HC Deb 14 January 1977 vol 923 cc596-7W
Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will support within the United Nations the 1975 USSR proposal for an international agreement precluding the development and production of new types and systems of weapons of mass destruction, such as radiation weapons affecting blood and intra-cellular plasma, infrasonic weapons which have a harmful effect on internal organs and behaviour and genetic weapons which may disrupt the mechanism of heredity.

Mr. Tomlinson

Her Majesty's Government share in principle the objective behind the Soviet Union's proposal to prohibit the development of "new weapons of mass destruction and new systems of such weapons". However, we and other Governments doubt whether the present Soviet proposal for a single all-embracing convention is likely to lead to effective international agreement. The United Nations General Assembly has remitted the subject to the Conference of the Committee on Disarmament at Geneva. That Conference has yet to agree on an acceptable definition of the subject and is holding a series of expert meetings to examine the best approach to it.