HL Deb 08 June 1998 vol 590 cc65-6WA
Lord Kennet

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What information they have of:

(a) nuclear weapons newly developed by the United States which did not require testing; and (b) the United States Presidential Decision Directive of last autumn concerning United States future use of nuclear weapons. [HL1958]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Her Majesty's Government understand that the US has recently carried out non-nuclear trials involving the casing of the latest in a series of variants of a freefall bomb that has been in service since the 1960s. We understand that the weapon casing has been modified to enable its more flexible deployment.

The US has briefed Allies in broad terms on its new Presidential Decision Directive (PDD) on US nuclear doctrine. The PDD revises nuclear targeting guidelines and doctrine, with the latter now focused exclusively on nuclear deterrence. The new directive formally abandons the notion that the US could fight and win a protracted nuclear exchange.