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Buried Treasure: selections from the Peace News archives

50 years ago: The spies were right

Anti-nuclear campaigners caused a furore in 1963 by publishing details of the government’s secret Third World War control bunkers, to coincide with CND’s Aldermaston March at Easter.

 

On Thursday April 11, a pamphlet entitled ‘Danger Official Secret RSG 6’ was circulated to the national press, political parties, prominent personalities in the peace movement including Bertrand Russell, Albert Schweitzer and Linus Pauling, to a number of MPs and to MI5. The pamphlet gave details of the government’s plans for setting up 12 regional seats of government (RSGs) in secret underground offices, naming the sites of several of them and giving names and telephone numbers. It also gave details of the results of the military exercises which showed that a nuclear attack would reduce this country to chaos.

A government official was quoted by the Daily Express on April 13 as saying: ‘The location of these centres is an official secret and this document could be of value to spies. The information is restricted to certain government departments concerned with defence.’ The accuracy of the pamphlet was not called into question.

As Peace News went to press this week, Special Branch were reported to be still making enquires about the source of the pamphlet.

Peace News welcomes the publication of the Spies for Peace pamphlet and considers it to have been in the national interest. It is a valuable supplement to the Black Paper which we published on the effects of nuclear war, because it shows that the government is well aware of the total chaos that war would bring, but is trying to withhold this from the public.

The really important revelation in the document concerns the effects in Britain of the Fallex 62 NATO exercise in September 1962:

‘The medical services broke down completely. Every hospital in the Southern Region [covered by RSG 6] was destroyed or put out of action by fall-out, the death of doctors, or lack of supplies.... London was paralysed; to go above ground was death.... Whoever won the war, we lost it.’

From the front page of the 19 April 1963 Peace News. Buried Treasure is compiled by Albert Beale, author of Against All War: 50 years of Peace News.