacterial. chemical and all such weapons of war and mass destruction. We believe that nothing but the execution of that programme in a measurable future can save mankind.

Perhaps the Foreign Secretary will urge the danger that some disloyal State, harbouring designs of an aggressive war, will try to keep a secret stock of nuclear weapons. It is a risk, of which we have always been aware. Dr. Oppenheimer warned us of it years before the Foreign Secretary's two documents which I quoted had been drawn up. It is a risk, but a lesser risk, as I believe, than that of living indefinitely with the fearful stocks that now exist and with the certainty that many other nations will insist on having nuclear weapons too.

It is a risk against which precautions could be taken. I understand from the Press that experiments at Harwell and elsewhere are showing that the margin of error in calculating past production may be 10 per cent. In other words, we might hope to be able to abolish 90 per cent. of even a disloyal Government's stock. To deal with the 10 per cent., could we not make an international stock to be used, if need be, by the defending nations against an aggressive nuclear attack? Could we not deal, as the Prime Minister tentatively suggested to the Foreign Ministers in Geneva, two years ago, with the means of delivering nuclear bombs? Could we not abolish guided missiles and bombing aircraft, forbid their manufacture and all training in their use? There is no defence for Britain against guided missiles except their abolition under international control.

Will anyone boggle at abolishing bombers? Mass destruction did not start with the Hiroshima bomb. Earlier in 1945 piston-engined aircraft, with conventional bombs, had burnt 83,000 people to death in Tokyo in a single night, 20,000 of them children.

As the Prime Minister has said, we need full disarmament, both nuclear and conventional as well. We may start with modest measures, but we must do so intending later to abolish the offensive weapons of both the next war and the last. It will not happen, we know, unless we get real inspection and control, and we hope that the Foreign Secretary will assure us that Britain, for her part, from the first day onwards will open her doors to inspection of every kind. It will not all happen tomorrow. It may take us long years still. But unless we fix our eyes upon these later measures we may never take the first.

Remembering what has happened in the arms race in the last six years—larger and larger A-bombs, multi-megaton H-bombs, chemical and bacterial weapons, supersonic long-range bombers, guided missiles, great and small—remembering that swift advance in the mechanism of destruction, we ask the Government to found their policy on what they themselves declare, that only in international disarmament does Britain's safety lie. We ask them to make that their major purpose, both in foreign affairs and in defence. We ask them to match their efforts with the urgent dangers that military science is piling up. If they do so, we believe the nation and a united Commonwealth will give them unwavering support.

4.55 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

I tried to set out in the White Paper, Command 228, the present position with regard to the current disarmament talks. I think the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)has acknowledged, as far as it is possible for him to judge, that it was a fair record, although the Committee will realise the difficulties inherent in producing such a document before the reports of the Sub-Committee's deliberations are available.

I am very conscious of the criticisms which the right hon. Gentleman made about the way the Sub-Committee works. The idea of the Sub-Committee arose after there had been discussions in Paris in the 1951 Assembly between Mr. Vyshinsky, M. Moch, Mr. Jessop and myself under the presidency of Mr. Padilla Nervo. Some useful negotiations took place in about ten days. The idea of the Sub-Committee was that we might have meetings of such a sort over a comparatively short time which would advance the discussions on disarmament. Now we have a situation in which the Sub-Committee is almost in permanent session.

I would remind the Committee that there are, of course, the periodic reports to the Disarmament Commission, of which twelve countries are members; there are debates on the matter there; and in the first committee meeting of the United Nations each year there is a further debate on disarmament. Therefore, it is not as though the existence of the Sub-Committee were preventing either the Disarmament Commission or the United Nations from having debates upon disarmament from time to time. Nevertheless, I think the whole question of the future of the Sub-Committee and its procedures requires examination.

Paragraph 24 of the White Paper is the crux of the Report. We say: The above picture is necessarily incomplete, both because the negotiations are still in progress and because it is impossible to publish proposals that are the subject of informal consultation between delegations but which have not yet been tabled in definite form. Nevertheless, it is true to say that substantial advances have been made in the present series of discussions. The prospects of a partial agreement have materially improved since March. I think it is wrong to belittle the importance of that assessment. It is, and continues to be, the policy of Her Majesty's Government to work for a sound, properly controlled, comprehensive disarmament agreement. We should, of course, prefer a comprehensive disarmament agreement—I did not think there was much disagreement between the two sides of the Committee on this matter—but, it being obviously impossible at the moment to get a comprehensive agreement, I thought that we should be wise to seek to achieve a partial one.

The right hon. Gentleman referred a good deal to the question of nuclear weapons. He referred to their horrors and their startling development, and I think we all share that view of them. But there are, I submit, certain other considerations also to be taken into account. It is well to remember that the nuclear deterrent has been of great benefit to this country. Lord Attlee said on 2nd March. 1955: Deterrents by possession of thermo-nuclear weapons are the best way of preventing another war. I must also quote the remarks which the right hon. Gentleman himself made on 6th March, 1955: We all revolt against the horrors of nuclear war, but nuclear war will never happen unless some nation is guilty of aggression. No one need fear our H bomb unless he commits that crime. Later the right hon. Gentleman said: Why should we now increase the risk by throwing this deterrent power away? We in Britain have derived substantial benefit from that conception; and the fact that nuclear weapons have existed in the hands of the West is the reason, I believe, why Western Europe has survived in freedom during a critical phase. The knowledge that N.A.T.O. is backed by the strategic air forces of the West with their nuclear weapons is the supreme deterrent. It is obvious why nuclear weapons are so great a deterrent to war. The right hon. Gentleman confirmed that in the course of his speech today. The destruction which would ensue from nuclear war is, of course, terrible to contemplate. However, there is a second reason, apart from the terrible nature of the consequences, why nuclear weapons have been a deterrent. It is that they are a deterrent for the big country just as much as for the small. The large sub-continent ultimately has as much to fear as the small island. In the past the Soviets have been able to use their vast land mass for defence in depth. In a nuclear war that depth would avail them little—

Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)rose

Mr. Lloyd

—please allow me to finish my sentence—and their huge country is put in a position of relative equality with the smaller countries of Western Europe. I think that is one reason why they dislike nuclear weapons so much.

Mr. Bevan

Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Lloyd

I am going to deal with the wider question of nuclear arms later in my speech. The right hon. Member for Derby, South spoke for nearly an hour without interruption. I have a carefully prepared speech to make and I shall try to deal with all these points, if the right hon. Gentleman will allow me to continue.

I cannot accept the view that nuclear weapons should be outlawed while conventional arms remain in existence in large quantities. I understand, although I do not agree, with the view of those who say that arms of all sorts should be eliminated. That is the pacifist view. I believe that the only difference between nuclear weapons and conventional weapons is the degree of their lethality. I do not accept that there is a moral difference between sending a thousand bombers to bomb a town and destroying that town with high explosive bombs, and sending one bomber with a hydrogen bomb. I maintain that it is not nuclear weapons that are the enemy, it is global war, whatever weapons are used. From the way some people talk, one would think that a global war fought with conventional weapons was somehow allowable.

Mr. Harold Davies (Leek)


Mr. Lloyd

There were 360,000 casualties at Passchendaele, and we all know the sum of the casualties from the bombing which took place on the scale it did during the last war. I believe that a global war fought to a finish would destroy organised society as we know it with the same certainty whether fought with so-called conventional weapons or with nuclear weapons.

The Soviet Union place in the forefront of their programme a ban on the use of nuclear weapons and the elimination of those weapons. They maintain that nuclear weapons are illegal. This is, however, a contention which must be regarded against the background of realism. It is shrewd political manœuvring on the part of the Soviet Union in the interests of strengthening the security of the Soviet Union. I do not blame them for that. They are looking after their own interests but I do not think that it has anything to do with legality or morality.

Nevertheless, the fact that we have drawn some military benefit from the existence of the nuclear weapon as a deterrent does not mean that we are complacent about the development of nuclear arms. We want disarmament, but we have to insist that nuclear and conventional disarmament should be tied up with one another. Just as it is unreasonable to expect the Soviet Union to accept a radical measure of properly controlled conventional disarmament without anything being done about nuclear disarmament, so I think it unreasonable for us to be asked to accept nuclear disarmament without anything being done about conventional disarmament. I think that position is both honourable and logical.

I do not say that the right hon. Member for Derby, South accepted the opposite view this afternoon. It is one of the views which have been expressed—that we should accept straight away the ban on the use of nuclear weapons without anything else being done. I did not detect that as being the position of the right hon. Gentleman this afternoon; that is one of the propaganda criticisms made against us in the world today.

With regard to the last five years of disarmament discussions, I should like very much to have gone into all the points which the right hon. Gentleman made against me personally. I admit that they have been protracted and complicated and in many instances frustrating. I agree that, owing to the procedure we have adopted, it has been difficult, even for those connected with the discussions, to follow the various negotiations and to keep up with the positions taken. The right hon. Gentleman should remember that we have a negotiating difficulty which is not shared by the Soviet Union. Representatives of the Soviet Union speak for one Government whose policy can be changed overnight. We are dealing with the views and interests of a large number of independent countries, and time is taken for consultations and discussions in order to seek to achieve a common position; and by reason of that, each of us must share the blame when there is an apparent failure to make progress on any particular point.

Despite all that can be said about the last five years, I think that certain realities have emerged. I would point out this fact; that when in 1951 I began work on disarmament, I did not receive any inheritance at all. At that time there were no worth-while discussions taking place with regard to disarmament. There was the greatest difficulty in having any realistic discussions with the Soviet Union at all at that time. Disarmament debates were simply used as propaganda exercises. I maintain that in the last five years certain broad propositions have emerged.

First of all, with regard to control, I would say to the right hon. Gentleman that one of the difficulties, or the uncertainties, about the Soviet proposals of 10th May, 1955, was the extent to which they would accept realistic control. Another point, another comment of the right hon. Gentleman, which I think was a fairer point, was when he said that one of the difficulties was with regard to the force level on which the West appeared to retreat.

We have always believed—I think that it is a belief which is without opposition—that control is the essence of any disarmament plan. I have heard one Soviet representative after another say that as soon as the word "control" was used he felt the possibility of a disarmament agreement receding. Throughout the years that has been one of the main differences between us. We do not believe in obligations which cannot be enforced or, at least, with regard to which it cannot be known whether they are being honoured or not; and that applies to the question of the immediate ban on the use of nuclear weapons.

All the time the Soviet Union are asking us to agree to such a ban. That means an agreement on paper that nuclear weapons will not be used. Our reply has been that such an agreement would not be worth the paper it was written on, because neither side would really believe that, in the ultimate recourse, the other would not use nuclear weapons. The position is, therefore, that such an agreement on paper would simply add to suspicion and insecurity instead of diminishing them.

I think it has emerged from all these discussions that the scope of a disarmament agreement must be confined to measures which can either be controlled in an acceptable manner or are of such a limited character that a certain looseness of control can be accepted. I think this is illustrated by the position on nuclear weapons. That has become clarified in the last five years. With regard to tests, it is now generally believed that, so far as nuclear tests are concerned, an inspection system can be devised which will make it impossible for any country to have any significant nuclear tests without both the fact that they have taken place and, broadly speaking, their nature becoming known.

Secondly, I think it is accepted that it could be possible to have a system of control capable of detecting when nuclear material was being manufactured for weapons purposes. Thirdly, but on the other hand, I think it is agreed—certainly it is conceded by the Soviet Union—that it is impossible to determine scientifically whether existing weapons and materials already manufactured for weapons purposes have been destroyed or disclosed.

Therefore, the conclusion from these facts, it would seem to me, is that the possibilities of realistic control in the nuclear field are at the present time limited to the suspension of tests and the cessation of the manufacture of fissionable material for weapons purposes. That is a guide as to how far it is realistic to seek to go with regard to nuclear weapons in a first-stage agreement. That does not affect at all the view of the ultimate objective. Of course, ultimately, we wish in the final stages of a disarmament plan that nuclear weapons should be eliminated. I do not withdraw at all from the Anglo-French plan of 1954 where, towards the end of the final stages, nuclear weapons would be eliminated. But we have to face the fact that under that plan, by that time, there would be such a degree of control throughout the world that, in my view, it must almost amount to world government. In those circumstances, it would be possible to take the risk, and it may be that before that time science may have advanced to such an extent that there may be means of detecting the quality and extent of materials not disclosed or revealed.

The fact remains that, for the present, I believe that the realistic thing to do is to try to get agreement on the suspension of tests and the cut-off in the manufacture of fissionable material, both of which we believe can be properly controlled. That is the first stage; and there has been very much argument about this during the last five years. I think that now we are achieving all these three points, and, what is more, that there is now common ground between all the countries concerned.

Then we come to the question of force levels, which is one of the easier problems to solve. By "force levels" I mean the number of men serving in the armed forces of the various countries, and I do not think it has been suggested that civilians should be included. I think that the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)was a little unjust because we have had considerable discussions about what is the definition of manpower. We, in fact, suggested some time ago that a working group should be set up to get that definition agreed, but, even so, there has been a certain amount of discussion. I do not think that it would cause much delay. I believe that the question of force levels is one of the easier matters to solve, and after a good deal of argument we have, I believe, established agreement on three stages for reductions in numbers of men.

At the end of the first stage the ceiling would be 2½ million men each for the Soviet Union and the United States and 750,000 men each for Britain and France. At the end of the second stage the ceiling would be 2.1 million each for the Soviet Union and the United States and 700,000 each for Britain and France; and at the end of the third stage 1.7 million each for the Soviet Union and the United States and 650,000 each for Britain and France.

The right hon. Gentleman says that that is not enough; that is not low enough. At all events, I think that there appears to be agreement on those ceilings. Certainly the United States have put them forward and I do not gather that the Soviet Union disagrees with them. I hope that they will be followed later by further reductions, but after all the arguments there have been for the last five years about the question of force levels—as the right hon. Gentleman indicated, not always with complete consistency on both sides—I think it is something to have got agreement on these three stages and these three ceilings.

Mr. E. Shinwell (Easington)

When is the first stage to be reached, because the United Kingdom has already decided to reduce its armed Forces to a figure much below 650,000? When is the first stage to be reached?

Mr. Lloyd

I think the proposal was that the ceiling should be obtained within twelve months of the signing of the agreement. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly right in saying that, as far as we in the United Kingdom are concerned, that ceiling for manpower is only a ceiling. We shall be below it. As far as the Soviet Union and the United States are concerned, it is a very different matter. We are disarming to such an extent that we shall be below it.

Mr. Frank Beswick (Uxbridge)

In the earlier part of his speech, when he was speaking about nuclear disarmament, the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggested that it was not possible for this country or the Western Powers to go in for real nuclear disarmament beyond the suspension of tests until there was some reduction in conventional armaments. He rather suggested that we could not agree to nuclear disarmament because we had failed to get agreement on conventional disarmament. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman now saying that these agreed force levels constitute the measure of conventional disarmament which would justify us in accepting the proposal; for nuclear disarmament?

Mr. Lloyd

If the hon. Gentleman will allow me to make my speech I will cover exactly the question he poses.

At the moment I am on the matter of force levels. On that, I think, the United States proposition has been put forward in these terms. The Western countries have accepted it and I have not heard it challenged by the Soviet Union. As far as we are concerned, we shall be subject to the terrible accusation that we are already below the ceiling prescribed.

I think there is much more difficulty over the limitation of armaments in the conventional field. Agreement has been reached—particulars are set out in paragraph 17 of the White Paper—as to a method of dealing with the limitation of conventional armaments in a first stage agreement. I think that the agreement set out in paragraph 17 of the White Paper, though welcome, only touches the fringe of the problem. It is a problem which absorbed years of discussion and argument in the period between the wars.

I have repeatedly asked the Soviet Union to enter into discussions on the details of this matter—I did it again and again in 1954 and it has been done since—and we have always been told that it would be a waste of time to consider the matter until there is a wider agreement. I think it obvious that the agreement on force levels is meaningless unless there is also agreement on levels of armaments.

The failure to get down to technical proposals on the matter is, I think, one of the most worrying aspects of the discussions we have had. It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say. "You ought to have discussions among yourselves and produce working papers." I do not think that there would be much reality in the discussions unless the Soviet Union was a party to them. For the moment, I think that we may derive satisfaction from the fact that there is agreement as to a method of tackling the problem in the first stage.

I am dealing with the matters which have come out as a result of these lengthy discussions and I think this last one is one where there is perhaps reason for more satisfaction than over the ques- tion of armaments or force levels and that is this business of what are called the "anti-surprise attack measures." I think that considerable progress has been made towards agreement and towards possible measures to increase international confidence. I believe that the plan for aerial inspection put forward by Mr. Eisenhower and the plan for ground control posts put forward by the Soviet Union, having been accepted in principle by both sides, are a fairly solid advance.

Of course, I believe that if there is a degree of inspection both from the air and on the ground which will satisfy both sides that there is no real danger of a surprise attack it should be a contribution to the lessening of tension. Agreement has been reached in principle that there should be aerial inspection and that there should be control posts on the ground.

Having said that, the last thing I wish to attempt to conceal from the Committee is the fact that there is no agreement on the areas to be inspected, where the control posts are to be placed, or what powers they are to possess. Nor is there agreement upon how to handle the limitation of armaments in the further stages nor agreement with regard to the conditions under which the second and third ceilings for manpower come into effect. There is not agreement, nor in my view can there be yet, on how to proceed to the total elimination of nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, I think that there is sufficient agreement on these other matters for us to believe it to be possible to achieve this limited or partial agreement, an agreement on measures for partial disarmament subject to the necessary control.

As I say, if I may repeat what I have already said, I still believe that the Anglo-French plan was the best comprehensive blue print for disarmament. I agree that it was not a detailed scheme, but there were certain principles in it which made it the most comprehensive plan yet put forward. But we have to face the fact that the two most powerful countries, the United States and the Soviet Union, are not at this stage prepared to bind themselves to a comprehensive scheme which will carry disarmament through all its stages. That is one of the facts of the present situation.

I do not think that detracts from the value of the partial agreement, and if a partial agreement is soundly based I think it will be a contribution to a reduction of tension and the creation of an atmosphere in which the political settlement of outstanding difficulties will be the more easily obtained and in which the way will be clearer for further stages towards disarmament.

If I may, I should like to take up one point to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. I mentioned the political settlement of outstanding difficulties. We are sometimes pressed to define them precisely, and he rather indicated in his speech that he thought we ought to define them precisely. I think that it would be most unwise to do so; it would be most unwise to establish a series of sine qua nons for further progress, and to say that we cannot go on from stage one to stage two or on to stage three unless this, that or the other has been done. At this point, when we are seeking only a first stage agreement, it would be unwise to specify precisely what the political settlements should be or where they ought to be achieved before we continue.

The reason I say that is that I have always believed that a first stage agreement may produce a more relaxed atmosphere, and in that more relaxed atmosphere some of the matters which are regarded by people other than ourselves as particularly difficult at the present time may, indeed, resolve themselves. If one specifies a list of the things which must be settled before one can go from a partial agreement to the next stage, one would be defeating the purpose which some hon. Members have in mind.

Mr. Bevan

As this is probably the most important issue which divides the Committee at the moment, will the right hon. Gentleman explain what relationship there can be between the armed forces possessed by the major Powers and political agreements, if we have pledged ourselves not to use armed force to reach agreements?

Mr. Lloyd

There is the matter of self-defence. We have not pledged ourselves not to use armed forces in self-defence, and the whole point of getting a political settlement of a certain prob- lem is that it would make less likely a resort to arms by one party or another. Because there is tension arising from a political disagreement is precisely why people may not be willing to reduce further the levels of their forces of self-defence.

Mr. Bevan

May I press this point? With a great deal of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said, we agree, but if the trouble is that we are all of different sizes, and then we agree to a series of disarmament measures which reduce the size of each by the same proportion, how does the relationship between one and another then prevent us reaching political agreements? We are still in the same condition of relative strength at the end, although we have not got such a heavy arms burden to carry.

Mr. Lloyd

I think that the answer to the right hon. Gentleman's question is that there is not always geographical equality between us. One may have to have one's forces at the end of what is called a very long pipe-line. We found that ourselves in connection with our detachment in Korea; there was only a small number of men, but in order to keep that small number of men there, we required a great many more behind them. It all depends. One of the issues is the question of United States forces remaining in Europe and other places. The Soviet Union operates on interior lines.

