Memorandum from Maj-Gen. Kenneth Strong, Director General of Intelligence, MOD, to Chief of the Defence Staff, ‘Soviet/American bilateralism’, 22 June 1964

“Now that competition between the two social systems has moved from the military to the economic sphere, it may be that the US believe that the advantage will lie with that system which is more successful in removing national obstacles to the growth of trade and other forms of economic cooperation. Or secondly, it could be that the United States is looking further ahead to the time when the developed powers will have to combine in their efforts to prevent the ‘have-nots’ forming a bloc under Chinese leadership… Both the US and the USSR appear to believe that stability can best be preserved by a bilateral nuclear arrangement between themselves and there is evidence that both would welcome the liquidation of the British, French and all other independent deterrents…”

“It is a major requirement of Soviet policy to deny the Germans access to nuclear weapons and the US can be presumed to wish this also… The MLF would, in the US view, not only make it more difficult for the British and French to justify the retention of their independent deterrents and take care of W.Germany [sic], but would also support the longer term US aim of an Atlantic community in that it would, if adopted, tend to erode national sovereignty. This American design is threatened by advocacy in some European quarters today of an independent European nuclear force… or of an MLF where the US would not have, or would later lose, its absolute veto. It may be, therefore, that the moves towards Soviet/American bilateralism made in recent months by the US are to some extent intended as a warning to the would-be independent European powers by indicating the direction things might take if the European powers opposed US-advocated solutions. It is just conceivable that if the US failed to make any headway, they would resort to measures to invalidate the independent European deterrents, rather than contemplate the proliferation of independent deterrents (German and Chinese included).”

“I understand that the US could take various measures in the field of weapons supply to restrict the efficacy of the British and French deterrents…they could also place significant restrictions on the liberal flow of intelligence on strategic weapons and defence systems which now comes to Britain from US sources. … Without intelligence from US sources, or without very greatly increased expenditure, it is doubtful whether we would be able to gain the necessary data to build up a picture of Soviet capabilities in these field adequate for operational planning”.

National Archives: DEFE31/54

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