British Nuclear Policy Is Bertrand Russell's Policy of 1946

by Carl Osgood

The current US-UK nuclear cooperation arrangements are dictated by the 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement, by which the the two countries share nuclear weapons information and development efforts. But the British obtained the agreement by demanding a bribe from the United States to further the world government policy that had been enunciated by Bertrand Russell in his infamous 1946 article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Beginning about 1956, the Eisenhower Administration had begun exploring the possibilities of nuclear arms reduction, in the form of a cutoff of production of fissile materials, at a time when fears of a nuclear war between the US and the USSR were at an all-time high. The assessment of the State Department in December of 1956 was that the British were unlikely to agree to any such cutoff unless they were compensated in some way, such as by the US providing weapons and know-how, but there was no proposal to actually do that. In 1957 the British tested their first hydrogen bomb. Over the course of 1957, the Eisenhower Administration submitted a series of disarmament proposals to the UN and in the spring of 1958, sought British reactions to them. At first, the McMillan government complained that the "all-or-nothing" approach of the US proposals would cause chaos in the British economy, by hamstringing British plans for atomic energy development to meet its electricity needs. But their real concern was their own arsenal of nuclear weapons. On May 5, 1958, during a NATO meeting in Denmark, British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd handed US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles a memo which accepted the US proposals on condition that, among other things, "The Americans accept that our agreement to a suspension of tests would be conditional on making available to us under the terms of the revised McMahon Act [the 1946 McMahon Act prohibited the sharing of atomic weapons information with any foreign power, but was amended in early 1958—CJO] [information] needed to replace that which we could get by continuing testing; this means that we cannot finally adopt this course until we know what will be available to us under the revised McMahon Act."

The memo also said: "Any commitment we might enter about a cut-off would be subject to two conditions: (A) that an agreement on the cutoff must only enter into force when a proper system of international inspection has been agreed and installed; and (B) that we can only accept a cutoff provided the Americans are ready to provide us with the material needed to complete our weapons program."

Two months later, on July 3, the US and Britain signed the Mutual Defense Agreement, which has resulted in an unprecedented sharing of nuclear weapons design information and components by the US and Britain, to the point that there might not be a British nuclear arsenal without US help. The agreement has been periodically renewed and amendment several times since, most recently in 2004 by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President G.W. Bush. The 2004 amendment does not appear to have been publicly released but came just two years ahead of the Blair government's decision, taken in 2006, to replace its current Trident submarine-launched nuclear missiles with a new generation of weapons to be developed in the US over the next decade or so.

That the McMillan government was actually acting on the basis of Russell's policies is obvious from the 1958 Defense White Paper approved by the cabinet in February of that year. Under the current balance of power, the paper claimed, there's no reason why the peace shouldn't be kept for another generation by "the balancing fears of mutual annihilation or even indefinitely," but not if the arms race continues without letup. "Means must be found to halt and reverse this ruinous process." And so, "The ultimate aim must be complete disarmament by all nations, coupled with complete inspection and control by a world authority with a world police force. Nothing less makes sense."

This is a clear echo of Russell, who wrote in 1946: "It is entirely clear that there is only one way in which great wars can be permanently prevented, and that is the establishment of an international government with a monopoly of serious, armed force. .... An international government if it is to be able to preserve peace, must have the only atomic bombs, the only plant for producing them, the only air force, the only battleships, and, generally, whatever is necessary to make it irresistible." This world government must not only have complete control of the world's uranium and other raw materials relevant to the production of atomic weapons but also "a large army of inspectors who must have the right to enter any factory without notice; any attempt to interfere with them must be treated as a casus belli."

The British are now enforcing that policy, using their puppet in the White House, Barak Obama, to start thermonuclear World War III against Russia and China, using Iran as the starting point.

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