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A 'Special Relationship'?

America, Britain and the International Order Since the Second World War Author(s): David Reynolds Reviewed work(s): Source: International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944-), Vol. 62, No. 1 (Winter, 1985-1986), pp. 1-20 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Royal Institute of International Affairs Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2618063 . Accessed: 19/01/2013 21:13
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A 'specialrelationship'? ordersince and theinternational America, Britain the SecondWorldWar


DAVID REYNOLDS-

in Pearl Harbor,WinstonChurchillarrived theUnited States.For after A fortnight visithe stayedin theWhiteHouse itself, muchof his three-week engagedin lengthy withthePresident. one occasion,so the storygoes, On and informal conversations Rooseveltwas wheeled into his guest'sroom only to discoverChurchillemerging the and completely naked.Disconcerted, FDR made as ifto from bath-wet, glowing but waved himback. 'The PrimeMinister GreatBritain', of he withdraw, Churchill of to the announced, 'has nothing concealfrom President theUnitedStates.'1 of SirWinstondeniedtheanecdote, but,trueor not,it captures something whatis meant by the concept of an Anglo-American 'special relationship':an intimate, on harmonious bond between twonations the celebrated stateoccasionswithsuitably hyperbolic prose. Leaders as diverseas Churchilland RichardNixon have used the Harold Wilsonpreferred talkofa 'closerelationship' to whileMargaret Thatcher term. the alliance'. Others,however,have dissented.Max has reaffirmed 'extraordinary the as Beloff,for instance, portrayed notion of a special relationship an agreeable British'myth'to help cushionthe shock of nationaldecline,while Dean Acheson obstacleto acceptanceof Britain'slargely denouncedit as a dangerousintellectual European role.2 Forty yearson from 1945,whatmeaning, any,shouldbe attached theconceptof if to a postwarAnglo-American specialrelationship? 'Special relationship'-towards some definitions the Althoughused on both sides of the Atlantic, termhas been verymuch more in thanAmerica.Churchill prevalent Britain popularizedand perhapscoineditin the
David Reynoldsis a Fellow and Directorof Studiesin Historyat Christ'sCollege, Cambridge.The argumentof this articlewas presentedto the fifth Woodrow Wilson Center/Ditchley Foundation Britain Europe' in Washington May 1985.The author grateful and in conference 'The UnitedStates, on is to and comments to Cambridge of for members theconference their colleaguesZara Steiner, JohnThompson of version. and Ian Clark forhelpful criticisms a draft 1. RobertE. Sherwood, RooseveltandHopkins: intimate an history (New York: HarperBrothers, 1948), p. 442. 2. For examplesof theseand otherviews see the selections Ian S. McDonald, ed., Anglo-American in relations sincetheSecond WorldWar(New York: St Martin's,1974). On the'myth'see Max Beloff, 'The an in special relationship: Anglo-American myth', MartinGilbert, ed., A century conflict, of 1850-1950: essays A. J. P. Taylor(London: HamishHamilton,1966),pp. 151-71.Otherdiscussions the'special for of relationship' includeCoral Bell, The debatablealliance: an essayin Anglo-American relations (London: in and OxfordUniversity Press,1964); Bell, 'The "special relationship"', MichaelLeifer, ed., Constraints in adjustments British foreign policy(London: Allen & Unwin, 1972),pp. 103-19; and A. E. Campbell, 'The United Statesand Great Britain:uneasyallies', in JohnBraeman,RobertH. Bremnerand David Brody, eds., Twentiethcentury Americanforeignpolicy (Columbus: Ohio UniversityPress, 1971), pp. 471-501. Affairs $3.00 (C) 1986 International 0020-5850/86/1/0001-20

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winterof 1945-6,3 but as an objectiveof Britishforeignpolicy it has been in In continuous existence sinceearlyin thecentury. September 1917,forinstance, Lord RobertCecil emphasizedin a memo forhis Cabinetcolleaguesthatthe Americans a wereatlast'taking partininternational and Europeanaffairs' 'theywillsoon beginto realisewhatvastpower theyhave'. He notedthat'thereis undoubtedly difference a the and between British theContinental viewin international matters' arguedthat and 'ifAmericaacceptsour pointof view in thesematters, will meanthedominanceof it that pointofviewin all international affairs.' Cecil was hopeful could be achieved this because,'thoughtheAmerican people are verylargely bothin originand in foreign, theirrulersare almostexclusively modes of thought, and shareour Anglo-Saxons, politicalideals.'4Laterin thecentury, Harold Macmillan(himself half-American by the whenhe spokeofBritain birth) expressed sameidea moreelegantly playing Greece to America'sRome-civilizing and guiding immature the younggiant-a rolehe tried to act out alongside Kennedy in the early 1960s. Perhaps the most engaging formulation what British policy-makers of have really meant by the 'special is in relationship' contained an anonymous verseof 1945,whenBritain soliciting was a postwarUS loan: In Washington Lord Halifax Once whispered Lord Keynes: to It's truethey have themoneybags But we have all thebrains.5 In thissense,thenotionof an Anglo-American has specialrelationship been a device to a used by a declining powerfortrying harness rising powerto serveitsown ends. seek privateinfluence. Avoid public confrontation; Propitiate openly; manipulate secretly.These are the tacticsof this form of alliance politics. Not all British beforethe policy-makers agreedthatthe game was worththe candle,particularly were among those Second World War. Curzon, Hankey and Neville Chamberlain Britain and guarantee reliable who doubtedthat'appeasing'Americawould benefit of the support.But thecultivation an Anglo-American specialrelationship-indeed thatit exists-has beena recurrent theme British of from assertion diplomacy Joseph Thatcher. to Chamberlain Margaret has been in part a deliberateBritish Recognizingthat the 'special relationship' invented a toolofdiplomacy-helpsus appreciate artifice as the creation-a 'tradition' official British rhetoric about America, leaders lain behindfulsome its thathas often of is and itstieswithBritain. Nevertheless, exploration thattradition notthepurpose the is ofthisarticle. Insteaditseeksto askwhether conceptofa specialrelationship an in of relations worldaffairs sincethe accurate description theplaceofAnglo-American whatever London mightsay, was the Second World War. Statedmore succinctly: relationship really'special'?
3. RobertRhodesJames, Winston Churchill: complete his ed., S. Vol. 7 (New York: speeches, 1897-1963, Chelsea House, 1974), pp. 7248, 7289-addresses of 7 Nov. 1945 to the Commons and 5 March 1946 at Fulton(the so-called'iron curtain' speech). 4. Cab 24/26, GT 2074, Cecil, memo, 18 Sept. 1917 (London: Public Record Office; subsequent references the Foreign Office General Political Correspondence,FO, and the Prime Minister's to OperationalPapers,Prem,are also to documents thePRO: all quotationsappearby permission the in of Controller, HMSO). 5. RichardN. Gardner, Sterling-dollar perspective(New York: Columbia diplomacyin current University Press,3rd edn., 1980),p. xiii.

