§ 4. Mr. Robin F. Cook
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's attitude to the forthcoming Special Session on disarmament of the United Nations General Assembly.
§ 10. Mr. Hugh Jenkins
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he will make when he attends the Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York this spring.
§ Dr. Owen
The Government attach great importance to the Special Session. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will speak, and I will accompany him.
On 1st February in the United Nations we tabled, with a number of Western co-sponsors, a draft for the Programme of Action, which will probably be the most important document adopted by the Special Session. I shall circulate our draft proposal in the Official Report. This was prepared in consultation with friendly Governments, with non-governmental organisations in Britain and with the Advisory Panel on Disarmament, of which my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, Central (Mr. Cook) is a member.
§ Mr. Cook
Does my right hon. Friend accept that the importance that the Government attach to the Special Session in particular and the considerable work that has gone into the draft Programme of Action are very much appreciated? As one of the matters to be discussed in New York is the conventional trade in arms, however, does not my right hon. Friend think that his own position at New York would be much strengthened if he could persuade my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence not to hold an international exhibition of arms available for export from Britain at the very time when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will be addressing the conference in New York?
§ Dr. Owen
This is no more than an ongoing part of British policy, which is to sell arms to those countries where we think it will not affect the balance in a particular region. The real question is whether we can achieve a multilateral agreement to reduce arms sales, particularly among some of the Western industrialised Powers, to follow up the initiative started by President Carter to try to achieve some voluntary limitation.
§ Mr. Jenkins
Apart from the question of armaments sales, which some of us on the Labour Benches wish was not part of Her Majesty's Government's policy, will my right hon. Friend suggest to the American Government that their decision to go ahead with a massive programme of rearmament is a poor preliminary to the conference, and suggest that they hold their horses a little while until the conference is over, when they might be able to modify the programme to some degree?
§ Dr. Owen
The United States and British Governments are involved in detailed negotiations on a comprehensive test ban. The United States has tabled very ambitious proposals for the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and I believe that it will achieve a SALT agreement this year. It is showing in a number of areas that it is genuine in its intent to have serious disarmament measures, as, indeed, we are. What we are not in favour of is cosmetic or propaganda disarmament statements.
§ Mr. Kershaw
Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that the country will have heard with relief yesterday what the Prime Minister said about his estimation of Russian progress with very dangerous weapons such as the SS 20, and will he avoid allowing himself to be boxed in to any kind of corner by propaganda in this matter but make sure that the people realise what the Russian position really is?
§ Mr. Faulds
What contribution does my right hon. Friend think the latest 1418 French proposals will make to the discussion of disarmament?
§ Dr. Owen
It is rather early to analyse them. Until after the French election it will be difficult to enter into the sort of detailed negotiations that I should like to see on them. The views of the French Socialist Party, expressed in fighting the election, show that there is a greater readiness by the French to enter into discussions on disarmament, particularly in Central Europe, than hitherto.
§ Mr. Luce
I attach the greatest possible importance to the proposed Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly on disarmament, but is it not self-evident to the Secretary of State that one major threat to peace is the lack of military balance between East and West, and that the Soviet criticism of the proposed deployment of the essentially defensive neutron bomb in Europe is a smokescreen to hide the fact that the Soviet Union is developing a wide range of devastatingly dangerous aggressive weapons, such as the SS 20? Will the right hon. Gentleman bear these factors in mind?
§ Following is the document:
§ DRAFT PROGRAMME OF ACTION ON DISARMAMENT FOR THE UNITED NATIONS SPECIAL SESSION ON DISARMAMENT
§ Put forward at the UN on 1st February 1978 by the United Kingdom and other Western states.
§ I. GENERAL
§ The states members of the United Nations at the Eighth Special Session of the General Assembly solemnly affirm that their ultimate goal is general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. They recognise that this goal requires an increase in international confidence and security to remove the incentive for states to acquire weapons and to encourage them to reduce these from present levels. The states members therefore believe that a serious world-wide disarmament strategy must be accompanied by a greater and sustained effort to eliminate the sources of tension and injustice in the world and to increase the effectiveness of international machinery in the United Nations and elsewhere 1419 for the peaceful settlement of disputes: to uphold the international rule of law: and to promote the political, civil, social and economic rights of man. This strategy should take into account not only the quantitative but also the qualitative aspect of disarmament, and should result in the release of resources for the satisfaction of the economic and social needs of humanity particularly in the developing countries.
§ This Programme of Action sets out in Chapter II priority negotiations for completion over the next few years. In addition it proposes concurrent measures and studies to prepare the way for future negotiations and for progress towards general and complete disarmament. It gives practical effect to the principles set down in the declaration on disarmament. A prerequisite for a successful disarmament strategy is the adherence of all states to existing arms control and disarmament agreements.
§ II. IMMEDIATE MEASURES OF ARMS CONTROL AND DISARMAMENT
- i. In the nuclear field, in which the nuclear weapon states have a particular responsibility, the realisation of the central objectives of preventing both horizontal and vertical proliferation by:
- —the halting and the reversal of the nuclear arms race in its quantitative and qualitative dimensions: especially by a second Strategic Arms Limitation Agreement between the United States and the Soviet Union, to be followed urgently by further strategic arms negotiations with the objective of reducing and eventually eliminating nuclear weapons.
