HL Deb 09 December 1985 vol 469 c95WA
Lord Brockway

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will list the field trials concerning biological weapons that took place between 1945 and 1953, together with the operational name of each, the date and place where each took place, and the agent used; and

Whether they will make a statement on Operations Cauldron and Harness of 1953, and on the biological weapons field trials of 1945–53.

Lord Trefgarne

During and after World War II successive governments had to consider the threat from all possible forms of attack, including biological warfare. Against this background, trials were conducted to study the effects of the release of potential biological warfare agents into the atmosphere. The titles, dates and locations of the trials conducted were as follows:

Operation Harness 1947–49 Bahamian Waters
Operation Cauldron 1952 Scottish Waters
Operation Hesperus 1953 Scottish Waters
Operation Ozone 1954 Bahamian Waters
Operation Negation 1954–55 Bahamian Waters

Sea trials were chosen so as to avoid possible contamination of land and to facilitate sampling at varying distances and compass bearings. The trials were so designed that the agents used would not persist. All trials were conducted from ships, in areas widely removed from normal shipping routes, and were contained within specifically designated danger zones. Precise details of the trials, including the agents used, must however remain classified.