HC Deb 09 July 1968 vol 768 cc211-2
Q5. Mr. Whitaker

asked the Prime Minister whether he will invite President Johnson and Mr. Kosygin to meet him to review progress on international acceptance of the nuclear non-proliferation Treaty.

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend will be glad to know that some 60 States signed the Treaty on 1st July when it was opened for signature, and that more signatures are expected in the near future. We shall, of course, keep the situation under review, but I doubt whether any special steps need be taken yet.

Mr. Whitaker

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that, unless there is multilateral disarmament by the nuclear Powers, there is unlikely to be general acceptance by non-nuclear nations of this Treaty and that we are not likely to get the essential funds for peaceful development of the world? Therefore, what steps is my right hon. Friend taking towards further general disarmament?

The Prime Minister

The point of view expressed by my hon. Friend represents the anxiety felt by many non-nuclear States at earlier stages of the negotiation of this Treaty. It was for that reason that the statement was made on behalf of the three Powers principally affected in relation to their action under the Security Council if any non-nuclear Powers were subjected to a nuclear attack. It is for that reason also that all of us welcome the new progress envisaged in the declarations by Mr. Kosygin and by President Johnson last week.

Sir C. Osborne

Since this policy cannot succeed unless the Chinese Government become part of it and support it, could the Prime Minister tell the House of any reactions he has received from our charge d'affaires as to the Peking reaction to this proposal?

The Prime Minister

I regret that I cannot see any evidence at all of any change of heart on the part of the Government of China. That is no reason why in the rest of the world outside China we should not do all that we can to get further advances on disarmament. Nor is it any reason why we should support a situation in which there could be a large number of other nuclear States. It is disappointing about China, but the rest of us have a duty to make progress.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that the fact that France, Brazil, India and China are not signatories to this agreement presents very serious dangers? Will he treat seriously my hon. Friend's proposal that he should turn his mind to constructive work for disarmament?

The Prime Minister

We have been pressing some of the countries concerned very hard. France has made it clear that, while not signing the Treaty, she will follow the general policy enshrined in it. One of the disappointments is India, though one understands her anxieties. It was precisely to deal with those anxieties that the statement was made by Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union about what would happen if there were nuclear attacks on countries such as India.