Top civil servants are quoted as telling
It is not clear from the cables whether or not the Britons were speaking to the Americans on Brown's authority. In the dispatches, US embassy officials describe them as "HMG [Her Majesty's Government] sources" and mark that their identities should be protected.
Freer is one of
According to the leaked cables,
"Both Freer and Judith Gough (strictly protect), deputy head of the security policy group at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, stressed to Poloff that HMG has not formally decided to scale back the deterrent but would only do so if a government defence review determines, in Freer's words, that it would be 'technically feasible' to maintain 'continuous deterrence patrols' with three submarines Š
"Freer criticised media for exaggerating the significance of Brown's announcement, opining that it was 'not really a major disarmament announcement'."
The cable added
A Foreign Office spokesman refused to say yesterday whether or not the two officials had authority to talk to the
The nuclear-armed French, like the Americans, initially believed this news was significant, with one French official telling the
The French were so upset they protested to US diplomats that Labour ministers were acting like "demagogues". Brown's stance that nuclear weapons in general were immoral was, by implication, threatening "an essential part of French strategic identity", they complained. British civil servants said the hints of disarmament were confined to the Cabinet Office.
"Diana Venn (protect), an officer in the Cabinet Office's foreign and defence policy secretariat, told Poloff July 23 that there had been a 'slight misunderstanding' when McDonald briefed the press. She stressed that 'Trident is not on the table Š we won't disarm unilaterally.'"
The new Conservative administration is described as pro-Trident in the dispatches. "Conservative party defence sources have privately affirmed to embassy officers their commitment to the Trident deterrent," diplomats cabled before the general election.
The Conservative government's current public position is that a Trident replacement decision is being deferred for several years, past the next general election.
Trident missiles are leased from the
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs