HC Deb 01 February 1960 vol 616 cc628-9
41. Mr. Mason

asked the Minister of Aviation, as representing the Minister for Science, to what extent Her Majesty's Government are assisting the development of the International Committee on Space Research; and if he will make a statement on the United Kingdom contribution to date.

Mr. Rippon

Participation by United Kingdom scientists in the work of this non-Governmental scientific body, known as COSPAR, is the responsibility of the Royal Society and its British National Committee on Space Research. The Society knows that it is Government policy to welcome the development of COSPAR's arrangements for international collaboration. I am informed that our scientists have in fact played a full and important part in all COSPAR's activities and that the British National Committee have kept COSPAR fully informed of all relevant scientific developments in the United Kingdom.

Mr. Mason

Does not this seem to be an ideal body to receive Government recognition? Should not we have Government representatives on it, and not merely members of the Royal Society? Secondly, does not this seem to be an ideal avenue for the consideration of space research by East and West, enabling the matter to be kept on a peaceful plane? Is he satisfied with the contribution that we have made to date?

Mr. Rippon

The position is that COSPAR is one of the committees of the International Council of Scientific Unions. It is a non-Governmental organisation, which means that there cannot be direct Governmental representation. I agree that this is a matter in which all countries can collaborate. It continues the research which was started during the International Geophysical Year.

Mr. Chetwynd

On the general question of space research, can the hon. Member say whether the responsibility rests with his Department or with the Minister for Science?

Mr. Rippon

The Question is concerned only with the position of the International Committee on Space Research. There is another Question on the Order Paper, for another day, on the general aspect of the matter.