Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War: The Irony of Interdependence

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Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War: The Irony of Interdependence

Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War The Irony of Interdependence Nigel J. Ashton Contemporary History in Context Seri

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Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War The Irony of Interdependence

Nigel J. Ashton

Contemporary History in Context Series General Editor: Peter Catterall, Lecturer, Department of History, Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London What do they know of the contemporary, who only the contemporary know? How, without some historical context, can you tell whether what you are observing is genuinely novel, and how can you understand how it has developed? It was, not least, to guard against the unconscious and ahistorical Whiggery of much contemporary comment that this series was conceived. The series takes important events or historical debates from the post-war years and, by bringing new archival evidence and historical insights to bear, seeks to re-examine and reinterpret these matters. Most of the books will have a significant international dimension, dealing with diplomatic, economic or cultural relations across borders. In the process the object will be to challenge orthodoxies and to cast new light upon major aspects of post-war history. Titles include: Nigel Ashton KENNEDY, MACMILLAN AND THE COLD WAR The Irony of Interdependence Oliver Bange THE EEC CRISIS OF 1963 Kennedy, Macmillan, de Gaulle and Adenauer in Conflict Christopher Brady UNITED STATES FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS CAMBODIA, 1977–92 Roger Broad LABOUR’S EUROPEAN DILEMMAS From Bevin to Blair Peter Catterall and Sean McDougall (editors) THE NORTHERN IRELAND QUESTION IN BRITISH POLITICS Peter Catterall, Colin Seymour-Ure and Adrian Smith (editors) NORTHCLIFFE’S LEGACY Aspects of the British Popular Press, 1896–1996 James Ellison THREATENING EUROPE Britain and the Creation of the European Community, 1955–58 Helen Fawcett and Rodney Lowe (editors) WELFARE POLICY IN BRITAIN The Road from 1945 Jonathan Hollowell (editor) TWENTIETH CENTURY ANGLO-AMERICAN RELATIONS Simon James and Virginia Preston (editors) BRITISH POLITICS SINCE 1945 The Dynamics of Historical Change

Harriet Jones and Michael Kandiah (editors) THE MYTH OF CONSENSUS New Views on British History, 1945–64 Wolfram Kaiser USING EUROPE, ABUSING THE EUROPEANS Britain and European Integration, 1945–63 Keith Kyle THE POLITICS OF THE INDEPENDENCE OF KENYA Adam Lent BRITISH SOCIAL MOVEMENTS SINCE 1945 Sex, Colour, Peace and Power Spencer Mawby CONTAINING GERMANY Britain and the Arming of the Federal Republic Jeffrey Pickering BRITAIN’S WITHDRAWAL FROM EAST OF SUEZ The Politics of Retrenchment Peter Rose HOW THE TROUBLES CAME TO NORTHERN IRELAND L. V. Scott MACMILLAN, KENNEDY AND THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS Political, Military and Intelligence Aspects Paul Sharp THATCHER’S DIPLOMACY The Revival of British Foreign Policy Andrew J. Whitfield HONG KONG, EMPIRE AND THE ANGLO-AMERICAN ALLIANCE AT WAR, 1941–45

Contemporary History in Context Series Standing Order ISBN 0–333–71470–9 (outside North America only) You can receive future titles in this series as they are published by placing a standing order. Please contact your bookseller or, in case of difficulty, write to us at the address below with your name and address, the title of the series and the ISBN quoted above. Customer Services Department, Macmillan Distribution Ltd, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, England

Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War The Irony of Interdependence Nigel J. Ashton Lecturer in International History London School of Economics

© Nigel Ashton 2002 All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this publication may be made without written permission. No paragraph of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted save with written permission or in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, or under the terms of any licence permitting limited copying issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 4LP. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages. The author has asserted his right to be identified as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. First published 2002 by PALGRAVE MACMILLAN Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS and 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10010 Companies and representatives throughout the world PALGRAVE MACMILLAN is the global academic imprint of the Palgrave Macmillan division of St. Martin’s Press, LLC and of Palgrave Macmillan Ltd. Macmillan® is a registered trademark in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries. Palgrave is a registered trademark in the European Union and other countries. ISBN 0–333–71605–1 This book is printed on paper suitable for recycling and made from fully managed and sustained forest sources. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Ashton, Nigel John. Kennedy, Macmillan, and the Cold War: the irony of interdependence/Nigel J. Ashton. p. cm. – (Contemporary history in context series) Includes bibliographical references (p. ) and index. ISBN 0-333-71605-1 1. United States – Foreign relations – Great Britain. 2. Great Britain – Foreign relations – United States. 3. United States – Foreign relations – 1961–1963. 4. Kennedy, John F. (John Fitzgerald), 1917–1963. 5. Macmillan, Harold, 1894–1986. Cold War. I. Title. II. Contemporary history in context series (Palgrave (Firm)) E183.8.G7 A74 2002 327.73041′09′046–dc21 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 Printed and bound in Great Britain by Antony Rowe Ltd, Chippenham and Eastbourne


For Danielle and Isabelle

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Contents General Editor’s Preface




1 Introduction


2 The Laotian Crisis


3 The Berlin Crisis


4 The Castro Question and the Cuban Missile Crisis


5 The Middle East


6 The Congo Crisis


7 The EEC Application


8 Interdependence and the British Nuclear Deterrent


9 The Search for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty


10 Conclusion




Select Bibliography




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General Editor’s Preface

In a dispatch of July 1961 David Bruce, Kennedy’s ambassador to Britain, acknowledged the economic difficulties his hosts were labouring under. He also reflected upon the distance that frequently separated British policy positions from those of the US. This could, in the Kennedy/Macmillan period, manifest itself in a range of different ways. East/West trade was one, with one State Department official complaining about British plans to trade ships for Soviet oil in 1963 that, if this deal went ahead, ‘UK will have achieved [an] almost perfect score of opposition to US in NATO on all East/West trade issues’.1 The issue Bruce instanced, meanwhile, was policy towards Germany. Here a British cross-party preference for reducing tensions and armaments in central Europe clashed with an American determination to wage the Cold War with vigour, as Kennedy had, after all, been elected in 1960 to do, in Europe and elsewhere. It might seem odd then, in light of British economic problems and Anglo-American policy differences, to focus on the years 1961–63 as a particular point in the transatlantic relationship. Indeed, as Nigel Ashton shows here, a whole series of tensions in that relationship built to a peak in the winter of 1962–63. Paradoxically, however, this demonstrates how important that relationship was. There may have been a great disparity of power between the two countries. Nevertheless, their interests touched at numerous points around the globe. This, if nothing else, gave significance to the relationship. A glance at the agenda for one of Macmillan’s meetings with Kennedy will show the vast range of geopolitical, economic and security issues on which Anglo-American interests, if not policies, overlapped. The lack of agreement on particular policies could reflect a range of factors. Tempting though it might have been, not least for American policymakers, to see an ideology of liberal anti-colonialism as playing a major part in these tensions, such rhetorical positions seem usually to have been overridden by other factors, not least, as Ashton demonstrates, in the case of British Guiana. The different frameworks within which the British and Americans viewed the geopolitics of the Cold War seem to have been much more important. This was partly geographical, vide the American anxiety about British Guiana becoming a Cuba on the mainland, or the way in which Macmillan focused on a possible threat to Berlin during the

1. Kennedy Presidential Library, Boston: NSF171, folder 3, Finletter to Rusk, 12 February 1963. ix

x General Editor’s Preface

Cuban missile crisis. Geography and the propinquity of Soviet missiles certainly played their part in the differences in British attitudes with the Americans over policy towards Germany. But other factors, such as unwillingness of the British to shoulder the opportunity-costs involved in maintaining the British Army of the Rhine as part of NATO military contingency planning which, as Bruce recognised, they considered ‘superhypothetical and unrealistic’, were no less important. Historic factors, not least in the shaping of the personalities of the two principals, Kennedy and Macmillan, were also present. A self-image as an anti-appeaser no doubt accounts for the belligerent nature of Macmillan’s response to certain of the issues of this period. The curious mixture of bellicosity and caution so skilfully delineated here in his reaction to the Cuban crisis of 1962 reprises in many ways his equally mixed attitudes during the opening months of the Suez crisis. Kennedy, meanwhile, had his own historical baggage to deal with. British historians obsessed with the supposed lessons of Suez might reflect that even the powerful Americans could suffer similar setbacks. Whilst the soul-searching over Vietnam lay in the future, the Bay of Pigs was a recent memory. Meanwhile, the attack on American foreign policy by the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, Senator William J. Fulbright, in March 1964 drew attention to the extent to which, in the early 1960s, especially under a Democratic administration, an obsession with not appearing weak in the wake of the ‘Who Lost China’ accusations that blighted the last years of the Truman administration, continued to distort the articulation of American foreign policy. One consequence, Fulbright argued, was a mythic presentation of a monolithic Communist bloc and an ideological approach which was coincidentally very much at odds with the approach of their British allies. An example cited by Bruce was the much greater willingness of the British to recognise East Germany. However, he argued, ‘in view [of] contrary American policy, they will align their policies to conform with our own after exhausting arguments against it’.2 If true, this implies that, notwithstanding the differences in views between the two countries, power realities determined ultimate outcomes. It was certainly true in a number of areas. Not only did the US effectively veto some British policy options, it also, as Ashton shows, nearly dragged an unwilling Britain into a war in Indo-China in 1961. This demonstrates a willingness to trade national interests for what Macmillan termed ‘interdependence’. It is this concept, its usefulness or otherwise, and the extent to which it aptly describes the nature of Anglo-American relations in these years, that forms the core of Nigel Ashton’s analysis. What is particularly significant in his account, not least in terms of the study of international

2. Ibid: NSF170, folder 5, Bruce to Rusk, 17 July 1961.

General Editor’s Preface xi

relations, is the extent to which this political and rhetorical concept was either operationalised or undermined by perceptual realities. However, as he shows, Macmillan’s pursuit was not entirely barren. Bruce concluded his dispatch of July 1961 by referring to ‘the essential solidarity of informed self-interest between the English-speaking peoples’. But this is too limited a view. On occasion, as Ashton’s analysis of the Test Ban Treaty negotiations shows, Macmillan was able to inform and structure the way in which the Americans constructed their self-interest. The idea of interdependence may have been riddled with the ironies Ashton effectively points to, but it was by no means entirely artificial. Peter Catterall London, December 2001

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Acknowledgements The gestation of an academic monograph is a long, sometimes difficult, but ultimately rewarding process. During the course of the last five years I have incurred a large number of debts along the way. The idea for this study was originally conceived during my time as a lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Liverpool. There I am grateful both to Christopher Allmand for his understanding and support of younger academics and also to David Dutton for his wise and generous advice. My initial research at Liverpool was aided by the provision of a year’s sabbatical leave and also by grants from the University of Liverpool research development fund and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation. Since my move to the London School of Economics I have also profited from the exchange of views with colleagues in the Department of International History. Elsewhere John Young has also been generous in his support of my work. My greatest academic debt, though, remains to David Reynolds, my former Doctoral supervisor, whose continuing advice, encouragement and support have been precious to me. I have carried out research in a large number of archives and libraries during the course of completing this work and would like to thank the staff of the following institutions: the Public Record Office; the US National Archives; the John F. Kennedy Library; the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library; the Virginia Historical Society; the Churchill College Archives Centre; the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge; the Modern Papers Reading Room, the Bodleian Library, Oxford; the British Library of Political and Economic Science; and the Cambridge University Library. I am also grateful to the editors with whom I have worked at Palgrave Macmillan: Annabelle Buckley, Karen Brazier and Luciana O’Flaherty. Luciana in particular has been understanding of my requests for extensions in deadline and word length as this project has progressed. As ever, the most important debts are personal. My wife Danielle has given me loving support throughout my move from Liverpool to London via the Netherlands. It is to her and our daughter Isabelle, who was born two weeks before this study was completed, that I dedicate this book. Nigel Ashton London, October 2001


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1 Introduction

It was not a promising beginning. Despite the best-laid plans, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s first meeting with the new president of the United States, John F. Kennedy did not take place in Washington during the first week of April 1961. Instead, responding to what amounted to a summons from Kennedy at the end of March, the aged prime minister flew to the US Naval Base at Key West in Florida. This detour, involving two five-hour flights in the middle of a planned trip to the Caribbean, was, as Macmillan’s press secretary Harold Evans put it, like flying to Moscow for lunch.1 Across the perspective of four decades, the reason for this hasty change in plans seems somewhat improbable. A civil war between communist and Western-backed forces in the land-locked South East Asian state of Laos had, in Kennedy’s estimation, raised issues vital to the waging of the Cold War. Not only that, but from the new president’s point of view, the prime minister’s attempts to wriggle out of any British military commitment to stem the communist advance in Laos threatened a ‘serious difference of opinion between the United Kingdom and the United States …’2 In a broader sense, the Key West meeting provides an interesting snapshot of the state of Anglo-American relations at the beginning of the 1960s. It was a meeting rich in symbolism. First of all there were the landing protocols for the presidential and prime ministerial planes. As Harold Evans noted, Macmillan was kept in the air while Kennedy landed: ‘He is V.I.P. Code I. We are V.I.P. Code II.’3 Then there were the contrasts of the American scene which greeted the prime minister as he stepped off the plane. On the one hand, there were the Navy and Marine Bands playing, and the nineteen-gun salute, which conjured up a suitably martial atmosphere. On the other, as Macmillan drove with the president in an open car from the landing strip, along the causeway road and through the town of Key West, there were ‘a large number of spectators, in a great variety of costume or no costume’ lining the route and applauding. It was, as Macmillan later recorded in his memoirs, ‘at the same time one of the strangest and one of the most interesting among my experiences’.4 Despite 1

2 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

the influence of his American mother, the ‘strangeness’ of his engagement with America was a theme to which the prime minister would return repeatedly during and after his premiership.5 Not only did the prime minister find himself in a strange environment at Key West, he also found himself on the wrong end of a less than subtle exercise in the manipulation of power on the part of the new president. In his memoirs, Macmillan noted that he was accompanied to Key West only by his principal private secretary, Tim Bligh, Ambassador Harold Caccia, who had flown down with the president from Washington, a detective, and ‘two of the “young ladies”, part of our splendid Downing Street staff of secretary-typists’. The president, by contrast, was supported by ‘generals, admirals and airmen, of whom there seemed to be a great number, which included all their aides and attendants’.6 In fact, the picture Macmillan painted of the imbalance in Anglo-American forces at the conference table was somewhat exaggerated. The records of the meeting reveal that the British side also fielded Air Chief Marshal Sir George Mills and two further senior members of the embassy staff from Washington.7 Still, there was no doubt that the president had manipulated the location, timing and representation at the meeting well from the point of view of putting the prime minister under pressure. Called to Key West at short notice, and isolated from many of his senior colleagues and advisers, Macmillan had had little opportunity to prepare a defensive brief for the talks. In truth, even before arriving at Key West, Macmillan had been nervous at the prospect of his first meeting with the new president. As David Ormsby-Gore, a close friend of both men put it:8 he was ‘apprehensive … as to whether the President would think he was a funny old man who belonged to the distant past and couldn’t understand the problems of the day’. Macmillan also later confided to US Ambassador David Bruce his initial concern that Kennedy might think him ‘a character from “Beyond the Fringe”’.9 For his part, the president may well have been concerned as to how Macmillan would measure him as against his predecessor, Eisenhower, with whom the prime minister’s comradeship dated back to his wartime role as British minister resident with the Allied forces in North Africa. This made for a somewhat tense atmosphere, with David OrmsbyGore noting that ‘I don’t think they got on very easily on that occasion. There was probably some slight embarrassment on both sides and therefore they didn’t speak in the frank way that they did at a later stage.’10 Macmillan later recorded that he had found Kennedy ‘a curious mixture of qualities – courteous, quiet, decisive – and tough’.11 The records of their talks now available show that it was the quality of ‘toughness’ in negotiation that was most in evidence in Kennedy’s handling of the prime minister.12 The conference opened with a formal exposition of the American plan for military intervention in Laos accompanied, as Macmillan noted, by ‘excellent maps and a large blackboard’. After

Introduction 3

digesting the military briefing, Macmillan and Kennedy adjourned for lunch, which proved another strange cultural encounter for the prime minister. Kennedy tucked into the classic American hamburger, while Macmillan himself later recorded that they ate ‘meat sandwiches’, ‘not a form of lunch I’m very fond of!’ If Macmillan had been uncomfortable about the generational and cultural gap between them, the hamburger, which he elsewhere variously described in his diary as ‘a sort of picnic lunch’ and a ‘sort of buffet luncheon’ seems only to have added to his unease.13 What then transpired in Macmillan’s own account, though, was a sort of meeting of minds over lunch. Evidently referring to the plan for intervention in Laos rather than the hamburger, Kennedy asked the prime minister ‘what do you think of that?’ By his own account, Macmillan’s reply was direct. ‘Not much. It is not on.’14 Macmillan recorded that he felt the president shared his doubts about large-scale intervention in Laos. However, the British and American minutes of their talks both before and after lunch tell a rather different story, with the president pressing Macmillan repeatedly to commit himself to joint military action under the auspices of the South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) should this prove necessary. As Kennedy put it, ‘if action were worth taking by the United States it was worth taking by other countries too’.15 Harold Evans noted that the discussions before lunch provoked an ‘air of gloom induced by an inability to see completely eye to eye’. On his way to lunch with the president Macmillan apparently muttered ‘he is pushing me hard but I won’t give way’.16 Still, under pressure from Kennedy, and boxed in by the need to demonstrate himself to be a valuable ally to the new president, Macmillan had to shift his position.17 In a rather tense exchange between the two men at the end of their meeting, Kennedy asked ‘if all fails and a take-over of Laos appears imminent and a formal request from the Royal Lao Government is made, and if a limited plan has been drawn up, is it your judgment that we should respond militarily to the Lao appeal?’ Macmillan replied ‘it is my personal judgment that we should. However, I must carry the Cabinet. I think I can.’ Kennedy’s closing remark was unequivocal. ‘We must respond’, he said.18 Although there was no agreed final text,19 Macmillan did give the president a five-point memorandum, which he was sending to Foreign Secretary Lord Home and Home Secretary ‘Rab’ Butler, summarising the action he proposed to take. Here, he conceded that if there were to be military intervention, the US could not be expected to go it alone. Some degree of British military contribution would have to be made. A limited Anglo-American plan for such a purpose, the details of which were to be kept secret from other SEATO members, should therefore be worked out. The only qualification Macmillan managed to insert into this commitment was that no actual military intervention would take place without a joint decision by the British and American Governments.20 Still this reservation

4 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

in Kennedy’s view did not mean that the US had agreed to a British veto over military action. Rather, Kennedy saw it as ‘a statement of the agreed conditions for British active participation’. To the president, the Macmillan paper seemed a ‘real gain’ over his position before the Key West conference.21 Kennedy now believed that if there were no other means available to prevent Laos going communist, the British would join the US in an effort to ‘maintain bridgeheads in Laos on the Mekong River, including Vientiane’. Overall, the president saw the Key West meeting as having been ‘most helpful in narrowing the difference of opinion that had previously existed between us’.22 With the benefit of access to the records covering the official exchanges between the British and American sides at Key West, therefore, it appears that Macmillan’s version of events is somewhat disingenuous. What happened at Key West was not that he reinforced the doubts of a sceptical president as to the viability of planning for intervention in Laos, thus averting a British commitment to an unwinnable war. Rather, he was pressed by a president he did not know and did not want to offend into agreeing to joint Anglo-American planning for a possible military operation in Laos. In the short term, such an operation only came to seem more probable as the situation deteriorated, and the hawks in the US Administration and military applied more pressure on Kennedy to act. Paradoxically, as we will see, it was in fact to be the failure of the Bay of Pigs landing, and the changes it brought about in Kennedy’s thinking by the end of April 1961, rather than the skilful diplomacy of Macmillan, which the British Government could thank for avoiding embroilment in a hopeless war in South East Asia.23 This version of what transpired at Key West throws up significant questions as to the nature of the Anglo-American relationship at the beginning of the 1960s. Most importantly, one might ask what the encounter tells us about the balance of power between the leaders of the two nations, and their respective international priorities. Why, in view of the military resources available to the United States, did Kennedy think it important to secure some sort of British military contribution in South East Asia, and why did Macmillan allow himself to be manoeuvred into having to offer it? In short, why was the cooperation of one power important to the other? No doubt part of the answer here was circumstantial. For Kennedy, it was important to demonstrate that US policy in South East Asia was not unilateral, or motivated by selfish American interests. If the British contributed to any military operation they would give a lead to other SEATO members and show that the US was acting on the part of the Western alliance in the Cold War struggle. In view of the earlier British diffidence over US policy in South East Asia, dating back to the Geneva Conference of 1954, this would be symbolically important.24 On the British side, there were also circumstantial considerations. Macmillan had invested a large amount of political capital in the rebuilding of the Anglo-American alliance since Suez. If he

Introduction 5

got off on the wrong foot with the new president, much of the effort he had invested under Eisenhower might be wasted. Or, as he put it in a telegram to Rab Butler, ‘if we refused even a limited military contribution I think our influence with them would be much impaired’.25 Beyond these circumstantial considerations, though, lurks the deeper question of the foundations of the Anglo-American relationship. The whole notion of an Anglo-American ‘special’ relationship was, at the beginning of the 1960s, still very much a recent construct. The term entered the English language in March 1946 when, in his famous ‘iron curtain’ speech, Winston Churchill proclaimed that peace could not be preserved without ‘the fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples. This means a special relationship between the British Commonwealth and Empire and the United States.’26 Churchill’s use of the term was thus, as one scholar has observed, ‘prescriptive’.27 With the Second World War over, it was necessary for Britain to draw the attention of the United States to the need to maintain a close relationship in the face of a new threat, that of communism. This was all the more so in the light of the nature of the emerging Cold War, which did not initially manifest itself in the shape of a clear-cut military threat. Drawing on this Churchillian starting point it can be inferred that interest, ideology and culture lay at the heart of the relationship. Of these elements, recent scholarly research in the field has focused on the question of interest. To the extent that the United States and Great Britain saw a common threat to their interests from the Soviet Union they cooperated during the Cold War, just as they had earlier done in face of the common threat posed by Nazi Germany and Japan. Where, on a local level, the particular interests of one power clashed with those of the other they could still come into conflict. The contrast between global cooperation and local conflict has given rise to what one might term a historiographical orthodoxy concerning Anglo-American relations. The Anglo-American ‘special’ relationship, as represented in the bulk of recent literature, could be described as an oxymoron, wrapped in a paradox and shrouded in ambiguity. So, for the foremost specialists in the field, the relationship was one of ‘competitive cooperation’ involving an ‘ambiguous partnership’ between ‘allies of a kind’.28 The effect of what has been termed this ‘functional’ approach29 to the analysis of Anglo-American relations has been to call into question the original Churchillian notion of a relationship in which the ideological and cultural pillars arguably played more important roles. Attempts to redress this balance have been few and far between.30 The net result of all this scepticism and realism is that the very concept of a ‘special’ relationship has become somewhat compromised. If interests clashed so frequently, and British power declined so precipitously, was there really any ‘special relationship’ to speak about from the beginning of the 1960s onwards?31

6 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

Indeed, it is not going too far to say that in current historiography, the term ‘special relationship’ can hardly appear in public unless wrapped in inverted commas and accompanied by a question mark. The purpose of this study is not to seek a reversal of this orthodoxy but rather to refine it. There remains much merit in the functional approach to Anglo-American relations. Borrowing from the functionalists, this study analyses Anglo-American relations in the early 1960s in terms of the practicalities of crisis management and the problems of alliance politics, rather than through an esoteric dissection of what is connoted by the use of the concept ‘special’. On the other hand, it should also be made clear that some of the more intriguing questions about the conduct of AngloAmerican relations thrown up by this study are those which appear where the limits of an interest-driven approach are reached. Here we find ourselves returning to the complex questions of the cultural and ideological foundations of the Anglo-American relationship emphasised by Churchill. In order to illustrate this point more specifically one might turn to formulations of the Anglo-American relationship provided by the contemporary protagonists themselves. Perhaps it is most appropriate in this respect to dispose of the ‘Greeks and Romans’ first. The formulation of the Anglo-American relationship most frequently associated with Harold Macmillan has its roots in his wartime service as minister resident at the Allied Forces HQ (AFHQ) in North Africa. Here Richard Crossman famously recorded his first encounter with Macmillan, and the latter’s description to him of the functioning of the Anglo-American relationship in the following terms: We, my dear Crossman, are Greeks in this American empire. You will find the Americans much as the Greeks found the Romans – great big, vulgar, bustling people, more vigorous than we are and also more idle, with more unspoiled virtues but also more corrupt. We must run AFHQ as the Greek slaves ran the operations of the Emperor Claudius.32 The thrust of the analogy was clear. The British were culturally and intellectually more sophisticated than the Americans. This superiority would allow them to manipulate the Anglo-American relationship in a Machiavellian fashion, surreptitiously turning American power to British ends. In practice, there proved to be two main problems with this theory of Anglo-American relations. Firstly, for the strategy to succeed, knowledge of it must be kept from the Americans. This Macmillan himself signally failed to do. As Harold Evans noted in his diary early in 1960, the prime minister tended ‘eventually to say indiscreetly in public what he has been saying discreetly in private, e.g. the British as the Greeks in the Roman Empire of the Americans’.33 Secondly, the strategy simply underestimated the political sophistication of the American leadership with which Macmillan

Introduction 7

worked during his period in office. This was particularly true of the Kennedy years. Delving into the implications of the metaphor itself a little further, it is of course possible to highlight further unintended ironies. Robin Edmonds has pointed out that the Romans acquired their Eastern provinces by defeating the Greeks in war, and that they went on to pillage the riches of the Greek world on a vast scale.34 Not only that, but the course of AngloAmerican relations during the Kennedy years, particularly in the nuclear field, gave Macmillan himself ample opportunity to reflect on the fact that the governing characteristics of the position of the Greeks in the Roman Empire were in fact dependence and slavery. Although Macmillan continued to use this ‘classical’ rhetoric as a means of describing the AngloAmerican relationship, it is arguable that in practice he found the task of handling Anglo-American relations both more complex and more challenging than the thesis of Machiavellian manipulation of American power to British ends might suggest. There is no comparable contemporary theory of Anglo-American relations on the American side to dissect. Certainly, there was not one articulated by John F. Kennedy. Nevertheless, there were various points during the course of the Kennedy presidency when the underlying, or unspoken assumptions of key Administration officials about the Anglo-American relationship bubbled to the surface. One key protagonist on the US side who offered two interesting, but diverse formulations of the Anglo-American relationship was Secretary of State Dean Rusk. The first formulation is perhaps the more predictable of the two, and dovetails neatly with the functional view of Anglo-American relations. As Rusk saw matters: ‘what has sometimes been called a special relationship is not a theoretical relationship based upon a common language, a common background, and the fact that we were once colonies of Britain … it arose out of the fact that we were working together on important matters.’ Amplifying his train of thought, Rusk explained that ‘we had more business to transact with Britain during the Kennedy period than we had with most other governments – it’s the transaction of common business that leads to a close relationship rather than the more esoteric considerations …’35 Rusk’s other formulation of the relationship was offered against the background of a crisis in Anglo-American relations provoked by the Kennedy Administration’s decision to sell Hawk missiles to Israel in August 1962. Macmillan, who was furious at what he regarded as American perfidy in breaking an earlier understanding to consult with London before any such decision was taken, dashed off a blistering rebuke to Washington. ‘I cannot believe’, he wrote to Kennedy, ‘that you were privy to this disgraceful piece of trickery. For myself I must say frankly that I can hardly find words to express my sense of disgust and despair. Nor do I see how you and I are to conduct the great affairs of the world on

8 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

this basis …’36 As we will see when we come to consider the question of Anglo-American ‘interdependence,’ the Hawk missile controversy formed part of a gathering crisis of interdependence which crystallised during the winter of 1962–3. The reactions which Macmillan’s emotional outburst provoked on the US side are illuminating. Rusk’s own response, beyond expressing astonishment at the tone of Macmillan’s remarks, was that ‘when a married couple begin to talk about divorce, it is already too late’.37 Rusk’s remark, which in fact assigned to the US and UK a gendered relationship, is not the only example of its kind. One might return to the description of America offered by the British ambassador in Washington, Sir Robert Lindsay, in 1937 when he observed that ‘America is still extraordinarily youthful and sensitive. She resembles a young lady launched into society and highly susceptible to a little deference from an older man.’38 Or we might turn to Churchill’s comment the day after America’s entry into the war when asked whether he should not adopt a more deferential tone in a request for aid he proposed to forward to Washington. ‘Oh! that is the way we talked to her while we were wooing her; now that she is in the harem, we talk to her quite differently.’39 What is interesting in comparing Rusk’s remark with those of Lindsay and Churchill is the sense that the gender roles have been reversed. A further contemporary illustration of this phenomenon is provided by Assistant Secretary William Tyler’s description of the Anglo-American confrontation at Nassau in December 1962. Here, Tyler recalled: the ‘chintsy’ atmosphere in the room where the conference took place; the smell of roses drifting in through the window; [an] intimate British country atmosphere. And Macmillan’s dramatic statement in the midst of all this – a drama out of scale – like being in a girl’s bedroom with something going on that shouldn’t happen there.40 No doubt the reversal of gender roles hinted at by these remarks corresponded to an underlying shift in the power relationship between America and Britain as perceived by the men making the foreign policy of the two countries. Returning to Rusk’s marital analogy, although it is conceivable that the secretary of state saw America as the wife in the Anglo-American marriage it is most unlikely. Rather, since Macmillan’s reaction to the Hawk missile question did not fit readily into Rusk’s ‘transaction of business’ model of Anglo-American relations it was dismissed as an irrational, emotional outburst on the part of an embittered spouse. What is also interesting in this respect is that the gendered descriptions of the AngloAmerican relationship which Churchill and Lindsay’s remarks show were part of British pre-war and wartime usage were largely absent in London during the Kennedy years.

Introduction 9

While one would not want to push this kind of gendered analysis of Anglo-American relations too far, it does provide some insight into the underlying assumptions about the power relationship between the two states entertained by the men who made policy in this era.41 It also highlights the extent to which emotion played a part in framing AngloAmerican relations particularly during times of crisis. Not every action and reaction on the part of the key actors can be reduced to a rational calculation of interest. The very same Hawk missile incident that threw up Rusk’s marital analogy also provoked an interesting, alternative formulation of the AngloAmerican relationship on the part of National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy. Rationalising Macmillan’s anger in terms of the British desire to sell their own Bloodhound missile to the Israelis, Bundy observed that: it is clear that there was no justification for the violence of the Prime Minister’s explosion, and it is also clear that the way is now open for perfectly fair competition. The rub, of course, is that the British will not win. Nothing is harder for a merchant’s feelings than to have to market a second-best product against alert competition. Here the Anglo-American relationship is rationalised in commercial terms. The British are the down-at-heel merchants trying to market shoddy goods against stiff American competition. No doubt part of this perception was informed by a more general sense of British economic decline. What Bundy’s statement also highlights, though, is the role of a competitive business ethos in American thinking. For the British side this ethos was a source of tension in Anglo-American relations. On the one hand, the British had no confidence in the American version of ‘perfectly fair competition’.42 On the other, the notion of politics as the continuation of business by other means was uncongenial to British leaders. This was despite the fact that prominent individuals within the Cabinet, including Macmillan himself, had a background in business. Indeed, as a conversation between Harold Macmillan and Rab Butler in early 1963 illustrates, for British leaders politics was seen more as a refuge from business. As Butler noted, ‘we had a short talk on the awfulness of going into business and that politics despite its dangers was the greatest game in the world’.43 It would be difficult to imagine such an exchange taking place on the other side of the Atlantic. Of course, if one wanted to crystallise this sense of a divide in British and American perceptions of Anglo-American relations drawn along the line of a commercially driven view of the world, one could not do better in the Kennedy era than to study the role of US Defense Secretary Robert McNamara. McNamara personified a new, more overtly managerial, commercially driven approach to the business of waging the Cold War and

10 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

running the US’s alliances.44 It would not be going too far to argue that he conceived of the US’s relations with the UK more in the framework of a multinational business operation, in which the UK played the role of a subsidiary in the US’s global competition with her main rival, the USSR. In other words, for McNamara, one could infer that the Anglo-American relationship was in fact a headquarters–subsidiary relationship. In a perceptive series of reflections on his seminal 1963 report to the president on the Skybolt crisis, Richard Neustadt has drawn particular attention to one exchange between Harold Macmillan and Robert McNamara during the prime minister’s visit to Washington in April 1962. Although the ostensible subject of the conversation was Berlin, Neustadt describes the exchange as ‘an extraordinary dialogue of the deaf’. He elaborates on Macmillan’s and McNamara’s approaches as follows: ‘for the PM, veteran of two World Wars, now serving as chief minister of a small, vulnerable island, any war engulfing Europe, conventional or nuclear, was the ultimate failure of policy, the end of politics … Whereas for McNamara, dutiful and rational to a fault – a World War II Air Force statistical controller, subsequently president of the Ford Motor Company – warfare was his current business …’ (my italics).45 If this business ethos was in one sense a measure of the cultural divide between the practice of politics in London and Washington, Neustadt’s analysis shows that it also crossed over into the realm of strategy. There was, put simply, a subtly different British conception of the nature of the Cold War, and thus of how it should be waged by the early 1960s. Clearly, one would not want to argue that there was no diversity of opinion on either side of the Atlantic. Nevertheless, there was, by the beginning of the 1960s, a broad political consensus in Britain on certain facets of Cold War strategy, aspects of which were viewed with some suspicion on the other side of the Atlantic. Two elements of this strategy stand out in the Macmillan years. Firstly, there was the question of disengagement, and secondly, that of détente. The notion of some form of disengagement in central Europe, perhaps accompanied by a non-aggression pact, had its roots in Anthony Eden’s proposal at the 1955 Geneva Conference that, in order to facilitate a resolution of the German question and a reduction of tensions between East and West, a demilitarised zone should be set up in central Europe. Picking up this idea of disengagement, the leader of the Labour Party, Hugh Gaitskell advocated a sweeping change of Western strategy on the Central European front in a series of lectures delivered at Harvard in spring 1957. In order to further the idea of co-existence between the communist and democratic camps in the Cold War, Gaitskell called for the demilitarisation of Central Europe and the reuniting of the two Germanys. These moves would lead to the creation of a neutral buffer zone between East and West, which would be accompanied by the conclusion of a security pact between the great powers guaranteeing the frontiers of the

Introduction 11

countries in the zone. Gaitskell’s approach showed a much greater flexibility over relations with the countries of the Eastern Bloc, in particular East Germany (DDR) than was countenanced in Washington. Indeed, by 1960 both the main British opposition parties had declared themselves in favour of recognising the DDR.46 Macmillan himself was sympathetic to these ideas and conscious of the political dangers of allowing the opposition parties to outflank him on the issue. Certainly, as we will see when we come to discuss his handling of the Berlin crisis, he was unwilling to go to war over the question of the recognition of East Germany. Moreover, when, in the final stages of the negotiations over the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in Moscow in July 1963, the Soviets proposed the coupling of the agreement with a non-aggression pact, Macmillan was far from alarmed. As he later reflected, ‘except for the unpleasant memories connected with the term, because of Hitler’s frequent negotiation and consistent breach of such treaties, I could see no objection’.47 If disengagement was one distinctive British theme in Cold War strategy in this period, détente was another. Just as in the case of disengagement, the underlying ideological justification for this approach was the notion that the West could better frame its Cold War strategy on the basis of co-existence rather than confrontation with the Soviet bloc. In the long run this strategy was aimed at promoting the withering away rather than the dramatic collapse of Soviet communism.48 In the United States, this penchant for negotiation and compromise was frequently rationalised as a sort of national predilection for appeasement.49 This was despite the fact that its two arch-practitioners on the British side, Winston Churchill and Harold Macmillan, were also the leading anti-appeasers of the 1930s. As Ambassador David Bruce put it, ‘stout as they invariably are in a showdown, their national political temperament inclines them to compromise, even at the expense of principle’.50 Macmillan’s own preoccupation with détente in the form of his pursuit of summitry has been dismissed by some commentators as little more than a crude electoral device. Certainly, it was often seen in these terms by Eisenhower and his advisers.51 Nevertheless, the extent of the personal blow suffered by Macmillan when the great power summit he had long sought collapsed ignominiously in Paris in May 1960 shows that the prime minister’s attachment to summitry ran much deeper than mere electoral calculation. At one and the same time the Paris summit brought home to Macmillan the intractability of the Cold War conflict and also Britain’s much diminished status between the two superpowers. As we will see, the Paris collapse had profound implications for Macmillan’s framing of British foreign policy, leading him to hedge his earlier reliance on the Anglo-American alliance by applying for membership of the European Economic Community. Even with the prospect of a great power summit of the character summoned in Paris apparently dead, Macmillan did not give up all hope that there might remain a role for him

12 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

to play in mitigating East–West tensions during the Kennedy presidency. Certainly, this was one of a complex set of reasons as to why he was so persistent in his pursuit of disarmament and a nuclear test ban treaty. If détente formed part of a distinctive British approach to the Cold War in this period, in Washington the view of engagement with the Soviets was much more cautious and sceptical. True, Eisenhower had agreed to attend the Paris summit, and Kennedy had agreed to meet Khrushchev in Vienna in June 1961. But neither man was prepared to go to the lengths that Macmillan was in securing a détente. Part of the reason for this was no doubt the influence of domestic constituencies, and part a simple question of strategic geography. In Kennedy’s own case, though, the issue is even more complex. When trying to identify the president’s own convictions in amongst the other factors that influenced the shaping of US foreign policy in this period one has to confront the task of analysing a remarkably elusive individual. What is clear is that neither the hero-worship of his acolytes, nor the muckraking of his denigrators do full justice to this complex, detached, inspirational and cynical individual.52 On one level, Kennedy’s life is wrapped in irony. The captain of the only US motor torpedo boat to suffer the improbable fate of being rammed by a Japanese destroyer during the Second World War, JFK was at the same time instrumental in securing the survival against the odds of his crew.53 Plagued by ill-health including Addison’s disease and a bad back that was little short of crippling, Kennedy still managed to appear in public as youthful and energetic. The victim of two of the most unlikely shots in history in November 1963, Kennedy had up until that point lived an almost charmed political and personal life. Reflecting on Kennedy’s luck, William Douglas-Home, one of his pre-war companions in London, recounted one particular tale. Turning up for his first-ever round of golf with JFK, they asked the club assistant professional for a couple of balls each. The man then proceeded, much to Douglas-Home’s surprise, to give them a dozen deluxe golf balls each in a box. Returning from the round later, they found an ambulance outside the clubhouse taking the man away ‘because he had been giving everything away that morning. I thought he [JFK] might have been rather lucky after that’, Douglas-Home commented wryly.54 In politics, JFK’s charmed life saw him make a remarkably quick progression from election to the House of Representatives in 1946, to the Senate in 1952, and finally to a successful presidential campaign in 1960. Even the margin of Kennedy’s victory over Nixon, one of the narrowest ever recorded, seemed to reflect his political good fortune. Of course, part of that good fortune was in fact down to the careful marshalling of his political career by his father, Ambassador Joe Kennedy, whose own hopes of political advancement had been ruined by his misjudgements as the US’s wartime ambassador in London. Despite Joe Kennedy’s continued role in the background, by the time he became president it is clear that JFK had

Introduction 13

moved out of his father’s political shadow. In particular, Jack Kennedy developed his own brand of rhetoric, mirrored in his inaugural address, aimed at energising America for an ideological crusade. The question remains, of course, how much of this was political froth, and how much personal conviction? It is not hard to find evidence both for Kennedy the realist and Kennedy the ideologue. 55 The inaugural address in which he promised to ‘pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to ensure the survival and success of liberty …’ can clearly be read as an ideological call to arms.56 On the other hand, in a speech near the end of his presidency in September 1963, Kennedy also staked out an unequivocally realist position: ‘we must recognize that every nation determines its policies in terms of its interests … National interest is more powerful than ideology, and the recent developments within the Communist empire show this very clearly. Friendship, as Palmerston said, may rise and wane, but interests endure.’57 Moreover, Arthur Schlesinger, surely an authority well placed to comment on the role of ideology, found that Kennedy was ‘disposed to view the [Cold War] conflict in national rather than ideological terms’.58 Nevertheless, as one scholar has pointed out, at his Vienna summit with Khrushchev in June 1961, Kennedy still saw the need to enter into an ideological debate about the strengths of their respective systems with the Soviet leader.59 This debate about Kennedy’s view of Cold War international relations takes on a greater significance in the context of Anglo-American relations for two reasons. Firstly, because Macmillan’s own initial assumption was that he would have to build a bridge to the new president in the realm of ideas.60 Secondly, because part of the reason for Macmillan and Kennedy’s effective working relationship seems to have been that they shared a view of the need to relax tensions with the Soviet Union. This shared outlook was to manifest itself in their joint pursuit of a nuclear test ban treaty. But, neither Macmillan’s initial belief that he would have to connect with the new president in the realm of ideology, nor their shared belief in the need to reduce Cold War tensions amount to proof that the Anglo-American alliance was ideologically driven under their leadership. Indeed, on closer inspection, Macmillan’s initial attempt to formulate an ideological platform that might appeal to the president seems to have met with only very limited success. After a meeting at the beginning of November 1960 with two of his closest Private Office advisers, Philip de Zulueta and Freddie Bishop,61 a paper was drawn up proposing a wide-ranging political, military and economic reorganisation of the Free World. Macmillan himself was particularly insistent on the inclusion of a passage stating that: The struggle for the survival of our ideas is going to be long and tough. On our side we have the inherent justice of our cause and the great

14 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

adaptability, inventiveness and richness of the capitalist system. But I must say we have a formidable concentration of power against us whose unity gives it a disproportionate strength … Accordingly, I have been wondering how, without sacrificing the way of life in which we believe or the individual characteristics of our various countries, we can draw the Western world together in a more effective way.62 Initially, the response to Macmillan’s ideas from senior colleagues was positive. Foreign Secretary Lord Home replied that he liked the message very much indeed. A contemporaneous paper from the influential Cabinet Secretary Norman Brook showed that he too had been thinking along similar lines.63 In the event, though, after some debate within Whitehall as to whether the prime minister’s message might be construed as a form of special pleading in respect of Britain’s own economic and political problems, the tone of the letter Macmillan eventually sent to Kennedy was less high-minded and rather narrower in scope. Nevertheless, Macmillan still underlined his view of the Cold War as primarily an economic war of attrition in which, as matters stood, the communists were gaining the upper hand. ‘The policies and institutions which have served the free world well since the war are now inadequate if we are to meet the challenge of Communism. I believe this to be particularly true in the economic field,’ he wrote. Underlining the need to reform the ‘new form of capitalism’ in such a way as to ensure full employment and economic growth, he argued that ‘if we fail in this, Communism will triumph, not by war, or even by subversion, but by seeming to be a better way of bringing people material comforts’. Macmillan also emphasised not only the question of maintaining ‘confidence in a free society in our own countries’ but also that of ‘spreading it to the uncommitted countries’.64 Here, he clearly hoped to appeal to what he believed to be Kennedy’s commitment to the struggle for hearts and minds in the Third World. Kennedy’s reply, conveyed by the Secretary of State designate Dean Rusk to Ambassador Harold Caccia in Washington did not engage in the broader debate Macmillan had sought to fan into life. The only ideological dimension of Macmillan’s letter that provoked any interest on Kennedy’s part was the prime minister’s reference to the struggle for the uncommitted nations. Here, as Rusk’s attempts to explain Kennedy’s comments indicate, there was in fact the latent potential for Anglo-American ideological division rather than cooperation.65 The whole question of the role of colonialism and decolonisation in Anglo-American relations during this period is indeed an interesting and somewhat ironical study. In view of the American tradition of anti-colonialism, one would expect this to be a source of tension in Anglo-American relations, especially under a president who promised to make the struggle for the Third World a centrepiece of policy. As Kennedy put it in his letter, ‘the American people have some deep-rooted notions on this subject which make it important for us not to be constantly torn

Introduction 15

between loyalties to the Atlantic community and our genuine concern for the peoples of other continents.’66 And yet, for the most part during the Kennedy Presidency the question of decolonisation did not figure highly on the list of Anglo-American problems. The two main exceptions to this are somewhat ironical in character.67 The first was not even a British colony at all. The problem of the Congo, where Belgium’s chaotic and ill-planned decolonisation drew in the Cold War and threatened to destabilise much of central Africa, had been bequeathed to Kennedy by the previous Administration. Here, Anglo-American tensions did arise over British policy towards the neighbouring Central African Federation. The British failure to restrain the leader of the federation, Sir Roy Welensky, and the government’s evident sympathy for the secessionist Congolese province of Katanga, were to provide the source of much tension in relations with Washington. Indeed, the denouement of the Congo crisis in December 1962 was to provide one of the elements of the crisis of Anglo-American interdependence that confronted the government during that winter. The second colonial problem that troubled Anglo-American relations was even more ironical in character. In the case of British Guiana, the American pressure exerted on the British government was of precisely the opposite character to that which the ‘deep-rooted notions’ of anti-colonialism entertained by the American people might have led one to expect. Fears that the British might bequeath the colony to a post-independence leader in the shape of Cheddi Jagan, a suspected communist sympathiser, led Washington to exercise an extraordinary degree of pressure on Britain to maintain its colonial rule, at least until elections could be rigged to provide a more amenable leadership.68 In the end the British were to trim their approach to meet US fears, but this did not stop Macmillan reflecting on the fact that ‘it is … rather fun making the Americans repeat over & over again their passionate plea to us to stick to “colonialism” and “imperialism” at all costs.’69 Or, as he put it when commenting on the contradictions exposed by domestic politics of race in America: ‘the ambivalences of American policies on colonialism are really past comprehension, and it is no use getting angry about it.’70 Despite his initial expectations, Macmillan came to recognise that Kennedy was in fact more inclined towards a sceptical interest-driven understanding of foreign policy. In practice, this meant that he tended to be effective in handling particular crises, but less effective in pursuing a consistent longer-term strategy or vision. As the prime minister put it after one phone conversation with the president over the European stalemate in November 1961, ‘it was interesting and impressive how simply he declared himself to be baffled and uncertain what to do next’.71 A month later reflecting on his December 1961 talks with Kennedy, he noted that there is a marked contrast between President Kennedy ‘in action’ on a specific problem (e.g. Congo, West Irian, Ghana), and his attitude to larger issues (the nuclear war, the struggle between East and West,

16 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

Capitalism and Communism, etc.). In the first, he is an extraordinarily quick operator – a born ‘politician’ (not in the pejorative sense). On the wider issues, he seems rather lost.72 If ideology provides an incomplete foundation for an understanding of the Macmillan–Kennedy relationship, then Macmillan’s wry observations about the American attitude to colonialism in the case of British Guiana do at least provide us with what was clearly one of the key points of contact in his personal relationship with Kennedy: irony. Irony can be defined in a number of different ways.73 Firstly, it can simply imply the communication of meaning through the use of language signifying the opposite. This mode of speech, which cultivates the image of a certain detachment from events, was characteristic of both Kennedy and Macmillan. Secondly, it can be defined as a state of affairs that appears perversely contrary to what one expects: in effect, a paradox. One could fit examples such as the American pressure on the British to maintain colonial rule in British Guiana into this framework. Finally, it can be defined as a situation in which an audience places one interpretation on an actor’s words or actions while the actor himself intends quite another. It is this third definition that is of the most value in helping to refine our understanding of Anglo-American relations during this period. What it highlights is that different perceptions in London and Washington could lead to the placing of different constructions on each other’s words or actions compared to those originally intended. The Hawk missile controversy quoted above is indicative of this phenomenon. The point may be illustrated further by looking at what was connoted by the use of the word ‘interdependence’, a term which gave rise to much misunderstanding on both sides of the Atlantic during this period. Put simply, the British meant one thing by ‘interdependence’ while the Americans intended quite another. It would be simplifying things a little too far to say that the American concept of interdependence was that of a truck and trailer. The trailer wasn’t going anywhere unless it was pulled there by the truck. Nevertheless, it was clear that interdependence in Washington in the Kennedy era meant more central control, and that meant American control. As Kennedy himself put it when discussing the concept of the nuclear sharing within the Western alliance, ‘there had to be control by somebody. One man had to make the decision – and as things stood that had to be the American President. He couldn’t share that decision with a whole lot of differently motivated and differently responsible people in Europe.’74 On the other hand, the British version of interdependence, which envisaged a partnership of equals with the US depending on Britain in certain key areas of defence research, development and production, was quite different and arguably whimsical. By the beginning of the 1960s, the US defence budget dwarfed that of Britain by a factor of ten

Introduction 17

to one.75 The British struggle to alchemise dependence and inferiority into partnership and equality found no more ironic expression than in a brief prepared by the Ministry of Defence for Macmillan’s April 1962 talks in Washington: The United Kingdom is already having to rely on America for certain important and expensive weapons (such as Skybolt) which have proved beyond our resources to develop. This is one-sided dependence. As an earnest of their ability and willingness to help us achieve interdependence in the short term, we would urge that an effort should be made to find areas in which the United States can ‘depend’ on the United Kingdom …’76 Albeit that inverted commas were deployed around the word ‘depend’ this remained a rather extraordinary statement. Nevertheless, differing interpretations of what was meant by the use of the term ‘interdependence’, as manifested during the December 1962 Nassau Conference, were to form the key dimension of the winter 1962–3 crisis in Anglo-American relations. One might indeed comment further in passing on the role of language in the Anglo-American relationship. On one level, language was of course its great facilitator. If Kennedy wanted to discuss an international problem with another Western leader, he could pick up the phone to Harold Macmillan and communicate directly without the need for interpreters, or halting exchanges in his interlocutor’s second language.77 This could not be said of his communications with either French President Charles de Gaulle or West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. On the other hand, the use of a common language could also serve to conceal more complex underlying cultural or perceptual differences. So it was with the concept of ‘interdependence’. More straightforwardly, as one particular exchange shows, not every idiom from one side of the Atlantic translated readily to the other. Reading a telegram from Ambassador Harold Caccia regarding the US intention to ‘put down a “basket” item countering the Soviet item accusing the United States of aggressive actions’ at the United Nations in September 1960, Macmillan annotated the following comment: ‘what is a “basket” item? What is its relation to a “package deal”? Sir Harold Caccia was brought up as a scholar.’ Macmillan’s question generated a flurry of activity in his Private Office as an official was sought who could translate the idiom. Eventually it was explained to Macmillan that a ‘basket item’ was practically the opposite of a ‘package deal’, and involved posing several approaches as alternatives leaving the choice free as to which would be chosen in later circumstances. As his Private Secretary John Wyndham ventured to suggest, ‘it sometimes saves time if what the Americans have said is first translated into English before being passed on. Perhaps we ought to have an Occidental Counsellor or dragoman at our Embassy in Washington.’78

18 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

In fact, the reasons why the creation of such an exotic post in Washington proved unnecessary in practice are much bound up with two other features of Anglo-American relations in this period that need to be highlighted at this stage. The first is the role of bureaucracy and the second that of domestic politics and public opinion. Although the focus of this study is on relations between the US president and the British prime minister, these were of course only the tip of the iceberg of lower-level bureaucratic contacts between London and Washington.79 Particularly in the field of defence and intelligence cooperation, these contacts dated back to the war years and their immediate aftermath. They created a sort of momentum in Anglo-American relations that would have been difficult for the protagonists at the highest level radically to alter or redirect even had they wanted to do so. Frequently, this bureaucratic substructure in AngloAmerican relations could act as a facilitator for close relations at the high political level. One good example of this was the role of Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong, director of the British Joint Intelligence Bureau, during the Cuban missile crisis.80 Coincidentally, Strong was present in Washington on other business as part of a British intelligence delegation just as the CIA received the first photographic intelligence about the siting of Soviet medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba. Strong had previously been head of Eisenhower’s Intelligence Staff in North Africa in 1943, and had after the war been awarded America’s Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit. Thereafter, he had kept in regular contact with the Americans first as director-general of Intelligence at the Foreign Office, and, from 1948 onwards, as director of the Joint Intelligence Bureau at the Ministry of Defence. The CIA deputy director of Intelligence, Ray Cline, who brought Strong into his confidence about the Cuban discovery, had also worked closely with him during a posting to London between 1951 and 1953. It was thus no surprise that Strong should be trusted with the Cuban intelligence well before it was disseminated to other allies. Strong’s role facilitated the harmonious handling of the crisis at a high political level to the extent that he was able to help convince Macmillan of the strength of the American evidence about the Soviet missiles in Cuba.81 If bureaucratic contacts could act to facilitate close Anglo-American relations, bureaucratic differences could also act to impede initiatives at the high political level. The best example of this is provided by the fate of the joint Working Groups established by Macmillan and Eisenhower as a result of their October 1957 talks in Washington. These Working Groups, intended to bring together diplomatic, military and intelligence officials and to act as a forum for joint planning, covered issues ranging from the renewal of nuclear cooperation, through regional problems in the Middle and Far East, to Cold War countermeasures in the fields of trade, psychological and economic warfare. Macmillan wanted them to provide the bureaucratic foundation to underpin the grand, and, in view of the history

Introduction 19

of the two country’s relations, ironically titled, ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ which he had agreed with Eisenhower.82 In practice, the Groups proved disappointing to the British and ineffective as a means of institutionalising Anglo-American relations. The plan produced by the Middle East Working Group for joint intervention in the Levant was discarded by Eisenhower when he decided to send US marines into Lebanon in July 1958.83 By March 1959, Cabinet Secretary Norman Brook was expressing concern that because of the strict security the Americans had insisted upon to prevent the existence of the Groups becoming known to other allies they were unable to function effectively. Officials in the departments concerned on the British side who might have had useful knowledge or ideas to contribute to the Groups were not security-cleared to be told of their existence.84 By the beginning of the Kennedy era, the Working Group structure had effectively atrophied. As a Foreign Office brief prepared for Macmillan’s April 1961 talks in Washington acknowledged: As regards machinery, the system of joint working parties, established under the Interdependence agreement of October 1957 never worked very well and is today only active in the Information field. The American governmental system does not easily adapt itself to such machinery. It is probably easier for us to work with and through the State Department, with the parallel arrangements between our respective intelligence services.85 Macmillan himself had his own formulation of the difficulties presented by trying to work with the Washington bureaucracy. As he put it when trying to pin down the details of a new initiative over the nuclear test ban in the spring of 1963, it was important to get the final text settled with President Kennedy and his White House advisers ‘before the State Dept & Pentagon rats get at it’.86 Macmillan’s attempt to bypass bureaucratic obstacles by using personal diplomacy at the highest level in Washington, although criticised by subsequent commentators,87 met, in fact, with some success during the Kennedy years. It was facilitated by two developments in communications, one of which was new-fangled and the other old. The new-fangled development was the technological breakthrough provided by the introduction of secure scrambled telephone and teleprinter lines between Admiralty House and the White House.88 The old-fangled dimension was provided by the extraordinary role of Ambassador David OrmsbyGore in Washington. With regard to the former development, the KY-9 scrambler phone, together with its successor, the evocatively named ‘Twilight Telephone’ and the secure teleprinter line, KW-26, lent themselves well to discussion of issues on a personal basis. The respective bureaucracies in London and Washington could be excluded from the decision-making process. This was particularly useful over issues such as the

20 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

nuclear test ban question where both the president and prime minister wanted to maintain their personal freedom of manoeuvre. As Kennedy himself was later to comment, ‘I find this new method of communication very helpful, and I am able to endure the suspicion it arouses among Ambassadors and State Department Officials with equanimity and even pleasure.’89 Of course, these devices had their limitations. They did not lend themselves to extended or complex negotiations, but rather to briefer discussions of tactics. The outlines of an approach could be agreed, or a statement refined. Misunderstandings could be resolved, but genuine gulfs in strategy could not be bridged. Also, the somewhat primitive nature of the technology employed in the KY-9 in particular caused some practical difficulties. At the very outset, de Zulueta had warned Macmillan that the device tended to distort the voices of the speakers, making them sometimes difficult to follow. Moreover, the KY-9 operated a little like a radio, meaning that each person had to press a button to speak, and release it to allow his interlocutor to reply. According to a later comment by de Zulueta, difficulties arose because ‘the President had been unable to master the [button-pressing] technique’.90 If the president consistently forgot to release the button, then the prime minister would have been unable to speak, thus helping to explain some of the more one-sided conversations, particularly during the Cuban missile crisis. Despite these problems, though, the various new means of secure transatlantic communication had a significant impact on Anglo-American relations at the highest level during the Kennedy years, facilitating executive co-ordination and action in certain key areas. As regards the more traditional means of communication, ‘special’, and indeed ‘remarkable’, are amongst those epithets which spring to mind when considering the extent of the Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore’s access to and influence over President Kennedy. Indeed, it seems not unreasonable to assert that when Ormsby-Gore arrived in Washington to take up his post as British ambassador in October 1961, he in fact completed the president’s inner circle of advisers. Although Kennedy could not have him officially appointed to an Administration post due to his nationality, having him always on hand at the British Embassy was the next best thing. There are two principal difficulties in assessing his role. Firstly, the president often telephoned him or called him in without making any formal record. This much is confirmed by National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy’s handling of Ormsby-Gore’s first visit to the new President Lyndon Johnson after Kennedy’s assassination. When Johnson complained that he did not want a stream of other ambassadors following Ormsby-Gore into the Oval Office, Bundy commented that there was no problem in keeping the visit off the record.91 Presumably this was a technique he had used in the past. Not only that, but Ormsby-Gore and his wife were also frequent houseguests of the Kennedys, affording the ambassador almost limitless

Introduction 21

additional opportunities to discuss international issues with the president off the record. One informed commentator has gone so far as to suggest that apart from when the president was out of the country, there were only three or four weekends during the ambassador’s tenure and Kennedy’s presidency when the Ormsby-Gores were not with the Kennedys.92 If true this is a remarkable reflection of the ambassador’s closeness to the president. The second difficulty in assessing Ormsby-Gore’s role is that even when a record of one of his conversations or meetings with Kennedy was produced, more often by the ambassador himself as part of a report to London, it was often partial. To cite one example thrown up by this study, OrmsbyGore could hardly report to the prime minister his intervention with National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy to block Macmillan’s own proposed initiative linking the Cuban missile crisis to the broader question of disarmament. In respect of this suggestion, Bundy informed the president, ‘David thinks you should make it very plain to the PM that this is not an acceptable position and that the US cannot stand down its blockade without progress toward the removal of the missiles.’93 On the other hand, as Bundy himself described the situation, ‘from the point of view of HMG – I would trade the risk the man might say “look here’s a pretty silly message” against the advantage of his saying “look here’s why it came”’.94 Indeed, if, as this example suggests, Ormsby-Gore’s closeness to the president could occasionally act to thwart Macmillan’s personal initiatives, it was overwhelmingly more important as a facilitator of the prime minister’s attempts to by-pass the Washington bureaucracy. For example, in the wake of the conclusion of the vague and poorly drafted Nassau agreement in December 1962, it was a string of personal interventions with the president on the part of Ormsby-Gore that kept the negotiations for the Polaris sales agreement on track. Defense Secretary McNamara in particular found himself on the wrong end of these exchanges, being repeatedly instructed by the president over the phone to change his position and conform to British wishes as expressed by Ormsby-Gore.95 To be sure this sort of intervention was the province of any effective ambassador, but it was to the remarkable closeness of his personal friendship with the president rather than to his position as British ambassador that Ormsby-Gore owed his effectiveness. And it was to Ormsby-Gore’s effectiveness that Macmillan owed a fair share of the success he achieved in personal diplomacy in the Kennedy years. If the role of bureaucracy and bureaucratic contacts formed part of the substructure of Anglo-American relations during the Kennedy years, another key element was provided by the role of domestic politics and public opinion. What is particularly noteworthy in this period are the interventions each leader made with the other’s political opponents in order to smooth the path of key foreign policy initiatives both wanted to further. As politicians in democratic societies it also goes without saying

22 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

that both Macmillan and Kennedy had to devote a lot of their attention to their own domestic constituencies when framing foreign policy. The perception in public opinion of the Anglo-American relationship was thus an issue of some importance to both of them, although much more so to Macmillan. On the US side, evidence regarding the public’s perceptions of the United Kingdom in this period is relatively scanty, mirroring the fact that the UK simply did not loom particularly large in the thinking of the American people about foreign affairs. As an unusually frank Foreign Office study titled ‘Britain through American Eyes’ noted in February 1962, ‘it is probably true to say that a large proportion of the population is ill informed about Britain and has no more than a hazy idea of our geography and history, overlaid with certain traditional beliefs about Socialism, colonialism and the Royal Family.’96 Even the roughly 30 per cent of the population that the Foreign Office believed took some interest in foreign affairs ‘do not take Britain’s role in world affairs as seriously as we should like’. Nor did the US media pay much attention to Britain, except to report evidence of anti-Americanism. Under this heading, suspicions that Britain was soft on communism and favoured appeasement were to some extent reinforced in this period by reports of the activities of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and agitation over the arrival of Polaris submarines in the Clyde. The paper went on to note that ‘our recurrent economic difficulties … and the general wobbliness of our currency sometimes cause Americans, who are usually more interested in such things than we are, to look on us as a sick and declining power’. The answers that the paper constructed to a series of questions that an informed American might give about Britain’s role in foreign affairs were sobering. In respect of the question as to whether Britain was still a great power, the answer given was that ‘our military capacity has so declined that many Americans are scarcely aware of our contribution to the Western defence effort’. With regard to the question whether Britain needed an ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent the answer was straightforward: ‘most Americans have no idea that we have even got an “independent” nuclear deterrent.’ As to whether the British economy could compete in the 1960s, the answer was that ‘the Americans suspect that our workers are pampered, our methods are antiquated and our will to compete has grown flabby’. Comparing Britain’s position as an ally of the US with that of West Germany, the paper concluded that the Americans ‘respect money-makers and Russia-haters, and in both ways West Germany has the edge on Britain’. On the positive side, the Foreign Office still concluded that ‘most Americans regard Britain as the foreign country most like the United States’. It also argued that ‘our common language and literature and sense of kinship mean that we have the enormous advantage of being able to get inside each other’s minds and work together from common assumptions’. Still, the overall conclusion was downbeat: ‘seen from the United States,

Introduction 23

Britain looks fairly small in the world and will look smaller as her capacity to influence events declines’. A US State Department study concluded in March 1963 of ‘Current American Attitudes toward Britain’ was, paradoxically, rather more upbeat in tone.97 ‘The representative American’, it argued, ‘today regards Britain as a “staunch ally” – if a somewhat “tired” and economically depleted nation. Many attach a “special” character to the Anglo-American relationship which derives from common ties of language and tradition …’ Not only that but the study argued that ‘the importance placed on the preservation of our alliance with Britain was strongly demonstrated in the critical reaction of editors and columnists to Washington’s handling of the “Skybolt affair” last winter’. As a cautionary note, however, the study did suggest that there were more doubts about how staunch an ally Britain would be if the Labour Party under Harold Wilson acceded to power. Unlike Hugh Gaitskell, Wilson was ‘suspect to a good many because of his “left wing” reputation and past association with the “pacifist ban the bomb” elements of his party’. As this observation suggests, relations between the Kennedy Administration and the Labour Opposition provide one of the more important dimensions of the impact of domestic politics on Anglo-American relations during this period.98 On the one hand, Kennedy had a good working relationship with and a personal respect for Hugh Gaitskell. On a number of occasions he made use of this relationship to intervene with the Labour leader to ensure a smooth passage in the House of Commons for initiatives he and Macmillan had been working on together. This was particularly so in the field of nuclear testing. So, Macmillan’s difficult task of handling in the House of Commons the question of his government’s support for the US decision to resume atmospheric nuclear testing on British territory at Christmas Island in the South Pacific in the spring of 1962 was facilitated in part by Kennedy’s intercession with Hugh Gaitskell during the latter’s contemporaneous visit to Washington. Macmillan noted in his memoirs that, on his return, in the House of Commons debate, ‘Mr Gaitskell … was very helpful, and even shot down Grimond [the Liberal leader] for me.’99 Comparison of Macmillan’s memoir account with his original diary entry reveals that the prime minister attributed Gaitskell’s cooperative attitude at the time to the fact that he ‘seems to have been nobbled by the President’.100 Still, not all aspects of American pressure on Gaitskell over matters nuclear were welcome to Macmillan. Three days later, in his diary entry, in addition to describing the situation over disarmament as ‘bleak’, he noted that ‘the Americans (whether [the] President himself, or not, I am not sure) seem to have put a lot of pressure on Gaitskell about abandoning the independent British nuclear force. I shall have to face President K. with this when I see him.’101 Although the president denied that either he or McNamara had expressed such a view of British defence policy,102 it was

24 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

evident that US intercession in British domestic political debate could be something of a double-edged sword from Macmillan’s perspective. After Gaitskell’s untimely death in January 1963, relations between the Kennedy Administration and the new Labour leader, Harold Wilson, were altogether more diffident and suspicious. One reason for this was American views of Wilson’s own character. An assessment forwarded to National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy by Edward Murrow of the US Information Agency characterised Wilson as being ‘as devious as a garter snake and as undependable as a leopard’. Bundy’s own view was that ‘this is a man who will diddle us if he can, but not if he can’t’.103 Just before Gaitskell’s death, the president himself had expressed serious reservations about the trends within the Labour Party noting that ‘Gaitskell was on the way down … and Wilson was going up. He was fearful of the very leftist elements in the Labor [sic] Party, the Communists and pacifists.’104 Secretary of State Dean Rusk made his view of the future Labour leader absolutely clear in the week before the Nassau Conference of December 1962. Pressed by members of his staff to stick to a hard line over the future of the British independent nuclear deterrent he commented: ‘with whom can the President and I talk in international affairs if you make us break off with Macmillan? We can’t talk to De Gaulle; we can’t talk to Adenauer. You’re trying to isolate us. Do you want to leave me nobody but Harold Wilson?’105 But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the role played by the prospect of a Wilson-led British Government in Anglo-American relations in this period is provided by the approach from the director of the CIA, John McCone, to MI6 in September 1963 requesting a formal assessment of the allegation that Harold Wilson was a Soviet spy. As Macmillan recorded the incident, a Russian defector had produced a story, supported by a good deal of evidence over the last 10 years, which he has given to the American authorities. It is that Harold Wilson has been, from 1951 for a number of years, working for the USSR & in effect, an agent! … I don’t suppose, in all the history of this country … a PM has had such an extraordinary question asked by an ally about the Leader of the Opposition.106 Macmillan’s initial instinct was to respond that the allegation was absurd. But, after reflection, he decided that since it was ‘on the record’ he would have to ask the Head of MI6 and the foreign secretary to discuss the matter and report back as to what action should be taken. Since Macmillan was forced to relinquish the premiership a mere two weeks later as a result of ill-health, the trail goes cold in his diary at this point. Whatever the outcome of the investigation, it can have done little for the atmosphere in Anglo-American relations from October 1964 onwards to have on CIA files an allegation of this nature against the new British prime minister.

