HC Deb 02 February 1970 vol 795 cc19-20
26. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether, in view of the development of the anti-ballistic missile system and the multiple-headed independently targeted missile, he will pursue a policy of nuclear disarmament.

Mr. M. Stewart

It continues to be our policy to seek multilateral disarmament, covering both nuclear and conventional weapons, by international agreement.

Mr. Jenkins

In view of the development of the I.B.M., in the event of any agreement on this basis, and if the United States goes ahead, as now seems to be the case, with some form of I.B.M., would not the position of any nuclear holding country outside the coverage of I.B.M. be even more exposed than at present?

Would my right hon. Friend not reconsider our policy in the light of this development?

Mr. Stewart

No, Sir. I do not see any reason, in the light of what my hon. Friend has said, to reconsider the general principles of our policy. My hon. Friend will know that considerable progress has been made in the signing and ratification of the non-proliferation treaty and that consersations are proceeding between the United States and the Soviet Union about nuclear weapons. These and other signs indicate that a genuine attempt to get international disarmament by international agreement is the right policy.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will the Foreign Secretary confirm that in any agreement for general disarmament inspection and verification is absolutely vital to any future policy in this matter?

Mr. Stewart

I do not know that I would lay that down for every possible disarmament agreement. But in general one must accept the proposition advanced by the hon. Gentleman that if we are to enter into disarmament agreements we must be clear that they are accepted and carried out by both sides.

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