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David Reynolds

I will talkin whatfollowsof 'Britain'and 'America'eventhough thesecan onlybe termsforcomplexpoliticalorganisms. shorthand Works of theoryand history by relations havemadeus well awareof thedangeroftalking students international of of to countriesas if they are 'unitary, purposiveactors',withoutattention domestic and politics,bureaucratic interplay the impactof 'opinion makers'and the 'foreign true of policypublic'.6This is particularly in thecase ofpluralist democracies, which of the United Statesis the supremeexample.In Americathe management foreign of the policyis peculiarly difficult, given extent congressional power,theuncontrolled of of the and thefreedom themedia. US relations bureaucracy, influence lobbyists, never been the exclusive preserveof government with Britain have therefore insulatedfromthe currents largerpublic debate-witness the loan of departments, of negotiations 1945-6. Certainethnic groupshave exercised particular influence. In 1945-8,Jewish-American opinionhelpedshapeTruman'spolicytowardsPalestine/ Israel, while the Irish-American lobby has helped propagatea generally sceptical towards British Irelandin thelastdecadeor so. American attitude policyin Northern has a more cohesivepoliticaland administrative Britain,by contrast, systemof controlby thegovernment theday-but evenhererelations susceptible greater to of differences view. A betweenthe two countrieshave been affected internal by of notableexamplehas been theanti-Americanism the Labour left-fromthe 'Keep of the of Left'movement 1946-7,through critics theVietnam war,to theunilateralists of thepresent. In international relationsstatesmighttherefore conceivedof not as billiard be entitiescannoningoff each other-but as distinct, balls-solid, clearly-defined This shouldbe swirling massesofgas-more diffuse withno lesspotential but energy. 'Britain'and 'America' used remembered when readingthe shorthand expressions for to is below. Nevertheless, Iustification payingless attention domesticfactors my made a decisivedifference the pattern Anglo-American to of thatthesehave rarely in for the relations-consider, example, basic continuity policybetweenLabour and whatever the Labour leftmightdemand in 1945-6 or Conservative governments, the has 1964-5. Fundamentally postwarrelationship been shaped by thepower and This is wherewe mustlook forwhat,if international positionof thetwo countries. has anything, made it 'special'. or Whateverthe termmightmean, it clearlycannot connote perfection pure A overthelastdecade has exposedthefriction and harmony. seriesof books written of in the beneath surface Anglo-American controversy cooperation theSecondWorld was sourceofargument Britain's War and after. The mostimportant empire-formal and informal-and the US challengeto the British imperialpositionfromboth an ideological and self-interested standpoint.Decolonization, oil, and the battle to issuesat stake.And thedevelopment wereamongthespecific dominatecivilaviation of sincetheSecondWorldWaris partofa larger oftherelationship story thedeclineof the British power againstthatof America-with theUnitedStatessometimes giving British Empirea push down theslippery slope.7 is the Furthermore, conceptofa specialrelationship notuniquely Anglo-American.
(Boston: Little,Brown, crisis the 6. e.g. GrahamAllison,Essenceof decision:explaining Cuban missile Brown,1973); David Vital,The policy (Boston: Little, onforeign Cohen, Thepublic'simpact 1971); Bernard policy(London: Allen & Unwin, 1968). foreign makingofBritish alliance, and thewartime Anglo-American 7. See discussionin David Reynolds,'Roosevelt,Churchill in 1939-45: towardsa new synthesis', Hedley Bull and Wm. RogerLouis, eds., The 'specialrelationship': since1945 (Oxford: Clarendon,1986,forthcoming). relations Anglo-American

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It has also beenappliedto tiesbetween UnitedStates others itsallies(usually, the and of it might be noted, by the ally ratherthan the United States). Israel, Brazil, are pre-communist China,and theFederalRepublicof Germany amongtheexamples of thisusage.8 These considerations If suggestsome guidelinesfor our thinking. the AngloAmerican to relationship be termed can 'special' it is not by reference some idealized standardof international amity.We mustbear in mindthe elements tensionand of in that hostility areevident thisas in anyother And diplomatic relationship. we haveto assess its 'specialness'againstthe character the relationships of betweenthe United Statesand its otherclose allies.Was thecooperation, howeverimperfect flawed, and in from different degreeand extent thatof anyotheralliance? for But qualityis not theonlycriterion judging specialness therelationship. the of another is Importance provides touchstone: or was thisbilateral relationship especially important eachcountry for and,indeed, theworldatlarge? for Thatalso seemsto have beenpartofwhatwas meant theconceptofa specialrelationship. Churchill by For at of and welfare, freedom Fultonin 1946 it was no less thanguarantor 'the safety the of of and progress all thehomesand families all themenandwomenin all thelands. . .' recalledan aphorism Charles of ConverselyHarold Wilson,a quarter-century later, that'thereis nothing irrelevant a poor so Lamb, the nineteenth-century essayist, as the relation.'9 One may stillbe fondof the aged relative, tiesmay stillbe unusually in has and close,buttherelationship diminished valueto oneself to thefamily fortunes (thoughit mayhave becomemoreusefulto itsimportunate beneficiary). It maybe helpful, of to then, judgethespecialness theAnglo-American relationship in twoways.Was or is itspecialin qualityfrom other bilateral alliances? Was or is itof for and fortheinternational orderas a whole? specialimportance thetwo countries for These providecriteria thegeneral thatfollows. survey The foundationsof the 'special relationship' the During the 1940s and 1950s,perhapsuntilthe end of Macmillan'spremiership, was Anglo-American relationship specialin bothqualityand importance. cannotbe a blanket Of course,that generalization-asa glanceattheups and downs of and willshow.'0Brought entered intoa together thecrisis 1940,Britain America by the unique alliance,but one in whichtheUnitedStateswas clearly dominant partner the in by thelastyearofthewar.In 1945-6,however, partnership disintegrated many was the most notorious,and relations areas, of which nuclear disentanglement were never again as close or as equal. Nevertheless,the ties were partially cold war.The Koreanwarand thechallenge from 1947in thedeepening reconstructed a but of Middle Easternnationalism gave the relationship global dimension, thenit crises facedone ofitsgravest twentieth-century in theSuez debacleof 1956. Even the
8. e.g. Nadav Safran, Israel: the embattled ally (Cambridge,Mass.: HarvardUniversity Press, 1978), p. 571, on the"'special" American connection withIsrael';JohnD. Martz and Lars Schoultz,eds.,Latin America,the UnitedStates,and the inter-American system (Boulder,Colo.: Westview,1980), pp. 80-1; MichaelH. Hunt, The makingofa specialrelationship: UnitedStatesand China to.1914 (New York: the and ColumbiaUniversity Press,1983); Hans W. Gatzke,Germany theUnitedStates:a specialrelationship? Mass.: HarvardUniversity (Cambridge, Press,1980). 9. Quoted in McDonald, ed., Anglo-American relations, 35, 220. pp. 10. Surveysof the postwarperiod includeH. G. Nicholas, Britainand the UnitedStates(London: Chatto& Windus,1963); JohnBaylis,Anglo-American 1939-84: thespecialrelationship defence relations, (London: Macmillan,2nd edn., 1984); and laterchaptersof D. Cameron Watt,Succeeding JohnBull: Americain Britain's place, 1900-75 (Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press,1984).

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David Reynolds

a the Yet intelligence artery, closestlink,was nearly ruptured. within yearor two the a withhis old woundshad healed,as Macmillanrecreated specialnuclearrelationship to wartimeally, Eisenhower,and played a significant part in efforts thaw out he relations. withIke's superpower Remarkably achieveda similar personalrapport of of successor,despitean age difference twenty-three years,but the extent British the crisis October of was demonstrated dependence dramatically during Cuban missile 1962. of overallit was unusuallyclose. Its Despite the uneventexture the relationship, from three salient characteristics. ofall,thetwo countries First specialqualityderived interests in sharedsimilar whichbecameapparent thesustained international crisisof the of the1940s.Bothwishedto maintain independence Western Europein thefaceof intent continental on first and powersapparently domination, Hitler'sGermany then In a Stalin'sRussia and Cominform. a muchmorequalified way theyalso discerned in suddenchangein Asia and theMiddle East, commoninterest preventing violent, and of threaten their economicinterests thegeneral distribution power. whichmight the the Hence their cooperation against Japan during war and,from late1940s,against or movements Asia and theMiddleEast thespreadofradicalnationalist communist in associatedwithMoscow or Beijing. were reinforced similarideology.Again the point cannotbe Similarinterests by side. The UnitedStateshas alwaysseen itself the as pressedtoo faron theAmerican to colonialism and New Worldin antithesis manyof thevaluesof theOld, especially as and such 'feudal'anachronisms monarchy aristocracy. in Nevertheless, the 1940s, and US values seemedmore apparent Americans betweenBritish the similarities to in than the differences a world threatened 'totalitarianism'. Both were liberal, by in commonbeliefs theruleof law and theprinciple capitalist democracies, sharing of peacefulchange. And for the Britishthe ideological legacy of 1940 was profound.Afterthe entente thePhoneyWar,whiclh of Anglo-French manyseniorpolicy-makers as saw the to them thebasis of a permanent postwaralliance, Frenchwerefelt havebetrayed turnedaway fromthe perfidious continentals its kin to in 1940. Britaintherefore and theUnitedStates.Together, it was felt, acrosstheseas-the Commonwealth so to for won thewar,anditwas onlynatural look in thesamedirection support and they in Such deeplyheldbeliefs colouredBritish attitudes towards cooperation peacetime. thecontinent a generation. for These tiesof interest ideologywereincarnated, and in of thirdly, a network close and Thesewereforged the personalcontacts friendships. during war,as thetwo setsof became'mixedup together', borrowChurchill'sfamousphrase." to policy-makers connection was themostcelebrated, moreimportant but in The Roosevelt-Churchill between menlowerdown their thelongrunwerecontacts hierarchies who respective in with would rise to positionsof prominence the 1950s. For themconsultation colleaguesin theothercapitalbecameeasy and natural. These personallinkswerefacilitated thesharedlanguage.Admittedly was by this not withoutits problems: Churchillalludes in his war memoirsto the confusion caused at one conference thediametrically and US usagesof the by oppositeBritish verb 'to table'.'2 And the similarities language and culture can encourage of
11. House of CommonsDebates (Hansard), 5thser.,Vol. 364, col. 1171,20 Aug. 1940. 12. Winston Churchill, SecondWorldWar(London: Cassell, 1948-54,6 vols.),Vol. 3, p. 609. For S. The the British,'to table' denoted puttinga documentforwardfor discussion; for Americansit meant withdrawing it.