Introduction 25

If American involvement in British domestic politics during the Kennedy years was of some significance in influencing the course of debate on key issues, and in lending support to the governing party, the same was true of British influence in US domestic politics. On a number of occasions, Kennedy asked Macmillan to write to his old friend former President Eisenhower asking him not to oppose publicly initiatives on the part of the new Administration. So on 9 April 1961, after meeting Kennedy in Washington, the prime minister wrote to Eisenhower noting that: President Kennedy is under considerable pressure about ‘appeasement’ in Laos … I should however be very sorry if our two countries became involved in an open-ended commitment on this dangerous and unprofitable terrain. So I would hope that in anything which you felt it necessary to say about Laos you would not encourage those who think that a military solution in Laos is the only way of stopping the Communists in that area.107 Similarly, in the wake of the initialling of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Macmillan interceded at Kennedy’s request with Eisenhower asking that he support the treaty in order to secure its ratification in the Senate.108 It is impossible to judge how much influence Macmillan’s interventions had on the course of US domestic debate. But, together with Kennedy’s interventions with Gaitskell they do show that the each leader tried to help the other by influencing domestic politics. This provided further glue for the Anglo-American relationship at the high political level. If estimates of the impact of public opinion on the conduct of AngloAmerican relations in the US case indicate that it was at best episodic, the same could not be said of the British side. In fact, Macmillan found that one of the difficulties involved in his attempt to maintain a close working relationship with Washington during his premiership lay in the extent of anti-Americanism in Britain, whether coming from the Left or Right. As regards the Right, Macmillan noted in his diary after a meeting with Colin Coote, the Editor of the Daily Telegraph in May 1960 that ‘he says that the great majority of the letters he gets are anti-American. This is sad, but understandable. The French middle class were jealous of us, when we were richer and more powerful. Now the same British types are jealous of the Americans.’109 In party political terms, the prime minister always had to keep one eye on the latent anti-Americanism of the Right of his own party, particularly when handling colonial or nuclear questions. This was part of the explanation for the toughness of his bargaining at the Nassau Conference of December 1962 and also for the government’s equivocal stance over the Congo crisis during 1961–2. As regards the Left, the nuclear arms race and the establishment of the US Polaris Base on the Clyde played galvanising roles in building anti-

26 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

American sentiment. Ambassador David Bruce found himself not only having to field a succession of intensely critical letters from Lord Russell’s anti-nuclear Committee of One Hundred, 110 he also had to take special measures to protect the US Embassy from assault by demonstrators, particularly during the Cuban missile crisis. 111 The British Government too showed some concern over the potential for an incident involving US military guards and British demonstrators. An example of this was provided by the protest staged by the Committee of One Hundred outside US Air Force Headquarters at Ruislip, and the USAF bases at Brize Norton and Wethersfield on 9 December 1961. It was decided that as a means to deter the demonstrators from seeking access to the bases those trespassing would be charged under the Official Secrets Act, rather than simply with obstruction or breach of the peace. They would thus be liable to a minimum two years’ imprisonment. In addition a number of parliamentary questions were ‘staged’ in the run-up to the demonstrations making it clear that the demonstrators would not be given access to the USAF establishments.112 Above all, the government wanted to ensure that the demonstrators only came into contact with British and not American guards protecting the installations. The possibility that injuries to demonstrators caused by American personnel might act as a focal point for anti-American sentiment was well understood: hence the draconian deterrent measures. But there was much more to anti-Americanism in Britain in the early 1960s than simply the jealousy of the middle classes, or the protests of anti-nuclear activists over the implications of American policy. The sense that Britain was on the one hand being bled of its human resources and on the other exploited by US commercialism crystallised in the whole debate over the so-called ‘brain drain’ which first came to the fore in the early months of 1963. The focal point of discussion was two reports, one from the Royal Society and another from the Ministry of Science’s Advisory Committee, both of which indicated that Britain was suffering an increasing loss of qualified scientists to the United States. The cause was seized on by the tabloid press with the Evening Standard using the headline ‘Too Many Brains are lost to USA’ on 7 January 1963. Similar stories appeared in the Daily Mail and Evening News.113 Then, in the House of Lords’ debate on the Advisory Committee report at the end of February, the Minister of Science Lord Hailsham ill-advisedly threw himself into the controversy. Criticising American schooling standards, he referred to the US’s need to ‘live – and I am compelled to use the word – parasitically on the brains of other nations in order to supply [her] own needs’.114 The brain drain debate rumbled on throughout the remainder of the decade, with a special government inquiry into the question convened in 1966. Coupled with the other phenomenon that marked the period, that of increasing American direct investment in the British economy, often involving the takeover of British companies, the question of the Americanisation of Britain became some-

Introduction 27

thing of a cause célèbre.115 One polemic published in 1962 titled The American Invasion asked ‘need alliance involve occupation? Must we become Americans to save Western civilisation?’116 Although these sentiments did not often manifest themselves in high political debate, they did occasionally bubble to the surface during periods of tension. So, when faced with the American success in selling their Sergeant missile system to NATO countries at the expense of the British Blue Water system in the summer of 1962, Macmillan fulminated that the missile had been offered on terms ‘more commonly arranged for vacuum-cleaners and washingmachines’.117 All in all, there may well have been some substance to Macmillan’s insistence in conversation with De Gaulle at Champs in June 1962 that ‘there was not a great popular feeling for the American alliance in Britain’.118 What emerges then from this discussion of interest, ideology, culture, bureaucracy, domestic politics and public opinion is an Anglo-American relationship which, in the early 1960s, was more complex and subtle than the basic functional model might suggest. To understand this relationship one needs to grasp the differences in perception between London and Washington, differences that were informed by all of the factors listed above, not simply by diverging concepts of national interest. It was the interaction of these differing perceptions that made for the irony of AngloAmerican relations in this period. And there could be no more ironic formulation of the Anglo-American relationship than the concept of ‘interdependence’ championed by the post-Suez rebuilder of the AngloAmerican alliance, Harold Macmillan.

2 The Laotian Crisis

In the context of post-war Anglo-American relations over South East Asia it seems a remarkable irony that Britain came closer to intervening militarily alongside the United States in the comparatively insignificant state of Laos in 1961–2, rather than during the collapse of French Indo-China in 1954, or South Vietnam after 1965. One can equally well pose Khrushchev’s question to US Ambassador Llewellyn Thompson of British policy at this juncture: ‘why take risks over Laos?’1 The Laotian crisis, which was the first to confront the new Kennedy Administration, in fact revealed much about the strengths and shortcomings of the Anglo-American alliance from the British perspective. On the one hand, Macmillan was eventually able, in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, to reinforce Kennedy’s own instincts against large-scale military involvement. On the other, Britain still came close to being sucked by hawks in the Pentagon and State Department into helping to fight an unwinnable war in Indo-China. One might observe here that Kennedy’s post-Bay of Pigs conversion to scepticism as regards the quality of advice he received from the CIA and military was most fortunate from the British point of view. The answer as to why, from the British perspective, the Macmillan government came so close to military involvement in South East Asia may be framed in the following terms. Although by the spring of 1961 Macmillan was in the process of hedging his international bets by moving towards the unveiling of an application to join the EEC, he could not afford in the interim to sacrifice the existing prop afforded to Britain’s international position by the Anglo-American alliance. To do so might have left Britain isolated internationally during a period of dangerous political and economic tensions. Rather, he needed to build a bridge to the new Administration in Washington to try to maintain the Anglo-American relationship while he developed his EEC strategy. This approach was rendered even more difficult by the fact that, in the wake of the collapse of the May 1960 Paris summit, Macmillan’s own hopes of what could be achieved by way of furthering British interests through Anglo-American channels had 28

The Laotian Crisis 29

been dashed. The prime minister was, in effect, left to take risks over Laos to maintain an Anglo-American alliance in which his own belief had already been partly undermined. It was at once an ironic and perilous position. The facts of Laotian geography, culture and politics serve to illustrate what an unpromising arena it was for the mounting of a major Cold War confrontation on the part of the Western powers. In addition to being a land-locked state, Laos was ethnically diverse, with approximately half of the population being made up of lowland Lao and the rest tribal minorities, many of whom dwelt on the mountain slopes. Under the Geneva settlement of 1954, which had been brokered by Britain and the Soviet Union as co-chairmen of the Geneva conference, Laos was to be an independent state. Satisfactory compliance with the provisions of the agreement in relation to all of the former states of French Indochina was to be overseen by an International Control Commission (ICC) which was to be presided over by India. American disaffection with the settlement, and with the British role in brokering it, was underlined by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles’s instructions that the US should not sign the agreement, but should instead only take note of its provisions. President Eisenhower in a news conference on 21 July 1954 stressed that the US was ‘not itself [a] party to or bound by the decisions taken by the Conference.’2 In the wake of the Geneva talks, Dulles moved to underline continuing US interest in the Far East by sponsoring the signature of the South East Asia Collective Defence Treaty, linking Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, Thailand and Pakistan to the United States. The South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO) was set up to keep the military dimensions of the pact under review. The 1954 settlement soon began to unravel, with the ICC divided on Cold War lines barely able to function. Laos had been intended to act as an independent buffer state, but the bitter and deepening divide between North and South Vietnam meant that it was constantly prey to infiltration and instability. The facts of Laos’ land-locked position underlined the need to establish good relations with neighbouring states. Division and turmoil in Vietnam led Laos’ first post-independence leader, Don Katay, to attempt to negotiate an agreement with the Pathet Lao, a Communist resistance organisation which had taken over the north of Laos in the wake of the withdrawal of French and Vietminh forces. Although general elections took place in provinces of Laos not held by the Pathet Lao, it was not until November 1957 that the Pathet Lao agreed to enter into a coalition government headed by the neutralist Prince Souvanna Phouma. In the May 1958 elections, the Pathet Lao won 13 out of the 21 available seats in parliament.3 Fears on the part of the Eisenhower Administration that the Pathet Lao would capitalise on the weakness of Souvanna Phouma’s government to organise a communist takeover in Laos led the US to suspend economic aid

30 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

to the country during the summer of 1958. At the same time the ineffectual ICC, which the US suspected of turning a blind eye to Pathet Lao intrigues, was withdrawn from Laos. In August, a new government was formed under the pro-Western Phoui Sananikone. Phoui’s appointment did nothing to prevent the continuing slide back to conflict. On the contrary, 1959 was to prove to be the most disturbed year since the end of the Indo-China war. The refusal of a battalion of Pathet Lao troops to accept integration into the Royal Laotian Army at the beginning of June was followed by the renewal of civil war and the arrest of communist leaders in July. The death of the King of Laos and the succession of Prince Savang Vatthana in August introduced yet another element of uncertainty into the situation. The monarchy was one of the very few symbols of Laotian unity and the accession of a new, untried King at such a moment of crisis was an unfortunate political coincidence. Finally, at the end of December, Phoui’s ally, Vice-President Katay, who had been better placed than the prime minister to command the support of the army, died suddenly. His death was followed by what the British ambassador in Vientiane described as ‘the most disreputable episode yet known in Laotian politics’.4 This was an army coup, undertaken with CIA encouragement,5 which ended the Phoui government and brought to power Prince Boun Oum and General Souvanna Phoumi. Phoumi was to prove to be one of the major players in the Laotian civil war during the Kennedy era. Apart from an open smile and a persuasive manner, Phoumi impressed the Americans with his apparent ability to get things done. Amongst the Lao, by contrast, his ‘air of muted violence’ and ‘scarcely hidden enjoyment of power’ made him hated and feared.6 Unlike the mild-mannered Prince Souvanna Phouma whose natural role was that of political bridge-builder, General Phoumi’s ruthless ambition made him a divisive figure in Laotian politics. The renewal of civil war in Laos only served to convince the Eisenhower Administration of the need to back pro-Western forces, such as the new military government led by Phoumi, all the more steadfastly. Western aid could do little to stem the tides of chaos, however, and in August 1960 a further coup on the part of a disaffected left-leaning officer, Kong Lae, introduced additional confusion to the situation. Announcing that he intended to end the civil war and remove foreign troops from the country, Kong Lae called on Souvanna Phouma to form a government.7 The King meanwhile responded by shutting himself up in his palace and refusing to recognise any government, thus adding to the chaos. Although a temporary and uneasy truce was arranged between Phoumi and Souvanna Phouma, the general continued to plot his return to power. In December 1960, with the Eisenhower Administration in its dying weeks, General Phoumi, bolstered by substantial CIA aid, entered Vientiane in force, declared an end to Souvanna Phouma’s government, and took on himself

The Laotian Crisis 31

the task of fighting both the Pathet Lao and Kong Lae. At the same time, the Soviet Union entered the fray in earnest, mounting a substantial airlift of supplies to the Pathet Lao and their new neutralist allies. The situation in Laos soon to be bequeathed by Eisenhower to his successor could only be described as chaotic. As Sorensen put it: ‘the Eisenhower Administration spent some 300 million dollars and five years in the hopeless effort to convert Laos into a clearly pro-Western, formally anti-Communist military outpost on the borders of Red China and North Vietnam.’8 The principal goal of the incoming Kennedy team in the weeks preceding the inauguration seems to have been to steer as far clear as possible from direct involvement in shaping policy over Laos. The new Administration was to be confronted by a rift in British and American policy towards Laos which had been widening ever since the August coup. Put simply, British policy favoured neutrality and conciliation between all parties under the umbrella of a Souvanna Phouma-led government. American policy continued to aim at a Western-oriented Laos under the leadership of General Phoumi.9 Summing up the situation in a memorandum prepared for Macmillan, Philip de Zulueta pointed to a further ‘disturbing feature’. The Americans had completely misled the British Government as to what they were doing in Laos. Indirectly, through Australian and ‘other sources’, the British had discovered that the Americans were arming and supplying Phoumi’s forces, while reassuring the general that they saw him as the most reliable guarantor of order in Laos. This covert American action pointed to one of the principal problems for the British Government in handling Anglo-American relations during the Laotian crisis: the degree to which American policy was prey to a whole range of bureaucratic rivalries. De Zulueta attributed support for Phoumi to the American military and CIA, but there were also ‘hawks’ within the American diplomatic community, most notably Ambassador Alexis Johnson in Bangkok.10 The essential shorthand use of the term ‘American policy’ in Laos should not be allowed to disguise the fact that this was a conflict on the United States side far more riddled than most with bureaucratic politics.11 In any event, all efforts to narrow the gap between the British and American positions in the final months of the Eisenhower Administration proved fruitless.12 By Christmas 1960, Macmillan was driven to minute sarcastically to de Zulueta: ‘they have about three weeks of power. Do you think they are planning to start a war while Eisenhower is having his Christmas dinner and quail shoot?’13 In his diary, the prime minister noted that ‘Laos is very bad … The American Administration has gone mad in its last few weeks – and turned nasty too.’14 All of this led Macmillan to make a final approach to the outgoing president over Laos, in which he professed himself ‘much disturbed’ at the divergence in British and American tactics.15 This met with an immediate and frosty rebuff from Eisenhower, who reminded Macmillan of his efforts to achieve unity across the whole

32 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

range of Anglo-American relations, alluding specifically to the matter of American support for the British position at the United Nations over the recent Afro-Asian anti-colonial resolution. He also restated the American position over Laos as though it were an agreed Anglo-American strategy, and concluded with an apocalyptic warning of the imminence of a combined North Vietnamese–Chinese invasion of the country. In the face of this threat, Britain and America ‘should immediately make our intentions to oppose the move clear to each other and before the world …’16 In his diary, Macmillan noted that Eisenhower’s response was ‘strangely hysterical’. Britain, he felt, was now caught between the possibility of participating in a SEATO military intervention which the Chiefs of Staff were convinced would be fruitless, or letting the US ‘do a “Suez” on their own’. This would split the alliance. Either way, this was ‘a most dangerous situation for us’.17 If the pursuit of interdependence had left Macmillan with less room for manoeuvre internationally over Laos, his position was not eased by the stirrings of domestic interest in the problem. These were evidenced by Foreign Secretary Home’s discussions with Leader of the Opposition Hugh Gaitskell and Shadow Foreign Secretary Denis Healey at the beginning of January 1961. Although the Opposition leaders agreed with Home’s strategy of trying to revive the ICC as a means of stabilising Laos, Gaitskell stressed that he would also be telling the press that no British forces should be committed without the agreement of parliament. The tenor of his comments was to suggest that Opposition support for British military engagement in Laos would be unlikely to be forthcoming unless all possible diplomatic avenues had been exhausted.18 In truth, there was little difference between the Opposition view and that of the government. The problem was that the need to bolster interdependence required the British Government to be somewhat pulled along on American coat tails in terms of planning for military intervention in Laos. The worrying aspect of this, as Ambassador Harold Caccia reported from Washington, was that in the period of political drift in between the old and new Administrations the agenda was being set by forceful individuals in the military ‘spoiling for a showdown’. This vociferous anti-China faction, which had been thwarted in 1954 over Dien Bien Phu, and again in 1958 over the off-shore islands crisis, saw Laos as the opportunity to start a war before China could acquire nuclear weapons. Caccia recalled with a shudder that he himself had been present when Admiral Radford had told Sir Anthony Eden in 1954 of his readiness ‘“to take China out” if need be’. Although the Radfords of 1961 were a small minority, they were a powerful one.19 Speculation as to the possibility of an American call for military action led the British Government to explore on what existing basis in contingency planning this could be made. Defence Minister Harold Watkinson reported that the only feasible starting point for Anglo-American opera-

The Laotian Crisis 33

tions in Laos was provided by the SEATO contingency ‘Plan 5’. Over the course of the coming months ‘Plan 5’ would acquire something of a chameleon quality, as it was bandied around in British and American circles with neither side ever apparently quite clear what it would entail in fast-changing circumstances. The initial problem was that Plan 5 was predicated on the basis that there would be a peaceful entry into Laos at the invitation of the legitimate government. SEATO forces would then establish and hold key strong points, freeing the Royal Laotian Army to undertake counter-insurgency operations. These circumstances were clearly no longer likely to prevail. Worse still, the British Chiefs of Staff warned that the entry of SEATO forces into Laos carried with it the grave risk of Chinese intervention leading to a major war in which ‘we could not hope to avoid eventual defeat if conventional weapons alone were used’. In Defence Minister Watkinson’s view, such a conflict would be ‘a bottom-less pit in which our limited military resources would very rapidly disappear’.20 The reluctance of the British military chiefs to undertake action in Laos stood in marked contrast to the bellicosity of their US counterparts. It underlined, moreover, that unlike on the US side, the Laotian issue in British circles seems to have been remarkably free of bureaucratic politics. Diplomats, politicians, soldiers and intelligence experts seem to have been virtually unanimous in their opinion that any form of British military intervention in Laos would be dangerous, costly, and ultimately unsuccessful. The initial inclinations of the incoming president over Laos were rather less clear cut. Kennedy’s first concern was that he should not to be boxed into any course of action by the outgoing Administration.21 His second was that he should not open himself up to the charge of being soft on communism in the first months of his presidency, or convey the impression to Khrushchev that he lacked the will to act decisively in defending Western interests. In all of these respects, the meetings he held with Eisenhower and his advisers over Laos on the day before his inauguration seem significant. Here, Eisenhower underlined his belief that ‘the loss of Laos would be the loss of the “cork in the bottle” and the beginning of the loss of most of the Far East’.22 The US should first endeavour to persuade its allies to intervene alongside it, but, if they refused, then it must ultimately be prepared to take unilateral military action. Clark Clifford, who had been called in by the president-elect to help manage the transition, and who attended the meeting, noted that neither Kennedy nor his advisers had been prepared for the gravity with which Eisenhower viewed the position in Laos. Against Kennedy’s better judgement the tone taken by Eisenhower cast a shadow over his handling of Laos during the early months of his Administration.23 Certainly, the records of the early Kennedy Administration meetings over Laos are couched in predominantly hawkish tones. During the inaugural weekend, a State-Defense-CIA Task Force met to discuss future policy in Laos, producing a report that included a range of military measures that

34 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

could be taken immediately to improve the situation.24 As regards the Anglo-American (and French) dimension of the problem, even the supposedly dovish Secretary of State Dean Rusk expressed the view that ‘we may have let our allies off too lightly by permitting them to isolate the Laotian problem’. The US should seek to create a composite SEATO force in order ‘to smoke out the real attitude of our allies’. Kennedy himself echoed this tone, arguing that ‘if the British and French aren’t going to do anything about the security of Southeast Asia, we tell them we aren’t going to do it alone. They have as much or more to lose in the area than we have’.25 In the light of these conclusions, Rusk was charged with the task of attempting to secure British cooperation with the new Administration’s Laotian policy.26 The series of telegrams sent back by Ambassador Harold Caccia to London reporting Rusk’s presentation of the Administration’s case show what a skilful hand the secretary of state played. Rusk began by salving British fears over possible military intervention. What was needed, he emphasised, was immediate political action.27 The goal of the Administration’s approach, Rusk emphasised, would be the creation of a truly neutral Laos.28 In further informal discussion with Caccia, Rusk sought to underline that the new Administration was in the course of making a real change in the American approach to Laos. But, ‘with Congress and others on the look out for any softening towards the Russians by the new Administration it was essential that they should be circumspect in the way in which they carried through this change of policy’. Rusk concluded with a veiled apology for past Anglo-American differences, attributing these by inference to US bureaucratic politics: ‘He hoped that we would let bygones be bygones.’29 The immediate response from Foreign Secretary Home was enthusiastic. The apparent acknowledgement by Rusk that a genuinely neutral, rather than a Western-inclined Laos, was the best that could be hoped for cheered British policy-makers. It was this rather than the substance of the Administration’s plans that explained the offer of British support.30 Home characterised Rusk’s approach as ‘a remarkable advance in American thinking’, and told Ambassador Addis in Vientiane that the British Government should do ‘everything possible to assist the new American Administration in making a smooth change of line …’31 Home’s enthusiasm did not mean that Britain would now abandon its attempt to secure a revival of the ICC, or its belief that a neutral Laos under the leadership of a Souvanna Phouma Government was the best that could be hoped for. Rather, it meant that Home now thought that the US Administration privately shared these views and was merely looking for the opportunity to reorient its policy without too much loss of credibility at home or abroad. The subsequent cut and thrust of the continuing debate within the Administration showed that Home’s belief in an American conversion was premature at best.

The Laotian Crisis 35

During February and the early part of March 1961 the military situation worsened from the point of view of General Phoumi’s US-backed forces. Existing tensions between the State Department and the Pentagon were only exacerbated by these military setbacks. Each agency believed that its efforts were being handicapped by the other, feelings that came to a head in an evidently stormy meeting on 9 March. Such disputes only made it more difficult for the president to decide on a clear course of action.32 In any event, one crucial decision was taken during the 9 March meeting. This was Kennedy’s authorisation of the transfer of sixteen US Marine Corps helicopters to the CIA for use by Air America. These helicopters were to be based fifty miles from Vientiane at Udorn on the other side of the Thai border. Kennedy’s order inaugurated a policy that would characterise US military activity in Laos until 1975: extensive CIA paramilitary operations supported by Thailand-based covert US military agencies.33 These decisions in Washington did not prevent a further deterioration in the position on the ground in Laos. By the end of the third week of March, the military situation had reached the point where it was clear that some new initiative, whether military or political, on the part of the Western powers was essential. The possibility of large-scale direct US military intervention was discussed.34 At the same time, a fresh political initiative was mounted, a key component of which was a new approach to the British Government. The tenor of this approach stood in marked contrast to Rusk’s earlier blandishments. The first point of the diplomatic plan outlined by the secretary of state and agreed at a meeting with the president on 21 March was baldly stated: ‘tell the British to modify their present position’. As regards preparations for possible military action, the record is equally blunt as regards the British role: ‘British to agree to a SEATO force stationed in Thailand but not entering Laos for the time being’.35 The significance of the shift in the American position was not lost on Macmillan. Following a Cabinet meeting on the evening of 23 March that recessed temporarily while news of a television broadcast by Kennedy on Laos came in, Macmillan sent a personal telegram to the president.36 Rather than agreeing to the American proposal for the organisation of a SEATO force for possible use in Laos, Macmillan suggested instead that it might be wiser for the US to follow the precedent of the interventions in Lebanon and Jordan in 1958. In this case, the US would intervene unilaterally following a request on the part of the King of Laos. The SEATO powers could then be asked to approve, but not directly to participate in the operation. As regards the British role, Macmillan’s choice of the 1958 precedent was an interesting one. What had in fact happened in 1958 was that British and American forces had conducted separate operations in Jordan and Lebanon, with neither introducing ground forces to assist the other. Although a common diplomatic front had been maintained, the Jordan and Lebanon operations were in reality unilateral, if contemporaneous, British and American

36 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

missions.37 Macmillan’s implication seemed, therefore, to be that if military action was ultimately necessary the US should take it alone, with Britain perhaps lending no more than diplomatic support. Certainly, Dean Rusk was suspicious of the prime minister’s choice of language, concluding that ‘support’ meant little more than good will.38 The most that could be said of the British position on involvement in possible military intervention was that it was fudged. Kennedy’s response was swift and, in the spirit of the agreed approach to the British, blunt. He telephoned Caccia to say that Macmillan’s message raised most vital issues. Although certain passages in it were not clear to him he felt that there might be a serious difference of opinion between Britain and the United States over future action. In order to align the policies of the two countries before the SEATO meeting due to open the following Monday, he proposed a meeting with Macmillan at Key West in Florida over the weekend.39 Albeit that Macmillan had already planned to travel to the Caribbean, Kennedy’s call for such a weekend detour was something of an imposition on the prime minister. But, as Macmillan himself put it, ‘the President, in his telephone message, had been very insistent …’40 The calling of the Key West meeting, and the way in which it was conducted, bore all of the hallmarks of the new Kennedy style. As we have already seen in the first chapter of this study, the president was able to bring the prime minister under sufficient pressure at Key West to bring about a shift in the British position along the lines that the Administration had been seeking. In the aftermath of Key West, Macmillan’s first problem was how to persuade his senior Cabinet colleagues who believed that they had earlier distanced themselves from possible military involvement in Laos of the sagacity of his new position. In the first of two telegrams to Foreign Secretary Home, he emphasised that he did not believe that Kennedy had any intention of entering into unlimited military commitments in Laos.41 Not only this, but Macmillan put the best possible gloss on the strength of the residual veto power he had retained in the hands of the Cabinet. He had told Kennedy, he reported, that ‘he could not commit Her Majesty’s Government beyond moral and diplomatic support except with specific Cabinet approval. That approval would certainly not be given to an unlimited commitment’.42 Macmillan’s strategy was to claim that he did not believe that a sceptical president would commit US forces to Laos. Even if Kennedy unexpectedly did so, he had retained ultimate veto power in the hands of the British Cabinet. This was no doubt a skilful piece of presentation and clever politics. It was not, however, a completely candid version of what had transpired at Key West. Candid or not, the Cabinet was persuaded by Macmillan’s reassurances that on balance his agreement with the president should be accepted.43 By giving ground to Kennedy at Key West, Macmillan had at least managed to get off on the right foot with the new president, albeit at the

The Laotian Crisis 37

cost of a dangerous gamble with British South East Asian policy. It is arguable, though, that the major gain for Macmillan from the Key West conference in fact had nothing at all to do with Laos. It was his agreement with Kennedy over a possible successor to Harold Caccia as British ambassador in Washington. Kennedy, recorded Macmillan, ‘was emphatic for David Gore’.44 David Ormsby-Gore, later Lord Harlech, was to prove an inspired choice as ambassador, and arguably the most effective advocate ever of British interests in Washington. While Macmillan had been engaged in his impromptu discussions with Kennedy at Key West, Lord Home had been involved in parallel consultations with Secretary of State Dean Rusk in Bangkok, where both were due to attend the SEATO conference. Rusk had also underlined his distaste for the British suggestion of action in Laos along the lines of the Jordan model of 1958.45 Home’s subsequent attempts to influence his counterpart’s opinion against possible military intervention were not helped by the attitude displayed by Rusk’s entourage in Bangkok. Not for the first time Home singled out the role of US ambassador in Bangkok Alexis Johnson as particularly hawkish and unhelpful. Johnson did not believe in a neutral Laos, and exerted his dominating personality in favour of military intervention. This put the more cautious Rusk under a good deal of pressure.46 Certainly, whatever the reason, the tone of Rusk’s reporting on his discussions with Home was hawkish. Referring to the foreign secretary’s ‘rather feeble effort’ to defend the British thesis on intervention, he noted that Home had quickly abandoned the ‘artificial façade’ of his argument. In the final analysis, Rusk believed that the British would ‘bravely but hesitatingly stand up to their own military obligations if events should so require’.47 Whatever Rusk’s initial impression, though, Home continued to harbour concerns as to the nature of American planning for operations in Laos. The advice from British soldiers and diplomats on the spot was that the muchvaunted Plan 5, under which three or four bridgeheads across the Mekong River would be held by SEATO forces, would not hold the position for long. Further escalation would be necessary to prevent the country, and indeed the whole region, from being swept into the communist camp. As Home put it, ‘if America after weighing everything decides to go in, I fear we must support them but the prospect is horrible’.48 In effect British policy in Laos was now in large part a prisoner of machinations within the US Administration. Home admitted as much in a series of notes he jotted down on the Laotian crisis on the plane home from the SEATO conference. Beginning by noting that it was the Americans themselves who had brought about the crisis by backing right-wing Laotians, the foreign secretary reflected that he ‘would not have believed the widespread contempt which all our missions and the military have for the Americans’ handling of this matter’. The foreign secretary concluded that ‘we have a long way to go before we and the President can reverse the trigger happy attitude of …

38 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

[his] advisers’.49 The British could only hope that more moderate counsels would eventually prevail in American circles, otherwise they might be called on to honour the commitments extracted at Key West. While Home was making his way back from Bangkok, Minister of Defence Harold Watkinson and the prime minister, who was still in the Caribbean, considered the practicalities of any British support for American military action in an exchange of telegrams. By this stage, Macmillan was well aware of the dangers of what he had conceded at Key West. Indeed, in his diary he as much as admitted that he had not been on top of his brief at Key West when he commented that ‘I’m afraid everything is in rather a muddle, esp[ecially] about the so-called military plans’.50 Watkinson for his part supported Macmillan’s view that it was vital to stand by the new Administration in its first major foreign policy test. However, the essential ethos of the British commitment was summed in the defence minister’s comment that ‘military intervention in Laos has always been a nonsense … There are political advantages in supporting the Americans, and there may be other political reasons for going forward. There are no military advantages in holding small bridgeheads in Laos’.51 Watkinson also cautioned Macmillan that the existing Plan 5/61 was somewhat wider ranging than he had perhaps realised. Not only might it require SEATO forces to hold bridgeheads across the Mekong together with Vientiane, it also envisaged their participation in more extensive operations. Since these objectives held out the danger of being, as Macmillan himself had put it, ‘sucked into a bog’,52 Watkinson felt it was essential for British and American planners to meet as soon as possible in order to clarify US intentions.53 It was now up to British military planners in talks in Washington to claw back part of what Macmillan had given away, or, as the prime minister preferred to put it, ‘bring … [the plan] down in scope and commitment’.54 In his diary Macmillan noted that Watkinson and the Chiefs of Staff ‘seem to understand what I want – Plan 5/61 modified – not more than one British battalion’.55 Chancellor of the Exchequer Selwyn Lloyd too added his voice to those counselling caution, warning Macmillan that any British commitment to military action in Laos could only increase the prevailing nervousness and tension in foreign exchange markets, perhaps triggering a serious run on sterling.56 As ever in the post-war period, British foreign policy could only be framed with one eye on the economic vulnerability of the country. In addition to the likely economic effects of intervention, Macmillan was cautioned by Home Secretary Butler that domestic political opinion expected some form of détente over Laos, and that both sides of the House of Commons were unprepared for any military venture.57 Thus, although Macmillan received backing from all of the senior members of the Cabinet for his view that, in the last resort, Britain would have to stand by the new

The Laotian Crisis 39

US Administration if it chose to intervene in Laos, their acquiescence was grudging. As Home put it, ‘the more they look at the prospects the more they dislike it’.58 Macmillan himself continued to pin his hopes on his belief that Kennedy himself did not favour military intervention in Laos.59 All in all, it was clear that the Laotian problem would rank high on the agenda for Macmillan’s meeting with the president in Washington the following week. Macmillan’s Laotian policy in fact gave rise to an interesting irony, which manifested itself both before and after the Washington talks. Although the Soviets were blamed for inflaming the situation in Laos through their intensive airlift in support of the Pathet Lao, British hopes of avoiding military intervention came to be pinned on Khrushchev’s response to their call for an international conference to settle the conflict. In effect, the British Government was hoping that Khrushchev might deliver them from the need to honour their commitments to the Americans. This nicely turned the ethos of the Anglo-American alliance on its head. Instead of the Anglo-American alliance checking Soviet strategy, Macmillan had to hope that Soviet strategy would check the AngloAmerican alliance. Fortunately from the British point of view, an aidemémoire from Khrushchev, delivered to Ambassador Frank Roberts in Moscow on 1 April, now opened up some hope that the Soviets might agree to a conference on terms acceptable to the US.60 Discussions on Laos during Macmillan’s visit to Washington from 4 to 8 April focused on the possible role of Souvanna Phouma in any future Lao Government. Although the British pinned many of their hopes on Souvanna as the compromise candidate acceptable to all parties, suspicions persisted in American quarters that he was too weak a figure to resist communist intrigues. As Rusk put it, Souvanna must establish his claim to be a genuine neutral.61 While high level diplomatic contacts of one sort or another continued so did discussions of the existing plans for SEATO military intervention. The disturbing fact, of which Watkinson had already appraised Macmillan, that Plan 5 was far more wide-reaching than the prime minister had believed when he discussed it at Key West, gave rise to much confusion. It emerged that Plan 5 had been extended in November 1960 to include the movement of SEATO forces into areas then held by the Royal Laotian Army but subsequently taken by the Pathet Lao. The plan in its unmodified form thus envisaged what was in effect the reconquest of areas under Pathet Lao control by SEATO forces. Not only this, but early discussions between British and American planners in Washington revealed that the US military wanted to extend the plan even further.62 On 9 April, shortly after his arrival in Ottawa on the Canadian leg of his North American tour, Macmillan himself was forced to step back into the fray to try to clarify matters. There could be no question of British

40 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

forces taking part in Plan 5 as extended in November 1960. As the prime minister put it: My understanding with the President at Key West was quite clear. It was to hold bridgeheads on the Mekong for purposes of negotiation and to keep some part of the territory of Laos for the Royal Laotian Army. This would involve holding three or four bridgeheads with four or five battalions. There was no question of going anywhere beyond this.63 Unfortunately, the mere fact that Macmillan was now having to restate his view of what had been agreed at Key West showed that his understanding with the president was not clear. In particular, Macmillan should not have bandied around the concept of Plan 5, without troubling to bring himself up to date as to what the plan actually entailed. The imperfections of Anglo-American consultation over Laos were amply displayed during the following week by the British reaction to the next American military initiative: the decision to put existing US ‘advisers’ in Laos into uniform. This was intended to bolster the resolve of the Royal Laotian Army, and to put pressure on the Russians to reply swiftly to proposals put by the British on 4 April for a ceasefire, the revival of the ICC and a peace conference.64 Foreign Secretary Home’s immediate reaction was to ask for a delay of several days in the implementation of the American proposal to give the Soviet Union more time to respond. He was fearful that the US initiative might torpedo the chances for peace.65 His approach to Rusk met with no success. The secretary of state replied that there was clearly some difference in British and American assessments of the military and political situation on the ground in Laos. As far as the US Administration was concerned, matters were so precarious that immediate action had to be taken.66 Home’s frustration was palpable in his reaction to Rusk’s justifications. He expressed his surprise that the US Administration had seen fit to act without consulting the British Government first. ‘If, as we certainly intend’, he argued, ‘we are to act together throughout this Laos affair, then I feel that consultation in good time on each move is essential.’67 With the possibility of British military involvement in Laos contingent on the evolution of American strategy and the outcome of peace moves with the Soviets, the lack of prior consultation on the part of the US Administration before the taking of this step sent an ominous signal. In any event, the foreign secretary’s fears as to the possible impact of the American move on the Soviet Union’s position were not realised. On 16 April, while the debate about the American initiative was still going on, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko handed Ambassador Sir Frank Roberts a reply to the earlier British démarche of 4 April. Although some work was still required to narrow the gap between the American and Russian positions,

The Laotian Crisis 41

particularly as regards the question of a ceasefire in Laos, the embers of a possible settlement had been fanned into life. After some further debate on points of detail, a joint Anglo-Soviet appeal for a ceasefire in Laos was released on 24 April together with a letter to the government of India calling for the reactivation of the ICC and the convocation of an international conference on Laos. The following day the US State Department released a public statement welcoming the Anglo-Soviet proposals, but stressing that the US Government regarded the full implementation of a ceasefire as essential before the convening of a conference. In fact, during the third week of April, the US Administration’s attention had been distracted from the Laotian problem by the more pressing concern of the Bay of Pigs invasion. Although events in Cuba were not on the face of things directly relevant to the shaping of US policy towards Laos, the change in Kennedy’s thinking about military interventions that the Bay of Pigs wrought was to prove something of a deliverance for the British Government. During and after the Key West meeting in the final week of March Macmillan had claimed that the president agreed with him as to the need to avoid military action in Laos at all costs. In fact, before the Bay of Pigs, this agreement probably represented no more than a combination of Kennedy’s knack of leaving every interlocutor thinking he was on their side, and a measure of wishful thinking on Macmillan’s part. It was the Bay of Pigs failure that was to turn the president more decisively against the advice of those hardliners who sought a significant groundforce commitment in Laos. As Kennedy himself put it, ‘if it hadn’t been for the Bay of Pigs we might have gotten up to our necks in a fight with the communists in Laos’.68 In any event, an urgent request from US Ambassador Winthrop Brown in Vientiane calling for the use of B-26 bombers to thwart a renewed advance on the part of the Pathet Lao was not granted by Kennedy.69 In the new atmosphere of more sober reflection, the president and his principal advisers decided that large-scale military involvement in Laos would not be justified.70 Instead, Kennedy consulted with Macmillan by telephone as to what measures the US could take to support a British diplomatic initiative aimed at accelerating the implementation of the agreed ceasefire.71 This marked something of a turning point in the Laotian crisis. Although military options continued to be aired in US circles, and although the tide of the crisis was to ebb and flow several times more during the rest of the Kennedy Administration, the president was not to come so close again to authorising a significant military commitment in Laos. The change in emphasis in US policy was not immediately clear to the British Government. Macmillan’s nerve was in fact rattled further at this point by reports on the BBC that the Americans were preparing to move into Laos. During a somewhat confused telephone call to Lord Hood in Washington, Macmillan and Philip de Zulueta managed to establish that

42 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

no drastic action seemed to be in the offing.72 In a series of meetings the following evening at Admiralty House, Macmillan noted a strong suspicion that General Phoumi was stalling on a ceasefire in order to force SEATO intervention. There was a suspicion that ‘some Americans are supporting this – those on the spot and in the various secret and para-military services’.73 This flurry of activity underlined once again that Macmillan was at the mercy of American decision-making over Laos. No doubt the continuing pressure exerted in favour of intervention by the military and hawks within the State Department would have done little to allay Macmillan’s fears. General Curtis Le May, not surprisingly, was particularly trenchant in his demands for an intensive air campaign in Laos. His hawkish opinions seemed to have been shared by, amongst others, Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, Army Chief of Staff General George Decker, and Marine Commandant General David Shoup.74 Still, the reservations expressed by Attorney General Bobby Kennedy about the efficacy of military action in Laos seem more closely to have mirrored the president’s own thinking at this point. Sorensen records that Kennedy recoiled from taking the military advice now presented by the same set of advisers who had favoured the Bay of Pigs operation.75 A further urgent plea from Macmillan to allow more time for the ceasefire to come into effect, delivered to the president on 1 May, seems, therefore, to have chimed in with views which Kennedy had now arrived at independently.76 Still, as the president made clear to Rusk, although he would persevere with the road of ceasefire and negotiation ‘as long as reasonable men can agree that this … offers hope for a genuinely neutral Laos’, the British should not be allowed to wriggle out of the commitments they had already made. ‘You should hold Home to the standards agreed at Key West and Bangkok’, Kennedy cautioned as his secretary of state prepared for the opening of the Geneva Conference.77 Despite a great deal of procedural wrangling, most notably over the question of the seating of the respective delegations from Laos, the opening of the Geneva Conference on 16 May now served, for the rest of the year at least, to take much of the heat out of the crisis. During the early stages of the talks, there had been much exasperation on the British side over the American insistence that the Pathet Lao should not be allowed to sit as a separate delegation. Macmillan’s comment on the controversy was typically ironic: ‘it’s a pity the Americans worry so much about protocol. I think it is the result of not having a king or aristocracy. They are always fussing about who goes in first.’78 In the end, as had always seemed likely to the British, the Americans had to agree to the seating of all three Lao parties: the Pathet Lao; the Souvanna Phouma neutralists; and the PhoumiBoun Oum group. The tortuous progress of the conference also meant that a breakdown of the negotiations at comparatively short notice could not be ruled out. As a

The Laotian Crisis 43

consequence, the discussions which had been initiated on possible AngloAmerican or SEATO intervention in the country had to be continued. A contingency plan, the preparations for which might at least hint at the possible use of force, had to be developed and held in reserve for such an eventuality. The circumstances envisaged by Plan 5 were now so far removed from the realities on the ground that, in the view of British Minister of Defence Harold Watkinson, if not US Secretary of State Dean Rusk, it was inapplicable.79 In the event, in the spirit of the more compromising attitude now evident within the US Administration, new terms of reference for contingency planning were agreed. Whilst continuing to take Plan 5 as their basis, the new guidelines recognised British reservations about offensive action and concentrated on the defensive occupation of key points along the Mekong River. Even now, though, Watkinson felt bound to remind the prime minister that the arrangements still carried with them the ‘great risk that we might find ourselves landed in for limited war in the Far East’.80 It is interesting that in private at least one Administration official acknowledged that the British reticence about planning for military intervention had not been entirely inconvenient for the Americans. As Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs Walt Rostow put it, ‘our troubles with the British and French in SEATO have permitted us a bit the luxury of the drunk at the bar who cries “Let me at ’em”, while making sure he is firmly held by his pals’.81 At any rate, the Geneva conference plodded on through the summer of 1961 with little evident progress towards a settlement, but also no decisive provocation which could be used as a pretext by either side for abandoning the talks. Part of the reason for this was the lack of action on the ground in Laos during the monsoon season. The logjam remained unbroken at Kennedy’s meetings with Khrushchev in Vienna in June.82 Macmillan for one believed that progress over Laos was in fact contingent on a Berlin settlement, which the Kennedy–Khrushchev summit had demonstrated was further away than ever. From Macmillan’s point of view, therefore, it was essential to keep the talking in Geneva going to avoid the Americans quitting the conference and drawing down the existing British military commitment.83 The prime minister remained troubled by the belief that the ‘warlike party in Washington’ was forcing the pace, and that Rusk and Kennedy seemed ‘unable to get control’.84 The cause of compromise over Laos was helped by the shuttle diplomacy of Averell Harriman, the president’s ambassador at large and, from November 1961 onwards, assistant secretary of state for the Far East. Harriman became increasingly disillusioned both with the inflexibility of General Phoumi’s position, and with what he saw as the unrealistic bellicosity of the Pentagon and State Department hawks. In private he told Malcolm MacDonald, head of the British delegation in Geneva, that he recognised Phoumi was selfish and unscrupulous and that American

44 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

support for him had done little good.85 Although MacDonald described Harriman’s views as reassuring, he did caution that it was difficult to be sure how far Harriman’s influence actually prevailed in both Washington and Vientiane.86 Macmillan too saw the situation as being complicated by the ‘duality’ of American policy, with Kennedy, Rusk and Harriman on one side arrayed against the ‘other half of the State Department and the Pentagon’, which were ‘quite clearly working for war. What they call a “show down”.’ Although the president could ‘no doubt still prevent any act of war’ he seemed unable to block the intrigues of the hawks.87 Against this confused background, progress towards a resolution of the conflict in Laos proved painfully slow during the autumn and winter of 1961. Even the Soviet delegation became impatient, with Andrei Gromyko commenting that ‘one cannot sit indefinitely on the shores of Lake Geneva counting swans’.88 Sticking points remained over the composition of the new Souvanna Phouma-led coalition government, the role of the ICC, and the demobilisation and integration of the various armed groups into the Royal Laotian Army. General Phoumi proved impervious to both threats and blandishments designed to induce him to cooperate in the formation of a coalition government under Souvanna Phouma.89 By the end of February 1962, the president was left with no alternative but to issue a directive authorising the US ambassador to use whatever sanctions were necessary against Phoumi to bring about his acquiescence in an orderly transfer of power to Souvanna Phouma.90 Still Phoumi would not budge, as an increasingly disillusioned Harriman reported.91 During their talks in Washington at the end of April 1962, it was evident that neither Macmillan nor Kennedy could see any way out of the current deadlock. No new initiative was proposed other than the possibility of a public declaration by the US Administration that it would not necessarily intervene to back Phoumi militarily if the Geneva talks broke down. The president remained reluctant to cut off military aid for fear that such a drastic step might completely undermine Phoumi and destroy the prospects for the creation of a genuinely neutral Laos.92 In the event, somewhat paradoxically, it was a Pathet Lao military initiative on the ground in Laos which was to break the deadlock in Geneva. Either frustrated by the lack of progress towards a negotiated settlement, or provoked by the massing of General Phoumi’s forces, at the end of the first week of May 1962 the Pathet Lao initiated operations which resulted in the fall of the town of Nam Tha.93 The abject failure of General Phoumi’s troops to defend the town served to underline both his limited value as a military ally, and the urgent need to secure a renewed ceasefire and settlement in Laos. Kennedy responded by authorising a series of diplomatic and military moves, which included renewed approaches to Khrushchev, Gromyko and Dobrynin, and the movement of units of the Seventh Fleet to the Gulf of Siam.94 At the same time, Phoumi’s considerable loss of pres-

The Laotian Crisis 45

tige strengthened the hand of the doves within the Administration in their efforts to impose a solution on the US client.95 Although Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore reported that the Nam Tha débâcle had at last given Harriman a free hand to work towards a compromise solution in Laos,96 concerns remained on the British side about the influence of hawkish elements within the US intelligence community. These were heightened by a report in The Times on 23 May 1962 about CIA operatives in Laos who were supposed to be working against the grain of the president’s policy. Macmillan was driven to describe the agency as ‘a state within a state’ and to pose the question as to whether the president was ‘aware of the facts but powerless to deal with them – like a Spanish Monarch in the shadow of the Inquisition?’97 His fears were at least partly quelled, though, by Ormsby-Gore’s assurances from Washington that The Times report was not accurate. ‘The President is master of the situation and I do not for one moment think that McCone would work against him’, Ormsby-Gore argued.98 The ambassador’s view was confirmed by informal inquiries on the part of British intelligence. Within the US Administration itself it was concluded that the story probably had its origins in rumours circulated by British and French officials, and in the fertile imagination of The Times journalist Louis Heron himself.99 Having initiated the exchange by asking what could be done about the activities of the CIA, Macmillan concluded it by scribbling ‘I wonder if anything can be done about The Times?’100 Indeed, in one respect CIA Director McCone proved to be of great value to Kennedy in securing support for his policy in Laos. McCone, a Republican, was deputed by the president to forestall any public statement by Dwight Eisenhower in favour of full-scale military intervention in Laos, a mission that he accomplished with complete success.101 While McCone was squaring Eisenhower’s public stance, Kennedy authorised further military moves that would increase US forces in Thailand by between five and six thousand men.102 The president himself discussed the crisis in Laos with Eisenhower and also sought broader bipartisan support in a meeting with Congressional leaders on 15 May.103 The British Government meanwhile agreed to support the president’s efforts by sending a token force to Thailand.104 All the same, Macmillan was put under some pressure from the left-wing of the Labour Party during a House of Commons debate over the nature of the British commitment to SEATO, a matter on which one commentator has perceptively described his response as ‘evasive’.105 Kennedy’s public posturing worked. The Soviet Union remained anxious to avoid a confrontation over Laos, which was low on the list of Khrushchev’s priorities. The logjam at Geneva was soon broken. First, on 12 June 1962, a new coalition government came into being, headed by Souvanna Phouma with General Phoumi and the Pathet Lao leader Souphanouvong as his deputies. Then, on 23 July, Dean Rusk, along with

46 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

the representatives of thirteen other governments, signed a new Geneva Accord on the Neutrality of Laos. Nevertheless, the agreement was to prove precarious in practice.106 Although US military advisers together with North Vietnamese troops were supposed to be withdrawn, Laos could not be insulated from the problems in neighbouring Vietnam. During the course of 1963 the situation deteriorated again, with the Pathet Lao refusing to cooperate with the Souvanna Phouma Government. For its part the US Administration continued covert operations in contravention of the Geneva agreement aimed at combating the Pathet Lao and disrupting North Vietnamese activities in Laos.107 The only real dividend of Geneva from the US point of view was the ending of direct Soviet involvement in Laos. On 2 December 1962, the Soviets turned over the nine aircraft that had been used in their earlier airlift in support of the Pathet Lao to the coalition government.108 They thereby symbolically resigned their role in Laos. When Harriman tried to raise the question with Khrushchev during the July 1963 nuclear test ban discussions in Moscow, the Soviet premier was dismissive. ‘It’s time to go to dinner: we haven’t got time to talk about Laos,’ he said. ‘Why do you want to bother with Laos? I have no interest in Laos.’109 Ultimately, the Laotian problem bequeathed by Kennedy to his successor was to prove little better than that which he had inherited. Still, the British Government at least no doubt shared Sorensen’s estimation of the Geneva accord as ‘imperfect and untidy, but … better than no agreement at all, better than a military confrontation and better than a Communist conquest’.110 In hindsight, though, it would be easier to accept Sorensen’s guardedly positive assessment of Kennedy’s Laotian policy, were it not for the contrast with US policy in South Vietnam. The problem was that the president’s handling of the Laotian crisis did not signal a genuinely new attitude towards neutralism as a means of defusing Cold War tensions. Indeed, one could argue that the covert war that the CIA continued to wage in Laos after the conclusion of the Geneva accord showed that Kennedy had not abandoned the Cold War struggle there at all, but had merely chosen to wage it in a different manner. At best, Kennedy’s Laotian policy reflected a more pragmatic approach to answering the question as to when, where and how it was best to draw a line and fight communism. Indeed, Kennedy was anxious to emphasise that his overt willingness to compromise over Laos did not set a precedent for South Vietnam.111 On the contrary, in domestic political terms Kennedy came to view his acceptance of a neutralist solution in Laos as in fact necessitating even greater toughness over South Vietnam.112 As regards Anglo-American relations over Laos, these might have been expected to fall neatly into the pattern of reluctance on the part of British Governments to be a party to American belligerence in the region. What makes the Laotian crisis so unusual on closer examination is the extent to

The Laotian Crisis 47

which Macmillan’s need to establish close relations with the new US Administration drew him into yielding British military commitments at Key West. Had the Bay of Pigs fiasco not intervened, and had Kennedy chosen to cash the cheque Macmillan had signed at Key West, Britain might have been dragged into the South East Asian military quagmire alongside the US. Either that or Macmillan would have had to renege on his commitment to the Anglo-American alliance before establishing any effective European alternative. When assessing the costs and benefits of Macmillan’s conduct of Anglo-American relations it is important to weigh such gambles carefully in the scales.

3 The Berlin Crisis

If the Laotian crisis has come to seem somewhat arcane with the passage of time, the same certainly cannot be said of contemporaneous events in Berlin. Standing before a tumultuous crowd during a visit to the city in June 1963, Kennedy struck one of the keynotes of the Cold War. ‘All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner,’ he proclaimed. 1 On the face of things, though, one free man who did not share his opinion was Harold Macmillan. Macmillan’s famous gaffe about the building of the Berlin Wall – ‘nobody is going to fight about it’2 – delivered as he left the eighteenth green at Gleneagles, suggests the existence of a wide gulf between the two leaders’ positions over Berlin. However, the conventional versions of these two incidents conceal as much as they reveal about Kennedy and Macmillan’s attitudes to the Berlin question. Playing back a film of his speech in private, the president later recalled that he had been ‘disturbed’ by the ‘almost hysterical reception’ he had received in Berlin. He felt that if he had come to his peroration and said ‘“and at this moment I call upon you all to cross into East Germany and pull down that wall” they’d all have gone.’ Kennedy, according to his close confidant Ambassador Ormsby-Gore, worried that ‘the German people … at this moment in history were not totally to be relied upon and that this rather sheep-like instinct of theirs could be very frightening under certain circumstances and under the wrong leader still.’3 A further contemporary indication of the president’s attitude to the building of the Wall was provided by his decision to despatch VicePresident Johnson, hardly a trusted confidant, to the city in August 1961. Johnson’s liberal scattering of his own ‘LBJ’ ballpoint pens among the German crowds was perhaps a more representative symbol of the substance of the American commitment to the city at this point.4 The Germans should take up the pen rather than the sword to challenge Soviet action. Despite the contemporaneous despatch of a Battle Group down the auto48

The Berlin Crisis 49

bahn, the US Administration itself was not about to take any more forceful steps aimed at reversing the building of the Wall. Similarly, Macmillan’s off-the-cuff remarks at Gleneagles about the crisis were not fully representative of his position and were swiftly put in their ‘proper place’ at an ensuing press conference.5 As Macmillan put it in a telegram to Kennedy, he had been ‘trapped by enterprising journalists trying to interfere with my holiday into making some rather off the cuff observations which were reported widely’.6 Or, as Ambassador David Bruce reported it, Macmillan had ‘goofed’.7 Although the prime minister made little secret of his belief in the need to negotiate a solution to the Berlin question with the Soviet Union, the gap between his position and that of the president was ultimately much less significant than a superficial reading of these incidents might suggest.8 To be sure, in the run-up to the construction of the Wall, Kennedy felt that the West’s determination to defend its position in Berlin had to appear credible. To this extent, Macmillan’s obvious preference for a negotiated solution was a hindrance. However, once the Wall had gone up, JFK was not prepared to threaten, let alone actually to wage war to bring it down. The irony of the building of the Wall was in fact that by providing a solution to the Berlin problem it served the purposes not only of the Soviet Union and its East German ally, but also of the leading Western powers. To understand why this should have been so, we need first to set British and American policy over the Berlin question in historical context. The starting point for the Berlin crisis, which came to a head with the building of the Wall in 1961, was the failure of the wartime allies to agree on a post-war German settlement. As the Cold War intensified, the Western sectors in Berlin assumed the character of isolated outposts in a Sovietdominated Eastern Europe. Stalin’s imposition of a blockade on these sectors of the city, and the subsequent airlift of 1948–9 that kept them supplied, underlined the status of Berlin as the frontline of the East–West conflict. It was at once the greatest irritant to successive Soviet leaders intent on shoring up their authority and that of their clients in Eastern Europe, and, at the same time, the most vulnerable point in the containment perimeter that the Western allies attempted to establish around the Soviet bloc. The defeat of Stalin’s attempts to starve the population of Berlin into submission in 1949 represented no more than a respite, not a resolution of the problem. The position in Berlin was further complicated by the nature of the wartime occupation rights agreed at Potsdam that still governed the status of the city a decade and a half later. The existence of British, French and American sectors in West Berlin meant that the fate of the city was always prey to Western alliance politics. Not only that, but the presence of good transport links between the Eastern and Western sectors of Berlin and the open nature of much of the zonal boundary, made it the most obvious chink in the ‘iron curtain’.

