Recent accounts of Anglo-American relations in the mid-1960s revolve around the supposed existence of “deals” made between President Lyndon Johnson and Prime Minister Harold Wilson. The memoir of Edward Short, Wilson's Chief Whip, goes so far as to describe a “deal” done before the 1964 general election, whereby the US would support the pound in return for an undertaking not to devalue if a Labour Government were to be returned. Clive Ponting, Philip Ziegler and Ben Pimlott all accept that a “deal” or “secret agreement” — Pimlott's phrase — had been made by the early summer of 1965. The US would organise a multilateral rescue for the sinking pound, in return for British policies of deflation at home, retention of overseas military commitments, and (limited) support for the Vietnam war. The 1965 “deal” appears to have been reinforced during the sterling crisis of July 1966, only to come adrift in 1967. Wilson's own account has him rejecting the excessive demands accompanying an American sterling rescue in 1967, and devaluing as — in effect — an assertion of British sovereignty.
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