Spies for Peace

Spies for Peace was a group of Committee of 100 members who felt that sit-downs were not having sufficient impact on the government's weapons policies. They advocated infiltration and expose: they broke into military bases and sought out unknown and secret government information.

The group first exposed detailed government preparations for the event of nuclear war. In March 1963 Spies for Peace broke into a secret government headquarters, the Regional Seat of Government Number 6 (RSG-6) and photographed and copied as many documents as they could find.

RSGs (Regional Seats of Government) were planned miniature governments, which would run the region immediately after nuclear attack. An RSG would include representatives of all the central government departments and would maintain law and order, communicate with the surviving population and control remaining resources. When Spies for Peace exposed this information the fact that government accepted thermonuclear war as a possibility and were consciously and carefully planning for it was virtually unknown to the public.

 

They produced 4000 copies of Danger! Official Secret RSG-6 which contained their findings, along with locations of the RSGE and distributed them to the national press, politicians and peace movement activists in the hope that they would do something about it. A few days after the leaflets had been posted protesters were demonstrating at the site of RSG-6 and the activities of the Spies for Peace made front page news.

This version of the pamphlet was printed in July 1963 after the first 4000 copies had been distributed. Government made every effort to suppress the revelations but many people in positions of power and influence had received the information at the same time as government.

The 1963 Aldermaston issue of the CND bulletin Sanity included the Spies for Peace revelations on its back page; several hundred demonstrators were inspired to leave the Aldermaston route, head for RSG6 and set up a picket there.

The police tried to prevent further distribution but thousands of copies were quickly distributed around the country. RSGs in Cambridge and Edinburgh were also picketed. Although the story made headline news when it first broke, the press were quickly issued with a D notice (short for defence notice) which allows the government to suppress information in the interests of national security. The matter was debated in Parliament and the RSGs, no longer secret, were abandoned. Several people were arrested although the original spies were not identified or caught.