United States defence bases in the United Kingdom
The main concerns of the study, covering the years 1945-84, are arrangements that have been made for the use of military bases in the United Kingdom by United States forces. The subject is examined within a chronological framework. The development of the United States military presence is traced, from the earliest Joint Chiefs of Staff plans in 1945 and the Spaatz- Tedder agreement in 1946, which gave the United States permission to deploy certain forces in the United Kingdom in time of emergency. The 1948 Berlin Crisis led to the arrival of bombers in East Anglia which was the first major post-war deployment of United States forces to Britain. It was stated that it would be for a period of temporary duty. In fact the bases have remained from that day to this, though their number and types have varied over time. The Korean War proved to be the next major turning point. It increased demands upon the Attlee government for an agreement defining the conditions of use of United States bases in the United Kingdom. The subsequent Truman- Attlee, and later Truman-Churchill, meetings resulted in the key phrase: the use of bases would be 'a matter for joint decision ... in the light of circumstances prevailing at the time.' Different interpretations have been placed on these words at different times. The years 1950-57 saw a consolidation of the United States military presence, with Britain's importance as an intelligence base also growing. The dawning of the missile age symbolised by the first Soviet earth satellite in 1957, the agreement in the same year to deploy Thor missiles, and the deployment of Polaris to Holy Loch in 1960, raised questions regarding the adequacy of the earlier agreements on the conditions of use. This factor, alongside the development of a distinct European identity of which Britain has become a part, has led to a questioning of American hegemony within NATO. The arrival of cruise missiles in 1983 gave added urgency to the debate. Whilst it may be generally recognized that the bases make a substantial contribution to the United Kingdom's defences, the need for clarification of the uses to which the bases can be put by United States forces remains.