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Theory and Reality in the Anglo-American Alliance

  • Raymond Dawson and Richard Rosecrance

Conventional alliance theory asserts that calculation, not sentiment, determines original combinations; thereafter, ideology, cultural ties, and common historical traditions may buttress the connection achieved. Moreover, interest governs the breakdown of alliances; cultural affinities can only be retarding factors. Since the national “parts” are postulated as greater than the alliance “whole,” the logic of egocentric interests had led some to predict nuclear fragmentation within contemporary alliance systems.

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1 See Liska, George, Nations in Alliance: The Limits of Interdependence (Baltimore 1962), 12, 26.

2 Ibid., 54-55.

3 “The Four Paradoxes of Nuclear Strategy,” American Political Science Review, LVIII (March 1964), 35.

4 The U.S. copy of the Hyde Park aide-memoire was erroneously filed and for a time American officials were mystified by British references to it. See Groves, Leslie R., Now It Can Be Told: The Story of the Manhattan Project (New York 1962), 402.

5 This was the Truman-Attlee-King Statement issued on November 16, 1945.

6 Nicholas, H. G., Britain and the United States (London 1963), 64.

7 See Owen, Sir Leonard, “Nuclear Engineering in the United Kingdom—The First Ten Years,” Journal of the British Nuclear Energy Society, 11 (January 1963), 23; and Rosecrance, R. N., ed., The Dispersion of Nuclear Weapons: Strategy and Politics (New York 1964), chaps. 3, 4.

8 The turning point in Bevin's policy was publicly marked by his foreign policy speech in Commons late in January 1948. Within two months the Brussels Pact was signed.

9 The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, David Lilienthal, warned in early 1947 that production was on “thin ice” because of raw material shortages, which compounded all the problems afflicting the atomic energy program in the postwar transition. Looking back on that period in 1949, the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy said that the weapons situation “verged upon the tragic.” See The Journals of David Lilienthal, Vol. 11, The Atomic Energy Years (New York 1964), 185; and Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Investigation into the… Atomic Energy Commission, S. Rp. 1169, 81st Cong., 1st Sess. (1949), 13.

10 When Churchill read the text of the agreement in Commons on April 15, 1954, he said that when he had first shown it to Senator McMahon two years before, the Senator had remarked, “If we had seen this agreement there would have been no McMahon Act” (Parliamentary Debates [Commons], 5th Series, Vol. 526, col. 52).

11 Congressional Record, Vol. 96, Pt. 7, 81st Cong., 2nd Sess. (1950), 9763.

12 See Vandenberg, Arthur H. Jr., ed., The Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg (Boston 1952), 361.

13 Men and Decisions (Garden City 1962), 371.

14 Vandenberg Papers, 361.

15 P. 66.

16 See the illuminating discussion in “U.S. Bases in Britain,” The World Today, xvi (August 1960), 319-25, and the sources there cited.

17 See Neal Stanford, Christian Science Monitor, April 27, 1948.

18 The Labour left wing's suspicions about a “secret pact” with the U.S. at this time were reminiscent of Roosevelt's troubles with congressional isolationists in 1940-1941. Attlee replied to such charges by saying, “There are no defence arrangements [but] relations between the services and staffs are, of course, close and cordial” (Parliamentary Debates [Commons], 5th Series, Vol. 452, col. 1996 [June 29, 1948]).

19 See Millis, Walter, ed., The Forrestal Diaries (New York 1951), 375; and Hanson W. Baldwin, New York Times, March 29, 1948.

20 President Truman remarks in his Memoirs (speaking of the spring of 1949), “We now had a stockpile...” (Years of Trial and Hope [Garden City 1956], 304).

21 See Goldberg, Alfred, ed., A History of the United States Air Force, 1907-1957 (New York 1957), 122.

22 From testimony of Secretary of the Army Royall, quoted in the Manchester Guardian, March 27, 1948.

23 On these developments see Forrestal Diaries, 454-57.

24 Parliamentary Debates (Commons), 5th Series, Vol. 454, col. 123 (July 19, 1948).

25 “U.S. Bases in Britain,” 319.

26 Quoted Ibid., 321.

27 On American worries on this score, see Lilienthal Journals, 11, 266, 465.

28 New York Herald Tribune, July 22, 1949.

29 Owen, 24.

30 It was anticipated, as James Reston wrote at the time, that research would continue “into the possibility of developing new atomic weapons” (New York Times, January 4, 1950).

31 Lilienthal Journals, 11, 443-52.

32 Another minister remarked, “You can always do anything, if you want to badly enough. Look at what we spent in the war” (cited in Rose, Richard, “The Relation of Socialist Principles to British Labour Foreign Policy, 1945-1951,” unpubl. diss., Nuffield College, Oxford [1959], 334).

33 Ibid., 333-35.

34 See James Reston, New York Times, December 9, 1950.

35 “U.S. Bases in Britain,” 322.

36 Statement on Defence, 1952, Cmd. 8475 (London 1952), 2.

37 Statement on Defence, 1954, Cmd. 9075 (London 1954), 5, emphasis added.

38 See the analysis by Brodie, Bernard in Strategy in the Missile Age (Princeton 1959), 160 ff. American “new look” doctrines also embraced the “broken-backed” idea. President Eisenhower said in January 1955, “Our first objective must therefore be to maintain the capability to deter the enemy from attack and to blunt that attack if it comes—by a combination of effective retaliatory power and a continental defense system of steadily increasing effectiveness.... Thus we can assure that our industrial capacity can continue throughout a war to produce the gigantic amounts of equipment and supplies required” (quoted in U.S. Senate, Committee on Appropriations, Hearings, Department of Defense Appropriations for 1956, 85th Cong., 2nd Sess. [1956], 4).

