HC Deb 31 July 1958 vol 592 cc1588-9
47. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the progress made at the Geneva Conference on detecting nuclear test explosions.

The Prime Minister

It would not be right for me to go beyond what has appeared in the agreed communiqués. These show that the experts have studied and drawn up draft summary conclusions on acoustic, seismic, radioactive and electro-magnetic methods of detection of nuclear tests. The detection of high altitude nuclear test explosions has also been studied. The Conference is continuing with its work as expeditiously as possible.

Mr. Allaun

In view of the Prime Minister's reply and of reports that the scientists have reached almost complete agreement, both on their ability to detect all tests and on the means of doing so, does the right hon. Gentleman not feel that this would be a subject on which agreement could and should be obtained at the summit talks? Does he not feel how deep is the longing among people to take this first step away from the abyss?

The Prime Minister

As I understand it, quite satisfactory progress has been made by the scientists at Geneva, and we are hoping to have their full report, which I am sure will be a valuable contribution to the study of the problem.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

May we hope that the full report will be published when it is finished?

The Prime Minister

I do not suppose that that will rest entirely with us, but we should certainly be in favour of that.

50. Mr. Albu

asked the Prime Minister what current research into methods of inspection of nuclear disarmament is being conducted in the departments concerned; and whether, in the course of such research, he will take into consideration the Report on Inspection for Disarmament prepared by the Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University of which details have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Edmonton.

The Prime Minister

Methods for the inspection and control of possible nuclear disarmament measures are under intensive review by the Departments concerned, but it would not be in the public interest to disclose details. As regards detection of nuclear tests, a great deal of information based on current research is being used in the Geneva talks. Account is taken of suggestions from many quarters, and we already knew of the existence of this study.

Mr. Albu

Will not the Prime Minister agree that, according to preliminary reports which have appeared in the Press, this study by a number of completely independent scientists is probably extremely valuable, and, in particular, may not the attention given to the political aspects of inspection and disarmament be of great value?

The Prime Minister

I, like the hon. Gentleman, read an article in the Observer on this subject last Sunday. I am quite sure that this particular study will be a valuable addition to other contributions on the same matter.