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Title: A foregone conclusion? : the United States, Britain and the Trident missile agreements, 1977-1982
Author: Doyle, Suzanne
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 0922
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2015
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Only recently have declassified government documents on the United States sale of Trident nuclear missiles to the United Kingdom become available. As such, the Trident agreements of 1980 and 1982 have received little scholarly attention. This thesis provides the first focused study of the negotiations on the supply of Trident C4 and D5 missiles. It does this by drawing upon material from the British National Archives, the Jimmy Carter Library and the Ronald Reagan Library. Specifically, the research focuses on the ways in which the interests of the United States influenced the Trident negotiations and British decisionmaking on the successor to Polaris. This approach eschews the Anglo-centric framework that dominates research on the US-UK nuclear relationship. This US-centred approach demonstrates the contingency of the Trident negotiations. Both the Reagan and Carter administrations were hard-headed in their discussions with the British over the supply of Trident, and only consented to do so when it suited Washington. Furthermore, both administrations drove a hard bargain over the terms of sale, and sought to derive the greatest possible benefit from the deal. US geostrategic interests, economic realities and domestic politics influenced the actions of White House officials throughout. The sale of Trident only brought modest benefits. As such, both US administrations viewed it as helpful to assist the British when it coalesced with their overall interests. However, if a Polaris replacement clashed with the priorities of the administration, they disregarded British interests. As such, the Trident agreements were not a ‘foregone conclusion’ due to the logic of Cold War ‘deterrence’, or long-standing US-UK nuclear cooperation, but negotiations heavily influenced by the context of the time. As such, the study reveals the ways in which the broader political concerns of the United States interacted with the US-UK nuclear relationship and nuclear decision-making.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available