The Cabinet had before them a memorandum by the Minister of Defence on POLARIS.
The Minister of Defence recalled that the United States Government had welcomed the assurance which had been given by the Prime Minister in the course of his meeting with President Eisenhower in March that the United Kingdom Government would be agreeable in principle to making the necessary arrangements for a United States tender and a dock for POLARIS submarines to be stationed in Scottish waters
POLARIS submarines would be virtually invulnerable, and the United States authorities regarded them as a very important part of the diversified deterrent force which they planned to build up.
The operational characteristics of these submarines, which would cruise submerged for two or three months, would pose complex communications and other problems, and careful organisation would be required to ensure the efficiency and reliability of their crews.
The United States Government would welcome our close association with the United States Navy in this development and they hoped that the United Kingdom Government would feel able to participate, if only on a limited scale, in their POLARIS submarine plans.
The use of facilities in Scottish waters would enhance the effectiveness of
the POLARIS force by about 30 per cent
He had explained to Mr Gates that the project raised important political and
defence considerations. In order to justify it to public opinion ion this country
it would have to be presented as a joint project. This could be achieved if
the United States government were to give us an option to purchase or build
our own Polaris submarines.