Monte Bello



The need to test was implicit in the decision to make a bomb. Dr Penney had witnessed the first atomic test in July 1945 and had also been a member of the United States team at their ‘Crossroads’ trials at Bikini in 1946; he began to think early about the necessary preparations for a British test. In terms of economy of effort and resources, there was a clear case for co-operation with the Americans. One of the requests put forward by Britain in the tripartite talks in Washington in November 1949 (see Chapter 9) was for shared test facilities, so that she would have access to the well-equipped American testing areas. American counter-proposals included co-operation in weapon testing, but the atomic energy talks were broken off in February 1950 after the arrest of Fuchs. However, since Anglo-American military collaboration was flourishing, it was hoped that testing could be dealt with as a purely military, not an atomic, topic. With the Prime Minister’s approval Lord Tedder approached the American Chiefs of Staff, who were encouraging. An official request was therefore made to them, but it posed difficult political and practical problems for the Americans and an official reply was long delayed.


Target Vessel Small Boat Atomic Test Base Surge British Test 
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  1. 1.
    Operation Cross Roads: The Official Pictorial Record, by the Office of the Historian, Joint Task Force One (New York, 1946).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    The Effects of Atomic Weapons (US Government Printing Office, 1950).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Radiological Defense, vol. III (US Armed Forces Special Weapons Project); The Effects of Atomic Weapons.Google Scholar

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© United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority 1974

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