50 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

Both the British and American Governments were formally committed to the idea of German reunification and refused to recognise the legitimacy of the East German state throughout the 1950s. Nevertheless, these public postures concealed a good deal of private cynicism. From the point of view of the health and strength of the Western alliance, it was important to maintain good relations with the leadership of the Federal Republic of West Germany, which meant essentially with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. To this end, lip service had to be paid to the goal of German unity. On the other hand, in private, it was recognised that for the present German reunification was not practical politics. Nor, in the eyes of many British and American politicians and diplomats, was it desirable politics. The experience of fighting in two world wars had ingrained a sort of reflexive suspicion of the likely intentions of a united Germany in, among others, Harold Macmillan himself.9 Before coming to office, Kennedy had shown himself to have a measure of sympathy with some of these ideas. As regards practical politics, in a December 1959 interview, he had referred to German unity only as ‘the long range goal’ and described it as ‘certainly not in the cards for many years’. In the same interview, he floated the idea of a United Nations guarantee for Berlin, thus implying a dilution of the existing US commitment.10 Although, on assuming the presidency, JFK initially adopted what appeared to be a much tougher stance, a measure of flexibility remained beneath the surface. Kennedy recognised that any attempt to improve East–West relations could not succeed without some sort of accommodation over Berlin. The difficulty remained in seeing how this could be achieved without diluting the already tenuous Western access and occupation rights. These views at least he held in common with Macmillan. Anglo-American relations over Berlin by the time of Kennedy’s inauguration can only be understood with reference to the so called ‘Deadline Crisis’ precipitated by Khrushchev in the autumn of 1958. In an official diplomatic note issued on 27 November, Khrushchev spelt out an ultimatum to the Western powers. An agreement must be reached on the future status of the city within six months, or the Soviet Union would sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany. This would bring to an end by unilateral Soviet action the rights of the occupying powers. Khrushchev’s initiative provoked a flurry of diplomatic activity within the Western alliance. Macmillan’s own contribution was his decision to seek face-to-face talks with Krushchev through a visit to the Soviet Union. The prime minister’s idea was not popular with Eisenhower, whom he at least kept informed of his plans.11 It was even less so with Adenauer, who later made plain his offence at not having been consulted in advance of Macmillan’s approach.12 At any rate, perhaps in the hope of exploiting divisions in Western ranks, Khrushchev unexpectedly accepted the prime minister’s request for talks, and Macmillan set out on what he styled his ‘voyage of discovery’ to the Soviet Union in February 1959.

The Berlin Crisis 51

The visit witnessed some extraordinary twists and turns, ranging from the unfortunate start made when Macmillan decided to wear a white fur hat left over from his 1940 trip to Finland, to Khrushchev’s diplomatic toothache contracted after a lecture from Macmillan on Western rights in Berlin. Against the odds, though, Macmillan did not come home completely empty handed. Whether impressed by Macmillan’s protestations of Western unity over Berlin, or by the contemporaneous American moves to bolster the credibility of the Western presence there,13 the trip concluded with Khrushchev implicitly backing away from his six-month deadline. Instead, the Soviet leader now offered to accept a foreign ministers’ meeting beginning in Geneva in April as a prelude to a summit meeting over the question.14 Although Khrushchev thus allowed the Berlin question to simmer down temporarily, it was clear that he would not remain content with the status quo for long. In this context, it was particularly unfortunate that the hopes raised for the success of superpower détente by his visit to the United States in September 1959, were dashed by the collapse of the Paris summit the following May. The failure in Paris, as has already been stressed, was a particular blow to Macmillan, not least in respect of his inability to persuade Eisenhower to find some formula to save the summit.15 Between the summit and the inauguration of the new president in January 1961, Khrushchev essentially held the Berlin question in abeyance. His threat at a press conference in June 1960 to take action over Berlin in six to eight months time implied that he saw no prospect of resolving the problem to his satisfaction during the dying days of the Eisenhower Administration.16 He was evidently planning instead to test the resolve of Ike’s successor in the White House over Berlin. Although Kennedy had earlier spoken of the need for new thinking over Berlin, he did not regard it as the most pressing Cold War issue confronting him on his assumption of office.17 The difficulties in Laos discussed in the previous chapter, and Cuba, which will be discussed in the next, both seemed to require more immediate attention than Berlin. The comparatively leisurely pace at which the new Administration conducted its review of policy perhaps reflected as much a recognition that it was difficult to come up with fresh thinking over Berlin as it did the bureaucratic inertia that Kennedy was fond of castigating. Certainly, the State Department’s own review of the Berlin question, completed towards the end of March 1961, yielded few conclusions likely to be appealing to a new president keen to challenge existing ideas. In essence it concluded that there was no obvious or immediate possibility of a solution to the problem.18 In a bid to broaden the base of advice he was receiving over the question, Kennedy also turned to Dean Acheson, Truman’s secretary of state, who, although not a confidant of the new president, was known for his hardline anti-communist views. Kennedy no doubt thought that Acheson’s perspective might serve to balance that of the State Department.19 By early April,

52 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

Acheson felt able to share the interim conclusions of his own separate review group with Kennedy. No doubt in a bid to sound out for himself the degree of Macmillan’s resolve to defend the Western position in Berlin,20 Kennedy arranged for Acheson to share his views with the British during the prime minister’s early April visit to Washington. Although Acheson emphasised that he was not expressing official Administration policy, the fact that Kennedy had chosen to bring him into the discussions over Berlin must have forewarned Macmillan that his views were likely to carry some weight. In view of the prime minister’s own predilection for a negotiated settlement over Berlin, Schlesinger’s description of him as ‘somewhat distressed’ by what he termed Acheson’s ‘bloodcurdling recital’ is probably accurate.21 The thrust of the former secretary of state’s argument was that if and when Khrushchev moved to cut off Western access to Berlin, the allies must be prepared to demonstrate their resolve by turning immediately to military countermeasures. Acheson himself favoured the option of sending a division down the autobahn as a probe.22 This brought into the open Anglo-American differences over the question of contingency planning for the defence of Berlin. Although Macmillan had agreed at the Camp David summit of March 1959 to the establishment of a tripartite contingency planning staff, code-named LIVEOAK, he remained anxious to avoid committing British forces to participate in what he regarded as unrealistic contingency plans.23 In the aftermath of Camp David, LIVEOAK had thus remained something of a sickly sapling. Now Acheson seemed to be forcing the issue. Although Macmillan welcomed Acheson’s emphasis on the blocking of supplies rather than the stamping of documents as the key question with regard to access, both he and Foreign Secretary Home could not hide their concern at the form of response advocated by the former secretary of state. Macmillan argued that a division would be a vulnerable body if advancing on a narrow front, while Home warned that bridges could be blown up and the division isolated. For his part, to keep the pressure on the British, the president emphasised that although he had not come to any definite conclusions, the state of existing planning was inadequate. Somewhat apocalyptically, he warned that, as matters stood, ‘the tests proposed did not escalate the matter to a sufficient height’.24 At the same time as Macmillan was grappling with the possibility of being dragged by the Americans into a war in Laos, he also had to weigh the increased likelihood of a conflict over Berlin. It was not a happy conjunction of circumstances for the prime minister. Nevertheless, at a further meeting held in Acheson’s absence the following day, the president adopted a more conciliatory stance hinting at a twin-track approach. This would involve considering Acheson’s plans for a divisional probe in the event of a renewed blockade, alongside the matter of ‘what our negotiating position should be if we do enter negotiations’.25 The latter suggestion was perhaps intended

The Berlin Crisis 53

to make the Acheson prescription in respect of contingency planning easier for Macmillan and Home to swallow. It may also have reflected the fact that the president himself had not yet made his mind up as to what to do about Berlin. In any event, in the aftermath of the Washington meeting, both Macmillan and Home chose to concentrate their attention on the more palatable aspects of the new Administration’s prescription for Berlin. This meant welcoming the shift they both thought they detected in Acheson’s presentation away from an emphasis on the stamping of documents to the physical blocking of access as a cause of confrontation over Berlin. For Home and Macmillan this seemed to imply that the Americans would not oppose the signing of a Soviet–East German Peace Treaty.26 As Home put it, ‘the picture which the Americans gave us of their new ideas was not an entirely clear one, but I do think that it shows a considerable improvement over the policy of the previous regime.’27 Attempting to correct what they clearly thought to be British misconceptions about American policy, State Department officials for their part emphasised the continuity in US thinking. They also pressed the British to agree to set in train a review of contingency planning, the need for which had been the thrust of Acheson’s presentation.28 While this was agreed, on the British side the belief lingered that the prime minister’s and foreign secretary’s reading of Acheson’s comments represented the underlying American position. Macmillan for one thought that acquiescence in the signing of a Soviet–DDR Peace Treaty was a card that Kennedy would have ready to play in any future negotiation with the Soviets.29 The British reading of the American position at this point was the result of a combination of wishful thinking and the confused signals coming out of Washington. In this respect there are clear similarities in the way AngloAmerican relations unfolded over Laos and Berlin. In characteristic fashion, Kennedy had encouraged a debate between his advisers in the hope that a new, more proactive policy over Berlin would emerge. Unfortunately, his attempts to keep his options open were to contribute in part to the setback he suffered when he discussed Berlin with Khruschev in Vienna two months later. The Soviet leader’s mind was made up on the subject and his dogmatism put him in a strong position to hector the inexperienced president. Despite the process of review he had set in train, Kennedy had in fact nothing new to say about Berlin at Vienna and wanted instead to concentrate on issues such as Laos, where he felt there was a much greater chance of a superpower accommodation. Although he underlined the importance he attached to Western rights in Berlin he undermined his defence of the status quo by describing the situation in Berlin as ‘not a satisfactory one’. He also referred to Eisenhower’s description of the position in Berlin as ‘abnormal’.30 Sensing an opponent on the back foot, Khrushchev pressed his demands for changes to the status quo. If Kennedy would not accept an

54 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

interim agreement allowing the two Germanys six months to solve the problem of reunification, then the USSR would unilaterally sign a Peace Treaty with the DDR. This would bring an end to the Western powers’ wartime occupation rights in Berlin. Any subsequent attempt to violate East German ‘borders’ would be met with force by the Soviet Union. Khruschev’s threat evoked the memorable Kennedy response: ‘it will be a cold winter.’31 Kennedy was honest enough to admit to himself and to others that he had mishandled the meeting.32 Stopping off in London on the way back from Vienna, he gained a sympathetic hearing from Macmillan, who had himself experienced Khrushchev’s brusqueness and bellicosity at first hand during his 1959 visit to the Soviet Union. In a private meeting between the two held at Kennedy’s request, the president spoke frankly of his concerns over the potential for confrontation.33 No detailed record of their conversation survives, although Macmillan later dictated his own brief account of the decisions taken.34 While there was no immediate change evident in the thrust of American policy, with the pressure on the British to participate in more detailed and meaningful contingency planning kept up, there does seem to have been something of a meeting of minds between the two men in private. At Vienna, Kennedy had shown more willingness to explore the implications of a unilateral Soviet decision to sign a peace treaty with East Germany than his advisers might have wished. On a number of occasions he had made an explicit distinction between the act of signing a treaty and that of blocking Western access to Berlin. He wanted to stress, he had told Khrushchev, ‘the difference between a peace treaty and the rights of access to Berlin’.35 He had even directly asked the chairman on one occasion whether the signing of a Soviet–DDR Treaty would block access to Berlin.36 In the midst of his bluster, the Soviet leader had failed to exploit the opportunity afforded him by the president’s apparent uncertainty. Still, if Kennedy spoke in the same terms to Macmillan during their private talks, this could only have served to reinforce in the prime minister’s mind the impression that, beneath the surface, US policy was moving in a direction which he himself advocated. On a personal level, Kennedy’s brief stopover in London had served to bring the two men somewhat closer together. This came after the slightly uncertain beginning to their relationship marked by the Key West and Washington talks. Arthur Schlesinger describes their private conversation on 5 June as ‘the real beginning of what became Kennedy’s closest personal relationship with a foreign leader’. Kennedy, for his part, Schlesinger believed, liked Macmillan’s ‘patrician approach to politics, his impatience with official ritual, his insouciance about the professionals, his pose of nonchalance even when most deeply committed’. The two men found ‘the same things funny and the same things serious’.37 This was evident in an exchange between the two triggered by Kennedy’s complaints about press

The Berlin Crisis 55

treatment of his wife during their European trip. Responding to JFK’s question as to how he would react if someone had accused Lady Dorothy of being drunk, Macmillan said ‘I would reply “you should have seen her mother”’.38 Macmillan’s quip brought the first laugh from the president since his Vienna meeting. Macmillan’s diary entries for the same period give an interesting flavour of how he saw his relations with the new president unfolding up to this point. Two days before Kennedy’s arrival, Macmillan recorded a talk with Ambassador Harold Caccia, in which the latter brought him up to date on ‘some useful gossip from Washington’. Part of this evidently concerned the ‘rather “raffish” lifestyle of the president and his circle …’39 All of this was no doubt useful background information to add to the impressions he had gained himself during his early face-to-face meetings with the president. Reflecting on their relationship after the 5 June meeting, Macmillan recorded that he had found Kennedy ‘kind, intelligent and very friendly’.40 Comparing him to Eisenhower, Macmillan evidently found discussion with Kennedy much more stimulating. Kennedy was ‘quick, well-informed, subtle’, although he proceeded ‘more by asking questions than by answering them’.41 ‘Ike’, he recorded, ‘was surrounded by “tycoons” and “blockheads”. K[ennedy] is surrounded by university dons and “eggheads”. Ike was my friend and Britain’s friend … K[ennedy] looks like being a good friend to me. He has some old prejudices (perhaps a little of the Irish tradition) about us – but he lives in the modern world.’42 Other than betraying Macmillan’s lingering prejudice about the effect of Kennedy’s ‘Irishness’, this was a bullish assessment of the state of their personal relations. What the two now seemed to have found was a way of switching from what Macmillan called the ‘gay things’ to the ‘terrible things’ without fear of misunderstanding. Or to put it another way, the two could switch from the ‘Lady Dorothy’ anecdote to the possibility of nuclear war over Berlin almost seamlessly. Their mutual ability to compartmentalise was to prove invaluable in holding high level Anglo-American relations together during the coming years. It helps explain the paradox of how Macmillan and Kennedy could seem to enjoy the trappings of a cheerful house party at Nassau in December 1962, while at the same time, in the business sessions, Macmillan threatened the destruction of the AngloAmerican alliance. Probably the comparative ease with which the two men managed such transitions was a product of their respective personal lives. In effect, both were used to living double lives, to concealing awkward truths behind a front of bravado. Perhaps this was what was behind Kennedy’s remark to Henry Brandon of The Sunday Times: ‘I feel at home with Macmillan because I can share my loneliness with him.’43 If Kennedy’s stopover had been significant from the point of view of his personal relations with Macmillan, there seemed to be little immediate change in respect of Anglo-American relations over Berlin. Continuing US

56 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

pressure over contingency planning was met with continuing British prevarication. At least the president himself, evidently stirred into action by his confrontation with Khrushchev, now devoted a greater effort to forging an agreed Administration policy over Berlin. The immediate task was to devise a suitable reply to the aide-mémoire, outlining his demands over Berlin, which Khrushchev had presented to Kennedy during their talks in Vienna and which he published on 10 June. Kennedy was evidently unimpressed with the response prepared by the State Department.44 Meanwhile, although Acheson’s final report had been presented to the National Security Council on 29 June, his position had been compromised by criticisms he had made of the new Administration’s handling of foreign affairs in a speech at a Foreign Service Association luncheon.45 This, together with Kennedy’s own inclination to avoid a perilous showdown, may have contributed to the president’s eventual decision to authorise measures falling far short of the declaration of national emergency which Acheson and other hardliners like Walt Rostow, Allen Dulles and Paul Nitze, had all advocated.46 After much deliberation, Kennedy eventually settled on a series of military measures, which included the moving of six extra divisions to Europe and a request to Congress for a $3.2 billion increase in the defence budget. This figure included a sum of $207 million for civil defence.47 Aware that a review of policy was being conducted in Washington, Macmillan was careful to take no action that might lend substance to the charge that the British were dragging their feet over Berlin. ‘Whatever we do may be misrepresented because the Americans are still groping their way towards a policy’, he argued.48 During his visit to Washington in mid-June, Home had also reported back that there was a danger that, with the Administration divided over Berlin, there might be an attempt to make the British appear responsible for American uncertainties. Home’s response was to avoid saying anything that might be misinterpreted as weakness.49 Indeed, both he and Macmillan, according to the prime minister’s version, made ‘such firm statements in Parliament and outside that we have foiled this scheme’.50 The protracted debate within the US Administration led Macmillan, by the end of the month, in a fit of pessimism, to question whether Kennedy was capable of producing real leadership.51 This applied not only to Berlin, but also to the continuing crisis in Laos. Here too Macmillan believed that ‘the warlike party in Washington seems to be forcing the pace. The administration (Rusk and the President) seem unable to get control’.52 Macmillan was only too well aware of the political and economic dangers that Berlin posed to the British international position at this juncture. If he were to announce measures such as those Kennedy had eventually decided upon, including the call-up of reservists, and an increase in the defence budget, there might be a run on the pound.53 This would mean a national

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economic crisis. If, on the other hand, Britain dragged her feet too much over contingency planning then she would be accused of dividing the Western alliance.54 Either way, the effect on Britain’s application to join the EEC, which Macmillan was in the process of unveiling, would be unfortunate. As he put it, ‘I still think we are more likely to be bankrupted than to be blown up, though of course it would not be any comfort in being blown up to know that one was bankrupt’.55 In the prime minister’s view, what these circumstances dictated was a passive, or, as he termed it, ‘negative’ approach,56 in which the government tried to avoid appearing reluctant to plan for military confrontation, at the same time as it took no overt action that might affect the financial markets. In private, Macmillan nurtured hopes that, before too long, he might be able to adopt a more proactive policy. ‘About September’, he wrote, ‘when the fiction of the strong man at the White House is finally exploded’ a new diplomatic initiative along the lines of the 1959 trip to the Soviet Union might be possible.57 Meanwhile, the situation on the ground in Berlin helped bring matters to a head. International tensions had produced an upsurge in the flow of refugees to the West. With the exception of the crisis year of 1953, when 331 390 East Germans had fled to the West, the average annual exodus for much of the 1950s had remained in the range of 150 000 to 200 000. By the end of June 1961, however, 103 159 refugees had already fled East Germany. The rate of exodus in July showed every sign of picking up further, with some 14 279 refugees arriving in West Berlin in the first half of the month alone.58 While this was not on the scale of the mass exodus of 1953, it was nevertheless a source of pressing concern for the East German regime, and its Soviet backer.59 It was against this background of rising tension that Kennedy communicated the measures he had decided to take to meet the Berlin crisis to both the US’s NATO allies and, by means of a 25 July radio and television broadcast, to the American people. In his public announcement the president asked for support for his decision to call up reserves, build fall-out shelters, and strengthen US forces in Europe. In the telegram he sent to Macmillan foreshadowing his public statement, he added a call for extra defence efforts on the part of the NATO allies. As Ambassador David Bruce saw matters, the president’s telegram was likely to ‘shake whatever calm remains in Whitehall’. This was particularly so because it came at ‘a time of British retrenchment and on the eve of a statement in regard to this to be made by Selwyn Lloyd, Chancellor of the Exchequer …’60 Such an astute observer of British domestic politics as Bruce evidently also saw Britain’s economic vulnerability as central to the government’s thinking at this point. However, in terms of its international impact, one element of Kennedy’s announcement that surely did not go unremarked in Moscow was his repeated emphasis on rights of access to West Berlin. The implication of his

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comments, although probably unintended, was that the Soviet Union could do what it liked in the Eastern sector of the city.61 Rather than being the product of some cynical attempt to signal to Khrushchev his willingness to sacrifice the rights of East Berliners, though, this emphasis was probably a result of the navel-gazing exercise in policy review from which the Administration had just emerged. There had been so much discussion of what to do in the event of an attempt on the part of Khrushchev to block the land and air routes into West Berlin from the Federal Republic, that the president and his advisers had lost sight of other contingencies.62 Kennedy’s speech was crafted to meet the most likely Soviet threat to Berlin based on the evidence of previous experience. Or, put another way, the vaccine the president administered had been prepared to deal with the known strain of the Berlin virus. In any event, Macmillan was encouraged by the trend in US policy in the wake of the president’s broadcast, which, as he saw it, was away from confrontation, and towards negotiation over Berlin. The Americans, as Macmillan put it in a letter to the Queen on 5 August, were ‘getting off their high horse’.63 Indeed, the impression gained by Lord Home in discussions with Dean Rusk at a Western foreign ministers’ meeting in Paris was that the Americans were now ‘almost too keen’ on negotiations over Berlin.64 Rusk, he believed, was under instructions from Kennedy to press very hard for an early offer to Khrushchev to negotiate.65 The danger of this, from the British point of view, was that American pressure might force the French and Germans together in resistance, a contingency that could have a bad effect on the British EEC application. It would be much better, Home felt, to prevaricate over negotiations until the West German elections were out of the way.66 At any rate, with the Administration doves such as Schlesinger evidently winning the battle for the president’s ear over Berlin,67 Macmillan felt able to leave London for a week’s shooting and golfing in the North.68 The relaxation of tension in Anglo-American relations, however, had not been matched by the position on the ground in Berlin, where, in the first days of August, the daily flow of refugees accelerated once again. On 2 August, 1096 people registered at the Marienfelde reception centre in West Berlin, followed by 1306 the next day, and 1292 the day after that.69 It was becoming clear that the East German regime would either have to find a more decisive method of blocking the outflow or face the imminent prospect of collapse. In these circumstances, it still seems extraordinary that so little direct consideration was give to the possibility that the East German leader, Ulbricht, might elect, with Khrushchev’s blessing, to close the sector boundary to East Germans.70 In fact, this was precisely the plan Ulbricht brought with him when he flew secretly to Moscow on 31 July. Believing that Kennedy would make no move provided Western access rights remained intact, Khrushchev backed the plan, which was approved during a

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Warsaw Pact meeting from 3–5 August.71 The time fixed for the closure of the boundary was midnight on 12–13 August. In the final days before the planned closure, the refugee flow accelerated still further, with 2229 East Germans arriving on 11 August alone, bringing the total for the week to 12 210.72 The move by East German security forces to seal off the boundary at the appointed hour met with a slow response in the Western sectors. Because there was no attempt to interfere with allied access rights, existing contingency planning proved irrelevant. Allied commanders on the ground had no idea what action to take.73 Their political masters, certainly those in London and Washington, appear to have been left equally nonplussed. The news made little apparent impact on Dean Rusk, who went as planned to a baseball game,74 or on Kennedy himself, who went sailing at Hyannis Port. Neither seems to have believed that it merited immediate counter-measures. The only significant figure on the US side whose composure seems to have been rattled by the news from Berlin was Dean Acheson. Breakfasting with friends at the Harbour View Inn on Martha’s Vineyard, ‘Acheson’s complexion turned beet red’ when he was shown the headline of the New York Herald Tribune. However, his discomfort was not apparently caused by the implications of the move for the citizens of Berlin, but by the fact that Kennedy had not seen fit to telephone him personally with the news. ‘He was just boiling over with indignation at Kennedy.’75 Macmillan’s first reaction to events in Berlin was to determine to continue his holiday. ‘There seemed to me no need to make a spectacular return to London’, he wrote.76 The most important thing in the face of this ‘international nonsense’ was, as Macmillan put it in a letter to Viscountess Waverley, ‘to do nothing foolish’.77 Instead he allowed Lord Home to handle matters, keeping in regular contact with him by phone. The foreign secretary, who was himself in Scotland, displayed what Macmillan called ‘admirable sang froid’ in sticking to the line that what was needed were preliminary steps aimed at starting negotiations with the Soviets.78 Macmillan’s own unflappability was tested not by the dangers of the crisis itself, but by the persistent questioning he was subjected to by reporters who pursued him throughout a round of golf at Gleneagles. Their baiting brought forth the flippant remarks quoted at the beginning of this chapter. The immediate response of the main protagonists on both sides of the Atlantic provided a pointer as to the future course of Anglo-American relations over Berlin. Although, in the short term, as the crisis in morale in West Berlin became pressing, the US Administration would go further than the British Government in its advocacy of military counter-measures, in the longer term an underlying harmony in the Anglo-American assessment of the building of the Wall would emerge. Amorally put, this was that Khrushchev had come up with a good way of controlling tensions over Berlin. He had allowed the allied powers to maintain their rights of access

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to the Western sectors, at the same time as preventing the collapse of the East German state, which would have resulted in dangerous disorder in central Europe. Not only that, but he had reduced the immediate likelihood of a nuclear confrontation at the same time as handing the West a valuable propaganda victory. The Wall itself might be ugly, but as a solution to the Berlin problem it was elegant. In the short term, though, the crisis could not be viewed in such dispassionate terms. This was partly because the full extent of Soviet intentions was not immediately clear, and partly because of the pressure for action exerted by the anger and frustration of West Berliners. In Washington, both of these considerations were thought to dictate the need for some sort of symbolic response to underline the continuing determination of the Western powers to defend their sectors of the city. It was decided that VicePresident Johnson, accompanied by General Lucius Clay, should be despatched to West Berlin by air, at the same time as a US Battle Group of 1500 men would set out for the city along the autobahn. As Johnson descended on Berlin, showering ballpoint pens on the crowds who greeted him, the US army followed him in by road. Arriving in Berlin, the American soldiers were treated like a liberating army.79 Before sending the battle group, Kennedy had consulted his European allies, including Macmillan. Macmillan regarded the move as militarily ‘a nonsense’. Still he agreed to arrange a token reinforcement of the British contingent in West Berlin.80 The British continued to press the advantages of some form of negotiation with the Soviets to guarantee access rights. Home was inclined to be dismissive of the implications of the building of the Wall, telling Rusk that ‘the prevention of East Berliners getting into West Berlin has never been a casus belli for us’.81 Allowing for what may be termed the cold realism of the British position, though, it is difficult to deny that both he and the prime minister might have displayed greater sensitivity to the plight of Berliners. Even Kennedy, who was supposed to have remarked in private that ‘a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war’,82 managed to strike a more sympathetic note in his public utterances. After the tensions that had accompanied the early days of the crisis, the situation in Berlin itself began to cool, as did concerns in Western capitals as to the likelihood of any further move on Khrushchev’s part to block off access to the Western sectors. Kennedy, who had watched the progress of the US battle group as it traversed the autobahn to Berlin with hawk-like intensity,83 moved on to other business, as did Macmillan himself. A Western foreign ministers’ meeting held in Washington in mid-September, just before the West German federal elections, produced few tangible results. The convergence in the American and British approaches to the crisis was once more in evidence though, with Home and Rusk finding themselves in broad agreement on the appropriate political, if not economic, measures to be taken. Not only that, but the president expressed

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himself in favour of a package offer to the Soviets, including acceptance of the Oder–Neisse line, de facto recognition of the DDR, and a local reduction in armaments.84 After a telephone conversation with Kennedy on 14 September, Macmillan concluded that, on Berlin, ‘he was clearly moving towards my position’.85 By early October, Macmillan was reflecting in his diary that ‘the negotiations about whether & on what basis to have negotiations are making slow, but perceptible progress. Rusk is handling this well & is on very good terms with Alec Home. The President seems to be sensible, but he is subjected to a lot of “right wing” pressure, urging him to be “tough”.’86 After a further telephone conversation with Kennedy on 6 October, Macmillan noted that he ‘seemed rather baffled and asked me to send my ideas’.87 With some satisfaction he wrote that ‘President Kennedy seemed thoroughly “fed up” with both Adenauer and de Gaulle. It is curious how all American statesmen begin by trying to treat Britain as just one of many foreign or NATO countries. They soon find themselves relying on our advice and experience. President Kennedy and Secretary Rusk have found this out very quickly’.88 This might have been a rather self-serving and patronising version of the course of Anglo-American relations during the preceding months, but it was certainly true that the political differences over Berlin which had been evident during the April meeting in Washington had by this point largely disappeared from view. As we have seen, this was also true of the crisis in Laos. Developments on the ground in Berlin, though, still had the potential to disrupt Anglo-American relations. One source of tension was Kennedy’s decision to appoint General Clay to the ill-defined post of ‘adviser’ in West Berlin. This was intended as a further move to bolster the morale of West Berliners and in this sense it was no doubt a success. Feted as the man who had sustained the city during Stalin’s 1948–9 blockade, Clay was hugely popular with Berliners. His popularity, though, did not extend to the ranks of the existing American military and civilian commanders on the ground who resented his interference in their work and his penchant for confrontation.89 Nor did Clay do anything to endear himself to the British. In one incident Clay disrupted a dinner attended by the British and American commanders in Berlin, accusing the British of failing to cooperate in recent confrontations with the Soviets.90 Learning of Clay’s behaviour, Macmillan scribbled off an angry note to Home. ‘Do you think I might ask President Kennedy to recall General Clay?’ he asked. ‘He always was an ass: now he is an embittered ass.’91 Rather than having Macmillan take the matter up with the president, however, the foreign secretary contented himself with showing Ambassador Bruce the report of the incident.92 Macmillan’s exasperation may have been due in part to Clay’s role in one of the more dangerous confrontations between East and West to spring up in Berlin, the stand-off between US and Soviet tanks at Checkpoint Charlie

62 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

at the end of October 1961. The trouble had begun when the US minister in Berlin, Allan Lightner, decided to visit the opera in East Berlin on the evening of 22 October. After being stopped by East German police (‘Vopos’) at Checkpoint Charlie, Lightner had to call on the assistance of US soldiers to escort him into the Eastern sector. Clay treated the incident as his chance to provoke a confrontation and sent further civilian officials through the Checkpoint on 24 and 26 October. A further probe on 27 October, supported by the movement of US tanks up to the Checkpoint, brought Soviet armour into the open on the other side of the boundary. A stand-off ensued, with Clay in his element, telling the president by phone on 28 October that the Soviets would soon back down in the face of this display of US resolve.93 Kennedy himself was not best pleased by the confrontation. Of the original incident, sparked by Lightner’s attempt to cross to the East, he commented, ‘we didn’t send him to Berlin to go to the opera’.94 As Clay ratcheted up the tension on the ground, the president himself worked behind the scenes to resolve the conflict through back-channel contacts with Khrushchev.95 Bobby Kennedy was instructed to tell his KGB contact, Georgi Bolshakov, that US tanks would back down immediately if the Soviets did so first.96 Sure enough, the confrontation soon ended with both sides pulling back their armour. If Clay’s brinkmanship had been unpopular in Washington it was even more so in London.97 Still, there was some reassurance to be gained from the fact that the president himself worked to defuse tensions and restrain Clay. The meeting of minds between Macmillan and Kennedy over Berlin which was much in evidence by this point, is perhaps best summed up by a memorandum written by McGeorge Bundy for the president on 9 November ahead of a planned phone conversation with Macmillan. Bundy noted simply that ‘there is no difficulty at all on the Berlin side’.98 Certainly, as regards divisions in the Western alliance over Berlin by this stage, the most significant remained that between the Anglo-Americans on the one hand, and the French on the other. De Gaulle, with his blank refusal to consider any compromise over Berlin, managed to stake out a position that was more German than the Germans. Even Adenauer seemed flexible in his approach to the problem during the winter of 1961 compared to the French leader.99 As Macmillan put it in a message to Kennedy after his November 1961 discussions with the French President at Birch Grove, ‘de Gaulle’s object is in fact to keep his fingers clean’.100 Although the Berlin crisis simmered on through the early months of 1962, receiving a good deal of diplomatic attention in conjunction with the issue of nuclear testing, the problem did not force its way back to the head of the agenda in Anglo-American relations until October. Even then, it did so only as a factor in the strategic calculations surrounding the Cuban missile crisis. As we will see in the next chapter, during the early

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stages of the crisis, Macmillan advocated an American invasion of Cuba so as to prevent the Soviet leader trying to trade his position there for that of the West in Berlin. This kind of trade, Macmillan argued, should be avoided at all costs because it could endanger the unity of the alliance.101 This was tough talk, the tenor of which may even have surprised the president. However, it showed that Macmillan was at least prepared to stand fast in a crisis on maintaining Western rights in Berlin. Moreover, when, in the wake of the resolution of the crisis, David Ormsby-Gore proposed that an attempt be made to secure a guarantee from Krushchev for West Berlin, linked to the no invasion pledge that Kennedy had given over Cuba, the prime minister was firm in his opposition. ‘It seems to me’, he wrote, ‘that the protection of West Berlin must continue to be assured by the full weight of Western and above all of United States power rather than just by the Cuban hostage.’102 The tenor of Anglo-American relations over Berlin from August 1961 onwards, therefore, was one of greater cooperation and correspondingly less tension than evidenced in most other theatres of the world. Just as with the crisis in Laos, the differences that had marked the final Eisenhower years and the early phase of the Kennedy Presidency were largely resolved. Ironically, the construction of the Wall had proved as effective in repairing a breach in Anglo-American relations as it had in shoring up the Eastern bloc.103 Whereas over the Congo, Middle East, and even the Caribbean, Anglo-American relations were complicated by the legacy of colonialism, there were no such conflicting currents over Berlin. Although tactical differences were sometimes in evidence, Anglo-American perceptions were sufficiently similar to make the dominant refrain of relations more harmonious than discordant.

4 The Castro Question and the Cuban Missile Crisis

As the defining moment of the Kennedy Administration and a key watershed in the development of the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis must also loom large in any analysis of Anglo-American relations in this period. In the minds of the key policy-makers on both sides of the Atlantic the missile crisis was closely linked to the problem of Berlin discussed in the previous chapter. Both Macmillan and Kennedy feared that Khrushchev’s goal in placing missiles in Cuba might be to press for some form of trade over Berlin. Nevertheless, although the crisis had broader ramifications for the waging of the Cold War, when judging the British role in October 1962 it is important always to have in mind Kennedy’s core perception of the Cuban problem. Here was a direct threat to the security of the United States, involving a Soviet incursion into the Western hemisphere. As such, it had the gravest potential domestic repercussions for the president. In this sense it was not a crisis in which from Kennedy’s perspective the AngloAmerican relationship could expect to occupy centre stage. The background in terms of Anglo-American relations over Cuba before the missile crisis was not auspicious. The British Government could not, of course, be expected to share the degree of American distrust of the Castro regime that developed apace during the first eighteen months of the Kennedy Administration. On the simplest level, Britain did not have the same history of involvement in Cuba as did the United States. On the other hand, the extensive residual British colonial role in the Caribbean, of which the Macmillan Government was struggling to divest itself, meant that it had to seek some degree of cooperation with Washington. When Britain finally managed to extricate itself from commitments in the area, it was acknowledged, the US would be their inheritor. Since parallels with the Suez crisis were to be drawn on quite extensively on both sides of the Atlantic during October 1962,1 it might also be appropriate to observe here that there was something of a similarity between the US reaction to Castro and the British reaction to Nasser six years earlier.2 The nature of the challenge mounted by these two nationalist 64

The Castro Question and the Cuban Missile Crisis 65

leaders provoked a sort of visceral response that was difficult for the leaders of other countries fully to understand. Here one returns to the notion of differences in perception outlined at the beginning of this study. Just as Washington would never fully be able to comprehend the British perception of Nasser, so London would not be able to understand the American perception of Castro. Much like the British reaction to Nasser, American disillusionment with Castro did not follow immediately in the wake of his seizure of power from the corrupt dictator Batista at the very end of 1958. Indeed, the Cuban leader even visited the United States during April 1959, speaking at Harvard where he was escorted by the then Dean, McGeorge Bundy,3 and impressing Dean Acheson who happened to meet him during a dinner at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. Acheson came away with the conclusion that ‘this fellow Castro really knows what he is doing. He is going to cause us some problems down the road.’4 President Eisenhower, for his part, chose not to meet Castro during his spring 1959 US tour, preferring instead to take a golfing break in Georgia. One British diplomat noted at the time the happy coincidence between the wishes of the president’s doctor that he should take a rest and the strong desire of the State Department to get him out of town.5 Indeed, concerns soon rose further over Castro’s close links with the Cuban Communist Party, his expropriation of American property, and the imprisonment of his critics. During the spring of 1960, Castro moved openly to align himself with the Soviet Union, and accepted Soviet aid.6 Eisenhower’s response was to authorise on 17 March 1960 a programme of covert action intended to overthrow the Cuban leader.7 In Harold Macmillan’s view the Americans were ‘paralysed and uncertain’ in their efforts to deal with Castro. ‘What a pity they never understood “colonialism” and “imperialism” till too late’, he reflected.8 During the final months of the Eisenhower Administration a US-sponsored move to topple Castro came to seem more and more likely, with the Cuban leader alerting his forces in expectation of an invasion at the end of October 1960.9 Kennedy for one was relieved that Eisenhower did not choose to act against Castro, believing that a successful invasion in advance of the presidential election would have handed victory to Nixon. During the final weeks of the campaign he endeavoured to outflank Nixon on the issue by calling for US assistance to Cuban exile forces. Precisely just such a plan had of course been the subject of CIA preparations since March of that year.10 When Kennedy came to office, he inherited the CIA’s existing plans for Cuba. From the outset, despite his earlier advocacy, he was uneasy about the scheme for the landing of Cuban exile forces leading CIA Director Allen Dulles to describe the proposed Cuban operation as a ‘sort of orphan child JFK had adopted … He had no real love or affection for it …’11 Its aim would be to spark off supposed domestic opposition to Castro leading to

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his overthrow. Despite his own initial doubts, Kennedy gave the operation the go-ahead on 14 April 1961.12 He evidently felt compelled to act because of his own campaign pledges not to tolerate the continued existence of a communist outpost ninety miles from Florida. The operation was a fiasco from start to finish. Even the chosen landing site at the ‘Bay of Pigs’ was something of a gift to anti-American propagandists. Kennedy’s efforts to keep the operation at arms’ length meant that he was not prepared to authorise the use of American air support. Castro was able to mobilise his forces and crush the invaders with ease. Although the president managed paradoxically to bolster his standing with the American public by taking on his own shoulders the responsibility for the failure, the Bay of Pigs marked the beginning of a Kennedy vendetta against the Castro regime. The president gave his backing to programmes of covert action aimed at sabotaging the Cuban economy, and assassinating Castro himself.13 The Bay of Pigs failure, which was portrayed by Kennedy’s critics as evidence of a lack of resolve on his part also meant that in any future Cuban crisis, the president’s room for manoeuvre would be significantly straitened. Sympathising with JFK in the wake of the Bay of Pigs fiasco, David Ormsby-Gore wrote that ‘I do not think it is possible to win a hand when someone else has made the most monumental mess of playing the first ten cards and then passes the hand on to you to play the last three.’14 Kennedy’s predecessor in office, though, was less charitable. Playing on the title of Kennedy’s Pulitzer prize-winning study ‘Profiles in Courage’, Eisenhower commented that the Bay of Pigs could best be titled a ‘Profile in Timidity and Indecision’.15 One further dimension of the Bay of Pigs operation, which is particularly relevant to a survey of Anglo-American relations over Cuba, is worthy of mention here. This concerns the degree of British foreknowledge of the operation. During Macmillan’s visit to Washington from 4 to 6 April 1961, the topic of Cuba evidently came up. Alistair Horne, quoting from Macmillan’s diaries, refers to an oblique question Kennedy asked the prime minister about the problem of Cuban exiles in Miami: ‘What did I think about it? I said I thought they were more of a nuisance in America than they would be in Cuba. What would he do with them if he kept them? He said that was just the point that worried him. He thought it would be better to let them go to Cuba and become guerrillas …’16 Horne’s view is that although Kennedy might have been sounding out Macmillan about the forthcoming operation, he revealed no details to him. Macmillan, he argues, was disappointed afterwards that he had been neither consulted nor informed as he might have been by Eisenhower.17 In fact, the degree of Macmillan’s foreknowledge may have been rather greater than Horne suggests. US documents now available covering the planning of the Bay of Pigs operation record the following exchange at a

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meeting between Kennedy and a group of his closest advisers on the morning of 6 April: Mr Rusk, when queried by the President, stated that he felt that this plan was as good as could be devised, but that we should now take a look at other questions that might arise. One would be what would the US do in the event there was a serious call for help? Second, what might the Soviets do? The President indicated that Mr Macmillan had been informed of the prospect.18 Kennedy’s comment leaves us with only two possible interpretations of Macmillan’s role here. Either the president informed him in so oblique a manner that the prime minister did not gather what was afoot, or, he had a fairly clear idea of Kennedy’s intentions and subsequently chose to conceal the fact. Certainly, in view of the degree of controversy that the invasion aroused in Britain, it would have been impolitic for Macmillan to own up to any advance knowledge of it on his part. Whatever the extent of the prime minister’s foreknowledge of the Bay of Pigs operation, it was to prove difficult for the government to avoid some degree of involvement in the Administration’s subsequent crusade against Castro. In respect of Cuba itself, a request was made through Ambassador David Bruce that an airfield should be made available on British territory on Mayaguana Island in the Bahamas for the possible mounting of ‘combat operations with tactical aircraft’.19 The response of Lord Privy Seal Edward Heath at the end of September 1961 shows what a careful line the British Government had to tread in dealing with the Cuban question. On the one hand, the government wanted to avoid antagonising the US Administration by refusing the request for access to Mayaguana. On the other, as Heath explained, an approach could not be made to the Bahamas’ Executive Council for fear that the news would be leaked to the press. The compromise hit upon by Heath was to indicate that should a ‘clear-cut attack’ take place on the US Guantanamo Base on Cuba then ‘HMG would immediately approach [the] Bahamas Govt with [a] definite recommendation and would use its “utmost influence” to obtain [a] prompt and favourable Bahaman response’.20 In the same spirit, during the course of 1961, the British Government also channelled intelligence information on the internal situation in Cuba from its embassy in Havana to Washington.21 The effects of the US Administration’s anti-Castro crusade were, however, to be felt most keenly by the British Government in respect of the future constitutional development of the Caribbean colony of British Guiana. From the British perspective, the fate of British Guiana was one of the lesser colonial questions with which the government had to grapple in the early 1960s. The population of the colony was small, numbering only 600 000,

68 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

and was almost evenly divided on racial lines between blacks and East Indians. Its politics too were polarised, with separate political parties representing the different racial groups. In the wake of the Bay of Pigs failure US Administration officials devoted much attention to attempts on Castro’s part to destabilise other Central and South American countries and to export his revolution. In the case of British Guiana, their concerns focused on Cheddi Jagan, the leader of the Indian People’s Progressive Party, who was believed to be a Marxist, and whose American wife was a former member of the Young Communist league. The British, by contrast, believed Jagan to be a naive idealist who was more likely to chart a neutralist than a communist course in foreign affairs.22 During Macmillan’s Washington talks at the beginning of April 1961, Secretary of State Rusk had already warned his British counterpart Lord Home of the Americans’ concern that in British Guiana, they might find themselves faced with ‘another Castro-type situation’.23 In advance of the elections scheduled for 21 August 1961, Rusk had written to Home asking whether there was anything the British Government could do to forestall Jagan’s expected victory.24 Although Home acknowledged that this might not be the best outcome, he argued that the government could not interfere with due electoral processes.25 As expected, Jagan emerged victorious from the election. In its aftermath two tracks of US policy emerged.26 One was a brief and ill-fated attempt to seek some form of accommodation with Jagan through offers of economic assistance to British Guiana. This was to be developed jointly with the British Government and arose at least in part from British pressure to the effect that the possibility of educating Jagan should not yet be abandoned. As part of this track Jagan was invited to the US and met Kennedy at the end of October 1961.27 The visit did little to allay American fears about Jagan’s ideology, and in its aftermath the State Department judged the chances as being fifty-fifty that an independent British Guiana under Jagan would join the communist camp.28 The other track was to secure British agreement to a programme of American intelligence gathering in British Guiana. Despite some British reluctance to enter into what was an exceptional arrangement for a colonial territory, agreement was reached on this point by a joint Anglo-American Working Group which met in London from 11 to 16 September 1961. At British insistence, the CIA was not initially permitted to carry out covert operations in the colony.29 By the beginning of February 1962, US suspicions of Jagan’s intentions had reached such a point that it was decided to abandon all attempts to work with him. One expression of this shift in stance was the CIA’s role in financing the protests and violence that broke out in Georgetown between 12–19 February.30 Such actions were in contravention of the September 1961 agreement with the British which had excluded covert operations. At the same time on the diplomatic front, the British Government was pressed

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to take whatever measures were necessary to ensure that it did not hand over power in an independent British Guiana to Jagan. The new US policy was conveyed by Rusk to Home in one of the more remarkable AngloAmerican communications of the period: Dear Alex: … I must tell you now that I have reached the conclusion that it is not possible for us to put up with an independent British Guiana under Jagan … Partly reflective of ever growing concern over Cuba, public and Congressional opinion here is incensed at the thought of our dealing with Jagan. The Marxist–Leninist policy he professes parallels that of Castro which the OAS at the Punta del Este Conference declared incompatible with the Inter-American system … It seems clear to me that new elections should now be scheduled, and I hope we can agree that Jagan should not accede to power again. Cordially Yours, Dean Rusk.31 Rusk’s message was met with incredulity in British quarters. Macmillan himself could not believe it. ‘I have just received a copy of a message to you from Mr Rusk about British Guiana’, he wrote to Home. ‘I am bound to say I have read it with amazement. One or two phrases are incredible.’ Macmillan singled out in particular Rusk’s references to not allowing Jagan to win power through due electoral process. He continued: How can the Americans continue to attack us in the United Nations on colonialism and then use expressions like these which are not colonialism but pure Machiavellianism. Of course, it is nice to feel that they are partners with us and have such confidence in you as to send you a letter of this kind but it does show a degree of cynicism which I would have thought Dean Rusk could hardly put his pen to. He, after all, is not an Irishman, nor a politician, nor a millionaire: he has the reputation of being an honourable and somewhat academic figure.32 Macmillan was not the only one who was evidently startled by the cynicism of Rusk’s approach. Adlai Stevenson, to whose anti-colonial views Macmillan may have been referring with his references to American attacks in the United Nations, also queried Rusk’s new policy.33 Ambassador David Bruce too felt that his government was making a mistake in ‘attempting so fully to participate in decisions affecting that British dependency’. The British would be only too glad to ‘hand the whole thing over to us if we were inclined to shoulder all the consequent responsibilities, which we would not be willing to do. Instead, we persevere in offering unsolicited advice as to what they should do’. Between the White House, State Department and Congress, there were ‘too many cooks stirring this broth’.34

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On a visit to London, the president’s special assistant for Latin American Affairs, Arthur Schlesinger, found Colonial Secretary Reginald Maudling and his predecessor Iain Macleod voicing a mixture of puzzlement and amusement at Rusk’s letter. Macleod expressed the opinion that Jagan was not a communist. He was ‘a naïve London School of Economics Marxist’. Maudling, although leaving much of the running to the forthright Macleod, apparently commented jovially ‘if you Americans care so much about British Guiana, why don’t you take it over? Nothing would please us more.’35 In reality, Macleod at least should not have been surprised by Rusk’s approach. He later recalled a meeting with Kennedy in the Oval Office during 1961 at which the president had pressed him hard not to move British Guiana too quickly towards independence. ‘Mr President’, Macleod had asked, ‘do I understand that you want us to go as quickly as possible towards independence everywhere else all over the world but not on your own doorstep in British Guiana?’ Macleod recalled that Kennedy laughed and said ‘well, that’s probably just about it’.36 Home’s response to Rusk’s initiative was, as Ambassador Bruce put it, ‘cold as the Arctic’.37 The foreign secretary warned against the adoption of undemocratic and transparent devices designed to keep Jagan from power. He did agree though that there should be further Anglo-American consultation on developments in the territory.38 These included discussions between Rusk and Home in Geneva on 12 March, and a meeting between Hugh Fraser, Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and the president, of whom he was a close personal friend, in Washington on 16 March. In the 12 March meeting, Rusk emphasised to Home that ‘the United States were really terrified of another Cuba on their continent’.39 The feathers ruffled by their sharp exchange of letters were evidently somewhat smoothed over by the foreign secretary’s acceptance that the British must not ‘leave behind another Castro situation in this hemisphere’.40 Fraser’s encounter with the president was evidently the tougher assignment. Their meeting lasted three and a half-hours, which evidently bore out Schlesinger’s earlier comment to the president that the two governments were spending ‘more man hours per capita on British Guiana than on any other current problem!’41 Not only this, but one and a half-hours of the time were spent in the president’s swimming pool, heated to 92 degrees, ‘which was apparently rather an exhausting experience’.42 His position evidently not softened by the president’s treatment, Fraser was able to hold the line against the idea of moving immediately to overthrow Jagan.43 As he put it in a personal letter to Kennedy thanking him for his hospitality during his Washington visit, ‘provided we get eye to eye on British Guiana I remain your truest friend’.44 After his own talks with the president in Washington in April 1962, Macmillan himself came round to recognising that, in view of the strength of American feeling on British Guiana, it was in Britain’s interests to be ‘as

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cooperative and forthcoming as we can’.45 The US Administration too came to realise that a greater subtlety of method than had been evidenced by Rusk’s February telegram to Home might be necessary in dealings with the British over the question. Although the secretary of state produced a paper in July 1962 which, according to McGeorge Bundy, came out ‘hard for a policy of getting rid of Jagan’, Bundy himself argued that ‘it is unproven that the CIA knows how to manipulate an election in British Guiana without a backfire’. Harking back to Rusk’s February message, which had only made the British dig in their heels, he suggested that it would be better for the president himself to approach David Ormsby-Gore on the matter. ‘British support for an anti-Jagan policy would be the most powerful single force for its success’, Bundy argued.46 In the event, although American concerns over the colony were to rumble on after the Cuban crisis, the British approach during 1963 and 1964 was to be as accommodating as possible of the US position. This approach was to culminate in an election held under a system of proportional representation effectively framed to remove Jagan from power at the end of 1964.47 If there was a meeting of Anglo-American minds over moves to prevent an outbreak of ‘Castro-ism’ in British Guiana in the summer of 1962, the same could certainly not be said about the Administration’s attempts to secure a trade embargo on Cuba. Differences between the two governments over this question could not have been made much plainer than they were during Secretary of State Dean Rusk’s visit to London in June 1962. In a meeting on 24 June, Foreign Secretary Home expressed the view that economic sanctions never had very much effect.48 Drawing the parallel with Britain’s own earlier problems in the Middle East, he argued that sanctions had failed to work against both Mossadeq, the Iranian nationalist leader, and Nasser. Although Britain agreed not to supply arms to Castro, the US proposal, which was then before the NATO Council, that any credits to Cuba should be reported, and significant trade in strategic items discussed, presented the government with great difficulties. Macmillan himself was even blunter. The whole idea of refusing to sell items to communist countries was ‘ridiculous in itself’. If the West refused to supply them, the communist countries would soon learn how to make the relevant items for themselves. Moreover, the position of Britain as a country 40 per cent of whose gross national product was made up by overseas trade was very different from that of the United States, for whom the corresponding figure was only 6 per cent. Rusk’s reply, in the spirit of the exchange, was forthright. Although communist countries might be able to make products for themselves in the end, they would have to expend a great deal of time and money on the effort. As regards the effects on Britain, ‘though the United Kingdom lived by trade its people needed security as well and must defend themselves against those who would like to cut their throats’. The gap between the two governments over the sanctions

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question thus remained, although Macmillan agreed that he would have no objection to merely reporting any credits given to Cuba. During Foreign Secretary Home’s visit to New York to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting at the beginning of October 1962, the matter came up again. After a brief talk with Kennedy in which the Cuban question was discussed, Home reported that ‘the president said he simply couldn’t understand why we could not help America by joining in an embargo on trade’.49 The foreign secretary’s view was that a lot of Kennedy’s concern stemmed from US domestic politics, because over Cuba ‘the Republicans are gunning for him in a big way’. Nevertheless, there was also an international dimension to the problem: ‘he really fears that Russia will provoke an intervention by the United States in order to wipe out Berlin.’ Dining with Home on the evening of 3 October after the foreign secretary’s return from New York, Macmillan evidently accepted his argument that the Russians were using ‘Cuba as a counter-irritant to Berlin’. Nevertheless, he complained that Kennedy seemed unwilling or unable to understand that he could not give orders to British shipping to avoid Cuba without legislation. Nor did the president realise the ‘violence of the feeling of British shipowners against the American Government’. Overall, Macmillan felt that ‘we are in a rather bad period with [the] US. This is sad and may do us both harm’.50 Despite this, he believed that ‘there is no reason for us to help the Americans on Cuba’.51 British opposition to American sanctions against Cuba drew down on the government a good deal of criticism, particularly in the US Congress with the mid-term elections looming.52 Reporting to the Foreign Office on 20 October, David Ormsby-Gore noted that pressure on Kennedy to do something about Cuba had been building. Proposals put forward by the Administration to take action against ships engaged in the Cuban trade had ‘deflected public criticism to the maritime nations whose vessels are engaged in this traffic, principally to Britain. Criticism of Her Majesty’s Government is exceedingly strong and few voices have been raised in our defence’.53 This bitterness towards America’s allies and their unhelpfulness was a new phenomenon, Ormsby-Gore argued. As regards Cuba itself, therefore, the climate of Anglo-American relations was far from auspicious in the weeks leading up to the missile crisis. In view of his public and private differences with the British Government over the appropriate measures to be taken against the Castro regime, it might not have been surprising if Kennedy had in fact elected to bypass the Anglo-American relationship during the Cuban crisis.54 Instead, it was a representative of the British Government who was the first foreign official to be taken into the president’s confidence over the build up in Cuba. At lunchtime on Sunday 21 October, Kennedy called his old friend David Ormsby-Gore to the White House, and unfolded to him the outline of what had been discovered about the Soviet introduction of

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MRBMs and IRBMs to Cuba. The first evidence about the Soviet build-up had been presented to Kennedy some five days earlier, on the morning of Tuesday 16 October, by National Security Adviser, McGeorge Bundy. On 14 October, an American U-2 high-level reconnaissance aircraft had overflown Cuba, carrying out the first such mission for nearly a month. Interpretation of the photographs taken by the aircraft at the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center had uncovered sites under construction that bore all the hallmarks of Soviet nuclear missile facilities.55 The introduction of these missiles to Cuba flew in the face of Kennedy’s repeated public statements, the most recent on 13 September, that the United States would not tolerate the introduction of such offensive weaponry to the island. A response was essential, but the form which it should take, whether military or political, was unclear. Over the course of the ensuing five days, the various courses open to the US Administration were debated back and forth among Kennedy’s top advisers. The president established a special Executive Committee, which became known as the ‘ExComm’ to oversee the handling of the crisis. Options it considered included possible air strikes ranging from very limited action against the missile sites themselves, through a broader series which would take in airfields at which crated Soviet IL-28 bombers had been discovered, up to an island-wide campaign aimed at destroying Cuba’s military infrastructure. The possibility of a full-scale invasion was also aired. During these initial days of debate, the president’s own opinions evolved as he listened to his advisers debating the merits of the respective military scenarios back and forward. Having initially seemed to favour an immediate air strike to destroy the missile sites, with at least the possibility of a general invasion of the island to follow, Kennedy’s opinion shifted so that by the evening of Saturday 20 October he favoured the initial imposition of a blockade on Cuba.56 This would be accompanied by the necessary military preparations for an invasion, with the possibility of a limited air strike also held in reserve. Although he had authorised the call-up of the forces required, there is little doubt that the president saw an invasion as very much a last resort. This was essentially the position at lunchtime on Sunday 21 October when Kennedy called in David Ormsby-Gore formally to break the news about the crisis. As the ambassador later recalled, ‘when I came into the room I had a pretty good idea of what was already happening. We had had various indications of it from the CIA but I didn’t know precisely and he just filled me in on exactly what the picture was that these U-2 flights had shown up …’57 Kennedy followed up the meeting with the despatch of a message to Macmillan via the secure teleprinter line. The prime minister was thus the first foreign leader formally to be told of the Cuban crisis.58 While David Ormsby-Gore’s initial reaction to the news of the missile deployment seems to have chimed in with the position which Kennedy

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had reached in his own mind by 21 October, the same cannot be said of the prime minister. Macmillan’s response to the news was a strange mixture of ‘hawkish’ and ‘dovish’ sentiments that the president no doubt found somewhat difficult to disentangle at the time.59 Perhaps the more surprising element of Macmillan’s thinking about the crisis was his ‘hawkish’ advocacy of an American invasion of Cuba as a better alternative than the imposition of a blockade. Macmillan made this clear, both in a covering note he sent to Ormsby-Gore to accompany his reply to the president’s message of 21 October, and in his first telephone call with Kennedy. ‘I would be grateful if you could give me your thoughts on what it is that the President is really trying to do’, he asked Ormsby-Gore.60 Was he leading up to an invasion of Cuba, or preparing the ground for a conference with Khrushchev? The prime minister revealed that he had considered trying to stop the president imposing the blockade, but had thought better of it since any such move was unlikely to be successful. ‘I feel sure that a long period of blockade, and possibly Russian reaction in the Caribbean or elsewhere, will lead us nowhere’, he wrote. ‘Therefore he must decide whether he wants a coup de main, which will at least put one card in his hands …’ Macmillan made no specific reference to his preference for an invasion in his written reply to the president for two reasons. Firstly because he thought it would be dangerous to have this in writing, ‘on the record’, and secondly because he believed it was unlikely to be effective. The president had already evidently determined on his line.61 Nevertheless, he did make his concerns apparent to Kennedy in their telephone conversation very early on the morning of 23 October (London time), during which he judged the president to be ‘rather excited, but very clear’.62 His very first comment, once the two men had confirmed they could hear each other, was ‘what’s worrying me is how do you see the way out of this? What are you going to do with the blockade? Are you going to occupy Cuba and have done with it or is it going to just drag on?’63 Returning to the same point later in the conversation, Macmillan offered a glimpse of at least one of the reasons for his preference for an invasion. ‘In my long experience we’ve always found that our weakness has been when we’ve not acted with sufficient strength to start with’, he argued. Macmillan was probably drawing here both on the experience of confronting Nazism in the 1930s,64 and more recently, on that of the 1956 Suez crisis. As he noted in his diary, ‘the Suez analogy is on my mind. If K[ennedy] “misses the bus” – he may never get rid of Cuban rockets except by trading them for Turkish, Italian or other bases … [Khrushchev] may even be able to force the frightened Americans to trade Berlin for Cuba.’65 In order to emphasise the importance Macmillan attached to firm action, Philip de Zulueta added a covering note to the transcript of the telephone conversation forwarded to David Ormsby-Gore. ‘The Prime Minister particularly wanted you to see this record’, he wrote, ‘because his own personal feeling is somewhat in

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favour of a more decisive action than the Americans have in fact so far taken’.66 Another reason for Macmillan’s preference for decisive military action, hinted at in his diary entry, was his belief that if a conference with Khrushchev was necessary the Soviet leader would, as he put it in his written reply to Kennedy, ‘try to trade his Cuba position against his ambitions in Berlin and elsewhere’.67 A negotiation under these conditions should be avoided at all cost since it would ‘endanger the unity of the Alliance’. Macmillan reiterated this argument in his phone conversation with Kennedy: ‘if we do have to talk to him and meet him in the last resort the more cards in our hands the better …’68 If Kennedy held Cuba, then he would be able to prevent Khrushchev demanding Berlin, Macmillan believed. The final reason for Macmillan’s advocacy of an invasion was a negative one, and stemmed from his dislike of the operation of blockade. Macmillan implicitly questioned the legality of the American action in his first letter to the president when he stated that ‘the international lawyers will take the point that a blockade which involves the searching of ships of all countries is difficult to defend in peace-time’. In his diary he noted that the blockade was ‘patently “illegal”’ and might ‘cause a good deal of trouble with neutral and even with friendly countries’.69 Certainly, as the crisis developed, Macmillan remained preoccupied with the operation of the blockade, warning Foreign Secretary Home on 26 October that if Kennedy decided to widen its scope there would be trouble for British shipping.70 The prime minister’s concern about the Cuban blockade has to be seen against the background of the Anglo-American dispute over economic sanctions against Cuba which had rumbled on in the months leading up to the missile crisis. The ‘dovish’ strand, which formed the other main element of Macmillan’s thinking, was based on both his warnings about European public opinion and his doubts about the veracity of the Soviet threat in Cuba. In his first written message he had warned Kennedy that ‘many of us in Europe have lived so long in close proximity to the enemy’s nuclear weapons of the most devastating kind that we have got accustomed to it. So European opinion will need attention’.71 Indeed, his fears about the impact of the views of British critics of the American action were to be realised in part by the role that Lord Russell and his supporters would play in the crisis. That Macmillan was particularly sensitive about the possible political capital which might be made out of the British public’s fear of a nuclear confrontation is illustrated by the care he took to bring Labour Party leaders into his confidence early in the crisis. 72 As early as the evening of 22 October he had called in Hugh Gaitskell to show him all the documents he had received from the Americans. Gaitskell, Macmillan felt, ‘did not take a very robust attitude. He thought his party “would not like it”’.73

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The prime minister also took care to make sure that any potential critics of his stance within the Cabinet were kept fully informed about his handling of the crisis. After Cabinet, on the afternoon of 23 October, Macmillan called Butler in to see him and, according to the deputy prime minister’s own account, said ‘I want you to feel for me. What more could I have done?’ In a telling comment on his limited room for manoeuvre, Macmillan explained that ‘it would have been impossible for him to stop the President who had already decided on his course of action’. In American eyes, Kennedy’s action would appear to be the minimum required. The Americans regarded Cuba ‘much as we would consider an enemy in Dublin’.74 Butler, at any rate, seems to have been sympathetic to the constraints on the prime minister’s freedom of action and backed him up loyally during the crisis. It was, nevertheless, with one eye on the likely role of domestic sceptics that Macmillan voiced his initial doubts about the veracity and reliability of the American information in relation to the siting of Soviet missiles in Cuba.75 His pressure for the pictures of the Soviet missile emplacements to be made public was to give rise to one of the more confusing AngloAmerican incidents in the crisis on the evening of 23 October. Possibly as a result of a misunderstanding, Macmillan told Ambassador David Bruce that the White House had authorised a briefing on the photos to be given to the British media. Pictures of the missile sites were thus first shown on British television, causing Kennedy some problems with the US media. The available portions of the ExComm meetings shed no further light on how the London release came about, other than that the Administration decided to make a virtue out of necessity by claiming that the photos were about to be released in Washington in any case.76 Although the president seems not to have been in sympathy with the ‘hawkish’ strand of Macmillan’s advice, he was able to make use of the prime minister’s more cautious written response in his meeting with congressional leaders on the afternoon of 22 October. According to OrmsbyGore, Kennedy’s priority was to avoid having to seize Cuba.77 He thus had to hold in check the domestic political hawks in the US. Macmillan’s warnings in his letter about the scepticism of European opinion, and the dangers in relation to Berlin, were further ammunition for the president in his bid to restrain the warlike intentions of some of the congressional leadership. Indeed, Kennedy had commented in an immediately preceding meeting of the National Security Council that Macmillan’s message ‘contained the best argument for taking no action’.78 In response to a question about consultation with NATO allies, therefore, Kennedy read the prime minister’s letter out in full to the congressional leadership.79 It is not clear what effect Macmillan’s message had on the one ‘elderly senator’ who, according to Dean Rusk’s account had earlier ‘groaned’ and fallen ‘over on the table with his head in his hands’ at the news that the president intended to impose a quarantine on Cuba.80

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If Kennedy was not always in sympathy with Macmillan’s views, the same could not be said of his relationship with David Ormsby-Gore. The extent of the ambassador’s influence during the crisis remains difficult to assess, as does the precise number of the telephone conversations, and personal meetings he had with both Jack and Bobby Kennedy. Certainly, the observation of Ernest May and Philip Zelikow that ‘Macmillan and Ormsby-Gore became de facto members of Kennedy’s Executive Committee’ does not seem at all far-fetched in relation to the British ambassador’s role.81 Not only was Ormsby-Gore the first foreign official to be shown the evidence of the Soviet build-up in Cuba by Kennedy on 21 October, he made a significant contribution to the president’s management of the crisis on the evening of 23 October. Talking informally to Jack and Bobby Kennedy after a White House dinner party, Ormsby-Gore argued that Khrushchev would be given more time to consider his position if the quarantine line were to be moved closer to the Cuban coast. Initially the line had been set at the 800 miles recommended by Defense Secretary McNamara. The ambassador argued instead for a distance of 500 miles. The president took up Ormsby-Gore’s suggestion in a phone call to McNamara, with the result that the Defense Secretary was over-ruled.82 The closeness of Ormsby-Gore to the Kennedys meant that he could act on his own initiative during the crisis, proposing courses of action to them which he thought would be agreeable to Macmillan. Crucially, though, he could also block initiatives on the prime minister’s part which he knew from his own conversations would be unacceptable to the president. Thus, the prime minister’s idea for a possible framework for negotiations to bring about an end to the crisis, which he planned to discuss in his telephone conversation with Kennedy on the evening of 24 October, was blocked by Ormsby-Gore. In a meeting with National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy earlier in the day, he revealed Macmillan’s intentions. The prime minister favoured linking the resolution of the Cuban crisis to progress on general disarmament. To this end he sought a Kennedy–Khrushchev invitation to a meeting aimed at reaching agreement on stage one of the general disarmament programme. ‘David thinks this is not a good idea because the two sides are too far apart and because it leaves no room for the French’, Bundy told the president. Furthermore, in Macmillan’s view, before such a conference met, there might have to be ‘a standstill involving no import of arms and no blockade’. In respect of this suggestion, Bundy informed the president, ‘David thinks you should make it very plain to the PM that this is not an acceptable position and that the US cannot stand down its blockade without progress toward the removal of the missiles’.83 In the light of Ormsby-Gore’s conversation with Bundy the Macmillan–Kennedy telephone exchange on the evening of 24 October makes more interesting reading.84 Prior to their conversation, the first indications had been received that Soviet ships might be stopping outside the quarantine line, although the situation remained somewhat confused.

