HC Deb 23 March 1964 vol 692 cc11-2
12. Mr. Prentice

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the latest position reached at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva.

Mr. R. A. Butler

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer which I gave to the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. P. Noel-Baker) on 16th March. The Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Conference, in continuing its discussions on general and complete disarmament, is concentrating on the reduction of nuclear delivery vehicles, and on immediate confidence-building measures. I hope that, with good will and effort on all sides, the conference will now make further progress.

Mr. Prentice

Is it not a fact that since the conference resumed it has tended to take the form of a series of rather disconnected speeches all covering a wide range? How far are the issues discussed narrowing down to the point which the Foreign Secretary mentioned, and are these being discussed in more detail? Does he not think that that is the way forward for the conference at this stage rather than various nations having their representatives make long speeches not necessarily connected with each other?

Mr. Butler

I ventured to make this one of my suggestions when I visited the conference a few weeks ago. My hon. Friend the Minister of State will be visiting Geneva later this week.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will the Foreign Secretary circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the statement which he made in the Committee of Eighteen on 25th February endorsing President Johnson's proposals for a nuclear vehicle freeze?

Mr. Butler

It would be rather long to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT, but I will make it available in the Library.

Mr. Noel-Baker

The sentences in which the right hon. Gentleman endorsed those words were quite short but very important and it would be of great value to have them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Butler

I think that it would be better to put them in the Library. I do not claim the great honour of having them in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

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