HC Deb 02 July 1973 vol 859 cc47-106

4.15 p.m.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

I beg to move, That this House deplores the failure of Her Majesty's Government to make adequate protests to the Government of France for ignoring the decision of the International Court at The Hague on nuclear testing, and supports the two Commonwealth Governments of Australia and New Zealand in their opposition to the impending tests in the Pacific.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Miss Harvie Anderson)

I should inform the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister and his right hon. and hon. Friends, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof: shares the widespread concern at the continued testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere by any state and urges that all Governments that have not yet done so should accede to the partial test ban treaty".

Mr. Dalyell

Over the past six months or more whenever the Prime Minister or the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has found himself confronted by some awkward or inconvenient point on French nuclear tests in the course of Parliamentary Questions, invariably he has taken refuge in the same bolt hole, saying that the attitude of the present Government is, after all, no different from that of the Labour Government in 1966 and 1967. Ministers at the Dispatch Box have often got away with it, since in the very nature of our Question Time the House wants to pass on to the next subject. However, many hon. Members right round the political spectrum know that counter-attacking the Opposition for what happened seven years ago is just too easy by half.

There have been fundamental changes in circumstances. In 1966 it was believed that there was a definite threshold below which radiation was not harmful. In 1973 we know that any level of radiation can be harmful.

In 1966 the Governments of Australia and New Zealand acquiesced in testing. In 1973 the Governments of Australia and New Zealand have made formal requests to us to use such influence as we have with the French to stop the impending tests.

In 1966 the people of Australia and New Zealand really could not have cared much less about testing in the Marquesas Archipelago. In 1973 people of all political persuasions in Australia and New Zealand are concerned about the prospective pollution of the Pacific.

In 1966 knowledge about Chinese nuclear testing was a little sparse. In 1973 it is known that Chinese nuclear testing can produce atmospheric pollution dangerous in its consequences throughout certain latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere.

In 1966 we had no position with the Government of France as a Common Market partner. In 1973 the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary comes to the House and waxes eloquent on the subject of the European Community of the Nine. Matters clearly are rather different.

I hope that I shall be forgiven if I spend a little time on the scientific detail. On Thursday night my right hon. Friend the Member for Caernarvon (Mr. Goronwy Roberts) extracted this assertion from the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs: The evidence available to the Foreign Office is that there is no danger whatever to health as a result of the French or Chinese tests in the atmosphere. Does the right hon. Gentleman deny the presence of strontium 90, and does he further deny the connection between strontium 90 and bone cancer and lukaemia? Does the right hon. Gentleman deny the presence of caesium 137, which has a longish half-life of 30 years, anal does he further deny the connection between caesium 137 and many forms of cancer, a connection which has been proved by work which has been done by scientists in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Does he deny the presence of iodine 131 and its attendant dangers to the thyroid gland?

Over the years we have come to know the right hon. Gentleman as a man of many remarkable parts. But until now it had not occurred to us to think of him as a man whose qualities of mind and scholarship enabled him single-handed to take on the entire informed medical and biochemical establishment of the country in its own specialities. Here we have the most versatile European since Leonardo da Vinci. Not only did he father the Concorde by himself he has invented new laws of biochemistry. The Minister is a man of unsuspected genius.

Then the Minister takes refuge in the Australian Government's National Radiation Advisory Committee. That is rather dangerous, because, although it reported after the previous series of tests that The fall-out from the French series of tests does not constitute a hazard to the health of the Australian population", that is not a scientific statement. It is not on my authority that I say that but on the authority of the most distinguished British Nobel Prize winner in the field, Maurice Wilkins. The report did not take into account the work of Tamplin, Goffman and Sternglass on strontium 90 and caesium 137. It is difficult to see how the committee could have arrived at that conclusion with certainty, as radiation hazards are now known to be cumulative, and additionally so in the sense that bone and tissues act as isotope collectors.

The story is that the Americans at first disputed the arguments of Sternglass that there was danger in any level of radiation. The American Atomic Energy Commission appointed two of its own people to go into the Sternglass allegations. At the end of the day those people, who were supposed to be critical, confirmed that in many important material respects Sternglass was right.

Therefore, I must ask where the Foreign Office is obtaining its scientific advice. The House deserves to be told who is giving it. We suspect that the people giving the advice are not more distinguished in matters of genetics than Linus Pauling, Patricia Lindop and Maurice Wilkins, who have led scientific protests against the tests. In particular, may we be told about the terms of reference, the functions and the reports of the two men who have been seconded to the Pitcairn Islands?

Before I depart from the scientific aspects of the matter, another explanation is required, in answer to questions which have been put, not least by my right hon. Friend the Member for Carmarthen (Mr. Gwynoro Jones) last Thursday. If the tests are so safe, why did the countries of North Africa and West Africa kick up such a fuss when the French were testing in the Sahara? If the British Government are so content about the safety of the tests, why did not they persuade the French to carry them out in the Massif Central or in the Bay of Biscay?

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

What about the English Channel?

Mr. Dalyell

That is another candidate. Why do it in someone else's back yard and not one's own?

If scientific knowledge has advanced since 1966, so have the political circumstances. Australia and New Zealand, which were acquiescent and agnostic for two decades of testing, have now become so alarmed that they have gone successfully to the International Court at The Hague on this important issue. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones), a former Attorney-General, can obviously speak on that matter with more authority that than I can ever hope to have, so I leave the Hague decision to him.

We should not be deluded into thinking that the change in attitude of the Australian and New Zealand Governments is simply a result of a change of their political complexion. Australia and New Zealand are at The Hague because the people of Australia and New Zealand have been alerted, and the fact that they now have Labour Governments is only part of the story.

In 1969, in Cairns and Townsville, Queensland, I sensed the beginning of anger at testing. Now it is felt by all sorts of people right across Australia. One reaction which I found, and which I gather is now growing, is that "It may be bad enough for us Queenslanders, but what about the Polynesians, whose resistance is much weaker than ours?"

As a result of certain publicity to do with the test issue, I was invited to go on the Greenpeace March part of the way from London to the French border. Anyone who walked with the young Australians and New Zealanders on that march could establish that they were not cranks. In fact, they were among the very best young people in their country, as my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Robert Hughes) will confirm. Anyone who met Mrs. Nelson and Mrs. Cahill, representing about 27 Australian women's organisations, as my hon. Friend the Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) and I did, knows that they represent the women of Australia and are not cranks.

Unprompted by their Governments, the Australian and New Zealand trade union movements have taken spontaneous action. They have the solidarity of the British trade union movement, and action is being taken by the Transport and General Workers' Union, the Post Office workers, and the Association of Cinematograph, Television and Allied Technicians. Now, most important of all, the action has been endorsed by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

An Australian in Britain this summer voiced the feelings of thousands of his fellow countrymen when he told me "My father came to help you people at Gallipoli and suffered. I served with the 8th Army in North Africa and my brother served with the 14th Army in Burma. We quite understand why many British people thought it right to join the European Common Market. But". he added pointedly, "does that mean that you have altogether forgotten the old relationship, the more so when your connection with your new friends, the French, should give you the power to help us in this matter of testing?" In one form or another that feeling is echoed many times, and it cuts pretty deep.

There is something else which cuts rather deep. On 28th October 1971 I was one of those who voted in favour of joining the European Community. Among other things, we imagined, not without a good deal of reason if ministerial speeches were to be believed, that entry would give us a substantial say in the foreign and defence policy of our partners. When one considers the story of British handling of the matter of tests with France, one is forced to the embarrassing and disconcerting conclusion that right hon. and hon. Friends like my right hon. Friends the Members for Stepney (Mr. Shore) and Battersea, North (Mr. Jay) and others may have been wiser in their perceptions than some of us were.

If a British Government cannot influence President Pompidou on this matter—if they tried, which we strongly doubt—a matter on which the overwhelming majority of the United Nations is at one with us, by 104 votes to 4, what on earth can we influence the French on? Being ignored to the point of being snubbed by M. Pompidou and M. Messmer was not the kind of relationship between Britain and France for which some voted on 28th October 1971.

In connection with what are very deep issues of the kind of relationship we are to have with the French, I must refer to an unpleasant and nasty speech made by M. Messmer in New Caledonia on 26th May last year, when he said: We must not forget that New Zealand is on the asking side. At the time of Britain's entry into the Common Market, New Zealand came on her knees to beseech us to allow her to go on exporting to Britain. We have condescended"— that is the word used in the official translation— to grant New Zealand guaranteed exports for a period of five years, but this limit could be reconsidered and reduced, and we could look at the application with disfavour. We find that attitude odious. Can we count on Her Majesty's Government to protect New Zealand's right to five years' exports to the Community, whatever frigates she decides to send to Mururoa Atoll?

There is one reason, perhaps the most important of all, why President Pompidou should be persuaded to change his mind. France is not alone in her testing. China is also at it, and at it in a big way. I make it plain on behalf of the Opposition that we deplore the Chinese testing not an iota less than the French testing, without reservation and without qualification.

As one of the Members who have valued friendly relations with the Chinese, perhaps I am in a position to say that. However, I add that when I was lucky enough to be in Peking with a trade delegation I raised this matter in courteous terms, and Chen-wen-Chin, head of the Western European and American Department of the Chinese Foreign Office, when confronted with the question had a simple and courteous answer. He asked "Are not your friends the French doing the same thing?" That is the Chinese answer, and that is an important reason why we should be influencing the French. It is possible—I put it no higher—that if the French were to stop nuclear testing the Chinese would not care to be the only nation in the world to continue with atmospheric tests.

Two questions are called for in this debate. Why did not Britain protest to the Chinese, along with the Japanese and Australians, who have far more to lose by giving offence in Peking? Secondly, will the Prime Minister express his views forcefully to Chou En-lai when he goes to Peking later this year? As the Foreign Secretary knows, the Chinese respect candour.

The late Colonel Sir Malcolm Stoddart-Scott, whose passing many of us greatly lament, used to say that, on principle, at least once a year one should vote against the Whips. I suggest to hon. Gentlemen opposite that this is just such an occasion. By their vote, or abstention if that is easier, they would be telling their Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister to be less reticent with the French and to speak for Britain. Government back benchers sometimes have a duty to alter affairs in politics, and I believe that this is one of the occasions on which they should do so.

What do the Opposition hope for? First, we want an official and speedy protest to the Chinese about their testing. Secondly, we want serious answers to the questions that have been put this afternoon and by some of my hon. Friends during the foreign affairs debate. On past form, I accept that we could get a sort of yah-boo answer—"You did the same." That is the kind of record that we have heard too often. To use the more eloquent language of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for West Ham, South, the tu quoque argument, as the lawyers have it, would not be acceptable because it would be too glib by half. My right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart), when he was Foreign Secretary, protested in the extreme terms allowed by diplomatic language to President De Gaulle. Thirdly, we want the Prime Minister to go to France and to confront President Pompidou before any damage is done. After all, Lord Attlee did that in more difficult circumstances with President Truman.

It is the Prime Minister's reluctance to do that that is the prime cause of censure, and perhaps I may explain why our criticism is directed peculiarly and personally at the right hon. Gentleman. Bluntly—my colleagues may disagree—I think that there are a number of Conservatives who, in private, are as angry with the French as we are, and that may be the reason why they have put down such a mellow amendment. I suspect, too, from the Foreign Secretary's reaction on Thursday that he is saddened and angry with the French. Since we are all products of our past achievements, it would be strange if one of the creators of the test ban treaty were not pretty sick at heart, and I am not being kind to the right hon. Gentleman merely because it is his 70th birthday.

I thought it was strange that on Wednesday afternoon, when asked about the failure to influence the French Government, the right hon. Gentleman replied gently "That is a question"—he said resignedly—"that must be addressed to many other people", and he added rather sorrowfully "The French are capable of making their decisions for themselves". That was a strange attitude, I thought a mellow attitude, and one that leads to the belief that there may be some differences of opinion, which will not be ventilated in public, between many people and the Prime Minister, because the Prime Minister's attitude is altogether different.

