HC Deb 04 February 1963 vol 671 cc10-1W
74. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement on the most recent conversations and communications with the Governments of the United States of America and Russia relating to the making, detection and abandonment of nuclear tests.

76. Mr. Driberg

asked the Lord Privy Seal what progress has been made towards agreement on a nuclear test treaty, in the light of Mr. Khrushchev's acceptance of the principle of on-site inspection; and if he will make a statement outlining the specific points on which the Powers are agreed, and the points on which they are disagreed.

Mr. Heath

No progress towards a nuclear tests treaty was made at the last Session of the 18-Nation Disarmament Conference at Geneva. Since then, however, there has been an exchange of letters, of which the texts have been published, between President Kennedy and Mr. Khrushchev, as a result of which there have been further talks between the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union.

All three parties are agreed that tests in or above the atmosphere and under water can be identified by national detection systems; but important points of disagreement have arisen in connection with the detection and identification of possible underground tests. Disagreement concerns in particular the question of on-site inspections, and the number, location and nature of detection stations, both manned and unmanned.

It was not resolved in the last series of talks, which have now been broken off. Negotiations will be resumed when the Disarmament Conference meets again at Geneva on 12th February and Her Majesty's Government sincerely hope that it will still be possible to reach agreement.