HC Deb 06 May 1970 vol 801 cc394-5
13. Mr. Brooks

asked the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will make a statement on the military aspects of the proposal by Euratom to seek nuclear know-how from Her Majesty's Government as the price for British entry to the European Community.

Mr. Healey

Her Majesty's Government have not received such a proposal. But in the event of United Kingdom entry to the Community our nuclear defence programme would remain outside the ambit of Euratom. Entry would be under conditions consistent with our Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty commitments.

Mr. Brooks

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there will be general satisfaction with that reply? In view of the impending negotiations between the Six and the International Atomic Energy Agency over the enforcement of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, will he make it quite clear that until France signs the Treaty there will be no handing over of nuclear know-how to Euratom?

Mr. Healey

With great respect, this is a totally different matter. The question of military nuclear know-how is as I have described it. It is not affected by our prospective entry into the Community and would not be affected by our entry. France is a member of Euratom, and the Euratom provisions already apply to France and the other members of Euratom on the Continent.

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Will the Secretary of State say what discussions he has had with the French Government about working more closely with the French force de frappe or if he has not had discussions, why not?

Mr. Healey

I have recently had the pleasure of prolonged discussions with M. Debré, the French Defence Minister, in Paris. This question was not discussed, because the French Government have repeatedly made it clear that they are not in a position to submit their nuclear military programme to the same type of integration with N.A.T.O. as the British military nuclear programme. I thought that the recent pamphlet published by the Conservative Central Office on this matter showed a welcome degree of progress in the thinking of the Opposition in accepting this as a fact.