HC Deb 08 November 1967 vol 753 c1008
10. Mr. Marten

asked the Secretary of State for Defence under what conditions Great Britain's strategic nuclear deterrent will be used independently outside its international rôle.

Mr. Healey

As I told the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell) on 1st March, the Government cannot conceive of any situation in which we would need to exercise the right to the independent use of our strategic nuclear weapons.—[Vol. 742, c. 484–5.]

Mr. Marten

Can the Government nevertheless confirm that it is our policy to use our strategic nuclear deterrent independently if our supreme national interest is at stake? Secondly, if that should be so, does that include Polaris and the exercise of our nuclear capabilities in N.A.T.O., S.E.A.T.O. and CENTO?

Mr. Healey

The hon. Member has asked a hypothetical question about a hypothesis which Her Majesty's Government cannot entertain.

Mr. Blaker

But surely the right hon. Gentleman will confirm that the terms on which the British nuclear deterrent is committed to N.A.T.O. reserve to the Government the right to use that deterrent independently in certain circumstances.

Mr. Healey

As I have made clear, I cannot conceive of circumstances in which we would need to exercise that right.

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