HC Deb 22 December 1988 vol 144 c376W
Mr. Cryer

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what evidence is available to his Department about the amount of chemical warfare agents stockpiled by the Soviet Union; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

Prior to the Soviet statement on their chemical warfare (CW) stockpile made in December 1987, the only information available to us on the size of their CW capability were estimates based upon sensitive information.

The Soviet Union claims to possess approximately 50,000 tonnes of CW weapons "in terms of toxic agent". The precise scope of its claims is unclear and the figure is substantially lower than our current classified estimates of the size of their stockpile. We have made it clear to the Soviet Union that it will have to give more information if we are to have any confidence in its claim.