A year of discord 1973–74
in A strained partnership?

Chapter 3 shows how the Nixon–Heath relationship deteriorated to such an extent that both Nixon and Kissinger would declare that the special relationship was over. Indeed, both intelligence and nuclear collaboration between the two sides were suspended on a number of occasions at Washington’s behest. This chapter highlights that US–UK relations had assumed a virtually antagonistic agenda because of differences surrounding what Henry Kissinger termed the ‘Year of Europe’. It is also in this chapter that the Nixon-Kissinger notion of coercive diplomacy, as usually associated with their diplomacy towards the USSR, Red China and North Vietnam, was also applied to their handling of the US-UK relationship. Therefore, in order to encourage Edward Heath to take a more positive attitude towards the ‘Year of Europe’; to persuade him to support the US’s Middle East diplomacy, and to convince the prime minister to side with the United States at the Washington Energy Conference, the United States, largely under the direction of Henry Kissinger, suspended nuclear and intelligence cooperation with their British ally and made a number of threats regarding future security commitments to Europe and to the world economic system. As shown, this had the desired effect upon London and resulted in Heath changing policy course.

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A strained partnership?

US–UK relations in the era of détente, 1969–77

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