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During the call itself, Macmillan never had the opportunity to broach his planned initiative simply because the president made it so plain that there could be no suspension of the blockade unless work was stopped on the missile sites. UN Secretary General U Thant’s suggestion of a suspension of the quarantine for two weeks to allow time for negotiation was unacceptable to Kennedy for precisely this reason. Rather than allow Macmillan to broach ways in which negotiations might be got off the ground, Kennedy diverted his attention instead to what he called the ‘second stage of the problem’. How to get the missiles already there out of Cuba? Macmillan also referred during the call to a message from Khrushchev to Lord Russell regarding the possibility of a summit meeting. Lord Russell’s passionate advocacy of a peaceful settlement to the crisis, and the need for the US to remove the blockade imposed on Cuba, underlined the different context in terms of public opinion in which Macmillan and Kennedy worked. Although Macmillan had taken care to try to bring the leaders of the Labour Party into his confidence early in the crisis, there remained a significant segment of public opinion outside parliament, epitomised by Lord Russell and his supporters, heavily critical of the British Government’s backing for what was seen as America’s bellicose action.85 Indeed, the ‘massive assault’ on the American Embassy on the evening of 23 October mounted by a crowd of about 2000 people under the auspices of Lord Russell’s Committee of One Hundred, meant that one of the main preoccupations of Ambassador David Bruce during the rest of the crisis was the protection of his own embassy and staff.86 Kennedy’s domestic problem was the opposite of Macmillan’s, with the majority of Americans believing that the Administration should take whatever measures were necessary, including military action, to secure the removal of the Soviet missiles from Cuba. It seems that by the time Macmillan sent his reply to what he called the ‘64 000 dollar question’ as to whether the US should mount an invasion of Cuba, public opinion had impacted sufficiently on his thinking to turn him away from his earlier hawkish advocacy of this course. ‘After much reflection’, he wrote, ‘I think that events have gone too far. While circumstances may arise in which such action would be right and necessary, I think that we are all now in a phase where you must try to obtain your objectives by other means.’87 When Kennedy and Macmillan spoke again late on the evening of 25 October, their conversation focused on the statement made that day by UN Secretary General U Thant.88 This urged Khrushchev to keep his ships away from the quarantine area and asked Kennedy to avoid direct confrontation with Soviet vessels if possible. During the Macmillan–Kennedy conversation, the president did not mention at any point the message sent by the prime minister to him that morning. Either it had made little impression on him, or it had been submerged in the subsequent business of the day. At any rate, the president’s concentration on U Thant’s mediation efforts

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forestalled any lingering ambitions that Macmillan may have entertained at this point to take on the mantle of conciliator. Although the problem of finding the right vessel to stop and search was resolved by the boarding of the Greek registered Marcula during the night of 25 to 26 October, what Kennedy had called the second stage of the problem, and Macmillan the ‘64 000 dollar question’, remained. How to get the Soviets to stop work on their missile sites and how to get the existing weapons out of Cuba? In both London and Washington, this issue was given extensive attention on Friday 26 October. The difficulty from Kennedy’s point of view was that all of the available evidence suggested that the Soviets were pushing ahead with the construction of the existing missile sites. In these circumstances, it would not be possible for him to delay military action aimed at their destruction for long. Immediately after the ExComm meeting on the morning of 26 October, Kennedy called David Ormsby-Gore. The two discussed U Thant’s initiative, with the president confirming that he was prepared to allow the acting secretary general to try and produce a satisfactory verified standstill in construction of the missile bases. Time, though, was pressing, and he could not wait much longer before taking military action.89 Ambassador Stevenson was given instructions regarding the terms for any Cuban ‘stand-still’ acceptable to the US Administration. He discussed these with U Thant late on the afternoon of 26 October. The essentials of the US standpoint were that there should be no further shipments of offensive weaponry to Cuba; that there must be a standstill in work on the missile sites; and that the missiles themselves should be rendered inoperable. There would need to be proper UN verification of the whole process. Rusk’s instructions to Stevenson stated that ‘dependable first-rate personnel for this operation will be essential and [the] US should have a strong voice in their selection’.90 Under-Secretary Ball had suggested at that morning’s ExComm meeting that the British would be best for such a mission. CIA Director McCone had backed him up with the comment that ‘I want somebody who knows about this business’.91 There were evidently some advantages in the existence of additional nuclear-capable powers beyond the United States and the Soviet Union. When Macmillan and Kennedy spoke again on the evening of 26 October most of their conversation was dominated by discussion of the U Thant initiative.92 Nevertheless, Macmillan did broach one suggestion of his own as to a possible face-saving device to facilitate the immobilisation of the Soviet missiles. This was his offer to immobilise the Thor missiles stationed in the United Kingdom contemporaneously with the Soviet missiles on Cuba. The liquid-fuelled Thors, which had been deployed by the Eisenhower Administration to Britain in 1959, were now deemed obsolescent and were in any case scheduled for removal by the end of the year. Macmillan’s offer, though no more than symbolic, could nevertheless have

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provided an alternative to any Soviet demand for the removal of US Jupiter missiles stationed in Turkey. Earlier discussions had shown that the Administration was expecting the Soviets to demand the latter trade as part of any settlement to the Cuban crisis.93 Kennedy, though, was not receptive. His immediate reply to the prime minister’s offer was ‘well, let me put that into the machinery and then I’ll be in touch with you on that’.94 When Macmillan pressed the point, the president’s response was ‘sure, Prime Minister, let me send that over to the Department. I think we don’t want to have too many dismantlings. But it is possible that that proposal might help.’ In view of Kennedy’s attitude to the State Department, his comment that he was sending Macmillan’s suggestion over there for consideration was tantamount to saying he was burying it. Certainly, the proposal was at no stage given serious consideration by the ExComm. Not easily discouraged, Macmillan followed up his telephone conversation with a note sent to the president over the secure teleprinter line. In this he reiterated the suggestion regarding the Thors, offering to propose it to U Thant himself. ‘It might be less invidious for us to take the lead’, he argued, ‘than place the burden on the Turks.’95 In fact, Macmillan’s argument had some force behind it. Informal soundings indicated that the Turkish Government would be very reluctant to see the Jupiter missiles stationed on its soil traded away as part of a superpower barter.96 The question must be posed, therefore, as to why Macmillan’s proposal was given such short shrift by Kennedy. Three main explanations suggest themselves. Firstly, Kennedy undoubtedly wanted to keep the management of the crisis in his own hands. He was all too well aware of Macmillan’s penchant for cutting a figure on the world stage between the superpowers. To have the prime minister proposing his own initiatives, even if first cleared with Washington, might give Khrushchev the impression that there were potential divisions to be exploited in the Western camp. Secondly, the possibility of immobilising or removing the missiles stationed in Britain had never even been mentioned by any of the participants in the earlier ExComm meetings. It is possible that Kennedy was simply unprepared for the suggestion and therefore genuinely wanted time for his advisers to examine it. This explanation could be coupled with the third possible reason for the lack of subsequent consideration of Macmillan’s offer. It was quickly overtaken by events in the shape of the arrival of Khrushchev’s conciliatory message, forwarded to Washington by the US Embassy in Moscow between six and nine p.m. on the evening of 26 October. Although Khrushchev’s message was rambling and confused, it contained an unmistakable appeal from the Soviet leader for the two governments to seek a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Khrushchev seemed to suggest the possibility that the Soviet Union might be prepared to settle the crisis on the basis of the exchange of a US non-invasion pledge for an

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undertaking on the USSR’s part to withdraw its missiles from Cuba.97 As such, it was a far better deal from the American perspective than Kennedy could have hoped Khrushchev would offer. The probability is that the Soviet leader had drafted this communication himself, without the input of hard-line colleagues in the Kremlin. Certainly, the language and the handwritten annotations of the version handed to the US Embassy indicated that this was a personal letter from Khrushchev himself to Kennedy.98 While the message raised some hopes overnight in Washington that the end of the crisis might be in sight, the discussions of the ExComm on the morning of Saturday 27 October concentrated on the pace of continuing Soviet work on the missile sites and on the approach of the Soviet vessel the Grozny towards the quarantine line. When discussion turned to the possible terms of any deal with the Soviets, the president and his advisers focused not on Macmillan’s offer but on the possibility of a trade involving the Turkish Jupiters. While Macmillan had volunteered to immobilise the Thors, it was evident from the discussion that the Turkish Government was likely to be far less forthcoming over the Jupiters.99 As debate over the Turkish problem continued, news arrived of a further message from Khrushchev, broadcast this time over Moscow radio. In this new public communication, the Soviet leader made the demand, which Kennedy and his advisers had been expecting and fearing all week, for a trade of the Soviet missiles in Cuba for the US missiles in Turkey. Kennedy’s immediate reaction was ‘he’s got us in a pretty good spot here. Because most people would regard this as a not unreasonable proposal.’ It was McGeorge Bundy who first tentatively suggested a way out of this ‘spot’. ‘I don’t see why we pick that track when he’s offered us the other track within the last 24 hours’, he argued.100 Later in the day it would be Bobby Kennedy who would press successfully for the adoption of this tactic. However, for the moment, the president did not pick up on Bundy’s suggestion. ‘I think we have to be now thinking about what our position is going to be on this one, because this is the one that’s before us, and before the world’, he asserted.101 With the possibility of the Turkish trade now in the open, it is perhaps easier to understand why Macmillan’s proposal did not enter into consideration. The president and his advisers felt they had to respond to what the Soviets were actually demanding rather than come up with suggestions for alternative deals. Kennedy remained preoccupied with how good a propaganda ploy the new Soviet offer was. ‘They’ve got a very good product’, he commented. ‘This one is going to be very tough, I think, for us. It’s going to be tough in England, I’m sure, as well as other places on the continent.’102 Macmillan would no doubt have taken comfort in the fact that the president was well aware of the different climate in public opinion in which he had to work during the crisis. He himself considered Khrushchev’s Turkish offer to be ‘very dangerous’, and the response to it in

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the British press to be ‘awful’. ‘The Times and the Manchester Guardian’, he noted ‘were particularly gullible … It was like Munich’, he later reflected.103 The public response of the Administration was to refuse to link the Cuban and Turkish questions. Discussion in the marathon session of the ExComm, which began at 4 p.m. on the afternoon of 27 October, focused on how best to keep them separate. The most promising approach seemed to be to draft an offer to the Soviets which made it clear that the missiles in Cuba must be immobilised before any other question could be addressed. Thereafter other problems, including the status of the Turkish missiles could be discussed. Still, opinion in the NATO alliance would have to be very carefully handled. It was during the course of consideration of this aspect of the problem that the only reference to the British Thors cropped up. In response to Kennedy’s comment that ‘most of the NATO members aren’t going to be very happy about it’, Defense Secretary McNamara observed: ‘well, here’s one way to put it. The British have recognized the obsolescence of the Thor and have decided to take it out and replace it with other systems, of which the Polaris is an effective one. And we propose the same thing be done for Turkey.’104 McNamara was referring here to the notion that the Turkish Government could be persuaded to give up the Jupiter missiles in exchange for a pledge from the US Administration that they would be replaced by a Polaris submarine permanently stationed off the Turkish coast. Two further points are worthy of note regarding this comment. The first is that it did not lead to any discussion of Macmillan’s offer. The second is McNamara’s inference that the British were replacing Thor with other systems including Polaris. With the Skybolt crisis less than two months ahead the Secretary of Defense seemed to be revealing an understanding on his part of a future British interest in purchasing Polaris. To be sure, McNamara’s comment was made in a different context, but it may have afforded a significant glimpse of his view of future British deterrent policy. After much drafting and redrafting, the text of a letter to be sent by Kennedy to Khrushchev was finally hammered out. This concentrated on the terms of a settlement as outlined in the Soviet leader’s first letter. These were, in essence, removal of the Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for a lifting of the US quarantine, and a pledge on Kennedy’s part not to invade Cuba. All of this was to take place under UN supervision. As regards the demand for the removal of the Turkish missiles, the president’s formal reply was purposely vague. ‘The effect of such a settlement on easing world tensions’, the agreed text read, ‘would enable us to work toward a more general arrangement regarding “other armaments”, as proposed in your second letter which you made public.’105 It was agreed, however, that when Bobby Kennedy delivered the message to Soviet Ambassador Dobrynin, he would indicate to him informally the president’s intention to remove the missiles from Turkey soon after the conclusion of the Cuban crisis. Any

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public reference by the Soviets to this informal offer would, though, immediately render it null and void.106 The pace of events and exchanges during 27 and 28 October was rapid.107 As regards the Anglo-American dimension, Kennedy had already spoken during the morning of 27 October to David Ormsby-Gore, showing him the draft of the press release due to be put out by the White House in response to Khrushchev’s hard-line public offer.108 Thereafter, Kennedy evidently sent a message to Macmillan.109 After receiving this in the early evening (London time), Macmillan replied with a teleprinter message to the president. Attached to this was a suggested telegram to Khrushchev in which Macmillan made his Thor offer.110 This was received during the early evening ExComm meeting. After the conclusion of this meeting, and before the ExComm reconvened at 9 p.m., Bundy called Philip de Zulueta to tell him that the US would prefer Macmillan to hold off on his offer. According to Bundy’s own account he hinted at the possibility that ‘we might be seeking NATO opinions on some form of a Turkey–Cuba trade’. He promised to call de Zulueta back after the 9 p.m. meeting.111 This second call was placed in Washington at 10.45 p.m. Bundy reiterated the Administration’s objections to the Macmillan initiative, and ‘tried to hint … delicately that if the UK is interested in the Jupiter proposal, it should say so in the North Atlantic Council’. This seems to have been an attempt on Bundy’s part to have the British advocate the Jupiter proposal to the North Atlantic Council, thus doing the Administration’s dirty work for it in relation to the Turkish Government. The hint was too delicate though to be taken up by de Zulueta. The British transcript of the conversation records de Zulueta as saying ‘I don’t quite understand what you mean by active participation’ by the UK at the North Atlantic Council meeting. Bundy in any event made it clear that the US would be keeping its own hands clean in public by stressing that the crisis should be contained within a limited geographical area. The tantalising possibility of the British Government being recruited as the US’s agent in the public advocacy of the Jupiter trade was thus stillborn.112 At any rate, Bundy’s hints in relation to the possible Turkish trade left Macmillan with no room to put his own Thor proposal. In the light of American opposition, and the doubts of his own advisers about the ‘appeasement flavour’ of the proposal,113 Macmillan instead sent a much blander message to be delivered to the Soviet leader by the British ambassador in Moscow, Sir Frank Roberts, as soon as possible on 28 October. This message merely underlined British support for the public American position.114 He also sent a further message to Kennedy. ‘The trial of wills is now approaching a climax’, he wrote. ‘We must now wait to see what Khrushchev does.’115 As he drove through the streets of Moscow on the morning of Sunday 28 October, on his way to hand over Macmillan’s message to the Soviet leader, British Ambassador Sir Frank Roberts asked his

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driver to turn on the radio. Rather than martial music, Beethoven’s Ode to Peace was being played. Before Roberts could deliver the prime minister’s telegram, Khrushchev’s reply to Kennedy’s proposal was broadcast over Moscow Radio. He agreed to withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for the US non-invasion pledge.116 Although there was some scepticism as to the reliability of Khrushchev’s assurances on the part of the US Chiefs of Staff, the members of the ExComm seem to have accepted that the Soviet leader’s statement marked the decisive turning point in the crisis. Certainly, in his reply to Khrushchev’s broadcast, Kennedy welcomed the statement and described it as ‘an important contribution to peace’.117 The president’s positive response was greeted with a mixture of relief and toasts of vodka in the Kremlin.118 In Whitehall, David Bruce found the atmosphere ‘mildly euphoric. Now perhaps’, he quipped, ‘a number of people immobilized during this emergency can devote future weekends to depleting the game-birds who are ravaging British agriculture.’119 Reporting on reactions in Washington, David Ormsby-Gore also took the opportunity to advocate his own view as to the best way to follow up the advantage given to the West by Khrushchev’s psychological defeat.120 Could the Western powers not now demand that West Berlin be treated in the same way as Cuba? That is, that they would give the Soviet Union a guarantee that they would not introduce offensive weapons into West Berlin in return for a reciprocal pledge from the USSR of the city’s inviolability. In Ormsby-Gore’s view, an explicit link between the status of Cuba and that of West Berlin would ‘give us full value for Cuba as a pawn which is at our mercy’. The ambassador stressed that these were only his personal thoughts, and that he had not yet approached members of the Administration to see how they would react. Ormsby-Gore’s bold suggestion met with a sceptical response in Whitehall. Macmillan himself was doubtful about drawing an explicit link between Cuba and West Berlin since he did not think that the two places were of equal value. An explicit link between them ‘might even encourage Mr Khrushchev to feel that he might take Berlin at the risk not of nuclear war but only of the loss of Cuba. It seems to me’, he argued, ‘that the protection of West Berlin must continue to be assured by the full weight of Western and above all of United States power rather than just by the Cuban hostage.’121 Foreign Secretary Home seems to have shared Macmillan’s reservations. Replying to Ormsby-Gore, he described himself as ‘very doubtful’ about the idea of linking Cuba to West Berlin. There might, however, be some merit in exploring the possibility of United Nations verification that the West had not introduced nuclear weapons into West Berlin. ‘This’, he argued, ‘might make it easier for Khrushchev to live with the present arrangements.’ Such a measure might be introduced under cover of broader arrangements to provide reassurance against sur-

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prise attack. He authorised the ambassador to try out this concept at least informally on Secretary of State Dean Rusk.122 Ormsby-Gore, who met personally with Rusk and spoke on the phone with the president on the evening of Sunday 28 October,123 evidently quickly realised that his ideas on West Berlin were likely to fall on stony ground in both London and Washington. The US record of his conversation with Rusk shows that he somewhat exceeded his instructions and broached, albeit tentatively, his own idea of making the US guarantee to Cuba conditional on a similar guarantee from Khrushchev in respect of Berlin. Although Rusk did not dismiss the possibility, his attitude was noncommittal. In the wake of the Cuban crisis, there would need to be ‘a major consideration of a lot of problems’, the secretary observed.124 Seeing that his initiative was unlikely to make immediate headway, Ormsby-Gore dropped it for the present. ‘I think that your arguments against aiming for any explicit link between Cuba and Berlin are overwhelming’, he wrote to Home on 30 October.125 Nothing, therefore, came of Ormsby-Gore’s bold suggestion that the opportunity created by the Cuban crisis might be seized to seek a new modus vivendi over Berlin. In truth, this was not surprising. All parties were psychologically and physically exhausted by the end of October. There was no appetite in either Washington or London for the gamble of a further initiative in relation to Berlin. In any case, the Cuban crisis itself had not yet been completely resolved. There remained the questions of the satisfactory verification of the removal of the Soviet missiles and also of the IL-28 bombers from Cuba. Although Kennedy had initially been less concerned about these issues, the approach of the US mid-term elections, and the need to demonstrate conclusively that the Soviet offensive threat had been removed from Cuba, led him to focus on them. The bombers in particular proved a thorny problem, with Khrushchev denying that they could be counted as offensive weapons. There were two further telephone exchanges between Macmillan and Kennedy in the middle of November over the issue, with Macmillan advocating a firm line. ‘You must not give in to him’, he told the president.126 The following evening, the two men discussed the matter again, with Kennedy arguing that the IL-28 question had to be resolved before the US blockade was withdrawn, and the non-invasion pledge formalised. ‘It’s a major political question here’, he emphasised.127 At any rate, Macmillan seems to have backed the president’s stance. Soon after they had spoken, Khrushchev gave way, and Kennedy was able to announce a deal on the matter at a press conference on 20 November. The exchange of congratulatory telegrams between Macmillan and Kennedy which had followed Khrushchev’s 28 October cave-in, seemed to underline a sense that this was one international crisis in which the AngloAmerican alliance had stood firm. Harking back to his anxious message

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sent in the early hours of the morning which, by the end of the day, must have seemed an age ago, Macmillan wrote: ‘it was indeed a trial of wills and yours has prevailed. Whatever dangers and difficulties we may have to face in the future I am proud to feel that I have so resourceful and so firm a comrade.’128 Kennedy replied that ‘your heartening support publicly expressed and our daily conversations have been of inestimable value in these past days’.129 Speaking privately with David Bruce, Macmillan was ‘evidently pleased at his own role in [the] recent performance … He hoped his relationship with the President had been as satisfactory to the former as it had been to himself, and that perhaps [the] President, over a period of time, may have been disabused of what would have been a natural original impression that the PRIMIN [Macmillan] was a character out of “Beyond the Fringe”.’130 But how accurate were these valedictory observations? On the one hand, it is clear from the foregoing analysis that nothing Macmillan said or did changed the course of the president’s handling of the crisis. To begin with, Macmillan’s response must have seemed mildly schizophrenic to the president. On the one hand, he advocated a sort of ‘invade Cuba and have done with it approach’. On the other, he warned about the fickleness of opinion in a Europe which had grown accustomed to living under the threat of Soviet nuclear attack. In fact the two strands of his thinking could be reconciled by recourse to the Suez example which seems to have been in the forefront of Macmillan’s mind whenever he confronted a subsequent international crisis. The best moment to take decisive military action was always in the early stages of a crisis, when public opinion was still numbed by the shock of a major blow to the international equilibrium. As a crisis wore on, public opinion became more accustomed to the new state of affairs and less tolerant of radical military action to change it. The dangers of ‘dithering’ became something of an obsession with the prime minister. With this in mind, it is no surprise that, as the days passed, Macmillan focused more on the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis. To put matters bluntly, Macmillan thought that ‘dithering’ had allowed the opportunity for military action to pass. Kennedy, on the other hand, without the personal cross of Suez to bear, was more flexible in his thinking on the timing of possible military action. If the prime minister’s and the president’s thinking about the crisis were not always in complete harmony, at least the advance of communications technology had given them the opportunity to exchange views in real-time by means of a secure telephone line.131 The installation of the Americandesigned KY-9 scrambler phone, connecting Admiralty House and the White House, had taken place on 6 September 1961, with the president and prime minister having their first conversation on the line a month later. Although during the Cuban crisis, the device was to come into its own, with Philip de Zulueta subsequently hailing it as a ‘marvellous inven-

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tion’,132 it had, as was noted in Chapter 1, a number of limitations which should be taken into account when analysing the Kennedy–Macmillan conversations of October 1962. Firstly, the scrambler phone tended to distort the voices of the speakers, making more subtle inflections of speech difficult to detect. Secondly, and more significantly, as the first party spoke, he had to depress a button on the hand-set. The same button had to be released in order to allow the second party to answer. Stung by a critical report in The Times, apparently based on an American press briefing, about the limited value of the Macmillan–Kennedy conversations,133 de Zulueta wrote to Ormsby-Gore that he had been tempted to give out the British version as to the source of the problem. It was nothing to do with the prime minister’s rumoured dislike of ‘electronic conversation’. The president had not been able to master the button-pressing technique.134 If Kennedy kept forgetting to release the button, Macmillan would have been unable to answer. This no doubt helps to explain the length of some of Kennedy’s monologues during their conversations. Were it not for this technical difficulty, these monologues might otherwise serve to reinforce the impression of a president informing but not consulting his British interlocutor. At any rate, the two leaders were fortunate to have access to the machine, whatever its limitations. British records reveal that the KY-9 had been so unreliable during the summer of 1962 that at that point it was considered ‘useless’.135 The technician who managed to fix the equipment between the end of July and the middle of October 1962, made a significant, if unsung, contribution to the management of Anglo-American relations during the Cuban crisis. It was the KY-9, coupled with the secure teleprinter link known as the KW-26, which facilitated Macmillan’s effective membership of the president’s closest circle of confidants.136 It cannot be denied that through these methods of communication he was kept extensively and swiftly informed of Kennedy’s latest thinking on the crisis. Certainly, such privileged access to the president was not accorded to any other Western leader. Although security may have been a factor in the decision not to telephone German Chancellor Adenauer, the existence of a KY-9 link to NATO Headquarters in Paris would at least have made a scrambled conversation with French President de Gaulle a possibility. Perhaps Kennedy’s reluctance to make use of this facility was as much a product of the language barrier as anything else. When broaching to Macmillan the possibility of using the KY-9 to talk to de Gaulle earlier in the year, Philip de Zulueta had commented ‘at least you could talk to de Gaulle yourself and not, like Mr Kennedy, via two interpreters’.137 Whether the reasons were to do with the closeness of their personal relations, the president’s desire for reassurance and support from the prime minister, the need to hold together the Western alliance, or merely the existence of secure channels and a common language, it must surely be conceded that the extent of Anglo-American communication

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during the Cuban crisis was special. At the very least, it afforded Macmillan a unique position among Western leaders. If relations were special in this respect, were they also significant in the US Administration’s handling of the crisis? Here, the answer is less clearcut. The best case that can be made for the significance of Anglo-American relations in the crisis lies in asserting the importance of public support on the part of the British Government for the US Administration.138 Rab Butler later wrote that ‘the most praiseworthy achievement of the PM was to do so little. He was continually tempted to “take an initiative”, to propose a summit talk or any other device to clear tension … He was well advised by Alec Home to confine himself to the message supporting the Americans …’139 Although Macmillan did broach his own initiative over the Thor missiles stationed in Britain in private, in public he stuck to support of the official US position. Indeed, he stuck to it more steadfastly than the president himself, who gave private assurances to Khrushchev regarding the removal of the Turkish Jupiter missiles of which Macmillan was not fully aware at the time. British support blocked one possible way out of the crisis for the Soviet leader through the exploitation of divisions in the Western camp. As David Bruce saw matters, ‘if things had turned out differently and less fortunately, and if the US had felt a strike on Cuba necessary the PRIMIN had made up his mind to bite the bullet’.140 Alongside the leading parts played by Kennedy and Khrushchev in the Cuban drama, though, this role by itself did not grant Macmillan the status of a major player. Of the two specific areas in which British advice on the handling of the crisis had a direct impact, Macmillan’s main contribution, his ‘success’ in persuading the president to release the photographs of the missile sites, now turns out to have been an accident. The ExComm discussions reveal that the press briefing given in London had not been authorised by the White House. The president merely decided to make the best of a bad job by claiming that the London briefing had been mistimed and that he had intended to release the photos in any case. As to the other specific area in which British advice had an impact, the moving of the quarantine line around Cuba inwards, this was not the prime minister’s but rather David Ormsby-Gore’s initiative. Although by virtue of his nationality and office, influence exerted by Ormsby-Gore over the president’s handling of the crisis could be termed ‘British’ influence, it was in fact of a personal and particular nature. Overall, though, the assessment of the role of Anglo-American relations during the Cuban missile crisis would still have to be a positive one. In view of the differences in British and American perception of the Cuban problem, one cannot but be surprised by the trouble Kennedy took to inform Macmillan and the degree to which British views gained a hearing in Washington during the crisis. Although there was no Anglo-American meeting of minds over Cuba such as that which had developed over Berlin,

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Macmillan and Kennedy successfully kept their differences in outlook from surfacing during the crisis itself. In view of the running sore in AngloAmerican relations provided by the question of Cuban trade both before and after the crisis, this was no mean feat.

5 The Middle East

In the midst of the drama of the Cuban missile crisis Macmillan had had to break off several times from grappling with the possibility of nuclear war sparked by a dispute in the Caribbean to deal with what must have seemed the much more mundane matter of a civil war in Yemen. In fact, in the tradition of Anglo-American relations over the Middle East, the Yemeni conflict was to be the cause of much tension between London and Washington, and was to be one of the components of the crisis of interdependence that marked the winter of 1962–3. To the extent that the legacy of Anglo-American relations in the region bequeathed by Eisenhower to Kennedy was problematical this was not surprising. On the one hand, there had been the spectacular falling out over Suez in November 1956, while on the other, there had been the appearance of coordinated intervention in response to the Iraqi Revolution in July 1958. In fact, throughout Eisenhower’s two terms, there had been something of a patchwork of cooperation and conflict between the two allies, dictated by the differing order of their priorities in the region. For Eisenhower and Secretary of State Dulles, the fight to contain communist penetration of the region occupied pride of place. Relations with local nationalists, especially the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, varied depending on current estimates of their closeness to the Soviets. The notion that Nasser could somehow be turned into a regional anti-communist warrior was an ever present, if sometimes more distant, hope. For the British Government, the need to guarantee the availability of the oil essential to the national economy dictated a concentration on the most immediate threat to such supplies. From the early part of 1956 onwards, this threat had seemed to be presented by Nasser.1 The Kennedy Administration thus inherited an Anglo-American relationship in the Middle East which could best be likened to a dormant volcano. Although a crust of cooperation had formed after the eruption of Suez, rumblings over Iraq in the latter part of 1958 and early 1959 confirmed that the deeper Anglo-American fissure remained. Most historiography of Kennedy’s Middle East policy suggests that the new president brought a 90

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fresh approach to the region, treating it as a test case for his policy of constructive engagement with the forces of indigenous nationalism. Fawaz Gerges depicts the Kennedy strategy as being one of ‘co-opting Arab nationalism’,2 while Douglas Little stresses that Kennedy saw engagement with the regime in Cairo as the key to the stability of the whole region.3 Both are right to the extent that they underline the importance that Kennedy attached to building better relations with Nasser. This was epitomised by the personal correspondence he maintained with the Egyptian leader throughout his period in office. But was this approach really anything more than a change of emphasis from that adopted by his predecessor, a question more of style than of substance? There are grounds for arguing that Kennedy merely built on the earlier Eisenhower-era idea of trying to make use of Nasser as an anti-communist force in the region.4 In other words, that there was more continuity both in American strategy in the Middle East, and in Anglo-American relations, than existing accounts seem to suggest. In order to test the truth of this hypothesis, it is necessary to explore the evolution of American and British strategies, and their interaction during the years 1961–3. Turning first to Britain, two main crises dominated the British government’s policy in the region during the early 1960s. The first concerned Kuwait. Despite efforts to achieve some form of modus vivendi with the post-revolutionary Iraqi regime, the Macmillan Government had, from July 1958 onwards, to adapt its strategy to the possibility of an Iraqi threat to the emirate. In the absence of joint Anglo-American planning for the defence of Kuwait, a unilateral plan, codenamed ‘Vantage’ was developed to counter the possibility of an Iraqi invasion. Kuwait was the key to the British position in the Gulf, both because it acted as a strategic bulwark for the smaller emirates along the Gulf littoral, and because of its economic role. In 1961, Kuwait was the largest single supplier of oil to Britain, accounting for 40 per cent of the nation’s needs. In addition, the 50 per cent stake held in the Kuwait Oil Company by British Petroleum, together with the £300 million invested by the Kuwaiti Government in the British economy, constituted vital overseas and domestic financial interests for Britain.5 When, in the wake of the ‘Exchange of Notes’ granting Kuwait independence on 19 June 1961, the Iraqi leader Brigadier Qassem threatened intervention, the British response was swift. Operation Vantage was implemented and British forces moved into the emirate at the beginning of July to deter any possibility of Iraqi attack. Anglo-American relations did not play a large role in what was essentially a unilateral British operation. Nevertheless, the stance of the Kennedy Administration was essentially supportive, perhaps motivated in part by pressure from US oil companies such as Gulf Oil which saw their own interests in Kuwait threatened by Iraqi action. Not only that, but the hostility between Qassem and Nasser, and

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earlier suspicions about the Iraqi leader’s links with the Iraqi Communist Party, meant that the British operation did not run counter to other US initiatives in the region. The British goal of deterring Iraq was achieved, and British withdrawal was eventually somewhat fortuitously accomplished under cover of the deployment of an Arab Deterrent Force organised by the Arab League. This latter development was facilitated in large measure by the continuing hostility between Qassem and Nasser, with the Egyptian leader evidently willing to swallow his dislike of indirectly helping out the British in order to undermine his principal Arab rival.6 The final phase of the withdrawal of the British forces from Kuwait coincided with another critical event in Arab politics, the break-up of the United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria at the end of September 1961. Although the British Government could hardly fail to take some satisfaction from this major set-back to Nasser’s pan-Arab ambitions, in the short term its concerns were more focused on the possible implications of the Syrian secession for the position in Kuwait. It was possible, but not likely, that Qassem might seize the opportunity presented by the break-up of the UAR to move against Kuwait.7 In the event, Qassem made no move, and British efforts were more focused on restraining King Hussein of Jordan, who put his army on alert in a bid to thwart any attempt by Nasser to restore the union with Syria by force.8 American assessments of the impact of the Syrian coup also focused on its potential for destabilising the region. Indeed, a briefing paper prepared by the State Department for National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy indicated that it might actually by more in US interests if Nasser succeeded in restoring the union.9 In fact, the set-back suffered by Nasser through the collapse of the UAR in September 1961 contributed to the next major regional crisis which would preoccupy both the British and American Governments, and reopen their fissure over Middle Eastern strategy. The blow to his prestige occasioned in Syria led Nasser to take the opportunity, presented by events in Yemen a year later, to restore his reputation in the Arab world.10 Not only would the Yemeni crisis prove to be a serious test of the Anglo-American alliance, it would also ultimately bring to the fore the contradictions inherent in the US strategy of seeking an accommodation with Nasser. To some extent the outbreak of a crisis in Yemen threatening the British position in Aden, and US interests in Saudi Arabia was not unexpected. The course of relations between Yemen and the neighbouring British Colony and Protectorate of Aden had been troubled throughout the latter part of the 1950s. The unpredictability of the Imam of Yemen, Ahmad, was mirrored in his turbulent relations both with his British-backed neighbours and with Nasser’s Egyptian regime. Ahmad’s anti-British orientation seemed to be confirmed by his announcement of Yemen’s adherence to the newly formed United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria in 1958. Still, this latter move was in part a defensive measure on the Imam’s part, to protect

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his autocratic regime from propaganda attacks at the hands of the advocates of Nasser’s brand of Arab nationalism. The course of Ahmad’s relations with Cairo, much as with London, did not run smooth. In the wake of the collapse of the Egyptian union with Syria, Ahmad took the opportunity to declare Yemen’s own withdrawal from the UAR, and even went so far as to publish a poem in November 1961 ridiculing Nasser.11 Nevertheless, the respite in terms of Yemeni–Egyptian collaboration from the British point of view was to prove to be short-lived. On 18 September 1962 the death of Ahmad, and the succession of his son, Mohammed alBadr, provided the opportunity for the mounting of a military coup on 26–7 September led by the Chief of the Royal Guards, Colonel Abdullah Sallal. The Imam survived and fled to the north of the country where he began to mobilise tribal support against the new regime, with assistance from across the Saudi border. The similarity with the way in which the Egyptian Free Officers had come to power, and the protestations on Sallal’s part of pan-Arab and revolutionary goals, suggested a degree of ideological affinity between the new republican regime in Sana’a and Nasser’s regime. Whether he had had detailed advance knowledge of the plotters’ intentions or not, Nasser certainly now moved remarkably swiftly to offer Sallal his support, both political and military.12 In fact, despite all of the rhetoric emanating from Cairo about the need to propagate Egyptian revolutionary ideals throughout the Arab world, Nasser’s intervention in Yemen is perhaps best viewed in more straightforward power-political terms. A military success against the conservative forces in the Arab world would bolster his prestige, and reinforce his credentials as the leader of the Arabs.13 Not only would a victory for Nasser and the republicans in Yemen be a defeat for the Saudi and Jordanian monarchies, both of which moved quickly to support the deposed Imam, it would also, as the British Government quickly realised, provide a threat to British interests in the Arabian Peninsula.14 With the winding down of the Kenyan base, the British base at Aden was an increasingly vital military garrison and staging post for the defence of the Gulf. In this respect the timing of the coup in Yemen was particularly dangerous from the British point of view, since the government had just concluded the delicate local phase of negotiations to merge the Aden Colony and Protectorate into a new Federation of South Arabia, designed to protect the hinterland of the base.15 To the extent that British policy in the Yemeni Civil War focused on the defence of the position in the Gulf, its essentials are rather easier to grasp than those of the more tortuous American approach. A telegram from Secretary of State for the Colonies, Duncan Sandys, to the influential Governor of Aden, Sir Charles Johnston, is typical of the early reactions within the Macmillan Government to the turn of events in Yemen. ‘The British Government recognises’, Sandys asserted, ‘that the republican

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regime, if it consolidates itself would be a serious threat to British and Federation interests.’16 Macmillan himself noted that he was ‘worried about the Yemen since I believe it is a most serious situation. If things go wrong, we may be faced with the loss of Aden and therefore of the Gulf.’17 These expressions of concern within the government were bolstered by the existence of an influential pro-Yemeni royalist group within the Tory Party. Its members, survivors of the Suez group who had opposed Eden’s 1954 agreement with Nasser, included two ministers, Enoch Powell and Julian Amery, and the MP Colonel Neil (Billy) Mclean, who subsequently spent several weeks with the royalist forces. This group was informally allied with British representatives in Aden, including Charles Johnston, in a bid to prevent any backsliding in the government’s resolve to stand up to Nasser over Yemen.18 The response of the US Administration to the crisis in Yemen is best understood first by recapping briefly on its dealings with Nasser over the course of the previous eighteen months. Initially, Kennedy had tried to forge better relations with the Egyptian leader by appointing John S. Badeau as US ambassador in Cairo. Badeau was returning to the Egyptian capital, where he had been a former president of the American University. Fluent in Arabic, Badeau was on good personal terms with Nasser himself, and also with other key figures in the leadership such as Anwar el-Sadat.19 In addition to Badeau, Kennedy also appointed Robert Komer as Middle East specialist on the National Security Council staff. Komer was committed to the pursuit of a more accommodating policy towards Arab nationalist leaders, especially Nasser, a policy with which he was to hold faith long after it had demonstrably failed. Initially, Nasser’s response was positive. He agreed with Badeau’s suggestion that the Arab–Israeli dispute should be put ‘in the icebox’, toning down both his anti-Israeli rhetoric and his public criticisms of US policy.20 The Kennedy Administration sought to bolster this trend by building on the earlier Eisenhower Administration decision to allow Egypt access to US food aid via the Public Law 480 (PL480) programme.21 Whereas the Eisenhower Administration had only permitted one-off grants in the later 1950s, the Kennedy Administration now proposed granting a three-year commitment. This was clearly far more appealing to Nasser since it would allow for longer-term planning. Despite political opposition in Washington from senators and congressmen who mistrusted Nasser, the three year PL-480 deal went through, coming into effect in the first week of October 1962. This capped a summer that, despite the tensions caused by a decision to supply Hawk missiles to Israel, Komer described as being the high-point in US–UAR relations.22 In view of the apparent success of their efforts so far, therefore, it is no surprise that Administration officials approached the Yemeni crisis with a predilection towards accommodation with Nasser. The key potential conflict of interest thrown up by the crisis for the US Administration lay in its relations with Saudi Arabia. Here the ideological

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predisposition of Kennedy officials was to regard monarchies as reactionary forces likely to be swept away by the tides of popular nationalism unless they committed themselves to domestic reform. In respect of US–Saudi relations at least, therefore, the Kennedy era did witness something of a shift in emphasis. Eisenhower, after all, had gone so far as to propose before and after the Suez crisis that King Saud could be built up as a leader of the Arab nationalist cause to rival Nasser.23 Such a proactive policy during the Kennedy years would have been viewed as reckless by an Administration preoccupied with the deficiencies of the Saudi regime. In fact, the Yemeni crisis struck during what was already a period of tension in Saudi Arabia. The long-running feud between Saud and his brother Feisal had not yet been resolved, and would remain a destabilising factor until Feisal’s enthronement in 1964. Although Feisal had earlier tried to cultivate closer relations with Nasser as a counterpoise to Saud’s attempts to set himself up as a rival Arab leader during the period 1957–8, he had given up the attempt in the face of the Egyptian leader’s propaganda attacks on the Saudi regime. Internally, the Saudi monarchy refused to countenance any reduction in its monopolistic hold on power. This despite attempts on the part of the State Department to convince Feisal during his visit to the United States in October 1962 that a programme of reform was essential to the survival of the House of Saud.24 The attempts of the Kennedy Administration to encourage peaceful change in Saudi Arabia were not without a degree of self-interest of course. The substantial investment of US oil firms in the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) constituted a key economic concern. In addition, the House of Saud was staunchly anti-communist, a product of its contempt for what was seen as an atheistic system. Indeed, one might argue that the Kennedy strategy was framed not so much to encourage democratisation and liberalisation as ends in themselves in Saudi Arabia, as to enhance the chances of survival of a regime that was both friendly to US interests and ideologically committed to the struggle against communism. To this extent, the Eisenhower and Kennedy strategies could be seen as merely different means toward the same end. Eisenhower had chosen to bolster Saudi Arabia and protect US interests by the proactive policy of advancing the claims of King Saud to leadership of the whole Arab world. Kennedy now chose to preserve the Saudi regime by the more defensive, reactive strategy of urging internal reform, and avoiding external confrontation with Nasser over the Yemen. The irony of the Kennedy policy lay in its arrogance. Its central presumption was that Kennedy Administration officials knew better than Feisal or Saud themselves what was in the best interests of their Kingdom. It is in this context that we can begin to understand the paradoxical policy of appeasement of Nasser’s designs in Yemen pursued from the outbreak of the civil war onwards. As early as the second week of October 1962, the

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British Government was already receiving indications of the likely direction of US policy toward Yemen. Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore reported that the Administration was primarily concerned with the effect of prolonged hostilities on the internal situation in Saudi Arabia. US officials also argued that such hostilities would make for a greater UAR threat to the British position in Aden. Ormsby-Gore commented dryly that ‘the State Department seem unduly confident of their ability to limit Egyptian mischief …’25 The outline of a US plan to defuse the conflict was revealed to OrmsbyGore by Secretary of State Rusk and Assistant Secretary Talbot in a meeting on 13 October. The plan involved securing guarantees from Nasser that he and Sallal would not seek to destabilise Saudi Arabia or Aden in return for US, and, it was hoped, British recognition of the republican regime in Yemen. It was an attempt by the Administration to find a way out of a dilemma which was succinctly summarised by Komer: ‘if we come down on UK/Jordan/Saudi side there goes our new relationship with Nasser; if we come down on the other side, we open Pandora’s box. If we do nothing, we offend all our friends.’26 Ormsby-Gore’s initial response to the plan was very much in the spirit of existing British attitudes to Nasser: ‘we would have very little or no confidence in any assurances that the Egyptians might give … They would have no hesitation in encouraging subversion in Aden, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere the very moment it suited their book.’27 As things transpired the intervention of the Cuban missile crisis during the second half of October distracted the attention of the US Administration from events in Yemen. This provided the British Government with a breathing space in which to consider its own future policy for Yemen. In his diary entry for 19 October, Macmillan noted that he was not very hopeful about the situation. ‘Our “covert” plans have worked well in their limited field’, he wrote. ‘But the “rebel government” is strongly and overtly supported by the UAR and the internal position in Saudi Arabia seems confused and weak.’28 One dimension of the British ‘covert’ operation may well have been the encouragement of rumours in Yemen of intended British military intervention. Such efforts were aimed in part at stabilising the security situation in neighbouring Aden. 29 At a meeting of ministers on 22 October, it was agreed that if Britain were to be driven out of Aden as a result of events in Yemen, then the loss of prestige would be so great as to render it impossible to stay in the Gulf under any circumstances.30 Although the Cabinet agreed in principle on 23 October that the right course of action was probably still to recognise the Yemeni Republic, subsequent reports of air attacks on the Beihan area of the Aden Protectorate led to a reappraisal of the British position. A difference emerged between the Foreign Office, which advocated going ahead with plans for recognition, and the Colonial Office, which advocated delay.

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Philip de Zulueta argued that Britain should aim to cause the maximum confusion in areas on the Aden–Yemen border because ‘the Yemeni regime is bound to be more or less hostile to us.’31 A further Cabinet meeting on 26 October therefore agreed to revise existing policy. Although the intention to grant recognition remained, its implementation would now have to be postponed.32 British relations with the new regime in Yemen were not advanced by a report in The Times on 10 November. This detailed a speech by Sallal in which he called on the people of Aden to prepare for revolution against British colonial rule, and promised the support of ‘great forces’, including those of Egypt, in their struggle. Commonwealth and Colonial Secretary Duncan Sandys made sure The Times article was brought to Macmillan’s attention.33 In addition to Sandys’ efforts, Governor Charles Johnston kept up a stream of telegrams from Aden, many of which passed across Macmillan’s desk, arguing that any US move towards recognition of the republican regime would be ‘a major blunder in their interests as well as in our own’.34 It would ‘destroy that impression of a united Anglo/American front which has existed in Middle East affairs since the Lebanon and Jordanian operations of 1958’.35 This appearance of cooperation, as Johnston perceptively described it, had been beneficial to both countries. Macmillan attached sufficient weight to Johnston’s warnings to arrange for a précis of his views to be forwarded to Kennedy personally.36 With the distractions of Cuba largely out of the way, Secretary of State Rusk found the time to send Kennedy a memorandum on 12 November advising that the US proceed with its plan for recognising the Yemeni Republic.37 Rusk believed that the UK Government would not oppose the US’s action, provided that it was delayed until after a House of Commons vote, scheduled for 13 November, on the creation of the Federation of the Aden Colony and Protectorate. Nevertheless, the secretary of state’s plan did not proceed quite so smoothly as he had hoped. Both Home and Macmillan intervened respectively with Rusk and the president to try to secure a further delay in the implementation of the new American policy.38 Late on the evenings of both 14 and 15 November Macmillan and Kennedy spoke personally over a secure phone line to try to hammer out Anglo-American differences over Yemen, as well as to discuss the aftermath of the Cuban crisis. The conversations reveal that the president was not completely on top of the Yemeni situation. During the first conversation he candidly admitted that ‘I know comparatively little about Yemen, even where it is’. At one point during the second conversation he mistakenly commented that his advisers said that the Sallal group would lose. Thereafter, he handed the phone over to an official, presumably an intelligence officer, whom he referred to only as ‘Mr X’. It was ‘Mr X’ who was then left to discuss the details of the disengagement plan with Macmillan.39 In the event, Macmillan seems quickly to have realised that in view of his lack of knowl-

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edge of the problem, the president was not prepared to disregard the advice of his officials. Thus, although some minor concessions were made to British concerns over the nature of the public promises to be extracted from Nasser and Sallal in respect of the integrity of Aden, Macmillan decided that he could not press the president any further over the recognition plan.40 While acknowledging that if the Americans could get Nasser to withdraw, ‘recognition may not be too bad’, Macmillan remained concerned about Aden, ‘where the position may easily get out of hand’.41 Despite opposition from Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the misgivings of the British, the Kennedy Administration now pressed ahead with its Yemeni policy.42 After what Komer described as ‘a bit of arm-twisting’, Nasser was persuaded to come up with a statement of intent to disengage from Yemen of a form acceptable to the State Department.43 Meanwhile, Ambassador Ormsby-Gore had shifted his position somewhat. Perhaps recognising the way the wind was blowing in Washington, he now argued that although the British Government might not like the Administration’s new policy it should do its best to try and ensure its success. This would involve, as Ormsby-Gore saw things, a British commitment to Nasser and Sallal to grant early recognition to the republican regime in Yemen. The effect of this would be significantly to bolster AngloAmerican relations in the region.44 Ormsby-Gore’s change of heart did not win immediate favour in the Foreign Office. Although Lord Home agreed that Ambassador Beeley in Cairo should be authorised to tell the UAR Government that Britain fully supported the efforts of the US to find a solution to the Yemeni problem, he believed it would be inadvisable to give any commitment over recognition until after Nasser and Sallal’s statements had been published. Even then, the British Government would want time to assess the effects of these statements and of the contemporaneous US recognition of the Yemeni regime.45 Macmillan too was sceptical: ‘I’m afraid the American plan about Yemen is going to fail’, he wrote in his diary. ‘Nasser is being very wary and I doubt whether he can afford to disengage from Yemen. So the Americans will risk paying the price (recognition) without effecting the purchase (Egyptian disengagement). This will make our position worse in the Protectorate.’46 As Macmillan saw things the problem for Britain in recognising the Yemeni regime was rather different from that which faced the US. The Americans were primarily concerned to stop the Russians gaining a foothold in Yemen, whereas Britain had to consider her special interests in Aden. The British Government would have to delay recognition while it considered the implications for Aden.47 This was the perennial problem of post-war Anglo-American relations in the Middle East restated. The principal American preoccupation was with the broad threat of communist penetration, while that of Britain was with the best means to protect her particular interests in the region. No wonder, then, that such an astute observer as Charles Johnston had warned from

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Aden of the potential for the Yemeni conflict to crack the fragile post-1958 facade of Anglo-American unity in the Middle East. The diplomatic negotiations between Sana’a, Cairo and Washington resulted in successive public declarations on 18 and 19 December 1962 by the three governments. The first, on 18 December from Sana’a pledged the YAR to honour its international obligations, and live in peace and harmony with its neighbours. Then, the following day, the UAR Ministry of Information released a statement expressing a willingness to disengage its forces from Yemen in phases, provided that the Saudi and Jordanian Governments did the same. Finally, the US State Department issued a press release welcoming the statements from the YAR and UAR, and extending recognition to the republican regime.48 At the same time, Dean Rusk recommended that the president approve plans for a state visit on the part of Nasser to Washington in the early part of 1963.49 US–UAR relations at this point could thus be said to have reached a new high-water mark of cooperation. In fact, the Nasser–Kennedy meeting was never to take place. The failure of the disengagement plan was to scupper the State Department’s good intentions. Still, in the immediate aftermath of the UAR and YAR statements hopes were high in Washington that the Yemeni conflict could be brought to a swift conclusion. To expedite the ending of hostilities, it was thought, one further piece of the puzzle had to be put in place. This was British recognition of the YAR which, the State Department and the president’s foreign policy advisers believed, would bring about an end to tensions on the Aden–Yemen border. In a 12 December memorandum, Macmillan laid out the advantages and disadvantages of this course of action as they appeared to him. Possible gains from recognition included the maintenance of the British mission in Taiz, which would give the government a channel of communication to and information about the new regime. In addition, there was the rather Machiavellian calculation that recognition might encourage the Yemenis to turn their subversive attentions away from Aden towards Saudi Arabia. As regards disadvantages, Macmillan wrote that ‘recognition may seem to have been forced on Her Majesty’s Government by the Americans and may discourage the rulers and sheikhs in the Protectorate, Saudi Arabia and Jordan, and the Gulf who (like all Arabs) will be tempted to join the stronger side’.50 In effect, Macmillan was saying that compliance with the American plan might make it seem that Britain took orders from Washington in framing its policy in the Gulf. This would undermine British prestige. The corollary of this was that defiance of the Americans might bolster Britain’s position. This was an interesting formulation of the concealed competitive edge that lay behind the public rhetoric of AngloAmerican cooperation. It was a rationale for withholding recognition that could, of course, never be repeated to Washington.

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Macmillan’s second disadvantage was no less calculating: ‘the fact of recognition may make it harder to give countenance [to] still more assistance to royalist attempts to overthrow Sallal.’ In other words, Britain was already actively supporting attempts to depose the Sallal regime, and would not necessarily desist even if it recognised the republican government. Recognition might only make covert subversion a little more difficult. As an exercise in realpolitik, this one-page memorandum thoroughly justified its top-secret classification. The only disadvantage of recognition that could possibly be repeated to the Americans was Macmillan’s final suggestion that it might make diplomatic relations with the Saudis impossible. As Macmillan had formulated the question there was no doubt that the balance of British interest lay in non-recognition. From Aden, Charles Johnston weighed in with his own views which must have struck a chord with the prime minister. If the post in Taiz were to go, Johnston argued, Britain would lose practically nothing in terms of valuable intelligence on Yemen, most of which came from other sources. Worse still, if Britain recognised the YAR this would be seen in the Arab world as ‘a most humiliating crawl in the dust … We should be seen as following slavishly in the wake of the Americans without any regard for either our own true interests or those of the Federation.’51 The only discordant voice raised against this hard-headed formulation of British interests came from the consul in Taiz, Christopher Gandy. Gandy’s approach was different from either the Machiavellianism of Macmillan or the realism of Johnston. He recommended maintaining relations with the new regime in order to try to channel its activities away from confrontation by peaceful persuasion.52 His views do not seem to have carried the same weight with Macmillan as those of the more senior Johnston. Nevertheless, Gandy was to prove a useful pawn in the game of prevarication over Yemen on which Macmillan now embarked. Rather than risk an outright breach with the Americans over Yemen, Macmillan wanted to maintain the appearance of reconsideration of the British position during January 1963. Meanwhile, there was always the possibility that Nasser and Sallal would carry out some action, such as a further attack on Aden, or the eviction of the mission in Taiz, which would justify still further delay in recognition. The ethos of the strategy seems to have been that a continuing stalemate in the Yemen best suited British purposes. Meanwhile, the British position in the Arabian Peninsula was strengthened by the announcement of the renewal of diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia on 16 January. The recall of Gandy to London for consultations during the second half of January and early February proved another excellent device for furthering the strategy of prevarication. Gandy himself unwittingly served the prime minister’s purposes even better when he contracted influenza soon after his return to Britain. A difficult journey back from the warmer climes of the Arabian Peninsula to a Britain in the grip of one of the coldest

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winters of the century was hardly a prescription for good health. At any rate, Gandy’s illness proved yet another reason to delay further discussion of the recognition question. On 26 January, Kennedy wrote to Macmillan with a personal request that he give the question of recognition renewed consideration.53 Macmillan’s response was a catalogue of excuses and extenuating circumstances. First there was Gandy’s influenza, then there were all of the problems with Brussels, and finally the defence debate.54 Although Kennedy expressed himself ‘delighted’ in his reply that Macmillan was prepared to look at the problem of Yemen again,55 the essence of Macmillan’s strategy remained procrastination. It was not until the 5 February that Gandy was well enough to hold detailed discussions with Macmillan, and the Foreign, Colonial and Defence secretaries.56 Even then, his pleas for early recognition fell on stony ground. This would be regarded as ‘a victory for Egypt and for the forces of revolutionary Arab nationalism which were everywhere working against us’.57 Meanwhile, in Washington too, the beginnings of a sense of disillusionment with the fruits of the disengagement agreement were evident. An attack by a UAR aircraft on the Saudi town of Najran near the Yemeni border on 30 December had been followed during the early part of January by further incidents in Saudi airspace.58 At a State Department–Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting on 11 January the possibility of sending token air or naval units to bolster the Saudi Government was considered. McGeorge Bundy noted that the Chiefs had their doubts about ‘whether this flea-bitten part of the world is one where we should get involved’. The problem as Bundy saw it was that the US ‘was involved here long since – even though it may have been a mistake in the first place’.59 In addition to its difficulties with the British Government the US Administration also reaped an unfortunate harvest from its Yemen policy in terms of relations with Saudi Arabia. Feisal’s bitterness over what he saw as America’s appeasement of Nasser had been evident since his visit to Washington in October 1962. During January 1963, the Administration was pressed to alter course by representatives of all of the major US oil companies with concerns in the region. On 28 January, Kermit Roosevelt, the former CIA agent who now represented the interests of Gulf Oil, came to see Bob Komer. Roosevelt, who could reasonably claim an intimate knowledge of the Egyptian leader through his contacts with him a decade earlier, argued that there was no possibility of working with him over Yemen. Nasser’s interests and those of the US were simply incompatible.60 The concern on the part of the oil companies over the effect of US policy in Yemen on the future of their concessionary arrangements in Saudi Arabia seems to have been well founded. Although the link was never made explicit, the decision of the Saudi Government to force ARAMCO to relinquish two-thirds of its oil concession and to pay much higher taxes in the

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spring of 1963 must have been affected by events in Yemen.61 Certainly, this coupled with the failure of Nasser to live up to his promises, cast still further doubt on the Administration’s strategy for defending US interests in the region. The frustration was evident in the conclusion of a memorandum from Komer to McGeorge Bundy on 7 February: ‘this peanut war will be with us a long time yet’.62 Meanwhile, in London, the simmering difference of opinion between the Colonial Office and the Foreign Office as to the best way to proceed over the question of recognition had come to the boil once again. In an 11 February memorandum prepared for a meeting of the Overseas Policy Committee, Foreign Secretary Home had argued that, in view of the extent of the pressure being exerted by the US, and the likelihood that the republican regime would otherwise expel the British mission from Taiz, the government should move towards de facto recognition.63 His view was vigorously disputed by Colonial Secretary Duncan Sandys who strongly recommended that no action be taken.64 The US Administration tried to exert what influence it could on the side of the Foreign Office ‘doves’. The coup d’état which overthrew the Qassem regime in Iraq on 8 February was also used to put pressure on the British Government. This might pose a threat to the stability of the Arabian Peninsula and emphasised the need to ‘damp down the Yemen conflict’, it was argued.65 In the event, as Cabinet Secretary Burke Trend noted, the Yemeni regime itself had resolved the dispute in advance of the Overseas Policy Committee meeting by ordering the British mission to leave Taiz by 17 February.66 American efforts to negotiate a retraction of Sallal’s decision in exchange for a commitment from the British Government to recognise his regime within a week proved fruitless.67 It is doubtful in any case whether the foreign secretary’s views would have won the day with Macmillan himself. The prime minister had after all already made clear in his earlier weighing of the advantages and disadvantages of recognition that he viewed American pressure as a reason not to recognise rather than vice versa. The meeting of the Overseas Policy Committee which had threatened a confrontation between Sandys and Home was thus, as matters transpired, something of a damp squib. Sandys’ views effortlessly carried the day without the prime minister having to show his own hand too strongly. Macmillan undertook to communicate the decision of the committee to continue to withhold recognition in a personal message to the president.68 Here he stressed the weight he accorded to the views of Charles Johnston and concluded with an apology. ‘I am sorry that the result is that you and we should now seem to be somewhat out of step in our Yemen policy, but as I see it this is due more to difference in our circumstances than to divergence in objectives.’69 One might be tempted to comment that so was it ever with Anglo-American relations in the Middle East.

