Soviet Union could have overrun UK in the 1970sDecember 30th, 2008 - 3:37 pm ICT by ANI
London, Dec.30 (ANI): Secret British Government papers have revealed that the country would have been overrun by the Soviet Union in the late 1970s.
According to The Telegraph, the secret government papers further go on to say that at that time, the British Air Force had only enough ammo to fight for two days, while the Army and Navy were no match for the Soviets. Labour PM Jim Callaghan, told of the bleak situation in a 1978 briefing by the Chiefs of Staff, scrawled in a note: Heaven help us if there is a war!
He summoned Defence Secretary Fred Mulley to No 10, but was told money was so tight that NATO would have to be relied on in the event of an attack.
Callaghan privately despaired of the “scandalous” state of Britain’’s defences against a possible Soviet attack.
He called for officials in the Ministry of Defence to be sacked because of the vulnerability which, he was told, stemmed from “crazy” decisions taken under his Labour predecessor, Harold Wilson.
Callaghan ordered the chiefs of staff to conduct an urgent review of Britain’’s defences in late 1977 after reading a secret report from the Joint Intelligence Committee which warned that the Soviet ability to strike without recourse to nuclear weapons was better than previously thought.
Rather than focusing on the traditional fear of a nuclear strike, the paper showed how the USSR could use conventional weapons to knock Britain out before taking on the rest of NATO. But when the chiefs of staff reported back on January 16 1978, a covering letter from the Defence Secretary, Fred Mulley, conceded that Britain’’s capability to defend itself was “uncomfortably thin”, files released at the National archives at Kew show.
The report itself stated bluntly: “UK forces cannot match the threat postulated by the JIC assessment.”
In a face-to-face meeting with Callaghan on February 20, 1978, Mulley disclosed that such was the shortage of minesweepers that the Navy may be forced to chose between keeping the English Channel clear or the approaches to Faslane, home of the nuclear deterrent.
By March Mulley had prepared a paper for Callaghan explaining that the defence ministry was to help plug the missile gap by buying some second hand from Sweden. An exasperated Callaghan disdainfully underlined the words “second hand” and “Sweden” next to a large exclamation mark.
He had urged Mulley to consider finding a way to replace Britain’’s “obsolete” fleet of 32 minesweepers only to be told that, even with an extra shipyard trained to build them, it would only be possible to make four more by 1988. (ANI)
Tags: army and navy, british government, chiefs of staff, conventional weapons, covering letter, defence secretary, defences, government papers, harold wilson, jim callaghan, joint intelligence committee, minesweepers, ministry of defence, national archives, nuclear strike, nuclear weapons, secret government, soviet attack, soviets, traditional fear