HC Deb 28 March 1963 vol 674 cc1532-3
Q1. Viscount Lambton

asked the Prime Minister whether he will ask for an assurance from the President of the United States of America that every detail relevant to the production of the Polaris submarine and its firing mechanism will be communicated to the British Government before production of any part of the submarine begins in the United Kingdom.

The First Secretary of State (Mr. R. A. Butler)

I have been asked to reply.

Any general assurance of the kind referred to by my noble Friend would not be so effective as what is proposed, namely, a detailed agreement about the transmission of technical information. This is now being worked out with the Americans and will be published in due course.

Viscount Lambton

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance, in his own wording, that we shall have the transmission of every technical detail before we start the production of the Polaris submarine in this country?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I understand that the transmission referred to by my noble Friend will be of the most detailed character. As I say, this is being worked out and will be published.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not of vital importance that we should be furnished with every possible technical detail in order to avoid a recurrence of what happened over the Skybolt missile? May we have a definite assurance that the House will be informed before any production occurs in respect of the Polaris submarine that we are wholly satisfied—that the Government are wholly satisfied—that we can proceed?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I think it vital to have the full information and, as this is to be published, I think it will be available to the House.