I do not say that the Prime Minister likes atmospheric testing. That is not the argument. Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman does not like it very much at all, but the whole business to the Prime Minister, as it has seemed over all these months, is, to use one of his own favourite words, not terribly "relevant". His attitude has been "Why have a row about testing? When you are quarrelling over the common agricultural policy, when you are having a great argument about the size of lorries, and when you have a stalemate over regional incentives, why bother about nuclear testing?"

In my view, the Prime Minister's discomfiture is not about nuclear testing at all but about M. Pompidou and M. Messmer thinking that the British are not very good Europeans after all. If one can put thoughts into the right hon. Gentleman's mind, he thinks, "For pity's sake do not add nuclear testing to my problems". In my opinion, that is not an unfair summary of the Prime Minister's attitude.

It is sad, since it is well known that the Prime Minister has a deeply close personal relationship with the French President. It is inconceivable that policy on these matters is made anywhere in France other than at the Elysee, and the objective conclusion must be that the Prime Minister had the position to do something about it and, at best, he did not try very hard, even in terms of language accepted in diplomacy, or possibly he has tried not at all. It is the personal responsibility of the Prime Minister that Britain has been feckless on a issue on which we ought to have been determined, and reticent when we ought to have been outspoken. In 1973, testing by France is not a subject about which Britain can shrug her shoulders and pass by on the other side of the road.

The Prime Minister's attitude has been to allow the meekest decencies, of going through the motions of protesting, without dreaming of having any kind of scene with President Pompidou. In terms of world environment, in terms of public opinion in this country, in terms of healthy future relations between Britain and France and, indeed, in terms of long-term British national and European interest, the right hon. Gentleman has got his priorities tragically wrong. This is a subject on which to have a row, and that is why I ask my right hon. and hon. Friends to support the motion in the Lobby tonight.

4.38 p.m.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Julian Amery)

I beg to move to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof: shares the widespread concern at the continued testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere by any State and urges that all Governments that have not yet done so should accede to the partial test ban treaty". I hope that I might be allowed at the outset to offer my congratulations to the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) on what I believe is his first Front Bench speech. The homework that he has done on this subject and the contribution that he made today fully justify his appearance at that Front Bench, and I hope that we shall often hear him from that position.

I welcome the debate because I think it is clear that not only in Australia and New Zealand but in this country, too, there is a good deal of interest in the subject that has been raised. It is appropriate that it should be discussed here in Parliament, and, therefore, I rather regret the decision of the Union of Post Office Workers to try to suspend the transmission of French letters, or perhaps I should call them mail from France, as the other subject is likely to be debated after 10 o'clock tonight.

The motion before the House asks us to make a protest against the French Government's refusal to accept the Interim Measures Order of the International Court of Justice. In deciding what our position should be, we have to take account of the obligations which rest upon ourselves and upon the French, of the risks to health and the environment, of our obligation to Commonwealth countries, and of our general attitude to international law.

The hon. Gentleman rightly rehearsed the historical and scientific arguments bearing on the matter. Before saying a few words on the international legal aspect of the subject—my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will deal with them in much greater detail—I should like to follow his course and deal a little with the background.

Nuclear weapons were first developed by Britain and the United States, in cooperation, during the Second World War. After the war the United States continued with a purely national programme and was followed in this by the Soviet Union.

After some interruption, the development of nuclear weapons was resumed in Britain by Mr. Attlee's Government. In the fifties steps were also taken to initiate nuclear weapon programmes in France and in the People's Republic of China.

The development of all these weapons involved a series of tests in the atmosphere, first in the kiloton range and then in the megaton range. These tests were undertaken by the United States on the American mainland and later in the Pacific; by the Soviets within the territory of the Soviet Union; by Britain at Montebello Island and Maralinga with the co-operation of the Australian Government and later at Christmas Island; by China in Sinkiang; and by France first in the Sahara and later in the Pacific.

For a long time international opinion was primarily concerned with the whole problem of the limitation and control of nuclear weapons. But, by the mid-1950s an important body of responsible opinion was becoming increasingly exercised by the need to limit nuclear tests because of the increase in levels of radioactivity in the Northern Hemisphere and fears that these might have adverse effects on health and the environment—all this quite apart from any consideration of disarmament or non-proliferation.

As far back as 1955, Mr. Speaker, then holding my present office, made certain proposals in the United Nations which in 1957 were developed, when Mr. Speaker was Foreign Secretary, into a system for the suspension of nuclear tests. After thorough scientific investigation, the British and American Governments came to the conclusion that fears about the effect of fall-out were very much exaggerated. They nevertheless proposed that a United Nations committee be set up to study the question.

Later, in March 1957, in the Bermuda Declaration, the two Governments undertook to conduct their own testing in such a way as to avoid significant increases in world levels of radioactivity.

We and the Americans also appealed—as it happened, without success—to the Soviet Union to give a similar undertaking. In 1958 negotiations began in Geneva. While these were going on, there was an informal and voluntary suspension of tests by the three Powers. This became a virtual moratorium.

In 1961, however, there was a setback when the Soviet Union announced its intention to break the agreed moratorium, which it had itself proposed, and resumed nuclear tests in the atmosphere on an intensive scale, including weapons of 50–100 megatons. These led the Americans in their turn to resume their own nuclear tests, though I think it worth saying that they deferred for a time at the urging of the then British Prime Minister, Mr. Macmillan, who still hoped that an East-West summit conference might be arranged to discuss this matter among other matters.

In this connection, it is only fair to recall that the American decision to undertake tests in the Pacific was formally and publicly endorsed by the Australian Government of the day.

In 1963 the Soviet Union finally agreed to Western proposals for a partial ban, covering nuclear weapons tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water, but excluding those underground. I happened, as chance had it, to play a small part myself in these negotiations in June 1963, when, at the then Prime Minister's request, I explored with Mr. Khruschev possible ways forward. This was a first modest step in the approach march to the partial test ban treaty.

Shortly after my visit, my right hon. and noble Friend the Lord Chancellor went to Moscow and there conducted the main negotiations which led to the signing of the treaty in Moscow later that year.

I rehearse these events to show that there can be no question as to the importance attached to the control of nuclear tests from 1957 by the Government presided over by Mr. Harold Macmillan and in which Mr. Speaker and my right hon. Friend were Secretaries of State for Foreign Affairs, nor as to the diplomatic efforts which we deployed to help bring this about.

Following the conclusion of the partial test ban treaty in 1963, the number of atmospheric tests fell dramatically. There have been no tests since then in the atmosphere by the United States, the Soviet Union or Britain, though a large number have been undertaken underground and are continuing.

As far back as 1960, however, the French and the Chinese declined to subscribe to any international agreement on testing. They are not bound, therefore, by the obligations of the test ban treaty of 1963.

China exploded her first nuclear device in 1964, and this has been followed by a further 14 Chinese tests in the atmosphere including the one last week. These, taken together, have yielded a total of 20 megatons of explosive power, all in the Northern Hemisphere; the test last week yielded between two and three megatons. The French, after a period of atmospheric and underground tests in the Sahara, resumed atmospheric testing with their first tests in the Pacific, exactly seven years ago, on 2nd July 1966. Some 30 shots since then have added up to an estimated total of 10 megatons, all in the Southern Hemisphere.

The combined total of these continued atmospheric tests by both France and China has, therefore, been of the order of 30 megatons over nine years. This compares with about 200 megatons in the years immediately preceding the partial test ban treaty. The total megatonnage—if I may use the word—of French atmospheric tests, both before and after 1963, is thus about 4 per cent. of the total, and about the same as the British figure.

From this historical review, I come next to the programme of tests which France is expected to undertake in the Pacific this summer. Our attitude here is perfectly clear. In 1963 Her Majesty's Government, as well as the United States Government, urged the French Government to sign the partial test ban treaty.

As initiators and signatories of the treaty, we are seriously concerned at the continuation of nuclear tests in the atmosphere, and we urge that all Governments which have not yet done so should adhere to it. This view is well known to the French and Chinese Governments. It has been stated publicly by successive Governments. It was stated by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition in relation to the French tests of 1966, though not to those of 1967 and 1968, and by Mr. George Brown, as he then was, in relation to the Chinese tests of 1966, though not in respect of the subsequent Chinese tests.

The same position has been repeatedly stated in this House in 1972 and again this year by my right hon. Friend The Prime Minister, by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, by other Ministers and by myself. These statements have been further confirmed by our support of Resolution No. 2934 which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on the initiative, among others, of the Australian and New Zealand Governments.

That resolution expressed concern that nuclear tests in the atmosphere had continued in some parts of the world, including the Pacific area; stressed the urgency of halting all atmospheric tests in the Pacific or anywhere else in the world; and urged all States that had not already done so to adhere to the partial test ban treaty. Nothing, therefore, could be clearer than the position adopted by successive British Governments—our predecessors, like ourselves, though perhaps less frequently.

The question then arises whether, in addition to the statements I have referred to and to our support of the United Nations resolution, we should make specific representations to our French friends about their prospective programme. We must remember that we are not concerned here with the question of whether France should or should not develop her nuclear power. That is a decision entirely for France and it is not one which concerns our debate this afternoon.

Our concern is with the possible risks from fall-out and the effect of any rise in background levels of radioactivity which will result from continued atmospheric testing. It so happens that we are responsible for the nearest centre of population to the French testing ground—the Pitcairn Islands. We have accordingly carefully monitored previous tests undertaken by the French in the area. We are arranging for this to be done also in this case. The hon. Gentleman asked me about the terms of reference of our monitoring team. They have orders to conduct on the spot monitoring of the radiological effects if an explosion takes place, and to report the results. We have also exchanged our findings with the Australian and New Zealand authorities, and with the United States, which also has dependencies in the area. The hon. Gentleman asked who would pass judgment. The Government's scientific advisers make an assessment and it is for me as Minister to endorse their findings and not to specify which individual expressed a particular view.

The information so derived points to the following conclusions. The Chinese and French tests are together responsible for about one-tenth of the total annual radiation doses to people in the Southern Hemisphere. Current radiation levels in the Southern Hemisphere have reached only a tiny fraction, about one-hundreth part, of the so-called "reference levels" recommended by the International Commission on Radiological Protection as safety limits for continuous exposure of populations to radiation.

Perhaps I may put the point in a simpler way. Even if there had never been any man-made nuclear explosions we would all still be, and indeed are, subject to constant exposure to radiation. Radiation reaches the earth from space, from the sun's rays, and is also caused by elements naturally present in the earth, such as thorium and uranium. The levels of this natural radiation vary appreciably from one part of the earth to another, and even from city to city within individual countries.

The contribution to present radiation levels of all the nuclear devices so far exploded in the atmosphere, including all the Northern Hemisphere test shots before the partial test ban treaty, by Britain, by America, by Russia and by France, is smaller than the variations in existing natural radiation levels between many individual countries and even between many cities in the same country. In other words, a man can be exposed to greater increase in the levels of radiation by moving home than from nuclear test fall-out.

A vivid illustration of this fact came up at the United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy in 1971. On that occasion, Indian researchers reported cases in Kerala of individuals who received as much as 2,500 millirems of natural radiation per head a year. The average annual exposure of individuals in the Kerala area as a whole was 500 millirems per head. This can be compared with the figure of 0.2 millirems per head in the Southern Hemisphere attributable to French tests. Furthermore, the Indian scientists reported no resulting damage to the health of the Kerala population.

Mr. Dalyell

If all this is true, why are not the tests conducted in the Bay of Biscay or the Massif Central?

Mr. Amery

It is no responsibility of ours where the tests are conducted. These are French tests conducted by the French. Every effort is made to conduct these tests in the safest possible area, but, as I explained at the outset of my remarks for a very long time the Soviet and American tests were all conducted in areas of much denser population than those to which we are now referring and the Australian Government themselves made no objections at the time that the tests were conducted at Maralinga and Montebello.

Mr. Laurance Reed (Bolton, East)

When I was at the atomic tests at Christmas Island what worried us most was not so much the radiation that would follow if the bomb went off according to plan but what would happen if the bomb went off accidentally by dropping into the sea. Has my right hon. Friend made any estimates of what the effect would be on Pitcairn if anything went wrong with the French tests?

