The Origins and Cost of the UK’s Special Relationship with the USA

The Origins and Cost of the UK’s Special Relationship with the USA If, as is intended by the current Conservative government, Brexit leads Britain to seek a trade treaty with the United States, will our oft-claimed ‘special relationship’ with that country make it generous to us in negotiation, or will it behave normally and pursue its national interest without inhibition? This examination of the origins of the special relationship indicates that, from the start, it has been a relationship that is more servile than influential. There appear to be no grounds for expecting generosity.1 The idea that there should be a special relationship between Britain and the United States after the Second World War was launched in March 1946 by Winston Churchill in the famous speech he made at Fulton, Missouri, warning that an Iron Curtain was coming down across Europe. His words were: Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organisation will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. This is no time for generalities, and I will venture to be precise. Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges. It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world. This would perhaps double the mobility of the American Navy and Air Force. It would greatly expand that of the British Empire Forces and it might well lead, if and as the world calms down, to important financial savings. Already we use together a large number of islands; more may well be entrusted to our joint care in the near future. The close wartime military relationship between the United States and Britain came about because after Pearl Harbor in December 1941 all the other major powers in the world, apart from Russia and China, were the enemies of both countries or were occupied by their enemies. Consequently, the two nations were thrown together. The British and Americans joined forces to defeat their enemies, and in doing so they developed military co-operation of extraordinary intimacy and informality. Exceptional circumstances produced an exceptional bilateral relationship. It was not realistic to expect that relationship to be perpetuated after the war, for the United States was sure to re-establish relations with the liberated and defeated nations and to pursue its national interests vis-à-vis them. It would not be in its interests to give exceptional attention to Britain. But clearly perpetuation is what Churchill sought. In 1939 Britain was still an imperial power with armed forces greater than those of the United States, which was then an isolationist nation, insulated from invasion by the oceans. By the end of the war the position had been totally reversed. While the US had greatly increased its economic and military strength, Britain was ruined.2 Britain, while it was provided by the US with free imports under Lend-Lease to keep it fighting after it stood alone, neglected exports and raised military expenditure to 50 per cent of GDP. Consequently, when the US abruptly stopped Lend-Lease at the end of the war, Britain could not pay for essential imports. In 1946, bread rationing, which had never been applied during the war, was introduced, and Keynes was sent to Washington to seek a loan. With no bargaining power, all he could obtain was a mean loan on harsh conditions. Anti-colonial hostility to Britain, which was common in the American press and Congress, found expression in the view that Britain and its empire should not be propped up. Remarkably, these humiliating events did not cause the British government and people to feel resentment and anger against the US. Attention was diverted by the onset of the Cold War and the introduction of the Marshall Plan, events in which Britain played a prominent part despite its position of weakness. In March 1947 the Americans took over from an enfeebled Britain the task of financing and organising the defence of Greece against its communist uprising. At the same time they adopted the Truman Doctrine that it is ‘the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures’. The countries of western Europe were then in such a wretched economic condition, and the communist parties in France and Italy were becoming so strong, that in June the Americans put forward the Marshall Plan: they told the European nations that if they would get together and formulate a plan for economic recovery, the United States would support them with dollar aid. There followed a period of hectic economic conferences in Paris in which a ‘plan’ was put together, the core of which was an estimate of the ‘dollar gap’ of the countries of western Europe over the next three years. It was presented to Congress, which voted the money for it in March 1948. In this period Britain, from being a (financially dependent) partner of the US in the liberation of its neighbours on the Continent, was driven to join them as a beggar from the Americans. In doing so it became by force of circumstances the lead beggar, a task it took on with gratitude. Its behaviour at this time can be likened to that of an eldest daughter who, having been loyal to mother (America) while the other children in the family disgraced themselves (by aggression or being occupied), was now lining them up to hold out their begging bowls to mother. Britain was doing its duty to its younger siblings, and was enjoying the feeling of being the child closest to mother. It suited the Americans to have the British act as their agent; it suited the Europeans (apart perhaps from the French) to have the British lead the begging. The circumstances that put Britain in this position were many. During the war it had taken part with the US in planning how the liberated countries and conquered Germany should be dealt with. British civil servants, diplomats, and economists initially played a dominant part in the international secretariats that were set up to implement the Marshall Plan and, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic Alliance. The primary working language was English, which meant that the British commonly took the lead in drafting documents. They knew how to get things done in a manner that satisfied their American former partners. And Britain had a supremely able mandarin, Oliver Franks, who led the Marshall Plan negotiations in Paris to the satisfaction of the Europeans and Americans. Compared with Britain, the other countries of Europe lacked immediate strength on the international stage: Germany was defeated and still almost an outlaw, Italy was close to having a communist government and probably would have had one but for massive CIA intervention in Italy’s 1948 election; Spain was still a fascist outcast. France was an exception. It had weak elected governments that fell frequently and were challenged by the communists, and its army was bogged down in Indo-China. But it had strong machinery for economic government under the leadership of Jean Monnet, that extraordinary master of the French economy and visionary of a United Europe. He shaped the French economy as elected governments came and went. And France was well represented in the secretariats. Britain also led western Europe in the negotiations with the United States over the creation of the Atlantic Alliance and NATO that took place soon after the negotiation of the Marshall Plan. Oliver Franks, now British ambassador to Washington, took a leading part as Britain again played eldest sister. In military matters, one can see in retrospect that Britain’s potential bargaining power was not as weak as it was in economic matters. It had military assets, or ‘bargaining chips’. First and foremost, Britain was an island off the continent of Europe of the greatest strategic importance to the United States. But rather than exploiting its assets in the national self-interest it gave them away freely to the US; furthermore, it grossly overburdened the British economy with military expenditure in order to please the Americans. The main justification for this