HC Deb 11 March 1980 vol 980 cc1133-4
7. Mr. John Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects next to meet his NATO colleagues.

Mr. Pym

I expect to meet NATO Defence Ministers at the Eurogroup and NATO defence planning committee meetings in May.

Mr. Evans

When the right hon. Gentleman meets his NATO colleagues, will he make it clear to them that he accepts that there can be no civil defence against nuclear attack and that he intends to urge upon his colleagues that we should stop wasting taxpayers' money on this fruitless enterprise?

Mr. Pym

I have a slight suspicion that the hon. Gentleman is expressing a minority view. Civil defence is not my responsibility. However, there is a great deal of anxiety about whether the pro- vision that is made is adequate. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has the matter under review.

Mr. Wilkinson

When my right hon. Friend meets his NATO colleagues, will he impress upon his Dutch friends that the process of modernisation of the Soviet Union's long-range theatre nuclear forces continues, and that in those circumstances the Dutch should consider carefully the merits of stationing on their soil long-range theatre nuclear forces and the desirability of coming to a positive decision at the earliest possible date?

Mr. Pym

Our Dutch friends are aware of what is happening on the other side of the Iron Curtain. They gave their full support to the modernisation programme. They reserved to themselves the decision on basing, which they intend to take in 1981. They joined in the unanimous decision of the Alliance to support the modernisation programme.

Mr. Frank Allaun

May I refer to the original question? Would not survivors who had sheltered five storeys below the surface have to come up at some time after the event? Would not they find that their stricken city was fatally radioactive, apart from being subject to a fire storm?

Mr. Pym

Words could not describe the consequences of a nuclear attack, were one ever to be launched. The purpose of defence capability, in its comprehensiveness and range, together with that of our allies, is to preserve the peace and prevent a war starting in the first place. That is our strategy. There is no aggressive thought or intention in our minds. The strategy is totally defensive in concept. It is to deter the possibility of anyone thinking it worth while to start a war of this kind that we have this capability.