This book is an international history of the US-UK ‘special relationship’ during the 1970s which analyses the security, diplomatic, economic and political interaction, co-operation, competition and coercion between the two nations. It is the first monograph-length study to chart the coercive diplomacy practiced by the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford against its British ally during the ‘era of détente’, 1969–77. This included attempts 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. As this book shows, such diplomacy proved effective against Heath but rather less so against Wilson.
By drawing on a wide variety of American and British sources, including recently declassified archival material from both sides of the Atlantic, this volume provides a fresh interpretation to the study of the ‘special relationship’ that challenges a number of existing views. It argues that relations between the two sides were often strained, even to the extent that the most ‘special’ elements of the relationship, that of intelligence and nuclear co-operation, were suspended.
A strained partnership? offers new perspectives on US and UK policy towards British membership of the European Economic Community, demonstrates how détente policies created strain in the ‘special relationship’, provides new insights on defence co-operation and re-evaluates the US-UK relationship throughout the IMF Crisis. It will be invaluable to both scholars and students interested in international relations, Cold War History, the US-UK ‘special relationship’ and US and UK political and diplomatic history during the twentieth century.