Thomas Robb
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Wilson returns 1974–76

Chapter 4 charts the conduct of US–UK relations following the return to office of Harold Wilson in March 1974. Wilson sought to re-establish closer US–UK relations and hoped it would engender a level of influence on US policy and that, in turn, it would allow the British to play a more decisive and influential world role. Wilson, however, was ultimately unsuccessful because his continual defence cutbacks to the UK military weakened the utility of Britain as an ally for the US, and the Cyprus crisis of 1974 demonstrated that British policy-makers had limited influence over US policy. Wilson’s defence cuts would be a constant irritant to Washington and again the intelligence and nuclear relationship between the two countries was utilised as a diplomatic tool by Washington to convince Wilson to limit the scope of his defence cuts. Ultimately, such efforts proved rather ineffectual. Yet, this chapter balances such judgments by demonstrating that political cooperation between the two sides remained remarkably close. Wilson continued to support the main currents of US international policy, and, even though threats were made about its cancellation, the nuclear and intelligence partnership continued.

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A strained partnership?

US–UK relations in the era of détente, 1969–77


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