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An interesting insight into Macmillan’s own thinking on the region during this period is afforded by an annotation he made to a telegram from Sir Harold Beeley, the British ambassador in Cairo. The subject of the despatch was Nasser and ‘Nasserism’. Beeley advanced the thesis that although Nasser was hostile to British interests, he was not irrevocably so. The best policy for the British Government, Beeley believed, was to deal with the Egyptian leader pragmatically and to seek to develop a working relationship. This would also have the advantage of preserving AngloAmerican cooperation in the region. Either Macmillan did not read the despatch properly, or he was so out of sympathy with its conclusions as to ignore them altogether. On the head of his printed copy he scribbled the words ‘for Nasser read Hitler and it’s all very familiar’.70 The Hitler comparison, which had been the currency of much discussion about Nasser during the Suez crisis, evidently remained close to the front of Macmillan’s mind. In his diary too, Macmillan noted that Nasser had ‘occupied Yemen (with 28 000 troops) and is about to attack (or rather try to subvert) Saudi Arabia. The Americans – who have been wrong about Nasser since before Suez – are now at last beginning to wonder. For in Saudi Arabia they have as great investments as we have in the Gulf’.71 The prime minister was not the only one whose thinking was ‘violently anti-Nasser’. The US oil companies, to whose interests in Saudi Arabia Macmillan had alluded, viewed the region through a similar prism.72 Indeed, Kennedy Administration officials were suspicious that the oil companies, and perhaps specifically Kim Roosevelt, were behind stories appearing in the US press that Nasser was planning an invasion of Saudi Arabia.73 Continuing domestic pressure from this source, together with the evident failure of disengagement on the ground, led to a further meeting reviewing the Administration’s strategy at the end of February. The weekend before this meeting David Ormsby-Gore had paid one of his many social calls on the president and had taken the opportunity of raising once again the Yemeni question. He pressed the view that the Administration should take a more robust line with the Egyptian leader. Kennedy admitted, as seems clear from his earlier handling of the question, that he ‘had no dogmatic views on the subject’. He promised to look into the matter personally, and, Ormsby-Gore reported, ‘in the course of quite a long conversation he made no complaint about our attitude’.74 The president evidently understood the British Government’s stance even if the State Department and some of his advisers did not. At the review meeting Kennedy approved a new initiative over the Yemen. This involved the despatch of a special presidential emissary, Ellsworth Bunker, to Saudi Arabia. Bunker’s mission would be first, to reassure Feisal of US interest in his country, second, to convince him of the importance of disengaging from Yemen, and third, to explain to him how this could be done without loss of face. The new element in the

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approach was the fact that Bunker was also to be authorised to tell Feisal that the US would consider the temporary stationing of a small air defence squadron in western Saudi Arabia to deter the UAR from mounting further air attacks. In return, the Saudi Government was to be required to suspend aid to the Yemeni royalists.75 During the meeting, concerns were expressed as to the implications of stationing a US force, however small, in Saudi Arabia. The Defense Department for once was far from hawkish. Assistant Secretary Paul Nitze expressed his fears over the dangers of escalation bluntly: ‘let’s not start down the toboggan until we know where we might land’, he argued. If the US had to counter UAR aircraft flying over Saudi Arabia this would require strikes at UAR airfields, and possibly a broader Middle Eastern war. On the other hand, Under Secretary of State George McGhee argued that, since Nasser would probably not attack, the US commitment would amount to no more than ‘a plate glass window to insure that this is the case’. Certainly, there was no enthusiasm in any quarter, least of all from the president himself, for being drawn into a major military commitment to defend the Saudi monarchy.76 Initially, the Bunker mission met with some success. Reporting on his talks with Feisal, Bunker stressed the warmth of his reception. Feisal was evidently grateful for the offer of military support, however limited, and expressed ‘one thousand per cent agreement’ with the president’s ideas on disengagement. Bunker believed that his discussions had opened the way for effective mediation on the part of Ralph Bunche, who had been chosen as the United Nations’ emissary to Yemen on 26 February.77 Meanwhile, the coup d’état in Syria on 8 March, coming hard on the heels of that in Iraq a month earlier, seemed only to stress further to policy makers in Washington the isolation of the Arab monarchies.78 Bob Komer argued in a memo to the president that the decisive point in the effort to damp down the Yemeni war had been reached. The US should build on Feisal’s more receptive attitude, and press him to suspend aid to the royalists immediately in return for the despatch of the USAF squadron.79 In pursuit of this objective, Bunker was sent back to Saudi Arabia for a further meeting with Feisal on 17 March. He carried with him a message from the president in which he pressed Feisal in direct terms to let the disengagement process begin on the basis of American plans without any added preconditions. In return, Kennedy again pledged to arrange for the despatch of the US air squadron.80 This encounter between Bunker and Feisal proved to be of a rather more tense character, with the latter taking exception to Kennedy’s warnings about a changed atmosphere in the Arab world which would give new confidence to Feisal’s opponents. Nevertheless, Feisal agreed in principle with the American plan to get disengagement started.81 At the same time as Bunker was apparently succeeding in gaining the cooperation of the Saudi regime, First Secretary Hermann F. Eilts of the US

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Embassy in London forwarded an important overview of the current state of the Yemeni debate in London as it appeared to him. The key UK concerns in Yemen, he believed, were the possible threat to the Aden base, which was essential to military planning for the defence of the Gulf, and the psychological effect of a UAR victory on the other Gulf rulers who continued to look towards Britain for protection. Domestically, the government had, on the one hand, been criticised by the Labour Opposition for its failure to recognise the YAR, while on the other, it had been pressed by a substantial number of its own backbenchers, whose views were ‘almost pathologically anti-Nasser’, to take no such action. Within the government itself, Colonial Secretary Duncan Sandys, acting as the voice of these backbench interests, had led the opposition to recognition. Although the Foreign Office had taken a different line Lord Home had not chosen to press his views against Sandys’ vehement opposition. Arguably the key figure in tipping the balance had been Sir Charles Johnston, who, as a former Foreign Office man now occupying a key Colonial Office function, could press his views without being accused of departmental partisanship.82 Other than the absence of any real insight into Macmillan’s own views, Eilts’s summary accurately reflects the picture that emerges from British archival sources. Assuming officials in Washington paid any attention to the reports from London, therefore, the US Administration could hardly have been surprised by the course of British policy over Yemen. During April, the Administration pressed ahead with the negotiations in Jidda and Cairo. The renewed conviviality in relations with Cairo were evidenced by the congratulations Kennedy extended to Nasser on the conclusion of the 17 April Declaration of Tripartite Union between the UAR, Syria and Iraq.83 But, as often seemed to be the case in US–UAR relations, the beginnings of a renewed détente were halted swiftly by reports of fresh Nasser-inspired instability in the region. In the final week of April 1963, such concerns were focused on the possibility of a coup in Jordan. Jordan constituted the key buffer state in the Middle East. Any change of regime here would undoubtedly draw an Israeli military response on the West Bank and bring to an end the Kennedy Administration’s efforts to keep the Arab–Israeli dispute in the icebox. According to the report given by Under Secretary of State George Ball to Defense Secretary McNamara on the morning of 27 April, there appeared to an army coup brewing in Jordan with the full knowledge of the UAR.84 As soon as this intelligence was presented to the president, his underlying doubts about the policy of détente with Nasser resurfaced. What did the US gain from this approach, he asked? Nasser ‘was obviously a coming force in the Middle East and we naturally wanted to stay on the right side of him, but what about the growing accusation that our support was helping him to pursue expansionist policies?’85 Kennedy was evidently concerned about the domestic political impact of this charge. In discussion it was agreed that a number of

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measures should be taken to help stabilise the region. Units of the Sixth Fleet should be moved to the Eastern Mediterranean to demonstrate US interest in the integrity of Jordan, the Israelis and Nasser should be warned to avoid confrontation, and consideration should be given to the early despatch of the promised air squadron to Saudi Arabia. As regards AngloAmerican relations, the conclusions of the meeting were interesting: ‘we should work on the UK to be prepared to move in troops if necessary. Because of the primacy of UK interest in this area they ought to move in, not us (the consensus was, however, that the UK would not move except jointly with the US)’. The tenor of this statement hardly fits well with the views of those who argue that British leadership in the Middle East passed with Suez, or even that the US consciously sought to push the British out. Evidently key members of the Kennedy Administration still believed that the UK, not the US, held the primary interest in the region. In fact, the concentration of post-1958 British strategy on defence of the Gulf meant that there was no interest in London in repeating the 1958 intervention in Jordan, although the government did agree to immediate joint contingency planning.86 In any case, perhaps in part as a result of the swift warning given to King Hussein by the US Administration, no coup attempt in fact materialised in Jordan, sparing Kennedy some of his domestic political blushes.87 Meanwhile, the measures agreed for Saudi Arabia were effected, with the US air squadron finally being put in place for its extended ‘training exercise’ by 5 July. Kennedy kept a close eye on the activities of the squadron, keen to avoid any confrontation that might draw the US into a broader Middle Eastern conflict.88 During the summer months of 1963, little if any real progress was made in the process of disengagement. Despite promises to the contrary from both men, Nasser’s troops remained in Yemen, and Feisal continued to back the royalists. As regards the British attitude to the disengagement process in Yemen, the chances of British recognition of the YAR if anything receded still further. The scale of UAR operations, including the bombing of villages and the rumoured use of poison gas, led Ambassador Bruce to report that even the more ‘dovish’ Alec Home had turned against the idea of recognition.89 By the middle of September 1963, Home was writing to Dean Rusk questioning the whole basis of the disengagement plan.90 Of the ‘hawks’, although Governor Charles Johnston completed his term of appointment in Aden during July 1963, he recommended as his successor the even more hawkish Kennedy Trevaskis.91 Johnston also made sure that he impressed his views on the future prospects for the British presence in South Arabia on the prime minister before leaving office. In his valedictory despatch, Johnston conjured up a romantic view of the Arab East, couched in the sort of literary tones that always impressed Macmillan: Aden has an enchantment of its own. The spicy, sweaty, vital authenticity of the back streets of Crater. The cheerful Anglo-Oriental

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crowds swarming in the evening in front of the shops along the monumental Maalla Mile. The quiet of the terrace of Government House on summer afternoons when everything seems serene and ordered and immutable …92 To a premier embroiled in the continuing tawdriness of domestic scandal, and contemplating his own political mortality, Johnston’s despatch no doubt afforded a welcome half-hour of imperial reverie. Sure enough, Macmillan wrote to Johnston on his return to Britain, congratulating him on ‘a brilliant composition and the best exposition that I have seen of the situation in Arabia and of our position in the Arab world’.93 The state of Anglo-American relations over the Yemeni question by the autumn of 1963 is best summed up as strained. The post-1958 crust of cooperation between the two countries in the region had been fractured, and their fissure over Middle Eastern policy was visible once more. This much was apparent from the tone of a memorandum sent by Bob Komer to Kennedy on 20 September. Discussing the reasons as to why disengagement had faltered, Komer spoke of the British ‘covertly encouraging the Saudis and the royalists’. In a survey of three possible options for future policy, Komer included the suggestion that the US should ‘beat up [the] UK to stop shafting us’. Summing up the position he argued that the Administration should ‘readjust for a longer pull, be willing to accept continued UK sniping and other criticism, and play for the breaks’.94 Unfortunately from Komer’s point of view, the next ‘break’ in US–UAR relations was a bad one. Domestic criticism of what was seen as the Administration’s appeasement of an uncooperative Nasser resulted in the passing of the Gruening amendment to the PL-480 bill on 7 November. This blocked aid to any nation ‘engaging in or preparing for aggressive military efforts’ against the United States or any country receiving US assistance. Although the UAR was not specified by name in the amendment, much of the Senate debate had focused on the UAR role in Yemen, Algeria, and over the Palestinian question. Nasser’s failure to cooperate with the Administration’s efforts and his public criticisms of US policy had all proven grist to the mill of pro-Israeli senators such as Kenneth Keating, Jacob Javits, and Ernest Gruening himself. Although Kennedy voiced his displeasure at the passing of the amendment, it is doubtful whether by this stage he had much faith left in the good intentions of the Egyptian leader. The final foreign aid bill, incorporating a slightly revised version of Gruening’s amendment, was eventually signed into law by President Johnson on 16 December.95 In the end, there was little to show for the Kennedy Administration’s attempts to swim with the tides of Arab nationalism. The question can thus again be posed as to what was new about AngloAmerican relations and US policy in the Middle East during the Kennedy years? Certainly, there was a different style. There were also key officials such as Bob Komer and John Badeau who were far more enthusiastic about

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working with Arab nationalist leaders, especially Nasser. On Kennedy’s own part, there was a predilection to favour those whom he viewed as the likely winners in the struggle for power in the region. This meant, to his way of thinking, backing republics rather than monarchies. The difficulty was that the key US interests he inherited, in the form of the struggle to contain the expansion of Soviet influence and to protect Western oil investments, pulled policy in a different direction. Because of the powerful pull exerted by these interests, there was in practice far more continuity in US policy in the Middle East from the Eisenhower through the Kennedy years than existing accounts suggest. Eisenhower and Dulles had had the same debate about Nasser as the leader of the future, and had oscillated back and forth between attempts to work with him and against him from the Suez crisis onwards. Kennedy and his advisers merely picked up the existing rationale for cooperating with Nasser, and pursued it more persistently than had the Eisenhower team. Irrespective of Kennedy’s assassination, it is arguable that by November 1963 US policy was in any case headed once again into an anti-Nasser phase. If one looks at Anglo-American relations over the Middle East in the Kennedy years, one can once again use the history of the Eisenhower era as a guide. When Eisenhower had tried to work with Nasser against what the British Government saw as its own special interests in the region AngloAmerican relations had been tense. Under Kennedy, when the US attempted to work with Nasser over the Yemeni crisis similar problems in relations with London resulted. The personnel and presentation on the US side may have changed, but British and American perceptions of the region and their potential differences had not. Crucially, there was also continuity in the sometimes unspoken assumption of key British actors that Nasser was their true enemy in the region. Just as the visceral American response to Castro symbolised the gap in British and American perceptions of the Cuban question so the British response to Nasser could never properly be comprehended in Washington. Macmillan’s scribbled comment of 15 March 1963 on Harold Beeley’s suggestion of working with Nasser, could equally well have been written six years earlier after Suez: ‘for Nasser read Hitler and it’s all very familiar.’

6 The Congo Crisis

Of the interlocking set of international crises that came together in the winter of 1962–3, that in the Congo constituted at first sight the least direct threat to British interests. After all, the collapse of order and the outbreak of civil strife in its former colony were surely far more the responsibility of the Belgian Government? Nevertheless, the denouement of the crisis, involving the forcible reintegration of the secessionist province of Katanga into the Congolese state by United Nations’ forces, was a decisive defeat for the British government.1 Not only that, but it represented a clear failure for Macmillan’s efforts to coordinate British and American policies, a failure confirmed at the ill-tempered Nassau Conference of December 1962. If, next to the contemporaneous Cuban missile crisis, the Skybolt crisis, the failure of the EEC application, the dispute over Yemeni disengagement, and the unravelling of the concept of interdependence, the Katangan question did not seem to loom large, this merely reflected the exceptional nature of the times in Anglo-American relations rather than the magnitude of the Congolese problem itself. How, it must be asked, had the internal affairs of a former Belgian colony given rise to so much Anglo-American tension? The Congo crisis had its roots in the precipitous decision of the Belgian Government to end its colonial rule over this vast and politically underdeveloped African territory at the end of June 1960. The Belgian administration of the Congo dated back to the beginning of the century, and had been funded for the most part by the exploitation of the Congo’s extensive mineral resources, which were principally located in the province of Katanga. In 1959, the Congo produced 49 per cent of the world’s cobalt, 9 per cent of its copper, and 69 per cent of its industrial diamonds. Additional mineral resources included cadmium, zinc and uranium.2 Despite its success in exploiting these mineral riches, on the political front the Belgian legacy was little short of woeful. A complacent sense that the Congo was somehow different from other colonies, and that the indigenous population would remain quiescent under Belgian rule for decades to come, meant that efforts to educate the Congolese and prepare them for 109

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self-rule were almost non-existent. Figures for December 1959 reveal that there were only three Congolese as against 4875 Europeans in the top three grades of the colonial civil service.3 The same story held true for the Congolese Army, or Force Publique. Here about 1000 European officers commanded 20 000 black soldiers and noncommissioned officers. The failure to integrate the Congolese into the key organs of state was thus almost complete, and helps to explain the widespread fears for the future stability of the colony after independence. The chaos that followed independence was prefigured by the January 1959 riots in Leopoldville. Although the Belgians were able to restore order, a turning point in the development of the colony had been reached. Congolese nationalism had been radicalised, and the myth of Congolese tranquillity and passivity under Belgian rule exploded. The January riots forced an acknowledgement on the part of the Belgian Government of the need to move towards the granting of independence. At a Round Table Conference on the future of the Congo held between the government and Congolese opposition leaders, Belgium was forced to agree to what could only be termed a precipitous departure from the Congo. The date for independence was set a mere six months hence, on 30 June 1960. Although opposition leaders at the Round Table Conference had been able to sink their differences temporarily, and agree to a common front in pursuit of the shared goal of ending Belgian rule, divisions and conflicts of interest within the nationalist opposition movement were not hard to find. There were four main nationalist political groupings. The Abako, centred on the capital of the Congo, Leopoldville, and led by Joseph Kasavubu, represented principally the interests of the grouping of tribes known as the Ba-Kongo. Kasavubu, a man who had trained for the priesthood, had the advantage of a high level of education and a strong belief in the traditions of his tribe. He came increasingly to see European rule as an insult to the dignity of the Ba-Kongo. Kasavubu’s role as president of the newly independent Congo was to be a crucial one during the years of civil war. The Conakat, like the Abako, was a regionally based, tribally oriented party. Because it was based in Southern Katanga where much of the mineral wealth of the Congo lay it attracted a good deal of European interest. Dominated by the Ba-Lunda tribe, the Conakat worked closely with European business interests during 1959 and 1960. The key figure in its leadership was its second president, Moise Tshombe, son-in-law of the chief of the Ba-Lunda. In the months leading up to independence, the Conakat was able to put its case across more effectively than its rivals through the use of propaganda funded by business interests. It was clear that what the Conakat sought was not a federal Congolese state, but an independent Katanga which would suit the interests of its European business sympathisers. If both the Abako and the Conakat were essentially regional movements, the Mouvement National Congolais (MNC) aimed from the outset at creating a

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sense of national consciousness that would transcend tribal and regional affiliations. Its president, Patrice Lumumba, was arguably the most charismatic of the Congo’s nationalist leaders. Both he, and the movement’s vice-president, Cyrille Adoula, were destined to be central figures in the post-independence Congolese civil war. Lumumba was certainly the more controversial of the two men. After attending the All-African People’s Conference hosted by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana in December 1958, Lumumba returned to the Congo fired by a sense of the pan-African struggle. Despite his belief in the need for a broadly based mass movement in the Congo, he was unable to hold the MNC together. In October 1959, tribal divisions led to a split in the movement, with Lumumba losing the support of Adoula. Thereafter, Lumumba adopted even more fiery rhetoric. His pressure on the colonial authorities resulted in his arrest in November 1959, and a subsequent period of imprisonment that only served to increase his personal prestige. The final nationalist opposition grouping in the Congo was the Parti National du Progres (PNP). The PNP was the most moderate face of Congolese nationalism and therefore that which gained most favour with the Belgian colonial authorities. It lacked, however, a leader of the stature of Lumumba, Kasavubu or Adoula. Moreover, its perceived association with the Belgian authorities proved to be more of a handicap than an asset in securing electoral support. The party’s deficit of leadership meant that in the elections of May 1960, the PNP, which the Belgians had hoped would emerge as the clear victor, was soundly defeated by Lumumba’s MNC.4 The compressed timetable for independence in the Congo would have caused problems in any colonial setting. In the Congo, where Belgian rule had been so suffocating, where nationalist leaders had had so little time to build up a popular following, and where powerful commercial interests were hostile to the whole notion of an independent Congolese state, it was reckless in the extreme. The weeks preceding the formal granting of independence on 30 June, witnessed the confirmation of Lumumba as prime minister and Kasavubu as president, together with the first indications that trouble could be expected in the province of Katanga. Rumours circulated that the Conakat were planning a declaration of independence on the part of the province. The thrust of Belgian policy in this period seems to have been simply to try to get through the transition of government without a major breakdown in order.5 Even in this respect, though, Belgian policy was to prove unsuccessful. Hard on the heels of the Independence Day celebrations came first civil and then military disorder. A strike in Coquilhatville, the capital of Equateur province, was broken up violently by the Force Publique. The following day, 5 July 1960, the Force mutinied. Discontented with the lack of Africanisation of the officer corps, and contemptuous of the behaviour of many of the politicians whom it had been their duty to guard during the

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independence celebrations, the Congolese soldiers took matters into their own hands, revolting against the authority of the newly-inaugurated government. Much of their fury was to be vented against the Europeans whom they saw as continuing to exert an unwarranted influence over the affairs of the Congo. Reports of assaults and the rape of European women helped prompt intervention on the part of the Belgian forces still stationed in the Congo from their Kamina base. Shortly after the beginning of the Belgian action, Tshombe declared the independence of Katanga Province from the Congo. In a speech delivered on the evening of 12 July he called on the Belgian Government to recognise the independence of Katanga. The war of words which ensued between the Congolese Government, which accused Belgium of having fostered the Katangan secession, and the authorities in Brussels led to the referral of the problem to the United Nations Security Council. Meeting in emergency session the Security Council passed Resolution 4387 calling on Belgium to withdraw its troops from the territory of the Congo, and authorising the secretary-general to provide military assistance to the government of the Congo. The legal basis was thus provided for the establishment of a UN peacekeeping force for the Congo.6 The resolution marked the effective internationalisation of the Congo crisis. Although the British permanent representative on the Security Council was instructed to abstain in the vote on the resolution, Macmillan indicated in the House of Commons that the British Government would give its full support to Secretary-General Hammarskjold in the discharging of his new responsibilities in the Congo.7 In private, though, Philip de Zulueta had suggested to the prime minister that British interests might best be served by assisting Tshombe to establish an independent Katanga. Despite Macmillan’s public statement of support for the secretary-general’s new role, de Zulueta argued that ‘it should … be our object to prevent, without saying so, the United Nations team from being used at this stage to help the Congo Central Government to establish their authority in the Katanga’.8 The attitude of the British Government to the unfolding crisis in the Congo was in fact conditioned by a number of considerations. Firstly, as a colonial power herself, Britain was worried about the example which might be set by the collapse of ‘law and order’ in the Congo. Problems in the Congo might well spill over directly to cause difficulties for the British authorities in the neighbouring states of Tanganyika, Northern Rhodesia and Uganda. The Northern Rhodesian dimension in particular was of concern to the government in the context of its precarious attempt to maintain the so-called Central African Federation (CAF) established in October 1953. This brittle constitutional edifice linked the protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to the white settler-dominated colony of Southern Rhodesia. Plagued by internal tensions from the outset, by the end of the 1950s it was becoming apparent that the CAF’s institutions,

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which were dominated by the settlers, would have difficulty accommodating the demands of African nationalists for self-rule. In London, determination to prop up the CAF in the face of this African nationalist pressure was strong. Nevertheless, there was also a good deal of impatience with the aims and methods of the white settlers led by Sir Roy Welensky. Welensky, who, in November 1958 became federal prime minister, had a problematical relationship with Macmillan. On the one hand, Macmillan did not want to confront him because of the sympathetic following he commanded within the British Conservative Party.9 On the other, Welensky was both unbending in the face of African nationalism and unwilling to bow to London’s wishes. The delicate task of holding together the CAF was complicated still further by events in South Africa, whose withdrawal from the Commonwealth in 1961 and entrenchment of the apartheid system were seen as dangerous precedents both in London and by African nationalist leaders. After a series of constitutional twists and turns during 1960–62, the Macmillan government eventually screwed up the courage in March 1962 to allow a new Northern Rhodesian constitution that provided for a legislature with an African majority. This effectively sealed the fate of the CAF. The African leadership of Northern Rhodesia would never agree to the maintenance of settler rule via the device of the federation.10 The CAF problem was linked to the Congo crisis by economics and geography. The ‘Copper Belt’ straddled the Northern Rhodesian border with the secessionist Congolese province of Katanga. The same commercial interests that saw advantage in the Katangan secession also carried weight with the white settler leadership of the CAF. Correspondingly, Welensky did little to conceal his belief that the Katangan secession was in the interests of the CAF’s white settlers. Not only that but the British Government’s own position was complicated by the economic question. There were significant British investments in Katanga through the firm Tanganyika Concessions, which had a 14.5 per cent shareholding in Union Minière du Haut-Katanga. In addition, elsewhere in the Congo, British companies such as Unilever, the British–American Tobacco Company, and Shell had substantial investments at stake.11 This economic factor formed another part of the government’s calculations when framing its Congo policy. In the midst of this tangled set of local economic and political factors, the British Government also saw broader Cold War considerations involved in the Congo crisis. If the Soviet Union were to take advantage of events to ally itself with radical African nationalism then it would be able to reap a substantial dividend in the global struggle with the West. It is arguable, though, that this broader consideration was often lost sight of in the government’s framing of its Congo policy, which tended to focus more on the short-term management of political tensions within the CAF and within the Conservative Party. The British Government’s policy towards the Congo crisis was influenced not only by the particular issues that it saw at stake in the Congo, but also

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by the attitude of key individuals within its ranks, most notably the Foreign Secretary, Lord Home. Home had a good deal of sympathy for the pro-Katanga lobby in Britain and correspondingly a good deal of impatience with the Afro-Asian lobby at the United Nations. He took a close interest in the Congo crisis as it unfolded, and exerted the predominant influence over the conduct of British policy, with Macmillan making only fitful interventions. It has been argued persuasively that if any other individual had been the incumbent at the Foreign Office then the orientation of British policy during the crisis might well have been significantly different.12 Home’s strong views on the Congo caused some tension within Foreign Office ranks, with a number of lesser officials, most notably Deputy Under-Secretary Sir Roger Stevens, and Head of the African Department, Basil Boothby, maintaining a rather more liberal stance. As might be expected, it was the foreign secretary’s view that invariably carried the day. On the other side of the Atlantic there was also something of a competition for influence in the formation and implementation of policy. During the 1960 presidential campaign, Kennedy had repeatedly criticised Eisenhower for failing to court the new African nations.13 Africa seemed to present one of the prime battlegrounds of the ‘New Frontier’, with Kennedy apparently personally committed to ensuring that the US took a more active interest in the politics of the region. The president’s degree of interest was mirrored by the fact that he was occasionally referred to in jest as the ‘Congo desk officer’.14 As ever in politics, though, there were competing interests that the president had to balance when taking policy decisions during the crisis. Within his own Administration, there was something of a battle for influence between ‘Africanists’ and ‘Europeanists’. The former lobby included individuals such as Assistant-Secretary of State for African Affairs, Mennen ‘Soapy’ Williams, Under-Secretary of State Chester Bowles, and Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson. The latter included Ambassador-at-large Averell Harriman, Under-Secretary of State George Ball, and probably also Secretary of State Dean Rusk.15 The point at issue was how far to accommodate the wishes of the European powers, such as Britain, with whom good relations in other parts of the world were vital, when framing US policy towards Africa?16 In addition to the competition for influence within the bureaucracy, four underlying factors can be identified in shaping US policy during the course of the crisis. The first, and by far the most important, was the waging of the Cold War. Since Africa had been identified as a prime battleground in the global struggle for influence with the Soviet Union, the Congo crisis could not fail to be seen through the Cold War ideological prism. This was to prove to be even more the case in view of the overt Soviet backing for Lumumba and his successor Gizenga. Secondly, the US too had economic interests at stake in the crisis. Outside the Congo, the US was the world’s largest producer of copper and Macmillan for one believed that this helped

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condition the Administration’s unsympathetic approach towards the secessionist Katangan Government. Against the background of US pressure for economic sanctions on Katanga in November 1962, Macmillan wrote in his diary: ‘I suspect the American copper interests in all of this. They are equally jealous of Union Minière and of the N. Rhodesian copper companies.’17 Nevertheless, direct evidence of the influence of such interests on Administration thinking is rather more difficult to pin down from American sources. A third US concern in the crisis was to see the authority and effectiveness of the United Nations Organisation as an international peacekeeper bolstered. The future of the UN itself, and more particularly of the Secretariat, became a fraught issue during the course of the Congo crisis, with Khrushchev seizing the opportunity in the wake of the murder of Lumumba in January 1961 to accuse Hammarskjold of a pro-Western bias. Defeating Khrushchev’s troika proposal, ensuring the success of the UN operation in the Congo, and guaranteeing the very survival of the United Nations Organisation in its existing form became integral parts of Kennedy’s Cold War policy. Finally, Kennedy had to consider the domestic dimensions of his Administration’s policy in the Congo. By taking a firm anti-colonial line, Kennedy could accumulate cheap credit with American liberals and blacks. This credit could only be gained domestically at the much higher price of the loss of electoral support in the conservative Southern states, which would be occasioned through the advancement of civil rights.18 In other words, it was easier to find a sop for the liberals on the race issue internationally than it was domestically. This thinking was also mirrored in the toughening of the Administration’s policy towards the apartheid regime in South Africa. Within weeks of the Inauguration, the Congo threw up a challenge to the new Administration in the form of the public disclosure of the news of Lumumba’s murder. Apparently unknown to Kennedy and his advisers, the CIA had been engaged since August of the previous year in a series of plots to assassinate Lumumba. Despite the CIA’s efforts, though, it was at the hands of his Congolese enemies that Lumumba had met his death on 17 January. When the news broke on 13 February President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana went so far as to label Kennedy a murderer.19 Although the death of Lumumba removed from the scene a populist leader whose reliance on Soviet backing made him an enemy of the US, it is doubtful whether the new president was deserving of such a stricture. Indeed, in the short term, the propaganda coup that the murder of Lumumba handed to Khrushchev created a situation detrimental to US interests. In terms of Anglo-American relations, the reaction to Lumumba’s murder did not reveal any significant divergence in approach. Indeed, paralleling CIA thinking, one Foreign Office official had written the previous September of Lumumba’s killing as one possible solution to the problem he had created for the West.20 Lumumba was variously described in British

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circles as a ‘witch-doctor’ by the prime minister,21 and a ‘known near communist’ by the foreign secretary.22 Thus, his death was hardly a development over which the British Government seemed likely to shed any tears. In the event, the immediate crisis caused by Lumumba’s murder blew over without the direct Soviet military intervention both governments had feared might result.23 The difference in emphasis between the British Government, which was pursuing tactics designed to perpetuate the Katangan secession, and the US Administration, which sought the means to create and bolster a proWestern Congolese Central Government, bubbled to the surface in the summer of 1961. The issue at stake was the desirability and timing of a meeting of the Congolese Parliament. The US assessment was that the moderate leader Cyrille Adoula would be elected as prime minister if parliament met. The British were more doubtful of this, and fearful that the absence of Katangan deputies from parliament might open the way towards measures aimed at the forcible reintegration of Katanga.24 In the event, British warnings about the potential level of support for Gizenga, Adoula’s rival for the premiership, proved well placed, and it was only with the aid of CIA bribery on a grand scale that delegates were persuaded to elect Adoula prime minister.25 From this point onwards, the bolstering of the position of the pro-Western Adoula became a central theme of US policy. To the extent that the Katangan secession undermined Adoula’s position as prime minister of the Congolese central government the US Administration was now prepared to push harder for the reintegration of the province. While the British too regarded Adoula’s survival as desirable, they continued to baulk at the prospect of the forceful reintegration of Katanga. The seeds of Anglo-American discord over the Congo that would germinate in the winter of 1962 were thus sown. In the short term, the reaction of the leaders of the two countries to the mismanaged United Nations Operation ‘Morthor’ of September 1961 did not portend the divisions which would come to the fore the following year. The British were able to play on continuing American fears about the threat from Gizenga, who was believed to be working behind the scenes to undermine the Adoula Government. On the evening of 14 September Macmillan discussed the Congo by telephone with Kennedy.26 The two apparently agreed that this was not the moment for the UN to take action to reintegrate Katanga by force. Anglo-American pressure was exerted on the UN to secure a ceasefire.27 It was during the course of negotiating this ceasefire, that Secretary-General Hammarskjold was to die in a plane crash in Katanga on 18 September. Although the suspension of UN military operations was a welcome development for the British Government in the short term, it was not long before its dilemma in relation to Katanga was once more thrown into sharp relief. The so called ‘Second Round’ of the UN attempt to reintegrate

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Katanga by force during December 1961 and the ‘bombs for the UN’ crisis which accompanied it provoked a good deal of strain in Anglo-American relations. During the first round of fighting in September, UN forces had been at a disadvantage due to the fact that Tshombe’s forces had been able to call on air support. Albeit that this support constituted no more than one fighter aircraft, it was one more than the UN could call on. In order to remedy this deficiency, the UN Force had acquired a number of its own aircraft, including six Canberra bombers from India. Since these aircraft were British made, it was not surprising that the UN should turn to the British Government with a request for bombs with which to arm them. From the outset, the UN request was a controversial issue within the Conservative Party. In mid-November, the foreign secretary warned of keen criticism should Britain agree to supply the bombs.28 Certainly, his own experience of defending the government’s position before the Conservative Party’s Foreign Affairs Committee at this juncture can have left him in no doubt as to the depth of feeling on the back benches over the Congo.29 As matters transpired, the question was to prove even more controversial than Home had feared. The outbreak of the ‘Second Round’ of fighting in December gave much greater urgency to the UN request. At the same time, it made any agreement on the part of the government to supply the bombs an even more fraught one in terms of its relations with both the Katanga lobby at home, and Sir Roy Welensky’s Central African Federation abroad. Meeting on the evening of 7 December to consider the UN request, the Cabinet agreed reluctantly that the bombs should be supplied but only on condition that they would be used for defensive purposes.30 This condition was designed to protect the Cabinet from accusations that it was actively aiding and abetting the forcible reintegration of Katanga. After initially refusing, the Acting Secretary-General U Thant later agreed to go ahead on this basis. The agreement between Britain and the UN was then made public in New York. Almost immediately, the Cabinet had cause to regret its decision. News of an interview with Sturre Linner, the officer-in-charge of UN operations in the Congo, in which he proclaimed an intention to smash the military strength of Tshombe’s forces, led Home to tell Rusk in Paris on 10 December that it was now impossible for Britain to send the bombs.31 With a foreign affairs debate looming in the House of Commons on 14 December, Macmillan began to panic. Although the government had reneged on its promise to supply the UN with bombs, there was still the danger of a Commons vote censuring its handling of the Congo crisis. Worse still, Macmillan even feared that his government might be toppled through a vote of no confidence.32 Desperate to garner the extra votes he believed he needed to survive the debate, Macmillan spoke to Kennedy by phone on the evening of 13 December. His goal was to enlist the president’s support in securing a halt to UN military action.33 Despite the

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friendly tenor of the conversation it did not bridge the gap between the American and British positions. This was highlighted by Ambassador Adlai Stevenson in a discussion with his British counterpart in New York Sir Patrick Dean. As Stevenson saw it, the British wanted a ceasefire irrespective of a firm commitment on the part of Tshombe to meet Adoula, whereas the US wanted to see Tshombe’s ‘foot on the aircraft ladder’ first.34 Not for the first or the last time, Macmillan was forced to rely on the personal influence of David Ormsby-Gore with the president in order to secure his desired goal. Dining alone with Kennedy that evening, Ormsby-Gore persuaded him that the UN should go on record immediately as favouring a ceasefire and reconciliation between Tshombe and Adoula. As OrmsbyGore put it, Kennedy believed that Macmillan would not have approached him in this fashion ‘unless he was in deep trouble’. In the ambassador’s presence, Kennedy telephoned George Ball, telling him ‘I have got David Gore sitting beside me here, and he will explain what it is the British Government wants done and I want it done.’ After speaking to OrmsbyGore, Ball called Stevenson in New York, asking him to intercede to the effect the British wanted with the UN Secretary-General. The net result was that the following morning, U Thant issued a statement calling for a ceasefire.35 In view of the tenor of Stevenson’s discussion with Dean that afternoon, one may surmise that he did not carry out his new instructions in the best of humour.36 At any rate, from Macmillan’s point of view, Ormsby-Gore’s intervention did the trick. In his own account of the House of Commons debate on 14 December, Macmillan focuses much of his attention on the flawed tactics of the opposition leadership and the effectiveness of his own defence of government policy. He mentions only briefly that ‘before I sat down I was able to announce that U Thant had, within the last hour or two, reaffirmed his decision to achieve reconciliation by peaceful means, and was sending two of his most trusted colleagues to Leopoldville with instructions to this end.’37 Nevertheless, the timing of the announcement must have helped to sway a number of the remaining doubters on the Conservative benches into backing the government. Macmillan emerged from the division with a majority of 94. Kennedy’s own comment on the outcome betrayed a certain exasperation with the lengths to which the prime minister had been prepared to go to save his own political skin. ‘Well, that was a pretty good majority; I wonder whether we needed to have gone to all that trouble the other night in order to get it?’38 In a subsequent conversation with Ormsby-Gore, the president underlined that although he had been prepared to intercede personally with the UN to halt military operations on this occasion, it was very much Tshombe’s last chance.39 Macmillan’s frustration with the position his government found itself in over the crisis was tangible. Unable to exert sufficient influence with the United States or the international community as a whole to block

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indefinitely the prospect of the reintegration of Katanga by force, he was equally unable to contemplate with equanimity the likely domestic consequences of such an action for his government. A sort of paralysis afflicted British Government thinking and policy. Macmillan vented his frustration by railing on the subject of the double standards he believed to be revealed by the question of the financing of the UN operation. A memorandum on this theme to the permanent under-secretary at the Foreign Office written by the prime minister the day after the House of Commons debate positively oozes venom. Macmillan asserted that the British representative at the UN should stand up and make a ‘sensational speech’, revealing the ‘dishonesty of this whole affair’. This would have the benefit, both of bolstering the government’s domestic position, and also countering those overseas critics who argued that Britain was half-hearted in its support of the UN. It would also underline the community of interest between the United States and Britain, since the former was being ‘bled white’ as the main paymaster of the UN operation. Macmillan’s summing up of his feelings on the Congo crisis perhaps has broader applicability to his conduct of foreign policy in this period: ‘one gets tired of being trampled on, and even the tired old English worm should turn from time to time’.40 Although as a result of active American diplomacy, Tshombe was persuaded to attend talks with Adoula, the accord the two men reached on 21 December was decidedly fragile. Under the terms of the so-called Kitona Agreement, Tshombe renounced the Katangan secession. Nevertheless, he argued that his signature on the accord would need further ratification. In fact, the question of the reintegration of Katanga was not resolved by the Kitona Agreement. Indeed, from the very outset, Macmillan himself expressed doubts as to whether the agreement could be made to stick. News of its conclusion broke during the Bermuda summit. The prime minister’s first reaction was to express concern about the agreement because ‘he felt it was too far contrary to Tshombe’s original line for him to have accepted it except under duress’.41 This showed how much of a gap was opening up between British and American views, since US policy was guided by the premise that Tshombe was unlikely to be brought to accept Adoula’s leadership without the exercise of some form of duress. In further discussion of the agreement the following day, both Home and Macmillan underlined that they did not believe that it represented a fair or durable settlement of the Katangan problem. Macmillan suggested that he and the president should describe the Kitona talks merely as a satisfactory ‘first step towards reconciliation’.42 According to McGeorge Bundy’s summary of the discussion, ‘submerged disagreement’ remained. ‘The British said they were skeptical of the Kitona agreement, and seemed to feel that the UN was a damned nuisance. The President countered by saying that ‘we [presumably the US] could only keep the heat on Adoula if the others [presumably the dirty imperialist powers] kept the heat on Tshombe.’43 In the end, neither

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side was able to persuade the other to change the emphasis of its Congo policy and so Kennedy and Macmillan left Bermuda ‘roughly agreeing to disagree’ on the question.44 The British strategy from this point onwards seems to have been no more sophisticated than to attempt to spin out the crisis in the hope that something would turn up. Perhaps if the Congolese themselves could be persuaded to arrive at some sort of compromise, the feared contingency of renewed UN military action backed unswervingly by the US would not materialise. The government felt unable to back the Katangan secession more proactively because of both the problems this would cause in AngloAmerican relations and the broader international condemnation and isolation which would most likely ensue. Similarly, it could not fall unequivocally into line behind the tougher US anti-secession stance both because of the difficulties on the Conservative benches at home and the problems with Sir Roy Welensky and the Central African Federation abroad. Matters drifted for several months and, by the time Macmillan and Kennedy met again, this time in Washington in April 1962, the question of the Katangan secession seemed no closer to resolution. During the Washington talks, Kennedy and his advisers once again attempted a new initiative to try to resolve Anglo-American differences over the Congo. At American instigation, plans were set in motion to establish an AngloAmerican–Belgian ambassadorial group to try to arrive at an agreed tripartite policy. The continuing divergence in the approach of the two countries to the question was nevertheless very much in evidence during the talks. Kennedy issued a veiled warning about ‘those in circles close to Mr Tshombe’ who ‘thought that the United States would not have the courage to support a military operation in the Congo’. He also argued that ‘he had the impression that the Union Minière was becoming more obdurate and was refusing to make any move in the hope that a white enclave … might be established in the centre of Africa. This would invite Soviet penetration. It was important therefore to make it clear in financial circles that this idea was not feasible.’45 This indirect reference to the machinations of Sir Roy Welensky and the Katanga lobby in Britain was no doubt not lost on Macmillan.46 For his part the prime minister underlined the dilemma that faced the British Government, which ‘could not tolerate further military action’.47 Still, the decision to set up the tripartite working group on the Congo, which it was agreed should meet in London from 15 to 16 May, at least presented a further opportunity to try to resolve Anglo-American differences. With hopes raised in advance of the London meeting, the largely sterile substance and insubstantial outcome of the talks proved to be a genuine disappointment on both sides of the Atlantic. Underlining the importance he attached to the discussions, Kennedy had sent a personal

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telegram to Ambassador Bruce on 14 May, emphasising that ‘time is fast running out on integrating Katanga promptly into the rest of the Congo’. In view of this the president regarded it as ‘essential … that you drive home to the British and Belgian Governments our determination to achieve an integrated Congo. They, in turn, must impart this determination to the financial interests of both countries involved in the Congo.’48 Kennedy’s expectations were to be dashed. On the evening of 16 May, Bruce wrote that: on [the] two principal points upon which [the] President and [State] Department particularly wished agreement: (A) Support of [the] use of force, if necessary, by [the] UN to bring about Katanga reintegration; (B) support by Union Minière and Tanganyika Concessions of policies designed to achieve such reintegration; I must report almost complete failure.49 The ambassador had pressed his British and Belgian colleagues, the Earl of Dundee and Robert Rothschild, hard on these points, even going so far as to show them his instructions from the president.50 Nevertheless, the Earl of Dundee had proven obdurate. As Bruce put it, ‘I was impressed by the mobility and helpfulness, within limits, of [the] Belgian position as compared with that of the British. [The] pragmatism of [the] latter was evident as usual, [the] resolution to let sleeping dogs lie, not to engage in hypothetical or advance planning, to procrastinate.’ Overall, when it came to methods of achieving Katangan reintegration, Bruce believed that ‘we are far apart from [the] British’.51 The assessment of the talks prepared by the Earl of Dundee was equally gloomy. Dundee spoke of ‘irreconcilable differences’ between the British and American positions, and argued that there was no real hope of an agreed policy.52 Macmillan was evidently not entirely happy with the hardline stance adopted by Dundee, annotating a large cross in the margin against Dundee’s suggestion that Britain would probably have to veto any Security Council resolution contemplating the further use of force. He did take on board though Dundee’s comment that the State Department did not seem to be fully aware of the strength of the British opposition to the use of force. In a minute to Foreign Secretary Home Macmillan emphasised that ‘I think it is very important that we should make it clear to the Americans that, as I explained to the President in Washington, we could not support any further United Nations military action in the Congo.’53 In Washington, disappointment with the outcome of the talks was tangible. As the State Department saw matters, it was ‘futile to pursue efforts with [the] UK further at this time …’54 McGeorge Bundy for his part, in a personal letter to Philip de Zulueta, expressed his sorrow that the US effort to align policy with the UK had had such limited success.55 With the

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Anglo-American rupture over the Congo in danger of coming into the open, both Home and Macmillan attempted to repair some of the damage in relations between the two countries. Both sought to give further clarifications of the British position, the foreign secretary in a meeting with Ambassador Bruce,56 and the prime minister through a personal telegram to the president. Ambassador Bruce’s assessment of the motivation behind Lord Home’s approach was that ‘it is obvious that HMG [is] deeply worried that [the] course of events in [the] Congo may reveal [the] basic divergence [of] US-UK views, to [the] domestic and international detriment [of the] UK’.57 Macmillan for his part expressed his disappointment to the president that the London talks, which had been intended to bring the British and American points of view closer together, had, if anything, had the reverse effect.58 He went on to argue that the British position over the Congo was really quite simple. It ought to be a united country but with a federal constitution which would give Tshombe in particular a good deal of autonomy. If the US would use its influence with the United Nations towards this end then Anglo-American differences would be resolved. The problem with Macmillan’s line of argument, though, was that it missed the essential point. All previous negotiations showed that neither Tshombe nor Adoula saw matters in such straightforward constitutional terms. This was a struggle for power in which both were determined to emerge victorious. Without significant pressure on Tshombe, he would make no move to end the Katangan secession. This was the harsh reality of the Congo crisis that Macmillan did not want to confront. In his reply, Kennedy picked up on precisely this point. Tshombe, he argued, ‘must be finally convinced that the UN will have full support in its effort to bring about integration, and secession in any guise is no longer possible’.59 He also underlined once again the part the British Government could play in exerting its influence on the financial interests that backed Tshombe’s government.60 Neither Macmillan’s telegram, nor Kennedy’s reply seems to have done anything other than highlight further the crucial difference in emphasis as between the British approach and that of the United States. As de Zulueta put it when commenting on Kennedy’s message, ‘this is not a good reply … There is some odd language in the message for a Democrat to use! Perhaps this will be a field of Anglo-French cooperation after all.’61 Unfortunately, even in respect of Anglo-French relations, the Congo was to prove controversial. The French took exception to their exclusion from the tripartite talks62 and thus the British were able to have the worst of all possible worlds. They had argued with the Americans without even gaining any credit for it with the French. President de Gaulle no doubt had a good point when he told Macmillan at Rambouillet in December 1962 that ‘Britain and France were really at one over the Congo but they did not do the same things … France … was

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against the United Nations intervening by force. Britain really agreed with France but had listened to the Americans.’63 In the spirit of the earlier American decision to give up on attempts to arrive at an agreed approach with the British Government, the Administration pressed on with consultations with the Belgians and with the UN Secretariat. The aim was to agree on the best means of exerting pressure on Tshombe to secure Katangan reintegration. British exclusion from this process produced a measure of frustration in London. De Zulueta told Macmillan that ‘I do not think it is very satisfactory that the Americans should be negotiating with the Belgians as it were behind our back.’ Sarcastically, he observed that ‘after all Mr Tshombe is fighting for freedom no less strongly than Archbishop Makarios used to’.64 Irrespective of British wishes, the Americans forged ahead with their efforts and by the last week of July the State Department had prepared what was euphemistically termed a ‘National Reconciliation Plan’. This envisaged a four-stage process aimed at securing Katangan reintegration. The first two stages were relatively uncontroversial, involving measures designed to strengthen the central government, and promote national reconciliation. Phase Three, however, envisaged a voluntary boycott of Katangan copper exports, while Phase Four, should it prove necessary, would involve more stringent measures, including a UN-imposed blockade of copper exports. As UnderSecretary George Ball put it in a memorandum to the president, it had to be ‘clearly recognised that this step, if carried out, would risk the outbreak of hostilities’.65 British reluctance to participate in any voluntary copper boycott, never mind mandatory sanctions was acknowledged by Ball.66 The dangers of an open Anglo-American breach over the Congo were as great as ever, with Macmillan himself noting that ‘there are two matters on which we seem to differ seriously from the Americans. One is the Congo and the other is the nuclear test agreement.’67 In this climate matters cannot have been helped by a remarkably intemperate telegram from Foreign Secretary Home to Secretary of State Rusk on 10 August. If Rusk’s earlier telegram to Home on the subject of British Guiana had been the most extraordinary of American missives to Britain in the Kennedy era, Home’s message on the Congo surely deserves the same epithet for the British side. Stung by the threat of sanctions on Katanga, Lord Home lectured Rusk on what he evidently thought were the ‘home truths’ of African politics.68 On sanctions Home was blunt. Britain did not believe in them. ‘It may be logical’, he wrote, ‘that Tshombe should give way to sanctions, but he will not. He would rather go back to eating nuts than capitulate to the United Nations or Adoula …’69 Flaunting what can only be described as racist prejudices, the foreign secretary argued that this pointed to a broader ‘truth’ about African politics. ‘The leading Africans, it is true, have their Cadillacs but they had nuts for much longer and are much nearer to them and they

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do not worry about returning to the jungle.’ The point the foreign secretary seemed to be trying to make had two dimensions. Firstly, he did not believe that African leaders could be persuaded to change course as a result of the imposition of economic sanctions. Secondly, Britain did not want to see any form of economic sanction imposed, whether voluntary or not, because this would provide a precedent for similar action in other colonial disputes.70 Britain would thus only cooperate in the first two phases of the American plan, not the third and fourth. US impatience with the position in the Congo at this stage was heightened by several further developments during the autumn of 1962, all of which seemed to point towards the need for the UN to take an early military initiative. Firstly, the Indian troops which made up by far the largest contingent of the UN force seemed likely to be recalled by the Indian Government in the wake of the Chinese incursion into North East India in October 1962. The UN needed either to put them to use or face the prospect of losing its offensive military capability. Secondly, Adoula’s Government seemed to be weakening rapidly during the final months of the year. Since the US had played such an important role as Adoula’s backer, it would be a severe blow to the Kennedy Administration’s prestige if his government were to collapse. Finally, many of the members of the Afro-Asian group at the UN, which the US continued to try to court, were becoming impatient with the deadlock. All of these factors contributed to a new sense of urgency which imbued the Administration’s Congo policy in the wake of the Cuban missile crisis.71 Macmillan saw a further US interest at work in the drive to secure sanctions against Katanga: that of the American copper industry. The prime minister’s reflex in times of tension in Anglo-American relations was often to point the finger of blame at US commercial interests. Thus the views he expressed on the Congo question at the end of November 1962 were not exceptional.72 Coupled with the disagreements over Hawk missiles for Israel, the forced cancellation of the Blue Water missile, and the Skybolt crisis, what we might call the ‘Congo copper plot’ in the final months of 1962 was more grist to the mill of Macmillan’s American commercial conspiracy theory. By the middle of December the resolve of the US Administration had stiffened to the point where active consideration was being given to adding a US air squadron to the UN forces in the Congo.73 Although the idea was shelved in the face of reservations expressed by U Thant and by a number of Kennedy advisers, it was agreed to supply the UN force with additional military equipment, and also to send a US military mission to the Congo immediately.74 The British Government was to be informed of US intentions at the Nassau conference scheduled to begin two days later. In fact American intentions were disclosed in a press background briefing given by Ball and Nitze on 18 December on the president’s instructions. The reason

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for the timing of the disclosure was the desire to stress the urgency of the Congo question on the Nassau agenda and reduce the focus on Skybolt.75 While the gambit was unsuccessful in this respect, Anglo-American disagreement over the Congo when the matter came up for discussion only served to add to the ill-tempered nature of the Nassau debates. It is important to note that just as the president seems to have taken the initiative over the Skybolt question, with his disingenuous offer of a 50-50 sharing of development costs, he was also personally responsible for the shift in US Congo policy. This much is clear from a White House Staff meeting on 20 December, which took place during his absence at the Nassau conference. In response to a question from Schlesinger as to who was responsible for all of the ‘backgrounding’ on the issue, Kaysen answered straightforwardly: ‘John F. Kennedy.’ All of the ‘Doubting Thomases’ should understand, Kaysen emphasised, that the new US policy had been decided at the highest level.76 Among these doubting Thomases could be numbered Ambassador David Bruce, who noted in his diary that he wished the president would rid himself of those advisers on the Congo who were crying out for foolish actions to forestall a Soviet takeover. In the meantime, Bruce suggested acerbically, it might be wise to ‘send a cargo plane, loaded with tranquillizer pills to our representatives in Leopoldville’.77 The first discussion of the Congo at the Nassau conference, which Bruce also attended, took place on the afternoon of 19 December when the Skybolt question remained unresolved. Consequently, it seems to have been of a particularly ill-tempered nature. In response to Ball’s comment that the US was considering basing an air squadron at Kamina, Home ‘inquired dryly whether the United States Government was doing all this under any UN resolution’.78 When Ball suggested that it might be necessary for Adoula to prorogue parliament and rule by decree, Home evidently lost his temper. ‘Was the United States Government going to tell the world this? Personally speaking, he was all for the United States taking over a new African colony: “Best idea I have heard in years.”’79 Picking up the debate in the same vein the prime minister weighed in with the sarcastic suggestion that ‘of course if the United States would take over the Congo that would be very satisfactory. They could make Tshombe a maharaja with an American Resident …’80 In the circumstances prevailing at this stage in the conference, Kennedy must have realised that it was most unlikely that the British delegation would abandon its existing opposition to the use of firmer military measures in the Congo. At any rate, he indicated in his concluding remarks that he felt the discussion ‘had gone about as far as it could’.81 Although the two delegations returned to consideration of the Congo crisis in the improved atmosphere prevailing on 21 December, no further progress of any significance was made.82 Home did suggest, however, that the British

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Government would keep quiet about the Congo unless any further resolution authorising the use of force was introduced in the Security Council. This he promised to veto. In the aftermath of Nassau, Secretary of State Rusk for one remained puzzled by his inability to reach any understanding over the Congo with his normally amenable counterpart Home.83 It is doubtful whether attendance at the conference itself would have left him any the wiser. When the UN military operation ‘Grand Slam’ began in earnest on 28 December within days of the conclusion of the Nassau conference the British government did not take an activist stance. There was in fact nothing that London could have done to stop the operation. On 3 January the Cabinet agreed that it would not be expedient for Britain to take any immediate measures to rescue Tshombe from what were termed the consequences of his own actions.84 By 15 January 1963, Tshombe was forced to announce his government’s decision to end the secession. The manner in which the UN had eventually brought about its goal in the Congo was a clear defeat for British policy in the crisis, and a vindication of the US stance.85 In what London would no doubt have seen as a display of crocodile tears, a State Department circular telegram sent at this point expressed concern over the ‘decline we see in [the] British position, especially throughout east and southern Africa, with corresponding damage to overall Western interests and influence’.86 While there is no evidence that the US Administration had known in advance of the intention of the UN Force to make a decisive move in the final week of December 1962, Kennedy’s pressure on U Thant to accept a direct American military commitment had no doubt helped to prompt the UN into taking action. The secretary-general can have been left in no doubt of the greater sense of urgency which lay behind American attempts to resolve the Katangan question from the middle of December onwards. If the president had not been aware of UN plans during his talks with Macmillan at Nassau he must have sensed the way the wind was blowing. He had after all helped to conjure up the Furies. The notion of a UN operation in the Congo, undertaken against British wishes and partly at American instigation, brings us back to the theme of a set of interlocking crises in Anglo-American relations during the winter of 1962–3. Although Britain had managed to adopt a lower profile in the final stages of the UN action than had been the case for much of the previous two years there was no avoiding the fact that she had suffered a loss of international prestige. In the last resort, Kennedy had decided that it was more important to bring an end to the Katangan secession, and forestall any possibility of Soviet intervention, than to heed British special pleading.