The point I made is not, I submit, a matter of opinion, but a matter of fact. Certain countries are not going to agree to further reductions in their armed forces until particular settlements have taken place. What I say is that we should be most unwise to specify those settlements now. My purpose in my speech is really to try to unite opinion in the Committee for the first stage agreement, and the one thing which is agreed by everybody, so far as a first stage agreement is concerned, is that no political settlements of any sort are conditions precedent to that. Therefore, I think that I am on common ground in saying that we should leave the question of political settlements to the second stage, because, as I say, that matter does not prevent a partial agreement.

Having given the Committee the five broad conclusions which have, I think, arisen from these five years of talks, I will come now to the present position in the current talks. As regards weapon tests, we acknowledge that there are legitimate anxieties about the effect on human health if indiscriminate tests of nuclear weapons continue uncontrolled, without limitation. This is a matter of argument between some of us. Her Majesty's Government do not accept that the tests which have already taken place have yet produced a dangerous situation. Nevertheless, we have never denied that, if continued and extended, they might produce such a situation in the future. That is why our view, for some two years now at least, has been that the sooner tests could be limited and controlled the better.

The attitude of the United States Government until comparatively recent times was that such a limitation was not necessary, but they were perfectly prepared to consider it when there was a prospect of danger to health. The Soviet Union has consistently refused to consider limitation at all. The Russian Government have never regarded that as relevant.

Our present position, I think, can be stated quite simply. If there is a desire to take the problem of nuclear tests in isolation, we stand by our proposals of 6th May. Some people, have been rather scornful about them, but they represented, at least in the first part, the effect of a resolution of Canada, Norway and Japan in the last General Assembly meeting. That plan, as the Committee will remember, was in three stages. If it had been accepted, I believe that the first two stages could already have been in operation. The Committee will remember that we proposed, in the first stage, the registration of tests with the United Nations, and a measure of international supervision. That could have been put into operation in a matter of days. The second stage was a meeting of experts to work out a system of qualitative and quantitative limitation, and I believe that such a system could have been agreed upon and now be operative. The third stage, the abolition of tests altogether, was to be within the framework of a comprehensive disarmament agreement and after cessation of production of fissile material for military purposes. That stage, we acknowledge, would be more remote.

Our proposals of 6th May were summarily rejected by the Soviet Union. One ground which the Soviet Union persistently advanced against the limitation of tests is that it would, so it was said, imply the legalisation of nuclear weapons. We maintain that that argument is quite irrelevant, because nuclear weapons are just as legal as any other weapons. We maintain that there is a legal right of self-defence in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter. The Soviet reply to that always is that that Article 51 was drafted before it was known that nuclear weapons existed. However that may be in fact, the Soviet Union did not ratify its acceptance of the Charter until October, 1945, some considerable time after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

For a long time, the Soviet Union demanded cessation of tests by agreement, and without inspection. In June, the Soviet Union accepted our condition that suspension or prohibition of tests, whenever they came into effect, would have to be subject to effective inspection. The Soviet Union has now conceded that point, which is a welcome step forward.

If tests are to be taken in isolation, I have stated our position. What we want to do with regard to the suspension of tests is this. We want to accept the suspension, provided it is linked with a cutoff in the production of fissile material for weapons purposes and with the other provisions of a first stage disarmament agreement. That is the view of the other Western members of the Disarmament Sub-Committee. The reason why we wish the suspension of tests to be linked to a cut-off in production is that that is the only way, as we say, to stop the nuclear arms race. The suspension of tests by itself is not a measure of disarmament. It does not prevent countries continuing to develop and produce nuclear weapons. It would not prevent countries beyond the three which now have the knowledge from doing it even if they accepted a temporary suspension of tests in other words, they could agree to a suspension until they were ready to make their tests.

It is the linking of the suspension of tests with the cut-off in the manufacture of fissionable material for warlike purposes which is the great prize to be attained. We are advised that the countries now contemplating military nuclear programmes would be willing to adhere to such an agreement, that is, to agree to suspension and also cessation of manufacture for military purposes. In my view, the universal cessation of the production of fissile material for weapons purposes would be a tremendous step forward. As I say, that is a very big prize, which we are seeking now to attain. I very much hope that the Soviet Union will reconsider its position with regard to the cut-off.

The reason why we say that the suspension of tests should also be linked with measures for a partial agreement about conventional disarmament is partly because we think that conventional and nuclear disarmament should go ahead pari passu, but also because we believe that we are within sight of agreement on a certain number of matters, and if there is a real urge to get agreement on suspension of tests, that should carry us through to agreement on these other matters to which I have already referred.

But that is not the whole of our position with regard to the suspension of tests. We realise the urgency which public opinion attaches to the solution of these problems and therefore, in our statement of 2nd July, when linking suspension with a future cut-off in production and the other parts of a first-stage disarmament agreement we said that we were prepared there and then to set up a committee of experts to devise the system of inspection that would be needed to control the suspension of tests. We did that in order to avoid any suggestion that our purpose was to lose time or to see that time was wasted. Unfortunately, for reasons that are not clear to me, that proposal too was categorically rejected by the Soviet Union.

I do not think, however—I will certainly consider the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion—that we can have a worthwhile discussion on the technical details unless they are on the five-Power basis. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman approved of what I said last Wednesday. I could not refer in the White Paper to my suggestions because I made them after that document had gone to press. I asked that in addition to this working party on nuclear tests we should also set up working groups of experts to consider certain other technical matters which at some time or another must be considered.

I proposed that the following question should be considered: First of all, that of the reduction of force levels. What is to be the definition of manpower and what are to be the methods of control, including the exchange of the necessary documents, I said that I thought that that was a fairly easy technical study upon which the experts should be able to reach agreement rapidly. Secondly, I said that, with regard to conventional armaments, examination was needed of the technical details relating to the methods of drawing up and exchanging the lists of armaments, referred to in paragraph 17, the methods of relating the lists to each other, and to manpower reductions, the types of armaments to be controlled and the methods of controlling the depots. All this relates to the plan in paragraph 17.

I suggested that the working group might also be able to pass on to discussion of the system for the relation of the armaments ceilings to manpower ceilings in the second and third stage reductions. Thirdly, I suggested with regard to aerial inspection that some technical examination was required not only of the areas to be covered but also of the modus operandi, the question of over-flying rights, the safeguards of the countries overflown and the methods of dealing with alleged breaches of whatever regulations might be made.

With regard to the ground control posts, I suggested that somebody at some time would have to produce a detailed plan for their siting, their composition, their powers and their methods of communication. Those proposals also received a cold welcome from the representative of the Soviet Union, although he has not yet categorically rejected them. Here again, I hope that second thoughts will prevail and that we shall be able to get on with some detailed work.

I know that there are some people—perhaps some hon. Members of this House—who think that working groups of experts are simply a means of delay, a device to waste time. But this work has to be done at some stage. I want to make it clear to the Committee on behalf of the Government that we are not going to enter into vague and woolly undertakings which we would honour in the spirit as such, but which might be disregarded by other countries because they were too imprecise. Let me illustrate what I mean by considering the inspection system for the suspension of nuclear tests.

The following questions present themselves and must be determined at some stage. The composition, the powers and the voting procedures of the International Commission, which I understand is what the Soviet Union suggests should be set up to supervise the fulfilment of any agreement. The relationship of that body to the United Nations, the relationship of the control teams to the Commission, the number and the location of the inspection posts, the composition of the teams at the posts, their powers, their rights, questions affecting the equipment they are to have, their mobility and their communications. All these are matters of technical detail and I do not believe that they will present insoluble difficulties, but it is work with which progress has to be made if there is to be any reality about the agreements which we have been discussing.

My proposal was that while these working groups were meeting we should continue in the Sub-Committee to discuss the other matters of principle still outstanding. With regard to the suspension of tests, one of the most important matters in that connection is the procedure by which other countries would adhere to any agreements made. I repeat that until these questions are answered and a definite plan is drawn up, we are not going to prejudice the security of this country. The same consideration applies to the system under which control posts will be set up, the aerial inspection, the limitations and other matters, and I cannot understand the reluctance to enter into discussion of the practical details involved. To put it in another way, what I want to do is to get into Committee all matters on which there is agreement in principle while leaving the Second Reading debate to proceed on all matters in which there is no agreement in principle. I think that agreement has been achieved in a sufficient area to enable this work to go on. That is where we are at the present time in the work of the Sub-Committee. I hope for less negative answers on some of the points which I have detailed, and we shall, I promise the Committee, still continue to try to press on with the work of the Sub-Committee.

In spite of what the right hon. Gentleman has said, I contend that we have tried to play our full part in making progress in disarmament. I think that we have correctly assessed the present possibility as being that of a partial agreement. I think that in the matters to which I have referred there is scope for a useful agreement which will lessen tension and pave the way therefore for political settlements and other stages in disarmament. I repeat my belief that with the progress that has been made the prospects of a partial agreement have materially improved. We have made concrete suggestions designed to speed the work. I promise hon. Members in all quarters of the Committee that this is an endeavour to which we attach and shall continue to attach the highest importance. We shall persevere, knowing how much is at stake for us and for all humanity.

5.37 p.m.

Mr. Arthur Henderson (Rowley Regis and Tipton)

The Foreign Secretary, at the beginning of his speech, misrepresented, perhaps unwittingly, the position of those of us on this side of the Committee on the question of nuclear disarmament. It is not our position that conventional war should be tolerated while nuclear war is on a different footing. We want to get rid of all types of modern arms, just as we want to get rid of war with all its diabolical consequences. Nor do we stand for a ban on nuclear weapons, as he suggested, without waiting for a reduction of conventional weapons. What we would like to see is progress being made in both those spheres.

What we are expressing today—and believe that this is the view of the people in every country in the world—is disappointment at the lack of progress after ten years of negotiations. In recent months there appeared to be an increasing prospect of reaching a limited agreement. The gaps between the East and West points of view appeared to be narrowing and indeed, as was said in the White Paper itself, substantial advances have been made. But, once again, a virtual state of deadlock has been reached. From the mass of documents and statements which have appeared in the Press, it is very difficult to appreciate clearly the main obstacles even to a partial agreement.

For example, we are told in the White Paper that agreement has been reached in principle on four issues: first, level of forces; secondly, limitation of arms; thirdly, measures to guard against surprise attack; and fourthly, suspension of nuclear tests. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)that working groups should be set up to think out details under those heads. Those working groups offer a positive and practical method for getting results, and it is to be hoped that the Soviet Government will accept them. The sooner these working groups get to work the sooner we are likely to make progress.

In this connection, I would ask the Foreign Secretary whether the Sub-Committee has considered the international traffic in arms that is being carried on. We were told yesterday that the dissident forces in Oman had received arms from a foreign source, although the Foreign Secretary was not prepared today to say from which country. We do know that many Governments, including our own, supply arms to countries like those in the Middle East. Is it not essential to recognise that this international traffic in arms should be considered in the Disarmament Sub-Commitee with a view to reaching agreement upon international regulation of the supply of arms?

With regard to the Foreign Secretary's defence of the position of the Government on nuclear tests, I regret very much that the Western Governments did not accept unconditionally the Soviet offer of 14th June for a two or three-year moratorium on tests. It is true they accepted the proposal in principle, but they linked it up with a cut-off in nuclear production and the initial reduction in armed forces and armaments. The difference between the two or three years proposed by the Soviet Government and the ten months proposed by the Western Governments is obviously capable of adjustment and compromise. The Western Governments should have accepted the Soviet offer and negotiated a moratorium on tests, not necessarily for two or three years, but for one, two or three, under appropriate international supervision, as a preliminary step towards a partial disarmament agreement.

During that agreed period of suspension, the Sub-Committee could have entered into negotiation on the proposal for a cut-off of production of fissile materials for war purposes. I cannot see why such an agreement should not have been achieved. I hope, however, that the Soviet Government will not now refuse to enter into a partial agreement on that ground, because if partial agreement could be achieved it could include a provision for a temporary ban on tests for the agreed period.

A more serious obstacle is the Russian proposal that each Government should undertake to renounce the use of nuclear weapons. In the Russian view, this is indispensable in reaching a partial agreement, but such an obligation already exists under Article 2 of the Charter, by which all members are obliged to refrain from the use of force against one another. This obligation must now preclude the use of nuclear weapons. One exception to the use of force, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman mentioned in his speech, is in self-defence against aggression, as provided in Article 51. I do not believe that any country would be prepared to surrender its right to defend itself against aggression, if necessary by using nuclear weapons, until international means exist which guarantee its security.

Moreover, nations have not forgotten the Kellogg Peace Pact, signed in 1928, under which most nations solemnly renounced war as an instrument of national policy, yet within a few years came the Second World War. The fact is the declarations, however solemn and well-intentioned, are not a substitute for an international agreement for the abolition of nuclear weapons under effective international control. It is quite unrealistic to suppose that a declaration which depends for its moral value on mutual confidence will have any value when mutual confidence does not exist. Steps have to be taken to create the necessary mutual confidence before such declarations can have any real value.

I turn to the question of "clean" as against "dirty" bombs. The question of the amount of radioactive fall-out is undoubtedly important in relation to tests and to the well-being of the human race, but for use in war there is no difference between them. Death and destruction from either type of bomb would be catastrophic. Both East and West know this, and there is little point in arguing the technical superiority of one bomb as against the other. What is needed is to get rid of the hydrogen bomb and to prohibit its manufacture, and to divert fissionable materials to peaceful purposes.

The Western proposal for a ban on future production for war purposes is of great importance and would be a step forward in ending the manufacture of nuclear weapons, but, as Mr. Zorin pointed out, the Western proposals leave the existing stockpile of fissionable materials still available for war purposes. He seems, however, to have overlooked the other Western proposal for the progressive transfer of past production of fissionable material to peaceful uses. The fact that past production cannot be accounted for, as was stated by the Prime Minister, constitutes a risk—and here again, I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South, very strongly—that hidden stockpiles of nuclear weapons may be retained. Both East and West must face this risk until greater progress has been made towards disarmament. I suggest that the West should propose an absolute ban on all future production of nuclear weapons.

The real truth is that, lying behind all the efforts of Governments to reach agreement, is the background of mistrust and suspicion which has bedevilled disarmament negotiations since they were first initiated in 1946. Continued deadlock is no excuse for breaking off negotiations. The five Governments must persist in their task of getting a disarmament agreement. It is a duty they owe to the ordinary men and women of every country who are bewildered by the failure of Governments to give practical effect to the aims which they have declared they hold in common. Statesmen of all countries have continually said that disarmament is the major key to world peace, but if it is to be balanced disarmament must cover both nuclear and conventional weapons.

My right hon. Friend quoted the experience of Hiroshima, which suffered atomic bombing, and Tokio, which suffered high explosive bombing. I agree with what he said. Death and destruction brought, for example, to Hamburg by 1,000 bombers in 1940 dropping conventional and H.E. bombs, was just as terrible in its consequences to the population of Hamburg as was the dropping of two atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but that is not to say that nothing can be done short of a comprehensive and general disarmament agreement.

I believe that the road to disarmament lies through a series of limited, but interrelated, agreements constituting stepping stones to eventual complete disarmament. Each Government must make their contribution to the removal of that mutual mistrust and suspicion which, today, are corroding all efforts to achieve disarmament. Both sides have recognised the importance of creating conditions of greater confidence and trust. The Foreign Secretary has rightly said this afternoon that there does seem now to be common agreement with regard to aerial inspection and the establishment of ground control posts. At any rate, both proposals have been accepted in principle.

A number of proposals were also made by Sir Anthony Eden, at the "summit" conference in July, 1955, with these objects in view. They were three: first, that there should be a security pact of which a united Germany should be a member secondly, discussion should take place as to the total forces and armaments on each side in Germany and the countries neighbouring Germany; thirdly, Britain would be ready to examine the possibility of a demilitarised zone between East and West. Mr. Bulganin, in his letter of 20th April last, referring to Sir Anthony Eden's proposals, stated that the Soviet Government would be willing to resume discussion on these proposals in order to try to come to terms on temporary and transitional measures. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will have regard to that reference to Sir Anthony Eden's proposals, because I think he will agree that it has a considerable bearing on the building up of trust and confidence, certainly in Europe. The Prime Minister did not respond in his reply of 17th June to Marshal Bulganin's letter. He simply pointed out—what we all know to be true—that those proposals were intended to provide concurrently for the re-unification of Germany and for the establishment of a security system in Europe, but two years have passed since Sir Anthony Eden's statement was made and no progress has been achieved. Surely the important thing is to break this deadlock. In my opinion, the Prime Minister should have accepted this offer to resume discussions. I hope the Minister who is to reply to the debate this evening will take the opportunity to announce that the West is ready to enter into such discussions.

In my view, the creation of a demilitarised zone involving the phased withdrawal of forces and armaments from East and West Germany and the neighbouring countries—on the basis, of course, or reciprocal control—would he of the greatest value. It could well pave the way to German reunification and the liberation of the occupied territories. Moreover, the fact that forces and armaments were to be withdrawn under reciprocal control would offer a valuable opportunity for gaining experience in the working of a system of international control and inspection.

There is, however, another aspect of the disarmament problem to which the Russians attach great importance. That is the question of foreign bases. The Soviet Government have proposed that the question of abolishing foreign military bases be considered and agreements be reached as to which of those bases should be abolished within one or two years. These bases—most of them American air bases—are regarded by the Soviet Government as a threat to their security. They are also regarded by the West as the linchpin of their security. Russia feels encircled by their existence. Western Europe would feel encircled by Russia and satellite air bases if they did not exist. Without disarmament and political solutions in Europe I see little prospect of their liquidation.

The Soviet Government have also proposed that Soviet forces should be withdrawn from the Warsaw Pact countries and American, British and French forces from N.A.T.O. countries. In present circumstances that is virtually a demand for the breakup of the N.A.T.O. defence system, but Mr. Bulganin, in his letter of 20th April, recognised that it was difficult immediately to abolish the Warsaw and N.A.T.O. military groupings and replace them by a European collective security system. It seems to me, therefore, that at this stage neither side could be expected to get rid of their existing bases or to dismantle their defence organisations.

There are other prior steps that have to be taken and it is on those prior steps that the Disarmament Sub-Committee and the Governments themselves should be concentrating. Among those prior steps I would include a first stage partial disarmament agreement and the establishment of a demilitarised zone in Europe, together with the phased withdrawal of armed forces as suggested by Sir Anthony Eden. In my judgment, those are essential steps towards a European settlement.

The main essentials of a first stage agreement, therefore, would be: first, cessation of nuclear tests; secondly, a ban on future production of nuclear weapons; thirdly, the reduction of conventional forces to agreed levels; and, fourthly, an effective inspection and control system. All those elements should be included in any permanent provision, but progress on any one of them should be accepted as a first step. In my view, the time has now come for another Foreign Ministers' conference with a view to breaking the present deadlock. Indeed, provided the ground is properly prepared, there is a strong case for a further "summit" conference of heads of Governments. It is only through the medium of these high-level conferences that progress can be made towards achieving agreement on any of the vital international problems that confront us today, particularly German reunification and European security.

In spite of ten years of effort firm agreement has not yet been reached. Meanwhile, massive armaments constitute a fearful threat and a crippling economic burden. The people of the world have become perplexed and impatient at the continuing delay in removing these threats to their welfare and happiness. They are not impressed by the charges and counter charges of responsibility for the delay; they want results. They believe there is the possibility of a partial agreement now. They believe, and we believe, that it is the first duty of the five Governments sitting at the Disarmament Sub-Committee not to allow the present opportunity to pass, but to ensure that the first steps towards the goal of disarmament are now taken.

5.59 p.m.

Sir Hamilton Kerr (Cambridge)

All three right hon. Gentlemen who have so far addressed the Committee, whilst differing over suggested remedies, have, I think, agreed on one point—the desire to avoid the horrors of a new world war. All of us who have lived in this century have drunk to the dregs a very bitter draught. In fifty years we have seen more human life destroyed—often the best the planet can produce—and more wealth destroyed than in any previous century. Worst of all, we recall the reproach of my right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill)who called the last war "the unnecessary war."

How can we learn from experience to avoid the possibility of another war? When I came to the House as a young Member I was one of those who placed immense hope in the League of Nations. We hoped then that it would extend its healing hand over the world and solve the problems which secret diplomacy and a policy of the balance of power had failed to solve. We placed great hope from the Kellogg Pact, to which the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)referred; we hoped that it would abolish war as an instrument of policy. We placed great hope in the Locarno Treaty which, we trusted, would remove the danger of a German-French war.

