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Lord Henley: My Lords, the noble Lord is absolutely correct. I believe that he refers to Article 6 which talks about pursuing such matters in good faith, which we shall do. However, it also talks about general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control. As the noble Lord implied, that is possibly a Utopian goal. But it does not stop us pursuing it.

Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty has just been extended for another five years. However, with the collapse or near disintegration of most of the Russian navy, army and airforce, the only forces which are still doing extremely well are the Russian strategic forces, which have no intention of cutting down; nor, may I say, do the Americans. Therefore, does my noble friend the Minister agree that this is definitely not the moment for our Government unilaterally to disarm our nuclear deterrent?

Lord Henley: My Lords, my noble friend is absolutely correct. Perhaps I may assist her and add that the non-proliferation treaty has been extended indefinitely and not just for a period of five years. As I made clear in my original Answer and as I have made clear on many occasions when answering the noble Lord, Lord Jenkins, we believe that it is necessary to maintain just a minimum nuclear deterrent.

Lord Howell: My Lords, can the Minister tell the House the view that the Government take of the announcement by the United States' Government that they intend to resume nuclear testing underground and that of the French Government that they intend to do the same in the Far East? In view of the fact that those nations signed up to the nuclear test ban treaty, do the British Government regard those announcements with the same dismay as, apparently, do all the other nations? Further, can the Minister assure us that, despite pressure from British scientists, the Government have no intention at all of resuming nuclear testing, which is unnecessary given the facilities now available for doing so by computer in the laboratory?

Lord Henley: My Lords, it is entirely a matter for the French themselves to decide whether or not they wish to test. Obviously, the main objective is to conclude the comprehensive test ban treaty. We welcome the fact that

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the French are still committed to that treaty. As regards the Americans, I am aware of press reports to that effect. However, we are in fairly regular contact with the United States on nuclear matters. We have no reason to believe that they have any intention of abandoning their moratorium on tests. We have no plans to test while their moratorium is in force. But we have made clear that, while working for a comprehensive test ban treaty which will seek to ban all nuclear weapon tests, we reserve the right and have made clear the fact that we must be allowed to take adequate steps to ensure the safety and reliability of our nuclear weapons.

The Earl of Kimberley: My Lords, does my noble friend the Minister agree that, if Afghanistan had had a nuclear bomb once upon a time, it is highly improbable that the Soviet Union would have invaded that country?

Lord Henley: My Lords, I suspect that that is unlikely. However, that is a hypothetical question. The point is that we would prefer not to see a greater proliferation of nuclear weapons in states which are possibly not quite as stable as the states in which we have the fortune to live.

Lord Williams of Elvel: My Lords, is the Minister aware that, on this side of the House, we do not believe that the French decision to resume nuclear testing is one for the French alone? Indeed, it is a matter for the world. Does the Minister agree that, if the United States were to open up the Nevada desert for further testing, it would give the British Government the opportunity—should they wish to take it—to test again in the Nevada desert facilities? Will the Minister give the House an absolutely categorical assurance that the British Government will not avail themselves of that opportunity?

Lord Henley: My Lords, in reply to the noble Lord's second question, the answer is no. In response to the first question, I have to say that, unlike the party opposite, I am not the French Government. I believe that it is a matter for the French Government and not for us.

Lord Mayhew: My Lords, is the Minister aware that he has reiterated the fact that he is concerned with the minimum nuclear deterrent? However, a minimum deterrent is often defined as one capable of inflicting unacceptable damage on a possible adversary. Many people would say that a dozen warheads would be enough for that. Why then are the Government insisting on 20 or 30 times that number of warheads?

Lord Henley: My Lords, I believe that we are insisting on what is a minimum deterrent; that is exactly what we are setting out.

Lord Jenkins of Putney: My Lords, is the Minister aware that I included the word "complete" in my initial Question, because it does in fact appear in the United Nations' document, but that I did not, if I recall correctly, include it in my supplementary question? Does the Minister agree that, if complete disarmament in the however distant future does take place, it will of necessity include nuclear disarmament?

Lord Henley: My Lords, it is possible that I was not careful enough in noting the precise distinction between the noble Lord's original Question and his supplementary question.

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University and Cadet Forces

2.56 p.m.

Lord Craig of Radley asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What level of savings were assumed in last year's defence costs study for the services' involvement in universities and in the cadet forces, and whether these will be achieved.

Lord Henley: My Lords, the defence costs study assumed no level of savings against the services' involvement in universities and the cadet forces. However, we are considering how greater value for money can be obtained in all university and cadet force activities.

Lord Craig of Radley: My Lords, I thank the Minister for his reply. Does the noble Lord agree that the cadet forces provide a most valuable source of high calibre recruits for the Armed Forces? Can he confirm that the stability which has been promised to the Armed Forces will also apply to the arrangements made as a result of the defence costs study for the cadets and the university service units and that they will be allowed a long period in which to carry out their excellent work?

Lord Henley: My Lords, I would be the first to join the noble and gallant Lord in confirming that the cadet forces and the various university forces provide a very valuable source of recruits, although I do not believe that that is their principal value. I believe that their principal value goes far wider than my department; it benefits the entire community and society as a whole. It is for that reason that I and colleagues in my department have had discussions with other departments and especially with my noble friend Lady Blatch in the Home Office on how we can extend assistance to the role of the cadets in various ways.

I should also like to see as much stability as possible throughout the cadets and the various university forces. It is right, however, to continue with a certain amount of work which is in hand to identify savings in terms of bringing greater cost effectiveness while not in any way seeing a diminution of the role of the cadets or of the various university officer training corps or the university air squadrons and their naval equivalent.

Lord Northbourne: My Lords, is the Minister aware that many of us who work with young people who are disturbed, difficult and disadvantaged appreciate very greatly what he says about the attention he is giving to the possibility of extending the cadet force, which is such an enormous help in reinforcing the self-confidence of such people?

Lord Henley: My Lords, the noble Lord makes a very valid point. We would certainly like to do whatever we can to see where cadets can help within the community. That is why, as I said, I have been having discussions with other colleagues throughout government.

Lord Mayhew: My Lords, is the Minister aware that his statement is both important and encouraging? Does he recollect a recent debate on the cadet forces which emphasised that although they are useful to the Armed Forces, it is their non-military work which is absolutely

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essential for the community? If the Minister's reply means—as I believe it does—that he is in touch with other departments to increase the cadet forces, that would be very warmly welcomed.

Lord Henley: My Lords, that is exactly the point I was trying to make. Obviously, the cadets have some military role, but we believe that their wider role goes beyond the department. However, that is not a reason why the department would seek to abandon them. We feel that they can contribute a great deal to society.

Lord Monkswell: My Lords, bearing in mind the major expansion in the number of universities over the past few years with the incorporation of polytechnics and so on as universities, will the Government consider undertaking a major public review of the involvement of the Armed Forces in universities and other areas of post-school education?


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