Danger Official Secrets and the Spies for Peace: Discretion and Disclosure in the Committee of 100

Carroll, Sam (2010) Danger Official Secrets and the Spies for Peace: Discretion and Disclosure in the Committee of 100. History Workshop Journal, Spring (69). pp. 158-176. ISSN 13633554

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On the afternoon of 16 February 1963 four men set out from London for an area of countryside just outside Reading in Berkshire. All were members of a British anti-nuclear direct action group known as the Committee of 100. What they eventually came across, and gained access to, was Regional Seat of Government 6 (RSG6); one of a network of nuclear bunkers from which an elite were to govern the country in the event of a nuclear attack. Following a second visit, a suitcase of material was returned to a wider group for collective analysis. This small group of activists, under the name ‘Spies for Peace‘, then secretly collated the procured information and produced the controversial document Danger! Official Secret. On 10 April 3,000 copies were sent out to carefully chosen members of the public in time for widespread copying and distribution on the Easter Aldermaston march. The march coincidentally passed within a few miles of RSG6, and on the Saturday, a section of the marchers split from the organized route and headed towards the government installation, where they protested outside the entrance for a few hours. Media outcry ensued, and for the British public a crisis in confidence in their political leadership. Despite parliamentary pressure on the authorities to pursue those responsible, none of the Spies was ever caught for their actions. This article tells the story of how within a life-history research project that focused on the Committee of 100, four individuals decided to reveal their identities as being original Spies for Peace, and for the first time in nearly fifty years of silence their versions of events was finally recorded. It is an exploration into mutual protection, insider and outsider dynamics, trust, agenda and ethical concerns. It also a story of high-risk radical commitment and an activist journey within the Cold War and beyond.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Centre for Community Engagement
Depositing User: Sam Carroll
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:19
Last Modified: 30 May 2012 11:41
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30763
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