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in counterparts theirown imageto policy-makers conceiveof transatlantic results, duringthe Suez or Skyboltcrises.13 as with disastrous sometimes moreextensive moreintensive and the language permitted Nevertheless, common have in any since, principle, than communication wouldotherwise beenpossible, only permitted to skilled usually or at couldparticipate a depth Briton American relationship this in Kingdom the United States-United Compare wartime linguists. and to and or of respect that Britain France America China. of close-thecommunityinterests, especially made relationship the Herewaswhat threat. thiswas not of itself But ties valuesand personal in thefaceof common on That depended an to especially important. sufficient make the relationship continued as a world role power. factor-Britain's additional in had the of need. What brought twocountries together 1940wasa sense mutual let for Britain itsempire and needed support survival, alone US After fell, France disarmed disorganized that and at also time, needed But States, victory. theUnited German 'front line' against as Britain. The RoyalNavy was regarded America's and albeitmore intotheAtlantic, Britain's empire was acknowledged, expansion Japanese and against as ambivalently, a sourceof key raw materials a bulwark in Isles the base bombing aggression Asia.From1942theBritish became essential for Hitler's andthen Europe. invading had The perhaps in and ended warreduced power resources. conflict cost the Britain never in Indian subcontinent and of position the a quarter itsnational wealth, Britain's of Asian For andthe humiliationJapan's victories. a from wartime recovered protests of of of source much itswealth Indiahadbeenthecornerstone empire-the century the of raison for d'etre and armed manpower-and defence Indiawas theoriginal WhenIndiabecame in territorial of other independent acquisitions. many Britain's like of realization Curzon's at haveseemed a grim warning the 1947itmust August in 'As of power the beginning thecentury: longas we ruleIndiawe arethegreatest of Andtherest If power.' away world. weloseitweshall dropstraight toa third-rate his wouldbecomeredundant-in picturesque and protectorates colonies Britain's of that and 'the phrase, toll-gates barbicans an Empire hasvanished."14 all seems after endoftheSecond the World prediction War,Curzon's Forty years had of value after central the jewel gone. crown much its lost The tooaccurate. imperial of governments the1940sand 1950sweremore Yet theLabourand Conservative in same as United and States the Britain nolonger the was league the Clearly sanguine. to it to SovietUnion-sometimes, quoteone senior diplomat, seemed be in 'the and But with in triumvirate Mark Antony Augustus.'15 Bevin of position Lepidus the that to in we insisting Britain Power', denied 1947'that haveceased be a great firmly 16 vital the to peaceofthe world'. Thestrategy wasto now most Powers 'wasoneofthe its the of the transform barbican empire, Middle East,into newkeepandstronghold, of and Asia the Africa south-east for benefit the of the andtodevelop resources British not was of area.The form therelationship to be negotiated partnership, sterling replaced Empire-but, behind the imperial subordination-Commonwealth

Press,1970). (New York: Columbia University Alliancepolitics 13. RichardE. Neustadt, defence policyin the commitment: dilemmaofBritish 14. Quoted in MichaelHoward, The continental Penguin,1974),p. 14. theera of two worldwars(Harmondsworth: 1 Sir minute, Oct. 1945. AN 2560/22/45, Orme Sargent, 15. FO 371/44557, 16. Hansard (Commons),Vol. 437, 16 May 1947.

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-David Reynolds

the to enlightened rhetoric, determination maintain Britain'sworld role remained positively Churchillian.17 of The persistence thisglobaloutlookneedsto be stressed, viewofthetendency in to Britain as a worldpowerafter off (bothpopularand scholarly) write 1945.Nor was evenifit did breedsome illusions.For Britain theoutlookunreasonable was stillthe world's thirdmajor statein the 1940s and 1950s-economically,militarily and in a nuclearcapability. suchitremained valuableallyfortheUnitedStates.Although As alliancewas unique,themutualneed thathad cemented continued thewartime it to close in thelate1940sand 1950s.And their hold thetwo countries roleas theprincipal worldpowersgavetheir non-communist a in relationship specialimportance shaping orderas it evolvedfrom thepost-1945international worldwar to cold war. The special relationship's special importance,1945-63 The importanceof the relationship-for the two allies and for international relations-can be seen by glancing fourof its aspectsin the period from1945 to at about 1963: theworldeconomicorder,Europeansecurity, cold war diplomacy, and global containment. First of all the economic connection.Here the ties were least close because of fundamental Since theOttawa Conference 1932,theBritish policydisagreement. of had inclined towards a protectionist policy, seekingto consolidatetheirtrading of countries theempire especially sterling and the area.Butfrom positionwithin 1934, successive governments US thoseof a soughtto dismantle trading barriers, especially and Britain'sImperialPreference at the top of theirlist. was discriminatory nature, economicpolicywas thenatural British responseof a declining trading power to the of depressionand to the 'imperialism' Americanfreetrade. It was also an ironic of reversal thetwo countries' when emerging policiesin thelatenineteenth century, and Americawas stillvehemently protectionist dominantBritainpreachedlaissez the faire.The basic divisionof outlookwas also apparent during Second WorldWar, and in the postwar era the Britishresistedas premature US attempts restore to and bestto buildup thedollar-earning currency convertibility did their powerof the area. Adherenceto the European Free Trade Associationand finallythe sterling was partof the same pattern-Britain European Economic Community could not but without the survive afford costs economically maximizing trade, itcouldno longer of open competition withina multilateral economydominated theUnitedStates. by for but freetradeareas. Hence theBritish predilection extensive protected This basic divergence policy precludedspecial cooperationbetweenthe two in in the countries economicmatters. were in Nevertheless, differences notunbridgeable: mostBritish favoured multilateral a worldeconomy, British principle policy-makers if interests wereprotected iftheUnitedStates and assumedtheresponsibilities world for incumbent and nation.And US leaders stability upon itas themajorexporter creditor in theSecondWorldWardid seemreadyto acceptthoseresponsibilities. was the This associatedwiththeBretton basis of thehard-wonagreements Woods conference of
17. As recent studies haveemphasized:John Gallagher (ed. AnilSeal), The decline, revivalandfall ofthe British Empire(Cambridge:Cambridge University Press,1982); Wm. RogerLouis, The British Empirein theMiddleEast, 1945-51(Oxford:Clarendon,1984); and theessaysby R. F. Holland, 'The imperial factor in British fromAttleeto Macmillan,1945-63',and JohnDarwin, 'British strategies decolonizationsince 1945: a pattern a puzzle?', in the or Journal Imperial and Commonwealth of History, 1984,Vol. 12,No. Jan. 2, pp. 165-86 and 187-209.

