HC Deb 16 November 1982 vol 32 cc142-3
14. Dr. Mawhinney

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is his latest assessment of deployment of medium-range nuclear weapons by the Warsaw Pact.

Mr. Blaker

The Soviet Union has now deployed a total of 324 modern SS20 missiles, each with three warheads. Approximately two-thirds of those weapons face Western Europe. In addition, there are still up to 275 SS4s or SS5s deployed in the Western Soviet Union, and approximately 500 aircraft.

Dr. Mawhinney

Will my hon. Friend assure the House that the threat posed by those weapons will be resisted by appropriate deterrents and that there will be a determined effort by the Government to see the number of such weapons reduced?

Mr. Blaker

I entirely agree with my hon. Friend. As I explained earlier, we put forward proposals for disarmament negotiations in 1979. The Russians were slow to take up that offer. I am glad to say that they are now negotiating with the United States, but meanwhile we have to continue with our preparations for the deployment of those missiles. I believe that any other course would be fatal to any prospect of success in those negotiations.

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