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Title: Anglo-American relations during the Nixon years
Author: Spelling, Alexander Richard James
ISNI:       0000 0001 3473 8423
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2008
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Perhaps the most enduring element in British foreign policy during the last sixty years has been the 'special relationship' with the US. This thesis concerns the promulgation of relations during the presidency of Richard Nixon (January 1969 - August 1974). The academic literature on the Nixon era has tended to focus on 'big', provocative issues like the Vietnam War or Superpower relations, and the personality traits of the President, such as the abuses of power and the events stemming from the Watergate break-in which precipitated his resignation. However, the Anglo-American relationship and Atlantic Alliance have yet to receive much detailed archival attention. Nixon's presidency coincided with one of the most difficult periods in Anglo- American relations. It was book-ended by the presence of Labour governments led by Harold Wilson, who placed the maintenance and cultivation of Atlantic relations at the forefront of British overseas policy. However, under Edward Heath's Conservative government (June 1970 - February 1974), the overriding priority was taking Britain into the EEC, giving the country a new identity and establishing a genuine partnership with its European neighbours. According to the existing historiography, this approach apparently involved a measured. impartiality towards 'special' political and personal relations with the US, which jarred with Nixon and his National Security Advisor, later Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Heath's attitude and philosophy is seen as an aberration amongst post-war British Prime Ministers and one yet to be repeated. Britain's closer association with Europe coincided with growing strains In USEuropean relations due to a combination of interrelated issues, including EEC enlargement, US trade and monetary problems, US-Soviet detente, and the future of NATO. These developments reached a climax during Kissinger's 1973 'Year of Europe' initiative, the October Middle-East War and subsequent energy crisis. AngloAmerican relations are thought to have reached a nadir as Brit'ain sided with its European partners; rather than its US ally. This thesis, however, wiII argue that, except for a few months in 197 I and the period following the Year of Europe initiative, bilateral relations under Heath were for the most part good, particularly at an intergovernmental level. And the return of the Labour Party to pow~r in March 1974 certainly witnessed a concerted effort to restore Anglo-American relations to their previous intimate nature.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available