chapter  9
18 Pages

UK Nuclear Weapons, the Atlantic Nuclear Force (ANF) and the NPT 1962–1968

This chapter provides an account of UK thinking on Atlantic Nuclear Force (ANF) and Multilateral Nuclear Force (MLF) issues – essentially differing and competing approaches to the vexed question of nuclear sharing and nuclear decision making within the NATO alliance. MLF was originally promoted by the Kennedy Administration, whilst the ANF was a UK alternative favoured by the Labour Government of Harold Wilson from 1964 onwards. Ultimately both schemes came to naught. We will look in particular at how these concepts could impact on the UK’s own warhead programme and its and international efforts to negotiate a nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), which had begun in the ENDC in 1965. We also see for the first time some detailed estimates of the actual costs of nuclear warhead production. This chapter will also summarise the extent to which UK-US nuclear collaboration under the 1958 UK-US Mutual Defence Agreement was taken into account during the formative stages of the NPT negotiations in 1965 and 1966, which in many ways was the key multilateral arms control agreement negotiated in the 1960s. Its main provisions called for the then nuclear weapons states (namely those possessing nuclear weapons as of 1 January 1968 – US, USSR, UK. France and China would not accede to the Treaty until much later). not to transfer nuclear weapons to any other state and for the non-nuclear weapons states to foreswear nuclear weapons.

Atlantic Nuclear Force (ANF): Origins