HC Deb 12 May 1964 vol 695 cc221-2
Q5. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Prime Minister if he will approach President Johnson and Premier Khrushchev with a view to getting their agreement to Great Britain being linked with the direct telephone line now established between Washington and Moscow.

The Prime Minister

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave the hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Woodside (Mr. Carmichael) on 17th December last, in which I said that the direct link between Washington and Moscow provides a reliable line of communication between East and West in an emergency. I already have effective direct communications with President Johnson. I will keep the possibility of a further extension of these arrangements in mind.

Mr. Fernyhough

But does not the Prime Minister appreciate that this hot line was established because Cuba made both the United States and Russia see that the fate of the world might be decided in a matter of seconds? In those circumstances, does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that many British people feel that it would be much better to be connected directly to the hot line than to have a place at the top table?

The Prime Minister

I have said that I will consider this matter. At the moment, we have very direct and quick communications with Moscow.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will the Prime Minister propose that the Secretary-General of the United Nations should also be linked to the hot line?

The Prime Minister

I should think that all the lines to the Secretary-General are hot. However, this is a matter which the Secretary -General can well decide for himself.