By K. Stoddart

This publication sheds clean gentle on advancements in British nuclear guns coverage among October 1964, while the Labour social gathering got here again into strength less than Harold Wilson following a 13 12 months absence, and June 1970 whilst the Conservative govt of Edward Heath used to be elected.

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Extra info for Losing an Empire and Finding a Role: Britain, the USA, NATO and Nuclear Weapons, 1964–70

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22 As a result, it was decided that ‘we should retain the prospect of a fourth submarine and ascertain reactions to this. 23 Three days after the Chequers meeting Sir Burke Trend, the Cabinet Secretary, produced for Wilson a brief on Polaris and the ANF before a Cabinet meeting the next day. Although Polaris was to be discussed, it was not central to the meeting. Trend’s brief indicated that in view of the problems associated with defence there was a need ‘to promote a new approach to the problem of nuclear forces … [through] the creation of an Atlantic Nuclear Force’,24 and that he felt this probably required a Polaris fleet of four submarines.

It met at Chequers, the Prime Ministers country retreat, over the weekend of 21–22 November 1964 for an in-depth discussion on overall defence policy. 18 The declassified record of this Chequers meeting indicates that there was no discussion of Britain abandoning nuclear weapons or cancelling Polaris. 19 Instead, debate revolved around the number of submarines that should be built and the contribution they would make to NATO and the Atlantic Nuclear Force (ANF), which the Wilson government was proposing as an alternative to the MLF, which they opposed.

This made detection and tracking extremely difficult. 3 By April of the following year the terms of the sales agreement had been hammered out, with the government opting to buy the vastly upgraded version of the missile: designated A-3. The A-3 was a significant step forward from the Polaris A-2, with a vastly greater maximum range and the capacity to house three warheads (each of around 200kt) as opposed to the single warhead of earlier versions. In June 1963, it had been decided that Britain should purchase the very latest generation of Polaris, the A-3P, which had a maximum range of 2500 nautical miles (2880 statute miles), allowing even greater sea room in which to patrol.

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