We placed great hope at the time in the discussions at Geneva on disarmament, which attempted to limit the power of so-called offensive weapons. We believed—and I made several speeches in the House advocating this belief—that if offensive weapons, such as the 6-in. gun, the tank, the bomber aeroplane and the long-range submarine were eliminated by international agreement, the danger of war would recede. At the time we believed the advice given by military experts who emphasised the immense power of defensive weapons. We recalled the horrors of Passchendaele and the battle of the Somme where the machine gun scythed down thousands of advancing attackers. We believed that if these weapons were eliminated a nation might live like an armadillo safe inside its shell, and we were further reinforced by the description of the Maginot Line, described by certain writers as possessing such fire power that even a grasshopper could not live in certain areas.

Nevertheless, this unnecessary war started. I believe that it occurred because we had forgotten the essential principle of the balance of power. Hitler calculated that because the United States was not committed to the defence of Europe the chance existed of a lightning blow to knock out France, to persuade England to come to terms and, more important still, to persuade the United States that it would be quite useless for her to intervene. He calculated that even if she tried to intervene, later, she would find it militarily impossible against the submarine and air bases of a Continent dominated by Germany.

That unnecessary war was therefore brought about because the forces of democracy were not aligned in sufficient strength to balance the forces of aggression. Since the end of the war we have found ourselves, in Mr. Walter Lippmann's words, not in one world but in three. Previously we thought that we all lived in a world where the sentiments of Liberal democracy would gradually cause people to develop democratic institutions and the ideas which go with them. We thought that the ideas urged by Burke in England and Lincoln in the United States would be accepted all over Asia and, indeed, Africa. Now we find ourselves in three worlds. The first world is the world of democracy and its allies, comprising the United States, Europe up to the Elbe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. The second is the Communist world comprising Russia and, we must not forget, Communist China, ever growing in strength. The third and last world is the uncommitted world of neutrals, the powerful nations of Asia and the Middle East.

If we are to preserve peace and achieve agreement at these disarmament talks, we must try to maintain the balance of power between these two worlds, with their neutral onlookers. It has been pointed out that after the war a virtual stalemate existed for a time between the atom bomb and the ability of the United States Strategic Air Force to deliver it, on one side, and the immense land power of Russia, on the other side. When the hydrogen bomb was exploded the so-called atomic stalemate developed, with the belief that such a destructive weapon had been evolved that no nation would dare to use it. Alas, all nations have continued to manufacture these dangerous instruments.

How can we find a practical solution? I believe, briefly, that the solution falls under two headings. The first is that of unlimited atomic war, which would mean world-wide destruction, and the second, perhaps the more dangerous because the more likely, is the development from a cold war into a local shooting war with conventional ground forces.

I believe that the only practical solution to the atomic problem is atomic control with efficient international supervision. If the Russians really want agreement, I think they must accept that. It would benefit them as much as it would benefit us, particularly as my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary has said that it is now possible to devise a system of international control which would readily detect not only an explosion of the bomb but the preparation of fissionable material for warlike uses.

Secondly, we must consider the limitation of a shooting war arising from a cold war. I believe, first and foremost, that we could achieve something by stating clearly that when such a war started we should outline our war aims. I think that the danger of a limited war spreading arises from the fear, as was the case in Korea, that the forces might extend their activities beyond a certain limit. The Chinese claimed that the advance of the American forces up to the Yalu River damaged their interests. Looking back, we might have avoided Chinese intervention had we undertaken to stop at a certain point.

Secondly, I think that if we could reduce forces in the world to a lower level but still maintain the balance of power we should give a sense of security and yet spend less on our forces. We should have scaled down the resources being devoted to armed elements and, at the same time, should maintain the essential balance of power. Once these agreements had been reached, just as when armistice talks have been initiated, it is far harder to return either to open warfare or to an arms race. By international agreement on the inspection of atomic weapons; by declaring that, when involved in conflict, we should strictly limit our war objectives; and by scaling down the money spent on conventional weapons while still maintaining the balance of power we should take a practical step towards the avoidance of a third unnecessary war.

6.8 p.m.

Lady Megan Lloyd George (Carmarthen)

I cannot claim the indulgence of the Committee for a maiden speech. All I can ask for and all I can reasonably expect, from past experience, is the recognition of belligerent rights.

The Foreign Secretary spoke of the frustration and delays which have been taking place in the Disarmament Sub-Committee, and I do not think that anyone on either side of this Committee would be prepared to claim that it has been working under any great sense of urgency. Disarmament Commissions have been sitting for over ten years. The Sub-Committee has been sitting for three years, and not one single agreement has been signed. All this time, the weapons of destruction have been increasing in number and in power a hundred and a thousand-fold.

The hon. Member for Cambridge (Sir H. Kerr)spoke of debates before the war. I well remember the warnings which were given about the horrors and the dangers to civilisation which the next war would bring, and in all conscience they were merciless enough. The Hiroshima bomb which shocked the world with its 200,000 casualties, why, that was only a 20-kiloton fission bomb! It is now out-dated. We have moved on. The United States tell us that she has sufficient nuclear weapons for the complete destruction of the Soviet Union and they admit that the Soviet Union either has now, or soon will have, the capability of doing the same thing to the United States. There is no defence against the hydrogen bomb. In fact, the great deterrent has become—let us be quite honest—the greatest argument in the world for disarmament. There are other compelling reasons for a sense of urgency in this matter. One is the need for cutting down military budgets in all countries. The problem of inflation occupies the centre of the stage not only in this country, but in others. We are told that it is more important even than disarmament but, in point of fact, it is inseparable from it. The one problem cannot be solved without the other.

Every country is spending astronomical sums upon the arms race. We ourselves have been spending over the last five years 10 per cent. of our national income; the United States—12 per cent., and Russia—nobody knows. The Russians, very conveniently, have a separate budget, which remains one of the unsolved mysteries of the Kremlin which the Disarmament Sub-Committee will he very hard put to penetrate.

What are the prospects for a cut in military budgets? Mr. Dulles said yesterday that we all had to plan on the assumption that the nations now possessing nuclear weapons would use them in war. But that does not mean that we can think only in terms of nuclear weapons. We cannot rule out the possibility of a war fought with conventional weapons so, until we have had a measure of disarmament in conventional weapons, we shall have to continue to bear, in addition to the expenditure on nuclear weapons, a very high expenditure on conventional arms.

Even if it is possible to produce a poor country's hydrogen bomb, the burden will still pile up. The cost of conventional weapons has risen enormously since the war. This matter has a very special significance for us—as indeed, it has for all countries. The Government based our defence mainly on nuclear weapons, but the danger to this country is not so much the Red Army as the Red Fleet. Russia has a fleet of 500 submarines. By 1960, she will probably have 700. She has built, in a year, more submarines than the United States has built since the war, and that in spite of the fact that she is short of iron and electronic equipment.

Why is Russia building this large fleet? That is a question that we, of all people, cannot ignore. The submarine has held a very special menace for us in two world wars. It would still threaten our life-line, whether in a war in which every weapon was used up to the megaton bomb, or in a major war between the great powers without the use of nuclear weapons. Therefore, this is a vital and practical problem that we have to consider. How long can we stand the race in both nuclear and in conventional weapons?

The Disarmament Sub-Committee has had many meetings in the last few months. How near has it come to an agreement? The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Foreign Secretary said the other day that he thought that the delegations were now closer than when the present session began in March. They could scarcely be further apart. Today, he said again that he was optimistic about partial disarmament. How close are the delegations to agreement, even in principle?

On the first stage, cuts in manpower, there is agreement in principle—in principle; 2.5 million men for the United States and for Russia, and 750,000 for Great Britain and France. Of course, the United States has already cut her forces unilaterally by 100,000, and this will only mean a total reduction for her of an additional 200,000. For the Russians, there is no doubt that it will mean a far greater proportionate cut. For us, the figure of 750,000 is meaningless, because in any case our manpower will he cut down to 350,000 by 1956.

The Foreign Secretary this afternoon commended to the Committee the Anglo-French proposals. He said what a tragedy it was that they had not been accepted. The figures for manpower cuts in the Anglo-French proposals were lower than those now made. They were rejected by the Russians, but later—I think it was in 1955—they were accepted by the Russians. They were then rejected by France and ourselves. We rejected the very proposals that we ourselves had made. I only hope that these latest proposals will not meet with the same fate.

Secondly, there is the proposal of the United States—upon which, as I understand, there is agreement in principle—for the reduction of conventional arms, the exchanging of lists of armaments to be kept in depots under international control. That looks all right on paper, but its effectiveness will, of course, depend not only on the number but on the nature of the weapons that are likely to be included in that list. I very much hope that we will have a little more information about that on these matters when the Minister of Defence replies to the debate.

These proposals that have been made are tentative. The Foreign Secretary can point to the further suggestions he himself made last week for setting up working parties to look into the level of forces and of armaments. Of course, we welcome them. The experts will have to be called in at some stage or other to get down to the complex business of working out details, and of drawing up a draft treaty. As the right hon. and learned Gentleman also said, no Government in this country would be prepared to agree to woolly proposals—that were not specifically defined—I should like to ask two questions of the Minister of Defence.

First, what, in this context, is to be the definition of an expert? Are the experts to be Service men—are they to be chiefs of staff? If they are, their labours are likely to be prolonged and inconclusive. Secondly, is a time limit to be set for their discussions? Are they to be asked to report back to the Sub-Committee, which, presumably, will report back again to the Disarmament Commission? Unless there is a time limit, the discussions will drag on as interminably as those of the Sub-Committee itself.

Of course, we would all like to have a comprehensive agreement covering conventional and non-conventional weapons, the manufacture of nuclear weapons and the elimination of stockpiles, and we must go on making every conceivable effort, and put a little more dynamism into it, to secure such an agreement. We all recognise that during the great part of these negotiations Russia has been stonewalling. We cannot acquit her of making some proposals in a cynical spirit.

Nevertheless, here we have at least a proposal made by Russia which is an advance, at any rate. She is now prepared to accept the suspension of tests with inspection and control as an immediate measure, independent of a partial disarmament agreement. The Government say that they are not prepared to accept it without the control of the manufacture of nuclear arms. They give it as their reason that the suspension will not check the arms race.

Of course, it is true that there are enough nuclear weapons in the world to-day for us to blow each other to smithereens, and it is perfectly true, there- fore, to say that suspension of tests will not affect the issue. The suspension of tests will not prevent the Russians, the Americans, or ourselves from adding to the stockpile. That is also perfectly true. But the adding to the stockpile is going on, anyway, with or without an agreement, so we should be no worse off in that respect than we are now. But it would give the first check to the arms race, because without tests there can be no development of weapons, and that, I think, is one of the most important considerations that we should have before us when we consider this matter. If, on the other hand, we turn down the Russian proposal, the alternative is that the testing, the stockpiling and the manufacturing will go on. I should have thought that an agreement of this kind on tests, as proposed by Russia, is well worth accepting.

There is great danger in delaying the suspension of tests. The United States has suggested ten months as a preliminary period. The Russians have suggested two to three years. What has happened in only the last six months? There have been six tests by America and three by Britain. In the last eighteen months Russia has had 15 tests. The circle is growing. Great Britain has become an H-bomb Power. How many more H-bomb Powers will there be in the next few months if there is not a moratorium? Who are we to complain? We are hardly in a position to blackball any country for joining the H-bomb club. All the reasons advanced by the Prime Minister for our having the bomb apply equally to other countries.

I want to ask the Government, in all sincerity and honesty, whether they think that it will be easier than it is now to suspend H-bomb tests when more countries have the bomb. I think that perhaps the most important gain in accepting a suspension is that we should have for the first time a system of inspection and control. Inspection, after all, is the key to any agreement on disarmament and it is certain that until we have a system of inspection and control worked out and tried out it will be very difficult to establish the confidence necessary to go on to wider measures of disarmament. There is no reason why we should not go on talking until kingdom come, and if the arms race goes on as at present there is a risk that it might come sooner than we think.

Therefore, I appeal most earnestly to the Government to agree to this very limited Russian proposal to take this first vital step. I believe that if they do not the people of this country will call them to account for their neglect. I beg them, in the name of all humanity, to accept, at any rate, this first, partial step.

6.25 p.m.

Vice-Admiral John Hughes Hallett (Croydon, North-East)

I count myself extremely fortunate to be able to follow the hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George)in what may of us would regard as her second maiden speech. I know that hon. Members who, like myself, have come here comparatively recently and have never heard her before have been looking forward very much to this occasion. I have a personal reason for having looked forward to hearing her because one of my unforgettable memories as a young man was hearing her father speak from the Opposition benches, and when he went into action he did so to no mean tune.

The hon. Lady in the course of her speech said that the great deterrent was, in fact, the greatest argument for disarmament. I would go further and say that it also presents the greatest opportunity for it. Later on she raised the all important question of how close are the nations to agreement. That is a matter with which I shall hope to deal later.

Among various questions that the hon. Lady put to the Government, I thought that perhaps the most difficult one was when she asked what was an expert. I suggest that one of the difficulties in the disarmament problem lies in the fact that it is one of those problems in which practically everyone regards himself as an expert. Disarmament is perhaps the supreme example of a great problem—one of the great world problems in the last forty years—in which it is so very easy to lose sight of the wood for the trees. Indeed, the wood is a very poor metaphor. It would be better described as an enormous, confusing jungle in which some of the most distinguished contemporary statesmen have got lost and wandered for the rest of their days.

Without any malice and with great respect to their integrity and knowledge, I must say that as I listened to the speeches of the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)and the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson)I was not quite sure that they had not got a little bit lost themselves. I intend to run no risk of getting lost myself because I do not intend to follow the right hon. Gentlemen into the details of the present situation. I do not intend to discuss the mass of technicalities with which the White Paper necessarily deals. I want, rather, to try to stand back for a moment and look at the problem in greater perspective, because by so doing it can be shown that the policy now being pursued by Her Majesty's Government is, in the main, absolutely right and sound.

Perhaps I might for a moment dwell on the background of the problem as I see it. It is a matter of history that between the wars successive British Governments made every possible effort to secure disarmament, and remarkably little was achieved. But one great lesson emerged and that was that there is not one problem but three problems. We have the problem of disarmament itself. We have the problem of the harmonising and the stabilising of international relations, and by that I do not mean what I thought the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan)meant when he interrupted the Foreign Secretary this afternoon. I do not mean a sort of blank cheque or an agreement not to use force. I have always felt that the Kellogg Peace Pact was not worth the paper on which it was written. Those sorts of vague agreements count for nothing. I refer to the more precise agreements relating to international difficulties.

Mr. Bevan

I do not want to be misrepresented. That was not my position at all. I asked this question: what can be the relationship between the armed force possessed by the major Powers and political settlements by negotiation, if armed force is not kept in the background as a final sanction?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I should have thought that the answer to that lies in the point which I am trying to make now. I would first mention the third co-related problem which is the establishment of an international force to keep the peace. I should have said that the great lesson to be learned from events between the wars is that those three problems are so closely interlinked that no radical solution can be found to one of them unless the nations are both able and willing to tackle the other two. That was true then, and it is still true today.

We should remember that it is the overshadowing Russian threat to Western Europe which is the thing against which, rightly or wrongly, we are arming and are armed today. It is relevant to ask ourselves what is the political nature of that threat. Is its aim simply the establishment of world revolution, the forcible setting up of Communist regimes in what are now non-Communist countries, or is it, in the other extreme, as some people suggest, simply old-fashioned Russian imperialism dressed up in new clothes? For myself, I accept neither of those theories.

I have always been tremendously impressed by something which General Smuts, as he then was, said to me as far back as 1943, prophesying with great accuracy the state in which Europe would be after the war. He warned me against interpreting the Russian threat in terms of "isms." He suggested that it was something at once more simple and elementary, namely, the pressure of a people, backward through no fault of their own in material things, against the more advanced and wealthier civilisations of the West. If that is so, as I believe it to be, there is no form of political concession which the Western nations could make which could possibly go very far to reduce the tension in the world today. It is something which only time can alter. In the meantime, we must display fortitude, constancy and, above all, patience.

As regards the military threat, there can be no question at all either as to its reality or its nature. Ever since the day when America and Great Britain demobilised, it would have been possible for the Red Army, if left to itself, to overrun Western Europe in a matter not of months but of weeks. That this has not happened has been due, I am convinced, to the invention of nuclear weapons; and in that belief I am supported by the very large majority of informed people in the world today, After all, so long as America had a monopoly of the atomic bomb, it would have been madness for Russia or any other country to become involved in war with her. It is surely no accident that the year 1948 saw not only the acquisition by Russia of the atomic bomb but also the beginning of a more threatening phase in Russian policy. However that may be, long before Russia could possibly have overtaken the lead which America had in nuclear affairs, a totally new situation was created by the invention of the hydrogen bomb.

I sometimes doubt whether the significance of the hydrogen bomb is yet fully appreciated. I noticed that the right hon. Member for Derby, South talked about a dangerous development—that is what I think he called it—in 1952. I am not at all sure that the invention of the hydrogen bomb has not left the world in a somewhat less dangerous position than it was when the atomic bomb existed by itself. After all, so long as nations were armed with bombs in the kiloton range, it was still conceivable that a great Power like Russia might think it worth her while to wage aggressive war in the belief that the prize was greater than the cost.

Mr. Sydney Silverman (Nelson and Colne)

What was the prize?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

Does the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman)wish to intervene sitting down? He asks what was the prize? I really do not think that it is necessary for me to be tempted into a long digression about possible territorial and other gains which a nation which conquers Europe and, indeed, the world might, perhaps, achieve.

Mr. Silverman

But is it not vital to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's most interesting argument'? Even without these weapons, and certainly with them, the price of war, even to a victor, must be devastatingly high. If, therefore, one is evaluating the risk that some nation may embark upon it, is it not worth while to examine what possible prize could be offered to be worth such a price?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

That may well be true, but it is, unfortunately, equally true that the hon. Gentleman and others were unable to convince, shall we say, Herr Hitler of the importance of that assessment.

The advent of the hydrogen bomb has altered the position, because we have now reached a stage in which war would undoubtedly be suicidal to a country, no matter how large or, within reason, how great its superiority over its adversaries. The hydrogen bomb has ruled out any prospect of successful military aggression by Russia or by any other country. The subsequent acquisition of the bomb by Great Britain has made this doubly sure, and it has done a great deal more than that. It has made an effective Western defence possible within the economic means of the Western Powers. If, therefore, Russia had imagined that she could achieve world Communism merely by presenting a threat and forcing the Western nations thereby to maintain armaments ruinous in their scale, that hope has largely disappeared.

In the light of these facts, it has, of course, always been in the Russian interest to have a ban on nuclear weapons. Equally, it would be incredibly foolish, and futile as well, for Great Britain to agree to such a ban unconditionally. It would be foolish because, with the ban in force, the chief deterrent, as we see it, would have gone, and it would be futile because, even supposing the ban could be negotiated and be enforced, all stocks of nuclear weapons being destroyed and the factories levelled to the ground, one thing would still remain, that is, the knowledge of how to make the bomb.

Then suppose war came. It requires little imagination to picture the frantic, desperate, life and death race to see which nation could be the first to produce a second crop of bombs. I understand that in this country it might be expected to take only two years, starting from scratch, and in the case of great nations with large resources such as America or Russia, I dare say that the time would be substantially less.

Those are the reasons why I believe that the Government are fully justified in insisting upon a concurrent reduction in conventional arms down to a level which would make the waging of large-scale aggressive war virtually impracticable by the same time as the last of the nuclear weapons was banned and banished.

Personally, I would go further. Here I come back to the point raised by the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. I would have said that before we got to that stage, it would also be prudent to insist upon at least some substantial advance towards a German settlement. After all, Germany in her present position is the danger spot in the world today.

I will resist the temptation at this stage to digress and to talk about nuclear tests. To begin with, this subject, if raised in isolation, is apt to be a red herring. I would simply say that the White Paper serves a very useful purpose in presenting it in its proper perspective, its proper relation and its proper proportion to the problem of disarmament as a whole.

I wish rather to ask the much more important question, which was posed also by the hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen of what are Russia's real intentions now and whether Russia will work seriously towards disarmament. By "disarmament" I do not mean partial disarmament. I entirely agree with my right hon. and learned Friend that there are good prospects, well worth following up, of achieving some partial degree of disarmament. I refer rather to a radical measure of disarmament such as the world has always wanted. Here, I must confess that I have become very pessimistic during the past two years.

I have become pessimistic for a number of reasons. In the first place, the Russian leaders know perfectly well that the democratic countries will not attack them. Therefore, failure to disarm cannot be said to endanger Russia in any way whatsoever.

Mr. S. Silverman

How does the hon. and gallant Member know that?

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

I am convinced that the Russians know that and that anybody who understands the processes of democratic Government knows it equally well.

