chapter  3
28 Pages

The demise of the ANF proposals and the end of the nuclear sharing debate, November 1965–July 1966

ByMatthew Jones

During 1965 the Labour Government's proposals to create an Atlantic Nuclear Force, combined with the evident divisions within the Johnson administration in Washington over how to drive forward the nuclear sharing agenda in NATO, and the splits that were also being encountered within the ruling CDU-led Government in Bonn, had the effect of dampening the impetus that had built behind the MLF. While the nuclear sharing issue within the North Atlantic Alliance remained unresolved it was difficult for the Wilson Government to arrive at a settled view on long-term strategic nuclear policy. In the autumn of 1965, the widespread assumption in Whitehall had been that proposals such as those involving the creation of the ANF would soon fade away, by the end of the year they seemed to be on the cards once more. For over six years the nuclear sharing issue had bedevilled inter-Alliance discussions of nuclear policy and had presented numerous dilemmas for British Governments.