Mr. Amery

As my hon. Friend will know, a team of scientists, including Australian scientists, visited the French testing centre the other day, and they, as I understand, in no way criticised the security and safety facilities they found there.

Much has been made of the possible long-term genetic effects of current nuclear fall-out. The discussion here is based on statistical projections about which there is a considerable division of scientific opinion. The fact is that no one knows what the remote effects of very small increases in radiation will be. This very uncertainty is one of the reasons why the majority of the international community has taken the view that atmospheric nuclear testing should cease. All the same, it is fair to point out that in a report on this subject to the Australian Prime Minister in April of this year the Australian National Academy of Sciences stated that … the average levels of radiation due to the French explosions are unlikely to make a statistically detectable increase in the cancer or genetic effects in Australia …".

This conclusion was based on the worst assumption—scientists base their conclusions on a number of assumptions and this conclusion was based on the worst assumption—namely, that genetic effects would be proportional to dose, even down to the lowest dose rates. On past experience we have no reason to doubt that French safety precautions are such that there is no danger to the inhabitants of Pitcairn.

I understand that Australian and New Zealand experts have recently visited the French test site and have been able to see for themselves the precautions which the French are taking and have not represented, to me, at any rate, or to us, that the French precautions are inadequate However, in order to reassure ourselves and the Pitcairn Islanders on this point we have this year, as in past years, made arrangements to carry out radiological monitoring. There are two RAF technicians on Pitcairn itself to carry out this monitoring, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary "Sir Percivale" is also stationed in the area.

I say all this not to suggest that we condone nuclear tests in the atmosphere. We do not. We deplore them. We believe that all countries should submit to the restraints which the signatories of the partial test ban treaty have accepted. But in discussing the effects of current testing we should not allow our opinions on this matter to lead us to distort the facts.

I conclude from this that there is no evidence arising from the programme of French tests now contemplated, judged against the background of previous tests, such as would, in the Government's view, justify making specific representations to the French Government on health and environmental grounds, over and above the statements and representations that we have already made in this House and at the United Nations.

Dr. John A. Cunningham (Whitehaven)

The right hon. Gentleman seems to be saying that there was no need for the nuclear test ban treaty. May I ask him a specific point about the British—not the Australian—Radiological Protection Board's report published in May this year, which states that radiation carries some risk of disease or death. Even when the doses are small enough for the risks to be ignored for all practical purposes, it is prudent to require justification for these doses". Will the Minister explain what the justification is in this particular case? In doing so, he ought to do us the credit of differentiating between atmosphere-borne radiation from strontium 90 and caesium 137 and the so-called natural radiation to which he has referred.

Mr. Amery

The hon. Gentleman will give us credit for accepting that all these recommendations and considerations have been carefully studied by the Government's scientific advisers before we take a decision, such as we have taken, and before I say what I have said to the House today.

The conclusion that I was drawing to the attention of the House is simply that we have made our public position clear on a number of occasions—Conservative, Labour and again Conservative Governments—that we have voted at the United Nations and that the French and Chinese Governments are well aware of our point of view, but that we do not see, from our experience of previous French tests or from our anticipation of anything that is likely to occur in the light of the reports which not only our experts but the Australian and other experts have had of the precautions taken by the French, that there is any evidence to justify further specific representations other than those which we have already made publicly, in the House and through the United Nations.

Mr. Dalyell

In the winding-up speech may we have a categorical assurance that the Government advisers are aware of the work of Tamplin, Goffman and Stern-glass, or are we to be told that their work is considered to be invalid? That specific question is crucial to this kind of argument.

Mr. Amery

I shall do my best to see that an answer is available for my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General to give when he replies to the debate. But I should be extremely surprised if any serious consideration had not been fully taken into account by the Government scientific advisers on these matters.

The motion before the House is concerned with the Interim Measures Order made by the International Court of Justice on 22nd June. The French Government have rejected those orders and, indeed, have denied the jurisdiction of the court in this whole matter. Their reasons for taking up this attitude are set out in their White Paper published last week, a copy of which is being placed in the Library.

Generally speaking it is Her Majesty's Government's view that all countries have a duty to observe orders of the International Court in so far as such orders apply to them. However, the orders in question are addressed to the French Government and to the Governments of Australia and New Zealand and not to the British Government. The question of their observance is a matter for the court and for the three Governments concerned.

Mr. Clinton Davis (Hackney, Central)


Mr. Amery

There is no obligation on Her Majesty's Government in international law to take action in support of an order of the International Court in a case to which we are not a party and in which we are not involved.

It may be that the state of international law is imperfect. My right hon. and learned Friend and the right hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones) may wish to discuss that later, but in the present state of international law there is no obligation on Her Majesty's Government to take action in support of the International Court in a case to which we are not a party and in which we are not involved.

For the British Government, therefore, to make a protest to the French Government on the basis of the orders of the court would be a purely political action not imposed on us by any international obligations. It would not be fulfilling an obligation.

We see no cause for any such action. We see no cause for it because we have made our views on the subject of testing in the atmosphere crystal clear already. We see no cause for it because we do not consider that risks arise for the Pitcairn Islanders, for whom we are responsible—or for the populations of other territories in the Pacific for which Her Majesty's Government are responsible—which would justify it.

That is why we are not able to support the representations made by the Governments of the two Commonwealth countries of Australia and New Zealand.

We see no cause for it because, although we support the general principle that all countries should observe orders of the International Court which apply to them, it is not for us to enter into judgment over the disputes of others—and, in any case, there is no obligation on us to take any action in cases in which we are not involved.

I apologise for the length at which I have detained the House. But this is not an easy question and it is an important one. We have had to consider our responsibilities and record both as a nuclear Power and as signatories, indeed initiators, of the test ban treaty.

We have had to consider our direct responsibilities in the Pacific and as members of the Commonwealth, and in particular our close and long-standing ties with our friends and allies in Australia and New Zealand. We have had to consider our responsibilities as allies of France and partners with her in the European Economic Community.

We have tried to set out once again in clear and positive terms the Government's policy. It is for all these reasons that I am asking the House not to accept the motion put forward by the Opposition but, instead, to accept the Government's amendment, which sets out our position unambiguously, namely, that this House shares the widespread concern at the continued testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere by any state and urges that all Governments that have not yet done so should accede to the partial test ban treaty.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Before calling upon another hon. Member to speak, I should like to draw the attention of the House to the very considerable number of hon. Members who hope to catch the eye of the Chair. I hope that hon. Members will, accordingly, make their speeches as short as is reasonably possible.

5.7 p.m.

Mr. Charles Loughlin (Gloucestershire, West)

I assure you, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that my speech will be very short. I am only sorry that the Minister made such an appalling speech in such an appallingly long time, after the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), which was first-class. There is no need for anyone on the Opposition side of the House to make a long speech. Indeed, my biggest problem today will be the inadequacies of the English language in expressing my abhorrence of not only the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere but the attitude of the British Government, as so far demonstrated, and particularly in relation to the speech of the Minister today.

I equally oppose the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere by China, as does my hon. Friend. But we are dealing today particularly with the French tests. Both we and France are partners in not only the Common Market but the Western Alliance. If we cannot influence France, we are wasting our time in even talking about trying to influence China.

The pollution of the atmosphere with nuclear fall-out is the greatest crime against humanity. That is something to which the British Government should be wholly and completely opposed and on which I hope the Government would have the fullest support of the British people.

France has claimed, and the Minister of State has reiterated the claim, that the proposed test is a clean test and that no danger to life is involved. If that be so, why is there a need to go so far from the mainland of France to carry out the tests? Why not carry them out over the English Channel or the mainland of France if there is no danger to life or to the future of the environment?

I underline the point which has already been made, that there can never be a guarantee in this kind of testing that there is not likely to be an error of some kind. The truth is that the tests represent a grave danger to life, and we have a responsibility to all people who are likely to be so endangered.

We have a particular responsibility to the people of the Pitcairn Islands and the people of New Zealand and Australia. The people of New Zealand and Australia came to our assistance when Britain was endangered. We should be failing in our responsibility if we did not go to their assistance and offer support.

I make the following suggestion to the Government seriously and knowing full well the danger which is involved. It is a matter which I have discussed with some of my hon. Friends on the back benches in the last few weeks. I know that the time is late but, late though it may be, I believe that, given the will, the suggestion which I shall make can be carried out. It would have to be done with the use of our planes and one of Her Majesty's ships. There must be a ship fairly close to the area of testing. We could within a matter of hours ferry volunteers by plane to a ship which would then go into the test area during the tests.

I suggest to the Government that they should give the opportunity for hon. Members to join such a ship. I say that in all seriousness, knowing the dangers which are involved. If such a ship were placed at the disposal of hon. Members who are prepared to join the New Zealand frigate in the area, a number of hon. Members would be prepared to sail and to stay in the area until such time as France agreed to call off the tests or carried them out.

I should go, but very reluctantly. I should go in fear. I think that most of my hon. Friends with whom I have discussed this matter would go reluctantly. However, if we can in that way make a contribution to the stopping of nuclear tests in the atmosphere we would go willingly.

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman, even though he made such an appalling speech, will recognise our responsibility. I hope that he will recognise that we must take more than normal action. I do not believe that there is not a danger. If there was not a danger, tests would be carried out nearer home. I hope he will take on board the suggestion which I make. I make it not for any other reason but that I believe that it is the one way in which France can be brought to the conclusion that the action which it proposes to take is repugnant in the nostrils of any decent person.

5.16 p.m.

Sir Anthony Meyer (Flint, West)

I salute the heroism of the hon. Member for Gloucestershire, West (Mr. Loughlin). If he carries out his intention there will be great sorrow in the House at the loss of so well loved a Member. At least he will by his departure from our midst have clarified one issue which has been deliberately obscured in the course of the debate—namely, the difference of being within a matter of miles from the centre of an atomic explosion and that of being thousands of kilometres away, as is the nearest inhabited area to where the French nuclear tests are to take place.

To talk about the advisability of holding such tests in the Channel or in the centre of France is deliberately to obscure this all-important issue. Before going further, I should say how much I enjoyed and appreciated the speech of the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell). If any hon. Member is entitled to speak of this issue in moral terms it is he. I should like to acquit him of any bad faith in the matter.

There is a rather odious and smug tendency on both sides of the House to criticise the French for what they are doing. The United Kingdom has the nuclear capacity which it needs for its esential national interest, and it intends to keep that capacity up to date. Britain has reached the point at which it can maintain its nuclear capacity without having to resort to atmospheric tests. Britain has that capacity because of decisions taken by the post-war Labour Government under Lord Attlee. Those decisions were taken, as I understand it, without any consultation with Lord Attlee's colleagues. They were subsequently implemented by Conservative Governments in the 1950s.

The Labour Party, before the 1964 Labour Government was formed, pledged itself to put an end to Britain's independent nuclear deterrent and to renegotiate the Nassau agreement under which the Macmillan Government were proposing to keep the independent deterrent up to date. That renegotiation did not come to anything very much. That makes me wonder whether other promised renegotiations by the Opposition will come to any more. Renegotiations apart, the Government and the Opposition of 1964 did nothing whatever—and rightly so—to put an end to the British nuclear deterrent. That means that both parties now consider it necessary for Great Britain to have its own nuclear capacity and to keep it.

We carried out tests in the atmosphere, so did the Americans, and so did the Russians. All those tests were far more damaging to the environment than the tests which have been carried out and are proposed to be carried out by the French Government. Britain, having carried out tests in the atmosphere, equipped itself with the nuclear capacity which it required. The British, the Americans and the Russians then negotiated the partial test ban treaty. I do not deny that that was a great step forward, but it looks a more satisfactory step forward from our point of view than it does from the point of view of those Governments which had not got to the point of being able to dispense with atmospheric tests.

