Already in July, Sir Henry Tizard, then Chief Scientific Adviser to the Ministry of Defence, had seen the machine and considered it of national importance that the development should go on as speedily as possible, so as to maintain the lead which this country has thus acquired in the field of big computing machines, in spite of the large amount of effort and material that have been put into similar projects in America.
He promised full support both in supply of material and in obtaining necessary priorities.
To the engineers it was a gratifying verdict, but it was one which had no connection whatever with the 'fundamental research in mathematics' that was Newman's object, and the purpose of the Royal Society grant.
It was not surprising that Tizard should take this view.
In 1948, he supported the policy of building a British atomic About 100,000 pounds was thus spent by the government, whose rapid, almost panicky move made a strong contrast with the stately progress of Planned Science at the NPL.
It had more to do with events in Berlin and Prague than with the intentions of the Royal Society.
(It was in that same month of October 1948 that the demolition of air raid shelters was suddenly stopped.)
It certainly had nothing to do with Alan, the pawn in the Great Game.
For that matter the carte blanche contract made no reference to Newman or Blackett.
Newman's motives had been entirely those of a pure mathematician, one who wistfully thought of what the talent at Bletchley could have achieved had it had been applied to his subject.
He had originally wanted to buy a machine and get on with the mathematics, and by this time had realised that it could not be so;
the development of the hardware was going to be a dominating feature, and his interest had accordingly waned. He therefore did not object to the project being taken away.
Blackett, however, was distinctly annoyed, perhaps the more so as he opposed the atomic weapon development.