For immediate release: 24 June 2002
In many ways the Observer report ‘Secret plans for N-bomb factory’ (16 June) came as no surprise given the foreign policy developments in the United States and Britain’s ‘Special Relationship’ with that country.
However, in New York at the Non-Proliferation Treaty Conference in April this year I was assured, in public, by the British Government representatives that Britain had no plans to modify Trident or to develop new nuclear weapons. In private, there was a different story.
The history of the UK’s role in first acquiring and then modernising its nuclear arsenal has always been shrouded in secrecy and deemed far too important to be debated in parliament or discussed with an informed electorate.
The US has withdrawn from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty so that it can develop a range of missile defence systems unfettered by tiresome agreement which inhibited the more interventionist foreign policy of the Bush Administration. Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon have indicated their support for these developments.
Similarly, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the Non-Proliferation Treaty are deemed to be standing in the way of the US ‘National Interest’ to develop new nuclear weapons and to further incorporate them into war-fighting strategies. Once again, Geoff Hoon has expressed his support for the first use of smaller, nuclear weapons.
The proposed developments at Aldermaston indicate that the private conversations in New York were the truer version.
Carol Naughton, Chair CND