39 See Hilsman, Roger, “NATO: The Developing Strategic Context,” in Knorr, Klaus, ed., NATO and American Security (Princeton 1959), 1622.

40 Schmidt, Helmut, Defense or Retaliation: A German View, trans. Thomas, Edward (New York 1962), 14.

41 See Glenn H. Snyder, “The ‘New Look’ of 1953,” in Schilling, Warner R. and others, Strategy, Politics and Defense Budgets (New York 1962), 388-89.

42 Huntington, Samuel P., The Common Defense: Strategic Programs in National Politics (New York 1961), 227-28.

43 Quoted in Osgood, Robert E., NATO: The Entangling Alliance (Chicago 1962), 105.

44 On the building of the British deterrent force, see Goldberg, Alfred, “The Military Origins of die British Nuclear Deterrent,” International Affairs, XL (October 1964), 600618.

45 Ibid., 608.

46 At Bermuda late in 1953, Churchill told Eisenhower and Lewis Strauss that the R.A.F. would certainly assist in bombing operations during a war, even though, he complained, it could not then under the restrictions of the Atomic Energy Act learn die weight, dimensions, or ballistics of U.S. bombs. This understanding of the role of the R.A.F. was evidently never questioned. See Strauss, 372-73. Eisenhower was by then expressing hopes for amendments to the McMahon Act.

47 New York Herald Tribune, January 21, 1953.

48 The remark was made in the State of the Union Message on January 7. See New York Herald Tribune, January 8, 1954.

49 Snyder, 433-38.

50 Quoted in the New York Herald Tribune, March 13, 1954.

51 Osgood, no. Th e new policy had been succinctly described by Field Marshal Montgomery the preceding month: “I want to make it absolutely clear that we at SHAPE are basing all our operational planning on using atomic and thermonuclear weapons in our own defense. With us it is not longer: ‘They may possibly be used.’ It is very definitely: ‘They will be used, if we are attacked.’ In fact, we have reached the point of no return as regards the use of atomic and thermonuclear weapons in a hot war” (in a lecture to the Royal United Service Institution in London, quoted in Osgood).

52 See Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Amending the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, As Amended, H. Rp. 1849, 85th Cong., 2nd Sess. (1958), 8; and the summary of nuclear-sharing policy in Dawson, Raymond H., “What Kind of NATO Nuclear Force?” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 351 (January 1964), 3039.

53 Eden, Anthony, The Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Sir Anthony Eden: Full Circle (London 1960), 139.

54 Ibid., 198.

55 Ibid., 336.

56 Robertson, Terence, Crisis: The Inside Story of the Suez Conspiracy (London 1964), 7677. Much of the following account rests on the presumed accuracy of the Robertson version of the Suez affair. While the present authors have not been able to confirm its veracity in every detail, they are convinced that it contains a generally valid narrative of the unfolding of the Suez operation. It seems, moreover, to be correct on certain crucial events affecting Anglo-American relations.

57 Ibid., 252.

58 Ibid., 253.

59 Ibid., 254.

60 Ibid., 260, 263.

61 Memoirs, 559.

62 Quoted in Buchan, Alastair, NATO in the 1960's: The Implications of Interdependence, rev. ed. (New York 1963), 8081.

63 New York Times, October 26, 1957.

64 See Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, Amending the Atomic Energy Act, H. Rp. 1849, 2-4.

65 William Lawrence, New York Times, March 25, 1957.

66 On this point, see Osgood, 220.

67 Drew Middleton, New York Times, December 20, 1960.

68 Hanson W. Baldwin, New York Times, May 12, 1962.

69 See Rosecrance, R. N., “The Choice Before President Johnson,” The Listener (January 21, 1965), 9193.

70 See the remarks of Henri Pierre, Le Monde, June 19, 1962.

71 Stanley, Timothy W., NATO in Transition (New York 1965), 167-68.

72 Drew Middleton, New York Times, May 22, 1963.

73 See the leading article in The Times (London), October 14, 1964.

74 See Rosecrance, “The Choice Before President Johnson,” 92.

75 Macmillan had to muster all his persuasive powers to win U.S. agreement on provision of Polaris missiles. See the accounts in Schlesinger, Arthur M. Jr., A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (Boston 1965), 862-66; and Sorenson, Theodore C., Kennedy (New York 1965), 565-66.

* The article that follows is partly based on interviews with The Rt. Hon. F. J. Bellenger, Sir Frederick Brundrett, Rear Admiral Sir Anthony Buzzard, Sir John Cockroft, Sir Maurice Dean, Admiral Sir Michael Denny, Desmond Donnelly, Air Chief Marshal Sir Alfred Earle, Air Chief Marshal Sir William Elliott, Lord Franks, Lord Gladwyn, Mrs. Margaret Gowing, Admiral Sir Guy Grantham, Sir Robert Hall, General Lord Ismay, Lt. General Sir Ian Jacob, Brigadier Sir Fitzroy Maclean, Air Chief Marshal Sir George Mills (Gentleman Usher of the Blackrod, House of Lords), Lord Normanbrook, Sir William Penney, Lord Plowden, General Sir Nigel Poett, Lord Sherfield, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir John Slessor, The Rt. Hon. George Strauss, C. W. Wright, The Rt. Hon. Kenneth Younger, Sir Philip de Zulueta. The authors also wish to express their indebtedness to The Hon. Alastair Buchan, Professor M. E. Howard, and Michael Palliser.

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