HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc188-9
46. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether, on his forthcoming visit to the United States, he will propose to the President that patrol flights beyond territorial limits of aeroplanes carrying nuclear weapons should be suspended pending the Summit Conference.

47. Mr. Mason

asked the Prime Minister if he has yet studied the reports of the discussion in the United Nations Security Council regarding the alerting of the Strategic Air Command based in the United States, particularly the statement by the Russian representative that in the event of war, the United Kingdom would be also immediately involved; whether he will make representations to the United States to reconsider the value of these patrols; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

I do not consider it would be appropriate for me to make representations of this kind to the United States Government.

Mr. Zilliacus

Does not the Prime Minister agree that the control system that he mentioned earlier as desirable should be linked to an agreement by both sides to refrain from sending planes in the direction of each other's territory? Is it necessary to assume, as part of the preparations for a Summit Conference to discuss peace, that the United States is in danger of a bolt-from-the-blue attack from the Soviet Union? Is there not a violent clash between that assumption and the assumption that may underlie a Summit Conference?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir; I could not accept any of those observations.

Mr. Mason

Does not the Prime Minister agree that if war broke out, perhaps accidentally, because of American nuclear-armed bomber patrols, we should be immediately involved? Is not he aware of the great concern in the country about this problem? Would it not be advisable, at least, to make representations to the American Government to have these nuclear-armed bomber patrols grounded pending the outcome of the Summit Conference?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I studied carefully the Soviet accusations against the United States in the Security Council and have observed that they failed to secure any support there.

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