HC Deb 27 March 1958 vol 585 c592
49. Mr. Langford-Holt

asked the Prime Minister what information he has concerning the number and size of atomic or hydrogen bomb tests carried out by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in the last two years.

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend will understand that the public interest precludes me from revealing the information which we possess in any detail. I can, however, say that in the last few years the Russians have carried out over fifty tests.

Mr. Langford-Holt

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the information he does have shows that there is any decrease either in the scope or the number of these tests recently?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir; rather the opposite.

Mr. Shinwell

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate that, in view of the large number of tests undertaken by the Soviet Union, many of us do not feel in the least surprised that they now advocate the unilateral suspension of tests?

The Prime Minister

I think that, if that should happen, the right hon. Gentleman has drawn a very fair deduction from the event.

Mr. Gaitskell

Is it not also clear that, if we had accepted the proposal to suspend the tests all round several months ago, a lot of these tests would never have taken place?

The Prime Minister

I recall that last year the right hon. Gentleman was in favour of our having and manufacturing the bomb, but not testing it. I am bound to say that the policy which he is now supporting of keeping the bomb would not have been very effective if I had followed his advice.