- —the earliest conclusion of a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty banning all nuclear explosions in all environments, which should be adhered to as soon as possible by all states, particularly all nuclear weapon states, and should contain verification provisions giving maximum confidence that no party would conduct clandestine tests.
- —further measures to develop an international consensus on the strengthening and consolidation of the nuclear non-proliferation regime, based primarily on adherence of all states to the NPT and on the system of safeguards of the IAEA. Measures to be pursued should include assistance to the IAEA in its attempts to strengthen its safeguards systems: the application of IAEA safeguards on all source and special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities: agreement on adequate standards for the physical protection of nuclear materials: study and possible development of alternative and more proliferation-resistant nuclear technologies: an examination of the possibility of giving a suitable international character to appropriate nuclear fuel cycle operations and to effective measures for the control of plutonium in civil nuclear programmes: and support for the work currently being undertaken in the International Nuclear Fuel Cycle Evaluation. These measures should be designed to facilitate international access to the use of nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and take
1420 account of the particular needs of the developing countries in this area, as well as to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
- —the establishment of additional Nuclear Weapon-Free Zones, suitable to specific conditions in the regions concerned, through agreement between all the states in the region and with effective co-operation from nuclear weapon states.
- —a convention prohibiting the development, production and stockpiling of chemical weapons and regulating their destruction:
- —a convention prohibiting the development, production, stockpiling and use of radiological weapons:
- —continuing review of the question of new weapons of mass destruction based on new scientific principles with a view to consideration of agreements on the prohibition of any new weapons which may be identified.
- —agreements or other measures on a bilateral, regional and multilateral basis for placing restrictions on the production, transfer and acquisition of conventional weapons:
- —Conventions prohibiting or limiting the future use in armed conflict of certain conventional weapons which may be indiscriminate in their effects or may cause unnecessary suffering.
- —agreements or other measures on a regional basis, aiming at strengthening peace and security, in particular urgent efforts to contribute to a more stable military relationship in Europe.
§ III. THE FURTHER STRENGTHENING OF INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND CONFIDENCE
§ In addition to undertaking the specific arms control and disarmament tasks described above, the states members of the United Nations, in order to strengthen international confidence and deepen the dialogue between those involved in defence matters in different countries, should:—
- (i) support the Secretary-General in his efforts further to strengthen the expertise and capability of the United Nations to play its essential role as a catalyst in the disarmament process;
- (ii) encourage the further discussion and development by the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament of a Comprehensive Programme for Disarmament;
- (iii) publish detailed information about their armed forces, and the total value of
1421 their arms production and of their transfers of arms to other countries;
- (iv) supply full information on military budgets using the method shortly to be finalised through a Pilot Study by the Secretary-General for the standardised reporting of such budgets, as a step towards verified and balanced reductions in military expenditure.
- (v) assess the possible implications of military research and development for existing agreements as well as for further efforts in the field of arms control and disarmament.
- (vi) seek to restrain the world-wide build-up of conventional weapons, utilising all means which could lead to bilateral, regional and multilateral measures of control, limitation and balanced reduction of such armaments.
- (vii) accept adequate provisions of international control as appropriate to facilitate the conclusion and effectiveness of disarmament agreements.
- (viii) stimulate public awareness of disarmament issues by:—
- —publicising the Final Documents of the Special Session, in particular through non-governmental organisations, mass media and educational systems:
- —facilitating public access to information on disarmament questions:
- —improving mechanisms for the dissemination of relevant UN publications; and
- —encouraging study and research on disarmament.
- —to inform states on a regional basis and in accordance with regionally established criteria 21 days or more in advance about their intention to carry out major military movements or manoeuvres;
- —to invite observers from states on a regional basis to manoeuvres and encourage military visits and exchanges of all kinds on a reciprocal basis;
- —to improve communications between governments, particularly in areas of tension, by the establishment of "hot lines" and other methods of reducing the risk of conflict due to misunderstanding or miscalculation.
§ IV. STUDIES TO FACILITATE FUTURE MEASURES
§ In order to facilitate further steps in disarmament and parallel measures to promote international peace and security, the Secretary-General is requested to carry out studies relating to:—
- (i) the strengthening of the security role of the United Nations in peacekeeping and the peaceful settlement of disputes, to enable it to anticipate and resolve international crises.
- (ii) ways of limiting the build-up of conventional weapons regionally and throughout
1422 the world, taking into account all relevant aspects, inter alia:
- —the international transfer of conventional weapons;
- —the possibility of reciprocal limitation of the level and types of conventional weapons;
- —the proposal for a United Nations Register of Weapons Transfers;
§ V. IMPLEMENTATION
§ All states undertake to work towards the fulfilment of this programme and to respect agreed measures relating to it. The General Assembly should examine its implementation as appropriate taking account of the recommendations on disarmament machinery made later in the Final Document.