Of course, France and China are to be criticised for carrying out tests in the atmosphere. They are to be criticised—indeed, they are criticised—for their determination to become nuclear Powers. I am not sure that this criticism can be quite so wholehearted now as it could be a few years ago—at a time, for example, when there is talk of the possibility of a pre-emptive strike by the Russians against the Chinese, at a time when the Americans and the Russians are evidently finding nearer and nearer identity of views on more and more topics which could conceivably include agreements at the expense of Europe.

The arguments for Chinese and French deterrents are a good deal stronger now than they were a few years ago. But for whomsoever it is proper to criticise the French and the Chinese for insisting on having their own independent deterrents, we are not the nation best qualified to offer that criticism.

France and China can likewise be criticised for carrying out their tests in the atmosphere, and I certainly very much wish that the French Government could have carried out this series of tests underground. I have, in fact, taken the opportunity to make this plain to French friends of mine and to the French Embassy here. I am certain that the Government have lost no opportunity to make it absolutely plain to the French Government that they deplore the continuation of tests in the atmosphere. I still submit that British Governments and British people are not the best qualified to make this criticism.

It is a national weakness of ours to assume that we British have some sort of moral status which entitles us to lecture the rest of the world on how to behave. It is a weakness which particularly affects the Labour Party, and it was particularly noticeable in the case of the Vietnam war. It is a weakness, but it is not a grave defect. What is a very much graver defect, and what I find very much more objectionable, is the growing tendency of hon. Members opposite—again I acquit the hon. Member for West Lothian—to seek foreign scapegoats for everything which goes wrong in this country and in particular to blame France and the French Government for all our misfortunes. There is nobody on the opposite side of the House who is more guilty of this than the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition. Such an attitude is totally unworthy of a party which claims to be an international party, and it is unfair to a great country, an ally of ours, which has at its head a man who has shown that he is both humane and civilised, and a great friend of this country.

5.24 p.m.

Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)

I want to make one or two points arising particularly from the speech from the Government Front Bench. First of all, I wish to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) on what I believe to be one of the most informative and well argued brief cases on defence and on this issue which we have heard for a long time.

I am somewhat puzzled by the speech of the Minister of State and by the amendment which has been put down by the Government. I cannot understand the logic of saying "We deplore the tests" and then saying that there is nothing wrong with the tests because there is no danger. If there is no danger, why deplore them? Why share the "widespread concern", as the amendment says, if there is nothing wrong with the tests? I do not understand the point of putting down an amendment and then delivering a speech contradicting what the amendment says. Presumably there is no reason for anybody here to have any widespread concern; everything is fine. We have this, apparently, on the very highest authority.

What struck me most about the right hon. Gentleman's speech was his failure to answer a point raised by an hon. Member on this side of the House and also by one of his own hon. Friends—the two points hung together—namely, what happens to Pitcairn if the tests go wrong? It must be a great comfort to the people there to know that the British Government, to quote the right hon. Gentleman, "are going to watch the situation carefully". Presumably they are going to watch it go wrong. What safeguards can the British Government give to the people in Pitcairn, even on the very narrow argument, which I do not accept, that the only danger would be if the tests went wrong? What safeguards can be given? None at all. No safeguards can be given, and the right hon. Gentleman is well aware of that.

Listening to several hon. Members and having read the views of people who support the tests, I wonder why the tests have not been held in the Bay of Biscay. If the bomb is so safe, why not explode it over Paris? Of course, it is not safe. I think the right hon. Gentleman made out a very good case for not having a test ban treaty at all. All the arguments today to the effect that the tests are safe and that there will not be any increase in radioactivity were used by those people who opposed the test ban agreement. But the British Government did not oppose it, presumably because they did not accept those arguments. They said there was danger and that we must get together and see that these things are not tested. Now the Government share "widespread concern" about something which they say has no danger at all, but they will not talk to the French Government and do something about it.

Reference has been made to the arguments which were advanced in favour of Britain joining the EEC. It was said that we would have a tremendous influence on what our EEC partners were doing. We have no influence at all over sanction-breaking in connection with Rhodesia, and presumably we have absolutely no power at all to influence the French, which is why we have made no protests to the French Government—or so it would seem from what has been argued.

I believe in moral indignation. I believe that if enough moral indignation were aroused over these tests and the dangers to which people would be subjected, we would have some influence on the French Government. It is because people like the right hon. Gentleman say that it is not important and that there is no danger that the French are going to get away with it.

I must say that it was tactless of France to start her tests after the environmental conference which took place in Stockholm when widespread concern was expressed about the effects of those tests. The right hon. Gentleman has discarded all the evidence which has been produced and has produced counter quotes to show that there is no danger. He has dismissed what was said about the increase in certain diseases known to have a link with increased radiation. I have come across a quote which has not been used by the Government Front Bench. We know that the French have argued that there is no danger, as our Government have argued, but the 1970 report from the United Nations Scientific Committee said that there had been a significant increase in radioactive iodine in milk in the Southern Hemisphere since the French nuclear tests began in the Pacific.

The more evidence which is brought forward, the more do we become concerned about the point at which danger begins. Yet the point seems to go creeping up, and we are never given a point at which there is danger. I believe there is danger. Thousands of young people, and people who are not so young, who are concerned with the environment and about the use to which bombs will be put—this is a topic on which we shall have to have a debate before long—do not accept what the right hon. Gentleman has said; and on the arguments of his party at the time of the nuclear test ban agreement, I do not believe that he accepts them either.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Julian Critchley (Aldershot)

I am not a French Member of Parliament—though at times I wish I were, since the food would be better and the oratory largely incomprehensible—but I think there are times when one should speak up, as it were, for the French point of view. Listening to what is said by the Labour Party in particular, though I do not absolve my own side from blame in this matter, I am struck by the amount of humbug surrounding this issue. If humbug be the essential lubricant of international affairs, this afternoon we are certainly awash in it.

The English disease, as the French often diagnose it, is a desire to inject into foreign affairs a degree of morality, mostly bogus. If one asked a Frenchman to define the phrase "perfidious Albion", a phrase of French origin, he would say that it was the pursuit of England's national interest while lecturing others on the need for rectitude. This, I am afraid, is something to which the British—Labour, Liberal, Whig, Tory or Conservative— all have to plead guilty, and there is evidence of that attitude running throughout this debate. At least, the rebuke of Her Majesty's Government to France has been as sotto voce in its effect as was the rebuke of the Labour Government to France in similar circumstances.

Mr. Dalyell

I am personally sensitive to criticism of that kind, but is it not a fact that seven years ago, or even five years ago, it was thought that there was a threshold below which radiation was not dangerous, whereas we now know that there is no threshold and that any radiation, which is cumulative in its effect, is dangerous? There is a difference in the state of knowledge.

Mr. Critchley

I am not a scientist, and I can claim no special knowledge, but I know that on this issue, as on any other, there are scientists ready for hire. We have our prejudices on all sides of the House, and if we look for experts to back them, they are easy to find. Before the hon. Gentleman intervened, I was about to say how much I enjoyed his first speech from the Front Bench, and I see no reason to change my mind about that.

Sir Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

Are we to assume from that most unhappy observation that the Government scientists on whom the Front Bench rely are merely gentlemen on hire?

Mr. Critchley

The right hon. and learned Gentleman must save his legalisms for his winding-up speech. I have made my point and I stick by it. There are experts for hire in every walk of life, and I suspect that the right hon. and learned Gentleman and I have probably done our share of hiring in the past.

The hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), in his most interesting opening speech, implied that he regretted that he had voted for British entry into the Common Market and went on to say that others of his party who did not vote for it might, in retrospect, have been correct. He gave as his reason—a curious reason—that we had been unable to influence French foreign and defence policy, especially defence policy, since 1st January this year.

The hon. Gentleman knows as well as I do that the Common Market is the EEC, not a defence community of any kind. There was never any suggestion—I say this in reply also to the hon. Lady the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor)—in the context of the European Economic Community that the defence policies of any one of the nine countries were, as it were, up for negotiation, or for bargaining. It is an economic community, which may in time, I hope, develop into a defence community, but at the time when we entered it it was an economic community only. The argument about influence, therefore, breaks down.

In May this year, in company with a number of Labour colleagues, I went as a member of the Western European Union delegation to inspect the French nuclear deterrent force in Provence, and a most interesting 48-hour visit it was. We saw en route to Provence the French Mirage squadrons. They have 40 aircraft which have been in service since 1964 and will be phased out in 1975. After a very good lunch, we saw 18 solid-fuel French IRBMs in Provence, to which another nine are to be added before 1978, and, at the same time, the French are constructing five nuclear submarines.

I mention all this to show that the French have gone in for a little of everything in terms of nuclear weapons, unlike ourselves who have gone in for some of some things only.

The point I am making is that if hon. Members opposite are so eager to see the French not explode a thermonuclear device in the Pacific, as the French, at present, have solid fuel missiles, and we have no missiles of any kind, but we have thermonuclear warheads whereas the French have only atomic warheads, why do they not, instead of wagging the finger at the French Government and saying "Please desist from doing something which we do not like", carry the logic of their argument to the point of saying that we should make an offer of some of our nuclear knowledge and material, which, were it offered and accepted, would overnight prevent the need for the French nuclear tests in the Pacific?

Is that not the logic behind the Opposition's request? There are the makings of a bargain here between Britain and France—the so-called entente nucleaire, about which we shall, if we are lucky, be debating in the House over the next three, four or five years. The logic of the Opposition's case is that if they want the tests not to go on they should suggest that the information which we have gained from tests might conceivably be made available to France so that her tests would no longer have any validity. I do not know whether the Opposition would like to extend their argument to its logical conclusion, but, no doubt, that is something which we shall have to wait to hear from later speeches.

There has been a remarkable degree of humbug about the whole of this debate. If hon. Members would for a moment put themselves in the position of French Members of Parliament—and not just those who support the French Government, either—they would find a cynicism towards our approach very vividly expressed, and we should indeed deserve the rebukes which our attitude merits.

5.38 p.m.

Mr. Mark Hughes (Durham)

First, I take up the point made by the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) about our giving nuclear know-how to the French. I have always held that our nuclear know-how should be held exclusively within an alliance, within NATO, and that it is not for us unilaterally to go in for a bargain with a single other party. The nuclear deterrent, if it is to be held at all—I have certain doubts about that—must be held within an alliance of more than two parties. It must be an Atlantic alliance, including the French, as an integral part of NATO.

I make no apology for wanting to see a moral content in the conduct of British foreign policy. I find our history on matters such as slavery not indecent because it had morality associated with it. I find no great joy in the amoral stance taken towards the Italian invasion of Abyssinia in the 1930s, on the argument that this was a matter of close international diplomatic legality and we must therefore keep back. I do not see that as one of our more glorious moments in foreign affairs.

I found the Minister of State's presentation of the Government's case an exercise in a narrow legalistic diplomacy which I hold to be as outdated now as it has been these last 50 years. It was those concepts which allowed us to get into first one world war and then another. It was the absence of a preparedness to take a moral stance which weakened our whole position between the wars.

As some hon. Members may know, had the New Zealand Government seen fit and been able to agree, I might well at this time be on their frigate sailing towards Mururoa. I made that offer. The question I wish to put to the Government is the one that I have had to face myself. Why should a father seek to put his own life in danger not because he dislikes the French, not because he has some particular axe to grind against them, nor even less because he wants to commit early suicide? It is because in the same way in 1914 there were fathers who held that the world required them to take risks to preserve it for their children.

In that way I feel that if we allow this sort of thing to go on, not just this specific test but this sort of brigandage of private right against public and international requirement, the future for my children is not a world I would willingly see them left to endure. It is on this basis and not merely the immediate impact of possible radiation danger that I oppose the test.

The concept of one scientist being able to say that there is nothing to fear when our scientists have been bought at a lower price and, therefore, their views are less confident, is something I find totally repugnant. I should have thought that all scientists accepted that their ignorance was so profound on these matters that they dare not take any risk and that the cumulative evidence is growing. Every time they push back the frontier of knowledge the greater is the risk that is known.

