HC Deb 13 December 1965 vol 722 cc885-6
5. Mr. Alison

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to what extent the prospects of a nuclear non-proliferation agreement have been improved following his recent visit to Moscow.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Walter Padley)

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the statement which ray right hon. Friend made to the House on 6th December.

Mr. Alison

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that an article in Izvestia on 5th December has somewhat dispelled the note of optimism sounded in that communiqué? Would he now agree that the best way of securing any agreement with the Russians is to reckon that they will be stalling on this issue until we have completed our own arrangements within N.A.T.O.?

Mr. Padley

No, Sir, I would not accept that. As my right hon. Friend made a detailed statement a week ago and was questioned in detail and as we are led to believe that he will be opening a foreign affairs debate one week today, I urge the hon. Gentleman and the House as a whole to await the foreign affairs debate.

Mr. Soames

Will the hon. Gentleman say whether when his right hon. Friend left Moscow he brought away the impression that the Russians were genuinely seeking a non-proliferation treaty, or was it that they did not think that the time was yet ripe for a non-proliferation treaty but were using the arguments going on in N.A.T.O. as an excuse for not proceeding towards such a treaty?

Mr. Padley

As my right hon. Friend made clear a week ago, he came away from Moscow with the impression that it was worth while going on with the negotiations in the Eighteen-Nation Committee. Even that was not sure before he went to Moscow, so that I think that the House will agree that his visit was very welcome and fruitful.

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