HC Deb 17 June 1959 vol 607 cc432-3
31. Mr. Healey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what communication he has received from the Soviet Government regarding the establishment of an atom-free zone in the Balkans; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Her Majesty's Government have received no communication from the Soviet Government on the subject, and I have no statement to make.

Mr. Healey

Is the Minister of State not aware that the Soviet Government have made the proposal for such a zone, and while accepting that it is practically impossible to restrict the deployment of nuclear weapons alone in any area, may I ask if the Minister of State would not agree that there is just as strong a case for a general limitation of armaments in the Balkans area as there is for it in Central Europe, where the Government already support it?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I think there is a case to be made out for limitation of armaments in a great many areas. But I think that to pick on the limitation of nuclear weapons in a particular area is a propaganda move on the part of the Soviet Government. They have not followed it up with official communications to the Governments concerned.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is not all this connected with the making of missile bases, and in view of the Soviet position in Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria and Albania and the very exposed position of Greece and Yugoslavia, should we not do well to take this proposal very seriously?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

It is difficult to take a proposal very seriously which is simply made in a speech and is not communicated to any Government concerned.