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July1944,from whichoriginated International the Monetary Fund, theWorldBank and theGeneral Agreement Tariffs Trade.Theywereachieved a smallgroup on and by of British and US economists and civilservants-mensuch as Keynes,HarryWhite, James Meade and Harry Hawkins-against extensiveopposition within their respective politicalsystems exampleofhow theAnglo-American (an relationship has been partially insulatedfromtheselarger politicalcurrents). And, although two the nationsincreasingly in diverged their basicpolicies,theseagreements constituted the for framework thepostwareconomicorderfora quarter-century.18 Even in economicaffairs, then, wheretherelationship hardly was specialin quality, it was of specialimportance a crucialpointin the shapingof the postwarworld. at Turningto cooperationin European security the 1940s and 1950s, we find a in relationship thatwas special in both qualityand importance. recentwork has As shown,thedevelopment theMarshallPlan and thecreation NATO werevery of of much a joint enterprise, with Bevin playinga major role alongsideMarshall and Acheson.'9 Later, in 1954, the ForeignOfficemade a significant contribution to solving crisis the overGerman rearmament. Western EuropeanUnion,lately enjoying of something a renaissance, theBritish and commitment Germandefence to datefrom this time. The Atlantic alliance as we know it today was in many ways an creation. Anglo-American US economic and military help in Europe was, of course, vital for the British is to to mattered theUnitedStates. Less government. familiar thedegree whichBritain in At everystageof his European commitment the 1940s,Trumanfacedsustained Assistance to congressional opposition-to Marshall Aid, to theMilitary programme, In desireby 1950 forsubstantial rearmament. each case it requireda major his US international crisis (theCzech coup,theSovietatomictestand theonsetoftheKorean war) to mobilize the necessary support on Capitol Hill. Consequently, the Even the US troop did administration not intendto assumeunlimited obligations. venture.The general to commitment NATO was expected to be a short-term was 'to get Paul philosophy,as expressed MarshallAid administrator Hoffman, by Europe on its feetand offour backs'.20 of And was to the invaluable share burdens containment. Britain Alliesweretherefore exceeded armsproduction stillAmerica'sprincipal ally. In the early1950s Britain's and thatof all theotherEuropeanpartners combined, itmanufactured thirty cent per of fourdivisions and of theindustrial production non-communist Europe.21 Britain's air wereessential of tactical force components NATO's CentralFrontat a timewhen withIndochinaandthen and first was Germany disarmed Francepreoccupied Algeria. to Western In thelate 1940stheUnitedStatesalso wantedBritain lead an integrated revived withtheadvent de Gaulle. And from of Europe-a hope soon dashedbutlater bases forStrategic Command'sB-29s. These Air July1948 Britain providedessential in era. of becamea vitalelement US nuclear strategy whatwas stillthepre-missile Use Middle East) enabled the United Statesto of thesebases (and othersin the British the threaten SovietUnion in a way thatwas not possible in return (hence,in part, Khrushchev's laterCuban gamble).
18. The classicstudyremains Gardner, Sterling-dollar diplomacy. 19. e.g. Alan Bullock, ErnestBevin: ForeignSecretary, 1945-51 (London: Heinemann, 1983); Avi the Shlaim,'Britain, Berlinblockadeand thecold war',InternationalAffairs, Winter 1983/4, Vol. 60,No. 1, pp. 1-14. 20. See David Reynolds,'The originsof the cold war: the European dimension, 1944-51',Historical Journal, June1985,Vol. 28, No. 2, p. 512. 21. Baylis,Anglo-American defence relations, 43. p.

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David Reynolds

to Britain also playeda partin trying thawout thecold war. Churchill's in attempts a after Stalin'sdeathlaid thegroundwork the 1953-4 to arrange summit meeting for of and in themid-1950s strained Geneva Conference 1955. This failed, the however, and Dulles's close tieswithAdenauer, relationships betweenEden and Eisenhower, of limitedthe effectiveness the Anglo-American diplomaticaxis. But Macmillan, of Eden's successorfromJanuary 1957, was an old friend Eisenhower.They had in minister workedcloselytogether 1943-4 whenMacmillanwas British attached to in Ike's AlliedForceHeadquarters NorthAfrica Italy.And,although and Eisenhower was always in ultimate commandof US policy,the vacuum createdin 1959-60 by Dulles's death and the President'sill healthpermitted Britishto play a more the international influential role. Macmillan's visit to Moscow in February-March head of government 1959-the first a Western by sincethe end of thewar-helped modifythe Soviet position on Berlin and paved the way for the Eisenhowerin Khrushchev of meeting September. of Despite the failure the Paris summit May 1960,Macmillanmaintained peace-making his efforts a through cordialifsurprising withKennedy,and theBritish wereactiveparticipants thenegotiations in friendship leading to the Partial Test Ban Treaty of August 1963. In these years Britain's to as or the self-image a broker intermediary, helping bring twosuperpowers together, was not mereself-delusion. In thecold war,as in theSecondWorldWar,theconvergence Anglo-American of interests generally was closerin Europe thanin Asia. The British, security pressedby refused take the extreme line over China in to India and the Commonwealth, US of 1949-50.Theyalso feared escalation theKoreanwar,including possibleuse US the of atomic weapons, and in the winterof 1950-1 these issues led to considerable For British colonialism economicrivalry friction. theUnitedStates, and continued to strain relationship. the whatever theirdoubts,supported intervention Korea with But the British, US in of viewoftheBritish forces their own,andtheAmerican Empireremained ambivalent. a of For theBritish and provided valuednetwork bases,intelligence indigenous clients whichwould assistin the global containment communism. of Here postwarBritish to determination retainits world role was of particular to importance the alliance, and especially givenIndianindependence Britain's to subsequent willingness talkthe ratherthan domination.Afterthe Korean war therewas languageof partnership periodic US prodding over decolonization (for example, Central Africa under to cold warextremism Macmillan)andoccasionalBritish objections American (suchas fromthe totaltradeembargoon Castro's Cuba). But freedom differ abstinence to and it rarelyimperilledthe general occasionallywas built into the relationship, in the 1940s and 1950s between the two world powers in global cooperation containment. The one greatexceptionto thatgeneralization of course the Middle East. In is has over Palestine, and in Iran in 1951-4 the United 1945-8 relations been strained crisisto establish Statesexploitedthe oil nationalization Anglo-American parityin what had been Britain'slast oil stronghold. Then in 1956 came Suez-perhaps the worstcrisisbetweenthetwo countries since 1916.The military seemedto operation liketheworstkindof gunboatdiplomacy-all themorecontemptible theAmericans becauseitwas ineptas wellas imperialist. Eisenhower refused support embattled to the and the pound untilBritain withdrew, one cannotunderestimate shockcaused by the whole episode to Britishillusionsabout theirindependenceand about American friendship.

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the Nevertheless US objections weremainly about means(military intervention in of presidential electionand defiance international and timing law) (thesimultaneous the Russian invasionof Hungary).Both governments agreedthatNasserismwas a to commoninterests theMiddle East. When their in threat their majorally,theNuri in and Said regime Iraq,was toppledinJuly mounted carefully a 1958,Britain America to states Jordan Lebanon. Coming in combined and planned, operation shoreup client as itdid less thantwo yearsafter that of Suez, thisis a reminder thecrisis autumn1956 should not be exaggerated. and nuclear relationships Specialit6s-the diplomatic,intelligence was not From the late 1940s to the early 1960s the Anglo-American relationship but withoutits frictions, it was nevertheless uniquelyclose and uniquelyimportant of areasof and to bothgovernments to theshaping thepostwarworld.Threespecific of are nuclearweapons intelligence, functional cooperation worthy closerattention: Thesemight termed specialitesoftherelationship. be the consultation. and diplomatic is consultation the most fundamental. The habit of diplomaticand bureaucratic tended naturallyand readilyto consult with their Officialsin each government Some of thiscontactwas institutionalized-through transatlantic oppositenumbers. committees-but much of it was informal, buildingon the networkof personal of contactsand thefacility thecommonlanguage.The pointwas to keep abreastof were thinking-to have a in what one's opposite numbers London or Washington debates and the alternative sense not just of official policy but of the background options. in natureof the This was particularly important Washington giventhefragmented in ambassador Americaduringthe US policy-making process.Lord Halifax,British line out do out they puttherabbits war,likeneditto 'a disorderly ofbeaters shooting; don'tcomeout whereyou expect.'22 was ofthebracken, they but Washington (and is) exercisedby diplomats-the State unusual in the limitedcontroland coordination thevarious strands America's of external relations. was therefore It Department-over of to keeptabson a wholevariety governmental essential agenciesand,becauseof the This theBritish and to independence powerof Congress, 'worktheHill' assiduously. and skill: the failures consultation, of did such as Suez or generally with subtlety Skybolt,usually came in situationswhen normal. diplomaticchannelshad been bypassed. of did Consultation not guarantee consensus, course.Policy towardsChina in the 1950sor overtheIndo-Pakistani disputesincethe 1960sare cases in point.But these could accommodate unresolved are also instances how therelationship of differences. wrotepresciently in A member theForeignOffice'sNorthAmerican of Department on 1944 thattheAnglo-American partnership 'impliesfullconsultation all majorand fails withtheviewthat consultation if manyminor issues,butitis perfectly compatible shouldbe free followthatpolicywhichit to to producean agreedpolicy,eachpartner or thinksbest,takingdue accountof the other'sspecial interests susceptibilities.'23 to sometimes sometimes Consultation agreement differ. producedagreement, From thispracticeof priordiscussioneach side derivedsubstantial benefits. The British werefrequently to feedtheir able viewsintotheUS decision-making processat
22. Halifax to Lord Simon, 21 Mar. 1941, Hickleton papers, A4.410.4.14 (Churchill College, Cambridge). AN 1886/6/45, Mason, minute, May 1944. P. 16 23. FO 371/38508,

