Documentary evidence that the UK Government knew the risks of exposing the servicemen at the Grapple series of tests has been uncovered.
Is this the documentation that will finally blow the lid on the cover up?
Documentation obtained from the National Archives now shows that the Cabinet discussed the Nuclear Testing program using the findings of the Committee of the Medical Research Council (M.R.C.) on "The Hazards to Man of Nuclear and Allied Radiations". Excerpts from this document were used within Parliament to ease fears over the effects on the general population from the tests.
But the excerpts did not show the findings of the report in respect of Wartime effects on servicemen, carefully constructed excerpts were used. This blog contains information that the UK Government have kept hidden for over 60 years.
We start with a memorandum by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs:
The memorandum draws attention to the possible dangers arising from internal radiation due to the releases in test explosions of radioactive strontium.
Even with the warnings of this report, the recommendation was to maintain the decision to carry out a series of thermo-nuclear tests in the spring of 1957.
Point 4 of the report states 'The crop of newly mutated recessive genes caused by an increase of mutation rate could, however, cause suffering over many generations before all were finally eliminated.'
Point 5 of the report states 'The evidence at our disposal, though far from adequate"
So with inadequate information and evidence of gene mutation, the recommendation is still to carry on!
Point 1 states that 'It is impossible to explode a nuclear weapon without liberating radio-active matter into the atmosphere'
Point 2 states that 'Account must be taken, however, of the particular hazard from radio-active strontium in the fall-out'
The Annex also discusses that measurements on human bone of the radio-strontium content, derived from nuclear explosions have already taken place. This is confirmation that the Cabinet were aware of the human experimentation program and the removal of bones from men, women and children for analysis.
The annex continually discusses the general population, not the servicemen.
Point 4 states 'We are well aware of the inadequacy of our knowledge of the biological effects of radio-active strontium and or the urgent necessity to obtain further information'
'Nevertheless, recognising all the inadequacy of our present knowledge, we cannot ignore the possibility that, if the rate of firing increases and particularly if greater numbers of thermo-nuclear weapons are used, we could, within the lifetime of some now living, be approaching levels at which ill-effects might be produced in a small number of the population.'
Does this statement suggest that more information was needed from experimentation?
A draft statement was also attached to the memorandum:
The statement informs Parliament that the tests will be carried out far from an inhabited islands and the tests will be so arranged as to avoid damage to persons or property. The tests will be high air bursts which will not involve heavy fall-out.
This is a complete lie, the islands were inhabited and the tests were carried out on the island and the rain which followed a test, dispersed fall-out on the entire island.
This is followed by a memorandum by the Lord President of the Council:
In this letter, he draws the Cabinet office to the summary pages, but in particular particular conclusions:
They discuss they general effects of radiation within the population, with effects of Strontium a main concern, completely ignoring other major concerns raised within the report.
On the 6th June 1956, the Atomic Energy Committee considered the report:
The Atomic Energy Committee pointed out to the Cabinet that the report needs further detailed consideration with the appropriate scientific, medical and industrial bodies concerned and that is should be done as soon as possible.
Yet the decision was made to continue the tests
Part two will concentrate on the report from the Medical Research Council and the areas which were not presented to Parliament, which put the servicemen at risk.