HC Deb 05 August 1965 vol 717 cc1871-2
Q1. Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has for an international nuclear force in Asia.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I have nothing to add to previous statements on this subject.

Mr. Griffiths

Bearing in mind the troubled situation in the Far East and the grave threat to India posed by China's decision to become a nuclear Power, will the Prime Minister be good enough to answer these further questions? First, when Mr. Patrick Gordon Walker, following his tour of the Far East, suggested such an international nuclear force, was he speaking with the knowledge and authority of the Prime Minister? Second, in view of the guarantee to India which we and the United States have virtually given, will the Prime Minister assure the House that the British V Bomber Force in the Indian Ocean and, later, the Polaris submarines will continue to be equipped with nuclear weapons? Finally,—

Hon. Members

Too long.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The invitation to ask a supplementary question is an invitation to ask one question.

The Prime Minister

I agree with the hon. Gentleman's preamble to his questions; I thought that it was very fair. As regards the statement by Mr. Gordon Walker, there was no question of whether he was talking with or without authority. He was merely repeating what I had said to the House in the debate on 16th December and repeated in the same debate on 17th December. He was saying nothing new beyond what I had already said in the House. As regards the Polaris submarines, it was never envisaged by the previous Government or by this Government that the submarine programme then on order was to have any rôle in the Pacific.

As regards the decision on the V Bombers, I have already referred to this: it is our proposal that these should be internationalised. I agree about the urgency of it, but it will take some time to secure the necessary agreement which will be satfactory to all the Powers concerned, both those which have something to contribute and those which need the safeguards.