I read a Press report today that, following the Chinese test, the level of fall-out in Korea is 240 or 250 times the accepted limits. This may be a newspaper story which is lacking in foundation. In the case of both the Chinese test and the proposed French test it is not enough for this country to say that it is none of our concern. It is not enough for this country to say, as the Minister did, that the French must have the right to develop their own nuclear capability. I risk once again being told that it is humbug, but those of us who have been brought up and reared under the threat of Hiroshima and nuclear warfare reject the whole concept of further testing in the atmosphere. Proliferation from the French and the Chinese is too horrific to contemplate. In this matter in particular the Government's attitude has been that too often they have been like M. Pompidou's poodle, and like that dog they have been showing every sign of degenerate in-breeding.

5.43 p.m.

Mr. Laurance Reed (Bolton, East)

The nature of the issue of French nuclear testing has changed radically with the interim ruling of the World Court. I no longer see it simply as a question of whether it is desirable or dangerous for France to detonate its weapons in the atmosphere, but rather whether it is desirable for a country as important and influential as France to be allowed to ignore the jurisdiction of the World Court and to flout the court's rulings without a whisper of protest from its friends and allies.

I find the Government's attitude towards the World Court a trifle perplexing. Surely if we wish to maintain the rule of law we must be prepared to support the decisions of the judges, whether it is politically expedient to do so or not. When we fail to support the court we help to undermine its status and authority. That is self-defeating at the moment, when we are seeking the authority of that court to sustain the legitimacy of our claim against the Icelandic Government.

In the past Britain has not merely been a firm supporter of the World Court but the most active user of it, and some of us might say we have been to that court so often that it has worked out against our national self-interest. I remember the case of the Corfu Channel and the Anglo-Norwegian fisheries case. In each of these instances the essential issue in dispute related to freedom on the high seas. These cases have a far closer affinity with French nuclear testing than our Law Officers seem to conceive. One of the specific submissions made to the court by either New Zealand or Australia, and upon which they required a ruling, was whether or not the closure of a large area of the high seas for testing nuclear weapons was compatible with freedom of international law on the high seas.

Perhaps my right hon. Friend will enlighten me as to exactly how it is that ever since the war British Governments have been firm and active supporters of the World Court but that in these circumstances they cannot even go so far as to express support for the decision of the court and to deplore France's rejection of it.

5.47 p.m.

Mr. Raymond Fletcher (Ilkestone)

Much play has been made from the Conservative side about whether it is right to express moral indignation in this Chamber. If this were no place in which to express moral indignation there would not be much point in this House discussing foreign or military affairs. There are very few hon. and right hon. Members who have that degree of recent acquaintance with weapons systems which will permit them to speak in this House as experts. Nevertheless, I do not intend to overlay my argument with too much morality. I rarely do. It is a bad habit of mine to engage in arguments with Frenchmen and I try to match them with their own logic. I do not always succeed, but I hope to stick more to logic than morality in my short contribution this evening.

There is a powerful case which can be presented against the exercise of the power given to France by her existing nuclear size, and that argument is in no way diminished if it is maintained that these forthcoming tests are as harmless as a posterior raspberry delivered by a rather flatulent monkey. We have to look at the tests in a totally different context from that which obtained in 1966, and I am not referring to different attitudes about radiation levels. I refer to the nature of the proliferation problem as it exists in 1973, as distinct from the situation as it was in 1966.

The terrible fact is that nuclear weapons are now becoming fairly cheap. It is now much easier than it was a decade ago for countries to embark upon a nuclear weapons programme. Anybody in this House with 5½ kilogrammes of weapons grade plutonium or 17½ kilogrammes of enriched uranium could construct his own nuclear weapon. It would be a simple fission weapon and could act only as a trigger for the big stuff which the French are now trying to perfect, but it is possible.

In terms of cost, a survey was made in 1968 under the auspices of the United Nations. The International Institute for Strategic Studies recently took the 1968 figures and attempted to bring them up to date. It argued on the assumption that a primitive 100 weapon nuclear force would require only 550 kilograms of a special type of plutonium, and plants handling 100 metric tons of uranium per annum would be all that would be required for providing enough explosive to give the State embarking on such a programme some kind of a weapons system, although a primitive one, which would be demolished in the first stage of nuclear war but could nevertheless be used to terrorise other States for a certain period.

When one looks at the States able to do this in technical and financial terms, one sees that 20 of them are already in a position at least to make a decision to embark upon a nuclear weapons programme. Among the 20 are States which are Pacific States by definition, including Australia, India—which has a rather advanced nuclear installation at Trombay—and Japan. I was rather astonished to find, on reading the study, that they also include both South Korea and Taiwan.

We have to consider the impact of this French determination to continue with a programme which seems to have no clearly defined and, to me certainly, no politically acceptable strategic aim, on the Pacific itself. If I were an Australian or a New Zealander—I can think of no better thing to be at the moment—I would regard it as a slap in the face and an insult to my country that President Pompidou should insist on treating the whole of the Pacific Ocean as France's aquatic back yard.

If I were an Australian or a New Zealander with some influence on my country's defence policy—the more so if I were Japanese or perhaps South Korean—I should perhaps feel inclined to argue that, since nuclear devices have come to the Pacific, since it is to be an area in which nuclear weapons may be deployed because they have been tested, we too should go in for this game because we can indeed go in for it if we want to.

Quite apart from the morality or immorality of nuclear weapons, do we imagine that we will be in a safer world if we get that degree of proliferation in the Pacific or anywhere else? If the Government thought that it would be a safer world, they would not have signed, in a previous incarnation, the non-proliferation treaty. They cannot argue their signature to the treaty away. They obviously regard the dangers of proliferation in much the same light as I do.

What the Opposition object to about the French nuclear tests—and we have no divisions on this issue—is first of all the danger to life because of the radiation hazards but, secondly, the contribution the tests and the French determination behind them are making towards aggravating the proliferation problem which the Government recognised a long time ago as a major problem.

I have always felt that the time to be frank is when one enters into a new relationship with another country. We have just done so with France in the EEC. The Conservative Party wants the Community to evolve into something else. Earlier today we heard talk of economic and monetary union. But I would have thought that if we object to any actions by a French Government on any grounds whatever, it is time to raise these objections very strongly when we are entering into a totally new relationship with the Government and people of France. I would also have thought that our membership of NATO imposes obligations upon us, perhaps even stronger than those imposed upon us by any international court.

The strategic conceptions applied behind the French nuclear programme are destructive not only of the atmospheric conditions of the Pacific Ocean but of the whole accepted strategy of NATO, and possibly will create enormous difficulties between ourselves in NATO and the United States, without which NATO cannot be effective. We are confronted here with a new expression of French chauvinism. If we did not object, we would have no right to talk about international affairs at all.

5.56 p.m.

Mr. Christopher Woodhouse (Oxford)

Recently the hon. Member for Ilkeston (Mr. Raymond Fletcher) paid me the compliment of saying of a speech of mine that he wished that he had made it himself. I am happy to reciprocate that compliment. I have every sympathy with the logic of his argument and the moral stance taken by several hon. Members opposite today. I have every sympathy with all that has been said both about the French and about the Chinese in this matter. But I think it right to remind the House that the motion is aimed only indirectly at the French. It is aimed more directly at Her Majesty's Government and at what the Government ought to be doing.

Hon. Members opposite will acquit me of any reluctance to urge the Government to intervene in good causes overseas wherever I believe it to be right and practicable. I do not think that we should take a narrow view of what is practicable. But even the British Govment have to draw the line somewhere, and I think that in this matter of the French nuclear tests we are getting very near the borderline of what makes sense and what makes political nonsense.

It is fair to the Government to say that their position is unambiguous on the merits of the case. They have consistently taken the view that nuclear tests should not be carried out any longer in the atmosphere and have made that view known to the French Government. They have urged the French Government to sign the partial test ban treaty of 1963. They have supported the United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a suspension of all atmospheric nuclear tests. They have impressed on the French Government the importance of the resolution passed at the South Pacific Forum two or three months ago charging the French with deplorable indifference to the effects of their proposed tests on the peoples of the Pacific.

I will leave the detail of these aspects to the two right hon. and learned Gentlemen who are to conclude the debate but it is worth remarking in passing that the British judge at the International Court voted with the majority in the recent ruling against the French case. But he did not do so as a servant of Her Majesty's Government, and it is right to say that his vote does not impose any more obligation upon Her Majesty's Government than would the vote of any other judge.

Nor does it impose any more obligation on Her Majesty's Government than it imposes on any other independent Government. Nevertheless, there is no doubt in my mind that Her Majesty's Government concur in the view expressed by the judge at the International Court. Her Majesty's Government have clearly registered that fact, and I do not see that there is much more they can do.

The motion criticises the Government for their failure to make "adequate protests". What would be an adequate protest in these circumstances? The only significant meaning that can be attached to an adequate protest would be that it should be a protest which would cause the French to change their policy and abandon the proposed tests.

There is nothing more certain than that no matter what the Government did it would make no difference at all to the French intention. I say that because, like everyone else who knows the French people, I know that nuclear weapons are for them a symbol of national independence. This may be immoral, wrong, out of date, but it is a fact. This has always been so, ever since nuclear weapons came into existence.

Let me recall that the French reaction to the débâcle of the intervention in Egypt in 1956 was totally different from ours. Their reaction was one of a total absence of shame about the operation. It was a reaction NA, which argued that this showed that one could not trust even one's closest allies not to let one down in a crisis and that to be independent one must have the ultimate control of the ultimate weapon. Their reaction was to go all out to create the force de frappe with the strongest possible emphasis on the national independence which this force would confer upon them.

It bears recollection that this decision was taken by a French Government before the return to power of General de Gaulle. This was not a Gaullist policy, although of course it was adopted by General de Gaulle, reinforced and expanded. It was net de Gaulle himself but it was the French people who reacted in this way. I recall a few years after these events hearing one of General de Gaulle's closest associates saying in my hearing at a Bilderberg conference that the French attitude in this matter could be expressed in a simple phrase which has stuck in my memory ever since—"Il n'y a de force nuléaire que nationale", meaning that there is no such thing as nuclear power except under national control. In other words, they have never been interested in nuclear sharing because they believe that a shared weapon is no weapon at all.

It is, therefore, no use trying to dissuade them from a nuclear test programme by saying that it has all been done before by their allies or offering them know-how from our own store of experience or by offering them facilities for underground testing, as the Americans are said to have done in Nevada, or even by offering them a share in allied nuclear weapons. To the French this is all totally irrelevant. Whatever we do and whatever we say and however much we protest, they will go ahead. I regret that this well-meant debate is doomed to sterility.

6.5 p.m.

Mr. Michael Meacher (Oldham, West)

No one who listened to the Minister's defensive speech this afternoon can fail to appreciate how embarrassed the Government are over this issue. Britain in particular has a clear moral obligation, and it is highly significant that the Minister never once used that crucial word. The Pitcairn Islands, which are extremely close to the test zone, are a British responsibility. There will certainly be an increase in cancer deaths as a result of these tests, even it the right hon. Gentleman regards them as statistically insignificant. I would remind him that people remain people even if an attempt is made to define them away as statistically insignificant.

Secondly, Britain is a signatory of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and is surely obligated, and well placed, to seek to dissuade France from these further nuclear tests. It cannot be said—here I disagree with the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse)—that British pressure would not be influential. Last year the French displayed their sensitivity to world protest by reducing the number of tests in their series from seven to five.

The argument used so cynically by the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley)—namely, that Britain might be inhibited from taking such a moral stance with France because of her nuclear record policy—does not stand up. Britain was not inhibited in condemning the use of dum-dum bullets before the last war merely by the fact that British troops had used them in the Boer War, although, I agree, wrongly and regretfully. Britain did not use them again.

The only argument which the Government have consistently posed to explain their deafening silence over this issue is that there is no real evidence of any danger to health. It must be known that there is no objective reason to justify such a dogmatic assertion of complacency. The truth is that no one knows how widespread will be the carcinogenic effects of these tests, partly because the cancer they will produce and the deaths they will cause are indistinguishable from other cancer cases which might arise from other causes.

