HC Deb 12 November 1962 vol 667 cc12-3
2 and 3. Mr. Swingler

asked the Lord Privy Seal (1) to what extent agreement has been reached in Western European Union on the control and inspection of atomic weapons establishments;

(2) what is now Her Majesty's Government's policy under the revised Paris agreements on the possession and control of atomic weapons in Western Europe.

Mr. Heath

The conditions laid down in the Paris Agreements for controlling stockpiles have not yet been fulfilled. The Council of Western European Union is fully aware of its responsibilities in this field; there has been no change in the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Swingler

Why is it taking so long to establish the control and inspection which were promised in the original agreements many years ago? Secondly, is it clear that it is Her Majesty's Government's continued policy to oppose the further spread of atomic weapons and, in particular, the German manufacture and possession of them?

Mr. Heath

In answer to the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, the position is as I have stated. The need to take steps to determine the level of nuclear weapons stocks has not arisen, because effective production by member States on the mainland of Europe has not yet been notified to the Council. Until that happens it is not required of W.E.U. to take measures. As for the hon. Member's second point, a solemn undertaking has been given to that effect by the Federal Republic.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Am I right in thinking that the principle of Western European agreement about inspection is that it shall occur only after notice to the Government concerned? Is not that the system which we have always told the Russians would not be satisfactory for a general disarmament treaty?

Mr. Heath

It is after notice by the Government concerned that effective production is taking pace. That is the correct terminology.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I believe that it provides that there shall be no inspection until the Government to be inspected has been given notice, that is to say, warned.

Mr. Heath

The arrangement under the Paris Agreements is that the Governments themselves notify W.E.U., of which they are members, and the necessary measures for control are then put into effect.

Mr. Warbey

As all the world knows, France is developing a nuclear striking force with British and West German assistance. Surely the Government have a duty to this country to take the initiative in this matter and raise the queston in Western European Union, which has the power to decide on the level of nuclear stocks on the Continent? Are not the Government going to do anything about it at all?

Mr. Heath

As is not uncommon, I find myself in disagreement with the allegation made by the hon. Gentleman at the beginning of his supplementary question. I have stated the requirements of the Paris Agreement.

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