policy, expressed in government statements of the time, was the fear that the Russians would invade western Europe, and that the United States would go isolationist and abandon Europe as it had after the First World War if the Europeans, led by Britain, did not show willingness to defend themselves: Britain must set an example. Remarkably, the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons, by now possessed by both the Soviet Union and the United States, was ignored. (The USSR first tested an atomic bomb in August 1949.) Britain’s policy of surrendering its military assets to the US began secretly in the summer of 1940 when, after the fall of France, it stood alone, threatened with invasion from across the Channel by Hitler. In these desperate circumstances, Churchill was persuaded by Sir Henry Tizard, a British scientist who had been involved in the development of radar, backed by Britain’s ambassador in Washington, Lord Lothian, to make the extraordinary gesture of offering to the United States, a neutral country, all the secrets of radar and other scientific apparatus of war that Britain was developing.3 Piecemeal bargaining by the armed forces of the two nations to exchange scientific secrets had led nowhere. The hope was that by sending a top-level mission of scientists, accompanied by military officers familiar with the use in combat of the new inventions, to talk freely with their opposite numbers in the US, they would cause their counterparts to open up, compare discoveries, and agree to future scientific co-operation. A further aim was to be able to order supplies of electronic apparatus from the big American electrical and telecommunications industry. And, not least, the mission was seen as a means of bringing America closer to Britain’s side. The minutes of the first meeting of the mission, held in London on 10 August 1940, record that the chairman, Sir Henry Tizard, ‘emphasised that it was quite likely that we should give more than we received, but the object of the mission was largely to create goodwill. In general, he proposed to pass on full information about matters which had already reached a fairly advanced stage of development, but only very general indications of the lines on we were working on subjects which were still in the very early stages.’4 The secrets to be revealed ranged across the board and included anti-submarine devices and jet propulsion, of which ‘details of the position in general terms’ but ‘no technical details’ were to be given.5 The other scientists on the mission, chosen by Tizard, were John Cockcroft, a distinguished physicist, and Edward Bowen, a young radar scientist. The mission was remarkably successful. Each side discovered that the other had more to offer than it had expected. The British had one particularly valuable asset in their hands, the magnetron, a revolutionary little piece of apparatus, just invented, for generating ultra-short radio waves. This was to be at the heart of the subsequent development of Allied radar. Close scientific co-operation followed. At the time that Churchill approved the Tizard mission, he was negotiating with Roosevelt a deal whereby Britain, desperately short of warships and threatened by invasion, would allow the US to establish military bases on ninety-nine-year rent-free leases at eight British possessions in the West Indies and other parts of the north Atlantic coast, in exchange for fifty obsolete, mothballed American destroyers of First World War vintage. The deal, which was concluded on 2 September 1940, can be seen to have been heavily one-sided, but for Britain desperately necessary. Once the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war in December 1941, its military forces were effectively invited to establish bases and operate in Britain in whatever manner furthered the joint effort to liberate Europe. Britain offered its assets to its dominant ally unreservedly – and with little or no parliamentary scrutiny. Close co-operation, and consequently close friendships, grew up between the British and American mandarins, by which expression I mean the military, diplomatic, and civil servants of the two countries who together planned and executed the war in the West. When the war ended in 1945 and the US forces returned home, the links, other than those in the field of intelligence, fell away. But as the Cold War began and the Atlantic Alliance was formed, the British mandarins, backed by impermanent political ministers, again met their American counterparts to discuss military plans and resumed the practice of giving them British assets as if the interests of the United States were still Britain’s interests. The Americans, however, no longer reciprocated as they had done during the war. The following words of Oliver Franks convey the frame of mind of the British: ‘[The special relationship] arose out of common aims and mutual need of each other; it was rooted in strong habits of working together on which there supervened the sentiments of mutual trust.’6 Here are two examples of how assets were given away: When the US Air Force left Britain in 1947, Air Marshal Tedder, head of the RAF, agreed with General Spaatz of the US Air Force that five East Anglian air bases would be kept in readiness for B29 bombers should their presence be required.7 It is striking that this seems to have been an agreement between two military mandarins. (During the war they had been close colleagues in the Middle East and then in Europe.) One does not know whether ministers were consulted or whether the two airmen, behaving as Platonic Guardians, acted independently. What happened next has been recorded by Margaret Gowing in her admirable official history of British atomic policy. During the crisis over the blockade of Berlin, the American ambassador to London, on 28 June 1948, asked Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary, if the US might send to Britain three groups of B29 heavy bombers as a ‘political gesture and token of interest in the defence of Europe’. On the very same day, Attlee, Bevin, A. V. Alexander, Herbert Morrison, and the Chiefs of Staff met and agreed to the request. This instant response came as such a surprise to the Americans that Bevin was asked by Marshall, the Secretary of State, if he had considered its implications. (Since the B29s based in Britain would be the first bombers capable of carrying atomic bombs into the Russian mainland, their presence would make Britain a prime Soviet target.)8 Britain, when negotiating with the United States to restore the sharing of atomic know-how that had been agreed during the war but had been cut off by the US at its end, had one highly valuable bargaining chip, namely a power to withhold from the US supplies of uranium from the Belgian Congo for which Britain was a party to the contracts and of which the US had urgent need. Margaret Gowing has described in detail how Britain’s negotiators let the Americans have the uranium in exchange for limited promises of atomic know-how, promises that were made in a secret agreement known as the modus vivendi, and that was only verbally endorsed, not signed, on 7 January 1948, and which was subsequently not fulfilled by the Americans. She comments that Britain’s negotiators, led by Roger Makins, a former ambassador to the US, did not see that the (relatively anglophile) Americans put up to negotiate with them were ‘unrepresentative’ and that on the US side ‘the main reason for the talks had been to buy British accommodation in uranium at rock-bottom price’.9 Britain’s negotiators apparently did not consider withholding or tightly rationing uranium until the desired atomic know-how was forthcoming. One knows of many military and intelligence activities that the United States was permitted conduct on British territory in the Cold War: Sigint, involving code-breaking and radio listening posts in Britain and its possessions; the tapping by the US of transatlantic telephone cables where they leave the British Isles; the establishment of undersea