HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc191-2
52. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of his proposal to Mr. Khrushchev that experts should now be appointed to work out an agreed system of inspection and control of hydrogen bomb tests, he will intimate to the Soviet Government that Her Majesty's Government is prepared to implement such a system in an agreement banning tests.

The Prime Minister

I have made clear the hope of Her Majesty's Government that a Summit Conference may reach some agreement on disarmament, including the question of nuclear test explosions. It is certainly our intention that such agreement should include effective measures of international control. It is very disappointing that Mr. Khrushchev should now have flatly rejected President Eisenhower's proposal, similar to mine, for preparatory technical study of this control.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is it not a fact that the President's proposal was that there should be technical discussions without any preceding agreement to banish tests in a separate treaty? Is that not the real issue? Will the Prime Minister state whether the technical discussions, if the Soviet Union agrees to them, will take place on the basis of an agreement to ban tests, apart from anything else?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I think the hon. Gentleman has quite missed the point. It was proposed in several quarters, in this House and elsewhere, that, while the signing of a final agreement might have to be left, and should be left, to a summit agreement or an agreement between the Powers, it would save time and would be helpful if the technical investigations took place immediately. I am sorry that that proposal, made by both the American and the British Government, has not, as yet, been taken up.