Abstract

The Anglo-American summit at Nassau in December 1962 did not strictly separate Britain’s deterrent from the proposed Multilateral Force (MLF). As a result, Conservative governments in the 1960s tried to safeguard maximum British independence in nuclear relations with the United States. The British tried to thwart American initiatives on the mixed-manned MLF; some British officials even hoped to preserve an “independent British deterrent” through nuclear cooperation with France. For the United States, the British deterrent had political value in an intra-alliance or East-West context, but no military or political significance in itself. The MLF idea of bilateral nuclear cooperation with Britain and France was a means to contain French and German nuclear ambitions and to settle Cold War disputes with the Soviet Union. In London, however, leading officials believed that Britain’s future as a great power was inextricably linked to the possession of an independent nuclear deterrent. When nuclear independence was lost, the appearance of independence became more important.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1531-3298
Print ISSN
1520-3972
Pages
pp. 69-96
Launched on MUSE
2000-05-01
Open Access
No
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