7 The EEC Application

Looming larger than events in the Congo, a key component of the crisis of interdependence that came together in the winter of 1962–3 was the failure of the British application to join the EEC. In Harold Macmillan’s mind, this application had been conceived in the wake of the collapse of the Paris summit of May 1960 as a means to maintain Britain’s international economic and political position in the face of the unreliability of the AngloAmerican alliance. As such it was an exercise in the hedging of bets. That Macmillan should have chosen the EEC course by 1961, when one looks back to the beginning of his premiership, is somewhat surprising. In fact, in his early years as prime minister, Macmillan proved to be at best a reluctant European. Coming to office in the aftermath of the Suez crisis, it is arguable that he might have chosen a European rather than an AngloAmerican path for Britain in foreign affairs. After all, one reading of the Suez crisis was that ‘European’ cooperation in the shape of the AngloFrench collusion with the Israelis had provided the only means by which Britain could defend her position in the face of American unreliability. Macmillan himself, though, does not seem to have given serious consideration to a change in British policy towards the process of European integration which had been set in train at Messina in June 1955, and which was to lead to the signature of the Treaties of Rome establishing the European Economic Community (EEC) and Euratom on 25 March 1957.1 This was despite the fact that Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd had gone so far as to suggest in Cabinet on 8 January 1957 that Britain might respond to the blow to her prestige sustained over Suez by pooling ‘resources with our European allies so that Western Europe as whole might become a third nuclear power comparable with the United States and the Soviet Union’.2 Notwithstanding his earlier interest in the European movement, and enthusiasm for Churchill’s ideas in respect of European cooperation, Macmillan was by inclination more an Atlanticist and imperialist. The European circle seemed at the beginning of 1957 to offer too circumscribed 127

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a role to Great Britain for the prime minister to consider engaging in a major change of course in foreign policy. If reluctance was the dominant refrain of Macmillan’s attitude towards European integration on assuming the premiership, this did not equal indifference. The Macmillan Government inherited the plan for a European Free Trade Area, the so-called ‘Plan G’, which Macmillan as Chancellor of the Exchequer had been instrumental in launching before the Suez débâcle.3 The goal of the new government’s European policy was little different to that of its predecessor: to find a means of subsuming the emerging Common Market of the Six in a wider free trade area which would be outward rather than inward-looking. In other words to create an economic association which would not seek to build up its own internal market behind an external tariff wall, but would rather aim at a broader expansion of trade. Such an association would give Britain the best of all possible worlds in the form of access to European and Commonwealth markets without discrimination. It would also avoid the awkward choices of political allegiance that might be expected to flow from exclusive European trading arrangements. In this sense, the Macmillan Government’s attitude towards the emerging EEC was both insecure and defensive. The government was torn between the political costs of any move towards closer association with the Common Market, and the economic costs of potential exclusion. In these circumstances, Plan G still seemed to present a convenient means of wishing away the dilemma. As Macmillan himself wrote shortly after the signature of the Treaty of Rome: ‘what I chiefly fear, and what we must at all costs avoid, is the Common Market coming into being and the Free Trade Area never following …’4 If one way of wishing away the dilemma presented by the emergence of the EEC was to hope for the success of the Free Trade Area (FTA) plan, another was to hope that progress towards the creation of the Common Market itself might prove to be ephemeral. Certainly, at the outset of the Messina process there had been grounds for scepticism as to the likely success of attempts at fostering closer integration between the participants.5 One reading of the collapse of the European Defence Community in 1954 was that the Franco-German divide remained too deep to act as the firm foundation for any scheme for European cooperation. Scepticism about the likely success of the EEC persisted until the completion of the ratification process of the Treaty of Rome.6 In the event, such British scepticism proved unjustified. The ratification of the Treaty of Rome meant that the Macmillan Government had to fall back during 1958 on the FTA device as a means of blunting the economic threat posed by the EEC.7 In pursuing the FTA, the principal adversary of the British proved to be the French Government. It quickly became clear that the British Government could offer neither any threat nor any inducement sufficiently powerful to overcome French opposition to the dilution of the existing provisions of the

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Treaty of Rome.8 Nor did the British proposals appeal to the other member states of the Community. Nevertheless, the negotiations limped on through the summer of 1958, and it was not until November that the coup de grâce was administered by the French. The distraction of the French Government from the FTA negotiations during the summer months had been in large part the result of the domestic political crisis precipitated by events in Algeria. It was the Algerian imbroglio, to which the politicians of the Fourth Republic could find no solution, which brought back to power Macmillan’s old wartime comrade and sparring partner General Charles de Gaulle at the beginning of June. The General’s return to power brought with it a new orientation and a new assertiveness in French foreign policy of which the blunt dismissal of the FTA plan in November was but one facet. Although the focus of this study is on Anglo-American relations, and on the diplomatic role of two key protagonists in London and Washington, Harold Macmillan and John F. Kennedy, General Charles de Gaulle was on so many occasions the ghost at the Anglo-American feast that the guiding tenets of his foreign policy are worth brief exploration here. At the core of the general’s ideology was what he himself termed ‘une certaine idée de la France’.9 In essence this amounted to a conception of French national exceptionalism, independence and grandeur. Reinforcing de Gaulle’s idea of France were lessons he had drawn from his own experiences, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s. Believing his warnings about the need for French military re-organisation in the 1930s in the face of the growth of German power to have gone unheeded, and feeling himself to have been slighted at the hands of the Anglo-Americans during the war years, de Gaulle’s approach to relations with all three of these powers in the post-war years was cautious and suspicious. With regard to Germany, in the immediate aftermath of the war de Gaulle had at first sought to deal with the threat posed by German power by advocating the nation’s demilitarisation and dismemberment. In the wake of the creation of the Federal Republic and its integration into NATO and the EEC, de Gaulle changed tack. Showing his ability to adapt his approach to changing international circumstances, he set out to forge a close bond with West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer. This change of tack did not represent a shift in de Gaulle’s ideology. In fact, the containment of German power remained pivotal to his foreign policy. It was simply that cooperation with an economically vibrant West Germany seemed by the end of the 1950s a far more useful tool for the advancement of French interests than confrontation.10 An even more crucial question from the point of view of this study is where did the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ fit into de Gaulle’s world-view by the end of the 1950s? Clearly, Britain and America were not potential enemies in the category of the Germans. They could more appropriately be described as

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competitors in a global struggle for power in which de Gaulle was determined that France would rise to occupy the leading role. Perhaps because of what the general saw as Britain’s increasing dependence on and subservience to the United States, perhaps because of the centuries old history of Anglo-French rivalry, or perhaps simply because of her geographical proximity, de Gaulle believed that the first step on the path to realisation of France’s destiny must be to overcome Britain in the struggle for leadership within Europe. As Mendès-France put it to Arthur Schlesinger in May 1961, ‘de Gaulle is more Anglophobe than Americanophobe’.11 As regards the question of European integration, it followed from de Gaulle’s basic philosophy, firstly, that any moves to establish a supranational or federal union in Europe would be anathema to him.12 Secondly, any Anglo-American schemes to block the revival of French leadership in Europe must be resisted. In this context, of course, de Gaulle’s veto of the FTA plan in November 1958 made perfect sense, as did his ultimate veto of British membership of the EEC in January 1963. In trying to frame Britain’s policy towards Europe in the new circumstances created by the return of de Gaulle, Harold Macmillan did have a number of advantages. For one thing, he had experience of dealing with the general from his wartime days, first in the Colonial Office in London, and then as minister resident with the Allied Forces in North Africa. Here he had also exhibited a capacity for understanding and a willingness to accommodate de Gaulle which had marked him out from his less sympathetic political masters in London and Washington.13 For another thing, Macmillan spoke excellent French, allowing him to converse intimately and directly with the general in a manner open neither to Eisenhower nor Kennedy. Indeed, there is little doubt that on a personal level de Gaulle had a certain fondness for Macmillan and found him a congenial sparring partner. Certainly, as a 5 June 1943 letter from de Gaulle attests, the general was well aware of Macmillan’s decisive personal role in securing his position as Joint President of the French Committee of National Liberation despite the exasperation of both Roosevelt and Churchill. ‘Your sympathy is precious to me,’ wrote de Gaulle, ‘which permits me also to call it our friendship.’14 In later years Macmillan himself would remember in particular one occasion that same summer of 1943 when he had driven with the general to Tipasa, and they had walked in the Roman ruins, debating every conceivable subject from politics to religion to history. Afterwards Macmillan had bathed naked in the sea while de Gaulle sat in full French military uniform on a rock.15 Perhaps this showed symbolically that while the general might unburden himself of his thoughts on a personal and intimate level, he would never divest himself of his duty to France. Appropriately enough in view of the role that de Gaulle was to play in stymieing Macmillan’s shift towards Europe, the key turning point in respect of British foreign policy during the Macmillan premiership took

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place in Paris. The collapse of the May 1960 summit towards which Macmillan had aimed since his visit to the Soviet Union in February 1959 was a crucial watershed in the prime minister’s thinking in a number of respects. What the collapse in Paris did was to undermine Macmillan’s attempts to secure a Cold War détente and expose the limitations of his reliance on the Anglo-American relationship as the foundation of British foreign policy. Confronted by a direct challenge to the US’s Cold War credibility in the shape of Khrushchev’s demand for an unreserved apology for the U-2 incident, Eisenhower would not give way. Macmillan’s importunities not to let the summit collapse were to no avail and may well only have served to diminish the president’s opinion of him.16 Macmillan’s belief that the subtle British would be able to guide the hand of the brash Americans like the Greeks and the Romans of old had proven whimsical in the face of the hard-headed realism of the American president. In the wake of the summit Macmillan confided to Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd that it was difficult to see the way ahead now that he could no longer ‘usefully talk to the Americans’.17 Philip de Zulueta too recalled that Paris represented a real watershed for the prime minister because ‘this was the moment he suddenly realised that Britain counted for nothing; he couldn’t move Ike to make a gesture towards Khrushchev …’18 The failure at the summit was ‘crucial in the development of his concept of Europe’, as de Zulueta saw things, ‘because at the summit it became apparent that he really couldn’t by himself bring irreconcilable American and Russian positions closer’.19 Macmillan himself put it even more simply: Paris ‘was the most tragic moment of my life’.20 It was to a large extent out of Macmillan’s sense of frustration with British impotence in the face of American intransigence, crystallised by the events in Paris, that the prime minister’s turn towards the EEC was born. It is important to underline this point because, although there is a general consensus that Macmillan began to change his mind about Britain’s relationship with the EEC in the spring and early summer of 1960 the causes of this shift are fiercely debated. For Jacqueline Tratt, the key determinant in the government’s change of course was the question of trade.21 Thus, Sir Frank Lee’s22 memorandum to the Chancellor of the Exchequer of 22 April 1960, making the case for ‘near-identification’ with the Common Market stands out as a crucial watershed in her analysis.23 The prime minister himself was not the driving force behind a decision that was ‘predicated mainly upon commercial considerations’.24 This analysis invites us to direct our attention to the bureaucratic politics of trade, and thus conflicts with any explanation focusing on the high politics of the Anglo-American relationship. A more sophisticated version of this argument is to be found in Andrew Moravcsik’s work. For Moravcsik, the British membership bid was aimed primarily at the protection and advancement of British commercial

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interests. Geopolitics, whether in the form of the decline of the Commonwealth, the diminution of Britain’s international role between the superpowers, or the threat of German revival were secondary. The bid for membership was only presented in these terms because of the need to secure the widest possible base of support in domestic public opinion.25 By contrast, both Oliver Bange and Wolfram Kaiser have advanced arguments about the shift in British policy which hinge on the Anglo-American relationship at the high political level. For both of them, Macmillan’s own role is central. Both too see the British failure to convince the Eisenhower Administration to drop its opposition to the British-backed European Free Trade Association (EFTA), which had risen from the ruins of Britain’s FTA plan during 1959, as a crucial development. Thus Bange argues that the Macmillan–Eisenhower meeting at Camp David in March 1960, and the prime minister’s subsequent failure to convince Secretary of State Christian Herter and Treasury Secretary Douglas Dillon to back EFTA rather than the EEC, represented the watershed.26 Kaiser, in somewhat more sensational terms, speaks of the open hostility of the US to EFTA leading to Macmillan’s shift in policy, a shift he terms ‘an attempt to appease the United States government into continuing special treatment of Britain …‘27 In Kaiser’s view this was necessitated by Macmillan’s perception of the need to secure the goodwill of the incoming Administration. In this sense for Kaiser, there was no genuine re-orientation of British foreign policy to explain. The EEC application was simply a continuation of the pursuit of the Anglo-American special relationship by other means.28 The line of argument advanced here differs from all of these interpretations. While focusing on Macmillan’s own role, in common with Bange and Kaiser, it emphasises the epiphany in Paris as the key watershed in his thinking.29 The revelation of the uncomfortable realities behind the façade of Anglo-American partnership forced a change in the prime minister’s outlook. It was as though the Greek who had thought himself to be quietly running the Roman Empire had for the first time realised that the governing characteristic of his condition was slavery. It was no wonder in this context that it was to the concept of personal tragedy that Macmillan turned in explaining his reaction to the Paris summit. Both Bange and Kaiser interpret Macmillan’s change of tack too simply as a device to win back favour in Washington. While this was one of the effects of the change in strategy, its goal was to build an alternative power-base for Britain as leader of Europe. This would provide a hedge against the unreliability of British influence over the United States as demonstrated by the events in Paris. Such a hedge was all the more important in view of the uncertainty surrounding the effect on Anglo-American relations of the forthcoming change of Administration in Washington. It would also provide a means of bolstering Britain’s prestige and position so that in future Washington would be warier of ignoring London’s voice in international affairs. Finally,

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should Washington prove unreliable in honouring the commitments given in March 1960 at Camp David to supply the Skybolt missile,30 European cooperation in the shape of an Anglo-French deal might provide an alternative, if less economical, means of keeping Britain in the nuclear club. If these were the arguments for changing Britain’s policy towards the EEC in terms of the Anglo-American alliance, it would have to be admitted that there were further shifts taking place in Britain’s international position during the course of 1960 which also contributed to Macmillan’s change of heart. In respect of the Empire and Commonwealth, Macmillan’s decision to move Iain Macleod to the Colonial Office in the wake of his October 1959 general election victory ushered in the era of the accelerated dismantling of the African Empire. Although Macmillan had seemed to put himself ahead of the tide of African nationalism with his famous winds of change speech at Cape Town on 3 February 1960, the eruption of the Congo Crisis in June, discussed in the previous chapter, polarised African politics. The hopes Macmillan had expressed back in February 1958 that an expanding multi-racial Commonwealth might serve as a vehicle for the maintenance of Britain’s international standing, particularly vis-à-vis the Americans,31 came to look increasingly forlorn. Then there were the developments within Europe itself to consider. As Macmillan saw matters by September 1960, ‘the Six have entered into a plot to injure us and yet are still trying to hold us to defend them at immense expense to ourselves’. Although EFTA had been intended as a bridge to the EEC, it was becoming increasingly apparent that an association between the two organisations might only take place if the EEC faltered. Macmillan’s hopes came to be pinned on divisions within the Six opening the way to association with the Seven (as the EFTA members were known). ‘The Germans, the French and even the other members of the Six are on the point of having a God-Almighty row’, he wrote. ‘I think we should do nothing to discourage them. When the Six begin to fall out there is a chance that the Seven will come into their own.’32 To the members of the Community themselves, though, EFTA appeared, with some justification in the light of Macmillan’s comments, as at best an obstacle to British entry, and at worst a Trojan horse constructed for the purpose of destroying the Community. Certainly, French thinking ran along the latter lines. At Rambouillet in January 1961, de Gaulle expressed his scepticism to Macmillan about Britain’s ability to enter into any agreement with the Six. As de Gaulle put it he ‘did not believe that a way had been found’ to create one economic system for Europe.33 In ensuing bilateral discussions, French officials challenged the notion that there was a pressing need to bring the Six and the Seven into closer association. British intentions at this point remained unclear, and the uncertainties surrounding some sort of ‘half-way house’ link between the EEC and EFTA appeared to the French to represent

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a threat to the development of the Community.34 The new US Administration too, made it bluntly clear to the British that half-measures would be unsatisfactory. As a briefing paper prepared by McGeorge Bundy for the president’s April 1961 meetings with Macmillan confirmed, ‘what we would not favour – and here we need not be bashful – is an intermediate form of British connection to the 6. Such a connection has two dangers: increased discrimination against U. S. exports, and a weakening of the political side of the 6.’35 In any event, such objections in fact proved grist to the mill of Macmillan and others within the Cabinet who now favoured a change of approach, for they underlined the political value of aiming at full membership of the EEC rather than merely at some form of association.36 In two Cabinet meetings on 20 and 26 April 1961, the case for a change in approach towards the EEC was put forward by Macmillan and the Lord Privy Seal, Edward Heath.37 Within the Community Britain could preserve her international political position by acting as a bridge between Europe and America. Outside the EEC, there was a danger that Britain would become politically isolated. There was also the possibility that British trade would be damaged. Before any formal British approach to the EEC was made, however, there would be consultations with those parties, in particular the Commonwealth countries and British farmers, whose interests might be affected by any EEC application. This conditional approach, which was to continue to characterise the government’s policy even after formal negotiations had been joined with the EEC, was framed initially to outflank the practical objections of doubters within the Cabinet, such as Rab Butler.38 Beyond the inner-circle of Cabinet members, others whose opinions Macmillan would have to take into account during the process of negotiation with the EEC included the Conservative Party in parliament and the country, the British farmers, the Commonwealth governments, and, in a curious way, the Labour Opposition as well. Macmillan was to exploit the EEC issue to the best of his ability as a means of portraying the Labour Party as backward-looking and divided, a cause in which he was to be aided by the vacillations and tergiversations of the Labour leader, Hugh Gaitskell, himself.39 Even before bringing the Cabinet into his confidence about his planned change of approach towards the EEC, Macmillan had hinted at his shift in stance to President Kennedy during their early April meeting in Washington. ‘If President Kennedy felt it would help’, he suggested, ‘the United Kingdom might be able to go into the Six. He thought this was possible.’40 In a conversation with George Ball before dinner at the British Embassy the following day he was even more explicit, greeting the undersecretary with the words ‘we are going to do it’.41 During a discussion of the problems of the control of nuclear weapons in NATO, Macmillan had also hinted at the kind of help he would be seeking from Washington in smoothing the path of any British application: ‘the core of the whole

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problem was the revival of Europe. The present malaise resulted from the feelings of the French and others that their position was in some way inferior to that of the Anglo-Saxons. One possibility might be that the United Kingdom should offer to share its national nuclear capability with its Allies. Another might be to let the French develop theirs.’42 While Macmillan’s EEC hint was welcomed in Washington, the nuclear hint was not. To understand why, one needs to grasp the stance of leading Administration officials in respect both of European integration and the command and control of nuclear weapons. On matters of European integration, broadly speaking one can point to the existence of two main groups: the ‘Europeanists’ and the ‘Pragmatists’.43 Of the so-called ‘Europeanists’ within the Kennedy Administration, there is little doubt that the leading light was Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, George Ball.44 A lawyer by profession, Ball had met Jean Monnet during the war, after which he had served briefly as Monnet’s general counsel while the latter held the post of president of the French Supply Council. Fascinated by Monnet’s vision of the new Europe that might rise from the wartime rubble, Ball had been converted whole-heartedly to his views regarding the need for closer European integration. As Ball himself put it, ‘though hacking our way through the trees by different paths, we usually came out at the same clearing in the forest, and on one point we were unanimous – that the logic of European unity was inescapable’.45 Although he recalls in his memoirs that Monnet had once chastised him for diffusing his energies too widely, and exhorted him to ‘find … a single theme, a single cause, and devote your life to it’, during the Kennedy years Ball was remarkably singleminded in his pursuit of European integration.46 On entering office, Ball conceived his responsibilities as being twofold: ‘I would encourage the British to take the plunge, but, at the same time, I must not let insular British elements destroy the institutional potential of the Rome Treaty and turn the European Community into a mere trading bloc.’47 Certainly Macmillan was aware of Ball’s convictions, cynically noting in advance of one visit by the under-secretary in 1961 that ‘Mr Ball is of course a danger to us, but we must keep him in play.’48 In any event, there could be little doubt that Kennedy quickly came to entertain a high opinion of Ball’s abilities, promoting him to assistant secretary of state at the end of his first year in office. On the other hand, although it has been argued that Ball ‘in some ways “educated” ’ the president in respect of European policy,49 his role still needs to be kept in perspective. For instance, Kennedy was to put Ball in his place when the assistant secretary offered an apocalyptic warning in advance of the Nassau Conference as to the consequences of any decision to prolong the life of the British independent nuclear deterrent. In reply to Ball’s observation that ‘this might be the biggest decision he was called upon to make’, Kennedy replied ironically ‘that we get every week, George’.50

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Within the different branches of the Administration, Ball’s ‘Europeanist’ stance was supported by a number of other officials. They included Robert Schaetzel, his special assistant, Walt Rostow, Chairman of the Policy Planning Staff, Henry Owen, Rostow’s deputy, Paul Nitze and William Bundy in the International Security Affairs Division of the Department of Defense and, crucially in view of Anglo-American relations, Ambassador to London David Bruce. If these and a few other like-minded officials formed a dedicated core of ‘Europeanists’, there was also a much larger group of individuals whose views on European questions could be called pragmatic. Leading ‘Pragmatists’ included Robert McNamara, McGeorge Bundy, Carl Kaysen, Bundy’s deputy on the NSC, and Dean Acheson, Chairman of the President’s Advisory Committee on NATO. In all probability, one could also add the name of Dean Rusk to the list of ‘Pragmatists’ by personal inclination, although the secretary of state often allowed the ‘Europeanists’ within his Department to set the agenda.51 The crucial final name to append to the list of ‘Pragmatists’ was that of the president himself. In an interesting aside to Richard Neustadt, Kennedy observed that ‘there was no “Europe”.’52 Nor did he think that the process of European integration was likely to produce ‘someone in charge’ in the foreseeable future. Although Kennedy often let Ball and his disciples take the lead over European questions, he was not about to allow their messianic fervour to dictate the course of his foreign policy when his instinctive sense of political necessity dictated otherwise. The Nassau example is the best illustration of the limits of his sympathy for the ‘Europeanists’. As regards the question of command and control of nuclear weapons, the positions adopted by the individuals and factions outlined above were subtly different. For the ‘Europeanists’, the nuclear question was above all a means towards the end of promoting greater European integration through the device of the Multilateral Force (MLF). It is arguable that for them, the goal of preventing nuclear proliferation at which the MLF was notionally targeted was secondary to the primary aim of furthering European integration. Of course, the two goals were often so much bound up with each other that it was difficult to separate them. Nevertheless, any suggestion on Macmillan’s part that the British should be allowed to bribe the French into letting them enter the EEC through the provision of assistance to the independent French nuclear deterrent was anathema to the ‘Europeanist’ project. For those who have been termed ‘Pragmatists’ in respect of European integration, the question of command and control of nuclear weapons linked to that of nuclear proliferation also loomed large, although for different reasons. In particular, Robert McNamara, the individual whose role in respect of Anglo-American relations has been least well understood up until now, emerges more as an ideologue than a pragmatist when the focus is shifted from the question of European integration to nuclear command

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and control. To McNamara’s business-driven mind, it was wasteful and inefficient to allow multiple centres of nuclear decision-making to develop. It was also perilous to Western security. Hence his famous Ann Arbor speech of June 1962 about small national deterrents, independently targeted, being dangerous, lacking in credibility and prone to obsolescence. Because he was a pragmatist as regards the goal of European integration, McNamara was more inclined to weigh the MLF scheme on its merits as a means of securing central control of nuclear decision-making. Pragmatically, he entertained doubts as to whether the MLF was ever likely to tempt European governments, particularly those of Britain and France, into abandoning their national nuclear programmes. Far better to aim at the politically more realistic goal of joint development of nuclear delivery systems and integrated targeting. These initiatives together were more likely to secure centralised command and control than the multilateral pipedreams of the ‘Europeanists’. Again, there is no better illustration of McNamara’s thinking at work, than the stance he adopted before and during the Nassau Conference. The British were not about to abandon their independent deterrent in favour of the MLF, so far better to agree to sell them Polaris, albeit tied to the existing requirements for command and control that governed the Skybolt sale.53 McNamara was thus at heart never more than a reluctant and equivocal advocate of the MLF. The same too could be said of the president himself. Kennedy summed up his views on the MLF in a telling interview with Richard Neustadt. ‘Originally’, he observed, it had been the idea – Acheson’s to begin with – that we drag out a multilateral force proposal and let the Europeans wrestle with it for a while, until they saw all the bugs in it and decided that they’d be better off to leave the nuclear forces to us – at least until ‘Europe’ really developed with someone in charge, which obviously wasn’t going to be soon. … But this had not worked. The Europeans hadn’t come around to sharing our satisfaction with the status quo.54 In contrast to the Europeanists, Kennedy’s grasp of the role of the nuclear issues in US–European relations was all too realistic, even cynical. The question of assistance to the independent French nuclear programme, though, was one issue on which ‘Europeanists’ and ‘Pragmatists’ could agree. This would prove divisive in respect of European integration because it might promote a feeling of second-class status in West Germany which in turn might lead to a West German drive for a nuclear capability. It would also undermine centralisation of the command and control of nuclear weapons. Thus, Macmillan’s suggestion in a letter of 28 April 1961 that the US and UK should consider offering the French technical information and warheads, together with discussions over the production of

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nuclear delivery vehicles, assuming they committed their forces to NATO, was rebuffed by the president.55 ‘It would be undesirable’, he told Macmillan bluntly, ‘to assist France’s efforts to create a nuclear weapons capability.’56 The most the US could offer was improved consultation with the French about the capability and use of US nuclear weapons together with broader political consultations. Both the president and McGeorge Bundy, in a subsequent discussion with Ambassador Harold Caccia,57 acknowledged that the American position was unlikely to satisfy the French while de Gaulle remained in power. Aware that the provision of nuclear assistance offered the most promising key to unlock the French door into the EEC, Macmillan did not abandon his efforts. In his reply to the president he warned that he feared de Gaulle would withhold his cooperation until he received satisfaction in the nuclear field.58 In the wake of Kennedy’s June 1961 visit to Paris, the failed Vienna summit, and his subsequent stopover in London, Macmillan’s thoughts, and those of his closest advisers, remained focused on what means could be employed to bully, persuade, or bribe the French into accepting a British EEC application.59 According to Philip de Zulueta, the ‘tripartite and military bribe’ remained in all probability the only one likely to excite de Gaulle’s interest.60 By its very nature, though, this was not in Britain’s exclusive gift. Despite discouraging signals from Paris, 61 the conditional British EEC membership application was given approval by the Cabinet on 21 July 1961, and announced to the House of Commons by Macmillan on the final day of the month. In his statement to the House, Macmillan emphasised that everything would turn on the conditions that could be extracted from the Community members. Only when these were known could a final decision as to whether to join be made. In the subsequent debate in the House, Macmillan also emphasised that the interests of the Commonwealth and British agriculture would not be sacrificed by the government.62 Not only that, but he was at pains to stress that any later decision to join the EEC would not involve the loss of Britain’s national identity or its submergence in a federal Europe. 63 In his speech to the House, Edward Heath also sought to draw a firm distinction between the ‘pooling’ and the ‘surrender’ of sovereignty. 64 As the prime minister himself admitted in a letter to the Queen, though, his own comments were framed in part with a view to assuaging opinion within the Conservative Party.65 Paradoxically enough, in the House debate, Macmillan cited the French Government as the likely defenders of the British against any drive to promote a federalist future for Europe. This anticipated another tactic that the prime minister would employ as a means of persuasion in his subsequent discussions with de Gaulle: their supposed community of interest in promoting a confederal future for Europe founded on a London–Paris axis.66

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Although the British ‘application’ was formally welcomed in Washington,67 in private Kennedy expressed some doubts as to its impact on US interests. ‘I am concerned’, he wrote, ‘about what will be the economic effect on the United States if England joins the common market … I have been informed that the effect will be very serious … We have been in the position, of course, of encouraging the expansion of the common market for political reasons. If it should have an extremely adverse effect upon us a good deal of responsibility would be laid upon our doorstep.’68 There could be no clearer indication than this memorandum of the pragmatism conditioned by considerations of political advantage that governed JFK’s attitude towards European integration. Needless to say George Ball tried to assuage the president’s doubts. Ball argued that ‘if the United States successfully resists efforts to extend Commonwealth preferences to an enlarged Common Market, we can be reasonably confident that the net effect of British adherence will be beneficial to our trading interests’.69 It is doubtful, though, that this memorandum succeeded in allaying all of the president’s fears. As Ball himself saw matters by this stage, his task was to ‘stand like Horatio at the bridge and forestall any British deal that would either seriously dilute the political significance of the Community or discriminate against America’.70 From Macmillan’s perspective, once the British application had been made, matters had to be moved forward along a number of different tracks: domestic, Anglo-French, Anglo-American, Commonwealth, and EEC.71 To his mind, the most important of these was the domestic, involving managing opinion in his own Party, outflanking the Labour Opposition, and educating public opinion, although this last consideration was very much an afterthought. To the extent that the Commonwealth was closely linked to the domestic track, through the sympathy evident in the Conservative Party for the white Dominions, it also occupied a significant role in his thinking. Close behind the domestic came the Anglo-French track, to which the prime minister devoted a good deal of his attention through his attempts to woo de Gaulle. Linked to this, the Anglo-American dimension had a role to play, certainly in respect of Macmillan’s attempts to manoeuvre Washington into agreeing to a closer nuclear relationship with the French. In all probability at the bottom of Macmillan’s list of concerns, came the intricacies of the negotiations with the EEC member states, which were launched in October 1961 in Brussels. Of course, to the extent that these negotiations would ultimately determine the conditions for British entry into the EEC they could in no way be divorced from Macmillan’s other concerns, particularly domestic and Commonwealth opinion. Still, to Macmillan’s way of thinking, if one could smooth domestic opinion, and open the way into the EEC through Paris, then the door in Brussels would soon swing open. In hindsight, Macmillan may well have been mistaken in paying so little attention to the negotiations in Brussels, but whether a

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different strategy might have succeeded remains a matter of counterfactual speculation.72 Certainly, the prime minister’s approach was cautious, an attempt as George Ball put it to ‘slide sidewise into the Common Market’. But then, Macmillan may well have been justified in believing that more decisive action would have stirred up far greater domestic difficulties for the government, particularly in respect of opinion within the Conservative Party itself.73 It could not be denied that Macmillan’s approach left his negotiators in Brussels with a difficult hand to play. Caution dictated that few early concessions should be made, leaving Edward Heath on one occasion to argue that, due to the need to train fifty-two inspectors to look for spots on tomatoes and pears, British horticulture would require a fifteen-year transitional period to adjust to EEC rules. The British stance provoked a memorable response from Dr Sicco Mansholt, Vice-President of the EEC Commission. ‘When listening to Mr Heath explaining his government’s present policy’, he commented, ‘I could not help wondering whether in 1940, at the blackest moments of the war, Mr Churchill would have demanded fifteen years in which to train fifty-two pear and tomato inspectors to achieve the victory of which he was the creator.’74 Perhaps this clash also illustrated why Macmillan’s own attention was not drawn to the Brussels negotiations. His interest in pears and tomatoes was no doubt of the same order as de Gaulle’s interest in potatoes.75 As he wrote to Viscountess Waverley, ‘mine is a vision of [the] … future – if [we] … can get away from negotiations on the price of eggs and pig meat’.76 For the purposes of mollifying domestic opinion, though, Macmillan had to show that the government was paying attention to the concerns of British farmers. To do this, and also at the same time to neutralise a potentially powerful opponent within the Cabinet, he persuaded the Home Secretary R. A. Butler to take up the chairmanship of the ministerial committee established to oversee the negotiations with the Six.77 Butler represented a rural East Anglian constituency, and was widely believed to be well connected and sympathetic to the farming community. Nevertheless, according to Macmillan’s diary entry for 21 August, Butler himself was won round later that summer to a somewhat grudging support for the EEC application.78 Further evidence that the Home Secretary had reconciled himself to Macmillan’s EEC stance comes from a somewhat macabre source in the form of a draft obituary he was asked to pen for the prime minister by the Daily Mail in September 1962 against the contingency of Macmillan’s sudden death in office. ‘Looking back’, Butler wrote, ‘I should stress a lasting preoccupation and a main achievement [my italics], and that is his determination to press the United Kingdom towards a new European policy … This may be described as one of the most important economic and political decisions taken in peacetime since 1846. The man was worthy of taking such a decision, and his reputation will live with it.’79

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If Butler was eventually won round to the EEC application, there remained a small group on the back-benches of the parliamentary party that voiced its opposition to Macmillan’s policy. Although the Party Chairman Oliver Poole later estimated the size of this group to be of the order of 30 per cent of the parliamentary party, this seems to have been something of a retrospective exaggeration.80 These opponents focused their attention on the need to ensure that the rights of the Commonwealth were protected. A motion to this effect was put down by thirty Conservative MPs in March 1962, while a similar motion drew the support of thirty-six MPs at the end of July 1962.81 Despite these rumblings of discontent, spurred on by former prime minister Anthony Eden, Macmillan negotiated the Party Conference that autumn with little difficulty. By this point it was clear that the path into the EEC in respect of Conservative Party politics had been secured by Macmillan. The prime minister received assistance in consolidating Conservative opinion behind him from an unexpected quarter: the Labour Party. Initially, the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell had striven not to commit himself or his party decisively for or against the EEC application. Macmillan described his approach as ‘flitting from fence to fence’.82 There were two reasons for this. Gaitskell knew that the issue would be divisive within his own party and feared that Macmillan would try to exploit such Labour divisions for his own advantage.83 He was also personally undecided about the merits of the application.84 In the end, though, the former consideration probably loomed the larger. Falling in step with the predominantly anti-Common Market sentiment of the party at the October 1962 conference, he famously argued that entry into the EEC would be ‘the end of Britain as an independent state’ and ‘the end of a thousand years of history’.85 Macmillan was able to use Gaitskell’s shift of stance to his advantage, uniting his own party behind him through his famous mockery of Gaitskell’s protracted equivocation in his own conference speech at Llandudno later in October. From his sickbed, Cabinet Secretary Norman Brook sent the prime minister congratulations on what he saw as a great personal success. ‘You have rallied the Party and transformed the political situation,’ he wrote.86 In respect of Anglo-French relations, Macmillan also had to deal with a large measure of equivocation on the part of his chief antagonist, although in de Gaulle’s case this equivocation was of a considerably more politically subtle variety than that practised by Gaitskell. Much of the attention given to Macmillan’s attempts to persuade the general to accept British membership of the EEC focuses on their three summits at Birch Grove in November 1961, Champs in June 1962, and Rambouillet in December 1962. At Birch Grove, Macmillan made no progress in his attempts to win over de Gaulle.87 Far more significant, and much debated, as much from the point of view of its implications for Anglo-American relations as for Britain’s EEC

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application, was the meeting at the Chateau de Champs on 2–3 June 1962. The key question concerns how far Macmillan went in offering the general inducements in respect of Anglo-French nuclear cooperation to drop his opposition to British entry into the EEC. It will be recollected that Macmillan had raised with Kennedy the question as to what assistance for the French nuclear programme could be offered to de Gaulle even before unveiling the EEC application. The discouraging response from Washington had not led the prime minister to abandon his ideas of baiting the British application with offers of nuclear assistance for the French. There were two main reasons for this. The first was because, as Philip de Zulueta had suggested in June of the previous year, if neither bullying nor persuasion of the French seemed to work, the only remaining tool was bribery. The second reason concerned the ethos underpinning Macmillan’s turn to Europe. If the EEC application was intended as a hedge against the unreliability of the Anglo-American alliance, then it followed that one could afford to take some risks with that alliance in order to facilitate the application’s success. The offers he was to make to de Gaulle in respect of Anglo-French cooperation at Champs must also be set against the background of his growing disillusionment with Anglo-American interdependence. As we will see in the next chapter, this was evidenced by his fruitless exchanges with Kennedy over complementarity in weapons research and development during and after his April visit to Washington, and his extraordinary outbursts over the Sergeant and Hawk missile sagas later in the summer. If Macmillan was to be prepared to threaten to tear up AngloAmerican agreements worldwide over a dispute about selling missiles to Israel, he was surely prepared to risk American wrath over matters nuclear for a prize of such magnitude as entry to the EEC.88 The British minutes of the Champs meeting do not provide a conclusive answer to the question of what precisely Macmillan offered the general and this was no doubt as Macmillan intended. In general terms, the prime minister began by protesting his desire to be truly European. As a token of this he expressed himself ready to work towards a ‘double-headed’ alliance, with a united Europe dealing on equal terms with the United States. He also called into question the future of the Anglo-American relationship, a theme to which he was to return later in their discussions. ‘Britain had a great friendship for the United States but in 20 years time Britain would be relatively weaker even than she was now by comparison with the United States.’89 During this opening discussion, the tenor of the general’s own comments was more positive than before, although still hedged around with qualifications: ‘Britain could join the Community but it would then become a different sort of organisation … That was why France had to look at this matter carefully.’90 In their more detailed discussions the following day, Macmillan was to return on several occasions to the theme of relations with the United

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States. For instance, in reply to de Gaulle’s observation that ‘Britain did not seem ready politically speaking to prefer Europe to the United States’, he noted that ‘there was not a great popular feeling for the American alliance in Britain’. While he qualified this comment by saying that ‘at the same time he did not think that the sort of Europe which might evolve would mean abandoning friendship with the United States; he certainly would not wish this to be the case’, it remained, as was suggested in the first chapter of this study, a somewhat startling observation for the architect of the reconstruction of the Anglo-American alliance to make.91 Later in their talks Macmillan returned to the same Anglo-American theme: ‘he understood and sympathised with President de Gaulle’s irritation with some aspects of United States policy … Previously he himself had been worried at the bellicosity of the Americans, particularly in the latter days of the Eisenhower regime.’92 To reinforce these comments, Macmillan also went further in putting flesh on the bones of his ‘double-headed’ or ‘twin pillars’ concept for the Atlantic alliance. The most controversial aspect of this was the hints he dropped about a European nuclear force.93 Macmillan suggested that the nuclear forces of the European countries, which for practical purposes at this point meant Britain and France, could be organised for the purposes of European defence. Through the creation of a ‘solid European organisation’, the Atlantic alliance would become a partnership of equals between the United States and Europe. Although this proposal remained vague, it nevertheless represented a significant departure from the exclusive Anglo-American nuclear relationship of which Macmillan had been the principal architect during 1957–8. One only has to contemplate the unlikelihood of Macmillan articulating such a proposal in a tripartite forum to gauge what its impact on Anglo-American relations might have been. The Kennedy Administration after all was attempting to subsume the French deterrent in a multilateral force at the same time as Macmillan was now proposing to enshrine it as part of an independent European pillar of Western defence. De Gaulle may well have been surprised by the lengths to which Macmillan was prepared to go in distancing himself from the United States, but Macmillan’s suggestions were insufficient to overcome his deep-seated suspicions of Britain. The British, he felt, had ‘evolved greatly’, but were not yet ready to help in building Europe because ‘the idea of choosing between Europe and America is not yet ripe in your heart …’94 Macmillan’s hints of a community of interest between the British and French in resisting federalist schemes for the future of Europe also seem to have made little impression on the general.95 In sum, although there had been a softening of de Gaulle’s tone at Champs, he had not in fact departed from his fundamental line about the British EEC application. Eventually, through a process of evolution in their thinking about Europe and the United States, the British would be ready to join. But, as the use of the term evolution

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implied, this would be a process drawn out over the long term. De Gaulle, as his references to the ‘common language, common habits and joint engagements’ between Britain and the United States showed, perceived this as a deep-seated cultural shift, rather than a short-term political change.96 If, as this interpretation implies, the Champs meeting did not represent a breakthrough in de Gaulle’s attitude to the British application, there is no need to search for events in its aftermath that led the general to change his mind. Thus, although the timing of US Defense Secretary McNamara’s speech at Ann Arbor on 16 June attacking independent nuclear forces was unfortunate, it made little material difference to the prospects of de Gaulle accepting the British application. Nor did Kennedy’s subsequent ‘declaration of interdependence’ between Europe and the United States on 4 July.97 Still, Macmillan’s comments at Champs make an interesting study in respect of his motivations in applying for EEC membership. His speculation about constructing a new pillar of Western defence which would be in partnership with, but not reliant on the United States, dovetails nicely with an interpretation stressing both his doubts about the reliability of the AngloAmerican alliance, and the need to hedge Britain’s international bets. By the time of Macmillan’s final meeting with de Gaulle at Rambouillet in December their respective political positions had changed.98 With his domestic base strengthened by his referendum victory over the question of direct election to the presidency, and the subsequent electoral triumph of his supporters, de Gaulle’s confidence was high. Macmillan’s confidence, against the backdrop of the unfolding Skybolt saga, was correspondingly low. The prime minister had nothing new to offer the president to win him over, while de Gaulle himself felt less constrained in expressing his underlying opposition to British membership. The result was a somewhat ill tempered dialogue of the deaf. In respect of the fate of the EEC application, de Gaulle argued that ‘it was not possible for Britain to enter tomorrow and … arrangements inside the Six might be too rigid for the United Kingdom’.99 Macmillan replied that he was ‘astonished and deeply wounded’ by what the general had said. ‘After all this great effort the President now appeared to take the line that there could never be an effective Europe.’ The same bad blood spilled over into the discussion of other questions. On nuclear matters de Gaulle commented that ‘the British nuclear force was not European but was linked with the United States. The Prime Minister denied this.’ On the Congo, de Gaulle commented that ‘Britain really agreed with France but had listened to the Americans. The Prime Minister said that he did not agree.’ And so the discussion continued with de Gaulle sticking to his refrain of a Britain too closely bound to the United States to be accepted as European. In his diary Macmillan described the talks as ‘about as bad as they could be from the European point of view’. He came away from Rambouillet convinced that the general ‘would, if he dared, use

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some means, overt or covert, to prevent the fruition of the Brussels negotiation’.100 Macmillan had staked his hopes of gaining entry to the EEC on his ability to unlock the French door. With this evidently now bolted shut, all that remained was the hope that agreement could be reached with the other members of the Community, and the Brussels door forced open despite French resistance. Macmillan had been sceptical of the possibility of direct entry via this route without French acquiescence from the outset. This was why he had invested so much effort in his attempts to win over de Gaulle. No doubt his scepticism resulted in part from a belief that in the last resort, the other five members of the Community would not be prepared to stand up to the French. As he put it in his diary entry for 1 December 1962: ‘for some reason they terrify the Six [sic] – by their intellectual superiority, spiritual arrogance, and shameless disregard of truth & honour. This, of course, is France throughout all history.’101 It may also have reflected his distrust of the West German leadership, although there was always the chance that Adenauer might soon leave the political scene, and be replaced by a more congenial successor, perhaps in the shape of Ludwig Erhard.102 The difficulty of pinning one’s hopes on a breakthrough in Brussels was that by the autumn of 1962 the negotiations there had reached something of an impasse over the question of British domestic agriculture. In essence, the British were holding out for a gradual shift away from their existing system of deficiency payments to farmers, towards the CAP system of price support. The Six, on the other hand, although exhibiting different shades of opinion, argued that any transitional arrangements introduced to cushion the change for British farmers should terminate by 1 January 1970, the date on which the single market for agricultural products was due to come into effect. While there can be little doubt that the French played up the problem for political purposes, at its heart was a question of a lack of trust between Britain and all of her prospective partners on the continent. From the British side, the NFU and the Ministry of Agriculture regarded the CAP as so defective that it was essential to secure its reform before entry to the EEC. From the point of view of the Six, there was the fear that the British goal was in fact to undermine the CAP rather than to secure a set of limited dispensations.103 As matters transpired, this difficulty remained substantially unresolved by the middle of January 1963, when de Gaulle issued his press conference veto of the British application. During this period of impasse, the US Administration, which for the most part had remained on the sidelines in the belief that overt advocacy of the British case would only entrench de Gaulle’s opposition still further,104 did its best to engender the political will needed for a breakthrough. First, Kennedy himself tried to persuade Adenauer, during the latter’s visit to Washington in mid-November 1962,

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to adopt a position of more enthusiastic advocacy of British membership. Prophetically, Kennedy warned that if the EEC application was unsuccessful, the Labour Party was bound to win the forthcoming election in Britain. Playing on the Chancellor’s fears over Berlin, the president warned about the Labour Party’s weak position on that issue. ‘Non-accession to [the] EEC on the part of [the] UK would lead to political deterioration in Great Britain in the President’s opinion. This was a very dangerous situation for all concerned.’105 During the ensuing conversation, in comments that offer an interesting insight into his thinking about British politics, Kennedy returned again and again to the question of the unreliability of the Labour Party, and the need to do everything possible ‘to avoid a set-back to the Conservative Party’.106 With the Nassau Conference a mere month ahead, the president’s views on the need to keep the Conservatives in power and the Labour Party out make interesting reading. Adenauer’s response to Kennedy’s appeals was at best ambiguous. On the one hand he warned that ‘Great Britain was handling herself most unwisely in this affair and was asking much too much, for instance as regards agricultural products.’ On the other hand he promised that ‘he would do everything in his power to help along the matter of UK accession’. The dominant refrain of his comments, though, was pessimism: ‘he would be lying if he were to say that he was sure of the success of this matter’.107 On balance, Kennedy’s personal intervention seems to have made no difference at all to the Chancellor’s attitude. Under-Secretary of State George Ball’s intervention with the president of the European Commission a month later, during a specially arranged visit by Hallstein to Washington, also produced little tangible result.108 It was clear that the crucial decisions regarding British entry to the EEC would be taken in the European capitals, and not in Washington. All of which leads us to the question of the impact of the Nassau Conference on the EEC application. Although the circumstances leading up to the near collapse of the Anglo-American alliance at Nassau are discussed in the next chapter, there are a number of aspects of the background to the conference and the agreements reached, that are worthy of exploration here from the point of view of their effect on the British EEC application. First, there is de Gaulle’s contention, evidently swallowed hook, line and sinker by Adenauer, that Macmillan had practised a deception on him at Rambouillet as regards his intentions at Nassau.109 This charge cannot be sustained. During their Rambouillet talks, Macmillan had made it clear to the general that he would be going to Nassau with the intention of securing a replacement system from the Americans should they confirm their intention to scrap Skybolt. If this proved impossible, he would build a British system.110 De Gaulle for his part had shown neither surprise nor resentment at the prime minister’s comments. On the contrary, he had commented that ‘he had been glad to hear what the Prime

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Minister had said. He too felt that an independent nuclear force was necessary.’111 Then there is the question of the American offer to de Gaulle to supply the Polaris missile system to France on the same terms as those agreed with Britain at Nassau. Of course, there were several reasons why the American offer was most unlikely to be of interest to de Gaulle. Firstly, as a point of principle, the general would not want to appear to be in any way dependent on American largesse for the development of the force de frappe. Moreover, the Nassau agreement had been negotiated without French involvement and to accept its provisions would be regarded by de Gaulle as a humiliating blow to French pride. Finally, on a technical level, the French were in a position neither to build the nuclear submarines that would be necessary to house the Polaris missile system, nor the nuclear warheads that would make it operational.112 It was in this last respect that Macmillan saw the glimmer of a possibility of making an offer that might yet stave off the general’s veto. Writing to David Ormsby-Gore on 30 December, Macmillan noted that de Gaulle had not yet publicly rejected the Polaris proposal. He then posed a question: would the president countenance the British supplying the warheads for the Polaris missiles the Americans had offered to de Gaulle? ‘If we agreed to supply the warheads’, Macmillan went on, ‘it would be an understanding, though not part of the written agreement, that President de Gaulle should bring the Brussels negotiations to a successful conclusion. He and he alone prevents this. Wormser says, given the political authority, he could settle all the remaining economic problems in a couple of meetings.’113 Macmillan acknowledged that this was a ‘bold plan’ and asked that Ormsby-Gore should only propose it to the president on a secret and personal basis. Knowledge of it was to be confined to Macmillan’s ‘most intimate colleagues’ in London,114 while in Washington, it should be disseminated even less widely. Only the president himself should be told. Macmillan asked the ambassador to route his reply back to his Private Office and not through the Foreign Office. In the event, it seems that Ormsby-Gore had already beaten Macmillan to the punch. Staying with Kennedy at his home in Palm Beach between Christmas and New Year 1962, the ambassador had already raised the French problem with the president. He was not hopeful that Kennedy would go along with Macmillan’s proposal as it stood. Congress was likely to oppose any scheme to supply the French with warheads, opposition that would only be strengthened if it were Britain and not the US itself which assisted the French.115 The attempt to use the US Polaris offer to the French as a lever to secure British entry to the EEC was thus stillborn. All of which leads us to the final question in relation to the Nassau Conference and the EEC application: how far was Nassau the cause of de Gaulle’s veto?116 From the discussion above, it is clear that the Anglo-

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American agreement over a replacement delivery system for Skybolt could not have come as a surprise to the general. Despite de Gaulle’s later indications to Adenauer that a deception had been practised on him, Macmillan had made his order of priorities clear at Rambouillet. To be sure, the subsequent American offer of Polaris to France could have been taken by the general as a calculated insult, even though it was intended to counterbalance claims of Anglo-American exclusivity. It highlighted the fact that France had neither the necessary submarine nor warhead technology to make use of Polaris. From the point of view of mollifying de Gaulle, it is arguable that the French Polaris offer would have been better not made at all. Indeed, the fact that the Europeanists pressed Kennedy to make it shows how shallow was their understanding of the general’s outlook and how arrogant their belief that the United States could pull European political strings through fanciful nuclear offers. But then, the suspension of political disbelief was a prerequisite for the whole MLF scheme which the Europeanists were now to pursue with renewed vigour. That and the suspension of military disbelief when confronted by the practical details of the scheme. It is in any case clear from the tenor of the Rambouillet Conference that de Gaulle was by this point merely looking for the occasion to veto the British EEC application. The most that can be said of Nassau is that it provided him with a convenient cover for taking action. Or, as Richard Neustadt put it, Nassau ‘gave De Gaulle a stage-set for his drama’.117 Macmillan and Kennedy may be accused of playing into the general’s hands, but whatever decisions had been reached at Nassau de Gaulle was determined to bring an end to the negotiations in Brussels.118 It is inaccurate, therefore, to portray the events of December 1962 as an instance of Macmillan choosing the Anglo-American alliance over Europe. On the contrary, the Skybolt fiasco had merely served to reinforce the ethos that had underpinned Macmillan’s EEC application from the outset. The unreliability of the Anglo-American alliance demanded another string to Britain’s international bow. When de Gaulle spoke to the assembled international press on 14 January 1963, the surprise, as US Ambassador to France Charles Bohlen noted, did not lie in the views he expressed, which were ‘fairly well known’, but in the ‘frankness and brutality’ with which he chose to air these views in public.119 In rejecting the British application de Gaulle cited the economic problems of integrating Britain into the Community, but also the political problems of Britain’s transatlantic links with the US, and their likely negative impact on the structure and cohesion of the EEC.120 Although the general praised Macmillan’s role in seeking to turn Britain towards Europe, he still questioned the willingness and ability of the British to adapt to entry into the Community at this point.121 This was a fundamental objection of principle, not a technical problem thrown up by the negotiations.

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In essence, de Gaulle’s objections to British membership resolved themselves into a belief that if Britain joined, French leadership of Europe would be undermined. Macmillan himself put it even more directly in a message sent to Kennedy over the secure teleprinter line the following day: ‘With all the high-falutin’ sentiments, what de Gaulle is saying is that he would rather be the only cock on a smaller dunghill.’122 In a telephone conversation with the president three days later, Macmillan repeated the same sentiment. Kennedy’s reply was ‘well, that’s very sound, I suppose, from his point of view’. Both men agreed that much would depend on the attitude of Adenauer, but the ironical tenor of the conversation shows that by this stage neither of them held out a lot of hope that the Chancellor would oppose de Gaulle. The general, Macmillan commented would ‘fascinate’ and ‘bully’ Adenauer. ‘And then’, Kennedy added, ‘he’ll tell him that we’ve made an accord, isn’t that what they say, that we made an accord to sell out Berlin … that we’ve taken all our atomic weapons out of Europe and various other stories.’ If nothing else, the EEC crisis showed Macmillan and Kennedy thinking on the same wavelength. Kennedy proposed to call in the German ambassador to put further pressure on Adenauer. ‘I think a little bit of fear in his [Adenauer’s] mind wouldn’t be a bad thing’, Macmillan commented. ‘No, that’s what I thought’, Kennedy replied.123 Indeed, Macmillan was able to capitalise on the window of opportunity opened by the EEC crisis to secure the best possible deal over the terms and conditions for the Polaris sale agreement. As we will see, these were the subject of contemporaneous tough negotiations between Thorneycroft and McNamara. Although he had intimated to the president in their phone conversation that he would try not to call him into the debate, a week later Macmillan was forced to intervene with Kennedy over the question of a British contribution to the research and development costs of Polaris. The details of these exchanges are discussed in the following chapter, but it is interesting to note that the main argument Macmillan used to advance the case for generous treatment of Britain in this respect was that: At a moment when a certain disillusionment with Europe may at least do good to Anglo-American relationships, it would be particularly unfortunate if the British people felt that they were not only being rebuffed by the Europeans but being treated harshly by the United States. The result could be a mood of sullen isolation here which could do no good to any of us.124 Macmillan amplified what he meant by this in a subsequent minute to Home and Thorneycroft: ‘the truth is that we are now in a very strong position with the Americans; they cannot afford to quarrel with everybody …’125 The somewhat perverse notion underpinning the prime minister’s stance was that the rejection of the British EEC application by de Gaulle had

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actually strengthened his hand in dealing with the Americans. Washington would have to be more accommodating or it would have no friends left in Europe, he seemed to be saying. Macmillan’s train of thought reminds one of the joke about the fictitious British weather forecast, ‘the Continent will be cut off by fog in the English Channel’, although in this case it would be the United States cut off by fog in the Atlantic. Still, there was some substance to his belief that the EEC crisis had exposed the hostility of the French and the unreliability of the West Germans, leaving the Kennedy Administration to fall back on its links with London. Such a situation would not endure indefinitely, however, and Macmillan was anxious to pin down the details of the Polaris deal while the opportunity lasted. It is fascinating to note that what has proven to be one of the more enduring AngloAmerican deals was the result of a transient and particularly unusual set of circumstances in Anglo-American relations. In respect of opinion in Washington at this time, the records of a series of ad hoc meetings of the Executive Committee of the National Security Council during January and February 1963, in which US policy towards Europe was reconsidered, make interesting reading. In a session of the EXCOMM that was extended to consider the European situation on 25 January, Kennedy expressed the view that it was possible de Gaulle would now try to strike a deal with the Russians and run the US out of Europe. In these circumstances, he felt, it was ‘possible the Germans would go with the French’. This was the worst case view of French intentions, coupled with the theme of West German unreliability to which Kennedy returned on several occasions. For his part McNamara argued that in the face of these developments the US could either pull out of Europe altogether, or try to tie itself more closely to European powers other than France. It was the latter sentiment that Macmillan believed he could exploit to secure the best terms for the final Polaris agreement. No definite conclusions were reached at the meeting, although studies were set in train of the various contingencies discussed.126 The same issues were considered in a further meeting on 31 January. Here, Kennedy voiced his own somewhat idiosyncratic reading of events before and after the Nassau Conference: he believed that after the Skybolt development de Gaulle thought that the British would offer the French a deal or accept de Gaulle’s offer of Franco-British nuclear cooperation but Macmillan had not done so. The Nassau agreement followed and de Gaulle must have decided to act at once. The President said that we had narrowly averted a disaster which would have occurred if the British had decided to join with de Gaulle in a nuclear arrangement. He believed that Macmillan had not understood that de Gaulle was offering the British a French/British nuclear arrangement. He added that Macmillan must now be kicking himself for not having realized that de Gaulle was offering him this arrangement.127

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The president’s concern about some sort of Franco-British deal that would have left the United States isolated reveals the degree of insecurity in Washington about the Western alliance at this point. This was the same insecurity that Macmillan sought to exploit in pinning down the details of the Polaris sales agreement. From the British point of view, the uncertainties about the AngloAmerican alliance that had led Macmillan to launch his EEC bid in the first place remained under the surface. Moreover, the blow to Britain’s international prestige sustained at the hands of de Gaulle in January 1963 could only help speed her relative international decline. To the extent that an imbalance in power, as well as a divergence in international outlook, had helped to undermine Macmillan’s confidence in the Anglo-American alliance during the spring of 1960, the events of the winter of 1962–63 could only serve to reinforce these problems in the longer run. If Britain had needed the hedge to her international position provided by the EEC application in 1961, paradoxically she needed it even more by 1963. With the genie of British political and economic vulnerability out of the bottle, it would only be a matter of time before a British Government was forced to turn its attention back to Europe once again. As Macmillan put it in his diary entry for 4 February 1963, written in the wake of a television broadcast aimed at reassuring the nation: ‘the great question remains “what is the alternative” to the European Community? If we are honest, we must say that there is none …’128

8 Interdependence and the British Nuclear Deterrent

At the heart of Anglo-American relations during the Macmillan–Kennedy years was the concept of ‘interdependence’. As we have seen, from the British side, interdependence was viewed as a form of partnership in which both countries would aim to pool their efforts more effectively and consistently, particularly in the field of defence. From the US side, although the language of interdependence was also used, the concept meant more effective central, and hence American, control of Western defence efforts. Since the October 1957 Eisenhower–Macmillan ‘Declaration of Common Purpose’ or ‘Interdependence’ had had at its heart the renewal of nuclear cooperation, it is not surprising that in the Kennedy years the nuclear relationship between Britain and America came to be seen as something of a litmus test of interdependence. In particular, from the British side, the attempt to maintain a national nuclear deterrent, a field in which Britain was ultimately forced to ‘depend’ on the United States for the most modern delivery systems, was seen as the key test of interdependence in action. Viewed against the background of differing interpretations of interdependence, and the imbalance in the resources devoted by London and Washington to their respective defence efforts, it should come as no surprise that the broader crisis of interdependence that this study has postulated during the winter of 1962–3 pivoted on the question of the fate of the British nuclear deterrent. Looking at the course of Anglo-American nuclear cooperation in a broader historical perspective, it could certainly be observed that relations between the two countries had been problematical. During the Second World War, Britain’s early lead in the nuclear field had been quickly outstripped by the weight of resources and expertise brought to bear by the United States. Although the ultimately successful pooling of British and American knowledge in the Manhattan Project, after the Quebec Conference of August 1943, had been one of the more impressive features of wartime Anglo-American cooperation, the passing by Congress of the McMahon Act in 1946, ruling out the further exchange of nuclear knowl152

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edge, was one of the most bitter harvests of peace for the British Government. Dwight Eisenhower for one certainly accepted the British case that the spirit of Anglo-American wartime understandings, especially the Hyde Park Memorandum of 1944, had been broken by the McMahon Act.1 Despite a good deal of congressional reticence, once he became president, Eisenhower set about securing the reversal of the Act. At first, the fruits of this new approach were limited. A number of minor amendments to the McMahon Act were passed by Congress in 1954. However, as part of his joint bid with Macmillan to revive the Anglo-American alliance in the wake of the Suez crisis, at the Bermuda Conference of March 1957 the president agreed to the stationing in Britain of sixty US intermediate range Thor missiles, fitted with nuclear warheads.2 It was to be the launch of the Soviet Sputnik satellite in October 1957, though, that opened the way to a new era in Anglo-American nuclear cooperation. Eisenhower turned the national hysteria engendered by fears of a Soviet scientific lead into an opportunity to foster closer cooperation in the Western alliance. In the first instance, this meant closer cooperation with the most important of the US’s allies, Britain. At the Washington talks of October 1957, the president, overriding the doubts of Secretary of State Dulles, agreed to the establishment of a series of new Anglo-American Working Groups to oversee collaboration on nuclear issues as well as a range of Cold War economic and political problems.3 Then, the following July, after the passing by Congress of the necessary amendments to the McMahon Act, he signed the Agreement on Atomic Energy for Mutual Defence Purposes which reopened the way to formal Anglo-American nuclear cooperation. A new phase in Anglo-American defence relations, a phase which has been termed a ‘unique high point’, had begun.4 Nevertheless, difficulties remained. Part of the problem, as has been observed, lay in the inequality of the partnership. Although Britain had continued her own nuclear programme during the years of her exclusion by America, exploding first an atomic bomb in October 1952, and then a hydrogen bomb in May 1957, problems loomed in the field of delivery systems. It was all very well to have a bomb, but in order for it to be an effective deterrent some credible means for delivering it to enemy targets had to be available. British planning had relied upon the V-Bomber force, which was beginning to come into service during the years 1957–8. Unfortunately, the commissioning of the bombers coincided with the advent of the missile age, which seemed to make the force vulnerable to obsolescence. The long-term alternative to manned bombers was a ballistic missile force, which could either be stationed on land or at sea. It was here that the limitations of British resources really told. Britain could afford neither to keep at the forefront of missile technology nor to pour money into projects which might, in a climate of rapid technological change, prove to be redundant. The late 1950s and early 1960s were to prove to be

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an era of ruthless strategic Darwinism, in which independent British delivery systems were selected out through an inability to adapt quickly enough to changes in the nuclear environment. The fate of the British Blue Streak ballistic missile is an excellent illustration of this process at work. Blue Streak was a land-based, liquid-fuelled rocket, which took a minimum of thirty minutes to prepare for launch. Because of this, it was particularly vulnerable to a Soviet first strike. If the missiles could not credibly be relied upon to survive a Soviet attack, they could only be presented as first strike weapons themselves,5 a public posture that would have been political suicide for the government to adopt. The strategic deficiencies of Blue Streak as a means of prolonging the life of the British deterrent had been clear from the latter part of 1958 onwards. It was the lack of any viable alternative that kept the project in being throughout 1959 and into the early part of 1960. Blue Streak’s only potential British-designed rival was Blue Steel II, a cruise missile with a likely range of one thousand miles, which could be launched from the V-Bomber force. Blue Steel II, though, was at an early stage of development. In January 1959, the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Minister of Defence, Sir Frederick Brundrett, visited the United States, and returned convinced that Blue Steel II should be discontinued. Instead, Britain should begin work on a joint air-to-surface missile with the United States.6 The remaining difficulty lay in persuading the US Administration to adopt this course. Despite Eisenhower’s agreement to resume nuclear cooperation with the British Government, the Administration’s preference in terms of the supply of delivery systems was to lend assistance to a multilateral NATO MRBM force. This, it was hoped, would have the effect of binding the alliance together, and overcoming charges of Anglo-American exclusivity. Thus, an Anglo-American delivery system, the only alternative to the development of Blue Streak or Blue Steel II, seemed blocked on political grounds during 1959.7 The British Government was eventually to be helped out of its difficulties by the operation of bureaucratic politics in the United States. The United States Air Force, keen to maintain its role as a carrier of the nuclear deterrent, saw cooperation with the British over the development of the Skybolt missile, as a sort of political insurance policy. Skybolt, an immensely complicated air-to-surface ballistic missile at an early stage of development, seemed the perfect answer to Britain’s problems. It would prolong the life of the V-Bombers by giving them a stand-off delivery capability. With the missile’s planned range being in the order of 1500 miles, British bombers would not need to penetrate so far into Soviet air defences, thus overcoming one of the principal elements of their projected vulnerability. This would prolong the life of the force as far as the beginning of the 1970s and thus potentially postpone huge replacement costs. It would also fit neatly into the existing patterns of bureaucratic politics in Britain as well as the

