§ Mr. Dalyell
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will seek to raise the question of the emplacement of nuclear weapons on the sea bed at the Geneva Disarmament Conference.
§ Mr. Whitlock
The question of the emplacement of nuclear weapons on the sea bed was raised at the opening session of the Eighteen-Nation Disarmament Committee on 18th March. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on 20th March in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Archer), the efforts now being made to ensure that the sea-bed is not used for nuclear installations or other weapons of mass destruction have our full support.—[Vol. 780, c. 734–5.]
§ Mr. Eldon Griffiths
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what is the Government's policy regarding the Soviet draft treaty presented to the Geneva Disarmament Conference proposing to prohibit use of the ocean floor for military purposes;
(2) what is the Government's policy regarding the proposal made by President Nixon to the Geneva Disarmament Conference seeking to prohibit the emplacement of weapons of mass destruction on the sea bed.
§ Mr. Whitlock
We are studing both the Soviet draft treaty and President Nixon's letter very carefully. The two documents have this in common, that they envisage a ban on the emplacement on the sea bed of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. This objective has our full support, but our provisional view is that the Soviet draft treaty, as it stands, is too far-reaching.