To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make it his policy to offer to(a) the United States of America and (b) the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, United Kingdom expertise in the destruction or disablement of their chemical biological or toxic warfare agent stockpiles;
(2) if he has any plans to offer to (a) Libya, (b) Iraq and (c) Israel, United Kingdom technical expertise and technology to destroy or disable chemical or biological warfare agents held by each respective country.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
Information on the destruction of chemical weapon stockpiles is widely available. A number of countries have tabled papers on the subject at the negotiations in Geneva aimed at achieving a global ban on chemical weapons. In particular, Britain has tabled two papers in 1979 and 1988 on the destruction of the pilot nerve agent production plant at Nancekuke, Cornwall.
We would, of course, consider approaches from any country for technical advice on the disposal of such weapons. We have no particular expertise in the destruction of biological weapons.
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make it his policy to request the incoming United States Secretaries of Defence and State that the United States of America implement a moratorium on its new binary chemical weapons development programme.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
No. The unilateral United States moratorium on chemical weapons production from 1969 to 1987 was not matched by the Soviet Union, which has the world's largest and most sophisticated chemical weapons capability. In the face of this, the continuing disparity between our assessment of, and Soviet claims about, the size of their stockpile, and in the absence of a comprehensive convention banning these weapons, we support the United States modernisation programme as a means to maintain a limited but credible deterrent capability.
The eventual United States binary stockpile will, in fact, be smaller than their limited and aging unitary stockpile, which is already being destroyed.