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that and the an earlystagebefore bureaucratic politicaltrade-offs makeup American point-the momentat which a policy mightbe By policy had set firm. thatlatter withallies-it is often lateto effect too any for negotiation offered formal diplomatic the changes.In return United Stateshad a naturalally-whose support significant of and be could generally assumedbecause of thesimilarity interests values and the habitof advanceconsultation. is relationship only one instanceof this 'consultative In a sense the intelligence tie But it is also at the heartof what makes the Anglo-American so relationship'. In pooled their from alliances. theSecondWorldWarthetwocountries different other in and on scale,and thecollaboration, attenuated secret resources an unprecedented of the severing linksin 1945-6.Withtheonsetofthecold war, survived general form, had an intelligence network a on Britain renewedcooperation. mutualneed dictated the the scale thatit could no longerafford; United Stateshad dismantled wartime Office of StrategicServices and was beginningagain in 1947 with the Central staff and expertise, use Agency(CIA). Americacould therefore British Intelligence support. Britain neededUS financial installations; whichcreateda global divisionof The outcomewas the 1947 UKUSA agreement the (plus labourin communications intelligence (Comint) between two governments in wereestablished bothcapitals and Canada,Australia New Zealand). Liaisonoffices installations Communications (Government intelligence-gathering and in thecentral Agency(NSA) and theNational Security (GCHQ) nearCheltenham Headquarters at headquarters Fort Meade, Maryland). GCHQ and other Britishintelligence from NSA budget.In due course the significant funding US also received operations NSA set up its own gatheringand relay stations in Britain,at Chicksands, Hill nearHarrogate (from 1956),and,inScotland, Bedfordshire (from 1950),Menwith the Kirknewton (1952-66) and Edzell nearMontrose(since1960).And during 1950s, of the cooperatedin overflights from outbreak theKoreanwar,thetwo airforces of from British and continental bases. This SovietEurope usingcombinedcrewsflying evenafter shooting the down ofGaryPowers surveillance allowedNATO to maintain to over Russia.24 in May 1960obligedEisenhower end US-mannedU-2 flights has for friction, exampleCIA frequent relationship experienced The intelligence the and Service after defection Burgess Macleanin of mistrust theSecret of Intelligence its smoothcomparedto the May 1951. Nevertheless, evolutionhas been relatively advancedthan In atomicresearch was further nuclearrelationship. 1939-40 British and personnelin 1940-1 significantly American,and the sharingof information 1944Rooseveltand the project.In September accelerated pace of theUS 'Manhattan' in a that concluded secret development Churchill agreement 'fullcollaboration' atomic after defeat Japan the of unless and 'formilitary commercial purposesshouldcontinue But including and until terminated joint agreement.'25 many in Washington, by Truman, were unaware of the agreementand in August 1946 a nationalistic, Congress,anxiousthattheUnitedStatesalone shouldcontrolthe secrecy-conscious the of passed theMcMahon Act whichprohibited transfer any atomic 'superbomb', in agreements information a foreign to SubsequentAnglo-American government. 1948 and 1955 did littleto change the basic position. Britainhad been virtually in excluded fromnuclearcollaboration-a source of deep and abidingbitterness
power in Britain(London: American military aircraft carrier: 24. Duncan Campbell,The unsinkable 1985),pp. 491-9. service (London: Heinemann, Andrew, Secret 1984),ch. 5; Christopher MichaelJoseph, 18 Aide-memoire, Sept. 1944. 25. Prem3, 139/9,

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and from general the closeAnglo-American in Whitehall an aberration relationship the late 1940s and 1950s. demonstrated theSovietUnion now The shift came in October 1957. Sputnik that threaten had a missilecapable of intercontinental the rangewhich could therefore missile ballistic at UnitedStatesdirectly, a timewhenAmerica'sown intercontinental was behindthatof the SovietUnion. Americawas shakenand nervy programme -Macmillan judged the impact of Sputnikto be 'something equivalentto Pearl in was theobvious ally. Harbour'26-and felt need of all thehelpit could get.Britain had developedtheir own nuclearweaponsprogramme overtheprevious The British decade, testinga hydrogenbomb in May 1957. Withinthreeweeks of Sputnik, to whereEisenhower committed Macmillanhad beeninvited Washington, himself to of 1958andMay 1959newagreements seekamendment theMcMahonAct,andinJuly were signedto permit muchfuller a exchange information, of technology fissile and materials. In March1960collaboration extended weaponssystems. Camp David the was to At the British wereoffered US Skybolt missile advantageous on air-to-ground terms, and a base at MacmillanagreedthattheUnited Statescould establish Polaris submarine understood Holy Loch on theClyde. Therewas no explicit 'deal', butitwas generally were implicitly related.There were echoes here of the that the two agreements call deal 'Destroyers-for-Bases' of August1940. Indeed one might thisthe'Missilesfor-Bases'deal. Nearly twenty had yearshad elapsed and the military technology But the out changed ofall recognition. onceagaineachcountry required other's helpat Mutualneed,morethanEisenhower's a timeof globalinsecurity. that genuine feeling was at the root of the revivednuclearspecial the Britishhad been badly treated, relationship. at In one sense,thePolarisagreement Nassau on 21 December 1962 was only an of Once DefenseSecretary extension thisrelationship. McNamarahad decidedto cut Macmillancould justifiably Skybolton groundsof cost-effectiveness, arguethatthe The defusing thecrisisand of 1960 'deal' obligedKennedyto providePolarisinstead. thecontinuance Britain's of accessto US nuclear were uniquely privileged technology further instances the specialnessof the Anglo-American of Macmillan relationship. talkedon hisreturn how Nassau had preserved of 'boththeconcepts independence of that lay at the heart of what he meant by the special and interdependence' the altered that But,moreprofoundly, Nassau agreement permanently relationship. devicethatwould be carriedby Britain's Skyboltwas a stopgap-an air-to-ground V-bomber force. It was alreadyobsolescentin the impendingera of long-range the and had missilessuch as Minuteman Polaris.But neither RAF nor theAdmiralty in been seriouslyinterested Polaris duringthe late 1950s,forit would destroythe rationaleof both theV-bombersand the blue-water navy.And withinMacmillan's Britain shouldremain nuclear a weresomewho doubtedwhether Cabinetthere power if that, itdid,an 'entente in thenew and massively morecostlymissile age. Othersfelt interest in be current nucleaire'withFrancemight a better optionin viewof Britain's theEEC. These debateswereterminated theSkyboltcrisis, suddenswitchby the by
1955-9 (London: Macmillan,1971),p. 320, quotingdiaryfor 26. Harold Macmillan, Ridingthestorm, 23 Oct. 1957. 27. AndrewJ. Pierre, Nuclearpolitics: British the experience withan independent strategicforce 1939-70 the (London: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 314. On the Macmillan-JFK relationship, basic study remains David Nunnerley, President Kennedyand Britain(London: Bodley Head, 1972).