One authoritative report—I do not apologise for quoting yet one more important report which has not so far been quoted—was recently published by the United States Academy of Sciences. It estimates that cancer deaths arising from fall-out amount to no fewer than 150 a year in the United States alone. I calculate that for the whole world it must be at least 10 times that figure. Even if the French tests—I readily concede this—do not add more than a small percentage to this total, I still think that they have to be justified, because they will be the deaths not of Frenchmen but of people, many as yet unborn, who have no conceivable interest in French military aspirations. Given the almost certain fact—almost all the literature agrees on this—that at least some innocent people, whether statistically insignificant or not, will die if these tests are carried out, it is clearly understood that the latest round of explosions will be much bigger and a great deal dirtier than last year's.

The key question is whether the benefit of these atmospheric tests outweighs the deaths, however small in number, which they are certain to cause. It must be stressed that the real purpose and objective of these tests is to complete the miniaturisation of the trigger and warhead devices so that France may have two nuclear submarines with nuclear warheads by 1976. These tests could be carried out underground which would be entirely compatible with the partial test ban treaty. Apparently the French lack the technology. It would certainly be a great deal more expensive. It is for these reasons that 50 to 100 future Australian deaths or disabilities are being risked by atmospheric testing. But, given this risk of fatalities, the fundamental question is whether the French defence policy objective is viable.

The paradox is that France is struggling to produce submarine-launched ballistic missiles which will still have a shorter range than Britain's Polaris submarine missiles—missiles which will not be fully operational for another three years. By that time, however, the United States will largely have replaced its Polaris missiles with Poseidon, while at the same time Russia may well have achieved a considerable break-through in its programme to improve submarine-tracking devices. For three years France will continue to lack a credible deterrent, but even at the end of that time technology may well have pushed the illusion of a credible deterrent still further into the future. This is particularly the case when Russia, which is presumably the main target, may continue to improve its anti-ballistic system, since SALT I did not specifically forbid further research on ABM systems, nor did it prevent modernisation and replacement of existing missiles.

In this situation where the French may well be chaising a Gaullist military illusion, like some will-o'-the-wisp, one must ask what are the real reasons why Britain has become so morally compromised over this affair.

Mr. Critchley

The hon. Gentleman's remarks about the French nuclear force are not unreasonable, but they are based on the assumption that he believes nuclear weapons can be used first against convential forces. Is that really what he believes?

Mr. Meacher

I do not see that my remarks are necessarily based on that premise. I do not concede that point. I do not think it is relevant to my main argument.

The real question that needs to be asked is why the British Government have allowed themselves to become so morally compromised over this affair, because I do not think the reasons were brought out in the Minister's speech. There can be no doubt that one reason, as my hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) said in his excellent speech, is the Prime Minister's domestic political needs for French good will towards a compromise over CAP and over Community regional policy. But there is a deeper reason still for the reluctance of the British Government to intervene, and that is the present Government's interest—however much they seek to deny it—in an Anglo-French nuclear deterrent.

What has been quietly left unspelt out in this affair is the interest of both sides in the other's nuclear advance, for each side has elements that the other really needs for a more convincing stake in the nuclear power game. The French have their own supplies of natural uranium, and they have their two reactors for producing tritium, which is one of the basic materials necessary for the manufacture of hydrogen weapons, while we have superior technology and greater intelligence data about Russian nuclear facilities.

It is no doubt part of the calculation of Her Majesty's Government that six or seven jointly-owned nuclear submarines within a combined Anglo-French nuclear framework would present a far more credible deterrent than either country could operate by itself. But if these are the kind of considerations and manoeuvres that lie behind the Government's official silence over these tests, as I believe they are, they represent a callous sacrifice of some innocent lives as well as a serious abuse of Britain's rôle in today's power politics. For these reasons I strongly condemn the Government.

6.16 p.m.

Mr. Jeffrey Archer (Louth)

I should like to congratulate the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) on giving the House an opportunity to debate this extremely important topic. I had the privilege over a year ago of being the only Member on this side of the House to sign the hon. Gentleman's motion on this issue and I have stuck with him consistently. I hope my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) will note what I say when he quietly allows the hon. Member for West Lothian to be the only one who is allowed to make any comment on this subject.

I very much respect the rôle which has been played by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in the past, and I realise the rôle he played in the test ban treaty. What I do not fully understand is that, having played that rôle with such determination under Mr. Macmillan, he can now play his rôle so quietly under the present Prime Minister. Time and again in this House I have been of the view—possibly my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General will put me right—that we have played this one very quietly and that our protests have been almost in corners. I should like to see somebody on the Government Front Bench rise at the Dispatch Box and thoroughly deplore what is going on—not just on the lines "We do not think what is happening is very good", coupling the Chinese with what is going on, but in a forthright way condemning the tests.

I must take up the comment of my hon. Friend the Member for Flint. West, who said that we had no right to protest because of what we did in 1953. In 1953 I was at prep school and was unable to have any influence on any Government at that time. If that is supposed to preclude me from having any influence on present events, heaven help the next generation. I was not able to come to a decision then—although perhaps my hon. Friend was able to make up his mind—but my decision now is that we have done the wrong thing. Surely we should not be influenced by what was done in this House 20 years ago. I hope that in 20 years' time when a young Member disagrees with me in this House—if the people of Louth decide to keep me—that young man will not be influenced by what happened in 1973.

I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) has left the Chamber, because I thought that his point about scientists and their effect on the situation was the weakest which has been made in this debate. The truth is that when scientists put down their thoughts in leading scientific journals, it is a matter of very great importance to them since their whole reputation is involved. Therefore, he should think again about what he said. Science has made enormous advances in the last 10 years and the situation has become considerably more dangerous. What the scientists say is good enough for me.

My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West rather brilliantly criticised the Opposition for their attitude on this subject. He did it with wit and sarcasm rather than by the direct hit. I must confess that the men who most appeal to me in political history number among them Wilberforce, Bright and Russell. If such men had not been able to make moral protests and had not been able to make some of the great moral statements of the day, I doubt very much whether this House would have led the world in the way it did in the periods in which those men existed. Although my hon. Friend dismissed moral indignation in a puff of smoke on the lines that we are not the nation we were 100 years ago, surely that does not stop us getting up and saying that we believe somebody else is wrong.

If we think in terms of the European movement, of which I thoroughly approve, we must look at the matter from that sort of standpoint. If in one's own family one's son does something wrong and then something right, one approves him for doing right and criticises him for doing wrong. But one criticises him with as much vigour and determination as one praises him for doing right. It would have been a lot healthier if the British Government had said to the French Government "We agree with you on A, B and C, but as for point D we deplore what you are doing and you cannot expect our support."

I also agree with the hon. Member for West Lothian about China. Perhaps it was a clever way out for China. It was a way for China to have a position on this subject, though it is bad for the French to be able to do their nuclear tests because it gives the Chinese a way out. It would be a lot better for the Western world if there were no one in the Western world doing tests. In that way we should have a stronger position when making statements vis-à-vis the Chinese and other nations.

I shall not add to the more than competent scientific comments on the Pitcairn Islands. I am willing to believe—because my right hon. Friend the Minister of State said so—that the "upping" of danger will be 10 per cent. He said that it was not very much, and he may be right. But it is 10 per cent. too much, and it is that 10 per cent. which I am against.

I was hoping so hard that I should be able to get through three months without voting against my party. Here we are again. I have not survived. I would have made it by the end of this week. I should then have gone 12 whole weeks without opposing my Government. Concerning the Government's amendment, I shall abstain. Concerning the Opposition motion, I shall vote with the hon. Member for West Lothian and his right hon. and hon. Friends.

6.22 p.m.

Sir Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

I at once commend the courageous and admirable speech of the hon. Member for Louth (Mr. Jeffrey Archer), and I express the hope that those like-minded hon. Members who have spoken in the same sense will join the hon. Gentleman in the Division Lobby.

As the hon. Gentleman indicated, the Opposition motion, which I invite the House to support, is in two parts. The first deplores the failure of Her Majesty's Government to make adequate protests to the Government of France for ignoring the decision of the International Court on nuclear testing. The second supports the Governments of Australia and New Zealand in their opposition to the impending tests.

The Government's amendment fails to deal with either of the propositions in the Opposition motion. In the face of France's announced determination to go on with the tests and the failure of Her Majesty's Government to take any action in regard to it, in our view the Government amendment amounts to no more than a pious and irrelevant platitude in the circumstances that we face.

During the debate several questions of great importance have been raised, and we look forward to hearing the answers of the learned Attorney-General. For my part I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman a direct question. Do Her Majesty's Government support the Governments of Australia and New Zealand in their opposition to the impending tests and in their attempts to enlist the aid of the International Court to bring to an end the threatened tests? If not, why not?

If Her Majesty's Government support the Governments of Australia and New Zealand, how have they manifested that opposition? They have not done it in this House. They have not done it in their amendment. I find it a matter of great regret that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has not yet done it.

My hon. Friend the Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell) opened the debate in a superb manner which gave all of us great pleasure. As my hon. Friend pointed out, it was, after all, the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary who played a leading part in bringing about the 1963 treaty banning nuclear weapon tests in the atmosphere, in outer space and under water. If what the Minister of State said earlier today is true, I wonder why the Foreign Secretary bothered.

All that the Foreign Secretary said about the matter in the foreign affairs debate last week was: Our position is that we do not think that these tests should be carried out, but the French are capable of making their decisions for themselves. They will no doubt decide in the light of all the approaches which have been made to them whether to go ahead. That sounds more like condonation of France's intended and announced defiance of the International Court and, through it, the international community than a condemnation of it. The speech of the Minister of State today combined much special pleading with only a faint and certainly not specific disapproval of what the French are planning, with no hint of condemnation.

The 1963 test ban treaty was largely achieved because of increasing awareness of the dangers to the health of present and future generations which most responsible opinion considers to be involved in the dispersal over wide areas of the globe of radioactive fall-out. Each atmospheric nuclear test is now thought by many of the world's greatest scientists to make an irreversible contribution to the pollution of the human environment.

Professor Linus Pauling, who has been described as the greatest geneticist in the world and is twice a Nobel Prize winner, has translated that proposition into stark human terms. He has estimated that about 1,700 deformed babies would be born in Australia if the French exploded a 20-megaton hydrogen bomb and that, of those, 1,500 would die. He has said that 500,000 unborn children would suffer gross mental and physical defects and that the same number of people would con- tract cancer. If there are scientists ready to be bought, as the hon. Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) suggested. Dr. Pauling is not one of them.

Mr. Critehley

The right hon. and learned Gentleman ought to study my speech a little more carefully. I did not say that. I passed a light-hearted comment—[HON. MEMBERS: "0h."] Very well: a serious comment, if hon. Members prefer—that there are experts in all walks of life who are easibly obtainable. [HON. MEMBERS: "Buyable."]

Sir Elwyn Jones

Having sought to withdraw what he said, the hon. Gentleman compounded his offence. However, let me proceed with what I was saying when I was so unhelpfully interrupted.

The maturing of national and international attitudes towards nuclear weapons development, especially nuclear testing which gives rise to nuclear fallout, has been evidenced by a series of treaties and resolutions. Of pre-eminent importance is the 1963 treaty. The principal provision of that treaty prohibits the carrying out of nuclear explosions if their radiation debris is present outside the territorial limits of the testing State. That treaty is now accepted by more than 100 States, and its basic demand has been constantly and almost universally stressed by members of the world community, culminating last year in the Stockholm resolution on nuclear weapon tests passed by the Conference on the Environment.

As the Attorney-General for New Zealand submitted to The Hague Court, during the same period and as a corollary to the intensified governmental and popular action to control and prohibit nuclear weapons and their testing in the atmosphere and elsewhere and to safeguard the environment and natural resources, there has also been a growing juridical perception and acceptance in legal circles of the nature and quality of this activity and a rapid development of the law concerning it.

