HC Deb 11 July 1960 vol 626 cc979-80
42. Mr. Warbey

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a further statement on progress in securing an agreement to ban nuclear tests.

Mr. Profumo

Since the beginning of June, the Conference has been discussing two categories of question: matters referred to it by the experts who joined the three delegations in May to discuss a programme of co-ordinated research into means of detecting and identifying small underground nuclear explosions; and questions arising from recent Western proposals on organisational problems. such as the staffiing of the proposed control organisation. While some new problems have arisen, especially over the Soviet attitude to co-ordinated research, I am hopeful that these can be overcome by patient negotiation.

Mr. Warbey

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the conclusion of a treaty is now within sight, as it ought to be, and, if not, whether he anticipates that these very many obstacles can be overcome without undue delay?

Mr. Profumo

I cannot say that it is actually in sight, but I hope that it is not far off

Mr. A. Henderson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the experts who are meeting in Geneva are making any progress in their investigations into the problem of small underground tests?

Mr. Profumo

Yes. Progress continues to be made, but we should like it to be even faster than it is at present.

Mr. Grimond

Is it not the case that part of the difficulty over the experiments in small underground tests arises from the constitutional difficulties of the Americans making known the details of their nuclear devices? If this is so, might not this country offer to have some experimental tests here?

Mr. Profumo

I do not think that the difficulties entirely arise from what the hon. Gentleman has in mind.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that perhaps the time has come when we might have a White Paper setting out the proposals that have been made?

Mr. Profumo

No, Sir. The records of the Conference are being published and put in the Library, as agreed with the House earlier.