HC Deb 07 November 1966 vol 735 cc955-6
8. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement about progress towards an Atlantic Nuclear Force.

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Mr. George Thomson)

Discussions on nuclear arrangements within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are proceeding amongst members of the Alliance.

Mr. Marten

Has the Atlantic Nuclear Force been generally dropped in favour of consultations on the Mac-Namara basis and did the hon. Gentleman's right hon. Friend raise this matter with the West Germans on his recent visit there?

Mr. Thomson

Her Majesty's Government's proposals for an Atlantic Nuclear Force remain for consideration, but the immediate issue is to create machinery by which the non-nuclear members of N.A.T.O. can be more closely associated with nuclear planning policy. During his visit to Bonn, my right hon. Friend discussed many subjects with the Federal German Government, including problems of disarmament.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Is this a polite way of saying that the Atlantic Nuclear Force is dead?

Hon. Members


Mr. Thomson

No, Sir. The answer means exactly what I said.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is it proposed to place the four Polaris nuclear submarines in an Atlantic Nuclear Force?

Mr. Thomson

I think that the proposals involved in the Atlantic Nuclear Force are well known to the House. They still remain for consideration. However, I think that my hon. Friend would agree that the urgent matter is to get ahead with the present nuclear planning arrangements within N.A.T.O.