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Wednesday, 4 April 1984
Page: 1198


Senator GARETH EVANS —On 27 March Senator Coleman asked me a question about United States nuclear weapons policy. The Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Hayden) has provided the following answer: In relation to the first part of Senator Coleman's question, the Minister notes that whereas the Soviet Union has pledged not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, the 16 Western Governments which constitute the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, including the United States of America, have pledged not to use any weapons, nuclear or conventional, except in response to an attack. It remains part of NATO's strategy of flexible response, however, to leave open the possibility of using nuclear weapons in response to an overwhelming conventional attack by Warsaw Pact forces so as to deter such an attack. As to the second part of Senator Coleman's question, the Minister notes that the statement which she quoted and indeed other sections of the report to which she referred in her question indicate that United States defence strategy does not envisage a pre-emptive nuclear strike or 'first strike'.