chapter  2
10 Pages

The UK’s Offensive CW Programmes: Abandonment and Aspirations 1956–1969

The two interrelated issues of fundamental importance for UK nuclear weapons programme during the US and Soviet strategic nuclear arms control negotiations that eventually began in 1969: anti-ballistic missile (ABM) controls and no-transfer of strategic delivery systems, materials or components. The main issue that appears to have been at stake for UK was continued US freedom to transfer nuclear delivery systems. Failing that, Soviet negotiators tried implicitly or explicitly to have UK forces taken into account in the numerical ceilings on Strategic Nuclear Delivery Vehicles (SNDV) negotiated with the US. The 1963 Polaris Sales Agreement was the hallowed text here. British officials worried constantly about how the Americans proposed to handle ABM controls and no-transfer issues with Russians. Sonnenfeldt told Rose that the UK would have to reckon with a no-transfer clause in a second phase strategic arms limitation agreement and this might be relevant to negotiations for the extension of the weapons components article in the 1958 Defence Agreement.