Winston Churchill’s Letter of Last Resort

To be opened by nuclear submarine commanders if the UK has been destroyed.

19 November 2017

To Commanding Officer HMS Vigilant: I Upon opening of this letter, you are promoted to the Rank of Admiral and appointed Chief of the Defense Staff, notwithstanding the survival of any other persons of superior rank or position in our armed forces, or any MoD directive. II The anticipated, but unexpected has occurred. Our nuclear deterrence has failed. But, the original purpose for your vessel still remains. However, presently retaliation cannot be ordered or permitted. It is no longer a viable option. Trust no foreign power with our weapons and technology. If necessary, they are to be destroyed, rather than captured or surrendered. III Your first assignment is, avoiding detection and maintaining radio silence, to proceed south to the Falkland Islands, to replenish your supplies and evaluate your situation. The purpose of this stealth, in addition to preservation, is to give any remaining fragments of the government and you, time to contemplate and plan, in the shadow of the unthinkable which has befallen us. Your second assignment, following immediate replenishment of your supplies, is by communications and reconnaissance by sea, to survey and marshall what remains of, national and military assets, government officials, and citizens of the United Kingdom around the world. Your third assignment, is as soon as practicable, to locate provisions, create stockpiles, and plan, for the support of persons in your charge, or who may come under your charge. This shall be for a minimum period of three years. Or, such longer time as you deem necessary, based upon your estimate of climatic conditions resulting from the war, that will prevent the conduct of agriculture, the raising of livestock, and fishing. IV Always keep in mind that, now your only purpose, and your first and highest duty, is to use all your skills and all your assets, to protect, provide assistance, and preserve the freedom, of any of our officials and citizens you locate. Only in this way can we the dead and you the living, truly prevail in this our greatest ordeal. You will do this in part, by continuing our nuclear deterrent in the post war period. Discretely conceal your power for as long as you can. Give no target of envy or fear. Display it overtly only when necessary. Release of nuclear weapons is at your absolute discretion. But, only when necessary to protect, critical national assets, surviving citizen lives, and the rebuilding of our civil society and its freedoms. Your Tridents remain not a sword, but a shield. V You are now the ultimate protector of the British people, facing the rigours of an utterly strange, savage, and new world. Keep your sense of humour. Take good counsel wherever you can find it. But, always let your judgment be ultimately guided, by our history, our laws, and the principles we have lived by. Godspeed Admiral. And may God save the new Chief of the Defense Staff. Best regards,


Rt Hon Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Prime Minister
 

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