Mr. Silverman

It is the exact opposite of the truth.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

Then, again, the Russian Government have no public opinion with which to compete, which means that they can watch all these affairs in the world situation in a detached and objective manner. They have, unfortunately, recently seen what at least must seem to them some apparent weaknesses in Anglo-American relations, weaknesses which I dare say they hope they can develop. They have also seen the ease with which what I would call hydrogen bomb hysteria can be generated in this country.

Therefore, I regretfully believe that on the major issue Russia is likely to stonewall. I believe that she will play for time and hope for one or more of three things to happen: either a renewal of violent agitation against tests if and when the time comes for other countries to test these weapons; widespread alarm among the American people if and when they come to believe that the United States itself is within effective range of thermonuclear weapons in a way that this country has been ever since these things were invented—and that hope may not be entirely unreasonable—or thirdly—in this. I hope, I shall not be misunderstood by hon. Members opposite—the Russians hope, perhaps, for a change of Government in this country. After all, the Labour Party has always had a pacifist wing. It has always had hon. Members with whose views, although we respect them, we disagree and who would be much easier to deal with in negotiating widespread measures of disarmament than those who are not 100 per cent. pacifist.

What is much more important, perhaps, than the prospects of deadlock is to ask whether there is anything we can do to bring the deadlock to an end. I believe that there is one line of approach which might yet be tried. Why should we not tackle the third problem which I have mentioned—that of creating an international force?

Hon. Members may have read the proposals to this end which were recently put forward by Federal Union. Although I am not a member of Federal Union, I was privileged to be associated with the drafting of those proposals and we tried to avoid some of the pitfalls which have checked progress in the past. We tried to allay fears that nations might feel for their sovereignty by making the force too small to engage national forces and the kind of force that would only go into troubled areas by invitation. We tried to obviate the risk of its being paralysed by political disagreement in moments of crisis and stultified by the indiscriminate use of the veto by delegating control to some non-political body which would be obliged to act within the framework of a previously negotiated international statute.

Time alone will show how far those proposals commend themselves to other nations. I know that I speak for all those engaged in preparing them in saying how greatly we were encouraged by the friendly reception which they received from the Foreign Secretary. Speaking purely for myself, I agree with the view of my right hon. and learned Friend that it would be a mistake for the British Government at the moment to sponsor those proposals, but to those who say that the force would be too small to be of any consequence and would be fenced in with too many restrictions to be of any use, my reply is that this is one of those matters in which we have to hasten slowly. It would be fatal to rush things. If it took fifty years to build up confidence in this concept of an international force, I would say that fifty years is a mere nothing in the passage of time when these great international issues are at stake.

Some of my friends who are not perhaps quite so keen on international things have said to me, "Your force looks very innocent, but it is the thin end of the wedge." Most certainly it is the thin end of an enormous wedge. a wedge of gold and one which might yet prise open the door and the gateway into the Dark Tower of international hatreds and fears and let in the forces of peace and reason.

To return to my main theme, I reiterate my confidence that the Government's broad approach to this problem is the right one. I would pay hon. and right hon. Members opposite the compliment of saying that were they in power today. I do not believe their policy would be so very different. One would not, however, imagine that from what is going on in the constituencies, where people who purport to speak for the Labour Party are addressing rallies, demanding the abolition of all nuclear weapons, accompanying delegations to see their Member of Parliament, demanding the abolition of all tests unconditionally and giving the impression to the electorate that if only the Government changed, the fear of nuclear war would be removed from the country overnight. I seriously submit that right hon. Members who sit on the Front Bench opposite should repudiate those ideas. I think they should be at pains to show that the differences on this great issue between the two sides of the House are not really so very great.

Mr. S. Silverman

They are fundamental.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

The ability of any British Government or of any British Foreign Secretary to make this country's weight felt on a great controversial international issue of this nature depends upon the knowledge by the rest of the world that he is speaking, in the main, for the country as a whole. I believe most fervently that the Opposition should rise above the temptation to make a party issue of this matter, even though some votes may be gained by doing so, which I very much doubt. Those votes would be bought at the expense of Britain's influence on an issue which both sides of the House of Commons and all people of good will in this country have permanently at heart.

6.51 p.m.

Mr. G. A. Pargiter (Southall)

I found some difficulty in following the logic of the argument of the hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), who said that at one period Russia could easily have overrun the West and that the only deterrent to doing that was the fact that America had the atom bomb.

I would have thought that, had she had any intention of that kind, it would have been precisely the opposite, because she would have sought to have established herself—and it is admitted that she could have done—within a few weeks in Western Europe and have presented America with a fait accompli.

Could America then have bombed Western Europe with atom bombs? That, surely, is the argument, and I would have thought that that argument, and anything adduced in support of it, must fall on that very simple basis alone.

The fact is that at that time there was no question of the atom bomb being a deterrent as such as far as Russia in relation to Western Europe was concerned. We are always reading into this the bogy of what Russia intended to do, and on every occasion up to now, it has been proved false and always has remained unprovable. The whole case is built up on unprovable foundations. That seems to me to be the fallacy and the tragedy of the conditions with which we find ourselves faced, and the arguments being adduced constantly from the benches opposite in support of a policy which is itself untenable.

We heard today from the Foreign Secretary a statement which, I think, was pedestrian, unimaginative, historically accurate, perhaps, but showing very little regard for the urgency of the present situation or hope for the future. I could not read into what he said the optimism which he sought to imply about the possibilities of agreement. In the first place, the right hon. and learned Gentleman confirmed—and this, to me, is one of the alarming things about the position—the statement by the Minister of Defence on 16th April, in which he said: There will be no real safety in the world until there is disarmament. I think we are all agreed about that, but I think that most of us would agree that nuclear disarmament by itself would be disastrous…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th April. 1957 Vol. 568, c. 1759.] That was the Government's policy then, and that is the Government's policy today, as expressed by the Foreign Secretary.

That in itself is a disastrous approach to the problem with which we are faced. The problem is vital, because we have had the argument adduced that if we had the banning of nuclear weapons and the destruction of existing stocks of nuclear weapons, Russia would have an overwhelming advantage in conventional weapons, and, therefore, because of the overwhelming advantage which she would have, the West must retain stocks of nuclear weapons, and, if so, there could he no question of doing anything about the manufacture of nuclear weapons. That is the logic of the case. Someone must have the courage to cut through this argument.

We also heard the Foreign Secretary say, when dealing with the tremendous strides made in the manufacture of ordinary, conventional weapons, that it will be possible to destroy the world with conventional weapons just as effectively as with nuclear weapons. No one disputes that as a possibility, except that it would take a lot longer to do it, and that, in the process of doing it, it would probably ruin the country that began it more effectively than the others, because there is a measure of defence against conventional weapons. We could defend ourselves very reasonably against conventional weapons, whereas defence against nuclear weapons, as is admitted by the Minister of Defence himself, is most unlikely or, at least, highly improbable.

Let us look at the position of Britain. If we are to be the advance base or advance defence ring of Western democracy, because that is what it amounts to, and if America is the main line of defence, because that is undoubtedly American policy, then, if nuclear weapons are continued and used, our interest in the matter would very soon be finished. It would be small satisfaction to the people of this country, if they were being wiped out, to have the certain knowledge that America would attack the Russians with nuclear weapons and wipe them out, also. We should not be there to see the effect of it.

In any case, it is morally a bad argument. If the use of weapons of this kind ought not to be permitted, if it is bad to use these weapons, if it is completely immoral to use weapons of this kind on the civilian populations, is it right to say, even if we are liable to be attacked by these weapons, that we have a right to use them in attacking another country?

If we stand on moral grounds, we have no case at all with regard to nuclear weapons. We have a right to defend ourselves in the ordinary way against any aggression which might occur against us, but the extent to which we impose destruction on other countries is a matter for the conscience of the people. They must decide whether they think they ought to do it in any circumstances.

Let us look at some of the latest statements that have been made. Our people are being lulled into a sense of false security by Government statements that it is now possible to produce a "clean" hydrogen bomb; in other words, the bomb will be more and more effective as an explosive, but that there will be no after effects, and, therefore, we need not worry ourselves about it. I think that the President of the United States went so far as to say that it would now be possible to attack military targets effectively, but without any after effects.

What are military targets in modern warfare? They are the cities of the enemy. They are always those targets where one seeks to destroy the will of the people to make war or to continue war. Therefore, it is no longer a question of attacking front line armies anywhere; that is not the policy to be pursued. The attack will inevitably be carried out, however it is carried out, against the cities of the nation to be attacked, so that I do not think that we have much to say with regard to whether we use "clean" or "unclean" hydrogen bombs, because the effect will be that the attacks will not he made against military targets.

The military target is now the morale of the people, and the best way to destroy the morale of the people is to go behind the enemy's lines. We proved that in the 1914–18 war, and we proved it again when we destroyed Japanese cities in the Second World War and ended the fighting. We destroyed two of her cities, and we would be bound to do the same thing again, because no country involved in war will not do that sort of thing.

I shall not be particularly popular on this side of the Committee, any more than I am on the other, in advocating what I believe to be absolutely essential at present, but someone has to take the lead. I do not believe that anything will come out of the existing debates on disarmament, because we shall hedge it round with so many restrictions of one sort or another that it will not be effective. But someone has to give a lead at some time, some day. I believe that Britain can give that lead, and I do not believe that from any emotional or pacifist point of view. It is Britain's duty now to say, "We will no longer manufacture nuclear weapons. We will not test them, or engage in any form of research in nuclear weapons. We will abolish them."

I believe that is the spirit in which we ought to go to the Disarmament Sub-Committee. Just imagine what sort of conditions would be created if there were a Foreign Secretary who went to the Disarmament Sub-Committee, or to a disarmament conference, and said, "My Government have decided that we shall no longer manufacture nuclear weapons and what stocks of them we have we will destroy." Would that not be a lead? Would it not be the right lead for the world? Would it not be a better lead than simply agreement about having a control post here or a control post there? Would it not, moreover, be likely to achieve a good result in the last analysis from Britain's point of view?

Britain has the least to lose from such a proposal because, let us recollect, Britain is the front line and in any nuclear war Britain will be the first to be wiped out. If we have nuclear weapons, or if nuclear weapons are based in this country, then the certainty is absolute that we here shall be wiped out in the event of a nuclear war. That is incontrovertible. As I said a moment ago, the fact that there might be a counter-attack which would wipe out the enemy Power would be a small consolation to the people here who would be wiped out. Certainly, they would not know anything about the counter-attack, or its result.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

Why does the hon. Gentleman think that such a lead as he proposes we should take would be more effective apropos nuclear weapons than conventional? After all, we have just announced the virtual halving of our conventional forces, but there has been no rush on the part of other countries to announce corresponding reductions.

Mr. Pargiter

Because I believe that the people of the world generally are seized of the immense possibility for destruction of nuclear weapons, and are anxious to see those weapons abolished. I believe that if any one country, being in possession of such weapons itself, were to take the lead at this time, as I have suggested Britain should, the moral pressure which would be applied in consequence throughout the world would be such that no other country—neither Russia nor Amercia—could withstand the pressure to abolish those weapons.

It may be argued that if we were to do that it would leave Russia with overwhelming power in conventional arms. From the other side of the Committee we hear from time to time arguments, which seem inconceivable sometimes, about there being internal stresses in the Soviet Union, and about how, therefore, the Soviet Union is weakened because it has such difficulties. The impression which hon. Members on the other side of the Committee seem to have or would seem to wish to give is that the Soviet Union will fall to pieces any time. Yet, at the same time, we are told about this massive power of the Soviet Union.

The contradiction does not seem to make any sense. If there are those internal stresses and strains in the Soviet Union that hon. Members opposite say there are, then the Soviet Union could not effectively support a war. There are people on the other side of the Committee who do not want to do anything about the abolition of nuclear weapons because of the problem of the conventional weapons. I accept that they sincerely believe that. They use the bogy of the overwhelming power of the Soviet Union in conventional weapons in support of their point of view about maintaining nuclear weapons.

However, I would ask the Government to reconsider this position at this stage, to reconsider the policy of making the reduction or abolition of nuclear weapons conditional upon limitations on conventional weapons. It is quite obvious that if America has a stock of nuclear weapons which outweighs the balance of power in conventional weapons that Russia may have, Russia will not agree to a reduction of conventional weapons; and that as long as nuclear weapons remain America will not agree to abolition of her stocks of nuclear weapons unless Russia accepts the abolition of conventional weapons or their reduction. So we have stalemate. Unless this country gives a lead more and more countries will go in for the manufacture of nuclear weapons, and then the outlook for the future will be grim indeed.

If Britain will give a lead, and say that she is not prepared merely to tag along behind other countries in detailed discussions which, however well meant, do not fundamentally alter the situation, it will be, I believe, to the benefit not only of this country but ensure the future of the world.

7.5 p.m.

Mr. I. J. Pitman (Bath)

I will not follow the hon. Member for Southall (Mr. Pargiter)because I think that either the pacifist extremity is quite logical and applicable or the realist is quite applicable, and I think that he is half way in between, and that the interests of the people of Southall are closely bound up with the question not of giving a lead but of ensuring that they are in a secure position or at any rate as secure a position as they can be in a world which is at present devoted to a balance of power based on the sovereign right of every nation to attack every other nation if it thinks that is the best way of it defending itself. That is the situation in which we are, but I do not wish to deal with that. I would rather go to more fundamental questions.

I would say that we in this Committee are making the mistake of equating disarmament with peace. We are even making the mistake of equating disarmament with security. Disarmament is neither peace nor is it even security, because implicit in disarmament and sovereignty is rearmament. We have to recognise that disarmament really is of value on two counts. It is of value for economy; and it is of value for the slower trigger, or the slow fuse, which it may put to a world conflagration which would otherwise break out very much more quickly. Those of us who remember the disarmament between the wars, in the 'thirties, and the terrific haste with which rearmament took place all over the world would, I claim, concede both points; first, the enormous value to the economy, for we were then as we are now spending fantastic sums on armaments; and, secondly, the length of time spent in preparation. I believe, too, that we will all concede equally the fact that sovereignty implies the right and the duty to rearm and if necessary to get into a war—as, indeed, we did get into a war. As I say, rearmament, because it is the counterpart of disarmament, is really the recognition that there is still persisting the possibility of war.

Do let us realise that with all these modern weapons we are no longer in a position in which the Foreign Secretary or the Minister of Defence could give us in this nation any security. What he can do is to achieve a relative insecurity. Not even America is secure. Not even Russia is secure. All that either can achieve by its armaments is a sense of even greater insecurity in the other nation, and that insecurity is brought about by all forms of armament. It is not only the nuclear. The right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)was quite right when he emphasised the chemical, biological and neurological aspects of war.

So let us get it quite clear in our own minds that we will not get security by disarmament. A treaty is nothing more than the black marks of ink on a white paper, and inherent in the balance of power and in the concept of sovereignty is the fact that if need is compelling it will be regarded as only ink on paper, so that if a nation really feels it must rearm it will rearm with all the consequences of that. What disarmament can do is to give only economy not security, and economy ought never to be as important as security.

We in this Committee ought not to overlook what the Prime Minister said when he was Minister of Defence and when he emphasised that agreement about these things must be comprehensive and cover the whole range of armaments, not only the nuclear but the conventional and, indeed, the biochemical and neurological and all the rest of them, and that there must be an authority to ensure any such disarmament. In other words, he was saying what I am now trying to say—that disarmament is not enough. We must build an authority which will see to it that that disarmament is a transfer of arms from those who would misuse them to those who will ensure that security is given to those who are handing over their arms.

Let us look at the growth of central authority and see what happened in all European countries. There were feudal armies and feudal castles, and it was not just the disarming of feudal private armies, it was the rise of a central authority that really gave security and enforced peace. When a burglar bursts into our property we dial 999, which is jolly effective. It is far more effective than keeping a sword downstairs. We might get beaten by the burglar, and anyhow the police are not going to get beaten. The police must be invincible. The important point that we have to recognise ultimately is that if there is to be this authority about which the Prime Minister was speaking it must be an invincible authority. It must be capable of giving greater security to the people who have renounced the sovereign right to protect themselves, the right to give themselves, as they think, security but in point of fact the other fellow insecurity.

It is therefore absolutely essential that that authority should have the monopoly of any capacity to launch the weapons. I put that as even more important than their manufacture. When it comes to biological, chemical, or neurological stuff, it is the long-range weapon that gets the stuff there that is really much the more important thing to ensure is under such control.

When we hear "Who goes home?" we no longer draw our swords and protect each other. That is not because our constituents outside are any better than they were. It is because we enjoy new and better institutions. The English and the Scots, in the Scottish Grand Committee and elsewhere, do not have the bloody wars that they had long ago. It is not because the English or the Scots are better, it is because they have a new institution, not an English Government or a Scottish Government, but a new central authority, the British Government, and that principle of the creation of a new institution has to be carried into the field of security for nations.

We are not worse than our successors of many years to come will be, and they, no doubt, will have such a central authority. We are not worse in talking of arming, disarming and rearming in the way we do. It is just that we are lacking that central authority about which the Prime Minister spoke.

However, we have now in front of us the problem of the United Nations Emergency Force. I would say that in parallel with setting up working parties which will get us the economics of disarmament we should set up working parties to see how we can establish a permanent United Nations force, which may slowly grow and give us the realities we wish out of disarmament, which are security and peace. Those are the two things we want.

Clearly, we cannot accept the reliability of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We must recognise that we cannot accept as reliable even the Security Council. Both are nothing else hut the projection of the diplomacy of the nation itself into the United Nations. If the House of Commons were divided into Government and Opposition by representatives of Scotland and representatives of England, it would not do what Britain as a united Scotland and England wanted done. It would be just transferring those age-old battles between Scotland and England into a constitu- tional form, which would lead to war just the same, and perhaps a more bitter one.

Therefore, we must set up for the control of disarmament a new element which is not a deputed representative of the Governments concerned. This is where the proposal of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon. North-West (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett)is so good, because it put forward for consideration a proposal for setting up a new body or military council which would not be in any way composed of deputies or representatives of the Governments concerned, but would be charged with the job of giving security and maintaining peace, by taking up the arms which the nations were laying down.

I hope that the Committee has been with me in thinking that it was worth while making this intervention to make sure that we are not deceiving ourselves into equating disarmament with peace and with security, when all that it comes to is to give us the secondary of economy and it can never, never achieve the primary which the world so greatly wants, that is, peace and security for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.

7.15 p.m.

Mr. George Thomas (Cardiff, West)

I am very glad to follow the hon. Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman), particularly since I agreed so much with a great deal of his peroration. I was glad to find that I was in harmony with the hon. Member at that point. I believe that the world is hungry for fraternity. I believe that today we have revealed that we are bringing to this momentous question of disarmament the same sterile ideas as we have brought to it through past years. It is perfectly clear that the old ways have failed us. The old modes of thinking have failed us. The militarist has failed us. We have followed the militarist down through the corridors of time and almost invariably he has led us to the battlefield and to disaster.

It is strange that nations never seem to learn that security does not lie in overwhelming strength and that the most nervous nations in the world today are not the small, disarmed or unarmed nations but the mightiest nations. The United States is far more nervous than Denmark or Finland, which are nearer to the U.S.S.R. than is the United States. Today, the United States has over 50 per cent. of its economy linked to the production of weapons of war, and for the United States disarmament brings more problems than rearmament.

Unhappily, we are dealing with circumstances which make It clear that it is no longer just a struggle between the Soviet bloc and the Western bloc that is impeding the path of disarmament. I have a fear that there are those who have a vested interest in keeping going the present high rate of armament. I am not here as an apologist for the Soviet Union, as the Committee well knows, but whenever the Soviet Union accepts a point or a demand that we submit, we change our ground. We have been seen changing our ground in recent days. The Minister of Defence has said recently that we must have the deterrent. Mr. Khrushchev, speaking to Japanese editors, has used language almost identical to that of the Minister of Defence in arguing that the Soviet Union is entitled to have the H-bomb. Every argument that the United States and Great Britain advance for the manufacture of the hydrogen bomb and for storing it is an argument advanced by the Soviet Union itself.

They say they cannot give a unilateral lead for they would leave themselves defenceless. It was Mr. Khrushchev who said that he did not agree with certain Japanese leaders that the Soviet Union should unilaterally discontinue the tests. If the U.S.S.R. did so while other nuclear countries continued to test weapons, he pointed out, the Soviet Union would lag behind. Nothing would be achieved by such a Soviet action, he said, because sooner or later the U.S.S.R. would be forced to resume the tests and armaments would be stepped up on a still greater scale. Therefore, we find that the same argument against any unilateral action is advanced by the Soviet Union as is advanced in the House of Commons and also in Washington.

The hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett), who has had to leave the Committee, indicated that war is suicide. I submit to the Committee that no more shall we see any major war waged with conventional weapons alone. I think we had better accept the fact that we have moved into the nuclear age, and that, if there is any war again, if it starts with conventional weapons it will end with nuclear weapons. Since we have a prime duty in this Committee to ensure the security of our people, we must acknowledge that there is no security as long as there is a threat of nuclear weapons. Somebody has to break through this miasma of fear which surrounds us and give a new lead.

Who could give a lead in disarmament better than this little island country? We possess—against my will—the hydrogen bomb. We have tested it in the teeth of clamouring from all over the world and of clamouring at home, in which I shared -in this House of Commons. We have proved that we have the weapon, and how much more secure are we as that our people can sleep in peace at night? We still have fear, despite our tests, despite the hydrogen bomb. Apparently we still have to increase our armaments and bear this inflationary burden, which is today our major domestic problem on the home front.

There is nothing more inflationary than the squandering of our resources on military strength which proves illusory, and which is not strength at all. So I suggest that the question of Great Britain giving a lead on the hydrogen bomb is one which we ought to be facing in this Committee today. It is a spectacular way in which we can give a lead. It will help to break through the old conventional thinking, for we have not yet readjusted our thinking in terms of the hydrogen bomb age.

I want to address to this question certain arguments on the morality of armaments. The hon. and gallant Member for Croydon, North-East said that there was one way we had not tried. I thought he was about to suggest the way that I shall suggest, but he had another way—Federal Union. I respect the sincerity of the hon. and gallant Member and of the hon. Member for Bath, but I say that we have not yet tried the Christian way. We make a great deal of the fact that we are seeking to win the world to our Christian way of life. We are losing the war in the battle of ideas; we are losing the Far East to the Soviet Union, because we are presenting two fronts to the world. We are posing as a Christian nation and we are behaving as anything but a Christian nation when our fear is such that we believe our security depends on joining in the armaments race with the Soviet Union and the U.S.A.

I should like to see this country take a step forward at the Disarmament Sub-Committee by announcing that, whatever others did, we would pledge ourselves neither to manufacture any more, nor to store nor use, these nuclear weapons. I believe that they are offensive to the highest teachings we accept for our personal conduct, and therefore as a basis for society. If we give a lead in this direction, it cannot fail to have its effect in the realm of conventional weapons.

We are assured that our security at present rests upon the fact that if we were attacked we should be able to wipe out some of the cities of the nation which attacked us. This argument does not hold water. There is not one Member of the Committee who does not realise that this little country, if ever it is attacked with nuclear weapons, is finished before it can retaliate, and that the war would be over for our people. The security of our people lies, therefore, in major steps towards disarmament, and I hope that we shall break away from the old power bloc arguments, shifting ground all the time, resolving that whatever happens we shall keep on in the old military terms, that we shall keep our balance of power.

It has been our privilege in the past to wield a great influence in the world, out of proportion to our size. That has been largely because of the things for which we have stood. Today we have an opportunity to capture the imagination of the awakening coloured people of the world and of manifesting the sincerity of the faith which we profess to hold when we send our missionaries to other lands.

I earnestly hope that both Front Benches will realise that there is a growing clamour amongst the peoples for a lead on disarmament to be taken by some Government. From my point of view, no Government is better fitted for this action than Her Majesty's Government, holding the key position as she does between the East and the West.

7.19 p.m.

Mr. David Price (Eastleigh)

I have considerable sympathy for the general tenor of the remarks made by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). I think, though, that he concentrated too much on the purely disarmament side and that the wider arguments deployed by my hon. Friend the Member for Bath (Mr. Pitman)need further consideration.

All of us who have endeavoured to follow the course of disarmament discussions, starting from 1945 through to present, must have felt at times a strong sense of discouragement—discouragement against the background of a world in a hurry. I feel sure, however, that little blame for the failure to achieve any tangible results lies upon Her Majesty's Government or upon their predecessors. When one reads the documents which are available one cannot help being impressed by the willingness that has constantly ben shown by representatives of both Governments as they have spoken in the name of the British people at these discussions.

It is worth recalling that in 1945 the most radical proposal yet made on the nuclear side was put forward under the name of the Baruch proposals. I would remind the Committee that the American proposal was for an international authority which would own all fissionable material and hold it in trust for all the nations of the world—fissionable material not only for military use, but for peaceful use.

I am not happy at the easy distinction which some hon. Members have been making between the military use and peaceful use of fissionable material. If hon. Members studied the advances in nuclear physics they would see that it is possible to have fissionable material prepared apparently for peaceful uses, and yet it would be possible, by means of simple military equipment and arrangements, to release it as radioactive dust which could have equally devastating effects upon the world. The original proposal by Baruch would cover any possibility of, as it were, cheating under schemes for dealing merely with the military use of fissionable material.

Since the proposals of 1945 we have had the Western proposals of May, 1952, and the Anglo-French plan of 1954, which was revised in 1956. Reading through the accounts of the discussions, one cannot help being impressed by the fact that we were up against constant Russian opposition to effective disarmament. Some hon. Members may feel that that is a rather harsh judgment, but I call as my evidence some remarks by the present ruler of Russia, Mr. Khrushchev, who, if my newspaper has reported him correctly, said, on 7th July: Dulles once claimed that the Soviet had tried for months to torpedo disarmament talks. Unfortunately, this imperialist statesman was practically right. Only it was not the Soviet which tried to torpedo the talks, but Molotov, Kaganovich and Shepilov. When we have it from as good an authority as that, who are we in this Chamber to question the reasons why the talks were torpedoed? We hope that now these gentlemen have been removed from their positions representing the Soviet Government we shall be able to look more hopefully to the future. Whether they are managing nuclear power stations, we have not yet been informed.

Mr. S. Silverman

Is the hon. Gentleman accepting Khrushchev as an acceptable witness only when he says things with which he agrees, or does he accept all that Khrushchev says?

Mr. Price

The hon. Member knows very well that witnesses vary very considerably. The hon. Member often makes use of statements by people with whom he does not normally travel, if it helps his argument to do so. That is legitimate, and it is often done.

Mr. Silverman

The hon. Gentleman has not answered my question.

Mr. Price

I never answer the hon. Gentleman's questions.

When one reads through the discussions one has every reason to congratulate the Western statesmen—and, above all, those representing both Administrations that this country has had since the end of the war—upon their perseverance.

We have heard during the debate that our main aim must be general disarmament. The Minister of Defence, in a recent debate, told us that there would be no real safety in the world until there was disarmament. I do not think that any of us would disagree with that. However, I suggest that there are four fundamental factors which have to be dealt with satisfactorily before we can have general disarmament.

The first factor is that it must be comprehensive, covering conventional arms as well as nuclear arms. I would point out that we have already set an example in conventional disarmament in that our level of manpower is already below the first stage proposed in the Anglo-French plan.

The second fundamental factor is that there must be adequate methods of control and supervision. It is no use expecting countries to sign treaties unless they have certainty that they will be honoured by all. It is no good staying, "Let us trust each other." The reason why we have a high level of armaments is that we have not trusted each other, and there have been good reasons for our lack of trust. Consequently, we must have proper control and supervision. With great respect to my elders and betters, I do not see how that can be done outside some form of international order with some surrender of national sovereignty.

Thirdly, following from the establishment of adequate methods of control and supervision, there must be adequate sanctions available to whatever body is chosen to exercise control, in order to enforce compliance. We can imagine the state of affairs when a certain country—hon. Members can make up their minds whether they wish to imagine it as the United States or Russia—goes ahead and. as I suggested earlier, distorts the fissionable materials which it is making for its normal peaceful use and develops a form of weapon. The information will be likely to reach the control system, and it will become suspicious. The international authority must have some sanction behind it to stop that nation—

Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)

What sort of sanction?

Mr. Price

I should say the sanction already hinted at by my hon. Friend the Member for Bath—force. It must be an international force. I do not think we can hope to get disarmament in a complete and comprehensive sense without the establishment of some form of international police force.

I would remind the Committee what the Foreign Secretary said at the Eighth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in November, 1953: In my country most people feel secure, for example, against the crime of robbery with violence. We do not feel secure just because there is a law against it, or because judges have said it is a very wicked crime. Nor would we feel secure if the leading criminals were to announce that they did not intend to rob anybody violently in the future. The reason we feel secure is because we know that there is a fully competent police force, backed by public opinion, with the necessary powers and authority to prevent this crime… That is the basis for sanctions and a proper system of control. Without sanctions we shall not get comprehensive disarmament. I will come presently to what I believe we can do in partial disarmament, but at the moment we are looking at our ultimate aim.

Fourthly, we must have political settlements. I would draw the attention of the Committee to a phrase used by the Pope in his famous Christmas broadcast in 1955: Efforts towards peace must consist not only in measures aimed at restricting the possibility of waging war, but even more in preventing, or eliminating, or lessening with time, the quarrels between nations which might lead to war. So one comes almost inescapably to the need for an international order, if these conditions are to be fulfilled.

When one starts to discuss an international order one raises the whole question of national sovereignty. I believe that the world is becoming too small. Modern science has removed the cushion of distance. It is no longer in the interests of our people to talk about national sovereignty in the narrow, nineteenth century sense of the word. Therefore, it seems to me that when we address ourselves to what it is possible to do at present, we must consider two parallel lines of action. One is to go ahead with the talks about partial disarmament between the great Powers; not because the smaller Powers are not entitled to take part, but because the great Powers are a reality in the world as we find it today. On the other hand, we must do everything possible to try to strengthen and build up international order and the rule of law throughout the world.

I find myself in agreement with a lot of what has already been said about partial disarmament. However, I wish to comment on the Russian proposal of the denunciation by the major Powers of the use of nuclear weapons. That to me seems unrealistic, for reasons which have already been given. I wish to ask my right hon. Friend whether it would be possible to link together a degree of disarmament in conventional weapons with parallel moves towards disarmament in nuclear weapons. For example, there could be the first stage of a reduction in manpower to coincide with the giving up of nuclear tests—something on those lines.

Regarding the wider argument, advanced by a number of hon. Members, about this country giving a moral lead and about trust, I may be somewhat of a cynic but, both as a man who believes in original sin and as a scientist taught to look at human nature as it is, I am not prepared to trust people straight off unless they show reason why I should trust them; and particularly when there exists good evidence for not trusting them. It is no use pretending that there is trust when, clearly, there is not, as we know from our experience of the Russians—and no doubt the Russians would say the same from their experience of us. We must remember that the Russian rulers are Marxists and one cannot ignore Marxist preaching which holds that the only morality is the interest of the State as interpreted by the Russian rulers, by the Politburo, and that there is no objective immorality as the hon. Member for Cardiff, West and I would recognise the term.

I wish to draw attention to a very significant remark made by Thomas Merton, the Cistercian poet, who said: Will you end wars by asking men to trust men who evidently cannot he trusted'? No, teach them to love and trust God: then they will be able to love the men they cannot trust and will dare to make peace with them, not trusting in them, but in God. When one examines the character of the Russian leaders and recognises that they still adhere to the view that religion is an opium for the masses and give every indication of ignoring and villifying every tenent of the Christian religion—it seems to me that to trust them is going further than even a statesman could go. It may be asked of us as individuals that we should be martyrs, but I do not believe that as politicians and statesmen we are entitled to ask martyrdom of our people, although, as individuals, we may have the power ourselves personally to set that example.

To conclude my general views on what I think should be done now, I would say that we should go ahead towards partial disarmament with the problem of conventional arms and nuclear weapons running parallel. With that we should try to strengthen international order. I believe that the idea of Federal Union put forward by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Croydon, North-East (Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett)and my hon. Friend the Member for Bath and by other hon. Members, merits our serious attention. Here we have the chance to develop an international police force.

It may be very small, but everything starts from a small beginning. Let us nourish it and let us build it up and the time will come when we shall be able to hand over to a United Nations force many of the arms which, as sovereign nations, we are proposing to give up, so that in time we shall have a reliable international police force. I hope that it will be within my lifetime and that I shall see the day when national armies have completely disappeared and all that we are left with is an international police force which will have the trust of the peoples of the world in the same way as the Metropolitan Police Force has the confidence of the people of London.

Do not let us confuse the concept of peace with the absence of war. Peace is a positive concept. Our own peace programme cannot approve of an indiscriminate co-existence at all costs with everybody—certainly not at the cost of truth and justice. Before we can be satisfied that our disarmament proposals will result in peace, we must be prepared to deal with the many cases of injustice in the world. I see this as a great challenge. The mere giving up of armaments is not enough. What is needed is a positive conception and positive action, and this raises great problems.

It would be much easier to settle back in the little honeycombs of our sovereign States and let the bees suck the honey out of the little combs. But we have to face these great problems. If we do not, the honeycombs will be smashed in. I should not like it ever to be said of this or any other generation that the honeycombs were smashed because we had not the courage to face up to the great issues which are involved in establishing real peace in the world.

7.48 p.m.

Mr. Julius Silverman (Birmingham, Aston)

I wish to make one or two comments on the speech of the hon. Member for Eastleigh (Mr. D. Price). The hon. Gentleman referred to a world authority, a world government. I can understand the point of view of people who believe in that idea, but I found the later remarks of the hon. Gentleman somewhat confusing. After all, the problem in the world today and the difficulty which faces these disarmament conferences is one of confidence. We cannot get world government or a world authority unless we have supreme confidence and until we have demolished the suspicions which divide the world today. Until we have done that any hope of world government must be deferred indefinitely.

I suggest to the hon. Gentleman that when he says, "Of course, we cannot trust one another", and that if he really believes that—

Mr. D. Price

I do.

Mr. Silverman

—he can drop his idea of world government. World government demands the most supreme form of trust. I think most hon. Members believe that world government is desirable, ultimately. It is part and parcel of the Charter, ultimately. The difficulty is that the Russians will not trust a world police force now, because they believe the policeman will be an American policeman; and Americans will not trust world government because they believe that the policeman will be a Russian, or perhaps an Indian. So long as we have this sort of suspicion and this sort of fear which divides the world today I am afraid the hon. Member must postpone his ideas of world government, and that will be for a very long time. We have to get down to the problem of confidence and the removal of fear.

The hon. Member referred to stage by stage agreement. Many of us sympathise with that. It is the idea of timing a certain stage of nuclear disarmament with a certain stage of conventional disarmament. That was the basis of the Franco-British proposal in 1954, but what happened? At that time the Russians disagreed with those proposals. The Americans were also going to disagree with those proposals, but, when they found the Russians disagreed, they decided to agree with the French proposals. Then a strange thing happened. In May, 1955, the Russians adopted those proposals and put them forward as their own. immediately the British, French and Americans ran away from those proposals.

Mr. Bevan

We have never been told why.

Mr. Silverman

No, we have never been told why, as was pointed out by my right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker). That makes one wonder to what extent these Governments are serious about the problem of disarmament. We have been told time and time again that the atom bomb is necessary as a deterrent against the Russians because of their enormous manpower and their great Army. Along came the Russians and said, "We will reduce this manpower to 1,500,000 for us, the same for America, the same for China, and smaller forces for Britain and France." That removes the threat of the Russian masses, about which we have been told ever since 1945; but what happened to that? It was rejected by the Western Powers—again we have never been told why.

What is quite amazing is the attitude of this country. We were told in the last White Paper on the subject that this country proposed unilaterally to reduce its conventional forces to 375,000 men, yet for some reason or another it stands by the Americans in refusing to accept this reduction of conventional weapons. Under those circumstances, the use of the hydrogen bomb as a counterbalance to conventional forces becomes entirely meaningless.

Let us face the facts about atomic weapons. We are still using outworn words which have no meaning today. We talk about defence and have debates on defence, but there is no such thing as defence today. Today, if there is aggression there is a war and the hydrogen bomb is exploded. It means the end, not only of the aggressor, but the end of humanity—certainly the end of this country. Defence used to have a meaning. It meant that one repelled the enemy. One might suffer damage and loss, but one repelled the enemy and survived. The object of defence was survival. Now it is not defence, it is mutual destruction and suicide, yet we talk about it as defence.

We talk about security and say we must be very cautious about how we deal with this matter; we must not give away too much because we shall part with our security. What sort of security is this which threatens to destroy the whole of humanity? We are talking about our hydrogen bombs yet anything could go wrong. Who knows that it cannot go wrong? We call that security and the Government are completely complacent about the situation. We are facing a most dangerous situation in the history of humanity. Sometime, in some country, some madman may obtain control. Sometime fear may light the match, but Governments say, "We are secure. We have got the hydrogen bomb and it affords us security."

We talk about a deterrent. Is not it really nonsense to do so? When we have a deterrent against a criminal the criminal is punished—the criminal may be destroyed—but here what is threatened is not the punishment of the aggressor, but the destruction of society. To use the word "deterrent" is completely meaningless nonsense in the context of the world today. Again I say that the problem is one of establishing confidence. We do not trust the Russians, but please remember the Russians also do not trust us. The problem is how we can break that impasse.

Let us take one of the practical problems which have arisen in this disarmament conference. We have proposed that there should be a cessation of production of bombs from fissile materials. What do the Russians think about that? They say "That is all very well. You are proposing stopping production of further fissile material for use in bombs by March, 1959, nearly two years ahead. By the end of that period, large stocks of fissile material will have been accumulated on both sides, sufficient probably to destroy the world several times over. These provisions still allow a continuation of the production of bombs from that point and there is no provision whatever, except the most woolly one, about dealing with accumulated stocks." The disarmament agreement will allow for gradual destruction of those stocks.

The Russians say "That is all very well. You want to send in your inspectors to look at our factories and get blue prints of them. How on earth can we allow that if you are to retain this huge stock of hydrogen bombs?" I am not suggesting for a moment that that is the intention of the Western Powers, but here again we see this crisis of confidence. The Russians then say, "We want you to accompany this by a renunciation of the use of the hydrogen bomb on which the Western Powers rely." It is easy to understand this. The West replies, "It is all very well talking about renunciation of the use of the hydrogen bomb, but how do we know that you are not going to deceive us and cheat us?"

We have this crisis of confidence in which neither side trusts the other. We have suggested that one of the ways of breaking it is to enter a limited agreement on the suspension of nuclear tests. At any rate, it could form a basis for confidence.

We should then have tried out some control arrangements to see how they worked and to see whether both sides played the game, and we should have established confidence. But if we continue to attach one thing to another and to attach the ending of atomic bomb tests to a long, difficult and complicated procedure of stopping production and the control apparatus involved, together with a limitation on conventional arms and with certain other conditions which I understand that the Americans at present attach, then no progress will be made. I am told that certain unspecified political conditions have been attached to the reduction in armaments, conventional and otherwise, and I shall be glad to hear what is the attitude of the British Government. I shall be glad to hear that this is not so.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. David Ormsby-Gore)

Not in the first stage.

Mr. Silverman

The first stage is very limited.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

But the hon. Member is in favour of it.

Mr. Silverman

We are all in favour of it, but the point is that the first stage is attached to all the other stages and they are all part of one package deal. That is why we say that we should isolate the first stage, because we could wipe out all these conditions which make the reaching of agreement very much more difficult.

We believe that the Government must get on with the job. I do not think that sufficient is being done. Moreover, I am not very happy about the suggestion that there was a larger measure of agreement than in fact was the case. Some of us were led to believe a few weeks ago that the situation was fairly bright and optimistic, at any rate in respect of a partial agreement. While a partial agreement would not be enough in itself, it would be something on which we could build.

There is not the slightest doubt that since then the position has deteriorated. Some of us would like to know why and would like to know what forces are behind the deterioration. Is it the Pentagon? It has even been said, and might well be repeated in the House, that one of the forces which has created difficulties and is behind the deterioration in the situation consists of the Governments of this country and France. We should be relieved to hear that this is not so. Let us bear in mind that it has been freely said in the American Press and throughout the world that it is not the America State Department which is the nigger in the woodpile but our own Government and the French Government, together with the Pentagon. That has been said so widely that I think it ought to be repeated in the House, because we want to know what are the comments of the British Government.

The Foreign Secretary said that one of the difficulties is that the Russians will not agree to control. I am afraid that this has been a stalking horse, and, frankly, I do not believe it. On 3rd April, 1956, a statement was made by Mr. Gromyko setting forward certain Soviet proposals. Let us see what he said about control. He said: In all countries which are parties to the agreement, the control agency would have its permanent staff of inspectors, selected on an international basis who, within the bounds of the control functions they exercise, would have free access at any time to all objects of control. Such objects of control would be: military units; stores of military supplies and munitions; land, naval and air bases; plants producing conventional armaments and munitions. Those are Mr. Gromyko's proposals which the Russians said they were prepared to accept, and I understand that they have not retreated from that position.