relationship.27

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Macmillan Polaris,andhisdeal withKennedyat Nassau-which theCabinetcould to only rubber-stamp. Britainwould now remainin the nuclear game, but using American technology. nuclear The relationship re-established between1957and 1962 was specialin moreways thanone: Britain enjoyeduniquelyprivileged access to US and nuclear secrets weapons,butwas to be theonlynuclear powerwithout delivery a of system itsown. Britain'sdeclineand readjustment, Importantor importunate? 1963-73 historicalperiods is an agreeableacademic exercise,but it rarely Distinguishing of to fair corresponds theconfusions therealworld.It is nevertheless to say thatthe in Macmillan'sresignation October 1963 saw a pronounceddeclinein decade after Britain'sspecial importanceto the United States. In part, this was a matterof withJohnson and Nixon Wilsonand Heath neverestablished personalities: rapports to withEisenhower and Kennedy.But thedecline comparable Macmillan'srelations the of had set in during lastchaoticmonths theMacmillanpremiership-deGaulle's veto, Profumo, Philby and a general sense that Edwardian nonchalance was in sixties.The last Macmillan-Kennedy anachronistic the swinging in meeting June 1963 was a sad anticlimax. The underlying reasonwas notpersonalities power.DuringthisdecadeBritain's but residual capability a great as powerwas eroded,andwithitBritain's specialvalueto the The declinewas apparent Europeitself, in whereBritish and ground UnitedStates. air to contributions NATO's CentralFronthad been of particular in significance the 1950s.But theFederalRepublicofGermany (FRG) joinedNATO inMay 1955andin April1957 theSandysDefenceWhitePaper announcedtheend of conscription after to British 1960-a belatedreversion normal peacetime policy.In 1964forthefirst time West Germany'sarmed forcesexceeded those of Britainat 430,000 to 425,000. Moreover,the Britisharmy (like the French) was still spread around the globe, was to whereas Front.The disparity Germany's completely assigned NATO's Central in that crucial theatrewas therefore much greater-274,000 Germans to 53,000 British-and theFRG's troopcontribution evensurpassed thatof theUnitedStates, whose 7th Armyin CentralEurope had been reducedfrom275,000 to 237,000 in 1964.28 are but Manpowerfigures onlya crudemeasureof military strength, theydo indicatethatduringMacmillan'spremiership FRG had replacedBritainas the the Europeanpillarof NATO. This declineinmilitary fundamental reflected economicweakness.In the capability late 1950sand the1960sBritain was unableto keepup notonlywiththesuperpowers In butwithitsEuropeanneighbours. 1951Britain beentheworld'sthird had economic power, measuredin GNP. Ten yearslaterit had been overtaken the FRG, and by was inthird Francewas close behind. 1971Japan By place,followed WestGermany by whileBritain's half and theFrench, GNP was roughly Japan's.29 The Germaneconomic'miracle'and thelaterFrenchmodernization werereflected in in disdainfortheCommunity the institutionally thesuccessof theEEC. Britain's British mid-1950shad been understandable. economicstrategy was to develop the the the tariffs predicted or sterling area,and fewanticipated EEC's successinreducing extent and pace of theGerman-led boom. By 1961 a penitent continental Macmillan
Studies, 1964),pp. 17-18, Institute Strategic for 28. The military balance,1964-5(London: International 21-4. 29. The military balance,1972-3 (London: IISS, 1972),p. 73.

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had opted for entry, government havingbeen assured by Kennedy'that relations between UnitedStates theUK would be strengthened weakened, theUK the and not if moved towards membership'.30 intensity subsequentUS pressureon the The of negotiators showedhow strongly administration aboutthis, thede Gaulle the felt but vetoes of 1963 and 1967 meantthatBritain was in limbo fora decade untilHeath's successful after negotiations theGeneralresigned 1969.Duringthat in time Britain was increasingly bypassedin tJS-European relations, withmuchof America'sdiplomacy directedtowardsthe EEC and, afterthe Frenchwithdrawalfromthe integrated commandof NATO in 1966-7,towardstheFRG. military DuringthisdecadeBritain also provedmuchlesssuccessful a broker as between the twosuperpowers. Macmillan playeda significant inachieving 1963Partial had part the Test Ban Treaty. The Britishwere naturallyinvolved in these discussions as a nuclear-testing power. But the nuclearissue of the later 1960s, leadingup to the SALT I agreements May 1972,was thequestionof controlling of weapons systems. Here thesuperpowers werein a leagueoftheir had influence own,andtheBritish little on thecentral armscontrolnegotiations. The othergreatsuperpower issue of the 1960swas Vietnam. diplomatic Again the British played only a minorrole,despiteWilson's bestendeavours. Under the 1954 and accords,Britain theSovietUnion wereco-chairmen theGenevaConference of on Indochina-another example of how Britain'sprevious status as a great power providedresidualleverage. But Wilson's repeated efforts bringthebelligerents to to the negotiating table,most notablyduringKosygin'svisitto London in February 'I 1967,earnedhimonlyLBJ'sgrowing distrust. won't tellyou how to runMalaysia and you don't tell us how to runVietnam',the President when respondedsharply to Wilsontried temper policyafter bombing NorthVietnam the US of in commenced February1965.31 to LBJ's reference Malaysia is a reminder thatthe British were also embattled in south-east Asia during theseyears, and theyprovedevenless able thantheAmericans to sustain their exposedposition.Sukarno'schallenge theMalaysianfederation to tied down some 30,000British thanin anyother troopsin 1963-4--more conflict sincethe end ofthewar.Although Sukarno'sregime collapsedin 1966,thesustained operation, at a timeof acutefinancial forcedtheCabinetto reassessBritain's crisis, global role. Whenhe cameto powerWilsonhad declared that'We area worldpower,and a world or influence, we arenothing.'32 recurrent But balance-of-payments andthedrain crises on Britain's reserves necessitated retrenchment, and reductions, finally rapidretreat in thewake ofthedevaluation November1967.The Cabinetthendecidedto abandon of thePersianGulfand Singapore theend of 1971 and to giveup any capability by for eastofSuez. The Heathgovernment operation modified policy,butdidnotalter that it fundamentally. Thisprecipitate of relinquishment Britain's worldrolecameas a shockto theUnited States.In December 1964 Denis Healey, the Ministerof Defence,just back from toldtheCabinetthatwhattheAmericans wantedBritain do 'was not to Washington, to maintain in hugebasesbutto keepa foothold Hong Kong,Malaya,thePersianGulf, to enableus to do things thealliancewhichtheycan'tdo.' Healey added that'they for
30. McGeorgeBundyto President, Apr. 1961,NationalSecurity 7 F. Files 170 (John KennedyLibrary, Boston,Mass.). 31. Harold Wilson, The Labour government, 1964-70: a personal record(London: Weidenfeld& Nicolson and MichaelJoseph,1971),p. 80. 32. The Times,17 Nov. 1964,p. 6, reporting Guildhallspeechthepreviousday. his

