HC Deb 31 July 1962 vol 664 cc401-2
Q3. Mr. Driberg

asked the Prime Minister if he will now make a statement on the results of the American high-altitude tests.

The Prime Minister

Information on the effects of the high-altitude tests is being assembled and evaluated, but this process may take a considerable time. It would not be helpful for me to make a statement to the House which is based on an incomplete assessment.

Mr. Driberg

Would it be helpful if the Prime Minister could tell us now whether it is the Government's view that any one nation is entitled to make experiments whose results are unpredictable, affecting all nations, without full consultation with the scientists of other nations and their assent?

The Prime Minister

These tests are based on Johnston Island, which is United States territory. We are, however, in close touch with them, and if it is possible I shall make a statement when the time comes as to any evaluation of their results.

Mr. Frank Allaun

Will the Prime Minister explain to the House what is stopping an immediate agreement to end atmospheric tests, since there can be no doubt about the ability to detect these?

The Prime Minister

What is stopping that As the Soviet Government's refusal to accept this proposal when the President and I made it.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does the Prime Minister recall that the Lord Privy Seal a few days ago said that the Government deplored the announcement that the Soviet Union was about to engage on a new series of tests? Bearing that in mind, will he tell the House what right the Government have to deplore Soviet Union tests if they approve United States tests, and especially tests of this character?

The Prime Minister

As the House knows, the American tests followed an unofficial but in fact complete moratorium for three years when the Russians suddenly produced their tests. That, I think, was the reason why we felt it necessary, to defend our security, to proceed.

Mr. Lubbock

The Prime Minister said that the tests were based on Johnston Island, but they took place in space. Does space now belong to the United States?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I was only meaning that this was not one of the Christmas Island arrangements which had been agreed.