HC Deb 13 March 1961 vol 636 cc973-4
37. Mr. Millan

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will appoint a panel of independent experts to advise him on disarmament problems.

Mr. Heath

No, Sir.

Mr. Millan

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that many of us feel that the problems of disarmament are not given sufficient attention in this country? Will he consider taking advice from everyone who can give worth-while advice on the question of disarmament, particularly with the view to drawing up a detailed plan for disarmament which can go to the United Nations and to our next meeting with the Communist countries?

Mr. Heath

I can assure the hon. Gentleman and the House that the Foreign Office and other Departments of the Government give the utmost consideration to the disarmament question. We have been in contact with other bodies outside the Departments, and particularly with the Institute of Strategic Studies. We are always ready to take advice and suggestions on this subject from bodies outside.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

If it is of advantage that the Prime Minister should recommend to the United Nations Assembly to set up a body of experts to prepare proposals, why is it not an advantage for Her Majesty's Government to do the same here?

Mr. Heath

I do not think that the two things are comparable. We have our own experts to deal with disarmament, but the whole point of the Prime Minister's suggestion was that it should be a multi-national gathering of experts which should reach agreement and make recommendations.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the Lord Privy Seal telling us that Her Majesty's Government have agreed to detailed proposals to put to the United Nations?

Mr. Heath

We have on a number of occasions put very concrete and detailed proposals to the United Nations. I said that we had experts on this subject to deal with these things.

Mr. Dugdale

Will the Lord Privy Seal assure the House that he does not rely entirely on admirals, generals and air marshals to advise him, because he might as well get the brewers to advise him on temperance?