HL Deb 15 June 1955 vol 193 cc139-40

3.57 p.m.


My Lords, with your Lordships' permission I should like to make a brief but, I think, not unimportant statement on Agreements between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government which have been signed in Washington to-day, first, for co-operation on the civil uses of atomic energy, and secondly, for cooperation regarding atomic information for mutual defence purposes. These Agreements are required by an Act of the United States Legislature passed in 1954 to lie before Congress for a period of thirty working days. They should, therefore, come into force about one month hence.

The United States Act made provision for co-operation with regard to atomic energy between the United States and other countries, subject to the conclusion of bilateral Agreements between the United States and such countries. I am confident that the House will welcome the fact of Her Majesty's Government having become a party to such Agreements, thus establishing a basis for co-operation with the United States Government on matters relating both to the economic and defence uses of atomic energy. The text of the two Agreements will be published in the next few days and laid before Parliament as White Papers.


My Lords, this is indeed a happy moment, and I congratulate the noble Marquess on being able to announce it to your Lordships' House. The fact that we have these Agreements now shows. I hope, that we have overcome the difficulty which arose—to some extent at any rate—from the McMahon Act. That is to my mind a most satisfactory state of affairs. The closer our co-operation with the United States can be, the better for all of us. I am quite sure of that.


My Lords, the noble Marquess remarked that this matter was not unimportant. I think we all agree that it is of vital importance. We are to-day discussing important subjects which arise in the gracious Speech, and surely Agreements like these, which relate to atomic energy and atomic information, have a direct bearing on certain of those subjects. We congratulate the noble Marquess on being in a position to tell us what he has done, and we look forward to seeing the White Papers in the course of a few days.