HL Deb 30 January 1962 vol 236 cc996-7

2.37 p.m.


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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many scientists of Scientific Officer Class (or equivalent) are employed on research for disarmament, and whether this number is comparable with the 1,937 similar scientists who appear, from Appendix IV of the Report of the Committee on the Management and Control of Research and Development, to be employed on research for rearmament.]


My Lords, scientific research into problems connected with defence cannot be classified into research for disarmament and research for rearmament. If necessary, the whole scientific resources of the country are available for these purposes, and a varying number of defence scientists is, in fact, employed at different times on questions relating to disarmament. For the reasons given above, I could not accept the total of 1,937 scientists referred to in the noble Lord's Question as being employed for rearmament. A very great deal of the research into defence problems is of value equally to disarmament and to military defence.


My Lords, can the Government give the House any rough indication, in terms of man-hours or man-days, of the amount of time spent on research in developing weapons systems and on research into the technical difficulties of alternative forms of defence which I will call disarmament?


My Lords, I would agree with the noble Lord that disarmament is just as much a policy for national security, if it can be effectively achieved, as is the development of a weapons system; but, for the reasons I gave in my original answer, I do not think it would be in any way possible to turn into man-hours the kind of question which the noble Lord has asked. My own knowledge of defence problems is to some extent limited, I must confess, but almost all defence research, even when it is directly concerned with the evolution of a new weapons system, is also concerned with the detection of the weapons system in the hands of another Power, and that is almost directly related to questions of disarmament.