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thinkthatour forcesare much more usefulto the allianceoutside Europe thanin role was therefore keenly of The abandonment thismajorout-of-area Germany.'33 opposed in Washington.When Foreign SecretaryGeorge Brown reportedthe Dean Rusk forcesin Washington, decisionto withdraw Cabinet's post-devaluation 'Be were horrified. British, George,be British-how can and the StateDepartment The was not abouttheFar us?' pleadedone official.34 mainUS complaint you betray East but the Gulf. It was therethat the Britishposition was deemed especially important. for had therefore muchof itsspecialimportance the lost By theearly1970sBritain United States. Germanyhad replacedBritainas the principalEuropean pillar of the NATO, the EEC was a major focusforAmerica'salliancediplomacy, United economicdecline on relations, Britain's and influence superpower Kingdomhad little or thanit intended the morerapidly it had forced to abandonitsglobalcommitments rather desired.DuringthisperiodBritain had oftenseemedimportunate Americans into for for thanimportant-begging IMF loansto shoreup thepound,begging entry stage.But thiswas a on still theEEC, begging to be takenseriously theinternational as up by managed menbrought on theidea ofBritain change, periodofunprecedented rulerof a quarterof the world. By 1973 Britainwas adjustingto the statusof a to And globalinterests. itremained Europeanpower,albeitwithcontinuing primarily would be affected Britain'snew by relationship be seen how the Anglo-American Europeanidentity. stillspecialin quality Since 1973-a less importantrelationship, Despite the contractionof British power in the 1960s, the Anglo-American over the last decade or so has remainedspecial in quality.In certain relationship order. to for itcontinues be important theUnitedStatesand theinternational respects in valueis theroleoftheRoyal Navy-the secondlargest NATO-in Of particular backedbytheRoyalAirForce(RAF). the Atlantic, guarding Channeland theeastern dovetailwithbroaderallianceneeds,forthe nationalinterests narrowBritish Here is if communications essential NATO is to reinforce the of security thesetransatlantic Frontfrom NorthAmericaas plannedin theeventof Europeanwar. Central of itself British the On thecontinent Army theRhine(BAOR) andRAF contingents (57,000 and 10,000 in 1984) remain much less than the German or American is British But contributions.35 theirsymbolicimportance enormous.Were a future or itselffrom to commitment to extricate government renegeon this continental the would be immense, shaking allianceto probably NATO, theshockinWashington to Whenthat itsfoundations. appearedon thehorizon,as intherun-up the possibility becamemoreconsciousoftheimportance of 1983general election, policy-makers US to the Anglo-American relationship their European policy. The fact that the an in be can is, relationship generally takenforgranted Washington paradoxically, of earnest itsfundamental importance. Britain and Franceremain onlyWestEuropeanpowers the Beyond thecontinent, with a genuineout-of-area military capability.Here both score heavilyover the with NATO continent-bound Germans,but the convolutedFrench relationship The far makesliaisonwithBritain easierfortheUS government. Diego Garciabasing
33. RichardCrossman,The diariesof a Cabinet Minister (London: Hamish Hamiltonand Jonathan for Cape, 1975-7,3 vols.), Vol. 1, p. 95, entry 11 Dec. 1964. 34. Crossman,Diaries,Vol. 2, p. 646. 35. The militarv balance,1984-5 (London: IISS, 1984),pp. 35, 40.

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and in commitment Belize areexamples British arrangements thecontinued of support forUS global deployments. Likewisethespecialitesremain invaluable. The 1947UKUSA agreement stillthe is foundation the intelligence of fromthe mid-1970sof alliance,and the development satellites theprincipal as form international of telecommunications giventheNSA has stationsin Britaina further task as major tracking centres.Also important the to United Statesis the British-based componentof the SOSUS underwater listening systemwhose passive acoustic arrays follow the movementsof Soviet nuclear submarines acrossmuchof theNorthAtlantic. After what some see as a hiatusin the later1960s and early1970s,36 the nuclear relationship been renewedby the agreements 1980. Tridentis scheduledto has of replacePolaris as Britain's'independent strategic nuclearforce'in the 1990s,while cruiseis the contemporary analogue of the US Polaris submarines thatMacmillan agreedto have based on theClyde. The consultative also continuesto flourish.37 relationship Despite criticism, all British maintain substantial a ministries Washington presencein themini-Whitehall on Massachusetts Avenue. At theverytop thelinkshave been strengthened the by rapport betweenPresident but Reaganand Mrs Thatcher, theysubsistindependently of theebb and flowof highpolitics.This was dramatically illustrated events the in by South Atlanticin the springof 1982. Close personalties betweenthe two naval backedby Secretaries and vitalUS logistic establishments, Weinberger Haig, ensured British forces.38 supportfortheover-extended still displays a special In these various ways the Anglo-American relationship it otherAmerican lilnks. And although no qualitythatdistinguishes from diplomatic to of and it longer specialimportance theUnitedStates theinternational order, remains of ties. Nevertheless, one of the most important America'smanybilateral much of now stemsnotfrom intrinsic its Britain's actor(as in utility poweras an independent the 1940s and 1950s), but fromits role as a linch-pinwithinNATO. The naval the the out-of-area connection, continental commitment, capability, specialites-all these are significant withinthe framework the Atlanticalliance ratherthan as of in factors thearithmetic globalpower. of separate A changed international order The point,then, thatalthough Anglo-American is the remains certain in relationship international realities have changedfundamentally. respects special,thelarger
36. JohnSimpson,The independent nuclearstate: the UnitedStates,Britainand the military atom (London: Macmillan,1983),pp. 219-20. 37. An intriguing example of the extentof this diplomaticconsultation the role of Sir Thomas is at Brimelow,then Deputy Under-Secretary the Foreign Office,in drafting the 'Agreementon the prevention nuclearwar' in 1972-3.Thatthisis now virtually of is to forgotten testimony thesuccessof the 'specialrelationship', claimsHenryKissinger. theSovietUnionhad proposedinMay 1972a draft For treaty the underwhichtheUnitedStates and theUSSR would renounce use ofnuclear eachother. weaponsagainst In Washington's view thisimperilled impending the and threatened divide Nixon-Brezhnevsummit to Americafrom allies.According Kissinger, to Brimelowwas secretly its intoUS discussionsand brought given accessto all relevant documentation. playedan invaluable in determining He and role strategy drafting the eventual banal statement dedicationto peace, thereby of defusing whathad been initially regarded in as Yearsofupheaval(London: Weidenfeld Washington a dangerous Sovietdemarche. HenryKissinger, See & Nicolson and MichaelJoseph,1982),pp. 274-86. ElsewhereKissinger, who sees close consultation as central thespecialness therelationship, gone so faras to claimthatduring yearsas National to of has his 'I Security Adviser, kepttheBritish better informed morecloselyengaged and thanI did the ForeignOffice StateDepartment'. HenryKissinger, 'The specialrelationship', Listener, May 1982,p. 16. The 13 38. See The Economist, Mar. 1984,pp. 23-5. 3

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Basic is thecontraction British of power.In theperiodfrom SecondWorldWar the to perhapstheearly1960s,therelationship remained of partnership. United one The Britainincreasingly junior, but it was a tie Stateswas clearlysenior partner, the needderived from characterized mutual Britain's by as independent capability a world power.Over thelasttwenty years, however, Britain becomeprimarily has (thoughby no meansexclusively) regional a as power.Although, we haveseen,theUnitedStates fromthe specialBritish stillderivesevidentbenefits Britain'slinkwith connection, Americais now one of dependence rather thanpartnership. And,as a regional power, Britain'srole is mainlyplayedout withinthe dominant institutions the regionof and the NATO and, gradually painfully, EuropeanCommunity. so Not onlyhas Britain changed, too has Western influence Europe.The distinctive of theBritish thecontinent the 1940sand 1950swas largely on in attributable the to postwarvacuum. Once Germanyhad been revived(albeit in truncated form)and into integrated NATO, Britain's contribution inevitably important. that was less At point,theearly mid-1 to 960s,France'swithdrawal from alliance the gaveBritain new a lease of lifeas a significant continental actor.In recent the years, however, gradualde of facto reintegration France into NATO and the development Franco-German of haveleft Britain on cooperation increasingly theperiphery US-European relations. of this is thatoverthelastdecadeBritain alloweditself Aggravating isolation thefact has to be perceived GaullistFrance'ssuccessorin therole of the'bad European'. as Britain changed. has Western So Europehas changed. too hastheUnitedStates. The allianceand the Europeancrisisof thelater1940s nurtured generation wartime a of American policy-makers the doctrinesof 'Atlanticism':the convictionthat on America'srelations withEurope werefundamental thatBritain and was a particularly axiomsof US policy. In Those are no longerunquestioned important intermediary. partthisis because the 'Atlanticists'-mensuch as Acheson,Rusk and Harrimanhavepassedfrom stage, be replaced leaders the to whoseformative were by experiences oftenVietnamrather than the 1940s. But the 'successorgeneration' a matter is of backgroundas well as age. For the United Statesis a verydifferent country today from fortyyears ago. Wealth and power have shiftedfrom the north-east and of as its Midwest-the powerhouse America itassumed worldrole-to thestates the of west and south. To take the extremeexample,the gross productof the state of is thanthatof all but sevenof theworld'sindustrial California greater nations. The 'natural'orientation these'sunbelt'statesis not towardsthe Atlanticbut of towardsCentralAmericaand the Pacific.And thisgeographical shift America's in coincideswithchanges theethnic in powercentre of composition itspopulation. The to quotasofthe1920sbrought an endthemasstransatlantic that migrations had shaped Americaand sustained living withEurope. Gradually the ties earlytwentieth-century were assimilated, the immigrants but, havingdeclinedsteadilysince the 1910s,the in of roseagaininthe1970s(to 6.2 percent). percentage foreign-born theUnitedStates This time,however,the flow was froma different direction. some 4.3 million Of in admitted thatdecade, only 13 per centcame fromEurope, immigrants officially whereas percentmigrated 41 from Asia and42 percententered from LatinAmerica. In now as particular Hispanic-Americans, calculated 6.5 percentoftheUS population(a marked underestimate given the unpoliceable Mexican border), are the fastestTheir numerical growingminority group.39 increase, coupled withtheirsuccessful
39. AndrewHacker, ed., UIS: a statistical portrait theAmerican of people (New York: Viking,1983), pp. 35-7, 44, 47, based on data from US censusof 1980. the