sonar chains linked to bases in the British Isles; the establishment in Britain of US radar for early warning of missile attack; the establishment in Britain of US air bases and other military bases and communications and supply chains for them; the use, approved by Churchill in 1952, of RAF aircrews to fly American aircraft, repainted in RAF colours, on photographic reconnaissance missions over Russia, so that if a plane was shot down the risk of suffering retaliatory action would be diverted from the US to the UK and the chances of superpower conflict diminished;10 and the lease in 1966 of Diego Garcia, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, to the US for use as a military base after Britain had compulsorily (and with questionable legality) removed all the 1,500 or so members of the indigenous population. This list is surely incomplete. How much of all this continues today one does not know. Sigint is what one hears about most. Other countries have behaved very differently. For example, France, though allied to the US as a member of NATO, did not for long surrender its assets to the US. Having suffered the humiliation of being rescued in two world wars by Britain and the US, and then being cut off by us from nuclear co-operation after the Second World War, France, inspired by General de Gaulle, restored its national pride by developing nuclear weapons, including delivery systems, of its own and throwing American bases and the headquarters of NATO out of France in December 1965. After the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 the Labour government, under pressure from the United States, adopted a rearmament programme that severely damaged the economy. The government first proposed a three-year rearmament programme that would increase military expenditure from 7 per cent to nearly 10 per cent of GDP. Recognising that this would damage the balance of payments, it sought aid from the United States. The US responded by promising to provide aid on condition that Britain spent £4.7 billion over three years, a policy that would raise Britain’s military expenditure to no less than 14 per cent of GDP. The Labour Government obediently agreed to these demands and started on this enlarged programme, although the offer of aid was uncertain of fulfilment since it depended on congressional approval. The idea of agreeing to raise the programme only when aid had been voted by Congress seems never to have been considered. In the event, the aid was not delivered, the programme hit bottlenecks, and the Conservatives, who came to power in the autumn of 1951, cut it back and took to relying more on nuclear weapons. Consequently, military expenditure did not rise significantly above 10 per cent of GDP, still a big increase. The sharp rise in military spending diverted output away from exports just as they were gaining momentum after the devaluation of the pound in 1949;11 investment in industry and infrastructure was neglected. No less a person than Lord Croham, a civil servant trained in economics who rose to be head of the Treasury, offered the view in retirement that the rearmament had caused enduring damage to the development of the economy.12 Perhaps most serious, though little remarked, has been the long-term damage caused by the diversion of Britain’s research and development resources to military work. In the Cold War, Britain raised the share of its R&D expenditure going to the military to no less than 50 per cent. Since its former enemies, Germany and Japan, had been disarmed and forbidden to devote their R&D resources to weapons of war, Britain gave them – indeed imposed on them – an extraordinary relative advantage in the development of new peaceful products. While Britain diverted its R&D resources to military products, it diverted theirs into peaceful products. They swept ahead in the world market for new domestic electrical goods, cars, and machinery, and are still leaders today. Britain, on the other hand, is heavily dependent on sales of research-subsidised arms into a world market that is relatively static and notoriously corrupt. Remarkably, Hugh Gaitskell, who as Chancellor of the Exchequer was the minister responsible for economic policy in 1950–51, far from resisting a big increase in military spending, was its principal advocate. He was, or became, a cold warrior. And he was able to shape policy to an unusual degree because two formidable ministers of the post-war Labour Party who would have had a powerful voice in the formulation of military-cum-economic strategy were now mortally ill or dead. Stafford Cripps, whom Gaitskell replaced, resigned in October 1950. Ernest Bevin retired in March 1951, having been enfeebled by illness in his last months in office. That Hugh Gaitskell, an ambitious younger man, was a cold warrior is not surprising. Like other politicians who held liberal or Fabian socialist ideals, he may have felt strong revulsion against dictatorships whether of the right or left, together with hostility to the extreme left in his own party, and perhaps a social fear of being accused of being ‘soft on the Commies’. Such ‘liberal hawks’ were not uncommon in the West. Further, Gaitskell was engaged in a fight for power with the left of the Labour Party, led by Aneurin Bevan, in which the main battleground was the size of the military programme and Gaitskell’s proposal to introduce health charges to help pay for it. More surprising, Hugh Gaitskell’s two principal economic advisers, instead of warning him of the consequences for the economy of excessive rearmament and trying to restrain him, encouraged him to adopt the excessive defence programme. They were Edwin Plowden, a businessman who, having been a successful wartime civil servant, had stayed on to be head of the so-called Central Economic Planning Staff, and Robert Hall, the chief economic adviser to the government. Plowden, in memoirs written in the 1980s, tells us: On first hearing of the North Korean invasion, Robert Hall and I feared that this could prove to be the prelude to a Third World War, especially if there was no positive response against it by the Americans and the new NATO Alliance. We were both firm believers in the view that had the British and the other Allies rearmed and reacted against the Nazi menace earlier we might never have had a Second World War … We feared the same mistake might be made again and the Russian appetite for imperialist ventures enhanced. We both quickly expressed our support for an increase in defence expenditure and strategic stocks.13 He went on to opine that the economy suffered severely but necessarily as a precaution against Soviet invasion. Robert Hall in his diary has left an extraordinarily uninhibited account of how he and Plowden jointly advocated rearmament. Hall, an Australian who before the war had been an economics don at Oxford, had joined the civil service during the war and had then served in Washington, which he revisited regularly now that he was chief economic adviser in Whitehall. While there he had come to know, and apparently to respect, the opinions of Joe Alsop, a cold warrior who, in his widely syndicated newspaper column which he wrote for years with his brother, became probably the most influential alarmist in the US. He later propagated the notion of the Missile Gap, which proved not to exist, and the Domino Theory to justify America’s war in Vietnam, which it lost. In his diary Hall recounts how, when Plowden and he were both in Washington just before the Korean War broke out, they went to dine with Alsop, who converted them both to the belief that there was an urgent need for rearmament. Two entries in his diary a year later tell the story: Monday, 30 April 1951 The Ministry of Defence agreed or perhaps put forward the £4.7bn figure. Supply and Trade more or less reluctantly went along. The Chancellor [Hugh Gaitskell] with a little help from the PM and Foreign Secretary and Morrison pushed it through … But in a sense it all went back to Plowden and I being convinced