HL Deb 29 April 1958 vol 208 cc1083-4

2.36 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, having regard to the fact that in October, 1954, Dr. Adenauer told the Bundestag that his Government had renounced the use of weapons of mass destruction, they will state their attitude to the question of the supply to, and the use by, West Germany of nuclear weapons.]


My Lords, I should like to make it clear that there has never been any question of arming Western Germany with nuclear weapons except in the sense of establishing stockpiles of nuclear warheads in Western Germany under American control and of the West German forces being equipped with weapons to which these war-heads could be fitted. At the meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation Heads of Government in December, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military authorities were requested to submit to the North Atlantic Council their recommendations about the establishment of such stockpiles. They have not yet done this. Her Majesty's Government will decide their attitude in the light of these recommendations when they have been made.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for the Answer. May I ask him this further question: is it proposed that nuclear weapons should be handed over to the West German Government to be at the disposal irrevocably of the Bundeswehr—as I hope will not be the case? Or, on the other hand, is it proposed that they should be subject to withdrawal by N.A.T.O., should the N.A.T.O. countries so decide at any time?


My Lords, so far as Her Majesty's Government are concerned, we stand by the view expressed by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister in his letter of June 14, 1957, to Mr. Bulganin, in which he said: Pending a subsequent agreement on the limitation of armaments, the members of N.A.T.O. must reserve the right freely to decide on the equipment and weapons of their forces.