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Harold Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Anglo-American relations ‘at the summit’, 1964–68

This book is based mainly on government sources, namely material from the White House, State Department, Foreign Office (FO), Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Prime Minister's Office (PREM) and Cabinet (CAB). Private papers consulted include those of Harold Wilson, Foreign Secretary George Brown and Undersecretary of State George Ball. The book explores a period of the Wilson-Johnson relationship. It considers the seven weeks from Wilson's election until he went to see Lyndon B. Johnson on 7-9 December, a formative period in which Britain cultivated American financial support and which saw pre-summit diplomacy over the NATO Multilateral Force (MLF). The book covers the summit in detail, examining the diplomatic exchanges over the Vietnam War, the British commitment East of Suez and the MLF, as well as the interplay of personality between Wilson and Johnson. By exploring the relationship of the two leaders in the years 1964-1968, it seeks to examine their respective attitudes to the Anglo-American relationship. The book then assesses the significance of an alleged Anglo-American strategic-economic 'deal', Wilson's 'Commonwealth Peace Mission' to Vietnam, and another Wilson visit to Washington. It also considers why the personal relationship between Johnson and Wilson suffered such strain when the Labour government 'dissociated' the UK from the latest American measures in Vietnam. Next, the book addresses the period from August 1966-September 1967, during which Wilson launched an intense but abortive effort to initiate peace negotiations over Vietnam, and London announced plans to withdraw from military bases East of Suez.

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Anglo-American relations and the intangibles of ‘specialness’

This book examines how intangible aspects of international relations – including identity, memory, representation, and symbolic perception – have helped to stimulate and sustain the Anglo-American special relationship. Drawing together world-leading and emergent scholars, this volume breaks new ground by applying the theories and methodologies of the ‘cultural turn’ in diplomatic history to the study of Anglo-American relations. It contends that matters of culture have been far more important to the special relationship than previously allowed in a field hitherto dominated by interest-based interpretations of American and British foreign policies. Fresh analyses of cultural symbols, discourses, and ideologies fill important gaps in our collective understanding of the special relationship’s operation and expose new analytical spaces in which we can re-evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Designed to breathe new life into old debates about the relationship’s purported specialness, this book offers a multidisciplinary exploration of literary representations, screen representations, political representations, representations in memory, and the roles of cultural connections and constructs that have historically influenced elite decision-making and sculpted popular attitudes toward and expectations of the special relationship. This book will be of particular interest to students and informed readers of Anglo-American relations, foreign policy, and diplomatic history, as well as all those who are interested in the power of culture to impact international relations.

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

This is the first monograph length study that charts the coercive diplomacy of the administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford as practiced against their British ally in order 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. Such diplomacy proved effective against Heath but rather less so against Wilson. It is argued that relations between the two sides were often strained, indeed, to the extent that the most ‘special’ elements of the relationship, that of intelligence and nuclear co-operation, were suspended. Yet, the relationship also witnessed considerable co-operation. This book offers new perspectives on US and UK policy towards British membership of the European Economic Community; demonstrates how US détente policies created strain in the ‘special relationship’; reveals the temporary shutdown of US-UK intelligence and nuclear co-operation; provides new insights in US-UK defence co-operation, and revaluates the US-UK relationship throughout the IMF Crisis.

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Robert M. Hendershot
Steve Marsh

Culture, both as a focus of analysis and as an applied methodology, has long been marginalized in the study of the Anglo-American special relationship in favor of (neo)realist and functionalist analyses centered upon power, interest, and mutual utility calculations. The product is a substantial (and increasingly conspicuous) historiographical gap in the field, and within the extant literature frequent but unsatisfying allusions to the influence of ‘sentiment’ and anecdotal emotional ties within relations between the United States and the United Kingdom. By

in Culture matters
Steve Marsh

INTRODUCTION Anglo-American relations assumed their modern form as a result of pre-existing sentiment, interests, and shared experiences being given shape through discourse and, especially, their encapsulation in a simple, easily identifiable, and preferential nomenclature: the special relationship. Yet there is an anomaly in play. On the one hand, the term is nowadays instantly recognizable shorthand for Anglo-American relations. On the other, it gained political and popular traction only from the 1950s onwards, after the objective peak of what it is

in Culture matters
Anglo-American ironies under Clinton, Blair, and Bush
David Ryan

INTRODUCTION Culture matters – it united Clinton and Blair, then Blair and Bush. They inherited and shared a political discourse, shared memories constructed on the ‘special relationship,’ a shared propensity to lead, a cultural affinity, and personal friendships. When British prime minister Tony Blair entered 10 Downing Street in 1997, his close relations with US presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush began another chapter in the affinity between US and UK leaders built on the famous relationship that Churchill coined as ‘special’ in Fulton, Missouri in

in Culture matters
P. G. Wodehouse, transatlantic romances in fiction, and the Anglo-American relationship
Finn Pollard

-American Centenary Projects and the Lincoln Statue Controversy, 1910–1927, ’ in T. G. Otte , The Age of Anniversaries: The Cult of Commemoration, 1895–1925 ( London : Routledge , 2018 ), 126 – 146 . 69 Grey of Fallodon, Twenty-Five Years: 1892–1916 ( London : Hodder & Stoughton , 1926 ), Vol. II, 85 . The whole chapter (pp. 83 – 98 ) is instructive on the relationship. See also David G. Haglund , ‘ Is There a “Strategic Culture” of the Special Relationship? Contingency, Identity, and the Transformation of Anglo-American Relations, ’ in Alan P. Dobson and

in Culture matters
Open Access (free)
Harold Wilson and Lyndon B. Johnson: a ‘special relationship’?
Jonathan Colman

implications for the Johnson–Wilson relationship, as it saw the devaluation of sterling and the demise of the remaining British commitment East of Suez. As 1968 ended, the White House was more inclined to regard Britain simply as one ally among many, rather than a state with whom there was some kind of ‘specialrelationship. The Anglo-American relationship, 1964–68 There has been the suggestion that the Anglo

in A ‘special relationship’?
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German–Israeli relations between past and future
Lorena De Vita

– including, but not limited to, the German–Israeli case – are not defined by overall constant harmony. Rather, they are supported by the existence of cooperative frameworks that allow countries or groups to manage or resolve differences. As later events illustrate only too well, the formalisation of diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic and Israel in 1965 did not reduce the difficulties characterising much of the ‘special relationship’. These included the mutual recriminations in the wake of the 1973 war; 35 sorrow and outrage following the massacre of the

in Israelpolitik
Thomas Robb

preferential treatment in its dealings with the IMF so it could maintain its defence commitments. In essence, when the Labour government of James Callaghan needed the US–UK’s special relationship to deliver material benefits, it came up rather short. The context of the IMF crisis Whilst this chapter is focused predominantly upon the political–diplomatic US–UK relationship, the economic context to the IMF crisis needs to be explained in order to contextualise the wider political issue. Throughout 1974–76, the Wilson government had implemented a series of public expenditure

in A strained partnership?