by Jo Alsop that we needed to re-arm, about last April. Of course I know that two civil servants could not push the country into anything – it is international affairs and Korea and American pressure and so on. Yet if we hadn’t said we could stand it it might have been £3.6bn or a smaller figure. Friday, 27 July, 1951 I ought to write the whole history of the defence programme some time, going back to the dinner Joe Alsop and I had with E.P. [Edwin Plowden] in late April or early May last year. I feel quite sure myself that if we hadn’t changed our minds then, we [the government] wouldn’t now be doing nearly as much as we [the government] are. The most interesting point however is that no one has ever come clean. The US gave Ministers the impression that we would be helped a good deal whereas we probably won’t be helped at all. The economists and planners [N.B. headed by Hall and Plowden] decided more or less arbitrarily what the country could stand and then slanted the figures to show that we could stand it. Since then the terms of trade are much worse and the steel outlook much worse, so if we could stand it then, we can’t stand it now. The soldiers played hard to get as much as they could, both on US aid and on the home programme. Ministers have never been convinced in their hearts that the programme was a good thing but they have been bounced along by everyone else and on the whole I think they have allowed themselves to believe only too easily that it would come out all right. It is rather a sad story. Personally I think that the situation required that we should do about what we have done and that everyone must do what he can even if he is being a bit political or disingenuous if he believes the country is at stake. But it is a dangerous way to proceed and would disrupt our system, the relations of Ministers to officials and of the planners to Departments, if we went on like this. It is unfortunately a result of weak Ministers that officials are driven to acting like this but it is a very unhappy situation for the officials themselves.14 In this rambling, troubled soliloquy, Robert Hall probably exaggerates the influence he had on the rearmament programme. Be that as it may, one thing is clear: the ethos of the special relationship was so strong that Hugh Gaitskell, Robert Hall, and Edwin Plowden all bowed to the US and abandoned, with lasting adverse consequences, their responsibility for nurturing the recovery of the post-war British economy. The advice given by Edwin Plowden and Robert Hall when they likened the strategic position in 1950 to that in 1930s (an opinion in which they were probably not alone amongst British policy-makers) implied that the US was not then committed to the defence of Europe. Was this justified? At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Roosevelt, wanting the Soviet Union to join in the war against Japan, was by all accounts conciliatory to Stalin over the carving up of eastern Europe. Churchill felt tougher but was impotent. In March 1946, by which time Roosevelt was dead, Churchill, in his ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, alerted the western world to the Soviet threat. A month later, George Kennan delivered his famous ‘long telegram’ advocating the containment of the Soviet Union. Truman, who had become president on Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, was tough towards the Soviet Union, no doubt influenced by Churchill and Kennan amongst others. As noted earlier, in March 1947 he ordered the US to take over the defence of Greece from Britain, and he proclaimed the Truman Doctrine which committed the US to support free people around the world who resisted communism. In June 1948, Truman authorised covert warfare against the Soviet Union. On the advice of George Kennan, he issued an order (NSC 10/2) to the CIA saying that ‘taking cognizance of the vicious covert activities of the USSR, its satellite countries and Communist groups to discredit and defeat the aims and activities of the United States and other Western powers’, the CIA should plan and conduct covert operations, including ‘propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world’ – all this subject to the caveat that the operations should be so conducted that the US government could plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them (sometimes called ‘the doctrine of plausible deniability’).15 And the CIA was given a massive budget. Thus in 1947 and 1948, well before the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the United States, propelled by fear of Soviet aggression, committed itself to overt and covert action to contain communism. Moreover, by its participation in the ‘airlift’ to relieve and break the Berlin blockade, which lasted from June 1948 to June 1949, and also by moving nuclear-capable bombers to Britain in June 1948, the US demonstrated its commitment to the defence of Europe, where it already had substantial post-war occupation forces in Germany and Austria. And its response to the communist attack on Korea had been to fight back vigorously. Further, whereas American business and media had commonly liked Hitler’s hostility to communism and favoured isolation, they now took up the cause of anti-communism with vigour. The idea that the US, having so comprehensively committed itself to the containment of communism by words and action, might have abandoned Europe in 1950 looked alarmist at the time. With the benefit of hindsight and the information now available it looks jejune and implausible. Footnotes 1 The author worked as an economist in the Cabinet Office and Treasury from 1951 to 1956. He was not then privy to the politico-military advice that was being offered by his superiors and is described here. 2 For a brilliant full analysis of these events see Randall Bennett Woods, A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941–1946 (Chapel Hill, NC 1990). 3 David Zimmerman, Top Secret Exchange: The Tizard Mission and the Scientific War (Montreal 1996); Stephen Phelps, The Tizard Mission: The Top Secret Operation that Changed the Course of the War (Yadley, Pa. 2010). 4 Phelps, The Tizard Mission, p. 296. 5 Ibid., p. 297. 6 Oliver Franks, Anglo-American Relations and the ‘Special Relationship’, 1947–1952 (Austin, Tex. 1990) p. 22. 7 S. J. Bond, ‘US Third Air Force – A Short History’, Air Britain Digest (Jan./Feb. 1975) p. 3. 8 Margaret Gowing, Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952, vol. i (London 1974) p. 310; Andrew J. Pierre, Nuclear Politics: The British Experience with an Independent Nuclear Force, 1939–1970 (London 1972) p. 79. 9 Gowing, Independence and Deterrence, p. 254. 10 See <www.spyflights.co.uk/scul.htm>, and also <www.pprune.org>, Aircrew Forums, Military Aviation, and adjacent websites. 11 For a full account of these events based on the official documents of the time, see Alec Cairncross, Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy, London, 1945–51 (London 1985) ch. 8, ‘Rearmament’ (pp. 212–33). 12 Lord Allen, interview with Peter Hennessey, The Times, 9 Jan. 1978. (Douglas Allen had just been given a life peerage in the New Year Honours but had not yet chosen the title Lord Croham.) 13 Edwin Plowden, An Industrialist in the Treasury: The Post-War Years (London 1989) p. 97. 14 The Robert Hall Diaries 1947–53, ed. Alec Cairncross (London 1989) pp. 163–4. 15 <https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1945-50Intel/d292>. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Cambridge Quarterly. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Cambridge Quarterly Oxford University Press

The Origins and Cost of the UK’s Special Relationship with the USA

The Cambridge Quarterly , Volume Advance Article (2) – Jun 1, 2018

Loading next page...
 
/lp/ou_press/the-origins-and-cost-of-the-uk-s-special-relationship-with-the-usa-6QeuFzprwj
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Cambridge Quarterly. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0008-199X
eISSN
1471-6836
D.O.I.
