HC Deb 18 December 1968 vol 775 cc1352-3
2. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether, in view of the United States Government's recent publication of the numbers of deliverable nuclear weapons in the possession of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United States of America, details of which are in his possession, he will give the details of the additional British contribution to the Western nuclear superiority over the Warsaw Pact Powers.

The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Denis Healey)

The British contribution to the collective Western strategic nuclear deterrent has until recently been provided entirely by the V-bomber force. As the Polaris force comes into service it will progressively take over this rôle.

Mr. Brooks

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend, but does he have any evidence to support the accuracy of Mr. Mark Clifford's statistics, particularly in relation to the U.S.S.R.? Were consultations carried out with N.A.T.O. members before these top secret details were disclosed publicly?

Mr. Healey

The nuclear deterrent strength of the U.S.S.R. is, I suppose, top secret in the Soviet Union, but it is not necessarily top secret in other countries which found they had information on it; but the information given by Mr. Clifford has been generally available to N.A.T.O. for some time.

Mr. Goodhew

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House when the Government will renegotiate the Nassau agreement as promised by the Prime Minister?

Mr. Healey

No, not now.