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Harold Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Anglo-American relations ‘at the summit’, 1964–68
Author: Jonathan Colman

This book is based mainly on government sources, namely material from the White House, State Department, Foreign Office (FO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Prime Minister's Office (PREM) and Cabinet (CAB). Private papers consulted include those of Harold Wilson, Foreign Secretary George Brown and Undersecretary of State George Ball. The book explores a period of the Wilson-Johnson relationship. It considers the seven weeks from Wilson's election until he went to see Lyndon B. Johnson on 7-9 December, a formative period in which Britain cultivated American financial support and which saw pre-summit diplomacy over the NATO Multilateral Force (MLF). The book covers the summit in detail, examining the diplomatic exchanges over the Vietnam War, the British commitment East of Suez and the MLF, as well as the interplay of personality between Wilson and Johnson. By exploring the relationship of the two leaders in the years 1964-1968, it seeks to examine their respective attitudes to the Anglo-American relationship. The book then assesses the significance of an alleged Anglo-American strategic-economic 'deal', Wilson's 'Commonwealth Peace Mission' to Vietnam, and another Wilson visit to Washington. It also considers why the personal relationship between Johnson and Wilson suffered such strain when the Labour government 'dissociated' the UK from the latest American measures in Vietnam. Next, the book addresses the period from August 1966-September 1967, during which Wilson launched an intense but abortive effort to initiate peace negotiations over Vietnam, and London announced plans to withdraw from military bases East of Suez.

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US–UK relations in the era of détente, 1969–77
Author: Thomas Robb

This is the first monograph length study that charts the coercive diplomacy of the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford as practiced against their British ally in order to persuade Edward Heath’s government to follow a more amenable course throughout the ‘Year of Europe’ and to convince Harold Wilson’s governments to lessen the severity of proposed defence cuts. Such diplomacy proved effective against Heath but rather less so against Wilson. It is argued that relations between the two sides were often strained, indeed, to the extent that the most ‘special’ elements of the relationship, that of intelligence and nuclear co-operation, were suspended. Yet, the relationship also witnessed considerable co-operation. This book offers new perspectives on US and UK policy towards British membership of the European Economic Community; demonstrates how US détente policies created strain in the ‘special relationship’; reveals the temporary shutdown of US-UK intelligence and nuclear co-operation; provides new insights in US-UK defence co-operation, and revaluates the US-UK relationship throughout the IMF Crisis.

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Harold Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson: a ‘special relationship’?
Jonathan Colman

implications for the Johnson–Wilson relationship, as it saw the devaluation of sterling and the demise of the remaining British commitment East of Suez. As 1968 ended, the White House was more inclined to regard Britain simply as one ally among many, rather than a state with whom there was some kind of ‘specialrelationship. The Anglo-American relationship, 1964–68 There has been the suggestion that the Anglo

in A ‘special relationship’?
Thomas Robb

preferential treatment in its dealings with the IMF so it could maintain its defence commitments. In essence, when the Labour government of James Callaghan needed the US–UK’s special relationship to deliver material benefits, it came up rather short. The context of the IMF crisis Whilst this chapter is focused predominantly upon the political–diplomatic US–UK relationship, the economic context to the IMF crisis needs to be explained in order to contextualise the wider political issue. Throughout 1974–76, the Wilson government had implemented a series of public expenditure

in A strained partnership?
Thomas Robb

latest US Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile nuclear weapons system) would be sold to the UK, he refused to yield.91 Further to this, Kissinger also instructed US Treasury Secretary George Shultz to stop any special information being given to the British pertaining to ongoing monetary discussions. As he reasoned: ‘I want to get your area synchronized with ours so that they [Britain] can’t claim a special relationship 03_Strained_partnership_073-127.indd 88 06/11/2013 13:45 A year of discord 89 in one field and really put it to us in other fields’.92 In sum, under

in A strained partnership?
Open Access (free)
Thomas Robb

1 Introduction American leaders saw it [to be] in their self-interest to obtain British advice before taking major decisions. It was an extraordinary relationship because it rested on no legal claim; it was formalized by no document; it was carried forward by succeeding British governments as if no alternatives were conceivable. Britain’s influence was great precisely because it never insisted on it; the ‘special relationship’ demonstrated the value of intangibles. Henry Kissinger’s assessment of the US–UK ‘special relationship’1 Introduction The above quote

in A strained partnership?
Open Access (free)
Jonathan Colman

‘thought his friendship with Johnson was harmony itself’. 4 John Dickie maintains that ‘Even the most ardent Atlanticists were surprised at the sudden cooling of the Special Relationship so soon after the end of the Kennedy– Macmillan era’. In particular, Wilson’s prime ministership ‘set the scene for a decline which continued for fifteen years until Margaret Thatcher rekindled the special warmth of the partnership with Ronald

in A ‘special relationship’?
Open Access (free)
Thomas Robb

US, they would simply have to wait until the EEC had formulated a common position before negotiations could proceed further. Heath’s actions were viewed with incredulity in Washington, because his policy was effectively scuppering any hope of a quick foreign policy success – which Nixon personally wanted to distract attention from his Watergate troubles. More substantively, Heath’s decision was seen to mark the end of close US–UK diplomacy, and both Nixon and Kissinger talked about the end of the ‘special relationship’.12 However, Kissinger was determined that his

in A strained partnership?
Thomas Robb

no fault of President Nixon’s if the special relationship languished’.3 As the argument runs, Heath was determined to attain membership of the EEC because this would bolster a stagnant British economy, and promote Britain’s international influence. France, having vetoed British membership on two previous occasions in 1963 and 1967, had to be convinced that Britain could be a ‘European country’. Accordingly, Heath disassociated from the US–UK special relationship in order to prove his European credentials, and thus undermine the perennial French fear that Britain

in A strained partnership?
Jonathan Colman

February On 11 February, Housing Minister Richard Crossman contended that Britain had put itself ‘in the hands of American politicians’, because of Wilson’s determination to ‘recreate the Anglo-American axis, the special relationship between Britain and America’. 1 Although Wilson sought close ties with the White House, it is clear that if President Johnson wanted any such close relationship it would be

in A ‘special relationship’?