As I understand it, the French attitude is that the French tests concern no one but the French and that they are entirely within their own French domestic jurisdiction. But, as a learned article in this week's New Law Journal points out: Firstly, there are not many questions which international law leaves to the exclusive competence of States. Secondly, it is inconceivable that the use by State X of its own territory in such a way that the measurable and harmful effects are felt in the territory and by the population of States Y and Z is such a question. There is authority to the contrary in the Frail Smelter arbitration between the United States and Canada relating to the pollution of the air by fumes from smelting operations; a fortiori if the nuisance committed or threatened by X is to occur on the high seas and not solely on X's territory. That was the point made by the hon. Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Laurance Reed) in his admirable speech. The French testing zone apparently extends for 120 miles out to sea from Mururoa.

The tests concern above all the nations in and around the Pacific Ocean. They are above all questions not of French business but of the business of the Pacific nations.

It is true that some scientists do not agree with the assessment made by my hon. Friend on the basis of the expert scientific knowledge which he cited to the House. The most extreme statement of the opposite point of view has been expressed by the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. He went so far as to say last week, and in effect repeated today, that according to the evidence available to the Foreign Office there is no danger whatever to health as a result of the French or Chinese tests in the atmosphere. I doubt whether even the French would go so far as to say that. That assertion flies in the face of the evidence submitted by the Australian and New Zealand Governments to the International Court.

I earnestly invite the right hon. Gentleman, when he has time to do so, to read paragraphs 38, 39 and 40 of the Australian application to the court. I cannot conceive that he would have made that rash and unqualified statement had he given serious thought to the quality of the evidence offered by the spokesmen of Australia and New Zealand to the court. The conclusion of that evidence was: There is undoubtedly some threat to the life, health and wellbeing of exposed individuals and their descendants from radiation doses arising from radioactive fallout generated by nuclear explosions.

The Minister was not even prepared to go so far as to support the somewhat cautious expression of opinion by the court that the information submitted to the court, including reports of the United Nations Scientific Committee on the effects of atomic radiation between 1958 and 1972, does not exclude the possibility that damage to Australia might be shown to be caused by the deposit on Australian territory of radioactive fallout resulting from such tests and to be irreparable. The court concluded that it was satisfied that it should indicate interim measures of protection in order to preserve the right claimed by Australia in respect of the deposit of radioactive fallout on her territory and commanded that the French Government should avoid nuclear tests causing the deposit of radioactive fall-out on Australian territory.

Does the Attorney-General agree with those conclusions and recommendations of the International Court? We have not even had any expression of agreement with them from the Government. That order from the court had the support of eight of the 14 judges, and the majority included one of this country's most eminent international lawyers, Sir Humphrey Waldock, who exercised his own distinguished independent judgment. I have found regrettable the attitude of the Minister of State towards the interim orders of the court.

While it is true that, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, international law in its present form does not call on other Powers to enforce the judgment of the court, it would have befitted the Government at least to say a word of condemnation of France's contemptuous attitude towards the order.

Mr. Woodhouserose—

Sir Elwyn Jones

I will not give way. I am sorry. Pressure of time is too great. I promised to finish in five minutes.

Our obligations across the world make it especially important that not only should we respect the rule of law but that we should take all appropriate diplomatic and legal steps to promote it and in particular to sustain the authority of the International Court. After all, we ourselves have recently sought, and now seek to enforce against the Icelandic Government, the very kind of remedy which the Australian and the New Zealand Governments have now obtained, an order for provisional measures against the Icelandic Government. We have shown that we are prepared to use force to enforce those provisional measures.

Pressure from the international community is essential to give support to the court's decision, and in that community our voice should be heard loud and clear. Instead, all we have had is a largely submissive bleat about the French case from the Government. Their legal and moral duty is to do far more than they have done. I commend the staunch statements on the matter by the hon. Members for Louth and Bolton, East.

Where does the Government's political duty lie? This country's duty, as head of the Commonwealth and its only European member, is to stand by Australia and New Zealand and our Pacific dependencies and to support in clear terms their denunciation of the tests.

In this context it is important to realise that the opposition to the tests is not confined to Australia and New Zealand, to which we and France herself owe so much. There was a moving reminder of that in the note from the Australian Prime Minister to the French Government in February this year, when he said: The presence of over 25,000 Australian graves in France bears full witness to the sacrifices made by Australia. New Zealand could say much the same: The Australian Government hopes that your Government will not be led by its concern for the security of France to seek to strengthen that security at the expense of the welfare and peace of mind of other peoples. I recently returned from a visit to the South Pacific, where I experienced for myself the deep concern felt among the inhabitants of places such as Fiji, Nauru and others of the Pacific islands about the planned French nuclear tests. It is a significant fact—the Government should take note of it—that when, in August 1971, the new Pacific States of Fiji, West Samoa, Tonga, Nauru and the Cook Islands all joined with Australia and New Zealand for the first South Pacific forum, their first act was to denounce French testing and send a joint protest to Paris.

That is the kind of action Her Majesty's Government should have taken. Instead, they have stubbornly kept out of step with what I believe to be the opinion of most people in our country, of trade unionists and others in all walks of life, and of civilised opinion in most of the rest of the world.

I appeal to the Government, even now, to make at the end of the debate a clear denunciation in specific terms of the proposed French nuclear tests and a demand to the Government of France, which would come well indeed from the Attorney-General, in the name of so many peoples of the world who have so far looked to us in vain for a lead, that the judgment of the International Court should be respected and applied.

6.40 p.m.

The Attorney-General (Sir Peter Rawlinson)

The terms of the motion are selected by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition side. They have chosen to frame the motion in a way which does not include straightforward political condemnation or moral assertions about the attitude which should be adopted but, in its first part, deals precisely and completely with the protest which it says the Government should make to the Government of France for ignoring the decision of the International Court at The Hague.

The motion is worded solely upon the decision of the International Court of Justice and what action the Government ought to take in the face of the preliminary measures indicated by the International Court of Justice in the case recently heard at The Hague. The issues therefore involve questions of international law, and if there are any complaints about a legalistic reply I ask hon. Members to bear with me while I deal with these important matters and issues.

I appreciate the strong feelings expressed in the debate, principally by the hon. Member for West Lothian (Mr. Dalyell), who moved the motion with skill, by my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Laurance Reed) and by others of my hon. Friends. I draw to their attention the fact that, as my right hon. Friend the Minister of State said, the Government have made it clear that they deplore the resumption of atmospheric nuclear tests and, in the broad terms of the amendment, express their concern and share the widespread concern that has been expressed about the continued testing of nuclear weapons.

The framework of the debate has been set by the Opposition, and it is to the first part of the motion as it relates to the International Court that I must now turn. It is the fact in international law that the International Court has power, and always has had power, to determine questions of its own jurisdiction under Article 36 of the statute. The court may make a valid interim order before reaching a final decision as to its jurisdiction. So long as the International Court is satisfied that a prima facie case has been made on jurisdiction it is permitted, within its procedures and within its own jurisprudence, to make an indication of provisional measures. In this case, that is what the court did in respect of the application made by New Zealand and Australia.

It is the view of Her Majesty's Government that, under international law, a State party to which such an order is addressed should comply with such a provisional order, and it is their view of international law that, once a State party has had addressed to it such a declaration by the International Court, it is the duty of that nation to obey that order. As far as I am aware—and I challenge the right hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South (Sir Elwyn Jones) to deny this—it has never been the practice in international law for other States which are not parties to the proceedings to take diplomatic or other action when a State party which is denying the jurisdiction of the International Court takes no action to obey or to implement an interim order directed to that State. There is no legal obligation upon Her Majesty's Government under international law to protest should France not comply with the provisional measures indicated on 22nd June.

Sir Elwyn Jones

Would not the Attorney-General agree that, bearing in mind that it is Australia and New Zealand which are the applicants, and that we have special responsibility in regard to them and to the inhabitants of our possessions in the South Pacific, we would be entitled to raise a vigorous voice in protest?

The Attorney-General

If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is saying that we are entitled to make a protest, or to make our views known as a matter of policy or as a matter of judgment, so be it. All I am saying in reply to the terms of the motion drawn up by right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite is that where a State is not a party to proceedings it is not, and has not been on the few occasions when interim measures have been ordered, a requirement of international law that that State should intervene to make the protest which the right hon. and learned Gentleman and some of his hon. Friends seek to have made.

It was not done in the Anglo-Iranian case when right hon. and hon. Members opposite were in office at the time of Mr. Attlee's Government. It has not been done in the recent Icelandic fisheries case to which Her Majesty's Government are a party. There have not been official protests that the order of the court has not been obeyed by the Icelandic Government. Perhaps the right hon. and learned Gentleman can tell the House which countries have made official protests of the kind which, I understand, some hon. Gentlemen are saying is required by international law.

Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)

Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that it would have been open to the Government to intervene at an earlier stage of the proceedings as amicus curiae and make submissions which might have helped the court to take a different view from that which it took? If the Government take the view, as they appear to do from what was said earlier, that there is little to be feared from the French tests, why did they not intervene in the proceedings and make that point? Does not the Government's failure to intervene suggest that they do not put much faith in the case?

The Attorney-General

The hon. Gentleman should appreciate that it is no more significant than other nations not having intervened in the Icelandic fisheries case. No other country has sought to become amicus curiae in order to intervene before the International Court. This was an application by two countries directed to a particular State party. If there had been a denial of a legal right vested in the United Kingdom, there might have been a breach of international law.

Opposition Members have chosen to debate the motion in terms of the action taken by the International Court. They have not set down a motion setting out on political or moral grounds what the United Kingdom should have done. But even if France is in breach of an international obligation, that obligation is not owed substantially to the United Kingdom, and there is no substantive international legal right of the United Kingdom which would seem to be infringed.

Mr. Laurance Reed

If my right hon. and learned Friend thinks that the British Government should not support decisions of the International Court when we are not a party to them, how does the United Kingdom expect to get international support for cases which it takes before the court and wins?

The Attorney-General

If my hon. Friend looks at Article 59 of the International Court's own statute he will see that, whether we like it or not, by the statute which establishes the International Court the fundamental principle of the International Court's operations in contentious litigation is that its decisions are binding only upon the parties. and the States which set up the International Court made that clear.

Where a State party is directed to do or to refrain from doing certain acts in accordance with provisional measures ordered by the court, that State should so do. The United Kingdom has no locus standi in international law to make a formal protest if any party, for whatever reason, does not comply with an order of the court. There is no requirement that the United Kingdom should protest in this case, and the statutes and the jurisprudence of the court show this.

Her Majesty's Government's attitude has been wholly consistent with the attitude of successive Governments. The United Kingdom has always upheld the authority of the court when we have been a party before it, whether the court has been in our favour or not. The Government of Mr. Attlee took a similar view in the 1951 Anglo-Iranian dispute.

The rule of law that State parties should comply with orders of the court is accepted by the Government, but when it comes to an interim measure, when one of the parties does not accept that the court has jurisdiction, when that still has to be decided, when the court has merely set out interim measures based upon a preliminary, prima facie view of the jurisdiction, in international law there is no proper opportunity for the United Kingdom, and certainly no obligation on the United Kingdom, to protest.

As my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has said, however, the position of the Government about nuclear testing has been made clear in the United Nations and elsewhere: that is, that the United Kingdom hopes and expects that other nations will agree to the conditions of the partial test ban treaty. That view was repeated in 1972 and this year. Of course there are strong feelings on this subject, which no Government take lightly. The views of the Government are on record and my right hon. Friend the Minister of State reiterated them today. To put it beyond doubt, the amendment expresses our widespread concern about atmospheric tests by any State.

We should bear in mind the facts when we consider whether there should be a protest, even if not in international law, by Her Majesty's Government. The facts presented today show that the nuclear testing in the atmosphere is to take place, as in the past, in an uninhabited zone of ocean which, in the direction of the prevailing winds, is 4,000 miles from the nearest land. The Pitcairn Islands are 600 miles away, but monitoring has been done there since the tests began in the time of the Labour Government and that monitoring has shown that there is no detectable risk. The French have been careful—[Interruption.] As the hon. Member knows, there are two considerations with regard to fall-out. There is local fall-out, with an effect up to a few hundred miles, and there is the long-term effect. It is the latter that is being monitored by the team on Pitcairn Island. The report made by the Australians to their own Academy of Science cannot be brushed aside as unimportant, irrelevant or incorrect.

