HC Deb 08 November 1961 vol 648 cc951-2
3. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Defence if he will undertake no more nuclear test explosions for at least twelve months.

Mr. Watkinson

I have nothing to add to the full statement by the Prime Minister on this subject during the debate on the Address.

Mr. Allaun

Would not the declaration of such a halt help towards the agreement which the Prime Minister said that he desired? Secondly, would not the Minister agree that there is a growing danger of more countries beginning to make the bomb, and how can the British Government ask others not to join the club if they continue to make and test the bomb?

Mr. Watkinson

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister described in detail the considerations which govern our policy in this field, and I have nothing to add.

Mr. Mason

In view of our relations in this matter with the United States and the exchange of information, what useful purpose would a British series of tests serve now? Has the right hon. Gentleman's Department made any estimate of what would be gained of military value from 30 megaton and 50 megaton explosions?

Mr. Watkinson

That is really a different question.

14. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Minister of Defence to what extent he has studied the recent Russian megaton bomb tests and the effect of megaton bombs upon the operation of Polaris submarines.

Mr. Watkinson

The implications of these tests are, of course, being studied, but it would not be in the public interest to disclose any conclusions of a military character that we may draw.

Mr. Hughes

But is the Minister aware of an article in the Economiston this question in which it was pointed out that the megaton bomb could affect a Polaris submarine and result in the cracking of its hull? Is it not time now that we realised that this Polaris strategy has also become obsolete?

Mr. Watkinson

That is the hon. Member's view. It is not mine.

Mr. Rankin

What is the right hon. Gentleman's view?