Macmillan's Cold War objectives
1) Rebuilding the Anglo American relationship.
2) Maintaining Britain's independent nuclear status.
3) Pursuit of detente.
4) Pursuit of EEC membership.
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Rebuilding the Anglo-American relationship.
- Rebuild the 'special relationship' damaged by the Suez Crisis.
- And maintain the 'special relationship' as a mainstay of UK foreign policy.
- Sought to use American power to offset Britain's economic and military limitations.
- Repeal the McMahon Act which prohibited Anglo-American cooperation on nuclear matters - American fears over Sputnik helped greatly.
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Maintaining Britain's independent nuclear status
- Nuclear collaboration would help Blue Streak; Britain's independent nuclear deterrent.
- Symbol of great power.
- Allow for reductions in Britain's conventional armed forces and defence spending.
- The term "interdependence" nonetheless came to the fore. From 1960 onwards (when Britain abandoned Blue Streak) shows that the UK was in an asymmetrical relationship with the United States.
- Macmillan however continued to insist that interdependence and independence were two sides of the same coin.
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Pursuit of détente
- Took up the idea of a Nuclear Test Ban treaty as a step towards improving East-West relations - Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963.
- Though motivated by genuine desire to make the world a safer place, Macmillan was informed by national self interest:
- Any slow down in the Nuclear Arms Race would bring welcome financial savings to a hard-pressed British economy.
- British public were becoming increasingly concerned about nuclear dangers.
- Macmillan went to Moscow, first western leader to do so during the Cold War.
- Viewed by America as an election year stunt.
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Pursuit of EEC membership
- Needed to be in the EEC to help rebuild the flagging, under-performing British economy.
- Believing that the EEC functioned as a containment barrier against the Soviet bloc, Macmillan wanted Britain inside.
- Macmillan realised that Britain needed a second power base to offset signs of diminishing, or at any rate oscillating, British influence in and over Washington.
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- Macmillan ultimately wanted: Partnership with the Americans.
- He got it as Polaris under the Nassau agreement.
- Didn't hinder national control over the deterrent if 'supreme national interests' so demanded.
- Yet, this rendered Britain suservient to NATOs nuclear force.
- The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, whilst believed to be delivered by the US-USSR, was actually much of Britain's doing.
- Britain had been relegated to facilitator rather than a deliverer of detente.
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