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US. The Royal Air Force wanted to continue its role as the carrier of the British deterrent, and USAF saw benefits for its own position in lending its support. The main alternative delivery system that might be suitable for British use then being developed in the US, the sea-borne Polaris system, was by no means such a good bureaucratic or financial fit. The Chief of US Naval Operations, Admiral Arleigh Burke was not enthusiastic about the prospect of joint development with the British, while the Admiralty, for both strategic and tactical reasons, was not pressing at this point to acquire the role of carrier of the British independent deterrent.8 Opting for Polaris would merely serve to underline the limited life expectancy of the V-Bomber force, and questions would be asked about the return on the funds which had already been invested in it. Thus, the cancellation of Blue Streak in February 1960, followed by Macmillan’s success the next month at Camp David in persuading Eisenhower to supply the British Government with the Skybolt missile, seemed on the face of things the best solution that could be found to the delivery system problem.9 The financial terms of the agreement were also favourable to Britain. The government would pay only for the missiles it purchased, with no contribution towards their research and development costs. It would develop and fit its own nuclear warheads. In exchange, Macmillan had in effect to agree to Eisenhower’s request for the establishment of a US Polaris submarine base in Scotland.10 While there was no formal written link, when Kennedy, Rusk and McNamara came to reconsider the question of what had been agreed at Camp David just before the Nassau summit two and a-half years later, they concluded that ‘regardless of the document there must have been a “deal” in effect, that undoubtedly the two things did have some relation (Skybolt and Holy Loch) and that if Macmillan thought they did, it was not surprising’.11 The British decision to accept Skybolt proved to be a poisoned chalice. Even during the course of 1960 itself, serious doubts were expressed about the viability of the project, doubts that came to the attention of British ministers.12 Macmillan’s own diary entry for 1 December 1960 records his fears over the matter: ‘“Skybolt” – are the Americans going to let us down, and [if so] what can we do?’13 A subsequent meeting between the outgoing US Secretary of Defense, Thomas Gates, and British Minister of Defence, Harold Watkinson reads like a harbinger of the debate that erupted spectacularly under the Kennedy Administration two years later. Watkinson, who had been informed of a substantial planned cut in the Skybolt budget for the fiscal year 1962 by the UK representative of the Douglas Corporation which was developing the missile, warned Gates as to the political repercussions in Britain of any threat to the project. Gates’ response was to emphasise that, although Skybolt was not in any danger of being immediately abandoned, he believed that the technical difficulties and cost had been underestimated. Room had to be left for the new

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Administration to reconsider the project. Prophetically, he warned that ‘his own guess was that in two years’ time it would be decided either to cancel the project or to step it up; for the time being the position was being kept open’.14 Watkinson’s response, again prefiguring the Nassau meeting between Macmillan and Kennedy of December 1962, was to ask whether, failing Skybolt, the US would be prepared to supply Britain with Polaris submarines? Gates argued that he doubted this would be consistent with the State Department’s objective of creating a NATO nuclear force. As we will see when we come to discuss the Nassau meeting, the British Government could hardly claim to be either unaware of the possibility of the failure of Skybolt or unfamiliar with the likely US negotiating position in the event of such a failure. It was against this background that the Kennedy Administration took office. There were two main potential reasons why the British Government might have entertained doubts about the fate of the British nuclear deterrent under the new Administration. Firstly, the new emphasis on a ‘flexible response’ strategy in the event of war seemed to require a greater conventional rather than nuclear contribution from America’s European allies. ‘Flexible response’ required the West to build up its conventional capability to hold Soviet forces at bay for longer on the European front. Nuclear weapons would be used later in the battle in a graduated way.15 This strategy stood in contrast to the Eisenhower doctrine of ‘massive retaliation’, which envisaged the US deploying its strategic nuclear arsenal early in the battle to counter Soviet conventional superiority. The more subtle approach to the use of nuclear weapons envisaged by the doctrine of flexible response carried with it two unwelcome implications for the British Government. Since greater central control would be required over the deployment of nuclear weapons, independent deterrents such as Britain’s did not fit easily into the new strategic picture. The emphasis on centralisation, which essentially, of course, meant Americanisation,16 of the West’s nuclear deterrent forces, also underpinned the new Administration’s greater emphasis on nuclear non-proliferation. Thus, in the area of strategic doctrine the British deterrent could not be expected to find favour with the Kennedy Administration. The second main area of potential conflict lay in the Administration’s pursuit of its European ‘Grand Design’. If Britain were to be pushed closer to the EEC, then the special nuclear relationship with the US was a potential impediment. As an NSC paper of April 1961 approved by the president confirmed, the privileged British nuclear position was viewed as a ‘standing goad to the French’.17 Repeated redrafts of the Administration’s blueprint for ‘Basic National Security Policy’ emphasised that there should be a reduction in the US–UK special relationship, and ‘encouragement of the United Kingdom to phase out its independent strategic nuclear program’,18 albeit that this shift should be undertaken in an evolutionary way.19

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The new US strategic doctrine was particularly associated with Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, who, perhaps unfairly, would later come to be cast as something of the villain of the piece in terms of Anglo-American nuclear relations. Certainly, subtlety was not McNamara’s strong suit. His emphasis on the value of rational calculation in the planning and implementation of defence policy overlooked the emotive political considerations that intruded into the field.20 Viewed purely from a financial and strategic perspective, it was clear that McNamara was right to express the view at Ann Arbor, Michigan in June 1962, that small national deterrents, with cities rather than military installations as their principal targets, were dangerous, lacking in credibility and prone to obsolescence. Worse still, in an ensuing press conference intended to tone down the impact of his remarks, McNamara had claimed that he had only been referring to independent nuclear forces. The British deterrent did not come into this category since it was ‘organized as part of a thoroughly coordinated Anglo-American striking force …’21 By implication, the Defense Secretary had called into question whether British forces could really be called independent at all. Albeit that McNamara insisted his comments were directed at the planned development of a French independent deterrent, they were equally applicable to the British nuclear effort. McNamara might tell Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore that he was ‘embarked on a process of education which he felt was vital for all of us’, but the British Government was not keen to see the lesson given in public.22 Ironically, though, as a subsequent exchange between Macmillan and de Zulueta shows, the prime minister did learn something new from McNamara’s comments. In a minute to Harold Watkinson, Macmillan had insisted that, whatever McNamara had implied, he could use the British deterrent without the US president’s approval, although there was a gentleman’s agreement to consult in advance of such a decision.23 De Zulueta felt the need to correct him: ‘it is doubtful whether we could in fact use our deterrent independently; I understand that there are no serious operational plans for us to do so. This is no doubt the point of Mr McNamara’s observations.’ Macmillan’s response was to resort to the theoretical splitting of hairs: ‘whether we could in practice is quite another question. But it is … our right’.24 Still, there was another, potentially more welcome side to the new Defense Secretary’s drive for rationalisation and cost-efficiency in the Western defence effort. Early in the term of the new Administration, McNamara signalled his belief in the value of the concept of ‘interdependence’. It was wasteful and unnecessary, McNamara believed, for the Western powers to carry out the competitive development of defence systems when they could more efficiently pool their efforts. On a visit to Washington in March 1961, Harold Watkinson found McNamara not only willing to confirm the existing Anglo-American understanding on the

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development of Skybolt, but also evidently keen to coordinate efforts with the British over the whole field of weapons research, development and production.25 According to US records, in explaining the British Government’s position, Watkinson warned that ‘there were great pressures from UK commercial interests who were opposed to UK procurement of US weapons such as Skybolt …’ Furthermore, Watkinson ‘reiterated the necessity for some form of two-way trade to defend his own and the Prime Minister’s position in Parliament and the country’.26 At the conclusion of the Watkinson–McNamara meeting, two memoranda of understanding were agreed. The first expressed the general need for greater coordination in defence research and development and confirmed the existing Skybolt deal.27 The second laid down the terms of reference for a joint study of potential areas of coordination, to be undertaken by John Rubel, the US acting director of Defense Research and Engineering, and Sir Solly Zuckerman, the UK Ministry of Defence’s chief scientific adviser.28 As the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, Sir Hugh Stephenson, subsequently pointed out, though, it was one thing to initiate joint planning with the Americans, quite another to achieve tangible results. Previous experience suggested that once formal plans had been drawn up, they would be ‘pigeon-holed and neglected by the Americans’. The prospects for the exercise, Stephenson argued, were therefore not very bright, and it could only be undertaken on political rather than military grounds.29 In other words, it might enhance the appearance of the AngloAmerican alliance, but would add little to its military effectiveness. Sure enough, when Watkinson came to review the progress of interdependence in research and development in early 1962, he was forced to admit that the results during the first year of cooperation had been less than encouraging. Only if an agreement on cooperation were reached very early in the life of a project could results be achieved. Once development work on a weapons system had started in the US, the vested political, industrial and financial interests involved meant that it was unlikely to be cancelled or curtailed in favour of a British rival.30 Moreover, the American proposal that, in the light of this problem, greater efforts should be made to dovetail future research and development planning held potential pitfalls for Britain. As Watkinson put it, ‘viewing this proposal dispassionately, it may well be that what the Americans mean by “interdependence” might be held by some parts of British industry to be “dependence”, because of the enormous preponderance of power, money and resources on the American side’.31 The question of interdependence was only briefly touched upon by Macmillan and Kennedy in their formal talks in April 1962, although Macmillan seems to have raised it again in one of his private chats with the president. He also took the opportunity to stress the significance he attached to the topic in a meeting with Defense Secretary McNamara at the

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British Embassy on the morning of Sunday 29 April. Here he repeated how important it would be for British industry to obtain a fair share of US defence orders in view of the large amount of money Britain would be spending in the US on the Skybolt missile system.32 The linkage implied here between Skybolt and the broader question of interdependence in military research and development was an interesting, and, as matters were to transpire, a somewhat ironical one. In view of the opinion expressed by Macmillan back in March 1960 that the purchase of Skybolt had prolonged the life of the British ‘independent’ deterrent,33 the following observation in the Ministry of Defence’s briefing paper for the Washington talks could have been political dynamite in Britain: While complementarity for the future will be all to the good if we can get it, we also have major problems which derive from past decisions, and where our present difficulties could be reduced with United States help. The United Kingdom is already having to rely on America for certain important and expensive weapons (such as Skybolt) which have proved beyond our resources to develop. This is one-sided dependence. As an earnest of their ability and willingness to help us achieve interdependence in the short term, we would urge that an effort should be made to find areas in which the United States can ‘depend’ on the United Kingdom …34 The irony of the British position as set out in the Ministry of Defence brief, and in Macmillan’s comments to McNamara, was that the Skybolt deal had established a position of unequal dependence on the US in financial terms. The practice of interdependence from now on would have to work towards the rectification of the balance. In this context, the British Government seemed to want to have its cake and eat it. Originally, it had had to plead for American largesse in the supply of the Skybolt system because it could not afford to develop its own weapons. Now that it had secured a US pledge to supply the weapon, Skybolt was to be used as an example of inequality in the field of defence research and development, and a reason for the distribution of future projects to be slanted much more in Britain’s favour. This was all the more remarkable since under the terms of the Skybolt deal, the UK was not in fact required to contribute at all to the US’s research and development costs, but only to pay the final delivery price for each missile purchased. The line now taken by Macmillan was, therefore, to say the least, a rather self-serving interpretation of the concept of interdependence. From the US perspective, the whole question of interdependence looked rather different. As a Pentagon briefing paper prepared for the Macmillan visit argued, the British had repeatedly tried to arrange a ‘horse trade’ in which the US would open up the NATO market to British equipment by

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withdrawing certain US items from sales competitions. The British would in exchange withdraw certain of their own items. As far as the Department of Defense was concerned this amounted to an ‘arbitrary division of the market’. The US understanding of ‘complementarity’ was different. ‘We prefer competition as a means of selection, while the UK would prefer a negotiated division of effort.’35 In a bid to further the British version of interdependence, Macmillan left McNamara and the president copies of a memorandum on the subject, outlining areas in which the government believed that British equipment should be accepted by the Americans.36 The president’s reply the following month was less than encouraging.37 In a bid to move matters forward, it was agreed that the prime minister, in his response to the president, should formally accept an earlier invitation from McNamara to place a British official in the Pentagon to work with the Americans on the longer-term problem of complementarity. In his letter to Kennedy, though, Macmillan also repeated the view that ‘unless you can find some areas in which you can depend on us, there can be no genuine complementarity. And a onesided dependence by us on you would be politically and economically unacceptable’.38 The president’s reply to this approach was unsympathetic. Despite Macmillan’s suggestion that vertical take-off aircraft technology (VTOL) was one field which the Americans might leave to the British, Kennedy was unwilling to commit himself to specifics.39 He argued that, rather than parcelling out whole fields of development to one country or the other, the goal should be for British firms to compete for specific projects on the same basis as their US counterparts. As Cabinet Secretary Norman Brook commented acerbically in a minute to Macmillan: if the competitions were run fairly, this might be a logical policy – though, even then, it would be a misuse of language to call it ‘interdependence’ or even ‘complementarity’. But all previous experience suggests that British firms will have a pretty small chance of winning anything valuable in this sort of competition conducted under American rules.40 Watkinson echoed Brook’s views. It was time, he advised the prime minister, to bring the correspondence with the president on the subject to an end, since little more could be expected to be achieved via this channel at this point. Watkinson’s suggestion that a British team, consisting of Professor W. R. Hawthorne, of Cambridge University, supported by J. R. Christie, a civil servant in the Ministry of Aviation, should be now placed in the Pentagon was accepted by Macmillan. He wrote to the president informing him of the despatch of the British personnel, and effectively drawing a line for the moment under their personal correspondence on the issue.41 Although Macmillan now hoped that Britain could work towards a greater degree of consultation with the US over weapons development at

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lower administrative levels, suspicion and competition between the two countries in the field of arms development and sales was reinforced further by events during the summer and autumn. Two specific controversies arose. The first concerned the pressure exerted on NATO countries by the US authorities to buy their short range surface-to-surface missile system, Sergeant, instead of the British-designed alternative, Blue Water. Macmillan bitterly described the favourable terms on which Sergeant was offered to NATO as those ‘more commonly arranged for vacuum-cleaners and washing-machines’. The American sales pressure was irresistible, and in the middle of August 1962 Britain was forced to cancel Blue Water at considerable cost. ‘Sergeant’, he later recorded, ‘was imposed not preferred’.42 Hard on the heels of the Blue Water/Sergeant fiasco came the controversy over the US decision to sell Hawk surface-to-air missiles to Israel. The Israeli Government was keen to acquire the most modern air defence weapons, and had expressed an interest in both the latest version of the British Bloodhound system as well as the US Hawk missile. At a meeting of the Cabinet Defence Committee at the end of January 1962, the foreign secretary had reported that the US had taken a firm decision not to sell any missiles of any kind to Middle Eastern countries for fear of fuelling an arms race in the region.43 The matter came up again in the middle of April. The Cabinet Defence Committee conclusion was that ‘although Bloodhound in its present form no longer contained any classified information of United States origin, it might still be advisable on more general grounds to inform the United States Government of our intentions in advance’.44 Then, in the middle of August, came the bombshell news that the US Administration had decided to sell Hawk missiles to Israel after all. Macmillan, who was on a shooting holiday in Yorkshire, was livid. Without troubling himself to approach the US authorities for an explanation of their abrupt volte-face, he dashed off a furious message to Kennedy via the secure teleprinter line.45 That Macmillan should have immediately jumped to the conclusion that US duplicity, rather than any other foreign policy consideration, must have been behind the decision says much for his view of the state of interdependence at this point. The extraordinarily vitriolic tone adopted by the prime minister makes his message worth quoting at length. ‘On returning from a very pleasant day’s shooting at Bolton Abbey’, Macmillan began, ‘I have just received the information that … you have decided to supply Hawk missiles to the Israelis …’ Macmillan reminded the president that there had been repeated reaffirmations, the most recent only four days earlier, that the US would not supply such weapons to the Israelis without full consultation with the British. He went on: To be informed on Saturday afternoon that your Government are going to make an offer to supply on Sunday is really not consultation. I cannot believe that you were privy to this disgraceful piece of trickery. For myself I must say frankly that I can hardly find words to express my

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sense of disgust and despair. Nor do I see how you and I are to conduct the great affairs of the world on this basis … Meanwhile can you tell me whether there is any chance of your cancelling this offer before I instruct our own manufacturers to try to undersell Hawk with Bloodhound? In apocalyptic style, Macmillan concluded: ‘I have instructed our officials to let me have a list of all the understandings in different parts of the world which we have entered into together. It certainly makes it necessary to reconsider out whole position on this and allied matters.’46 Shortly after the despatch of Macmillan’s stinging rebuke to the president, a message arrived from Lord Hood in Washington, in which he reported Dean Rusk’s attempts to clarify the situation. Rusk described the Hawk offer as being part of an effort to gain Israeli goodwill in order to facilitate progress on the Arab refugee problem. As far as Rusk was concerned, the British Government had now been informed of this shift in US policy and was perfectly entitled to approach the Israeli Government with its own offer of missile sales. ‘The American offer to discuss the sale of these weapons was actuated by purely political motives and had not been engineered by the weapons-selling lobby in the Administration’, Rusk argued. Finally, Hood reported, the president was away in California and so had not yet read Macmillan’s message.47 Hood followed up his report of his meeting with Rusk with a personal telegram to Lord Home: I hope you will agree that the Americans have acted like fools not knaves. I rubbed this in and they were duly contrite. If you do agree, could you persuade the Prime Minister to send rapidly a further message to the President to soften the impact of the first? With due respect, I think the Prime Minister has gone too far; and unless he sends a quick chaser, real offence will be caused and lasting damage done to his relations both with the President and Rusk.48 Macmillan’s rage, if not his conviction as to American double-dealing, had evidently cooled. A further message was despatched immediately in which Macmillan expressed himself glad that his serious concern had been based on a muddle between various diplomatic messages. ‘However’, he concluded, ‘if you are dealing with Highlanders you must expect them to flare into a temper if they think they have a grievance.’49 Macmillan’s second message diluted the impact of the first sufficiently to avoid a major rupture in his personal relations with Kennedy. Nevertheless, Kennedy could not resist his own touch of irony in his reply to the prime minister. ‘Your first message’, he wrote, ‘does provide a timely reminder of the meaning of the motto of Scotland: nemo me impune lacessit. But this time

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it is only a matter of incomplete communication, and we will try not to spoil your shooting with any more cryptic messages’.50 That the underlying suspicions on Macmillan’s part as to the real reasons for the US offer of missiles to Israel had not disappeared is confirmed by his subsequent correspondence with Lord Home on the subject. He blamed not only the lobbying of US arms industry but also the demands of US domestic politics in a mid-term election year. ‘Feeling in industry at home is very strong that we are being out-manoeuvred at every stage by the Americans’, he warned Home.51 At the end of September he wrote that he had not realised before that ‘not only the Jewish vote in New York but also the Massachusetts senatorial seat was involved’.52 This was a clear reference to the direct involvement of the interests of the Kennedy family in Massachusetts, where Ted Kennedy was running for Senate. In very similar tones to those that he had used in his first incandescent message to the president, Macmillan told the foreign secretary that: I am bound to say that the whole episode is a very distasteful one. I hope you will leave Rusk under no illusion. It is not the importance of the matter but the complete falsity with which he and the American Administration have approached it which sticks in one’s throat. How can we have any confidence again in anything they say to us?53 For the prime minister, the Hawk missile sale left an enduring taste of bitterness. Macmillan’s view that ‘the Americans have deceived us all through. We must always have this in mind in discussing other subjects with them’, provides an interesting piece of background to the Skybolt crisis which was now a matter of weeks ahead.54 Macmillan was not the only one to take away a sense of grievance from the Hawk saga. Reporting on his own discussions of the matter with the president, David Ormsby-Gore told Macmillan that Kennedy had been ‘stung by your message from Bolton’. Kennedy felt that he had a completely clear conscience over the charge of trying to secure commercial advantage from the sale. He did not deny that calculations of domestic political advantage had played a part, but implied that the decision had been principally motivated by the need to bring greater equilibrium to the Middle East.55 The only dividend from what Ormsby-Gore described as a rather tense discussion was that it provided the opportunity to impress on Kennedy the very strong feelings held in Britain (and by its prime minister) about US efforts to ‘hog the armaments market’. In fact, from the available US documentation, Kennedy’s summary of the reasons behind the decision to sell Hawks to Israel seems accurate. US documents reveal little direct involvement by the president until a conference called to discuss the Johnson Plan for the repatriation of Arab refugees, in tandem with the question of the Hawk missile sale, on

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14 August.56 This discussion certainly shows Kennedy considering the domestic political implications, as he had admitted to Ormsby-Gore. There is, though, no direct evidence of the president himself being swayed by the arms manufacturing lobby when taking his decision. What is also clear is that little consideration was given to the question of British reactions to the sale. The focus had been on how to smooth things over with Nasser. It was only after Kennedy had left the meeting that Assistant Secretary Phillips Talbot mentioned in passing the need to tell the UK about the Hawk sale.57 The account sent to Kennedy by Bundy of Rusk’s and his meeting with Lord Hood on 18 August, makes interesting reading.58 ‘The Secretary and I both expressed the belief that you would be astonished by the tone of the Prime Minister’s message’, Bundy reported. ‘The Secretary remarked’, Bundy went on, ‘that when a married couple begin to talk about divorce, it is already too late, and he pointed out that it would not have been good for our relations with the UK if we had resorted to parallel language in such cases as the Congo and nuclear testing.’ Bundy concluded: I do not have all the evidence of what went wrong here, but I think the Secretary would agree that communication with the British was at too low a level and too limited in scope this week. Still it is clear that there was no justification for the violence of the Prime Minister’s explosion, and it is also clear that the way is now open for perfectly fair competition. The rub, of course, is that the British will not win. Nothing is harder for a merchant’s feelings than to have to market a second-best product against alert competition. Thus, from the American perspective, the résumé of the handling of the problem given by Kennedy to Ormsby-Gore was accurate. What is fascinating, though, is the way in which the Hawk saga prefigures elements of the later Skybolt crisis. There was an important blind spot on the American side as to British sensibilities over their position of military dependence. The arrogance of Bundy’s assumption that the British were just ‘sore losers’, and that this explained Macmillan’s reaction, showed that there was little understanding of British concerns over the operation of interdependence in the defence field. Just as the depth of Macmillan’s anger over the Hawk sale seemed inexplicable to US officials, so they would also misjudge the depth of the crisis in Anglo-American relations soon to be engendered by the cancellation of Skybolt. Perhaps these difficulties were in part a symptom of the lack of understanding on the US side of British perceptions. To return to Rusk’s married couple analogy, Macmillan’s threat of divorce had been dismissed as an isolated emotional outburst, rather than the symptom of a deeper feeling of inequality, inadequacy and resentment on the part of one partner in the relationship.

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Another part of the explanation for Macmillan’s extreme reaction may have been his rattled state of mind in the aftermath of the unprecedented Cabinet reshuffle, the so-called ‘Night of the Long Knives’ of 12–13 July 1962.59 Although, by August, the dust had largely settled on this domestic crisis, the letter he dashed off to Kennedy about the Hawk missile sale bears the same hallmarks of hurried and ill-considered action. The Cabinet purge of July 1962 had also impacted in one other significant way on AngloAmerican relations in the countdown to the Skybolt crisis. One of those to be dismissed was Defence Minister Harold Watkinson, whose efforts to forge a close working relationship with US Defense Secretary McNamara had met with only limited success. His successor, Peter Thorneycroft, was a completely different kind of political operator. Although he probably still did not regard him as his intellectual equal, McNamara was forced to acknowledge that his new counterpart was a formidable politician. In the parlance of the ‘New Frontier’, he was certainly ‘tough’.60 Although this meant that the US Defense Secretary would probably now be less inclined to try to overpower his British counterpart, significant problems remained in their relationship. Chief among these was the fact that McNamara and Thorneycroft thought in different ways. Thorneycroft relied on his political instincts in handling problems, while McNamara relied much more on quantitative analysis. This difference in approach contributed to their ensuing difficulties over Skybolt.61 McNamara and Thorneycroft made each other’s acquaintance during Thorneycroft’s trip to the US in September 1962. Before his departure, Thorneycroft was made well aware of the prime minister’s concerns as to how interdependence was developing. According to Macmillan: When I launched ‘interdependence’ with President Eisenhower, I think he personally was sincere. But lower down the scale, his wishes were ignored. So it is with President Kennedy. The disgraceful story of Sergeant and still more discreditable story of Hawks for Israel prove this. Your predecessor stood up to Macnamara [sic] well. But we still had hopes the American would play fair. I fear that this is beyond their capacity. I think you should make it clear to them that we are not ‘soft’ and are quite well aware of the facts. Americans respect strength and rather admire a ‘tough’ attitude. If only we can ‘get into Europe’ we shall, of course, have a much stronger position.62 Although Thorneycroft was able to report that he had been treated to the best of American hospitality, accompanying the president and McNamara to Huntsville, Alabama and Cape Canaveral, and McNamara alone to the Omaha Strategic Command Headquarters, no progress was achieved on the issue of interdependence.63 Once again Thorneycroft came up against the problem of the scale of the US research and development effort,

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which dwarfed into comparative insignificance that of Britain.64 Once again he reported that political and industrial pressures exerted a strong influence over US policy. As regards the future of Skybolt, McNamara indicated to Thorneycroft that the costs of the programme were escalating, but that he was still planning on the basis of the delivery of the weapon. For his part, Thorneycroft reminded the US Defense Secretary that it would cause a major political sensation in Britain if the weapon were cancelled. McNamara’s caginess on the subject of Skybolt was in part due to the fact that a final decision had not yet been taken on the weapon, and in part due to pressures on him from competing elements of the US bureaucracy. The State Department had stuck steadfastly to its line that the US–UK special relationship should be downgraded in importance and that the Skybolt deal should be the last example of Anglo-American nuclear exclusivity. The brief prepared by State for Macmillan’s April 1962 visit had warned the president that Macmillan might try to elicit some new commitment that in ‘the “holy realm” of military nuclear arrangements the special US–UK relationship will be perpetuated’. The department’s planners had emphasised once again the need to wean Britain off its independent nuclear force and on to participation in multilateral arrangements.65 The president for his part seems not entirely to have been in sympathy with this approach. In response to the State Department briefing, McGeorge Bundy had to answer the president’s enquiry as to why he could not make ‘commitments which bind the United States to perpetuate the present forms of the US–UK relationship?’ ‘This’, Bundy replied, ‘is a dandy question’. What the State Department meant, he suggested, was that: We want the British in Europe, and we do not really see much point in the separate British nuclear deterrent, beyond our existing Skybolt commitment; we would much rather have British efforts go into conventional weapons and have the British join with the rest of NATO in accepting a single US-dominated nuclear force.66 Shortly before Thorneycroft’s arrival for his September visit to the United States, Rusk wrote to McNamara reminding him of the Policy Directive adopted by the NSC back in April 1961. The US should not prolong the life of the British deterrent other than by the provision of Skybolt, and then only if the continuing development of that weapon was warranted for US purposes alone.67 Rusk also reminded the Defense Secretary that the British should not be offered Polaris. McNamara was thus under one form of pressure from Rusk and the State Department the implication of which was that two birds could be killed with one stone by the cancellation of Skybolt. An expensive weapons programme could be curtailed and the policy directive aimed at driving the British out of the independent nuclear business could be fulfilled earlier than expected. Pressure of a different sort

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came from the US Air Force, which remained anxious to see Skybolt developed, and which saw the commitment to supply to the UK as another political card that might be played in defence of the programme.68 Nevertheless, from McNamara’s point of view, all of the financial, technical and strategic arguments were running against the continuation of the Skybolt programme by the beginning of November 1962.69 The only counter-arguments were political: the cancellation would cause the Defense Secretary problems with his own Joint Chiefs, and with the British Government. McNamara was not one to be swayed by mere politics in the face of what he saw as the logical strategic requirements. After first clearing his approach with the president,70 McNamara called David Ormsby-Gore in to break the bad news about the weapon on 8 November 1962.71 Beginning by rehearsing the troubled history of the programme, McNamara went on to detail the recent increases in estimated development costs and the likely slippage in the date when the missiles would come into service. He indicated that the US Joint Chiefs had been asked to review the project, and he expected their recommendations to be available within two weeks. He would then make up his own mind on the issue and forward a recommendation to the president. The clear implication of McNamara’s comments was that he expected to recommend cancellation of Skybolt. This much is obvious from OrmsbyGore’s extremely sharp response, and from the ensuing discussion between the two of the implications of cancellation and the possible alternative systems that might be offered to the British. The ambassador made it clear that ‘a decision to abandon the Skybolt programme would be political dynamite so far as the United Kingdom was concerned. The whole of our defence policy in the strategic nuclear field in the second half of this decade was founded upon the availability of Skybolt’.72 Unlike the US, Britain, having abandoned its own Blue Streak and Blue Steel II missiles, had no alternative delivery system. Worse still, from the point of view of Anglo-American relations, there would be those who questioned the motives of the US in arriving at its decision. The cancellation of Skybolt might be portrayed as a means of putting pressure on Britain to abandon its independent nuclear deterrent. According to Ormsby-Gore’s account, McNamara, for his part, acknowledged an obligation on the part of the US Government to provide an alternative to Britain should it decide to cancel Skybolt. He suggested three main possibilities. Firstly, the US might hand over all of its existing research on Skybolt to Britain, and allow the British to complete the development work themselves. He acknowledged that this would probably make the missile too expensive for the British Government. Secondly, the US might provide Britain with an alternative system such as Hound Dog. This was a cruise missile, with a limited range, which was also intended to be air-launched. Although McNamara confidently predicted that it would be

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able to penetrate Soviet air defences up until 1970, the missile was far from being an appealing option for the British Government. Apart from its increased vulnerability to anti-aircraft defences when compared to the ballistic missile Skybolt, its modification for use on the British V-Bombers would present technical difficulties. Even if it were to be indented into the wings, there would still be only eighteen inches of ground clearance on take-off. This was likely to cause severe operational difficulties. The third option that McNamara suggested, according to Ormsby-Gore, was that the US might provide Britain with an alternative missile system such as Minuteman or Polaris. For the small island nation of Britain, Minuteman was of course the much less favourable of the two options. It would be difficult to disperse the silos sufficiently and to locate them far enough away from large population centres. Polaris, on the other hand, as a sea-borne weapon, presented no such difficulties. Ormsby-Gore’s immediate response, though, was to indicate to McNamara that, while he was speaking without firm instructions, he did not believe that any of the three options he had suggested would be acceptable to the British Government. It is interesting that in his own brief notes of his conversation with Ormsby-Gore, McNamara made no mention at all of the range of options he had offered. Specifically, he made no reference to having suggested the possibility of supplying the British with the Polaris system.73 Part of the reason for McNamara’s reticence in recording his discussion of this possibility with Ormsby-Gore may well have been the continuing pressure from the State Department not to prolong the life of the British deterrent. Certainly, a memorandum from Rusk to McNamara later in the month shows that the State Department was continuing to press this line.74 Rusk suggested three alternative options for the British. The first two were the same as McNamara had suggested: the supply of Hound Dog or British development of Skybolt. Rusk’s third alternative, though, was different: ‘participation in a sea-based MRBM force under multilateral manning and ownership, such as NATO is now discussing.’ Rusk stated definitely that ‘it seems essential that we make quite clear to the British that there is no possibility of our helping them set up a nationally manned and owned MRBM force’. This was very much a case of the State Department trying to close a door that McNamara for the Defense Department had already, perhaps without Rusk’s knowledge, partly opened. Certainly, McNamara was later scathing about the role of the State Department’s Europeanists during the crisis. He confided to Richard Neustadt that ‘Owen and Schaetzel were driving to get the British out of the nuclear business and counted on him and Rusk and the President to do their dirty work for them. This … was a preposterous idea.’75 Although McNamara had indicated in his conversation with OrmsbyGore that the Administration was still considering its options, the chances of Skybolt being developed by the Americans were now virtually nil. In a

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memorandum for the president, dated 21 November 1962, McNamara argued that ‘I have felt for some time now that Skybolt was a questionable program’.76 As regards the Anglo-American dimension, McNamara noted that ‘for the British, a deployment of other weapon systems could take the place of Skybolt, achieving the same deterrent at a lower cost than maintaining their bomber force. The possibility of providing alternative nuclear forces is under study’.77 Two days later, at a meeting with the president at Hyannis Port over the Thanksgiving weekend, McNamara’s recommendation for the cancellation of Skybolt was approved by Kennedy, ‘subject to consultation with the U.K. on alternatives’.78 Thus, the American decision to cancel Skybolt had effectively been taken nearly three weeks before McNamara’s 11 December meeting with Thorneycroft which drew a line under British attempts to save the weapon. During this intervening period, uncertainty over the likely fate of Skybolt had contributed to the apparent paralysis that characterised the British Government’s position. Paralysis, however, in this context, is not intended to imply a lack of debate. Rather, it implies that competing views emerged as to the best way to solve the problem. The result of these conflicting pulls on policy was that the government did not depart from the status quo.79 This paralysis, which afflicted Macmillan himself, may also have been an expression of the hope that no movement would in fact ultimately be necessary, and that the project might yet be saved. The key dissenter from this view seems to have been Peter Thorneycroft. Rather than mustering forces for a fight to save Skybolt, Thorneycroft quickly shifted his ground to consider instead the battle ahead for the most appropriate alternative.80 According to his own recollection, Thorneycroft had already raised the question of Polaris as a possible substitute for Skybolt in his telephone conversation with McNamara on 9 November, the day after the Defense Secretary’s meeting with Ormsby-Gore.81 Once again, McNamara’s own brief record of the call makes no mention of the specific discussion of Polaris.82 Thorneycroft’s account of the conversation as forwarded to Macmillan indicated that the cancellation of Skybolt was a ‘likely prospect’. He supplemented this formal record with a verbal briefing for the prime minister.83 In a subsequent memorandum on the subject sent to Macmillan on 7 December, Thorneycroft argued that although the UK could offer the US financial sweeteners to continue with Skybolt, he did not think this course of action worth pursuing.84 The key issue to be settled before specific alternative systems could be discussed was whether they would be offered by the US Government on the same basis as Skybolt: that is, without political strings. In other words, the offer of an alternative system should not, for instance, be contingent on its commitment to any planned NATO multilateral force. Only if this proviso were accepted by the US should specific alternatives be discussed. Of these, Thorneycroft made it clear, Polaris seemed the weapon best designed to suit British purposes.

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The key factor in Macmillan’s thinking, making him reluctant to accept Thorneycroft’s reasoning at this stage, was the likely domestic political impact of any decision to cancel Skybolt. Already, public opinion had been upset by Dean Acheson’s speech at West Point on 5 December, in which he had famously claimed that ‘Great Britain has lost an Empire and has not yet found a role’. Macmillan noted in his diary that the outcry was ‘not a good sign, for we ought to be strong enough to laugh off this kind of thing’.85 He himself, according to Harold Evans, was not quite so self-composed as his diary entry suggests. Spurred on by a letter from the Head of the Institute of Directors, Lord Chandos, Macmillan was initially all for sending a fierce reply to Acheson until his press secretary succeeded in taking the edge off his anger. In the end, his public response was measured.86 No doubt Macmillan would have been grateful for the deft turn of phrase shown by one of his successors in office, Harold Wilson, when replying to a subsequent Acheson barb about the British role in southern Africa. ‘Mr Acheson is a distinguished figure who has lost a State Department and not yet found himself a role’, Wilson observed in the House of Commons.87 However, the timing of Acheson’s speech was at the very least unfortunate for Macmillan. As David Bruce put it in his diary, Acheson’s expression of his views had been ‘unnecessary, unproductive and tactless’.88 Thus, as regards the fate of the British independent deterrent, although it might be better in the longer run to secure Polaris, as Macmillan’s Private Secretary Tim Bligh saw matters, ‘our best plan would be to try and play Skybolt along for another year to eighteen months in order to avoid political difficulties at home’.89 Such difficulties, as a memorandum prepared by Macmillan’s Press Secretary Harold Evans made clear, could take a number of forms.90 Firstly, the abandonment of Skybolt in favour of Polaris might raise the issue of the value for money gained from the £1000 million spent on the V-Bomber force. Without Skybolt, the V-Bombers would have a much shorter credible operational life. Secondly, there would be calls, along the lines of those already voiced in the Daily Express, for Britain to go it alone in developing its own delivery system. It would take some explaining why Britain could not afford to build its own truly independent deterrent. Finally, there would be criticisms from the opposite end of the political spectrum of the whole notion of continuing to maintain an independent British nuclear force. The cancellation of Skybolt would leave the prime minister treading a very delicate political line between critics on both sides. It is no wonder that in these circumstances, Macmillan moved more cautiously than Thorneycroft in dropping Skybolt in favour of Polaris. In a climate where the political implications of any course of action seemed perilous, the military, technical and strategic arguments presented against Skybolt and in favour of Polaris do seem to have exerted some

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influence on Macmillan’s thinking. A draft annex of material for inclusion in the prime minister’s brief for the Nassau talks, prepared by Tim Bligh, emphasised the technical difficulties that lay ahead in any attempt to complete the Skybolt project. There were no less than 60 000 unit parts in the guidance system, each one of which had to function perfectly if the missile were to reach its target.91 Bligh’s briefing paper, based on simple technical facts long since known to the British Government, only underlines the extent to which political considerations must have dominated the continuing expressions of British faith in Skybolt up until December 1962. Behind the scenes, Minister of Defence Thorneycroft was evidently already manoeuvring to press McNamara into confirming an offer of Polaris as a replacement for Skybolt. According to Ormsby-Gore’s later recollection, matters at this stage were ‘made infinitely more difficult by Thorneycroft briefing his public relations man, Brigadier Hobbs, to leak to Chapman Pincher, that the Americans were letting us down. So the atmosphere in which MacNamara [sic] arrived could not have been worse, I mean this was deliberately orchestrated by Thorneycroft …’92 In any case, McNamara’s public and private statements regarding Skybolt on his arrival in London on 11 December made sure that the weapon was now a political poisoned chalice. In public, he confirmed that Skybolt had failed all of its flight tests. In private he confirmed the probable cancellation of the project. According to Paul Nitze, McNamara fully intended his public statement to compromise Skybolt. He had by this stage decided that the weapon would be ‘bad for the British and wanted to be sure that the British public knew this, whether Thorneycroft told them or not’.93 McNamara now broached three alternatives along the lines of Secretary of State Rusk’s memorandum to him of 24 November, rather than his earlier conversations with Ormsby-Gore and Thorneycroft. That is, he offered Thorneycroft the choice of British development of Skybolt, the supply of Hound Dog, or British participation in a sea-borne MRBM force multilaterally owned and manned. It was left to Thorneycroft to raise again the possibility of Polaris, which he noted McNamara had dropped from the list of options they had discussed in their 9 November telephone call. The Secretary of Defense was noncommittal, arguing that this solution involved legal problems that would have to be explored further.94 In view of the public criticism of Skybolt by McNamara, which was seized on by the press, it was clear that the option of continuing with the weapon was now a political impossibility for Macmillan. In private, Macmillan himself was clear by this point that ‘the American Administration has taken the decision to abandon Skybolt. What the effect will be here really depends on what alternatives – if any – they would propose’.95 One of the puzzles about the ensuing Nassau meeting is why Kennedy was to be so persistent in offering the British the possibility of financial assistance in continuing the development of the publicly compromised missile, which

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the Administration itself did not want. This is even more puzzling in view of the fact that as early as 10 December, Kennedy had made it clear to his advisers that ‘he was not eager to join in a large share of further development costs for a weapon to be supplied only to the British’.96 Part of the explanation no doubt lay in an attempt to smoke out British tactics in relation to the continuation of the independent deterrent. Although, after 11 December, Macmillan almost certainly did not want Skybolt, he needed to keep up the appearance that he did, and that he had been badly let down by the Americans. Such an appearance would help to maintain the pressure for the best possible alternative offer to be made. This now meant the provision of Polaris, and, better still, the loan of three US Polaris submarines to bridge the gap until Britain’s own boats could be ready. The latter possibility revived ideas first mooted by Harold Watkinson back in the summer of 1960, and now pursued by his successor Peter Thorneycroft.97 Macmillan’s strategy for gaining the best deal at Nassau, therefore, involved concealing his intentions from the Americans. This approach required him to ask David Ormsby-Gore to play a very delicate hand in Washington. Although before Nassau, Macmillan had asked Philip de Zulueta to write to Ormsby-Gore in terms that suggested that he was likely to seek a Polaris deal,98 it would not be good negotiating tactics to have the ambassador reveal this change of position to the president in advance of the meeting. To do so would have risked undercutting the strategy which played up British disappointment over the Administration’s handling of Skybolt, a strategy which was proving effective in building pressure on Kennedy in the American as well as in the British media.99 What Macmillan did want conveyed to Kennedy in order to strengthen his negotiating position was the seriousness of the crisis in Anglo-American relations. On 14 December he sent a telegram to Ormsby-Gore asking him to discuss with the president the possibility of moving Skybolt to the top of the agenda for Nassau.100 His reasoning was that ‘if we cannot reach an agreement on a realistic means of maintaining the British independent deterrent, all the other questions may only justify perfunctory discussion, since an agonising reappraisal of all our foreign and defence policy will be required’. This threat mirrored that made by Macmillan to Kennedy over the Hawk missile sale to Israel in August. Evidently, the prime minister did not believe in the doctrine of graduated diplomatic deterrence. Once again an American challenge to British interests was met with the threat of massive retaliation. In the wake of McNamara and Thorneycroft’s ill-fated London meeting, the two men met again in Paris for the North Atlantic Council session from 13–15 December. According to a record produced by Thorneycroft, they discussed the question of a replacement for Skybolt over lunch on 15 December. Having formally put the State Department’s preferred list of options during the London meeting, McNamara now evidently felt able to revert to his own, earlier track for dealing with the problem. Thorneycroft’s

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report, which was passed to the prime minister, stated that ‘we talked throughout upon the basis that the Americans would offer us Polaris, though he emphasised that important policy issues were involved for both our Governments’. Nevertheless, McNamara warned Thorneycroft that he was not prepared to agree to his idea of hiring American Polaris vessels as a gap-bridging measure.101 Still, as the conclusions of a subsequent meeting with the president reveal, McNamara was willing to bridge the credibility gap in the late-1960s through a piece of public misinformation. ‘It would be publicly assumed that deliveries might take place effective in 1967, but it would be privately recognized that the probable date of effectiveness of this new system would be 1969.’102 In view of Thorneycroft’s enthusiasm for securing Polaris, any of his reports of conversations with McNamara not corroborated from American sources have to be treated with some circumspection. Part of the defence minister’s agenda may well have been to ginger Macmillan into a more determined pursuit of a Polaris deal on the same basis as Skybolt. Nevertheless, the tenor of McNamara’s comments at his ensuing 16 December meeting with the president suggests that Thorneycroft’s account of the substance of their luncheon discussion was accurate. Not only that, but the draft agreement McNamara presented for consideration at that meeting bears out Thorneycroft’s version of what he and McNamara discussed. Certainly it stated in unequivocal terms that the US would furnish the Polaris missile system to the UK, albeit subject to its initial commitment to NATO deterrent forces and its later inclusion in a multilateral force when this came into being. These provisions also applied, though, to parallel US forces of at least equal size, suggesting that McNamara’s ‘multilateral’ force was not the mixed-manned force the Europeanists had in mind.103 The contributions of the various participants to this crucial 16 December White House meeting called to coordinate the Administration’s approach to the Skybolt crisis give an accurate indication of the bureaucratic politics involved on the American side.104 First there was McNamara, whose approach was driven by considerations of efficiency and logic and whose view of the British position had evidently been shaped by his conversations with Thorneycroft. As George Ball saw matters, McNamara had ‘a moral horror of inefficiency and waste. Skybolt offended him morally. He was anxious to see that it was killed on both sides of the Atlantic’. Polaris, by contrast, appealed to McNamara as an efficient system. In logical terms it made much more sense for the British to adopt this weapon as a substitute for Skybolt. According to Ball, ‘McNamara would gladly have given this efficient substitute to the British without any qualification’.105 Then there was Under-Secretary of State George Ball himself, who expressed the State Department’s opposition to any such deal in no uncertain terms. According to Ball, in view of the dangers for the Administration’s European policy, this might be the biggest decision the president was ever called upon to

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make. Then there was the president himself, whose response to Ball’s sweeping and apocalyptic assertion summed up the detached irony with which he handled the situation: ‘that we get every week, George.’ The president’s assessment of the British position was delivered in the same tone. ‘Looking at it from their point of view, which they do almost better than anybody … it might well appear to them that since Skybolt was a substitute for Blue Streak, which they had cancelled in reliance on our assurances, we should now provide an alternative’. The conclusion of the meeting was that the British should be offered Polaris at Nassau on condition that the submarines were committed to ‘a multilateral or a multinational force in NATO’. The terms governing the use of Skybolt would also apply to Polaris. The picture that thus emerges of the views of the respective delegations that arrived at Nassau is an extremely complex one. This was not simply a matter of a British prime minister, imbued with a sense of righteous indignation over a perceived wrong, winning over by force of argument a reluctant president, to a solution the essentials of which neither had envisaged in advance. Indeed, the extent to which the British side believed that the ground had been prepared in advance for a potential Polaris deal may help to explain the degree of anger that all accounts agree characterised the British attitude during the opening phase of the discussions.106 When Kennedy failed to make the expected Polaris offer, and instead unveiled the 50–50 deal on Skybolt, the British delegation, and particularly the prime minister and defence minister, must had smelled the whiff of political calculation on Kennedy’s part. Kennedy’s repeated assertion that this offer merely demonstrated good faith on the American side could hardly have been viewed by Macmillan and Thorneycroft as anything other than dissembling. This may also account for the otherwise puzzling degree of petulance with which Thorneycroft was to call for the withdrawal of the British delegation from Nassau in the midst of the discussions.107 Indeed, the 50–50 development offer on Skybolt is one of the aspects of the Nassau conference the importance of which in exacerbating AngloAmerican acrimony has hitherto been less well understood. If one follows a line of explanation based on Neustadt’s account this is understandable. The offer was hatched in good faith by Kennedy at a point when he still believed that the British wanted Skybolt, the argument runs. It was not accepted by Macmillan because on the way to Nassau, partly as a result of comments made about Skybolt by Kennedy in a television interview, he had finally changed his mind and now wanted Polaris.108 A re-evaluation of the British and American evidence now available makes this line of argument unsustainable. First, there is the probability that Macmillan had changed horses as long as a week before his arrival at Nassau on 19 December, as instanced by de Zulueta’s telegram to Ormsby-Gore on 11 December. Then there is Thorneycroft’s account of his conversation with McNamara in Paris in which the Defense Secretary indicated a willingness

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to supply Polaris. Finally, there is the Oval Office meeting of 16 December at which it was acknowledged that the British would probably ask for Polaris, and at which a five-point proposal, involving the offer of the missile had been agreed by the president. Between 16 and 18 December, Kennedy changed his negotiating position, and, as the records of the meetings at Nassau reveal, initially pushed the 50–50 Skybolt deal harder than any other proposal. The transparency of motivation behind the Kennedy offer in Neustadt’s original account does not sit well with the substance and conclusions of the 16 December meeting.109 We are driven to conclude that Kennedy came up with the idea as a negotiating position, in the expectation that Macmillan would not accept it. He did so for three main reasons. Firstly, he did not want to open himself up to charges of bad faith in reneging on an Eisenhower Administration commitment to supply Skybolt to the British. This could have caused him political problems in Washington. Secondly, in the event of a breakdown at Nassau, Kennedy wanted on record an offer that could be presented in the media as demonstrating American good faith.110 Ormsby-Gore clearly understood as much when he argued that ‘if we tried to claim that Americans have let us down, they will publicize their 50–50 offer, which they’d have every right to do … Once publicized, we wouldn’t be able to sustain the claim at home that they are against our deterrent … ’.111 Thirdly, Kennedy wanted to do all he could to smooth over the bureaucratic rivalries in Washington that the Skybolt crisis had engendered. As Ormsby-Gore put it, in government, ‘you try and carry as many people in your Administration as possible’.112 By toughening his initial negotiating stance he could hope that any offer he was eventually forced to make in relation to Polaris would be tied up in as many multilateral strings as possible. This would help to quieten down the State Department Europeanists. JFK, though, was under no illusion about the likely appeal of the 50–50 Skybolt offer to the British. Ormsby-Gore, with whom he was to hatch the plan on the plane to Nassau put it simply: ‘you have to have it on the record; he knew that this was a dead duck.’113 Despite his privileged access to US documentation, Neustadt did not press this explanation. Rather than presenting the 50–50 offer on Skybolt as a Machiavellian attempt by JFK to have on record an offer to cover his position in the event of a breakdown, he presents it as a politically astute attempt to defuse the crisis, albeit one shaped to satisfy US interests.114 Neustadt did, after all, have to report back to the president himself.115 Moreover, the records now available from British sources reveal that cooperation in Neustadt’s investigation on the other side of the Atlantic was less than complete. Macmillan himself was suspicious of the whole concept. ‘I do not like this’, he wrote on a report of a meeting between Tim Bligh and Neustadt. ‘There is nothing to enquire into.’ His own explanation of the crisis was straightforward. ‘The simple truth is that we naturally assumed

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that Skybolt would work until the American Government told us officially that it would not …’116 As well as being suspicious, he was evidently puzzled by the motivation behind the exercise. ‘This is all very strange’, he noted. ‘The Americans are determined to write history as fast – or even faster – than they make it. It’s like the Time Machine’.117 Macmillan’s attitude to Neustadt’s researches probably explains why he did not unearth the prime minister’s change of heart in advance of the Nassau meeting. British suspicions, together with the need to tread a little carefully when analysing the president’s role, help to explain why Neustadt eventually put forward his mutual misunderstandings interpretation of the crisis. Before his own departure to Nassau, Macmillan had had to negotiate the little matter of the summit with de Gaulle at Rambouillet. The trenchant opposition which he encountered from the French President to the concept of British membership of the EEC, coming on top of the blow delivered by the effective cancellation of Skybolt, must have left the prime minister despondent as to the fate of his whole foreign policy. Returning to London on Sunday 16 December, Macmillan spent barely 24 hours in the capital before his departure to the Bahamas at noon on 17 December. During this time he managed to pack in a long meeting with ministers on the Skybolt question.118 After stops for refuelling on the Azores and Bermuda, the prime minister’s plane reached the Bahamas at 10.30 p.m. local time the same evening. He was accompanied on the journey by Foreign Secretary Alec Home and Minister of Defence Peter Thorneycroft, together with Philip de Zulueta, Tim Bligh and Harold Evans of his Private Office staff. President Kennedy’s plane did not arrive until 11 a.m. the following morning. He brought with him British Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore, as well as a team of his own advisers including Defense Secretary Robert McNamara, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy, Ambassador David Bruce, and Under-Secretary of State George Ball. For reasons that remain unclear, Secretary of State Dean Rusk did not attend.119 The first formal talks were scheduled for the morning of Wednesday 19 December. Nevertheless, the two leaders had a private chat for about an hour late on the afternoon of 18 December.120 Thus far, no detailed account of what they discussed has emerged from either British or American sources, although Harold Evans noted in his diary that ‘word came out that all was far from well, with the President showing no disposition to make an offer on Polaris’.121 According to another source, Macmillan told Kennedy, ‘I’m like a ship that looks buoyant but is apt to sink. Do you want to live with the consequences of sinking me and then with what comes after?’122 We also know from his comments the following day that Kennedy dropped his bombshell of the 50–50 development offer for Skybolt at this point, which can hardly have made the encounter an easy one.123 Certainly, Macmillan later described Kennedy’s proposal as

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‘startling’, and ‘a somewhat astonishing suggestion’.124 Whatever else was said between the two leaders at this point it seems to have done nothing to bridge the gap between their respective opening negotiating positions the following morning. Certainly, before the morning session began, Macmillan ‘spoke darkly of rows and the possibility of his deciding not to go on’ in a conversation with Harold Evans.125 David Ormsby-Gore too described the first session of the conference as a ‘waste of time’, in which both sides had to take positions for the record. Moreover, this waste of time, in the ambassador’s view ‘added to the tension in the subsequent “minuet” over the wording of the escape-clause for the British’.126 Macmillan began proceedings on 19 December with a tour de force covering the background of Anglo-American nuclear cooperation dating back to Second World War days. Moving on to discuss the deal agreed with Eisenhower at Camp David in March 1960, he noted that both Skybolt and Polaris had been discussed before Eisenhower made the offer of Skybolt. The president had, however, given him a model of a Polaris submarine.127 This was a clever use of a piece of tangible symbolism on Macmillan’s part, hinting at a future commitment to Polaris from the former president. Macmillan went on to argue that because of the history of Anglo-American cooperation in the nuclear field, any commitment from the US Administration to continue to help the UK would have no effect on the Common Market negotiations. Making his bid for Polaris, Macmillan commented that he ‘did not therefore believe that a switch from a lame horse, Skybolt, to what was now the favourite, Polaris, would upset France and Germany because they accepted the different backgrounds of their national history’.128 He also argued that the switch from Skybolt to Polaris was not fundamental because both were ballistic missile systems. He concluded his peroration with a veiled threat: ‘the difficulties which had been mentioned about the allies would be as nothing to the difficulties which would follow if the United States seemed to be using the Skybolt decision as a means of forcing Britain out of an independent nuclear capacity.’129 Macmillan’s warning was Kennedy’s opportunity to jump in with his 50–50 development offer for Skybolt. ‘Recognising the British feeling on the question of nuclear capacity … [he] did not wish to appear to have decided for political reasons to abandon Skybolt.’130 That was why he was prepared to pay half of the future development costs for a weapon which the US Government itself was unlikely to purchase. ‘This would be a good answer to those in Britain who thought that the United States was taking a decision on Skybolt because they were against a British deterrent.’131 Kennedy also countered Macmillan’s argument about the difference between Skybolt and Polaris. As far as he was concerned, ‘Polaris not only was but manifestly appeared to be different’.132 He concluded by reiterating once again his ‘generous’ offer on Skybolt. Responding with a famous quip which it now transpires he had had the previous evening to prepare,

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Macmillan commented that ‘while the proposed marriage with Skybolt was not exactly a shot-gun wedding, the virginity of the lady must now be regarded as doubtful. There had been too many remarks about the unreliability of Skybolt for anyone to believe in its effectiveness in the future.’133 This was a metaphor well contrived to appeal to JFK. The ground now shifted to the discussion of the multilateral force concept. Macmillan made it clear that his idea of such a force was in fact more multinational than multilateral. Kennedy countered that it was only in the context of the creation of a genuinely multilateral force that the United States would be prepared to talk about the provision of Polaris to Britain. Even then such an idea would have to be subject to detailed study during the winter, and could not be immediately agreed.134 The president had at least now mentioned the possibility of supplying Polaris, but only after a period of study, and only within the context of the US concept of a multilateral force. This fell far short of what Macmillan might have expected to be offered in advance. The British side heaped scorn on the multilateral concept. Lord Home made it clear that he thought it would be voted down in NATO because nobody wanted a German finger on the nuclear trigger. Macmillan himself attacked the concept from a different angle. The multilateral force was supposed to satisfy German ambitions to become a nuclear power: ‘if one imagined a tough Germany determined to have a nuclear deterrent it was doubtful if they would be satisfied to have one of 16 in a submarine crew.’135 He also warned that his room for manoeuvre over nuclear issues had already been circumscribed by the EEC application. If he gave up the existing British deterrent in favour of such a multilateral force, he would be accused of making a further sacrifice of Britain’s national sovereignty. Kennedy now moved on to propose that a public statement be issued at the end of the talks which would make three points. Firstly, that the US had agreed to offer Hound Dog to the UK. Secondly, that he had offered to complete Skybolt on the basis of the 50–50 sharing of remaining development costs. Thirdly, that Polaris had been considered, and it had been agreed that its provision within a multilateral context should be the subject of further study. Together these offers would prove that the US had not been acting in bad faith.136 In subsequent discussion in which an evidently exasperated Peter Thorneycroft began to play his part, Kennedy reiterated again and again the 50–50 offer on Skybolt. This first meeting concluded with no agreement other than the withdrawal of the American draft communiqué for further consideration. In between the conclusion of the first meeting at 11.45 a.m. and the beginning of the second at 4.30 p.m., Macmillan and Kennedy lunched together for about an hour and a half. As David Bruce noted in his diary, the bargaining was ‘tough and realistic’.137 Aided by their personal relationship, which, despite the circumstances, Bruce still described as ‘delight-

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ful’, their conversation over the table seems to have begun the task of bridging the gap between the two sides. By the time the second meeting convened, the documents produced by both the British and American delegations showed at least some sign of movement from the positions adopted that morning. There were now three American documents. The first reproduced the three offers contained in Kennedy’s earlier draft, with the addition of a sentence stressing the need to bring conventional force levels up to agreed NATO goals. The second elaborated on the terms for the proposed ‘NATO missile force’. The third laid down terms in which the prime minister might publicly answer any question as to the circumstances in which Britain might use her own component of the NATO nuclear force for her own defence. These were as follows: Only in the event of a dire national emergency – an emergency in which it might be necessary to act alone – an emergency which we cannot envisage and which we must all trust will never occur – would Her Majesty’s Government be faced with a decision of utilising such forces on its own – of course after adequate notice to all its partners.138 The British draft began by reviewing the history of Skybolt and then detailing Kennedy’s 50–50 offer. In a masterpiece of diplomatic understatement, it noted that ‘whilst recognising the generosity of this offer, the Prime Minister decided after full consideration not to avail himself of it’.139 It then went on to mention Hound Dog before reaching Polaris, and the nub of the problem. The draft stated that the US Administration would agree to sell Polaris to Britain, while the British Government would ‘regard the primary task of this fleet as being to contribute to the defence of the NATO area’. The creation of a NATO multilateral force was referred to in a separate final paragraph. Much discussion in the meeting was focused on the question of the meaning of the concept of ‘assigning’ British nuclear forces to NATO referred to in the second American document. For Macmillan this meant that they would be ‘under Allied command in normal times but available for national use in time of emergency’.140 Kennedy agreed that this was the key to the problem. The British delegation wanted to interpret the word as loosely as possible while the US wanted to define it tightly. In order to clarify matters further a number of possible scenarios were discussed. George Ball picked up on Macmillan’s reference in the previous meeting to the circumstances of the withdrawal of British troops from France in 1940. This was a case where the survival of Britain itself was directly threatened. Lord Home countered with the suggestion that the defence of the Kuwaiti oil wells could be another such case, but this was not accepted by the US side. Macmillan himself mentioned the possibility of a threat to Singapore in the Far East. Clearly, the sort of circumstances which the British side saw

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as covered by the phrase ‘dire national emergency’ were far removed from those which the US delegation had in mind. One further exchange in the meeting is worthy of note. This was a question from Macmillan to McNamara as to whether, in view of what had been said on the American side about Skybolt, he would himself be prepared to buy it. McNamara’s response was simple and direct. ‘There was no merit in it’. Trying to repair the damage done to his 50–50 offer strategy, the president immediately jumped in to ask McNamara if he would buy Skybolt if the Americans had no other deterrent system. McNamara’s response was again brutally honest: ‘in that case an effort would have to be made to make Skybolt work but it would cost an immense amount of time and money’.141 The Defense Secretary was not prepared to pretend that there was merit in Kennedy’s 50–50 development offer for Skybolt purely because it might serve the president’s political purposes. It was no doubt this exchange that provoked Macmillan’s diary entry after the conference that McNamara struck him as ‘a man of integrity – much more reliable than President Kennedy who makes the facts fit his arguments – or so it often seems’.142 As Tim Bligh recalled the Defense Secretary’s role over the 50–50 offer, ‘McNamara was a splendid chap; he sat there saying “Balls”’.143 It is interesting that from this point onwards the president did not try to push the 50–50 offer further in his meetings with Macmillan, although reference to it remained in the various draft agreements. That both sides were very much conscious of the need to have on record the strongest possible case should the summit break down, and the need arise to defend their positions publicly, was underlined by an exchange of notes between Macmillan and Thorneycroft that evening. As far as Thorneycroft was concerned, under the American proposals Britain would not have an independent nuclear deterrent. In these circumstances, Thorneycroft argued, ‘I am strongly against any attempt to find a formula which glosses over the very deep and wide chasm between us’. The conference should be wound up with a communiqué emphasising that the Americans had withdrawn their support from Skybolt, and that it had not been possible to agree on an alternative.144 According to Ormsby-Gore’s recollection, Thorneycroft wanted ‘to say that the Nassau discussions had been a total failure, go home, and demand to say that we had been let down by the Americans’. At dinner that evening with Macmillan, Home, Sandys and Ormsby-Gore, ‘everybody jumped all over him’. Sandys’ intervention in favour of a continuation of the negotiations seems to have been the decisive one. As Ormsby-Gore put it, Sandys was regarded as a ‘tough boy’ and yet still thought that a deal could be struck with the Americans.145 Macmillan’s formal reply to Thorneycroft shows how alive he still was to the need to prepare the political ground. ‘If we break, our formula and theirs will be published so we shall have to defend our own and all of the consequences.’ Since Kennedy’s formula went some way towards giving

