HC Deb 25 April 1963 vol 676 cc416-7

April 6, 1963.


In the Statement on Nuclear Defense Systems of December 21, 1962, the President and Prime Minister agreed that the United States would make available on a continuing basis Polaris missiles (less warheads) for British submarines and would also study the feasibility of making available certain support facilities for such submarines. They also agreed that they would use their best endeavours for the development of a multilateral NATO nuclear force in the closest consultation with other NATO allies.

It was agreed in the Statement that the United Kingdom Government would construct submarines in which the Polaris missiles would be placed, and that these British forces would be assigned and targeted in the same way as the existing forces described in Paragraph 6 of the Statement and would be made available for inclusion in a NATO nuclear force. It was also agreed in the Statement that except where Her Majesty's Government may decide that supreme national interests are at stake, the forces referred to in Paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Statement will be used for the purposes of international defense of the western alliance in all circumstances.

The possibility has been discussed that for reasons beyond the control and decision of either Government one or more elements of the plan contained in the Statement, apart from the provision of Polaris missiles and support facilities, might prove incapable of fulfillment. I am now writing to confirm the understanding of our two Governments that if, contrary to our expectation, this should happen it would not in any way affect the undertakings of the United States Government in Paragraph 8 of the Statement concerning provision of Polaris missiles and support facilities or the arrangements for the supply of these missiles and associated equipment contained in the agreement signed between our two Governments on April 6, 1963.

(Signed) DEAN RUSK.

His Excellency

The Right Honourable

Sir David Ormsby Gore,

British Ambassador,

British Embassy,

Washington, D.C.

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