chapter  5
45 Pages

A new context for nuclear policy, October 1966–February 1967

ByMatthew Jones

It is important to remember that consideration of the UK's nuclear programme did not proceed in some hermetically-sealed policymaking environment, where the wider currents of the government's foreign and defence policies had no influence. Transatlantic and Commonwealth ties had been stressed by Labour after arriving in office in 1964, but proponents of Common Market entry began to gain in influence over the next two years. Alongside the background of shifts to the UK's foreign and defence policy, the strategic environment was also altering in several important ways with a direct bearing on the considerations involved in examining British nuclear policy. In London, within the Foreign Office there was a strong sense that the forthcoming round of exchanges might represent a last chance to check the widespread deployment of ABM systems by both Superpowers. Healey's paper on the future nuclear programme was formerly issued to members of the new Ministerial Committee on Nuclear Policy on 7 December 1966.