HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc920-2
22. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the progress of consultations with other Governments on the proposals for an Atlantic nuclear force.

Mr. M. Stewart

I have nothing to add at present to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence in reply to the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. G. Campbell) on 15th February.

Mr. Blaker

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that, even if the negotiations for the setting up of an Atlantic nuclear force are successful, it is still the intention of the Government to retain some nuclear weapons under their own independent control?

Mr. Stewart

This matter has been fully explained by the Prime Minister.

Mr. Zilliacus

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the Prime Minister's declaration of 23rd November still holds good, namely, that collective defence measures must not be of such a character as to make it more difficult to reach an agreement on the stopping of the spread of nuclear weapons? In view of recent declarations by the Warsaw Alliance, will my right hon. Friend take that factor into consideration in connection with the proposed Atlantic nuclear force?

Mr. Stewart

I can certainly confirm what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has said. One of the reasons for our putting forward the proposal for an Atlantic nuclear force was our belief that it would be both a better use of the resources of the Alliance and would not be a barrier to a disarmament agreement.

Lady Tweedsmuir

Are the Government still pressing forward with these proposals, despite the opposition of France?

Mr. Stewart

The proposals contain provisions whereby the French Government, if they wish at a subsequent date to join, can do so.

Mr. Paget

As the A.N.F. has done its job in sinking the M.L.F., have the Government any other proposals?

Mr. Stewart

No, Sir. We have been engaged in bilateral talks on the A.N.F. and hope to proceed from them to multilateral talks.