Mr. Richard Sharples (Sutton and Cheam)

What does the hon. Member mean when he says that they are not "completely" in agreement?

Mr. Silverman

I did not use the word "completely". I said that the Russians had not retreated from that position. As far as I understand it, they occupy exactly the same position today.

If these proposals are in any respect unsatisfactory—because the Foreign Secretary made a great point of the fact that the Russians do not want control—may we be told at the end of the debate in what respect they are unsatisfactory? What are the concrete differences between the Russians and ourselves about control? What questions have the Soviet representatives been asked about their proposals for control in order to elucidate them? My information, which may be entirely wrong, is that there has been very little argument about control and that it is not the technical problems which have loomed large in the discussions but the problems of major principles. It is therefore somewhat misleading if it is suggested to the Committee that it is the Russian lack of desire to agree to controls which is holding up a general agreement. We are entitled to know what the position is.

I beg the Government to regard this matter as very serious. We have been asked to treat this as a non-party matter. If we could do so and discuss it as an affair of State, I should be very pleased, but I am afraid that there will be a party vote tonight. That cannot he helped, Many of us are not satisfied about what the Government are doing, not because they are a Conservative Government but because the lack of contribution to an effective agreement on disarmament goes far beyond a question of electoral advantage and threatens the existence of the world.

8.7 p.m.

Mr. Richard Sharples (Sutton and Cheam)

I hope that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Aston (Mr. J. Silverman)will not expect me to follow him into all his arguments, but I must say that a large part of his speech resembled very closely a speech, reported in a Soviet news agency hand-out, which had been made by Mr. Zorin on 8th July.

Mr. J. Silverman

I was mentioning the Russian objections to the British proposals. I am trying to point out that they raise certain objections upon grounds of confidence. It is not my business to argue whether they are justified. I am merely pointing out that there is a lack of confidence.

Mr. Sharples

Be that as it may, I hope to refer to some of the hon. Member's arguments later, but not straight away.

One point which occurred to me in reading the White Paper was that there is far more ground for hope today about disarmament than there has been for a very long time. I deprecate the comments of those hon. Members who have been speaking today about breaking the deadlock. I think that we are probably far nearer the end of the deadlock today, certainly in the first phase of disarmament, than we have been for a very long time. In the first phase it is now possible to see hope for quite a lot of progress. There are extremely good practical reasons for that. The first is that all nations, on both sides of the Iron Curtain, are beginning to see the economic difficulties which they create for themselves by maintaining these vast forces. That has become obvious, not least in this country, where we have come to realise the economic difficulties of keeping these forces in being.

Mr. Emrys Hughes (South Ayrshire)

After a very long time.

Mr. Sharples

Particularly is that so about manpower. For years since the war millions of men from both sides of the Iron Curtain have been facing each other in Germany. Both sides are beginning to realise that that position cannot continue indefinitely without producing economic strains, and the like, with corresponding bad effects on the populations of the countries involved.

The nations are beginning to realise, secondly, that they cannot continue to devote their resources—particularly technical and scientific resources—to weapon development at the present rate. I remember that when I joined the Army in 1936, like all the defence forces, it was equipped with very much the same kind of weapons as had been in use in the 1914 war. Many of them, such as the 18-pounder gun, were almost exactly the same. When one compares that with the vast changes that have taken place in weapons since 1945 one realises that there has been a complete revolution in this field which illustrates the amount of scientific research, resources and economic potential which has been devoted by all nations—all nations—to the development of weapons.

One of the things at which we have to aim is an agreement on the slowing down of the rate of weapon development. That is the first thing. Secondly, we have to agree upon a reduction of the amount of manpower that is tied up in the Services. There is a very real chance of agreement on both of those matters, because progress in those two directions is to the practical advantage of the nations on both sides of the Iron Curtain. We could use those two matters in order, in time, to establish confidence, and could then, perhaps, proceed to further steps.

I believe that there is a real chance of some fairly immediate progress in the reduction of conventional arms. The nations have now agreed the actual force totals—there is not very much disagreement there—but one thing about which I am not quite clear, probably because the discussions are now going on, relates to the amount of agreement there has been upon the setting up of an effective system of control and supervision. I think that it would be of great assistance to the House if my right hon. Friend, when replying to the debate, could, as far as he is able, make that position quite clear. Given that this is one of the points upon which, undoubtedly, negotiations are now going on, I think that we have the real possibility of some fairly far-reaching reductions in conventional arms.

One of the things that has to be known before we can get anywhere is the starting point. All nations, including Soviet Russia, should declare what conventional forces are in being at the present time. That would go far towards establishing confidence, and I cannot see why, with other nations declaring more or less their exact force totals, the Soviet Government should appear to be so reluctant to do so.

When one comes to the question of nuclear disarmament, I think that, pro- vided we can go step by step with conventional disarmament, we certainly have more hope today than we have had for a long time. What has always bedevilled nuclear disarmament is the amount of propaganda and misconception surrounding it, which has very frequently been artificially created. There has been the "ban the bomb" campaign which has, throughout, really been unrelated to any facts or to any concrete proposals for an enforcement. In fact, I believe that I am right in saying that those sitting on the Front Bench opposite do not support that idea today, nor ever have done.

We have to face the fact that any war which is fought in the lifetime of any of us sitting here today will be fought, either at its beginning or at a later stage, with thermo-nuclear weapons. We cannot get away from that. Whether one goes so far as to curtail production of the bomb, or, in the end, so far as to destroy stocks or to pass resolutions saying that no one will use the things, the fact yet remains that people today know how to make these bombs, and one can certainly take it that in any war on the scale of the First or Second World Wars, weapons of that kind will be used.

That is why, in the long term, I believe that the first and guiding principle behind any of our proposals must be the ultimate elimination of war itself as an instrument of policy. Anything that cuts across that, or any short-term solution which will eventually put that idea out of court or makes the elimination of war more difficult, must be wrong and must be resisted, even though there may at times be a certain amount of popular appeal in the advocacy of some such short-term course.

Another matter which has been debated is the suspension of tests. I am not in any way opposed to an agreement on that, but I do not believe that, in itself, the suspension of tests leads to anything at all. Once knowing how to do it, we can perfectly well go on making the bomb. Once we have let the thing off—had our bang—we know perfectly well how to make it. The suspension of tests can be of use only if it leads to the suspension of production. If, on the other hand, there is a reasonable chance that the suspension of tests would bring into being the kind of control which would lead to the suspension of the production of fissile material, there is something to be gained from such suspension.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

Does not the hon. Gentleman agree with the argument which his Government have always advanced that it is necessary for Britain to have tests in order to produce weapons? If that is the case, would not the suspension of tests at least be a means of preventing fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth countries from ever producing these weapons?

Mr. Sharples

That may be so, but I can see the point of view of the fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth nations who have seen the Powers who have got the bombs piling them up in the meantime. That is why from their point of view it is essential that the suspension of tests should be linked to the restriction of the production of fissile material.

I have referred to the ultimate goal being the elimination of war itself, and it is to that end that we have got to work. One of the points that were brought up was the question of linking second stage disarmament proposals to a solution of political problems. My right hon. and learned Friend did not go into the problems in detail, for good reasons, but, speaking without the inhibitions necessary to one occupying the Front Bench, I would say that one of the problems must be that of Germany. We cannot get away from the fact that we must solve that problem. I would not say that that is a pre-condition of any disarmament proposal. It does not come into the category of a pre-condition. It is one of the basic facts of political life.

So long as Germany remains divided, there is bound to be an area of tension between East and West, and one of the hurdles which we have got to get over—and until we have done so one cannot see any real movement of comprehensive disarmament on either side—must be the solution of this problem. In that connection I would remind hon. Members of what Sir Anthony Eden said, that the worst solution of all would be a Germany sitting in the middle of Europe able to play off East against West.

When the whole story of these disarmament negotiations can be studied in its entirety, which cannot be done at the moment, the contribution of the British Government to what has been and will be done, and particularly when one thinks of the future arrangements—including the setting up of working parties which were outlined by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary this afternoon—perhaps the rôle which the British Government played throughout these disarmament talks and the initiative shown will be something of which every hon. Member, irrespective of the side on which he sits in the House, may well be proud.

8.24 p.m.

Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)

I find myself in considerable agreement with two, at any rate, of the major points made by the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharples). I think that there is no doubt that the disarmament talks show more hope of reaching a successful conclusion than ever before. Secondly, I strongly agree with the hon. Gentleman that the essential problem with which we have to deal is the prevention of war as such.

It seems to me that not only the talks in the Disarmament Sub-Committee, but also a great deal of the talk in this Chamber today has been rather abstract and theoretical, because it has tried to isolate the problem of disarmament from the general problems of foreign policy and defence policy of which it is, in fact, a part. Essentially, it seems to me that disarmament is a problem of security which is one of the major aims of both defence and foreign policy.

If disarmament is seen in that context, I believe that the priorities which the Disarmament Sub-Committee has found itself choosing may turn out to be mistaken. The essentially urgent and important problem is not the control of the nuclear weapons of the great Powers, but the control of the conventional weapons of the small powers. That, in fact, is where progress is likely to start, if it starts at all.

In the past, countries have always sought security by military competition with their political adversary, and the aim of this military competition, or arms race, if one prefers to call it that, has been to put oneself in a position where, if that were a war, one could win it by defeating one's adversary.

It seems to me that the development of new weapons like the hydrogen bomb and the long-range rocket has totally changed the situation, with very profound consequences in foreign policy, defence policy and disarmament. The fact that either side in a cold war can now totally destroy the other means that victory in war is a meaningless aim, because victory can only be achieved at the cost of suicide. But that, of course, has its good side. It means that neither side in the cold war is now likely to aim at the total military defeat of the other, since it knows that that is certain to bring total annihilation to itself.

I think there is no doubt that for this reason, because of the so-called atomic stalemate, the danger that either side in the cold war, or any of the great nuclear Powers, will deliberately start an atomic war against one of its enemies can be almost totally excluded. The only danger of such an atomic holocaust today arises not through the deliberate aggression of an atomic Power on another atomic Power, but through an outbreak of local conventional war in an area which may not seem at first to be vital to either of the atomic Powers, and yet which neither of the atomic Powers is capable of preventing or controlling. We have, indeed, in the last twelve months seen three examples of such a local outbreak—Suez, Hungary and even today, one could say, in Oman.

The real problem of security today, the immediate and urgent problem, is not the controlling of the atomic weapons of the great Powers but the controlling of conventional weapons of the smaller Powers and thus ensuring that a spark is never struck which could ignite the thermonuclear powder.

I believe, therefore, that the problem which the great Powers must face in the disarmament talks is the problem of trying to agree on the common, collective control of the areas of tension. In fact, security in the atomic age can be achieved not by mutual competition in arms, but by mutual control of arms. The disarmament talks, during the last six months, have been the first beginnings of a new millenium in the history of world politics in this sense; and, of course, as the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam said, the soaring, astronomic cost of new weapons makes it even more desirable to achieve some mutual collective control of military force in the world.

I can well understand how countries which are in the areas of tension, and which do not themselves possess atomic weapons, fear a new Yalta, an agreement between Russia and the United States at their expense. I do not deny that the elements of such a danger exist, but what I would say is that the smaller countries in the danger areas must try to use their bargaining power to compel the great Powers to accept controls as they themselves accept them. That is what is happening in the example given by the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam, the refusal of the smaller Powers to accept a ban on hydrogen bomb tests unless it was tied to a cut-off in production.

Even so, I do not believe that it is realistic to expect the great atomic Powers to accept control over their immense military capacity unless they have first satisfied themselves, in practice, that the proposed control is likely to be effective and that there are effective sanctions against the evasion of any control system which is developed. That is why I believe that any major step towards disarmament and towards this new concept of a security which is genuinely collective and not competitive must begin with a regional scheme for the collective limitation and control of armaments in the major areas of tension, which are, at the moment, undoubtedly, the Middle East and Central Europe.

It seems to me that the proposal for inspection in Europe against a surprise attack is the first toe, as it were, of the first foot which can make progress. I hope that the proposal for aerial inspection against surprise attack in Europe will lead inevitably to a collective agreement for the limitation and control of armaments, at least in this test area.

There are two great problems to be faced. First, there are certain major political difficulties in the areas of tension; that is why they are areas of tension. Countries which feel themselves dissatisfied with the status quo do not want to submit to any control until they have changed it. That is the problem in Germany. The other difficulty, I suggest, is that it is not easy for those responsible for organising competitive security through N.A.T.O. to recognise that collective security through disarmament is not an alternative or rival to their policy, but is simply another strategy which they themselves should adopt.

Disarmament in Europe is not an alternative to N.A.T.O., but an alternative for N.A.T.O. If I may, I should like, for a few moments, to explain why I think that a proposal for the regional control of armaments in Europe is the only thing which can solve the strategic problems which N.A.T.O. has been facing for the last six years.

It has become very obvious, particularly since the Government's White Paper on Defence, that N.A.T.O. does not, in fact, have a defence strategy in Europe which makes political sense. The concept of a shield which will be capable of preventing the Red Army from occupying Western Europe makes too great demands on the manpower of the Western Alliance. The concept of a trip-wire which would unleash the total thermo-nuclear holocaust makes too many demands on the willpower of the Alliance. The Alliance, and the members of it, are still floundering about trying to find some way in which they might use their military force to deter or halt an act of military aggression at a cost which was not prohibitive. I believe that the only framework within which this problem can be solved is a framework for the collective reduction and control of armaments in the danger zone.

The threat of suicide through the indiscriminate use of the hydrogen bomb is not an effective answer to Soviet superiority in conventional forces, when the Soviets have the same power to destroy us or equivalent power as we have to destroy them. N.A.T.O. has, therefore, everything to gain by seeking to reduce the level of conventional forces in Central Europe to a point at which conventional aggression could be dealt with by the small forces of countries defending the frontiers which are crossed.

That is why I and many of my hon. Friends strongly support the proposal first put forward—I agree, in a different political context—by Sir Anthony Eden in 1955 and more recently by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition—the so-called Gaitskell plan—of trying to negotiate with the Soviet Union a new security system in Europe which involves the reciprocal withdrawal of the N.A.T.O. and Soviet forces to certain points east and west of the Iron Curtain.

I concede that there are arguments in theory against that proposal, but I do not concede that they are valid in practice, because the assumptions on which these theoretical arguments are based have never been fulfilled by the Western Alliance. We are not, in fact, capable of defending the existing line along the Iron Curtain. It is, I suggest, infinitely better that should agression occur, we should start the battle on the Soviet frontier than a line running through the middle of Germany. That is what is involved by the proposal for the mutual withdrawal of forces in the centre of Europe.

I agree with anybody who says that that would face us with terrible military problems. How would we employ military sanctions against the violator of a neutralised zone in Central Europe? That is exactly the same problem as we face today in N.A.T.O. How are we to react against a violator of the present status quo in Central Europe? I believe that there is an answer to this, though it is certainly a controversial issue.

At any rate, whether we can agree on what the answer is, we must agree that the existing N.A.T.O. system is profoundly unsatisfactory from a strategic viewpoint and could only be improved, not made worse, by the establishment of a zone for the collective limitation and control of armaments in Central Europe. I believe that some such proposal would provide the only possible framework in which the political problems of which the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam has been speaking could be solved.

It is inconceivable that either the Soviet Union or the West would agree to a change in the political status quo in Central Europe unless they were assured that it did not involve a change in the military status quo to their disadvantage. It is only by first agreeing on a collective system for security in Central Europe that we can create the conditions in which Russia—or, for that matter, the West—would allow the peoples concerned peacefully to change the existing situation.

The liberty of the satellite countries and the unity of the German people depend alike on the success of a collective security system for the control and limitation of armaments in Central Europe. I hope that the Government, who have so far failed, with their allies, to put forward any proposal at the Disarmament Sub-Committee, in spite of several proposals in this direction by the Soviet Union, will take their courage in both hands, realise that they have to fight a battle for humanity and for peace, and not only for the ruling party in the German elections, and try to produce progress before the Sub-Committee ceases its meetings.

8.39 p.m.

Mr. Nigel Nicolson (Bournemouth, East and Christchurch)

The hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey)began his speech with the paradox that the real problem we have to face is not the control of the nuclear weapons of the large Powers, but the control of the conventional weapons of the smaller Powers. He went on to argue that so terrible is the nuclear weapon that it has completely changed our earlier concept that it is necessary to have a balance of one force against another.

I wonder if that is altogether true. I wonder if it does not still remain the premise from which we should start—that the only way in which we can be certain to prevent the outbreak of a war is by making it absolutely clear to the potential aggressor before he starts that he will not win it if he tries. I also wonder if it is is not still as true as ever that the balance of power and the keeping of peace depend upon the possession by both rival groups in the world of a more or less equal weight of weapons, of whatever type they may be.

I think that the old maxims still remain valid, but even if the hon. Gentleman was correct, and if the real problem with which we have to cope is the danger of the outbreak of small wars, as in the case of Suez, Oman and Hungary, we should still be left with the central problem, with which I understand the Disarmament Sub-Committee is concerned, of how gradually to reduce the deterrent—the H bomb—in the hands of each of the rival Powers at a rate which would leave each of them confident that it would not be suddenly overwhelmed by the other.

In his opening speech, the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)was a little critical of the way in which the results, the working papers and the verbatim reports, of this Sub-Committee's conferences are presented to the world and in particular to the House of Commons. I wonder whether it could be done any differently? Clearly, discussion upon a subject of this nature must be conducted with a certain amount of secrecy. I believe it to be a rule applicable to all diplomatic practice that one should arrive at open covenants as secretly as possible. The days when we believed that open diplomacy was desirable have now begun to pass, and we see again the value of not being obliged to negotiate in front of a microphone, to put down one's cards face upwards and to stand over them with a gun.

What we want, and what we are seeing in the practice of the Disarmament Sub-Committee, is negotiation in sufficient privacy to leave each side the opportunity to withdraw or modify the attitudes which it has first taken up, and I do not think that there is any general complaint among the public or, indeed, in this Committee that we have not been given sufficient information about the progress of the talks. The constantly shifting positions of the different delegations are an advantage. That may confuse the public and make the White Paper a very complicated document, but I think it is an advantage that in this field each of the major Powers seems to have been prepared to come week after week with some new idea and some attempt to meet the positions taken up by the other side. That to me is an indication that there is a genuine wish among all the parties to the conference that it should succeed.

There is no feeling that any of the five Powers would remain content with deadlock, as, for instance, we appear to be content with the deadlock over the future of Germany. There is no such suggestion in the disarmament field. All five Powers start with the belief that it is the great paradox of this century, and one which we all want to resolve, that here are five great nations and many smaller ones amassing weapons of war at a crippling cost to their Treasuries, weapons of war which they all wish to throw away unused into the sea. That is the first assumption.

The second assumption is that we distrust each other. There are many hon. Members who have spoken in the debate and who have referred to distrust as though it were a disadvantage. I propose to develop the paradoxical argument that on the contrary it is a very great advantage. We start with the frank admission that we want to see what is going on behind the other side of one another's boundaries before we make any firm agreement. If we started with the more optimistic or the more tactful declaration that we believed that the others were just as peace loving as ourselves, disarmament would not get anywhere at all. What they are trying to do at Lancaster House is to work out in practical detail the methods by which we can give expression to our distrust and then work out further methods by which we may overcome it.

The third assumption which has been made, in my opinion inevitably the right one, is that the only question that really matters in armament and disarmament are the proportions. It cannot really make a great deal of difference to the balance of world power whether each group holds forty hydrogen bombs each or twenty hydrogen bombs each. All that really matters is that when an agreement is reached to reduce the forty to twenty, neither of the two groups should be holding ten more secretly in reserve.

The fourth assumption, which, I think, is shared by all hon. Members, is that it is only sensible to start with the easiest forms of disarmament. We have not two sorts of armaments, the conventional and the nuclear, but three. Curiously enough, except for a reference in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South the third has not been mentioned in this debate at all—and I think I have heard every word of it. The third form of warfare is the chemical and biological form of warfare. I do not know, and Can gain no clue from the White Paper whether this form is even being discussed by the United Nations Sub-Committee. It may be—and, naturally, that is my hope—that each of the Powers has come to an understanding that it will not develop weapons of that sort. If so, the world should hear that fact shouted from every house top. What the right hon. Gentleman said leads me to believe that unfortunately that is not true and that behind the scenes the development of this most pernicious, perhaps, of all forms of weapon is continuing apace. Whichever is the truth, whether some understanding has been arrived at to drop this form of warfare or whether the experiments in producing microbes and gas are continuing, surely it is something about which a pronouncement should be made.

