chapter  11
40 Pages

The Kings Norton report and its aftermath, July–December 1968 The advent of Polaris and the geopolitical context of 1968

ByMatthew Jones

While British scientists and officials had deliberated over a Polaris improvement programme, the Royal Navy had been moving toward the point when its maiden deterrent patrol could be mounted. One consequence on the British side of these US debates was to revive wider discussions over the possibilities of closer European defence collaboration to mitigate the effects of any troop reductions. Amongst the central scientific staff at MoD any celebratory mood at the evident success of the Navy Department's Polaris deployment plans was overshadowed by their dilemmas over how to proceed with Polaris improvement policy over the next few months. Jones's Study Group had reconvened in July order to prepare a supplementary report which would propose in outline the programme of work which could be undertaken by the UK in order to improve Polaris, along with some tentative costings. The MoD's anxiety that Kings Norton would provoke something of a backlash was soon shown to be well-founded.