Foreign Policy 1965-1979

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  • Foreign Policy 1965-1979
    • Withdrawal from the East of Suez 1965-1975
      • Dennis Healey - Defence Minister
        • started process of spending cuts to reduce defence budget to under £2bn by 1970
        • this was due to the 1967 devaluation crisis
      • troop withdrawals were made from Aden, Middle East Malysia & Singapore
      • Wilson criticised for not withdrawing far or fast enough
      • Wilson believed in the Atlantic Alliance & Britain's continuing world role
    • Success of Wilson's Govt.
      • successful
        • defence spending cut to under £2bn by 1970
        • defence white paper in 1967 set a timetable for withdrawal of troops from Aden, Singapore and Malaysia
        • Jan 1968 - Roy Jenkins introduced drastic cuts to spending
        • withdrawal from east of Suez rapidly accelerated
          • troops out of Arabian Gulf by the end of 1971
        • Wilson resisted Johnson's pressure to send troops to Vietnam
          • British trained soldiers helped train US in guerrilla warfare
          • allowed US Navy to use British base in Hong Kong & agreed to share intelligence with USA to keep good relations
          • showed great skills in diplomacy
          • supported USA but never sent single troop
        • Rhodesia
          • wanted to keep good relations with India so had to check out Smith's actions
          • didn't send troop in - feared they'd refuse to fight
          • economic warfare (oil & trade sanctions) worked initially
          • Britain finally rid herself of problems in 1980 when Rhodesia estd. independnce
      • unsuccessful
        • Wilson criticised for not withdrawing enough troops fast enough
        • no serious debate about Britain giving up costly nuclear deterrent
        • Heath govt. 1970s reversing / delaying the withdrawals discussion
          • Heath reluctant to to pull out of Gulf because of oil supplies
          • process not competed until 1971
        • Wilson's failure to strongly condemn USA
          • His continued support (albeit lukewarm) for US war led to accusations of cowardice & collaboration  with US 'war crimes'
        • Rhodesia
          • white supremacy & racial segregation
          • deprivation of political role & land ownership of native Africans
          • Wilson & Ian Smith met for talks but unable to reach compromise
          • race & immigration issues started to divide British people
          • 'Bush War' of guerrilla warfare broke out after failure to resolve issues
    • Relations with the USA, USSR & China
      • USA
        • Heath less inclined to strengthen Atlantic Alliance
        • rejected attempts from US sec. of state Kissinger to use B as a link to Europe
        • Heath was friendly with Nixon & supported Vietnam war more than Wilson
        • Oct 1973 relations worsened during Yom Kippur war as B refused to allow US to use NATO bases in UK in fear of jeopardising oil supplies in Middle East
        • Wilson & Callaghan both keen on Atlantic Alliance
          • Callaghan forged strong personal relationship with Kissinger
            • negotiated replacement of Polaris with Trident in 1979 with President Carter
        • Nevertheless, completed withdrawal from East of Suez despite US disquiet
      • USSR
        • Detente eased tensions & there was an agreement to limit build up of arms
        • still underlying tension
          • in London, Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian who defected to the West & spoke out against Soviet regime, was shot - KGB suspected
      • China
        • Feb 1972 Nixon visited China & had meetings with Mao Zedong
        • March 1972 Britain followed & agreed to an exchange of ambassadors
        • 1974 onwards, Heath made many visits to China
          • was awarded the title 'people's Friendship Envoy' (highest possible honour China gave a foreigner
    • The EEC
      • why didn't Britain join EEC until 1973
        • domestic political issues
          • Wilson wasn't keen on Europe
          • TUs aren't keen on Europe
          • until 1973, focuses on domestic problems
          • Heath is European diplomat with experience of Europe - speaks French
          • Britain sick man of Europe? (weak economy)
        • foreign policy issues
          • DeGaulle is fiercely opposed to Britain's entry
            • fear of US influence (special relationship)
            • wants B. to choose between C-wealth, EEC & USA
          • Pompidou new French President in favour of Britain joining
      • 1975 EEC Referendum
        • why was it held?
          • Labour govt. thought Heath had given too much away when negotiating B.'s entry to the EEC in 1973
          • Wilson's govt. managed to secure some concessions, allowing b. to continue importing goods from c-wealth & reduction in amount B. had to contribute to EEC budget
            • concerns over VAT also resolved
            • secured reduction of £125m a year to EEC
          • Wilson was satisfied with this new deal & put matter to a vote in Parliament who voted in favour of staying in the EEC
          • the matter was put to s national vote on 5th June 1975
        • was it a conclusive result?
          • 65% turnout with large majority of 67% voting to remain in the EEC
          • decisive victory in favour of EEC membership
        • did the issue go away?
          • issue of how much control B. should give EEC institutions didn't go away
          • in 1980s, Thatcher would clash openly with the EEC over budget & political sovereignty
          • 2016 EU referendum
        • 'No' arguments
          • removal of political independence
          • merging of Britain, Germany, Italy & other countries into single nation
          • common market makes B's laws & decides our policies on food, prices, trade & employment
          • those who vote to stay are 'defeatists' who 'see no independent future' for Britain
        • why did 'No' lose?
          • 'No' had support from the most left-wing Labour ministers eg Barbara Castle & Tony Benn
          • 'Yes' had support from most of the govt. & most of the Cons. party inc. new leader - Thatcher
          • 'Yes' had support from most of the media & British business leaders inc. CBI
    • Oil
      • 1973 Oil Crisis
        • Western economies like the UK relied on cheap oil imports from the Middle East
          • cheap oil powered industry, air travel, cars & created new synthetic plastics industry
        • era of cheap oil came to sudden & dramatic end in 1973 when oil-rich states of Arabian Gold quadrupled the price of oil
          • era of 'easy prosperity' was over
        • dramatic oil price rise of 1973 caused surging inflation as well as an entry crisis in the UK
      • North Sea Oil
        • in the early 1970s, vast amounts of oil & gas discovered in the North Sea off Scotland
        • however, it did not come on-stream until late 1970s/early 1980s
          • too late to avert oil crisis of 1973 or lessen B's other economic troubles
          • it did seem to offer a way out of B's economic decline in the long run
        • PM Callaghan said that 'god had given GB its best chance in over 100 years in the shape of North Sea oil'
        • by mid-1980s B one of the top six oil producing nations in the world earning billions a year in extra revenue for govt
          • net exporter of oil until 2005

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