10.1093/camqtly/bfy001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

If, as is intended by the current Conservative government, Brexit leads Britain to seek a trade treaty with the United States, will our oft-claimed ‘special relationship’ with that country make it generous to us in negotiation, or will it behave normally and pursue its national interest without inhibition? This examination of the origins of the special relationship indicates that, from the start, it has been a relationship that is more servile than influential. There appear to be no grounds for expecting generosity.1 The idea that there should be a special relationship between Britain and the United States after the Second World War was launched in March 1946 by Winston Churchill in the famous speech he made at Fulton, Missouri, warning that an Iron Curtain was coming down across Europe. His words were: Neither the sure prevention of war, nor the continuous rise of world organisation will be gained without what I have called the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States. This is no time for generalities, and I will venture to be precise. Fraternal association requires not only the growing friendship and mutual understanding between our two vast but kindred systems of society, but the continuance of the intimate relationship between our military advisers, leading to common study of potential dangers, the similarity of weapons and manuals of instructions, and to the interchange of officers and cadets at technical colleges. It should carry with it the continuance of the present facilities for mutual security by the joint use of all Naval and Air Force bases in the possession of either country all over the world. This would perhaps double the mobility of the American Navy and Air Force. It would greatly expand that of the British Empire Forces and it might well lead, if and as the world calms down, to important financial savings. Already we use together a large number of islands; more may well be entrusted to our joint care in the near future. The close wartime military relationship between the United States and Britain came about because after Pearl Harbor in December 1941 all the other major powers in the world, apart from Russia and China, were the enemies of both countries or were occupied by their enemies. Consequently, the two nations were thrown together. The British and Americans joined forces to defeat their enemies, and in doing so they developed military co-operation of extraordinary intimacy and informality. Exceptional circumstances produced an exceptional bilateral relationship. It was not realistic to expect that relationship to be perpetuated after the war, for the United States was sure to re-establish relations with the liberated and defeated nations and to pursue its national interests vis-à-vis them. It would not be in its interests to give exceptional attention to Britain. But clearly perpetuation is what Churchill sought. In 1939 Britain was still an imperial power with armed forces greater than those of the United States, which was then an isolationist nation, insulated from invasion by the oceans. By the end of the war the position had been totally reversed. While the US had greatly increased its economic and military strength, Britain was ruined.2 Britain, while it was provided by the US with free imports under Lend-Lease to keep it fighting after it stood alone, neglected exports and raised military expenditure to 50 per cent of GDP. Consequently, when the US abruptly stopped Lend-Lease at the end of the war, Britain could not pay for essential imports. In 1946, bread rationing, which had never been applied during the war, was introduced, and Keynes was sent to Washington to seek a loan. With no bargaining power, all he could obtain was a mean loan on harsh conditions. Anti-colonial hostility to Britain, which was common in the American press and Congress, found expression in the view that Britain and its empire should not be propped up. Remarkably, these humiliating events did not cause the British government and people to feel resentment and anger against the US. Attention was diverted by the onset of the Cold War and the introduction of the Marshall Plan, events in which Britain played a prominent part despite its position of weakness. In March 1947 the Americans took over from an enfeebled Britain the task of financing and organising the defence of Greece against its communist uprising. At the same time they adopted the Truman Doctrine that it is ‘the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures’. The countries of western Europe were then in such a wretched economic condition, and the communist parties in France and Italy were becoming so strong, that in June the Americans put forward the Marshall Plan: they told the European nations that if they would get together and formulate a plan for economic recovery, the United States would support them with dollar aid. There followed a period of hectic economic conferences in Paris in which a ‘plan’ was put together, the core of which was an estimate of the ‘dollar gap’ of the countries of western Europe over the next three years. It was presented to Congress, which voted the money for it in March 1948. In this period Britain, from being a (financially dependent) partner of the US in the liberation of its neighbours on the Continent, was driven to join them as a beggar from the Americans. In doing so it became by force of circumstances the lead beggar, a task it took on with gratitude. Its behaviour at this time can be likened to that of an eldest daughter who, having been loyal to mother (America) while the other children in the family disgraced themselves (by aggression or being occupied), was now lining them up to hold out their begging bowls to mother. Britain was doing its duty to its younger siblings, and was enjoying the feeling of being the child closest to mother. It suited the Americans to have the British act as their agent; it suited the Europeans (apart perhaps from the French) to have the British lead the begging. The circumstances that put Britain in this position were many. During the war it had taken part with the US in planning how the liberated countries and conquered Germany should be dealt with. British civil servants, diplomats, and economists initially played a dominant part in the international secretariats that were set up to implement the Marshall Plan and, to a lesser extent, the Atlantic Alliance. The primary working language was English, which meant that the British commonly took the lead in drafting documents. They knew how to get things done in a manner that satisfied their American former partners. And Britain had a supremely able mandarin, Oliver Franks, who led the Marshall Plan negotiations in Paris to the satisfaction of the Europeans and Americans. Compared with Britain, the other countries of Europe lacked immediate strength on the international stage: Germany was defeated and still almost an outlaw, Italy was close to having a communist government and probably would have had one but for massive CIA intervention in Italy’s 1948 election; Spain was still a fascist outcast. France was an exception. It had weak elected governments that fell frequently and were challenged by the communists, and its army was bogged down in Indo-China. But it had strong machinery for economic government under the leadership of Jean Monnet, that extraordinary master of the French economy and visionary of a United Europe. He shaped the French economy as elected governments came and went. And France was well represented in the secretariats. Britain also led western Europe in the negotiations with the United States over the creation of the Atlantic Alliance and NATO that took place soon after the negotiation of the Marshall Plan. Oliver Franks, now British ambassador to Washington, took a leading part as Britain again played eldest sister. In military matters, one can see in retrospect that Britain’s potential bargaining power was not as weak as it was in economic matters. It had military assets, or ‘bargaining chips’. First