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in insistence manycitieson theuse ofSpanishas thebasicteaching willhave medium, profoundconsequencesforAmerica'sethnicbalance,sense of identity focusof and For attention thetwenty-first international by century. theEnglishlanguage been has not only on Americanlinks with Britainbut in ensuringan a decisive influence to muchof thiscentury. Atlanticist orientation US foreign policyduring in shift theeconomicand ethnic The gradualbutperceptible balanceof theUnited States away fromEurope has coincidedwith parallelchangesin the international of distribution power.In the1940sand 1950sEuropeseemedthemostdangerous and unstable region of the world. And, despite their decline relativeto the new the of influential 'superpowers', majornations Western worldactors Europeremained of and, as both producersand consumers, major determinants world trade.By the real early1970s,however, Europehad achieved stability withthefirst of half compared thecentury. The superpowers werelearning live witheach otheracrossa divided to continent theonce intractable and 'Germanproblem'had reached defactoresolution. of Despite theupheavalsof theearly1980s,theachievements detente and Ostpolitik have not been subsequently negated. In the1980sthemainareasofinstability, faras theUnitedStatesis concerned, as are in the Middle East, CentralAmericaand partsof Asia. These regions,rather than arenasofsuperpower Europe, also seemtheprincipal conflict. Demands in Congress fora diminished military in Europe (therecurrent role Mansfield and now Nunn US strike responsive a chordin manyAmericans, amendments) at particularly a timeof the acutebudgetdeficits. ties Economically, mostcritical fortheUnitedStatesareno longerwithWesternEurope butJapan,whose challengeto Americanindustry and constitute parasitic military relationship majorissuesin US politics.Otherdeveloping Pacificnationssuch as South Korea are also industrial rivalsin certain sectors.The trendseems clear. In 1982, for the firsttime this century, long-term America's tradein value. The Pacificregion, tradeexceededitstrans-Atlantic trans-Pacific with its sixtyper centof theworld'spopulation, two mostadvancedindustrial statesand mostof itsfastest economiesis likelyin thefuture provethedynamic to growing part of the international order as well as a chronicarea of instability. consequent Its for importance US policycan only increase.

An incongruous relationship Britain? for The Anglo-American relationship maystillhave a specialqualityand a continued, if greatly reduced,international importance. However, it enduresin a fundamentally world from that of 1945. It is not simply that Britain has changed, 4ifferent in role.Western diminishing powerto a largely and regional Europe,theUnitedStates, theinternational havechanged well.Much ofthat orderitself as has in change occurred thelastdecadeor so-to a degree that often is hardto perceive, aloneaccommodate. let This complex, morepluralistic, Atlantic-centred less worldhas to be bornein mind as we assess theplace of theAnglo-American in relationship current British foreign out policy. Is it now a somewhatincongruous relationship, of step with some of Britain'scurrent needs and aspirations? The specialites, for instance,are largelya legacy of the 1940s and 1950s when Britainwas stilla world power. Today, does Britain needthesameglobalintelligence or now ofgreater capability, is that benefit to the United States?Does the rejuvenated transatlantic nuclearrelationship prevent closer European cooperation?Is it an extravagance with an today, particularly

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impendingcrisis in the defencebudget? Does Britain'ssubstantialbureaucratic an presence in Washingtonstill fulfil important role, or is it overblown?Is the itselfincreasingly tensionwith Britain'sidentity a consultative in relationship as member of the European Community?The contradictory pulls that Britain over the 'Year of Europe' in 1973 have recurred experienced since,especiallyover policy towardsIsrael,and theyare likelyto be a feature debatesovertheStrategic of Defence Initiative itsEuropeanrival,'Eureka'. and In short,can Britain stillhave its cake and eat it? Does Britainenjoy a privileged positionas transatlantic between UnitedStatesand Europe?Or does the intermediary it fallbetweentwo stools: an increasingly if irrelevant, well-loved, in poor relation and a 'bad European' in a continent dominatedby the Washington, increasingly Franco-German axis? At roothereis thequestionofwhether Britain's readjustment therankofa mainly to European power impliesa markedreduction the broad community strategic in of the interests underpinned Anglo-American that alliancein the1940sand 1950s.Now thatBritain no longera worldpower,does ithavethesameinterest US globalism is in as ithad indayswhencommunist in Asia or Nasserite insurgents south-east radicalism in theMiddleEast could be seenas commonenemies? This is particularly problematic is when a US administration preoccupiedwithits statusas a superpower locked in withtheSovietUnion. HenryKissinger globalideologicalrivalry posed theessential issuein 1973whenhe highlighted contrast the between interests a globalpower the of and thoseofitsregional for is allies.40 problem Britain whether mainly The its (though not exclusively) interests in thefuture better be regional may protected through fuller to commitment theregional it organization has entered (theEuropeanCommunity), in in giventheincipient realignments US foreign policyand theshifts theinternational of pattern power. This is a pertinent of question, posed acutely thedevelopments thelastdecadeor by mustnotbe exaggerated. as theAnglo-American so. But thechanges Just relationship so of has endured, too has NATO. In a century incessant, bewildering changeit has one proveda remarkable survivor, each of which, surmounting 'crisis'after another, The debate about strengthening the pundits assured us, sounded its death-knell. WesternEuropean cooperationusually assumes the continuedexistenceof that nuclearumbrella. Atlanticallianceand theAmerican For, as long as one of the two it 'superpowers'is perceivedas a majorthreat, will be hardforthediversestatesof of Western Europe not to look towardstheotherforthefundamentals their security. bonds of culture,values and trade have Underpinning NATO, the transatlantic For In persisted. some cases theyhave been strengthened. instance, nearlyhalfthe abroad is in Europe41 -a markedincreasesince the United States'directinvestment immediate postwarera. A historian the Anglo-American of can relationship point,then,to elementsof as in continuity well as change.The changesarepronounced, particularly thelasttwo decades-changes in British power,Europe's internal balance,America'scharacter, and theoverallpattern international of Taken together relations. the they suggest need the to reassessfundamentally diplomatictraditions Britainhas inherited fromthe 1940s and 1950s, of which the idea of a pre-eminent, with two-wayrelationship
in 40. See his 'Year of Europe' speechof 23 Apr. 1973,printed HenryA. Kissinger, American foreign policy(New York: Norton, 1974),p. 168. 41. PhilWilliams, 'The UnitedStates'commitment Western to Europe: strategic ambiguity political and disintegration?', International Affairs, Spring1983,Vol. 59, No. 2, p. 200.

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AMERICA,

BRITAIN

AND THE INTERNATIONAL

ORDER

Americais a notableexample. Yet theelements continuity also apparent. of are After more thanforty yearstheAnglo-American withits undoubtedspecial relationship, has qualityand specialfeatures, been woven intothefabric British of foreign policy and into thetangled thatis NATO. The conclusions thisrapidhistorical tapestry of survey,therefore, point in somewhatcontradictory directions, with particularly to regard future British foreign policy.Arethebondsofthe'specialrelationship' now a on restraint Britain's diplomacy? Yet, after long,can theyeasilybe untied? so

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