HC Deb 04 July 1983 vol 45 cc43-4W
Mr. Skeet

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the initiatives that have been taken in the past year by Her Majesty's Government and the West to secure multilateral disarmament.

Mr. Luce

We have been active in a number of fields.

We and our allies are closely involved with United States initiatives at the Geneva INF and START negotiations to secure agreement on deep reductions in US and Soviet strategic and intermediate range nuclear forces. In the INF talks NATO has proposed the elimination of all intermediate range land based missiles which can reach the Soviet Union from Western Europe and vice versa and, if that is too radical for the Russians, equal limits for the missile warheads well below current or planned levels. In START the Americans have proposed that the numbers of warheads on long range (strategic) missiles should be cut by a third.

Dr. Boyson

The table gives the information requested for supplementary benefit claims. Figures are given for 7 June because it is the end of the latest four-weekly statistical counting period.

We are playing an active role in the mutual and balanced force reduction talks (MBFR) in Vienna at which the West tabled a comprehensive draft treaty in July 1982; and at the Madrid conference on security and co-operation in Europe, where we are working for a balanced outcome including a mandate for a conference on disarmament in Europe.

Britain has also launched several recent initiatives in the United Nations and in the Committee on Disarmament:

November 1982

We co-sponsored six resolutions in the first committee of the UN General Assembly, covering a chemical warfare convention, arms control in outer space, the review conference of the environmental modification treaty, regional disarmament, and signature of the UN weaponry convention.

March 1983

My right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr. Hurd) tabled a paper on verification of non-production of chemical weapons in the Committee on Disarmament.

April 1983

Britain tabled a paper on the definition of radiological weapons treaty in the Committee of Disarmament.

June 1983

Britain tabled a paper in the Committee of Disarmament on peaceful nuclear explosions in relation to a nuclear test ban.

Our allies in the Committee on Disarmament have also tabled proposals on these and other issues.