and foremost, Britain was an island off the continent of Europe of the greatest strategic importance to the United States. But rather than exploiting its assets in the national self-interest it gave them away freely to the US; furthermore, it grossly overburdened the British economy with military expenditure in order to please the Americans. The main justification for this policy, expressed in government statements of the time, was the fear that the Russians would invade western Europe, and that the United States would go isolationist and abandon Europe as it had after the First World War if the Europeans, led by Britain, did not show willingness to defend themselves: Britain must set an example. Remarkably, the deterrent effect of nuclear weapons, by now possessed by both the Soviet Union and the United States, was ignored. (The USSR first tested an atomic bomb in August 1949.) Britain’s policy of surrendering its military assets to the US began secretly in the summer of 1940 when, after the fall of France, it stood alone, threatened with invasion from across the Channel by Hitler. In these desperate circumstances, Churchill was persuaded by Sir Henry Tizard, a British scientist who had been involved in the development of radar, backed by Britain’s ambassador in Washington, Lord Lothian, to make the extraordinary gesture of offering to the United States, a neutral country, all the secrets of radar and other scientific apparatus of war that Britain was developing.3 Piecemeal bargaining by the armed forces of the two nations to exchange scientific secrets had led nowhere. The hope was that by sending a top-level mission of scientists, accompanied by military officers familiar with the use in combat of the new inventions, to talk freely with their opposite numbers in the US, they would cause their counterparts to open up, compare discoveries, and agree to future scientific co-operation. A further aim was to be able to order supplies of electronic apparatus from the big American electrical and telecommunications industry. And, not least, the mission was seen as a means of bringing America closer to Britain’s side. The minutes of the first meeting of the mission, held in London on 10 August 1940, record that the chairman, Sir Henry Tizard, ‘emphasised that it was quite likely that we should give more than we received, but the object of the mission was largely to create goodwill. In general, he proposed to pass on full information about matters which had already reached a fairly advanced stage of development, but only very general indications of the lines on we were working on subjects which were still in the very early stages.’4 The secrets to be revealed ranged across the board and included anti-submarine devices and jet propulsion, of which ‘details of the position in general terms’ but ‘no technical details’ were to be given.5 The other scientists on the mission, chosen by Tizard, were John Cockcroft, a distinguished physicist, and Edward Bowen, a young radar scientist. The mission was remarkably successful. Each side discovered that the other had more to offer than it had expected. The British had one particularly valuable asset in their hands, the magnetron, a revolutionary little piece of apparatus, just invented, for generating ultra-short radio waves. This was to be at the heart of the subsequent development of Allied radar. Close scientific co-operation followed. At the time that Churchill approved the Tizard mission, he was negotiating with Roosevelt a deal whereby Britain, desperately short of warships and threatened by invasion, would allow the US to establish military bases on ninety-nine-year rent-free leases at eight British possessions in the West Indies and other parts of the north Atlantic coast, in exchange for fifty obsolete, mothballed American destroyers of First World War vintage. The deal, which was concluded on 2 September 1940, can be seen to have been heavily one-sided, but for Britain desperately necessary. Once the attack on Pearl Harbor brought the United States into the war in December 1941, its military forces were effectively invited to establish bases and operate in Britain in whatever manner furthered the joint effort to liberate Europe. Britain offered its assets to its dominant ally unreservedly – and with little or no parliamentary scrutiny. Close co-operation, and consequently close friendships, grew up between the British and American mandarins, by which expression I mean the military, diplomatic, and civil servants of the two countries who together planned and executed the war in the West. When the war ended in 1945 and the US forces returned home, the links, other than those in the field of intelligence, fell away. But as the Cold War began and the Atlantic Alliance was formed, the British mandarins, backed by impermanent political ministers, again met their American counterparts to discuss military plans and resumed the practice of giving them British assets as if the interests of the United States were still Britain’s interests. The Americans, however, no longer reciprocated as they had done during the war. The following words of Oliver Franks convey the frame of mind of the British: ‘[The special relationship] arose out of common aims and mutual need of each other; it was rooted in strong habits of working together on which there supervened the sentiments of mutual trust.’6 Here are two examples of how assets were given away: When the US Air Force left Britain in 1947, Air Marshal Tedder, head of the RAF, agreed with General Spaatz of the US Air Force that five East Anglian air bases would be kept in readiness for B29 bombers should their presence be required.7 It is striking that this seems to have been an agreement between two military mandarins. (During the war they had been close colleagues in the Middle East and then in Europe.) One does not know whether ministers were consulted or whether the two airmen, behaving as Platonic Guardians, acted independently. What happened next has been recorded by Margaret Gowing in her admirable official history of British atomic policy. During the crisis over the blockade of Berlin, the American ambassador to London, on 28 June 1948, asked Ernest Bevin, the Foreign Secretary, if the US might send to Britain three groups of B29 heavy bombers as a ‘political gesture and token of interest in the defence of Europe’. On the very same day, Attlee, Bevin, A. V. Alexander, Herbert Morrison, and the Chiefs of Staff met and agreed to the request. This instant response came as such a surprise to the Americans that Bevin was asked by Marshall, the Secretary of State, if he had considered its implications. (Since the B29s based in Britain would be the first bombers capable of carrying atomic bombs into the Russian mainland, their presence would make Britain a prime Soviet target.)8 Britain, when negotiating with the United States to restore the sharing of atomic know-how that had been agreed during the war but had been cut off by the US at its end, had one highly valuable bargaining chip, namely a power to withhold from the US supplies of uranium from the Belgian Congo for which Britain was a party to the contracts and of which the US had urgent need. Margaret Gowing has described in detail how Britain’s negotiators let the Americans have the uranium in exchange for limited promises of atomic know-how, promises that were made in a secret agreement known as the modus vivendi, and that was only verbally endorsed, not signed, on 7 January 1948, and which was subsequently not fulfilled by the Americans. She comments that Britain’s negotiators, led by Roger Makins, a former ambassador to the US, did not see that the (relatively anglophile) Americans put up to negotiate with them were ‘unrepresentative’ and that on the US side ‘the main reason for the talks had been to buy British accommodation in uranium at rock-bottom price’.9 Britain’s negotiators apparently did not consider withholding or tightly rationing uranium until the desired atomic know-how was forthcoming. One knows of many military and intelligence activities that the United