1958 US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement
The 1958 US–UK Mutual Defense Agreement, or UK–US Mutual Defence Agreement, is a bilateral treaty on nuclear weapons co-operation. It allows the US and the UK to exchange nuclear materials, technology and information. The treaty was signed on 3 July 1958 after the Soviet Union had shocked the American public with the launch of Sputnik.
About 1958 US–UK Mutual Defence Agreement in brief
The 1958 US–UK Mutual Defense Agreement, or UK–US Mutual Defence Agreement, is a bilateral treaty on nuclear weapons co-operation. It allows the US and the UK to exchange nuclear materials, technology and information. The treaty was signed on 3 July 1958 after the Soviet Union had shocked the American public with the launch of Sputnik. It paved the way for the Polaris Sales Agreement, and the Royal Navy ultimately acquired entire weapons systems, with the UK Polaris programme and Trident nuclear programme using American missiles with British nuclear warheads. During the early part of the Second World War, Britain had a nuclear weapons project, codenamed Tube Alloys. At the Quadrant Conference in August 1943, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill, signed the Quebec Agreement. The Quebec Agreement specified that nuclear weapons would not be used against another country without mutual consent. It was not binding on subsequent administrations, and in fact, it was physically lost. The British government had trusted that the US would continue to share nuclear technology, which it considered to be a joint discovery. By the end of 1947, 1,900 tons of uranium from the Belgian Congo was stockpiled for the Combined Development Trust at Preston, near the Springfields. The Trust restarted its own development effort, now codenaming High Explosive Research and Development Trust. The most recent renewal extended it to 31 December 2024, and it has been amended and renewed nine times. It has never been one of equals after the World Wars since the United States was larger than Britain, both militarily and economically.
There was to be full and effective co- cooperation in the field of atomic energy since it was only British hopes of atomic power since the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. But British hopes were soon disappointed by the passing of the U.S. Atomic Energy act of 1946, which forbade passing of data to American allies under pain of death. That partly resulted from the arrest of the British physicist Alan Nunn in February 1946 while the legislation was being debated being debated in the UK. Fearing a resurgence of Americanism and Britain losing its great power status, the British government restarted the British Atomic Energy Trust, nowcodenamed High Explosives Research and Research Trust, near Preston, in April 1947. The trust was later broken and the Trust was closed in April 1948. The UK Atomic Energy Authority was set up, but it was not allowed to conduct nuclear research until after the war, when it was allowed to do so under the terms of the Atomic Weapons Act of 1958. The Treaty was signed by the British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, who called it ‘the Great Prize’ because of the agreement’s strategic value to Britain. It provided for the sale to the UK of one complete nuclear submarine propulsion plant, as well as ten years’ supply of enriched uranium to fuel it. Other nuclear material was also acquired from the US under the treaty. Some 5. 4 tonnes of UK-produced plutonium was sent to the US in return for 6. 7 kilograms of tritium and 7. 5 tonnes of highly enriched uranium.