HC Deb 22 June 1966 vol 730 cc553-4
7. Mr. Atkins

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for equipping our Polaris submarines with Poseidon missiles in place of 3A missiles.

Mr. Healey

None, Sir.

Mr. Atkins

Does the right hon. Gentleman know that the President of the United States has stated publicly that this weapon increases the effectiveness of a Polaris submarine eight-fold? In view of the Prime Minister's intention to provide a massive contribution to the nuclear defence of the West, does he not consider that our Polaris submarines should be armed with the most advanced weapons available?

Mr. Healey

No, Sir. My view has always been that our forces should have the most advanced weapons required. We are not satisfied that there is a requirement for the Poseidon missile. Moreover, the American Government have not yet made a decision to produce and deploy it.

Mr. Wingfield Digby

Despite the technical difficulties, can we be assured that this matter has at least been looked at?

Mr. Healey

Of course, Sir.

Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles

Does that reply mean that the Polaris is now considered to be an entirely satisfactory system and that there is, therefore, no longer any need to renegotiate the Nassau Agreement?

Mr. Healey

I do not think there is any connection between the first and second parts of that question.