Towards atomic partnership
in The American bomb in Britain
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This chapter examines the ways in which Anglo-American relations were complicated by British aspirations to become an independent nuclear power while pressing the US for technical assistance. From the outset, US authorities considered the possibility of the direct supply of atomic weapons to Britain in return for their abandoning the nuclear aspiration. In 1950, a new effort was made to secure British agreement to forego their own atomic bomb, and included transferring the custody and use of some US weapons to UK. Congressional concerns about British reliability and security stalled these plans, but as Soviet air power grew and Britain made successful progress with developing atomic weapons and nuclear capable bombers, a new concordat emerged.

The American bomb in Britain

US Air Forces’ strategic presence, 1946–64


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