Dr. Barnett Stross (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)

Does the hon. Gentleman remember—this confirms, I think, his suspicion—that General Groves said, three or four years ago, that given a proper use of one ounce of botulism poison he could guarantee to kill 80 million people?

Mr. Nicolson

That is something of the same sort which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Derby, South quoted in his speech. I am simply saying that I should like to know more about this, and asking why it is that in all the documents and speeches about the problem there is scarcely any reference made to that third form of warfare.

I turn to the other two. Clearly, conventional armaments lend themselves more easily to international agreement. To begin with, we are all in the process of reducing our conventional armaments at the moment. It has often been mentioned in the debate and I need not elaborate the point. Secondly, it is the very form of armaments—troops, guns and supply trains—which is most accessible to control and most difficult to conceal from a proper supervisory system. Thirdly, the White Paper, and my right hon. and learned Friend's opening speech, made it very clear that we are on the point of reaching agreement upon this subject.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Aston (Mr. J. Silverman)was very gloomy, but paragraph 10 of the Report on the Disarmament Talks, 1957, the most hopeful part of the whole White Paper, states that the Soviet Government have agreed in considerable detail—and no doubt the original documents go into more detail—that there is to be a reduction in conventional forces to levels specifically laid down, and the weapons with which they are to be equipped are to be listed with some form of international organisation. Furthermore, there is, according to the White Paper, agreement about setting up control posts and supervisory organs within each of our countries.

That is a very remarkable advance. If that is the only point of agreement so far reached, it would seem to me that the Sub-Committee has had more success than any of its predecessors. Cannot we begin to build upon what has been achieved? Cannot we now tidy up the details which the right hon. Member for Derby, South specified—details concerning exactly what is meant by "manpower", the relationship of the budget to the armed force, and the relationship between supplies and the spearhead of any army? Questions like these, which we can leave to the experts, are matters which, given agreement on principle which is already achieved, are surely capable of solution.

I was very glad to hear my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary say once again that sub-committees of the Sub-Committee have already been set up to deal with that specific problem. If we were to achieve a controlling body of that nature, we should present to the world an example of a voluntary surrender of national sovereignty such as the world has never before seen. It would be a laboratory experiment in the conventional field for what we would hope later to achieve in the nuclear field.

We would all agree in the debate that there would be no use whatever in a simple renunciation by the five Powers, or the three nuclear Powers, not to use the nuclear bomb. Such a declaration would only arouse unfounded hopes among the democratic peoples. We could put no trust whatever in the unsupported statements of Communist Powers and, quite probably, they would put no trust in ours. But when we come to the problem of the tests, I think we have a chance to make exactly the same sort of beginnings as we are obviously able to make with conventional forces. Each of the three nuclear Powers has just completed its latest series of tests.

I am asking for no secrets to be revealed, and I know none, but to a layman like myself it appears that after the completion of this summer series of tests by the United States, Soviet Russia and ourselves, we must each have perfected the latest model of the nuclear weapon. Is it not an advantage that we should simultaneously have reached one and the same Point, and are we not now pre- sented with an opportunity which may not occur again?

What use are we making of that opportunity? There can be no dispute that the first two of the three proposals put forward by the Government in paragraph 11 of the White Paper are indisputable. They propose as the least step we can take that there should be advance registration of tests. They also propose that a group of experts should be called together to consider possible methods of limitation and control of tests. If the Russians reject either of those proposals we shall have a measure of their future intentions.

Where I am more doubtful is on the third of the three points, where we are told that cessation of tests will only follow the prohibition of production of fissionable material. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary said today that the main object of that proviso was the hope that we might be able to combine an agreement to stop tests with an agreement to produce no more fissionable material. Obviously if we were able to reach a decision on both those points, the whole world would have gained a great advantage, and I believe that we should press this argument to the end.

But as a private Member I ask myself a question, to which I certainly do not expect an answer from the Front Bench today. What should we do if all our efforts in that direction fail? If we fail to get Russian agreement to link the two, should we then abandon the entire project, or should we say to them, "All right, we will agree with you to stop the tests without linking this to any other consideration"? In that case, after our efforts in the wider respect have failed, and only if they do fail, I think we should agree. It seems to me that to refuse to agree at that late stage would give Soviet Russia a powerful propaganda weapon.

The Russians have already made, for them, a considerable advance in finally agreeing that there should be some system of control of the tests. If we took that point alone, took them at their word and created some kind of control system for the very limited problem of nuclear tests, we should have created the first instrument for disarmament. So far there is no instrument at all.

When a river is in spate and threatens to overwhelm the villages and towns on its banks, the engineers wait for the moment, first, when the water ceases to rise and then when it drops by one inch. We are waiting for that moment now. We are waiting for the flood of armaments to cease to rise, and when we see that it has ceased to rise and has begun to drop, we shall know that the back of the problem has been broken.

I believe that if we follow up, both in the conventional and in nuclear fields, some of the very hopeful portents contained in the White Paper, the world will know that the five Powers mainly responsible have been able to agree upon the first step, and the first step is the one that counts most.

9.0 p.m.

Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)

I do not think that anyone in any part of the Committee has any cause for complaint that we have asked that this subject should be discussed today. In fact, there may be some ground for complaint that we did not ask for the discussion long before this, but we were anxious that the Government should be given every opportunity of making progress in the disarmament talks and that the talks should take on a more definite form so that we might have a useful debate.

We have found the period of waiting extremely irritating, first because nothing clear was coming from the Sub-Committee. I entirely disagree with the hon. Member for Bournemouth, East and Christchurch (Mr. N. Nicolson)when he says that he believes that the discussion should be held in secret. That is an unattainable objective—just as neither the Conservative Party nor the Labour Party appears to be able to meet in secret. There is in this subject an intense interest, for very much is involved in it. I think it would have been very much better if the discussions—I refer to the discussions about principles and not about the implementations of principles—had taken place in the open so that many suspicions might not have arisen at all.

Hon. Members opposite must face the fact that the fear has grown up, in the last few weeks in particular, that Her Majesty's Government have been mainly responsible for preventing an agreement. I am not saying that is correct, but there is no doubt at all that newspaper reports in the United States and in this country have created the impression that there have been difficulties caused by us in the discussions. I hope that the speech which is to follow mine will disperse some of those suspicions.

This debate, I am afraid, will be regarded by many people outside as being somewhat unreal. Ordinary men and women are becoming impatient of all of us when we are dealing with this problem. The fact is—let us face it—that most of the speeches that are made on both sides of the Committee on this subject make no sense at all to ordinary men and women. We may engage in a great deal of virtuosity and make recondite speeches about the influence of mutual fear, but the fact is that the ends which are served by national defence and the means adopted for defence are so far apart from each other today as to add up to no sense at all. No one really believes that weapons which are weapons of mutual suicide are any longer means of national self-defence. We can talk about the subject as much as we like, but that is how the ordinary man and woman look at it, and that is true of the Conservative rank and file as well as of the Socialist rank and file. It just makes no sense.

The other day I heard a railwayman say that, having tried to follow the discussions about the subject on the radio, he had been reduced to the situation that he would now rather be defeated in a conventional war than victorious in a nuclear war, because, he said, "I should be alive maybe to endure the one, but I should not be alive to rejoice over the other." If we abandoned flatulent generalisations about the wide differences that separate the Soviet system from our own, most hon. Members would privately agree with that opinion. There cannot be any differences about social systems so profound that we are prepared to run the risk of wiping out the whole of human society over them.

That also is a little simple truth, and I defy any hon. Member to deny it. After all, the primary condition for arguing about different social systems is that one should be alive to argue about them. But if the argument results in the extinction of all social systems, it seems rather absurd to be worrying about which particular one one is going to live under. Yet that is the position to which we have been reduced, and it is the position on the Government side of the Committee as well as on this. In fact, we are in the position of having evolved means that no longer serve the ends that we all of us cherish. That happens to be, unfortunately, the logic of the situation and it is from that point of view that I want to examine the Government's case.

I am not going to spend my time, because at the end of a debate it is impossible, going into the merits of any particular form of disarmament. There are so many of them; they are extremely complicated and technical and this is not the place to discuss them. But what we can discuss with, I hope, some usefulness is what may be described as the Government's disarmament strategy. I have been trying to understand it, and if I do not understand it yet it is probably my own fault. The Foreign Secretary made an excellent speech today, but I was not much clearer at the end of it than I was at the beginning. I know it was my fault, but I will try to explain the causes of my bewilderment.

Of course, there has always been the argument about disarmament, the old classic argument as to whether you try to get rid of the quarrel first and the arms afterwards or the arms first and the quarrel afterwards. This is the old classic French view, that men will not throw away their arms if they are afraid; that one must first of all get rid of the fear before they will give up the arms. Our situation is unique because of the fact that fear arises as much from the nature of the arms themselves as from the causes of international quarrels. So that here we have the duplication of the old primordial fears, We have the fear of the weapon and the fear of the potential aggressor, and both those have to be dealt with. But if we try to deal with both together, we create an absolutely impossible situation. If we try to link political settlements with disarmament all we get is a condition of mutual frustration. Yet that is precisely what the Prime Minister did in his reply to Marshal Bulganin.

I read that reply carefully. It was extremely skilfully done. The language is perfect, even if the principles are rotten. What did the right hon. Gentleman say in that reply? He said that disarmament could not be carried very far unless it was accompanied by political settlements. I tried to find out what he meant by that. Dr. Adenauer is quite clear about what he meant by it and so are other commentators. The Times, for example, the following day was quite clear about what the right hon. Gentleman meant by it—that after the first phase had been agreed, no further stages of disarmament should be undertaken until there has been agreement about German reunification in freedom. And Dr. Adenauer said at Bonn on 1st June that he expected that the London negotiations on disarmament would drag on for a year or two. In the meantime the Germans would have to wait patiently to see whether Russia was so far interested in reducing international tension as to agree to a united Germany. Are we, then, to understand from the Government—I want a clear answer about this—that if the first stage is reached and got over no further steps are to be taken towards disarmament unless Germany is reunited and free to join the Western Alliance?

It is a plain question. It is a very serious question. Remember, as Western Germany is being rearmed it passes the initiative about disarmament from us to Western Germany. She has not rearmed to the extent that she has guaranteed to do, but when that rearmament takes place, if the mood of Dr. Adenauer is to be relied upon, presumably German-Russian quarrels must be settled before we can proceed upon any other stages of disarmament. So, if the Prime Minister is to be believed, if this is his strategy, he proposes to pass all further stages in disarmament to the initiative of Western Germany. Does he believe that? That is what he says in effect.

That is a very serious thing. It brings us back once more to the old problem that Russia will not agree to the reunification of Germany if Germany is free to add to the strength of the Western Alliance. It means, therefore, that a deadlock is being created about Germany which deadlocks the disarmament conference as a whole. If that be not the case, then no one has answered it yet, because the Prime Minister was specific in his statement. He said, for example, that we could not go on reducing the arms of the Western Alliance unless Germany is reunited, although he does not seem to realise that that sentence misstates the position because, presumably, the extent of Western disarmament would march with the disarmament of Russia. Therefore, the relative positions would be the same.

It is not true to say that the Western Alliance would be weakened, because no one here is arguing for unilateral disarmament. What we are arguing for is that there should be as much disarmament as can be mutually agreed and that that should be pursued even though it may not be accompanied by political settlements. We cannot for the life of us see what relationship there can be between political settlements and disarmament unless the arms are in the background as a sanction to be used if the settlements are not reached.

This really must be answered, and it has not been answered yet. No one can seriously suggest that anybody in this Committee, on either side, is prepared—I put it bluntly—to risk a single British life in order to bring about the reunification of Germany, but what we are anxious to do is to try to promote the circumstances in Europe in which Germans can be peacefully reunited. We cannot for the life of us see how it is possible for negotiation to begin about the reunification of Germany, with arms in the background, as though saying to the Russians, "Unless you agree to the rearmament of Germany we propose to commit suicide." Obviously we could not use the bomb. The bomb is no longer an instrument of diplomacy. It may be a deterrent, but it is not something with which one can influence the negotiations, because one cannot say, "Unless you agree, I will commit suicide."

The bomb, therefore, is no longer a lever in negotiations. There seems, therefore, to be no sense at all in not proceeding to subsequent disarmament merely on account of the fact that we cannot reach political settlements. We hope very earnestly that if we can have agreement on some stages of disarmament, a favourable climate of opinion will be created for successful negotiations about political settlements. We also hold that the two processes should go forward simultaneously and that there should be attempts at political settlements simultaneously with discussions about disarmament. We consider that they should not be organically linked, because if they are linked failure in the one is likely to produce failure in the other.

We should therefore like the Government to change their attitude in that respect. We in the Labour Party have said in other places that in our opinion there is not the slightest reason why we should not initiate discussions with the Russians about a European security system, and we cannot understand why the various overtures which have been made from the Russian side have not been met on our side. They could be probed. We could find out what Mr. Khrushchev means by some of his utterances. It may be that he means nothing at all except a rhetorical outburst, but let us find out.

We have been informed that the Russians are prepared to consider withdrawal from the Eastern satellite nations if there can be agreement between us, France, Germany and America about neutralising Germany and having inspection systems in Europe. Hon. Members opposite talk about the tragedy of Hungary, but what contribution are we making to end the tragedy? If there is something in what the Russians are saying, and I believe there is something in what they are saying, let us find out.

The situation is fundamentally altered. The satellite nations are no longer a buffer. They were created as a cordon sanitaire around the Soviet Union. There is no longer a cordon sanitaire. We cannot speak about land buffers or cushions, or however we describe them, in the world today, when we have guided missiles and bombers which can ignore them. They are concepts which belong to the days of mass marching armies. They are no longer relevant, and the Russians know that as well as we do. Why, therefore, have we not tried to find out what the Russians mean? Why have we not taken the initiative?

It may be, as I said earlier, that there is not very much in the Russian offer, but I beg and pray that the initiative be taken to probe their intentions before the initiative passes from here to Germany. Once the Germans are powerful, once they are armed, once they are strong, they will put the reunification of Germany on the international agenda, and it may be that they will put the rectification of frontiers on the agenda, and we shall then find ourselves with problems more stubborn than they are today.

It ought to be a source of comfort to hon. Members opposite that there are many millions of Germans who believe as we do about that. They are anxious that they should reunify their country in peace, and they are anxious that there should be no opportunity whatsoever for those forces to be unleashed in Germany that have brought disaster upon Europe twice in our lifetime. Why have not the Government taken the initiative there? Political settlements—yes—we all want them. Why have not the Government pursued them? Why have they been so passive in the matter?

Then we come to the question of stages. I agree with what was said by the hon. Member for Bournemouth, East and Christchurch. If we cannot get agreement about the ending of the production of a fissionable military material and a cessation of bomb tests together, why should we not take what we can get? Why should we not start with the common agreement? I think that the whole political climate might be changed if these hideous experiments stopped by agreement. It was admitted by the right hon. and learned Gentleman this afternoon that this is a stage that is easily controllable; that we can have inspection systems and posts, about which there is general agreement, which could easily detect any violation of the understanding.

We do not consider that it is a satisfactory answer to talk about limitation and registration. We must agree with Mr. Khrushchev when he says that registration by Great Britain is unnecessary because we have to give advance notice in any case when we are making the tests. Therefore, we are giving nothing at all there. The Russians are able to make their tests inside their own territory, but we have to inform the world beforehand that we are to make ours.

And what is the meaning of limitation? Are we to have a ration of tests? We have not heard anything about that. How many each are we to have? Are we each to have our own opportunity of poisoning the atmosphere, and are we to quarrel about how much we inject into the atmosphere? What is meant by limitation? Three a year? Six a year? Four each? Ten each? What is it? What is the meaning of limitation? If, in the mean- time, we can reach agreement with the Americans, with the Canadians, the French and the Russians about a cessation of tests, is it not worth having?

Later on, and not too far later on, we should have to propose the other stages, because, obviously, as has been remarked in the debate, nations that have not yet had their tests at all will not be prepared to stand by whilst those nations that have the bomb are able to go on making the material. That is quite clear. Therefore, there is an argument—a legitimate argument—about the length of time. Some say that it should be a short time so that those who are making the bomb shall not have the advantage over those not able to make it. Others advocate a longer time in order to give an opportunity for the first stage to operate properly and to pacify fears.

This is not the question of principle, but the purely empirical question as to how long the period shall be, but what we say—and certainly Great Britain should say it—is that if there is a chance of stopping these experiments now we ought to take it with open hands. Then we ought to go on, of course, as early as possible to the next most easily controllable stage. In other words, we should proceed from the most controllable to the least controllable.

We understand that the next stage which is more easily controllable than subsequent stages is the inspection of the making of new fissionable military material. I think that hon. Members ought to try to present to their imaginations what the situation may be if these inspection posts are established, if they are working honourably, if, for the first time, the great Powers are reaching and carrying out agreements. Members ought to try to project their minds into the emotional situation that might be created by that. After all, it is our duty to try to move away from disaster, and if we can only move by short steps let us take the short steps. The longer ones may be easier. We have gone on in this way far too long.

Therefore, we have not heard from the Government today anything at all that gives us reason for satisfaction. We heard from the right hon. and learned Gentleman that he thinks partial agreement is in sight. Well, so is the Recess. These discussions have been going on for a very long time and we are anxious that we should get some concrete measures established as soon as possible.

I said earlier in my speech that ordinary men and women are getting into a state of despair. It is not only the burden of arms that is already quite crushing. What I think is undermining the spirit of man at the present time is the fact that the fates that look like overtaking him are fates of his own construction. In classical antiquity in the past, man was always able to keep a fairly robust spirit against his destiny because he was overtaken by forces beyond his own control and he had the consolations of religion and philosophy to sustain him.

The spectre that is weighing upon the human spirit today and causing such a sense of inner despair is that the perils that we are faced with are of our own creation. They lie inside man himself. There is no peace for him. There is no serenity in the world until he himself can become the master of the things he himself has created.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

What about original sin?

Mr. Bevan

I hope that the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke)will contain his customary frivolity. It is very difficult to push "five bob" ideas into half-crown minds. I am sorry that I was so rough, but we get these interruptions from the noble Lord at this time of night.

We have had a very serious debate which has been contributed to at the proper level in all parts of the Committee. We most earnestly and sincerely hope that the Government will not compel us to divide on this issue, but unless we can get satisfaction on those two questions, upon the linking of the stages of disarmament one with the other and on de-linking political settlements from disarmament, we are bound to divide.

9.29 p.m.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

We on this side of the Committee welcome this debate. I think it has come up to the level of the importance of the subject which we have been discussing. There is, I feel, no subject which is more important at this juncture in world affairs than the subject of disarmament, and I do not think there is any hon. Member in this Committee who does not share that view.

The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan)has raised a number of points during the course of a lively speech, as his speeches always are, and I will try to deal with as many of them as I can during the course of my reply. In the opening part of his speech earlier today, the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker)rightly drew attention to the heavy and growing expenditure on defence—

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

On research.

Mr. Sandys

—and, in particular, on research and development. As usual, he gave us a very informative and well-documented speech on the whole subject. He drew attention to the great relief which would be secured if there could be some real measure of disarmament. I believe that no country in the world would benefit more than Britain from disarmament, particularly on the economic side. Our whole standard of living depends upon our ability to balance our overseas trade and payments, and there is no doubt that our task would be immeasurably easier if, at the same time, we were not spending close on £1,500 million a year on defence, locking up about 700,000 men in the Services, together with about another 600,000 civilians supporting them in industry, administration and services of various kinds. That is the burden which we are bearing and which could, not wholly, but to a large extent, be lifted from us if genuine, confident disarmament could be achieved.

By our new defence policy, we are planning over the next five years, to halve our military manpower and greatly reduce the demands of defence upon civilian employment; but, even when all these changes have been completed, there is no doubt that we shall still be employing far more than we can really afford of our manpower and industrial resources upon unproductive military effort. Apart from anything else, therefore, we have a pressing economic incentive to reach agreement on disarmament.

However desirable disarmament may be, on economic and other grounds, we must remember that it is not an end in itself. The end which we are pursuing is peace, and we must be realistic about it. We must not overlook the fact that, in recent years, peace has been precariously, but nonetheless effectively, maintained through a combination of force and fear. It may be an unpleasant fact, but it is the fact. Such a basis is unhealthy and, quite rightly, we want to replace it by the more secure foundation of mutual confidence. We all agree, I think, that disarmament is the essential condition for rebuilding confidence. We certainly cannot expect very much confidence so long as both sides continue to maintain gigantic military machines pointed at one another and to produce ever more fearful weapons of annihilation.

