HC Deb 16 January 1964 vol 687 cc402-3
Ql. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Prime Minister what recent initiatives have been taken by United Kingdom representatives at the Geneva Disarmament Conference to propose an exchange of information on chemical and bacteriological weapons, between Great Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union.

The Prime Minister (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)

None, Sir. The subject has not yet come up for discussion at Geneva but the United States disarmament plan, which we support, makes provision in Stage I for examination ofthe problems of chemical and biological weapons. The Conference is working on an agenda which covers all the important points in the first stage of the United States and Soviet disarmament plans.

Mr. Dalyell

In the light of the technical evidence which Isent the right hon. Gentleman, does not this represent a missed opportunity?

The Prime Minister

I think that the hon. Gentleman misunderstands. This must form part of the general problem of disarmament, because any disarmament in this respect would obviously have to be subject to inspection at some stage, so t should be discussed in Stage I.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

As this form of warfare is universally condemned and as research is going on very rapidly, would it not be desirable to have a full discussion before a treaty came into force?

The Prime Minister

I do not understand which treaty is to come into force. Of course, there will be full discussion of this and every aspect of the disarmament plan when my right hon. Friend gets to Geneva.