HL Deb 30 September 1976 vol 374 cc576-9

3.26 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 what steps have been and are being taken in conjunction with other civilised nations to deal with the menace of terrorism, particularly in view of the possibility of the use of nuclear energy by terrorists unless such immediate international action is taken and unless the endeavours which are being made to give the PLO access to atomic energy information are frustrated.


My Lords, further to my Answer to my noble friend on 20th July, the United Kingdom is supporting efforts in the Council of Europe to co-ordinate action against terrorism and the Federal Republic of Germany's proposal at the UN for an international convention on hostages.

We co-operate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency, with the European Atomic Energy Community, and with individual countries to ensure the security of nuclear material and equipment. We have greatly strengthened our own security precautions over recent years, including the protection of nuclear exports. of an International Atomic Energy Agency if it is not going to discuss the question of atomic energy? If it is going to discuss atomic energy, whether or not this gives possession of classified information, is it not significant that the P.L.O. can use the fact that it has been admitted to obtain some kind of information which is of a very serious nature in so far as the use of atomic energy is concerned? We have heard in this noble House in the past few days about expenditure, and what steps can be taken in order to curb it. Is not there a vast expenditure of billions of pounds being used today throughout the world in order to cope with this terrible evil? What on earth is the use of our standing aside and not voting when it comes to a question of admitting these people into that kind of company which obviously stands for atomic energy information being available.


My Lords, I am sure the House will agree that my noble friend has once more made the point he had in mind when he tabled this question. We are all in sympathy with his general purpose. I invite him once more to consider what I have said; namely, that whatever access previously the P.L.O. or any other observer organisation had to any kind of atomic information, whether classified or not, their presence in these conditions as observers at the meetings of the I.A.E.A. does not increase those opportunities.