HC Deb 01 March 1965 vol 707 cc918-20
20. Mr. Ennals

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals the present Government have submitted for consideration by the 18 Nations Disarmament Conference in Geneva; and if he will make a statement.

21. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's disarmament proposals.

23. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government propose to put forward new proposals on disarmament to the 18 Nation Disarmament Conference; and if he will make a statement.

57. Mr. Francis Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what new disarmament proposals he has to put before the Disarmament Conference in Geneva.

Mr. M. Stewart

I would refer the hon. Member to previous statements in the House, and in particular to the speech by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in the foreign affairs debate on 16th December last. We hope that the Geneva Conference will reconvene soon and that, when it does, it will be possible to make progress towards our objectives.

Mr. Ennals

While thanking my right hon. Friend for the answer, may I urge him to bring as much pressure as possible for an early meeting of the Disarmament Conference and to put forward proposals on behalf of this country both for general and complete disarmament and for partial measures?

Mr. Stewart

It certainly is our hope that the Conference will reassemble at an early date. The accepted practice is that suggesting the date rests with the two Co-Chairmen, the United States and the Soviet representatives, and I understand that they are in touch. We shall have a number of detailed proposals to put forward.

Mr. Henderson

In view of the fact that two of the five world nuclear Powers are not participating in the Geneva Disarmament Conference, has my right hon. Friend considered the desirability of proposing a five-Power Foreign Ministers' conference with a view to exploring the possibilities of breaking this continued disarmament deadlock?

Mr. Stewart

I will consider that.

Mr. Blaker

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that his noble Friend the Minister of State for Disarmament recently said that it is up to the British Government to put forward a completly new plan on general disarmament which will shake the two super-Powers out of their entrenched positions? Does this mean that we are proposing to put forward a plan which is not yet agreed with our allies? If so, can we expect them to consult us, as they have done in the past, before putting forward their proposals?

Mr. Stewart

No, Sir. We shall put forward proposals in consultation.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will my right hon. Friend say whether he has any idea when the Conference is likely to be reconvened? Will the Government give priority to the subject of non-dissemination and will he consider making approaches, parallel with our approaches in Geneva, to the Chinese Government on this subject?

Mr. Stewart

I expect the Conference to reassemble quite soon. One of the main obectives which we have in mind is a non-dissemination agreement. I should like to consider further the suggestion at the end of my hon. Friend's question.

Mr. William Yates

In view of the very valuable contribution made by the Prime Ministers of the Commonwealth in 1961 about disarmament, would the Minister also consider consulting them to see whether they have any suggestions whereby this deadlock might be broken?

Mr. Stewart

I will certainly consider that.

Mr. Maudling

Reverting to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South (Mr. Blaker), may we be quite certain that the Government look to a policy of reaching agreement with our allies and not of shaking them about?

Mr. Stewart

Yes. I think I made that clear in my earlier answer.