States was permitted conduct on British territory in the Cold War: Sigint, involving code-breaking and radio listening posts in Britain and its possessions; the tapping by the US of transatlantic telephone cables where they leave the British Isles; the establishment of undersea sonar chains linked to bases in the British Isles; the establishment in Britain of US radar for early warning of missile attack; the establishment in Britain of US air bases and other military bases and communications and supply chains for them; the use, approved by Churchill in 1952, of RAF aircrews to fly American aircraft, repainted in RAF colours, on photographic reconnaissance missions over Russia, so that if a plane was shot down the risk of suffering retaliatory action would be diverted from the US to the UK and the chances of superpower conflict diminished;10 and the lease in 1966 of Diego Garcia, a remote island in the Indian Ocean, to the US for use as a military base after Britain had compulsorily (and with questionable legality) removed all the 1,500 or so members of the indigenous population. This list is surely incomplete. How much of all this continues today one does not know. Sigint is what one hears about most. Other countries have behaved very differently. For example, France, though allied to the US as a member of NATO, did not for long surrender its assets to the US. Having suffered the humiliation of being rescued in two world wars by Britain and the US, and then being cut off by us from nuclear co-operation after the Second World War, France, inspired by General de Gaulle, restored its national pride by developing nuclear weapons, including delivery systems, of its own and throwing American bases and the headquarters of NATO out of France in December 1965. After the outbreak of the Korean War in June 1950 the Labour government, under pressure from the United States, adopted a rearmament programme that severely damaged the economy. The government first proposed a three-year rearmament programme that would increase military expenditure from 7 per cent to nearly 10 per cent of GDP. Recognising that this would damage the balance of payments, it sought aid from the United States. The US responded by promising to provide aid on condition that Britain spent £4.7 billion over three years, a policy that would raise Britain’s military expenditure to no less than 14 per cent of GDP. The Labour Government obediently agreed to these demands and started on this enlarged programme, although the offer of aid was uncertain of fulfilment since it depended on congressional approval. The idea of agreeing to raise the programme only when aid had been voted by Congress seems never to have been considered. In the event, the aid was not delivered, the programme hit bottlenecks, and the Conservatives, who came to power in the autumn of 1951, cut it back and took to relying more on nuclear weapons. Consequently, military expenditure did not rise significantly above 10 per cent of GDP, still a big increase. The sharp rise in military spending diverted output away from exports just as they were gaining momentum after the devaluation of the pound in 1949;11 investment in industry and infrastructure was neglected. No less a person than Lord Croham, a civil servant trained in economics who rose to be head of the Treasury, offered the view in retirement that the rearmament had caused enduring damage to the development of the economy.12 Perhaps most serious, though little remarked, has been the long-term damage caused by the diversion of Britain’s research and development resources to military work. In the Cold War, Britain raised the share of its R&D expenditure going to the military to no less than 50 per cent. Since its former enemies, Germany and Japan, had been disarmed and forbidden to devote their R&D resources to weapons of war, Britain gave them – indeed imposed on them – an extraordinary relative advantage in the development of new peaceful products. While Britain diverted its R&D resources to military products, it diverted theirs into peaceful products. They swept ahead in the world market for new domestic electrical goods, cars, and machinery, and are still leaders today. Britain, on the other hand, is heavily dependent on sales of research-subsidised arms into a world market that is relatively static and notoriously corrupt. Remarkably, Hugh Gaitskell, who as Chancellor of the Exchequer was the minister responsible for economic policy in 1950–51, far from resisting a big increase in military spending, was its principal advocate. He was, or became, a cold warrior. And he was able to shape policy to an unusual degree because two formidable ministers of the post-war Labour Party who would have had a powerful voice in the formulation of military-cum-economic strategy were now mortally ill or dead. Stafford Cripps, whom Gaitskell replaced, resigned in October 1950. Ernest Bevin retired in March 1951, having been enfeebled by illness in his last months in office. That Hugh Gaitskell, an ambitious younger man, was a cold warrior is not surprising. Like other politicians who held liberal or Fabian socialist ideals, he may have felt strong revulsion against dictatorships whether of the right or left, together with hostility to the extreme left in his own party, and perhaps a social fear of being accused of being ‘soft on the Commies’. Such ‘liberal hawks’ were not uncommon in the West. Further, Gaitskell was engaged in a fight for power with the left of the Labour Party, led by Aneurin Bevan, in which the main battleground was the size of the military programme and Gaitskell’s proposal to introduce health charges to help pay for it. More surprising, Hugh Gaitskell’s two principal economic advisers, instead of warning him of the consequences for the economy of excessive rearmament and trying to restrain him, encouraged him to adopt the excessive defence programme. They were Edwin Plowden, a businessman who, having been a successful wartime civil servant, had stayed on to be head of the so-called Central Economic Planning Staff, and Robert Hall, the chief economic adviser to the government. Plowden, in memoirs written in the 1980s, tells us: On first hearing of the North Korean invasion, Robert Hall and I feared that this could prove to be the prelude to a Third World War, especially if there was no positive response against it by the Americans and the new NATO Alliance. We were both firm believers in the view that had the British and the other Allies rearmed and reacted against the Nazi menace earlier we might never have had a Second World War … We feared the same mistake might be made again and the Russian appetite for imperialist ventures enhanced. We both quickly expressed our support for an increase in defence expenditure and strategic stocks.13 He went on to opine that the economy suffered severely but necessarily as a precaution against Soviet invasion. Robert Hall in his diary has left an extraordinarily uninhibited account of how he and Plowden jointly advocated rearmament. Hall, an Australian who before the war had been an economics don at Oxford, had joined the civil service during the war and had then served in Washington, which he revisited regularly now that he was chief economic adviser in Whitehall. While there he had come to know, and apparently to respect, the opinions of Joe Alsop, a cold warrior who, in his widely syndicated newspaper column which he wrote for years with his brother, became probably the most influential alarmist in the US. He later propagated the notion of the Missile Gap, which proved not to exist, and the Domino Theory to justify America’s war in Vietnam, which it lost. In his diary Hall recounts how, when Plowden and he were both in Washington just before the Korean War broke out, they went to dine with Alsop, who converted them both to the belief that there was an urgent need for rearmament. Two entries in his diary a year later tell the story: Monday, 30 April 1951 The Ministry of Defence agreed or perhaps put forward the £4.7bn figure. Supply and Trade more or less reluctantly went along. The Chancellor [Hugh Gaitskell] with a little help from the PM and Foreign Secretary and Morrison pushed it through … But in a sense it all went back to Plowden and I being convinced by Jo Alsop that we needed to re-arm, about last April. Of course I know that two civil servants could not push the country into anything – it is international affairs and Korea and American pressure and so on. Yet if we hadn’t said we could stand it it might have been £3.6bn or a smaller figure. Friday, 27 July, 1951 I ought to write the whole history of the defence programme some time, going back to the dinner Joe Alsop and I had with E.P. [Edwin Plowden] in late April or early May last year. I feel quite sure myself that if we hadn’t changed our minds then, we [the government] wouldn’t now be doing nearly as much as we [the government] are. The most interesting point however is that no one has ever come clean. The US gave Ministers the impression that we would be helped a good deal whereas we probably won’t be helped at all. The economists and planners [N.B. headed by Hall and Plowden] decided more or less arbitrarily what the country could stand and then slanted the figures to show that we could stand it. Since then the terms of trade are much worse and the steel outlook much worse, so if we could stand it then, we can’t stand it now. The soldiers played hard to get as much as they could, both on US aid and on the home programme. Ministers have never been convinced in their hearts that the programme was a good thing but they have been bounced along by everyone else and on the whole I think they have allowed themselves to believe only too easily that it would come out all right. It is rather a sad story. Personally I think that the situation required that we should do about what we have done and that everyone must do what he can even if he is being a bit political or disingenuous if he believes the country is at stake. But it is a dangerous way to proceed and would disrupt our system, the relations of Ministers to officials and of the planners to Departments, if we went on like this. It is unfortunately a result of weak Ministers that officials are driven to acting like this but it is a very unhappy situation for the officials themselves.14 In this rambling, troubled soliloquy, Robert Hall probably exaggerates the influence he had on the rearmament programme. Be that as it may, one thing is clear: the ethos of the special relationship was so strong that Hugh Gaitskell, Robert Hall, and Edwin Plowden all bowed to the US and abandoned, with lasting adverse consequences, their responsibility for nurturing the recovery of the post-war British economy. The advice given by Edwin Plowden and Robert Hall when they likened the strategic position in 1950 to that in 1930s (an opinion in which they were probably not alone amongst British policy-makers) implied that the US was not then committed to the defence of Europe. Was this justified? At the Yalta Conference in February 1945, Roosevelt, wanting the Soviet Union to join in the war against Japan, was by all accounts conciliatory to Stalin over the carving up of eastern Europe. Churchill felt tougher but was impotent. In March 1946, by which time Roosevelt was dead, Churchill, in his ‘Iron Curtain’ speech, alerted the western world to the Soviet threat. A month later, George Kennan delivered his famous ‘long telegram’ advocating the containment of the Soviet Union. Truman, who had become president on Roosevelt’s death in April 1945, was tough towards the Soviet Union, no doubt influenced by Churchill and Kennan amongst others. As noted earlier, in March 1947 he ordered the US to take over the defence of Greece from Britain, and he proclaimed the Truman Doctrine which committed the US to support free people around the world who resisted communism. In June 1948, Truman authorised covert warfare against the Soviet Union. On the advice of George Kennan, he issued an order (NSC 10/2) to the CIA saying that ‘taking cognizance of the vicious covert activities of the USSR, its satellite countries and Communist groups to discredit and defeat the aims and activities of the United States and other Western powers’, the CIA should plan and conduct covert operations, including ‘propaganda, economic warfare; preventive direct action, including sabotage, anti-sabotage, demolition and evacuation measures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance movements, guerrillas and refugee liberation groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world’ – all this subject to the caveat that the operations should be so conducted that the US government could plausibly disclaim any responsibility for them (sometimes called ‘the doctrine of plausible deniability’).15 And the CIA was given a massive budget. Thus in 1947 and 1948, well before the Korean War broke out in June 1950, the United States, propelled by fear of Soviet aggression, committed itself to overt and covert action to contain communism. Moreover, by its participation in the ‘airlift’ to relieve and break the Berlin blockade, which lasted from June 1948 to June 1949, and also by moving nuclear-capable bombers to Britain in June 1948, the US demonstrated its commitment to the defence of Europe, where it already had substantial post-war occupation forces in Germany and Austria. And its response to the communist attack on Korea had been to fight back vigorously. Further, whereas American business and media had commonly liked Hitler’s hostility to communism and favoured isolation, they now took up the cause of anti-communism with vigour. The idea that the US, having so comprehensively committed itself to the containment of communism by words and action, might have abandoned Europe in 1950 looked alarmist at the time. With the benefit of hindsight and the information now available it looks jejune and implausible. Footnotes 1 The author worked as an economist in the Cabinet Office and Treasury from 1951 to 1956. He was not then privy to the politico-military advice that was being offered by his superiors and is described here. 2 For a brilliant full analysis of these events see Randall Bennett Woods, A Changing of the Guard: Anglo-American Relations, 1941–1946 (Chapel Hill, NC 1990). 3 David Zimmerman, Top Secret Exchange: The Tizard Mission and the Scientific War (Montreal 1996); Stephen Phelps, The Tizard Mission: The Top Secret Operation that Changed the Course of the War (Yadley, Pa. 2010). 4 Phelps, The Tizard Mission, p. 296. 5 Ibid., p. 297. 6 Oliver Franks, Anglo-American Relations and the ‘Special Relationship’, 1947–1952 (Austin, Tex. 1990) p. 22. 7 S. J. Bond, ‘US Third Air Force – A Short History’, Air Britain Digest (Jan./Feb. 1975) p. 3. 8 Margaret Gowing, Independence and Deterrence: Britain and Atomic Energy, 1945–1952, vol. i (London 1974) p. 310; Andrew J. Pierre, Nuclear Politics: The British Experience with an Independent Nuclear Force, 1939–1970 (London 1972) p. 79. 9 Gowing, Independence and Deterrence, p. 254. 10 See <www.spyflights.co.uk/scul.htm>, and also <www.pprune.org>, Aircrew Forums, Military Aviation, and adjacent websites. 11 For a full account of these events based on the official documents of the time, see Alec Cairncross, Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy, London, 1945–51 (London 1985) ch. 8, ‘Rearmament’ (pp. 212–33). 12 Lord Allen, interview with Peter Hennessey, The Times, 9 Jan. 1978. (Douglas Allen had just been given a life peerage in the New Year Honours but had not yet chosen the title Lord Croham.) 13 Edwin Plowden, An Industrialist in the Treasury: The Post-War Years (London 1989) p. 97. 14 The Robert Hall Diaries 1947–53, ed. Alec Cairncross (London 1989) pp. 163–4. 15 <https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1945-50Intel/d292>. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Cambridge Quarterly. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)

Journal

The Cambridge QuarterlyOxford University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2018

There are no references for this article.

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off