chapter  4
34 Pages

A nuclear weapons programme at the crossroads, January–September 1966

ByMatthew Jones

The approval of OPD(66)18 by the Cabinet's Overseas Policy and Defence Committee in January 1966 had been little more than a holding operation pending a deeper ministerial consideration of the future nuclear programme. All the developments were regarded with a wary and suspicious eye by Sir Solly Zuckerman who was increasingly concerned that in the absence of central direction of nuclear policy the MoD and AWRE would embark upon another phase of what he saw as ill-judged nuclear expenditure. While the future of the MoA was being discussed at a high ministerial level, the Operational Requirements Committee had conducted its examination of the future nuclear weapons programme, basing its work on the most recent guidance contained in the OPD(66)18 paper endorsed by ministers in January 1966. During 1966, the Central Scientific Staff at the MoD worked on a new and wider paper for the Nuclear Requirements for Defence Committee which would lay out the options for future nuclear weapons policy.