chapter  7
44 Pages

‘To destroy what ashes?’

May–July 1967
ByMatthew Jones

By the spring of 1967 the Government had moved more decisively towards launching an application for entry to the European Economic Community (EEC), notwithstanding the marked differences of opinion within the Cabinet over Europe. There was already widespread speculation over what steps could be taken to overcome the opposition that was expected from France to the government's initiatives. Nevertheless, hardening Polaris was seen by some commentators as synonymous with proceeding to a new generation of nuclear weapons, contradicting the Government's official stance toward the Nassau Agreement and the ultimate wisdom of maintaining a socalled independent nuclear deterrent. There were problems with the Ministry of Defence (MoD)'s recommendations, as any improvement of Polaris had to be seen as an intrinsic whole. Hence, measures taken to harden warheads and re-entry bodies would lead inexorably to calls for the adoption of penetration aids as well, as hardening alone would not constitute a foolproof answer to the Polaris vulnerability problem.