§ Mr. Hill
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his policy on the WEU Assembly recommendation that the WEU Council work out the prior conditions necessary in the conceptual field for SNF negotiations to be resumed without delay after the implementation of the first CFE agreement.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
The comprehensive concept adopted by NATO Heads of State and Government at their summit in May set out the "prior conditions" for SNF negotiations, namely that once the implementation of an agreement on conventional arms is under waythe United States in consultation with the Allies concerned, is prepared to enter into negotiations to achieve a partial reduction of American and Soviet land-based nuclear missiles of shorter range to equal and verifiable levels.
§ Mr. Hill
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the Government's policy on the Western European Union Assembly's recommendation that the Western European Union Council call for(a) a complete review of the COCOM lists in the light of a fundamental reassessment of the current state of Soviet technology, with a view to encouraging maximum opportunities for trade, (b) negotiations with proscribed countries for the introduction of verification procedures to accompany all future sales of western strategic technology in return for the further liberalisation of the COCOM list and (c) the establishment, within the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe framework, of a committee of experts to make recommendations for the sharing of high technology between East and West.
§ Mr. Waldegrave
On his first point I refer my hon. Friend to the written answer given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 15 December at column 839 to the hon. Member for Meirionnydd Nant Conwy (Dr. Thomas).
On his second point I refer my hon. Friend to the comments made by my hon. Friend during the Adjournment debate on 21 December at column 632. There have already been contacts at official level between COCOM partners and Poland and Hungary. The results of these will inform the review of COCOM and its procedures now under way.
Finally, COCOM provides a forum for national experts to discuss the level of technology to be shared with or transferred to the proscribed destinations. Against the background of an existing military threat, this issue will receive increasing scrutiny in the meetings now under way 140W to discuss technology transfer and developments in eastern Europe. The participating states in the CSCE process do not include all the members of COCOM and we would not see the establishment of a separate committee, with the same mandate, as providing any practical benefit.