HC Deb 14 December 1982 vol 34 cc119-20
16. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on his most recent meetings with other Defence Ministers in Brussels.

Mr. Nott

Along with other NATO Defence Ministers I attended meetings of the Defence Planning Committee, the Nuclear Planning Group and the Eurogroup in Brussels between 29 November and 2 December. We had valuable discussions on a wide range of subjects, and the full text of the three communiqués has been placed in the Library.

Mr. Allaun

What did the Minister say regarding the Soviet offer a fortnight earlier to halve its medium-range missiles? Will the Secretary of State press for negotiations on this rather than support Washington's rejection, or does he wish to encourage further events at Greenham Common?

Mr. Nott

As the Soviet Union has over 900 independently targeted warheads installed, and NATO has no equivalent weapons in place, an offer by the Soviet Union to remove half still threatens us in the West. The offer that it has made cannot be acceptable to NATO. However, this may be a move in the right direction and if we can get the Soviet Union to understand our fears about its deployments, we shall be making progress. That is what we are trying to achieve by the zero option, which would mean no deployments at all.