Three months before Britain went to war; on 24 December 1853 Sir James Graham (First Lord of the Admiralty) focused attention on the Crimea. He argued that command of the Black Sea, which would preserve the integrity of Turkey and deny Russian warships passage through the Straits, could be secured only by The entire destruction of Sebastopol [sic] with its naval and military establishments'. But the known strength of the port's massive seaward fortifications, which protected the entrance to the harbour, ruled out a successful naval attack without the assistance of a land force. Graham and the Duke of Newcastle (Secretary of State for War and the Colonies) therefore began to visualise such a combined operation with Sevastopol as the prize. In the wake of public and political reaction to the Sinope affair, events moved ahead speedily.