HC Deb 23 November 1960 vol 630 cc1112-3
12. Mr. Swingler

asked the Lord Privy Seal, without prejudice to the discussion of other proposals for tackling the disarmament problem, if he will consider the possibility that the Geneva disarmament talks should be resumed with the addition of representatives of other States, including India and China.

Mr. Heath

We fully support the resumption of the Geneva talks. The composition of the negotiating body must be a matter for international agreement, and I would prefer not to comment on it while the whole subject is under discussion at the United Nations.

Mr. Swingler

Apart from the Prime Minister's proposal for technical studies, what action are the Government to take to try to bring about this resumption? Do they agree that it can be done effectively only if both China and some representatives of the uncommitted nations are included? Can the Government get the conversations a stage further by agreeing in principle that India and China should be included in the resumed talks?

Mr. Heath

We have stated in the disarmament discussions at the United Nations that we stand ready to resume them in the Ten-Power Committee, and we are anxious to do so. As to the composition, it is of course notable that the discussions did not break down because of the composition of the Committee, because it was bad or lacked any members, but because the Soviet delegation walked out.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is not it plain from the record of the discussions at Geneva that every day there was a need for some impartial voice to be heard and that it was unfortunate that the Commission consisted of ten members divided into two allied groups of five? Will the Government say that they are ready to accept the membership of India, China and other nations in whatever body may carry on the discussions?

Mr. Heath

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister dealt exactly with that point in reply to the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) on 17th November, when he said that he did not exclude that possibility.