§ 43. Mr. Eldon Griffiths
asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he proposes to undertake further discussions in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation with a view to establishing an Atlantic nuclear force.
§ Mr. John Morris
No substantive discussion has taken place for about three years, and none is in prospect.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Since it is the Government's declared policy to establish a European personality within the N.A.T.O. Alliance, will the hon. Gentleman say quite clearly whether it is their policy that such a European element should have nuclear capability?
§ Mr. Morris
I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will know that our proposals have never been formally withdrawn and that they still remain for consideration, if necessary. But progress has been made by the N.A.T.O. nuclear consultative bodies. Therefore, it seems doubtful whether this type of solution of the question of nuclear inter-dependence will find much support in future.
§ Mr. Rippon
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that his reply demonstrates that the Atlantic nuclear force, which was so much thought of by our Prime Minister, now represents yet another of his worthless initiatives? Will he answer the question which my hon. Friend put to him about the Government's policy in relation to Anglo-French nuclear co-operation?
§ Mr. Morris
I have answered that question on three occasions already. We would welcome the return of France to the N.A.T.O. fold, but this is essentially and entirely a matter for France herself. On the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I am sure that he is responsible for his own words.