Secrecy was an important constriction on the atomic project in the period of this book. It dominated policy-making. It formed a wall between the British and United States projects, and other walls with them and the Canadian project on one side and the embryo European and Commonwealth projects on the other. Within Britain, secrecy removed the project from the normal structure of Government. It was virtually never considered by the whole Cabinet; decisions as crucial as the one to make a bomb were concealed for some time even from very senior people in Government departments, such as Sir Henry Tizard in the Ministry of Defence, who were vitally concerned; Parliament was given minimum information and the Government stifled rather than encouraged discussion there.


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  1. 1.
    Letter appeared in The Times, 8 Aug 1945.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Article by J. G. Beckerley, Nucleonics, Jan 1951.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    K. E. B. Jay, Britain’s Atomic Factories (HMSO, 1954).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    It is beyond the scope of this book to give a detailed story of the spies and in particular of the intelligence background; the author has had some, but not complete, access to official files on the subject. Detailed accounts have been published by nonofficial authors, notably Alan Moorehead, in The Traitors (Hamish Hamilton, 1952) about May, Fuchs and Pontecorvo, which was written with considerable access to official information, and Bruce Page, David Leitch and Philip Knightley, in Philby (Deutsch, 1968) with a good deal about Donald Maclean; the latter book had no official access to Whitehall information but appears to have acquired information from United States sources; also Patrick Seale and Maureen McConville in Philby: The Long Road to Moscow (Hamish Hamilton, 1973).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    The authors of Philby quote a letter of 21 Feb 1956 written by the US State Department to the chairman of the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee, which gives information about Maclean’s knowledge.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Britain and Atomic Energy, 1939–1945, P. 54.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    See Moorehead, The Traitors.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Moorehead, ibid., refers to only one deputation — that of the Association of Scientific Workers, led by Laski.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Soviet Atomic Espionage (US Government Printing Office, 1941).Google Scholar

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© United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority 1974

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