Thursday, August 06, 2015

Nuclear Option

I'm currently reading the book Treachery by the indefatigable journalist and ancient - it was written in his 90s - cold war warrior Chapman Pincher.  One thing which is clear from the book is the author's grudging admiration for the Soviet agent code named Sonia, who he describes as the most successful female agent in the history of espionage.

One of Sonia's greatest known achievements was to obtain and transmit to Moscow the above top secret Quebec Agreement between Churchill and Roosevelt in 1943.  The agreement pooled UK and US research efforts into producing a nuclear bomb, described euphemistically as Tube Alloys, and laid down the following conditions for its use:

First, that we will never use this agency against each other.

Secondly, that we will not use it against third parties without each others consent.

Thirdly, that we will not either of us communicate any information about Tube Alloys to third parties except by mutual consent.

Now when we read that the United States is the only country to have used a nuclear bomb we should remember that second clause.  Hiroshima and Nagasaki could only have been destroyed with British consent and I suppose that means the consent of Britain's Labour government.

The United States should not stand in the dock/ receive the plaudits* alone, it was a joint venture of the two great Anglo-Saxon regimes, never mind who flew the planes.

* delete as appropriate - my own view is that the bombing was more about thwarting the Soviets after their stunning victories in Manchuria rather than about saving allied lives, and that the Japanese surrender was motivated by that defeat more than anything else.