Letter: Sacrificial offer of UK nuclear missiles

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Sir: According to secret cabinet papers, just released under the 30-year rule, Britain offered to scrap its nuclear missiles at the height of the 1962 Cuban missile crisis to allow the Soviets to save face. At that time, as today, the British government publicly insisted on the necessity of our possession of an 'independent' nuclear deterrent. If Britain could offer to sacrifice its nuclear weapons in 1962, when the world stood on the brink of nuclear war, why cannot we make a similar sacrifice today?

The threat of nuclear war has subsided to such an extent that the United States and Russia are proposing to reduce their nuclear stockpiles by significant amounts. Yet Britain has announced that it still intends to increase sixfold the firepower of its nuclear deterrent.

Surely the only sane explanation for this apparent irrationality is that Britain is secretly proposing to scrap Trident.

Let us hope that we shall not have to wait another 30 years before we hear about this.

Yours etc,


London, NW3

1 January