The French have been careful to time their tests to suit them to the prevailing winds from Mururoa into the uninhabited zone, which stretches for 4,000 miles. There has been a monitoring team during all the years of testing. When the French have detonated their devices, we have never detected radiation levels showing a danger to health.

World public concern has focused of course on the second effect—world-wide fall-out—which is the only one that could affect Australia and New Zealand. I must repeat what my right hon. Friend has already said. Our estimate is that world-wide fall-out is detectable but insignificant in terms of damage to health. The hon. Member for West Lothian maintained that there was a mounting danger to health from strontium 90 and other long-lived elements. I am informed that the accumulated activity from these elements has been showing a decline in the past few years.

The hon. Member also referred to the work of three scientists, Mr. Tampling and his colleagues, and asked whether we were aware of their work. We are, but their speculation about nuclear effects is by no means acceptable to scientists in general. Therefore, I take it that, when my hon. Friend the Member for Aldershot (Mr. Critchley) jocularly replied to an intervention about purchasing scientific information, he meant that there are scientists who would and who will disagree with some of these conclusions.

However, as a result of the partial test ban treaty, the level of radioactivity in the atmosphere has fallen greatly in the past 10 years. The present level of testing by the French and the Chinese is not such as to cause any fears on health grounds. My right hon. Friend said that their tests are responsible for one-tenth of the total annual radiation that goes to people in the Southern Hemisphere. It reached only one-hundredth part of the reference levels recorded by the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

My hon. Friends the Members for Aldershot and for Flint, West (Sir A. Meyer) referred to this debate as humbug. The right hon. and learned Member for West Ham, South, in order to dress it up with some respectability has drawn in the International Court of Justice, but the requirements of international law do not demand a protest by Her Majesty's Government. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite have always been guilty of great humbug over all questions of nuclear weapons. They did not make their protest in 1967, 1968 or 1969. I would ask the House to reject the motion and to accept the amendment.

Question put, That the amendment he made:—

The House divided: Ayes 276, Noes 266.

Division No. 179.] AYES [7.00 p.m.
Adley, Robert Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M) Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.
Alison, Michael (Barkaton Ash) Buck, Antony Dixon, Piers
Aliason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Bullus, Sir Eric Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec
Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian Burden, F. A. Drayson, G. B.
Astor, John Butler, Adam (Bosworth) Dykes, Hugh
Atkins, Humphrey Campbell, Rt. Hn. G.(Moray & Nairn) Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir John
Awdry, Daniel Carlisle, Mark Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)
Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone) Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Baker, W. H. K. (Banff) Cary, Sir Robert Emery, Peter
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Channon, Paul Eyre, Reginald
Batsford, Brian Chapman, Sydney Farr, John
Bell, Ronald Chataway, Rt.Hn. Christopher Fell, Anthony
Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay) Chichester-Clark, R. Fenner, Mrs. Peggy
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport) Churchill, W. S. Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)
Benyon, W. Clark, William (Surrey, E.) Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe) Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Biffen, John Cockeram, Eric Fookes, Miss Janet
Biggs-Davison, John Cooke, Robert Fortescue, Tim
Blaker, Peter Coombs, Derek Foster, Sir John
Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.) Cooper, A. E. Fowler, Norman
Body, Richard Cordle, John Fox, Marcus
Boscawen, Hn. Robert Corfield, Rt. Hn. Sir Frederick Galbraith, Hn. T. G.
Bossom, Sir Clive Cormack, Patrick Gardner, Edward
Bowden, Andrew Costain, A. P. Gibson-Watt, David
Braine, Sir Bernard Critchley, Julian Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)
Bray, Ronald Crouch, David Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)
Brinton, Sir Tatton Dalkeith, Earl of Glyn, Dr. Alan
Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford) Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Goodhart, Philip
Bruce-Gardyne, J. d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen.Jack Gorst, John
Bryan, Sir Paul Dean, Paul Gower, Raymond
Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.) MacArthur, Ian Rost, Peter
Gray, Hamish McCrindle, R. A. Royle, Anthony
Green, Alan McLaren, Martin Russell, Sir Ronald
Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Grylis, Michael McNair-Wilson, Michael Scott, Nicholas
Gummer, J. Selwyn McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest) Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Gurden, Harold Maddan, Martin Shelton, William (Clapham)
Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley) Madel, David Shersby, Michael
Hall, John (Wycombe) Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest Simeons, Charles
Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Marten, Neil Sinclair, Sir George
Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Mather, Carol Skeet, T. H. H.
Hannam, John (Exeter) Maude, Angus Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Mawby, Ray Soref, Harold
Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Speed, Keith
Haselhurst, Alan Meyer, Sir Anthony Spence, John
Hastings, Stephen Mills, Peter (Torrington) Sproat, Iain
Havers, Michael Miscampbell, Norman Stainton, Keith
Hawkins, Paul Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C. (Aberdeenshire, W) Stanbrook, Ivor
Hay, John Mitchell, David (Basingstoke) Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Seiner)
Hayhoe, Barney Moate, Roger Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)
Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Monks, Mrs. Connie Stokes, John
Heseltine, Michael Monro, Hector Stuttaford, Dr. Tom
Hicks, Robert Montgomery, Fergus Tapsell, Peter
Higgins, Terence L. More, Jasper Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Holland, Philip Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh) Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)
Holt, Miss Mary Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm. Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
Hordern, Peter Morrison, Charles Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)
Hornby, Richard Mudd, David Tebbit, Norman
Murton, Oscar Temple, John M.
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia Nabarro, Sir Gerald Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret
Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate) Neave, Airey Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)
Howell, David (Guildford) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)
Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hunt, John Nott, John Tilney, John
Hutchison, Michael Clark Onslow, Cranley Trafford, Dr. Anthony
Iremonger, T. L. Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally Trew, Peter
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Orr, Capt. L. P. S. Tugendhat, Christopher
James, David Osborn, John Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.) Vaughan, Dr. Gerard
Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Page, Rt. Hn. Graham (Crosby) Vickers, Dame Joan
Jessel, Toby Parkinson, Cecil Waddington, David
Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Percival, Ian Walder, David (Clitheroe)
Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Peyton, Rt. Hn. John Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)
Jopling, Michael Pike, Miss Mervyn Wall, Patrick
Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Pink, R. Bonner Walters, Dennis
Kaberry, Sir Donald Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch Wells, John (Maidstone)
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine Price, David (Eastleigh) White, Roger (Gravesend)
Kershaw, Anthony Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L. Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William
King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.) Proudfoot, Wilfred Wiggin, Jerry
King, Tom (Bridgwater) Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis Wilkinson, John
Kinsey, J. R. Quennell, Miss J. M. Winterton, Nicholas
Kitson, Timothy Raison, Timothy Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Knight, Mrs. Jill Ramaden, Rt. Hn. James Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Knox, David Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher
Lamont, Norman Redmond, Robert Woodnutt, Mark
Lane, David Rees, Peter (Dover) Worsley, Marcus
Langford-Holt, Sir John Rees-Davies, W. R. Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David Younger, Hn. George
Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Ridley, Hn. Nicholas
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Ridsdale, Julian TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Longdon, Sir Gilbert Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey Mr. Walter Clegg and
Luce, R. N. Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.) Mr. Bernard Weatherill.
McAdden, Sir Stephen Roberts, Wyn (Conway)
Abse, Leo Boothroyd, Miss B. (West Brom.) Coleman, Donald
Albu, Austen Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Concannon, J. D.
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland) Conlan, Bernard
Allen, Scholefield Bradley, Tom Corbel, Mrs. Freda
Ashley, Jack Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)
Ashton, Joe Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Crawahaw, Richard
Atkinson, Norman Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury) Cronin, John
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Buchan, Norman Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard
Barnes, Michael Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich) Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)
Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton) Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James Dalyell, Tam
Baxter, William Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.) Darling, Rt. Hn. George
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood Cant, R. B. Davidson, Arthur
Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield) Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)
Bidwell, Sydney Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles) Davies, Ifor (Gower)
Bishop, E. S. Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Davis, Clinton (Hackney, C.)
Blenkinsop, Arthur Clark, David (Colne Valley) Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)
Boardman, H. (Leigh) Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.) Deakins, Eric
Booth, Albert Cohen, Stanley de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey
Delargy, Hugh Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen) Pendry, Tom
Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.) Perry, Ernest G.
Dempsey, James Kaufman, Gerald Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.
Doig, Peter Kelley, Richard Prescott, John
Dormand, J. D. Kerr, Russell Price, William (Rugby)
Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.) Kilfedder, James Probert, Arthur
Douglas-Mann, Bruce Kinnock, Neil Radice, Giles
Driberg, Tom Lambie, David Reed, D. (Sedgefield)
Duffy, A. E. P. Lamborn, Harry Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Dunn, James A. Lamond, James Rhodes, Geoffrey
Dunnett, Jack Latham, Arthur Richard, Ivor
Edelman, Maurice Lawson, George Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) Leadbitter, Ted Robertson, John (Paisley)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Bec'n & R'dnor)
Ellis, Tom Lestor, Miss Joan Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)
English, Michael Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Rose, Paul B.
Evans, Fred Lipton, Marcus Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)
Ewing, Harry Lomas, Kenneth Rowlands, Ted
Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E. Loughlin, Charles Sandelson, Neville
Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Fitch, Alan (Wigan) Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston) Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) McBride, Neil Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Foot, Michael McCartney, Hugh Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)
Ford, Ben McElhone, Frank Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)
Forrester, John Machin, George Sillars, James
Fraser, John (Norwood) Mackenzie, Gregor Silverman, Julius
Freeson, Reginald Mackie, John Skinner, Dennis
Galpern, Sir Myer Mackintosh, John P. Small, William
Garrett, W. E. Maclennan, Robert Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)
Gilbert, Dr. John McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Spearing, Nigel
Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury) McNamara, J. Kevin Spriggs, Leslie
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C. Mahon, Simon (Bootie) Stallard, A. W.
Gourley, Harry Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.) Steel, David
Grant, George (Morpeth) Marks, Kenneth Stoddart, David (Swindon)
Grant, John D. (Islington, E.) Marquand, David Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John
Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside) Marsden, F. Stott, Roger (Westhoughton)
Hatton, F. Marshall, Dr. Edmund Strang, Gavin
Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.
Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Mayhew, Christopher Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley
Hamling, William Meacher, Michael Swain, Thomas
Hardy, Peter Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield) Mikardo, Ian Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)
Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith Millan, Bruce Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy
Hattersley, Roy Miller, Dr. M. S. Tinn, James
Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis Milne, Edward Tope, Graham
Heifer, Eric S. Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen) Torney, Tom
Hilton, W. S. Molloy, William Tuck, Raphael
Hooson, Emlyn Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire) Valey, Eric G.
Horam, John Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe) Wainwright, Edwin
Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw) Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon) Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Huckfield, Leslie Moyle, Roland Wallace, George
Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick Watkins, David
Hughes, Mark (Durham) Murray, Ronald King Weitzman, David
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.) Oakes, Gordon Wellbeloved, James
Hughes, Roy (Newport) Ogden, Eric Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Hunter, Adam O'Halloran, Michael White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)
Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill) O'Malley, Brian Whitehead, Phillip
Janner, Greyville Oram, Bert Whitlock, William
Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas Orme, Stanley Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Jeger, Mrs. Lena Oswald, Thomas Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney) Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton) Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Padley, Walter Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)
John, Brynmor Paget, R. T. Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Palmer, Arthur Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)
Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles Woof, Robert
Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.) Pardoe, John
Jones, Barry (Flint, E.) Parker, John (Dagenham) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Jones, Dan (Burnley) Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange) Mr. John Golding and
Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Pavitt, Laurie Mr. Joseph Harper.

Question accordingly agreed to.

Main Question, as amended, put and agreed to.


That this House shares the widespread concern at the continued testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere by any state and urges that all Governments that have not yet done so should accede to the partial test bantreaty.

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