The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale and, earlier, the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson)raised the question of the link between disarmament and the settlement of political issues. It is unrealistic, I think, to imagine that any final and comprehensive agreement on disarmament will be possible without the settlement of, at any rate, the main political issues which are at the root of international distrust.

Mr. Bevan

That was not what I said. What I asked was whether, after the first stage had been accomplished, no further stage would be attempted in disarmament unless there was political agreement over Germany.

Mr. Sandys

I was attempting to answer the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton, who raised the broad question of the relationship between disarmament and the settlement of political issues which are at the root of international distrust.

Everyone, I think, now has, perhaps regretfully, come to recognise that disarmament cannot be achieved by a single step. We have to proceed by stages, by processes of partial disarmament. We believe, and I think we have good hope to believe, that the countries concerned will be prepared to agree, at least in the first stage and, perhaps, in a second stage—one cannot always foresee many steps ahead—to an initial measure of disarmament without attaching political strings to it.

The right hon. Gentleman asked "What about later on?" I think he agrees that it is possible. We have a right to hope that in the initial stage it may be possible to get started on disarmament without raising all the fearful difficulties of these grave political issues which, we know, exist, which poison the international atmosphere and which, sooner or later, must be settled.

I do not believe it would be helpful to try—I am certainly not attempting it tonight—to lay down in advance precisely at what stage in the process of disarmament we feel that it will be necessary to bring up these difficult political issues. [Interruption.] I am saying that I am hopeful. I am very hopeful that in the initial stage it will not be necessary to couple and to mix up these political issues with the issue of disarmament.

Mr. Bevan

The insertion of the settlement of political differences at subsequent stages was put in by the Government, of which the right hon. Gentleman is a member. Why have they been put in at all? Why should they not have been pursued on their own account, and why should we not proceed with disarmament as far as we can go?

Mr. Sandys

The right hon. Gentleman should address his mind to the latest position, which is really the joint statement of 2nd July, the last annex in the White Paper. That definitely contemplates—and we believe that we shall succeed—achieving an initial measure of disarmament without having to settle all these awkward questions such as the unification of Germany.

Mr. Bevan

I am referring to the White Paper which states that these reductions would be dependent on progress in settling major political problems as well as on the development of an effective control system. Does the right hon. Gentleman insist upon standing by that?

Mr. Sandys

I do not think that that applies to the first step which is proposed in Annex 4, which is the joint statement of our plan for trying to break the deadlock and trying to make some first progress. I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman is serving the cause which I believe he devoutly cares for by trying to throw a spanner into the works at this stage.

In the initial stages of disarmament, it is, I believe, the military and not the political problems which are going to prove the most difficult. I refer to the vital importance of maintaining at each stage the delicate and critical balance of the forces by which peace at present is being preserved. In his speech today, the right hon. Member for Derby, South did not, I think, sufficiently stress the importance of keeping conventional disarmament in pace with nuclear disarmament. On the other hand, his deficiencies were to a large extent made good by the hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen (Lady Megan Lloyd George).

I regret the change in her complexion—I refer to her political complexion—but, none the less, I am sure that all of us were glad to have heard a speech once more from her in the House of Commons. She rightly pointed out, and adduced facts and figures in support of her argument, the crushing superiority of the Russian conventional forces. The Soviet Union has over 4 million men under arms and over 200 active divisions, and a substantial proportion of these are facing westwards. That, of course, takes no account of the forces of the satellite countries or of China.

Though straight comparisons are not always possible, it is well worth bearing in mind that in the vital Central European front, N.A.T.O. is at present able to deploy less than 20 divisions, but behind N.A.T.O. stands the massive nuclear power of the United States and the growing atomic contribution of Great Britain.

Mr. Harold Davies

God help us.

Mr. Sandys

The hon. Member for Leek (Mr. Harold Davies)may say, "God help us", but the peace which he enjoys today, whether he likes it or not, is very largely, if not wholly, dependent upon this nuclear power. This alone provides the counter-poise to Russia's superior strength in conventional arms and military manpower. It is quite natural that people should be appalled at the fearfulness of the H-bomb and want to abolish it, but we should not forget that in the strange world in which we live it constitutes our principal source of safety.

This was graphically described by the right hon. Member for Derby, South, not today, but in a speech which he made two years ago, in which he was criticising the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale for advocating the abandonment of the nuclear deterrent. This is what the right hon. Gentleman said in a speech in Derby: Mr. Bevan's policy would be an open invitation to the Communists to conquer Europe, sweep forward to the Channel ports, and then destroy our cities by thousands of super V-2's with non-nuclear warheads. In such a war, nuclear weapons would, in the end, be used, but we should have sacrified the whole purpose for which they have been made—of preventing criminals from starting war. Then, the right hon. Gentleman asked: For what other reason did the Labour Government make the atomic bomb? Why should we increase the risk by throwing this deterrent power away?

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

As that quotation has already been given in this Chamber twice by the Foreign Secretary, including his speech today, perhaps the right hon. Gentleman has been able to look up the rest of what I said, namely, that we had never stood for unilateral disarmament but that we thought those weapons ought to be abolished by international agreement, and that the Government had been criminally to blame since 1951 for not trying to do it.

Mr. Sandys

That speech may have been quoted before. All I can say is that the Committee seemed to enjoy it again. As for the right hon. Gentleman being against unilateral action, I am surprised he says that so shortly after the Labour Party recommended unilateral suspension of tests by Great Britain.

I come now to the specific question of nuclear tests, about which so much has been said. The Russians have proposed that tests should be suspended for two years independently of anything else, and the party opposite has made a similar proposal, though it has not so far, I believe, specified the period for suspension. The hon. Lady the Member for Carmarthen and other hon. Members have also made this point. One of the main arguments which the hon. Lady advanced—and she dwelt at length upon this subject—was that this suspension of tests independently of other things would stop fourth countries from becoming nuclear Powers. That was one of her main arguments.

I do not believe that is at all certain. Our own experience has shown that nuclear physics has become such a precise science that it may well be possible to design a bomb which goes off correctly the first time. Acceptance of the Russian proposal to suspend tests for two years without stopping the manufacture of fissile material would not really very much affect any fourth country. They would, I believe, go straight ahead with their research and development. In any case, very few of them would be ready for testing within two years.

If we really wish to stop fourth Powers entering nuclear weapon production we must do much more than suspend the tests. The right hon. Gentleman appeared to despair in the first stage of getting agreement among the fourth Powers. We must do a great deal more than suspend tests. We must above all arrive at an agreement for stopping the manufacture of fissile material, and that is precisely what we and the other Governments are jointly proposing.

There is another substantial point of difference between the Labour Party's proposals and those of the Government, to which I should like to refer. The party opposite advocates that in the second stage there should be a ban on the manufacture of further nuclear weapons. We do not believe that that is an enforceable proposition in practice. It would be extremely difficult to track down the manufacture of nuclear weapons made of fissile material already produced and distributed before the system of control was introduced.

On the other hand, the plants which make fissile materials are comparatively few in number and it should be possible, within reasonable limits, to check the quantity of fissile material which they produce and the use to which it is put. That is why we have thought it more realistic to propose the banning of the production not of completed weapons but of the fissile material required for weapon purposes. [Interruption.] I am glad that there appears to be no disagreement with me about this on the benches opposite, but I thought it was important to point this out. The more we can find a common basis of agreement the more we shall be pleased.

The success of any scheme of nuclear disarmament depends upon the feasibility of effective inspection. That point was forcibly made by the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton, who referred among other matters to the futility of the Kellogg Pact and things of that kind. If the conditions were not such as could be verified by inspection, neither side would be confident that the other was carrying out the agreement. This, we believe, would create suspicion and encourage evasion.

On the subject of inspection, the right hon. Member for Derby, South asked how far Britain would be prepared to open her doors to inspection and control. I am very glad indeed of this opportunity to say, without qualification and without reservation, that there is no gate, no door, and no cupboard which we should not be willing to open to international inspection if all other countries are prepared to do the same. I was asked a small point about what an expert was. I have looked it up. He is one "known for his special knowledge or skill, one who is adept or clever."

In addition to these general considerations, the military aspect of the problem affects Britain in a very special way and I want to say something about that. So long as the nuclear weapons are not abolished as part of a general disarmament agreement, we consider it essential that Britain should possess an element of nuclear deterrent power of her own, including a moderate stock of megaton weapons. The rate at which we can produce these weapons depends upon two factors. First, it depends upon the rate of production of fissile material. Secondly, it depends upon the amount of fissile material which we have to put into each weapon.

The output of fissile material is fairly limited and cannot be greatly increased without the construction of new plant, which is a lengthy business. Therefore, it is of importance to us from the military standpoint—and I stress this because this is evidence of the sacrifice that we are making in subscribing to these proposals—to reduce to the minimum the fissile content of these weapons. But the early stoppage of nuclear tests makes this more difficult. So far, we have had only one series of megaton tests, but thanks to the brilliance of our scientists it has provided enough information to enable us to manufacture megaton warheads for aircraft bombs and ballistic rockets. However, I am assured that with comparatively few further tests we should be able to cut down very appreciably the amount of fissile material required for these weapons, and this would enable us to complete correspondingly sooner the minimum stockpile we consider necessary,

If the banning of tests were to form part of a general agreement for comprehensive disarmament under which nuclear weapons would be progressively reduced over a reasonably short period, all this, of course, would not matter at all. However, it is my duty to point out to the Committee what would be our position if the process of disarmament on the nuclear side were to go no further than the stoppage of tests coupled with the stoppage of the manufacture of fissile material for weapons. The effect would be to freeze the position as it is, to the very great disadvantage of Great Britain.

The Russians would retain the large number of nuclear weapons which they have already made. The United States would likewise keep the much vaster stockpile which they have built up. We on the other hand—I think it is right to point out this fact—would be graves penalised, since the stoppage of testing and production at this moment would prevent us from fully exploiting the megaton capacity we now possess. This means that we should continue to be largely dependent upon the United States for the nuclear weapons we needed. This applies not only to weapons for the deterrent but also to weapons for defence, since the guided missiles we are developing for anti-aircraft and anti-rocket defence ultimately will require nuclear warheads.

We have always regarded it as unacceptable to be dependent upon any

other country, however friendly, for these vital elements in our armour. The party opposite has adopted the same line and on this point we have not changed our opinion. Nevertheless, we have felt that the acceptance at long last by the Soviet Government of the principle of inspection was a most significant development to which an appropriate response must be made. We have felt to some extent that an act of faith was called for, and it is in that spirit that we subscribed to the joint statement of 2nd July which is set out in the White Paper.

In it the United States, Canada, France and ourselves have proposed that tests should be temporarily suspended, and that production of fissile material for weapons should cease after effective control has been established. These measures on the nuclear side would be accompanied by the first stage in conventional disarmament, together with the setting-up of an inspection system.

We have taken this important initiative in the profound hope that it will not stand by itself but that it will open the way, by stages, for the progressive scaling down of both conventional forces and nuclear weapons. If further discussions show that this hope is well founded and that there is a genuine prospect of real progress, with all that this means and could mean for future peace and security, then Britain will be ready to play her full part and bear her fair share of the risks involved.

Mr. Bevan

I beg to move, That Item Class II, Vote I (Foreign Service)be reduced by £5.

Mr. Geoffrey Hirst (Shipley)

Party before country.

Question put:

The Committee divided: Ayes 262, Noes 322.

Division No. 174.] AYES [9.59 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Beswick, Frank Brown, Thomas (Ince)
Albu, A. H. Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale) Burke, W. A.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Blackburn, F. Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Blenkinsop, A. Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Blyton, W. R. Callaghan, L. J.
Anderson, Frank Boardman, H. Carmichael, J.
Awbery, S. S. Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Castle, Mrs. B. A.
Bacon, Miss Alice Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Champion, A. J.
Baird, J. Bowles, F. G. Chapman, W. D.
Balfour, A. Boyd, T. C. Chetwynd, G. R.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Clunie, J.
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Brockway, A. F. Coldrick, W.
Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.) Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)
Benson, G. Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pnco, S.) Reeves, J.
Cove, W. G. Johnson, James (Rugby) Reid, William
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Rhodes, H.
Cronin, J. D. Jones, Rt. Hon. A. Creech (Wakefield) Robens, Rt. Hon. A.
Crossman, R. H. S. Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Cullen, Mrs. A. Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Dalton, Rt. Hon. H. Jones, Jack (Rotherham) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancas, N.)
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Ross, William
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Kenyon, C. Royle, C.
Davies, Harold (Leek) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley
Davies, Stephen (Merthyr) Lawson, G. M. Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Deer, G. Ledger, R. J. Short, E. W.
de Freitas, Geoffrey Lee, Frederick (Newton) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Delargy, H. J. Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Dodds, N. N. Lever, Harold (Cheetham) Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
Donnelly, D, L. Lewis, Arthur Skeffington, A. M.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwoh) Lindgren, G. S. Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)
Dye, S. Lipton, Marcus Slater, J. (Sedgefield)
Edelman, M. Logan, D. G. Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Snow, J. W.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) MacColl, J. E. Sorensen, R. W.
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) MacDermot, Niall Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) McInnes, J. Sparks, J, A,
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) McKay, John (Wallsend) Steele, T.
Fernyhough, E. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Fienburgh, W. Mahon, Simon Stonehouse, John
Finch, H. J. Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Stones, W. (Consett)
Fletcher, Eric Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.) Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.
Forman, J. C. Mann, Mrs. Jean Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A. Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. Mason, Roy Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then) Mayhew, C. P. Swingler, S. T.
Gibson, C. W. Mellish, R. J. Sylvester, G. O.
Gooch, E. G. Messer, Sir F. Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Mikardo, Ian Taylor, John (West Lothian)
Greenwood, Anthony Mitchison, G. R. Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R. Monslow, W. Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Grey, C. F. Moody, A. S. Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.) Thornton, E.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.) Timmons, J.
Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mort, D. L. Tomney F.
Grimond, J. Moss, R. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Hale, Leslie Moyle, A. Usborne, H. C.
Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mulley, F. W. Viant, S. P.
Hamilton, W. W. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.) Wade, D. W.
Hannan, W. O'Brien, Sir Thomas Watkins, T. E.
Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Oliver, G. H. Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Hastings, S. Oram, A. E. Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hayman, F. H. Orbach, M. West, D. G.
Healey, Denis Oswald, T. Wheeldon, W. E.
Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Owen, W. J. White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Herbison, Miss M. Padley, W. E. White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Hewitson, Capt. M. Paget, R. T. Wigg, George
Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley) Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Holman, P. Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury) Wilkins, W. A.
Holmes, Horace Palmer, A, M. F. Willey, Frederick
Holt, A. F. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Williams, David (Neath)
Houghton, Douglas Pargiter, G. A. Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Parker, J. Williams, Ronald (Wigan)
Parkin, B. T. Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Hoy, J. H. Paton, John Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Hubbard, T. F. Peart, T. F. Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pentland, N. Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Plummer, Sir Leslie Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Prentice, R. E. Winterbottom, Richard
Hunter, A. E. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Hynd, H. (Accrington) Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.) Woof, R. E.
Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe) Probert, A. R. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Proctor, W. T. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Pryde, D. J. Zilliacus, K.
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A. Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Janner, B. Randall, H. E. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Rankin, John Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson.
Jeger, George (Goole) Redhead, E. C
Agnew, Sir Peter Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Atkins, H. E.
Aitken, W. T. Arbuthnot, John Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Armstrong, C. W. Baldwin, A. E.
Alport, C. J. M. Ashton, H. Balniel, Lord
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Astor, Hon. J. J. Barber, Anthony
Barlow, Sir John Glyn, Col. R. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Barter, John Godber, J. B. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan Llewellyn, D. T.
Beamish, Maj. Tufton Goodhart, Philip Lloyd. Rt. Hon. G. (Sutton Coldfield)
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Gough, C. F. H. Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Gower, H. R. Lloyd, Rt Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Graham, Sir Fergus Longden, Gilbert
Bennett, Or. Reginald Grant, W. (Woodside) Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
Bidgood, J. C. Green, A. Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Gresham Cooke, R. McAdden, S. J,
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) Macdonald, Sir Peter
Bishop, F. P. Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry
Black, C. W. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. McKibbin, A. J.
Body, R. F. Gurden, Harold Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Bossom, Sir Alfred Hall, John (Wycombe) McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Boyle, Sir Edward Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Braine, B. R. Harris, Reader (Heston) Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.) Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H. Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)
Brooman-White, R. C. Harvey, Sir Arthur (Macclesfd) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)
Bryan, P. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Harvie-Watt, Sir George Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Burden, F. F. A. Hay, John Maddan, Martin
Butcher, Sir Herbert Head, Rt. Hon. A. H. Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)
Campbell, Sir David Henderson, John (Cathcart) Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.
Carr, Robert Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Markham, Major Sir Frank
Cary, Sir Robert Hesketh, R. F. Marlowe, A. A. H.
Channon, Sir Henry Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.
Chichester-Clark, R. Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Marshall, Douglas
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Mathew, R.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hill, John (S. Norfolk) Maude, Angus
Cole, Norman Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.
Conant, Major Sir Roger Hirst, Geoffrey Mawby, R. L.
Cooke, Robert Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Cooper, A. E. Holland-Martin, C. J. Medlicott, Sir Frank
Cooper-Key, E. M. Hope, Lord John Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hornby, R. P. Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Moore, Sir Thomas
Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorns) Horobin, Sir Ian Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Nabarro, G. D. N.
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Nairn, D. L. S.
Cunningham, Knox Howard, John (Test) Neave, Airey
Currie, G. B. H. Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.) Nicholls, Harmar
Dance, J. C. G. Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J. Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)
Davidson, Viscountess Hughes-Young, M. H. C. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hulbert, Sir Norman Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan
Deedes, W. F. Hurd, A. R. Nugent, G. R. H.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hutchison, Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S). O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co.Antrim, N.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hutchison, Sir James (Scotstoun) Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. W. D.
Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA. Hyde, Montgomery Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Doughty, C. J. A. Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Drayson, G. B. Iremonger, T. L. Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)
du Cann, E. D. L. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Osborne, C.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond) Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Page, R. G.
Duthie, W. S. Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Panned, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Partridge, E.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Peyton, J. W. W.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. (Kelvingrove) Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pickthorn, K. W. M,
Elliott, R. W. (N'castle upon Tyne, N.) Johnson, Howard (Kemptown) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green) Pilkington, Capt. R. A.
Errington, Sir Eric Joseph, Sir Keith Pitman, I. J.
Erroll, F. J. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Pott, H. P.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Kaberry, D. Powell, J. Enoch
Fell, A. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Finlay, Graeme Kerr, Sir Hamilton Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
Fisher, Nigel Kershaw, J. A. Profumo, J. D.
Fletcher-Cooke, C. Kimball, M. Raikes, Sir Victor
Forrest, G. Kirk, P. M. Ramsden, J. E.
Fort, R. Lagden, G. W. Rawlinson, Peter
Foster, John Lambert, Hon. G. Redmayne, M.
Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Lambton, Viscount Remnant, Hon. P.
Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Lancaster, Col. C. G. Renton, D. L. M.
Freeth, Denzil Langford-Holt, J. A. Ridsdale, J. E.
Galbraith, Hon, T. G. D. Leather, E. H. C. Rippon, A. G. F.
Gammans, Lady Leavey, J. A. Robertson, Sir David
Garner-Evans, E. H. Leburn, W. G. Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
George, J. C. (Pollok) Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H. Robson Brown, Sir William
Gibson-Watt, D. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield) Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Glover, D. Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T. Roper, Sir Harold
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray) Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Russell, R. S. Studholme, Sir Henry Vickers, Miss Joan
Sandys, Rt. Hon. D. Summers, Sir Spencer Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Schofield, Lt.-Col. W. Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington) Wakefield Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R. Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Sharples, R. C. Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Wall, Major Patrick
Shepherd, William Teeling, W. Ward, Rt. Hon. G. R. (Worcester)
Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.) Temple John M. Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Thomas P. J. M. (Conway) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Soames, Christopher. Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Webbe, Sir H.
Spearman, Sir Alexander Thompson, Lt.-Cdr.R.(Croydon, S.) Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Speir, R. M. Thorneycroft Rt. Hon. P. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.) Thornton-Kemsley, C. N. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.) Wills, G. (Bridgwater)
Stevens, Geoffrey Tilney, John (Wavertree) Wood, Hon. R.
Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.) Turner, H. F. L. Woollam, John Victor
Steward, Sir William(Woolwich, W.) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm Tweedsmuir, Lady
Storey, S. Vane, W. M. F. TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Mr. Heath and Mr. Oakshott.

Original Question again proposed.

Sir Henry Studholme (Tavistock)rose

It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.