The 1957 Defence White Paper
- 84 Downloads
In October 1959, following Sandys’ departure from the Ministry of Defence, the Central Office of Information sent him a revised version of the brief biographies that they maintained for each member of the government, inviting him to edit it as he thought necessary. The document described his time at the Ministry of Defence as having involved ‘planning the reorganisation of Britain’s defence forces in the light of developments in modern warfare and the need to relieve the strain on the nation’s economy’. Sandys did not object to this section, but when it said that he was ‘largely responsible’ for the White Paper of April 1957, he made sure to remove the word ‘largely’ and give himself sole credit.1 Given that, as will be explained in the following sections, Sandys was removed from the Ministry of Defence because his policies proved difficult to implement (and also because he had alienated most of those involved in the defence policy-making process), this minor incident reveals a remarkable unwillingness on Sandys’ part to distance himself from what many perceived as his failures.2 Why, then, was Sandys willing to associate himself with his alleged failures this time? Especially failures that were much more public and potentially damaging to his career?