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Britain an ‘independent’ deterrent it was not the best ground on which to break. Instead, the British delegation should work more at the form of wording. ‘The Americans may (some time on Friday) give in to us. I have not given up hope.’146 Still, although he put a brave face on things to calm Thorneycroft, Macmillan admitted in a telegram to Butler that things were not going well. The Americans had refused to provide Polaris on terms that would make it available outside the NATO area, or allow it to ‘play a role in strengthening our foreign policy’. His remaining hopes were founded on an assessment of where Kennedy’s political instincts would ultimately lead him: ‘unlike his highbrow advisers, the President is a political animal and senses the dangers ahead.’147 The first meeting of Thursday 20 December began with Macmillan seeking grounds for compromise. Thanking Kennedy for his offers in relation to Hound Dog and Skybolt, he went on to admit that he had not been right to claim that there was no difference in kind between these weapons and Polaris. He now agreed that the purchase of Polaris would mark the opening of a new phase in Anglo-American nuclear relations. He nevertheless still sought the weapon. Disarmingly, he asked, ‘why should the British want these new weapons? He would admit that part of the reason was to keep up with the Joneses. This was a universal and perfectly respectable feeling in the world’.148 Moreover, Britain retained worldwide commitments, and needed its own nuclear deterrent if threatened with attack. Macmillan offered the example of Khrushchev’s warning about a missile attack on London during the Suez crisis to reinforce his argument. Searching again for a suitable example of the kind of international crisis that might occur in future, and which might necessitate the brandishing of an independent nuclear deterrent, Macmillan hit once again upon the possibility of an Iraqi threat to Kuwait: There might be an Administration in the United States or powerful commercial interests there or elsewhere who would not mind seeing the British thrown out of Kuwait and the oil wells lost to the West. The United Kingdom would then be on her own and they must be able to act if, as a result of their threatening Kassem, Khrushchev threatened to bombard London.149 Macmillan’s hypothesis struck at the heart of the problem of justifying the British independent deterrent to the Americans. If nuclear deterrence vis-à-vis the Soviet Union were necessary in an international crisis involving Britain, and the US was not herself prepared to act, it could only be because there was a difference of opinion between the two governments. The Suez example, to which Macmillan alluded, was an excellent case in point. The problem was that this was hardly a promising scenario to conjure up when asking the US president to sanction the sale of a new

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delivery system to Britain. Give us Polaris, Macmillan seemed to be saying, so that if we ever disagree with each other again as we did over Suez, we can act independently and ignore your views. It was an honest, if less than diplomatic, rationale for the continuation of the independent deterrent. Kennedy’s response showed how delicately Macmillan would have to tread when using a potential Middle East crisis as a justification for the withdrawal of British nuclear forces from NATO control: The Prime Minister had mentioned the defence of Kuwait. He assumed that the United Kingdom was not proposing to use nuclear weapons against Iraq, but if in the course of defending Kuwait the United Kingdom was threatened with bombardment by Mr Khrushchev then of course the United Kingdom Government would say that this was a ‘dire’ emergency and would take control of its submarines; but these weapons should certainly not be used for a Suez type operation to intimidate President Nasser.150 Further debate over the whole question of the meaning of ‘assigning’ British nuclear forces to NATO ensued, and the talks were adjourned briefly while new British and American drafts were considered. The protagonists reconvened at what turned out to be high noon for the fate of the British independent deterrent. Faced with what he saw as a wholly unacceptable American redraft of the existing statements, Macmillan decided to play his final card. This was the threat of a walkout and the broader rupture of the Anglo-American alliance. ‘Whether the force was committed or assigned or dealt with under some other phrase, in fact it must still be capable of being used when they wished by the British Government’, he asserted bluntly. ‘At the moment anyone reading the United States redraft would say that he had sold out to the United States views … This was too important a matter for ambivalence and it was no good trying to paper over a disagreement which was serious.’ Macmillan concluded by renewing his threat of a rupture: ‘much as he regretted it if agreement was impossible, the British Government would have to make a reappraisal of their defence policies throughout the world.’151 Macmillan’s stand seems to have been the decisive point in the conference, opening the way for a significant shift in the American position. A meeting immediately following, involving Thorneycroft and Ormsby-Gore on the British side, and McNamara, Ball, and Bundy on the American side agreed a number of important amendments to the US ‘Draft Statement on Nuclear Defence Systems’. Crucially, the paragraphs in the American draft tying the provision of Polaris into the development of a multilateral nuclear missile force were significantly restructured. The effect was to make much vaguer the link between the Polaris sale, and the goal of developing a multilateral force. This was a key concession from the US side. Not only

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that, but the opt-out clause for the British Government in relation to its nuclear forces assigned to NATO, which was to be incorporated in modified form in paragraph eight of the final agreement, made its first appearance. ‘The Prime Minister made it clear that these British forces will be used for the purposes of international defence of the Western Alliance in all circumstances except where Her Majesty’s Government may decide that supreme national interests are at stake.’152 The key concessions from Macmillan’s point of view were thus clinched at around lunchtime on 20 December, after what could only be termed the hardest of bargaining possible between allies. It remained, though, for Macmillan to secure the consent of the Cabinet back in London. In view of the significant shift in defence policy that he proposed, this could not be treated as a formality.153 Macmillan’s hand was strengthened by the fact that he had with him three of the most senior members of the Cabinet in Home, Thorneycroft, and Sandys. He could thus present his recommendation for acceptance of the draft agreement as a joint approach. Macmillan chose to highlight the sentence from paragraph eight of the document quoted above as its key provision, securing for the British Government ‘the sole right of decision on the use of our Polaris submarines as an independent force’.154 The reply from London was received early on the morning of 21 December. On behalf of the Cabinet, Butler congratulated Macmillan on the agreement he had wrung from the president. Concerns remained, though, over the degree of British commitment to the multilateral force that Macmillan had been forced to concede at Nassau. To emphasise the independence of the British deterrent, Butler proposed on behalf of the Cabinet that the crucial sentence in paragraph eight be strengthened still further through a change in syntax. The reference to withdrawal of the forces in defence of the national interest should be placed before the commitment to international defence of the Western alliance, rendering the sentence thus: ‘The Prime Minister made it clear that except where Her Majesty’s Government may decide that the supreme national interests are at stake these British forces would be used only for the purposes of international defence of the Western Alliance.’155 Overall, although the Cabinet seemed prepared to go along with what Macmillan had negotiated at Nassau, there was a distinct lack of jubilation at the proposed provisions of the agreement. As Butler reported it, ‘the Cabinet showed some anxiety that we were spending a very great deal to obtain the one concession at the end of paragraph 8’. The doubts expressed by the Cabinet as a whole were pressed even more forcefully by the Chief Whip, Sir Martin Redmayne. Redmayne’s views were conveyed to Macmillan in a separate telegram sent by Butler.156 As far as the Chief Whip was concerned, the Cabinet had not ‘sufficiently considered the political repercussions of the Polaris decision’. Bluntly, Redmayne argued that

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although Macmillan had had to battle hard to win any ground at all, what he had gained might be seen as no more than ‘a sop to our pride’. He went on, ‘I am afraid that you personally will be thought to have been driven by the need to come back with something at whatever cost’. Macmillan does not seem to have been swayed by the reservations expressed either by the Cabinet or the Chief Whip. At a further meeting with the president on the morning of Friday 21 December, he proposed the key amendment to the syntax of the final sentence of paragraph eight, and a number of smaller alterations. After some discussion with his advisers, Kennedy felt able to agree to all of Macmillan’s suggestions. In view of the ground he had already conceded to the prime minister the previous day, these further changes must have seemed marginal.157 Shortly after the arrival at Nassau of Canadian Premier Diefenbaker, on the afternoon of Friday 21 December, Kennedy departed from the Bahamas. He was accompanied on the return journey to Washington once again by David Ormsby-Gore. The ambassador had had no opportunity to say goodbye to Macmillan before Kennedy left, owing to the need to make all possible haste in getting onto the presidential plane. As Ormsby-Gore explained, Kennedy’s plane was wont to move off the second he walked through the door. ‘His valet has been left behind three times on the last four flights.’158 This was one of the more amusing facets of the preoccupation with the appearance of action and efficiency that typified the ‘New Frontier’. Macmillan himself stayed on at Nassau for talks with Diefenbaker. Immediately on his return to London, however, he had to grapple with a less than enthusiastic response to his ‘achievement’ in the British press.159 Public opinion too was unconvinced as to the success of Macmillan’s endeavours. A Gallup Poll published on 10 January showed that 65 per cent of those interviewed believed that Britain depended too much on the United States, and 78 per cent believed that London was no longer treated as an equal partner in Washington.160 Within the Conservative Party itself, one Central Office official described the climate of opinion regarding relations with the US as ‘worse than during the Suez crisis’.161 No doubt the announcement by the US Defense Department of the first successful test firing of the now abandoned Skybolt missile the day after the conclusion of the Nassau talks contributed to the development of such sentiments. Although Macmillan’s first reaction was also to question whether the announcement was another case of American duplicity, he seems soon to have accepted that it could better be seen as an example of bureaucratic confusion.162 Writing to Kennedy on Christmas Eve, Macmillan argued that despite the press reaction and the mishap of the successful test, he still believed that the Nassau agreement would come to be seen as ‘a historic example of the nice balance between interdependence and independence which is necessary if Sovereign states are to work in partnership together for the defence of freedom’.163

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In fact, Kennedy’s own reactions in the wake of the Nassau talks seem, according to Ormsby-Gore’s account, to have mirrored those of Macmillan.164 On the plane back to the US, Kennedy had been ‘delighted’ with the results of the conference. A degree of disillusionment started to set in after he reached Palm Beach, and watched the US evening television news bulletins, which tended to concentrate more on the disagreements between the two sides. Then, the following morning, the news of the successful Skybolt test reached the president as he sat by the pool having a manicure. If Ormsby-Gore’s account is to be believed, Kennedy seems to have been even more annoyed by the inept timing of the announcement than was Macmillan himself.165 Certainly, he used ‘vivid language’ when complaining about the incident on the telephone to Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell Gilpatric. Evidently dissatisfied with Gilpatric’s efforts at drafting an explanatory statement, he asked Ormsby-Gore himself to take the phone and suggest amendments. Showing once again his remarkable influence with the president, the ambassador was also asked to brief Press Secretary Pierre Salinger on the appropriate line to take with the US media. McNamara was fortunate in being able to escape the president’s wrath due to his absence on a skiing holiday in Colorado. The degree of Kennedy’s anger with McNamara’s deputy Roswell Gilpatric does suggest that this particular ‘Roswell’ incident was a genuine accident rather than some form of US Government conspiracy. That Macmillan remained distrustful of the US Administration is shown by a minute he sent to Thorneycroft on Boxing Day. The Nassau Agreement had only laid down the broad terms of the Polaris deal. Now the prime minister cast an eye forward to the problems which were likely to be encountered in negotiating the details of the deal with the US Defense Department. ‘I think we must be prepared’, Macmillan wrote, ‘for some pressure to be put upon us … coming to a point where we would threaten to tear up the agreement.’166 The Americans would have to be ‘kept to the mark’. His lingering uncertainties over whether the deal struck at Nassau could be made to stick are revealed in his request that Thorneycroft find out ‘whether, if we were driven into a corner, we could, either as a bluff or as a reality, make a Polaris missile, perhaps of a simpler kind, ourselves from our own designs …’ In a meeting of ministers on New Year’s Eve, Thorneycroft made it clear that he did not see much hope in this strategy.167 The fact that this contingency was considered at all shows the degree of suspicion that characterised Anglo-American relations by this stage. Part of the reason for British suspicions of US intentions in the nuclear field was that the Administration’s policy had been, and would remain, prey to the competition between the State Department’s reading of the political, and the Defense Department’s reading of the strategic imperatives. A memorandum prepared by Jeffrey Kitchen, Chairman of the

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Steering Group set up to implement the Nassau decisions, set forth candidly the differing shades of opinion within the Administration.168 The State Department’s point of view emphasised the goal of the development of an Atlantic Community and the weaning away of European nations from the idea of developing or maintaining an independent nuclear capability. Their efforts instead should be subsumed in a multilateral European approach. In contrast to this, the Defense Department view was that if European nations were determined to build up their own nuclear forces, the US should not refuse to help them. Otherwise, valuable Free World resources, which might otherwise have been spent on building up conventional forces, would be wasted. By recognising what the Defense Department saw as the realities of British and French ambitions, the US would be better able to maintain the ultimate direction of Allied policy. Consistent with this view the Defense Department believed that the US should proceed with the assistance for the development of the British deterrent promised at Nassau ‘with all reasonable speed and at a minimum cost to the British (two judgments exactly contrary to the prevailing State point of view)’.169 Kitchen observed that, in addition to the State and Defense points of view, there was also an approach that emerged from the White House staff, and which presumably reflected the president’s own thinking. This White House view shared the realism of Defense’s assertion that Britain and France were not yet prepared to sacrifice their national independence to a ‘non-existent higher political entity’. In view of this the US should assist in the development of the British force as expeditiously and inexpensively as possible. However, in common with the State Department, the White House view urged the establishment as soon as possible of a multilateral force with a view to providing a home for German nuclear ambitions. Although Kitchen expressed himself, perhaps not surprisingly, to be closest to the White House view, it would have to be admitted that there were problems with this approach. Since it was a synthesis of elements of both the State and Defense Department’s thinking, it could at times seem contradictory. The realism of Defense’s emphasis on the enduring power of nationalism did not sit well with the idealism of State’s emphasis on the need to foster multilateralism. Moreover, by not coming down clearly on either side of the debate, the president left the way open for his various advisers, and for the different departments, to continue to compete for influence in the implementation of the broad approach agreed at Nassau. Two key areas of controversy arose during the process of drawing up the specific terms of the Polaris sales agreement. The first, and more controversial of the two, concerned the question of a British contribution to the future research and development costs of Polaris. The second concerned the linkage of the Polaris sale to the future development of a multilateral force. As has already been noted, Macmillan had anticipated that there

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would be problems in the drafting of the detailed Polaris agreement. He expected to encounter American attempts to, as he saw it, renege on the commitments secured at Nassau. The controversy over research and development costs for Polaris could, with some justification, though, be said to have arisen from one of the many grey areas of the Nassau agreement. It first emerged during a visit by Solly Zuckerman to Washington for talks with McNamara and other Defense Department officials in the early part of January 1963. McNamara had suggested to Zuckerman that research and development costs for Polaris incurred by the US from 1 January 1963 onwards should be shared between the US and Britain on some sort of proportionate basis. As far as Peter Thorneycroft was concerned this was not what had been agreed at Nassau. Indeed he argued that he had laid stress in public on the fact that Britain would have access to all future US research on Polaris on the same basis as past work.170 Thorneycroft’s concerns led Ormsby-Gore to approach McNamara personally. The Defense Secretary dug his heels in firmly over the issue arguing that ‘it was most important that America’s Allies should understand the cost of participating in the nuclear weapons field.’171 Moreover, McNamara argued that Congress would not stand for an arrangement where the United States bore the full cost of a programme from which Britain stood to benefit so greatly. Ormsby-Gore’s line was that the British Government had assumed that, because there had been no mention of this issue at Nassau, the arrangements for the development costs of Polaris would be the same as those for Skybolt. These were, that Britain would make no contribution. McNamara countered that this had been one of the main weaknesses of the Skybolt deal. If the British Government had had to contribute to research and development expenses it would have paid more attention to the escalating costs of the Skybolt programme. Ormsby-Gore then took on himself a major initiative, demonstrating yet again the influence he exerted over Anglo-American relations. In view of McNamara’s adamant refusal to budge, he suggested a compromise formula. The Americans might add an agreed share of the development costs of the missile to their final production price when Britain came to buy them. Although Ormsby-Gore did not at this point go so far as to suggest a precise figure, McNamara indicated that some formula along these lines would be acceptable to him. Back in London, although Macmillan had expected difficulties over the Polaris negotiations, he described it as ‘a great shock’ that McNamara had suggested Britain should pay any of the Americans’ research and development costs.172 As the prime minister saw things, ‘the American Defense Minister has been very grasping … ’173 Thorneycroft for his part advised Ormsby-Gore that while discussions continued, the most important thing was to keep the Anglo-American disagreement quiet. It might at some stage be necessary for Macmillan to approach Kennedy personally on the matter, but for the moment it should be pursued at lower levels.174 Thorneycroft

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quickly came to the view that a payment of some kind would be necessary in order to avoid holding up progress on Polaris. However, he sought to preserve room for manoeuvre for as long as possible over the question of the precise amount to be paid.175 It was the threat of public disclosure of Anglo-American disagreement over the question, about which Thorneycroft had earlier warned, that now forced Macmillan’s hand. Just before the weekend of 26–27 January, with the House of Commons debate on the Nassau agreement due on 30–31 January, Macmillan received word that the Sunday Telegraph planned to break the story of the development costs dispute. In a bid to forestall the political damage that might result from the accusation that he had signed a blank cheque at Nassau, Macmillan had to move quickly. He drafted an urgent telegram to Ormsby-Gore asking him to approach the president personally with a precise offer in relation to Polaris research and development costs. Britain would pay an extra 5 per cent on top of the production cost of each missile as a contribution to American expenses. He pressed strongly the line of argument that coming on top of the French veto over Britain’s entry to the EEC, an AngloAmerican rift could lead to an upsurge in isolationist sentiment in Britain.176 Once again Ormsby-Gore’s fast track to the president proved its worth. Gaining immediate access to Kennedy on a Saturday morning, he explained Macmillan’s political problem to him. The president agreed that there should be no further wrangling over the matter, although he jokingly described Macmillan’s offer as not the most generous he had ever heard. He at once picked up the phone to McNamara and put Ormsby-Gore’s arguments to him. The Defense Secretary was left with no choice but to accept the proposed deal.177 Macmillan had had to move with such haste that he did not even have time to consult the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Reginald Maudling, on the financial implications of his offer.178 Nevertheless, the deal was such a good one from the British point of view that Maudling voiced no criticism of Macmillan’s independent initiative.179 If the prime minister thought that this would be the end of his problems with the Americans in relation to the Polaris deal he was mistaken. On 31 January, Ormsby-Gore received a phone call from the general counsel of the Department of Defense, whose responsibility it was to oversee the drafting of the precise terms of the agreement. He argued that the 5 per cent formula was only intended to apply to the Polaris A3 system. If in future the Americans were to develop new versions of Polaris that Britain wished to purchase, this formula would no longer apply.180 Thorneycroft, who now seems to have recovered the reins of British defence policy after Macmillan’s weekend intervention, was quick to voice his disagreement. As far as the British Government was concerned, he asserted, the 5 per cent surcharge applied to follow-on systems as well as the A3.181 It was left to Ormsby-Gore to clear matters up. This he did by

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securing once again the president’s intervention with McNamara. As he reported on 2 February: this is now in order. Secretary of Defence now accepts that the 5% surcharge applies to all the Polaris missile systems supplied under paragraph 8 of the Nassau communiqué and not only to the A3. Mr McNamara would be inhuman if he did not feel that he has been bounced twice in as many weeks. I recommend that we should now go carefully for a bit … 182 McNamara’s attempts to secure a greater contribution from the British Government towards the true costs of the development of Polaris thus met with little success. No doubt part of the motivation for his efforts had been the businessman’s impulse to drive the hardest bargain possible with a customer. He may also, as he suggested, have been worried about criticism from Congress.183 In addition, he himself was also probably subject to pressures from the State Department, which laid great emphasis on the need to bring home to the British Government the cost of the independent deterrent. Such financial considerations, it was still hoped, might sooner rather than later bring about the demise of the British force.184 There remained one further area of Anglo-American controversy to be resolved before a final Polaris deal could be signed. This concerned the State Department’s attempts to secure British agreement to a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, which would act as a sort of cover note to the detailed Polaris Sales Agreement. The document was essentially a subtly modified version of the Nassau Agreement itself. In particular, the wording of the paragraph covering the withdrawal of British nuclear forces from NATO control was redrafted in the proposed document.185 The prime minister would have none of these State Department attempts to reopen the debate he believed he had won at Nassau: ‘how can the Americans insist on altering an agreement to which they have put their signature’, he scribbled angrily. ‘If some shyster American lawyers try a new game, I will appeal to the President and/or to the Public.’186 Unable to follow all of the telegram traffic going back and forth with Washington over the Polaris deal, Macmillan asked Philip de Zulueta to warn both the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence to make sure that the British negotiators did not give way on any point to the Americans.187 The difficulty seemed to have been resolved towards the end of February, when the American negotiators agreed to drop their insistence on a new overall memorandum of understanding.188 Nevertheless, Ormsby-Gore’s word of warning that British negotiators at the NATO Council meeting in Paris would have to work hard to maintain the balance of the Nassau agreement proved prophetic. Yet again, the ambassador had to intervene with McNamara in Washington in the middle of March to explain British

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concerns about American attempts to tie the sale of Polaris too closely to the establishment of the proposed multilateral force.189 Part of the problem with the creation of the paragraph eight or multilateral force was that, from the British perspective, American intentions in relation to the force changed in the months following Nassau. The British view was that the force would consist of the British Polaris submarines mentioned in paragraph eight of the Nassau agreement, ‘at least equal’ US forces, mentioned in paragraph nine, and a mixed-manned, mixed-nationality element to be created by contributions from non-nuclear members of NATO.190 The visit of the president’s special representative, Livingston Merchant, to London in March, had made it clear that the Administration now believed that the British Government should also make a contribution to the mixed-manned element of the multilateral force.191 In truth, as George Ball commented, the Nassau agreement itself was ‘terribly badly-written’ in respect of the distinction between the multilateral and multinational forces, a state of affairs which resulted in ‘chaos and some inconsistency regarding who was committed to what’.192 Although Foreign Secretary Home now argued that there could be political advantages in making a very modest contribution to the multilateral, mixed-manned force,193 Macmillan himself did not believe that either the Cabinet or the House of Commons would agree to yet further expenditure on nuclear weapons.194 Indeed, contempt for the mixed-manned concept in all quarters in Britain, whether political or military, was crushing. In a meeting with the president in Washington in early February, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Mountbatten, had described the concept of the mixed manning of submarines as ‘a military nonsense’.195 Although the US Administration soon shifted its ground over the use of submarines, with Merchant evidently favouring surface vessels instead during his visit to London in midMarch, the British reception for this version of the mixed-manned force was hardly less sceptical. Objections were raised over the vulnerability, desirability, practicality and cost of the force. Nevertheless, Macmillan recognised that considerable harm might be caused to Anglo-American relations, and his own personal relations with Kennedy, if the British were seen to be responsible for killing off the mixed-manned force. Thus began a period of prevarication that was to be continued after Macmillan left office by Alec Home and his Labour successors. Ultimately, the British belief that there was insufficient enthusiasm for the force in any quarter of Europe for it to come into being was proven right. In the short-term, though, Macmillan counselled both his Cabinet colleagues and his military advisers to maintain the appearance of giving American ideas a fair hearing.196 This was a difficult hand to play because domestically the government wanted to give the opposite appearance.197 In a series of meetings held between 17 and 19 May, it was agreed that if the force came into being, Britain would probably have to participate in a limited way, if only to exert some

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control over German nuclear ambitions. In the meantime, it was decided that the prime minister should send a holding response to the president indicating that further consideration would have to be given to the matter during the summer months.198 No doubt the British would have been comforted to know that there was also a good deal of private scepticism about the MLF in certain quarters in the US as well. The president himself continued to entertain doubts about the project, reluctantly signing a 28 May reply to Macmillan on the subject with the words: ‘what the hell, it will be five years till this thing is a reality. If there’s any reason to trade it off with the Russians in the interim, we can do that.’199 The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Maxwell Taylor was also scathing about the project. ‘The President, he said was a very intuitive man in his ability to smell a rotten apple. This certainly was one. There was no military utility or need in it. It represented a diversion of resources. It was a poor weapons system on the face of it, particularly when on the surface.’200 In view of these high-level reservations on both sides of the Atlantic it is not surprising that the MLF never came into being. Reflecting overall on the concept of Anglo-American defence interdependence during the Kennedy years, and specifically on the development of nuclear relations, one cannot fail to be struck by an extraordinary sense of turbulence and uncertainty. At heart, the whole concept of AngloAmerican interdependence was ironic. The American defence research and development budget dwarfed that of Britain by a factor of about ten to one. Yet British concepts of interdependence were founded on notions of partnership and equality. In terms of the simple balance of the power relationship between the two countries these notions were unrealistic and were doomed to disappointment. For the US Administration, interdependence meant greater coordination in the Western defence effort and, effectively, the greater centralisation of control in Washington. As Kennedy himself saw matters, ‘there had to be control by somebody. One man had to make the decision – and as things stood that had to be the American President.’201 If the blind spot of the British Government lay in its failure to recognise the reality of its dependence on the United States, that of the US Administration lay in its inability to grasp the importance of the appearance of independence to British leaders. As the two governments found to their surprise and disappointment, both could speak of interdependence and mean quite different things. And yet, if the story of Anglo-American defence interdependence in the Kennedy years is one of mutual disappointment, it is also one of serendipity. From the wreckage of interdependence came the Nassau agreement, which for all its faults was one of the more remarkable examples of Anglo-American peacetime cooperation. An alliance that had seemed on the point of fracturing during the crisis months of the winter of 1962–3 was cemented afresh in the nuclear field.

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Long after the broader pursuit of defence interdependence had been abandoned, British Polaris and later Trident submarines would remain on station as a testimony to the uniqueness of Anglo-American nuclear relations. For all of his ambivalence about ‘the Bomb’, the most enduring legacy of Macmillan’s Anglo-American project would be to preserve for Britain for half a century the means of delivering it, albeit courtesy of Washington.

9 The Search for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

If the fate of the British deterrent was one half of the Anglo-American nuclear problem in the Kennedy–Macmillan era, the other was the search for a nuclear test ban treaty. Harold Macmillan’s personal role in this field makes for what is at once a fascinating, paradoxical and problematical study. On the one hand, as we have seen in the previous chapter, he was tenacious in his pursuit of an ‘independent’ nuclear capability for Great Britain. On the other, he was a persistent advocate of détente, disarmament, and a ban on nuclear testing. Of course, this paradox could easily be resolved by recourse to a Machiavellian explanation. One might argue that Macmillan’s approach was governed solely by domestic electoral considerations. So, on the one hand, Macmillan wanted to play to that segment of public opinion in Britain which was wedded to the nation’s role as a great power by stressing the importance of the independent nuclear deterrent. On the other, he wanted to steal the clothes of the peace lobby by advocating disarmament and an end to nuclear testing. The latter policy could of course only be pursued in earnest once Britain had completed her own programme of nuclear tests by the middle of 1958.1 Although his behaviour can be made to fit this interpretation, it still seems incomplete. It is difficult, for example, to dismiss all of the evidence of private soul-searching over the question of the impact of the nuclear arms race on the future of mankind as a simple attempt to mask his true motives from his contemporaries and from the historical record.2 The terms of his 5 January 1962 appeal to Kennedy, in which he spoke of ‘humanity … setting out on a path at once so fantastic and so retrograde, so sophisticated and so barbarous, as to be almost incredible’, reflect more than eloquence in pursuit of political calculation.3 Perhaps the root of the paradox lies in Macmillan’s own background and experiences. On the one hand, the abhorrence of war had been deeply ingrained in his psyche by his experiences in the trenches. On the other, his stand against appeasement in the 1930s had shown that he believed in the need for toughness in the face of totalitarianism. His own conflicting 193

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impulses, as much as the demands of domestic and international politics, are an essential component of any rounded attempt to explain his handling of the test ban issue, just as they are in explaining his initial reaction to the Cuban missile crisis. Not only that, but it is arguable that the development of nuclear weapons had introduced a qualitatively new element into the calculation of the dangers of an unrestrained arms race. While the consequences of miscalculation in 1914 and 1939 had been terrible, by 1962 they promised to be terminal. If the burden of nuclear responsibility was something that periodically weighed on Macmillan’s conscience then the same could also be said for John F. Kennedy. It is in this field where one sees the particular relevance of Kennedy’s observation: ‘I feel at home with Macmillan because I can share my loneliness with him.’4 Again, although the president’s dedication to the test ban cause has been somewhat overstated by his admirers, it would still seem churlish to deny him some degree of conscientious involvement in the issue. The most oft-quoted anecdote in this regard is a conversation between Kennedy and his Science Adviser Jerome Wiesner. As Wiesner recounted the tale, one rainy day Kennedy was seated at his desk, discussing the question of atmospheric testing with him. He asked what happened to the radioactive fallout produced by the tests. Wiesner replied that it was washed out of the clouds and brought back down to earth in the rain. Kennedy replied ‘you mean it’s in the rain out there?’ Wiesner said ‘yes’, and the president sat in silence solemnly staring out of the window for several minutes.5 There is no reason to doubt the veracity of this anecdote. Indeed, it would seem strange if the person with the ultimate responsibility for deciding whether to restart the US atmospheric testing programme did not have some qualms about the undertaking. Furthermore, earlier in his career, Kennedy had been an advocate while in the Senate of a test ban treaty. In an address given at the University of California at Los Angeles on 2 November 1959, Senator Kennedy had stated his emphatic disagreement with Governor Nelson Rockefeller’s view that the United States should resume atmospheric testing.6 Not only would this damage the image of the United States abroad, it might lead to a ‘long, feverish testing period’ which could ‘threaten the very existence of human life’. Although these comments could be dismissed as political posturing in the early stages of an election campaign, they were in fact themes that were to be carried over into the opening phase of the Kennedy Presidency.7 While Macmillan and Kennedy seem to have shared personal qualms about nuclear testing there were also significant differences in the context in terms of bureaucratic politics, public opinion, and international relations in which they operated. As regards bureaucratic politics, Macmillan was not subject to the pressure to resume testing exerted on Kennedy by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, backed up by the Atomic Energy Commission

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(AEC). In January 1961, just as the president assumed office, the AEC emphasised in its annual report to Congress that there were ‘risks to free world supremacy in nuclear weapons’, and a ‘resultant threat to the free world’, in the continuation of an un-policed moratorium on weapons testing. The following month, the Joint Chiefs of Staff backed up the report with their own recommendation that non-atmospheric nuclear testing be resumed.8 Similarly in respect of public opinion, Macmillan and Kennedy operated in very different contexts. Macmillan’s context included the ‘Ban the Bomb’ movement, and a Labour Party Opposition which had adopted resolutions calling for unilateral nuclear disarmament at its autumn 1960 conference.9 His was the public opinion of a small island nation that was especially vulnerable to nuclear attack, and for which all talk of effective civil defence was meaningless. Kennedy, on the other hand, led a nation where the political opposition was, if anything, far more hawkish over the issues of nuclear testing and disarmament. Moreover, the continental extent of the United States together with its remoteness from the Soviet Union continued to make calls for effective civil defence, such as that delivered by Kennedy in his 25 July 1961 speech on the Berlin crisis, seem more realistic. The differences in public opinion persisted throughout the period. Even when the Limited Test Ban Treaty was eventually agreed, the almost universal acclaim with which it was greeted in Britain could be contrasted with the reservations of a substantial segment of US public opinion about the wisdom of concluding any deal of this nature with the Soviet Union. Letters in Vice-President Johnson’s files on the Test Ban Treaty, for instance, typify the fears of some Americans about the dangers of dealing with the communists. ‘You can’t trust communists to honour a treaty’, wrote a Mr T. S. Lindabury of Marietta, Georgia. ‘They are liars, crooks and murderers.’ ‘I consider this just a foot in the door for total surrender of these United States’, observed Mr William Jones of Ontario, California. ‘Just how stupid can our leaders get any way’, wrote Mrs W. H. Speights of Mexia, Texas. ‘If and when our nation totally disarms all the communists will have to do is walk in and take over … our leaders in Washington have just gone along with Khrushchev on everything he has suggested. He is of the Devil for he says there is no God.’10 Even in respect of international relations, the pulls on Macmillan and Kennedy’s policies were contradictory. Macmillan and the British Government remained sensitive to Commonwealth opinion, and, as The Times noted in March 1961, ‘the Asian, and still more the African, Governments regard tests with acute moral loathing. Their attitude may be exaggerated but there is no doubt that if any western Power started testing again this would put Commonwealth links under heavy strain.’11 Although Kennedy was also conscious of the potential damage to non-aligned or

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neutralist sentiment,12 a far more important consideration was the need to maintain US Cold War credibility, which had been the key plank of his 1960 election platform. If these were the personal predilections and political limitations that governed the handling of the test ban question during the years 1961–3, what of the political inheritance bequeathed by Eisenhower to Kennedy in this particular field of Anglo-American relations? Metaphorically, the test ban tributary could be said to have followed the channel cut by the broader stream of détente during the period 1958–60. In May 1958, Khrushchev had agreed to Eisenhower’s proposal that technical talks should take place on the issue of a nuclear test ban. A Conference of Experts meeting in Geneva during July and August 1958 reported that it would be technically feasible to establish a system of controls to monitor compliance with any test ban agreement. Thereafter, it was agreed that political negotiations should take place on the issue. A further conference was convened in Geneva at the end of October. All three nuclear powers observed a moratorium on nuclear testing from this point onwards, which was to last until it was broken by the Soviet Union in August 1961.13 Although there was some early optimism as to the possibility of a breakthrough at the conference, the discussions soon lapsed into stalemate during the course of 1959. The Soviet side was reluctant to accept any international control system that might give the Western powers access to its territory. For its part, the Eisenhower Administration was reluctant to agree to any system of control which could not be proven to be foolproof. The more scientific doubt that was cast on the reliability of the means of detecting underground nuclear tests, the more reluctant the Administration became to arrive at any comprehensive test ban agreement with the Soviet Union. The British Government for its part, although anxious not to break openly with the Americans, was consistently more inclined to compromise in negotiations with the Soviets over the question of systems of control.14 Paralleling the broader process of détente, whatever hopes remained of a breakthrough over the test ban question were dashed by the collapse of the Paris summit over the U-2 affair in May 1960.15 Crystallising as it did Soviet concerns about intrusive surveillance and spying, and American concerns about the gathering of information in Soviet territory, the shooting down of Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane seemed a particular apt issue to precipitate deadlock in the test ban process. With Eisenhower now abandoning all attempts to break the stalemate in relations with the Soviet Union, any new initiative would have to wait for the incoming US Administration. The legacy of disappointment and mistrust bequeathed by Eisenhower, though, could hardly be termed a hopeful starting point. Initial indications from the Soviet side as to the prospects for a test ban agreement with the new Administration were not promising. Although reluctant to press too hard before he had established close relations with

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the new president, Macmillan was anxious that Khrushchev’s intransigence should not be allowed to ossify to the extent that it would precipitate the resumption of nuclear testing by one side or the other. In a letter sent to Kennedy on 27 April, the prime minister suggested that they could address simultaneous letters to the Soviet leader stressing the great importance of the Geneva negotiations, and the serious consequences that might flow from their failure. Alternatively, Macmillan suggested that the president might want to mention the significance he attached to the test ban issue in any communication he sent to Khrushchev in advance of their forthcoming summit meeting.16 Kennedy’s response was frosty. He did not want to single out the testing question as a primary object of his discussions with Khrushchev. Nor did he believe that ‘we’ should address letters to the Soviet leader on the subject in advance of the meeting.17 Macmillan evidently thought better of the initiative, preferring instead to await the outcome of the Kennedy–Khrushchev Vienna meeting. One further point worth noting from his approach to the president at this stage was his reference at the very beginning of the letter to the role of David Ormsby-Gore, then still Minister at the Foreign Office with responsibility for disarmament, but soon to become Ambassador in Washington. Although the baiting of the letter with Ormsby-Gore’s name made little apparent difference in this particular instance, the minister turned ambassador was to become the fulcrum of Anglo-American relations over the test ban once installed in Washington. His knowledge of the issue, together with his closeness to Kennedy, gave him the unique status as a sort of British adviser, albeit one with an independent mind, within the president’s inner circle. Here his role was similar to that which he adopted during the Cuban missile crisis. If hopes of progress on the test ban had been raised at all in advance of the Vienna summit meeting, Khrushchev proved particularly adept at dashing them. When the talks turned to the test ban, Khruschev showed no flexibility, merely restating the established Soviet position. Kennedy’s observation towards the end of the discussion that ‘the conversation was back where it started’ sums up the complete absence of progress in the talks.18 During his stopover in London on the way back from the summit, the main focus of Kennedy’s talks with Macmillan was, as we have seen, Berlin. There was only brief discussion of testing, with Macmillan observing in his diary that ‘the Geneva Test Conference is dying. Disarmament seems hopeless’.19 On his return to the US, Kennedy told the congressional leadership that ‘the main question was how to disengage from these negotiations’. He had, he recounted, discussed the matter with Macmillan because it was ‘a hot issue in England’. Moreover, ‘Gaitskell had also expressed his hope that we could wait until the autumn, until after his own contest for control in his own party, which he expected to win’.20 Kennedy’s friendly relations with the Labour leader were to prove to be a significant factor

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later in the course of the nuclear testing saga. As Macmillan himself would observe, pressure from the White House on Gaitskell, what Macmillan called the president’s ‘nobbling’ of the Labour leader, helped to ease the prime minister’s own position when defending the US decision to resume atmospheric testing to the House of Commons the following spring.21 Kennedy had warned Khrushchev at Vienna that with no progress in the Geneva talks, the informal moratorium on nuclear testing would come under pressure. This implicit threat to end the moratorium evidently had little effect on the Soviet leader, who by this stage must in any case have been contemplating the resumption of Soviet testing later that summer. In the face of apparent Soviet intransigence, the domestic pressure on Kennedy to resume at least underground testing mounted during the rest of June and July. The president himself acknowledged that resumption was probably inevitable, but told Defense Secretary McNamara that he would like to defer a final decision for six months in order to prepare the ground politically.22 In London, the Foreign Office judged that the British might ‘virtually have to accept the role of spectators while the U.S. Administration go through the process of reaching a decision’.23 This might have been a rational estimate of political realities, but this type of bureaucratic passivity never appealed to Macmillan. On a report from Ambassador Harold Caccia of John McCloy’s opposition to any further approach to Khrushchev, Macmillan annotated: ‘Mr McCloy may make whatever recommendation to [the] President he likes. I intend to make a personal appeal to Mr K[hrushchev] before the Conference is finally abandoned & the great hopes of the world cast away. If [the] Foreign Secretary agrees, President K[ennedy] should be so informed.’24 A further telegram from Caccia, in which he reported McCloy’s comment that the president ‘would doubtless be prepared to look at the position again if the Prime Minister felt strongly that messages ought to be sent for domestic reasons’, provoked an acerbic outburst from Macmillan. ‘Not for domestic reasons’, he scribbled on the telegram, ‘for reasons of decency and humanity’.25 He was evidently not best pleased by the estimate of his motives circulating in Administration circles. Macmillan continued to fret over the testing question. In early July, against the background of the deepening crisis over Berlin, Home had to restrain the prime minister’s impulse to dash off a message to Kennedy urging that the West continue to talk at Geneva and refrain from testing until the international climate cooled.26 The thrust of US policy by this point, as explained in a letter from Kennedy to Macmillan on 3 August, was to make final diplomatic efforts both at Geneva and in New York at the United Nations. Should the Soviets prove unreceptive as Kennedy evidently expected, these initiatives would help to prepare the ground politically for a resumption of underground testing. Kennedy indicated that although he had not taken a final decision he did not believe that such a move could

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wait much beyond the beginning of 1962.27 In his reply, Macmillan indicated broad agreement with the diplomatic plan of action laid out by the president, although he did caution that ‘I hope there will be no question of resuming tests for purely negative reasons, for example, because the Russians may be doing so’.28 In the event the resumption of Soviet testing was to be precisely the contingency with which the two leaders were to be faced. On 30 August, the Soviet Union announced the beginning of a new atmospheric test series, following this announcement up with the explosion of a nuclear device in Central Asia on 1 September. Kennedy took Khrushchev’s decision personally. His first reaction, according to Sorensen, was unprintable.29 Aware that preparations for the test series must have been under way when he had met the Soviet leader in Vienna, Kennedy felt a sense of betrayal. This was only partly tempered by the recognition that Khrushchev must have been under intense pressure from the Soviet military establishment to resume testing.30 At any rate, there was no doubt in Kennedy’s mind that the challenge laid down by the Soviet Union would have to be taken up by the United States. This mindset promised exactly the sort of politically motivated tit-for-tat test programme that Macmillan had warned against in his earlier letter. Thus, although there was a public front of Anglo-American unity, symbolised by the joint offer from Macmillan and Kennedy of an atmospheric test ban treaty on 3 September,31 the president’s decision to announce the resumption of underground testing on 5 September took place without any Anglo-American consultation. As Macmillan put it, ‘we were only informed of the decision about two hours before the announcement …’32 No doubt part of the explanation for this was the speed with which Kennedy had decided to act on 5 September spurred on by news of a further Soviet atmospheric test. As Bundy put it in an early afternoon phone conversation with Rusk, ‘there appears to be another bang, and the Pres[ident]’s patience is at an end’.33 Indeed, the speed of the president’s action had even caught Bundy himself by surprise. Kennedy had contacted Press Secretary Pierre Salinger directly, ordering the release of a statement on underground testing that afternoon, and ‘the whole thing was on the way’ before Bundy could get control.34 Perhaps it would have been a comfort to Macmillan to know that even Kennedy’s closest advisers could not keep up with the speed of his reactions. As it was, it simply looked as though the president had discarded, without any consultation, the six-day period of grace that had accompanied the joint Anglo-American offer of an atmospheric test ban. There was nothing to be gained by advertising Anglo-American differences in public, though. The Foreign Office put out a statement describing US action as perfectly understandable and Macmillan offered Kennedy his support in private.35 He also expressed the hope that on the bigger question of whether to resume atmospheric tests a decision would not be taken

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without full Anglo-American consultation.36 On this point at least, Kennedy sought to reassure him.37 Nevertheless, during the rest of the autumn, as the domestic pressure on the Administration to respond in kind to the Soviet atmospheric test series continued unabated, Anglo-American cooperation proved fragile. This was a product of the essentially different starting points of the British and American debates about nuclear testing. In Britain, there was a bureaucratic and political consensus that atmospheric tests were both militarily unnecessary and politically reckless. Diplomatic strategy should thus be framed so as to provide a genuine alternative through negotiation to the resumption of tests. In the United States, on the other hand, there was by now a consensus that sooner or later atmospheric testing would have to be resumed, both to bolster political credibility and to prevent the Soviets gaining any potential military advantage. Diplomacy should thus be framed to create the best international climate for such a resumption. For all his protestations of reluctance to test, the president himself shared this view. This much became clear to Macmillan during a long phone conversation on 27 October. Reviewing the transcript the following day Macmillan found one passage particularly alarming.38 Here the president commented that ‘as it’s probably more likely that we will test than that we won’t, I don’t know whether that would get you involved with us in a way in which a good many people in England would be critical of – you might have to take more responsibility for our actions than you ordinarily want to’.39 The implication of this stream of consciousness was that Kennedy thought a resumption of atmospheric testing likely, and likely moreover in circumstances which would be difficult for Macmillan to justify to British public opinion. It was to avoid precisely this contingency that Macmillan had been pressing the president to accept his suggestion of a further six-month moratorium on atmospheric testing to allow more time for negotiation. He had instructed Ormsby-Gore to present his ideas to Kennedy, although the American assessment was that neither the recently arrived ambassador nor the Foreign Office agreed with the prime minister’s views.40 Bundy cautioned the president that Macmillan’s goal was to try to ‘get you hooked to an agreement not to test without his consent’.41 Thus forewarned, Kennedy made it clear that he could not be a party to any joint declaration of a six-month moratorium in his 27 October phone conversation with Macmillan. Macmillan was now obliged to make a statement to the House of Commons outlining the government’s position on nuclear testing in a debate held on 31 October. Striving to maintain a balance between AngloAmerican unity on the one hand, and the constraints of British public opinion on the other, Macmillan committed himself publicly to judge the need for renewed atmospheric testing by the most stringent criteria. Only if it were essential for the development of new weaponry, such as an anti-

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missile missile, or for perfecting the safety of a weapon, would the British Government back atmospheric testing. Macmillan, moreover, referred only to a particular atmospheric test, rather than a whole test series.42 Although his statement bore many similarities to that released by Kennedy on 2 November, the president made no commitment to judge each and every atmospheric test by the same stringent standards laid down by Macmillan. Also, unlike Macmillan, the president did not emphasise the dangers of atmospheric test resumption. Such forensic analysis of the British and American positions on atmospheric testing might not have been necessary were it not for the conjunction of two other circumstances. The first was outlined in a letter from Macmillan to Kennedy on 3 November. Somewhat ironically, this combined a justification of Macmillan’s House of Commons statement on atmospheric testing with a request to the president to authorise the use of American underground facilities in Nevada for the testing of a new British warhead intended for the Skybolt missile. As Macmillan rather disingenuously put it, ‘such a test … would be an overt sign of our solidarity and collaboration at the present critical time’.43 The prime minister would have cause to regret these words since Kennedy was himself ready to put forward his own request to the British Government which could also be described as an overt sign of solidarity at a critical time. This was his inquiry about the availability of the British nuclear testing facility at Christmas Island in the South Pacific for a possible US atmospheric test series. These parallel requests in fact had their origins in discussions between Glenn Seaborg and Sir Roger Makins, Head of the Atomic Energy Authority, in London during September. Here Makins had mentioned the British need for the Nevada facilities and Seaborg had floated the idea of Christmas Island as one of the possible sites for US atmospheric tests.44 By the end of October, Kennedy had agreed that Seaborg should draw a subtle link between the two requests in his discussions with the British.45 When making his request to Kennedy on 3 November, however, Macmillan seems either to have ignored or failed to grasp the significance of the likely American call for a quid pro quo over Christmas Island. This, at any rate, seems to be the best explanation of his evocation of the spirit of alliance solidarity. Kennedy could not fail to grasp the opportunity to hoist Macmillan on his own petard. First through Ambassador Bruce, and then in person during a telephone conversation on 9 November, he pressed the US request.46 Sensing Macmillan’s reluctance, in a formal written approach on 10 November Kennedy asked for an early assurance that ‘you do not see obstacles to our use of this site’.47 In all of this there was a quandary for the British Government. Even without the added complication of the need for access to the Nevada test site it was clear that a point-blank refusal to cooperate with the American request was not feasible. The two countries’ nuclear programmes were far

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too much bound up with each other for such a decision to be taken. On the other hand, the resumption of US atmospheric testing on British territory could have a particularly unfortunate impact on public opinion. What seemed essential, therefore, was that the British Government should first be satisfied that the criteria for testing laid down in Macmillan’s 31 October comments to the House of Commons had been satisfied. Moreover, no overt preparations for the possible test series should take place until both the president and prime minister had had a chance to make their respective political judgements as to its merits. Nor would the British Government be prepared to commit itself to back any subsequent test series beyond 1962 without a further process of review.48 Macmillan replied to the president in these terms on 16 November.49 The tenor of this reply, although not perhaps unexpected, nevertheless caused some ripples of concern in Washington. McGeorge Bundy told the president that ‘the Prime Minister sounds sticky on Christmas Island …’ However, his hunch was that ‘if he knows how restrictive your own view on atmospheric testing is, he will be more cooperative. We can hardly give him a veto on our testing program, so his trust will be essential’.50 Perhaps as part of an effort to build such trust, the earlier implicit coupling of the proposed Christmas Island test series with the British request for access to the Nevada underground facilities was not now pursued as a bargaining tactic. Kennedy had indeed already signalled his acceptance of the British request to use Nevada in his 10 November letter to Macmillan.51 Instead, the president ordered that efforts should be made to satisfy the British requirements for technical information in relation to the goals of the test series as quickly as possible.52 Two additional concerns lingered in the back of British minds in relation to granting the Americans access to Christmas Island. One was specific, and concerned the location itself. In discussion amongst British officials it was noted that ‘there was need for special care in the case of Christmas Island, to the sovereignty of which an American claim had previously been put forward’.53 In other words, the British would have to be careful that the Americans did not take the opportunity presented by the test series either formally or informally to erode British sovereignty over the territory. This specific concern was linked to a more general worry about concluding military base agreements with the Americans, stemming from the earlier Holy Loch and Ascension Island agreements.54 As Macmillan had put it in a telegram to Ormsby-Gore, arrangements concerning finance, administration, command, sovereignty and information would need to be worked out in detail. ‘We are … not prepared again to be put in the position which we have had about POLARIS, where we are still arguing with the Americans about the exact terms of an arrangement agreed in principle two years ago.’55 Trust among allies was all very well, but earlier experience suggested it was best set on firm legal foundations. Any Anglo-American marriage

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over Christmas Island would thus need to be preceded by the signature of a watertight pre-nuptial agreement. The Macmillan–Kennedy summit meeting held at Bermuda from 21–23 December 1961 provided an opportunity to air face-to-face AngloAmerican differences over atmospheric testing. Two detailed sessions were held on the testing question, the first on the afternoon of 21 December, and the second on the morning of 22 December. Although the negotiations were tough, the tone was lightened somewhat by Macmillan’s and Kennedy’s mutual ability to mix the mundane and the momentous. One comment on which both men seized was William Penney’s reply to the question as to how many bombs it would take to destroy his country: ‘If you’re talking about Australia it would take twelve. If you’re talking about Britain it would take five or six, but, to be on the safe side, let us say seven or eight, and I’ll have another gin and tonic if you would be so kind.’56 The whole answer was delivered without any change in tone. Penney’s seamless shift from the unthinkable to the drinkable became the refrain of the conference. As regards the business at hand, the focus of Macmillan’s approach was to try to get Kennedy to agree to a delay of up to a year before the resumption of atmospheric testing in order to allow time for a new initiative on disarmament. Kennedy, on the other hand, was sceptical as to the likelihood of the Soviet Union being receptive to such an approach. Without a major improvement in the political climate, for instance through an agreement over Berlin, he did not see how the United States could avoid beginning a new atmospheric test series in about four months’ time. The focus of the president’s efforts was an attempt to get Macmillan to commit himself to making Christmas Island available for the US test series without the attachment of political strings, and certainly without the possibility of a last minute British veto over its use. In the end, neither man got all that he wanted, although it is arguable that the balance of advantage lay with Kennedy. So, on disarmament, the president refused to commit himself to a one-year or even a six-month delay in testing, making it plain that he did not see how any new initiative with any realistic prospect of success could be framed in this period of time. He did not, though, dismiss the hope Macmillan expressed at the end of their discussions that the resumption of atmospheric tests should be accompanied by the public announcement of a new initiative in this field. The prime minister, for his part, indicated that he would have to consult the Cabinet before concluding any agreement allowing the Americans access to Christmas Island. However, subject to this proviso, he did concede that he was prepared to consider a private agreement over the use of Christmas Island. Moreover, he accepted that after the signature of such an agreement, the British Government could not retain any ultimate right of veto over a subsequent US decision to carry out tests.57 The balance of advantage in the testing tug-of-war thus lay with the American team.58

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Certainly, returning home from the sunshine and conviviality of what Schlesinger likened to a ‘country weekend’,59 Macmillan’s mood turned sombre. The bathos of William Penney’s gin and tonic turned to the pathos of a world threatened with nuclear destruction. Brooding about the future of mankind during a Christmas break in which he was plagued by ill health and depression, Macmillan worked on a plan aimed at securing a general détente.60 This he developed in the form of a long letter to the president. After first sounding out Foreign Secretary Home’s views, and then discussing the question in Cabinet on 3 January, he secured the agreement of his colleagues to the terms of his approach.61 In effect, although Macmillan’s letter spoke of ‘two assumptions’ underlying his offer, Macmillan actually wanted to make US access to Christmas Island subject to three conditions. The first, and least controversial was ‘that we can be satisfied, from the advice of our scientists working with yours, that the programme of tests proposed do indeed fall within our definitions of justifiable tests’. Macmillan indicated that he did not expect any difficulties here. The second condition was that ‘as I am sure you would agree, we should expect full consultation before a decision to start tests from Christmas Island is actually made’. Macmillan linked this to a third implicit condition, what he termed a political initiative. ‘We believe that an announcement in these terms should be accompanied by a determined new initiative towards disarmament and that the timing of the tests could, to some extent depend upon Soviet reactions to our proposals.’62 There can be little doubt that one purpose of the letter was to claw back some of the political ground Macmillan had been forced to cede to the president in the discussions at Bermuda. He was trying, albeit without stating it as an explicit condition, to get Kennedy to accept the linkage of test resumption to a new disarmament initiative. No doubt a measure of domestic political calculation helped to inform this approach. However, another key component of the letter was the genuine fear it expressed as to the likely course of human history if a determined effort were not now to be made to stem the nuclear arms race. On this theme, Macmillan was eloquent: It would really seem to any ordinary person who reflects calmly upon it that humanity is setting out on a path at once so fantastic and so retrograde, so sophisticated and so barbarous, as to be almost incredible. It certainly seems a strange irony, Mr President, that I should have spent Christmas Day reflecting in what terms and by what arguments I should commend to my colleagues the dedication of Christmas Island for this purpose. Eloquent though Macmillan’s words were, they met with a mixed response in Washington. This was hardly surprising since the testing issue

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had been the subject of vigorous bureaucratic debate.63 Moreover, since that debate had witnessed the emergence in the ascendant of those in favour of a resumption of atmospheric testing it is equally unsurprising that much of the reaction to the letter was negative.64 Nevertheless, Kennedy’s eventual reply to Macmillan’s appeal reflected the more sensitive touch of those within the Administration, such as Bundy and Schlesinger, who thought there was merit in Macmillan’s case for a final diplomatic effort before atmospheric test resumption. ‘I find myself in deep agreement’, the president wrote, ‘with nearly all of what you say about the dangers of the arms race and the boldness of action required from those who bear primary responsibility in these matters.’65 All the same, Kennedy moved quickly to quash Macmillan’s attempt to link the use of Christmas Island to a fresh disarmament initiative. ‘I would hope very much that the Cabinet would not intend a coupling of this sort’, he wrote. The president asked for agreement to go ahead on Christmas Island and with a real effort towards disarmament, but rejected any link between the two. In the circumstances, Macmillan had little option but to accept this line of thinking.66 He had at least managed to secure American agreement to the public announcement of a new disarmament initiative at the same time as the announcement of the preparations for tests on Christmas Island was made.67 This could be called an improvement on the position at Bermuda.68 The crucial intermediary in helping to close the gap between the British and American positions at this point was David Ormsby-Gore. As the president and prime minister exchanged formal telegrams, OrmsbyGore was to be found interpreting Macmillan’s messages to Kennedy in the way most likely to make them palatable.69 Similarly, the ambassador’s input helped to edge Kennedy in the direction of accommodating Macmillan’s wishes over the public declaration of a new disarmament initiative.70 Albeit that this was the expected function of an effective ambassador, Ormsby-Gore’s status as one of the president’s closest confidants lent a certain ambiguity to his role here just as it did during the Cuban missile crisis. Although his advocacy achieved undoubted gains for the British Government, one has the impression that he was not fully in sympathy with Macmillan’s approach at this point. Certainly, he was more aware than the prime minister of the domestic constraints on the president’s freedom of manoeuvre. Whatever the private differences, the public front of Anglo-American harmony was preserved in the form of an agreed letter sent to Khrushchev on 7 February, and a joint statement on testing and the pursuit of disarmament issued on 8 February. In his diary, Harold Evans, recorded that ‘the nuclear statement may get recognised for what it is – a Macmillan initiative, and it ought to help that Albany in the Sunday Telegraph stumbled across the existence of a private line between the White House and Admiralty House’.71 In Macmillan’s own view, the fact that he had been

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able to couple the announcement about the planned use of Christmas Island for atmospheric testing with a fresh disarmament initiative made all the difference in terms of mitigating domestic opposition.72 Still, despite some positive elements in Khrushchev’s reply to the Kennedy–Macmillan letter, it soon became evident how peripheral the disarmament effort was to the main thrust of policy in Washington. The momentum towards a resumption of atmospheric testing manifested itself first in the decision of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) to approve a test programme for submission to the president on 12 February.73 The AEC submission envisaged 1 April as the date for the beginning of the series, barely two weeks after the scheduled resumption of the Geneva Disarmament Conference on 14 March. The Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff also pressed the case for test resumption, as did Secretary of State Dean Rusk.74 Such concerted pressure could not long be ignored by Kennedy. According to Ormsby-Gore, although the president was resistant to the early starting date of 1 April, preferring a further two-week delay, he was nevertheless emphatic that the decision to resume testing could not be tied to progress in the disarmament talks. ‘This would inevitably lead to tremendous pressures on the Administration …’75 Following an NSC meeting on 27 February, Kennedy called Ormsby-Gore in to tell him that he now thought it would be better to make a clear-cut announcement that the US would have to resume testing on 15 April, unless the Russians showed before then that they were willing to sign a test ban treaty with effective controls.76 Ormsby-Gore pointed out that this was a departure from the earlier agreed approach of giving the Geneva conference a number of weeks to seek a breakthrough before a final decision was taken to go ahead with tests. Although Kennedy admitted this was true, he stated frankly that he did not think that results were likely in the early days of the conference. In these circumstances, it was better to make the announcement about test resumption sooner rather than later. Kennedy had effectively abandoned unilaterally the two-pronged approach on which Macmillan had pinned his hopes. His decision showed how insubstantial in practice were the concessions Macmillan had won from him in the wake of the Bermuda Conference. Kennedy’s letter to Macmillan advising him of the Administration’s change of tack was another case, much like the earlier decision to resume underground testing, of information rather than consultation. The sense of abruptness was only reinforced by the fact that the president stated his intention to let the American people know of his plans in a television address a mere two days later on 1 March.77 Macmillan recorded in his diary the view that Kennedy’s decision was ‘a blow, for I thought he was in a mood to delay’. Not only that but the President wants to announce the decision tomorrow (Thursday). But Friday or Saturday would be better for me from the H[ouse] of

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C[ommons] point of view. I have urged him most strongly to give at least a reasonable time during which we might urge Russia to agree to a Test Ban agreement. Otherwise, the American attitude will be called brutal – provocative – in spite of [the] past history of Russia’s duplicity.78 In the event, Kennedy was prepared to accede to Macmillan’s request for a twenty-four hour delay in the timing of his announcement, but not to put back further the scheduled date for test resumption to 3 May as the prime minister had requested.79 The limits of British influence were thus made quite apparent. Indeed, Macmillan himself implicitly acknowledged them through the supportive note he struck in his reply to Kennedy. ‘I will stand by you on this in full’, he wrote.80 In private, in addition to his decision to put back his announcement to 2 March, Kennedy was able to take one further step to smooth Macmillan’s domestic political path. This was his intercession with the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell during the latter’s contemporaneous visit to Washington.81 With the die now apparently cast in favour of atmospheric test resumption, much of the rest of the month was taken up with diplomatic manoeuvring so as to present the Western position in the best possible light to international opinion. The course of discussions in both Washington and Geneva left Macmillan disappointed by the American position and despondent about that of the Soviet Union. He told Harold Evans that ‘I’m afraid I shall have to have a row with Kennedy … Certainly we can’t have these new American tests before everything possible has been done … They could be put off for a few weeks … Fancy having them in Easter week, anyhow. Maundy Thursday. What a day to choose. I shall say so to him.’82 In his own diary, Macmillan wrote that ‘I cannot see how we can really get agreement in this atmosphere of distrust. The Russians are quite callous and glory in their falsehoods. Gromyko just laughs when he is caught out.’83 By the end of the month, Macmillan was recording that ‘we are making a last desperate effort to get the Americans to move a little on the Nuclear Tests – not so much in the hope of the Russians accepting any compromise, but to improve our public posture’.84 All of this was to little avail, however. The atmosphere of gloom was lightened only by an exchange between Home and Gromyko over the question of test detection during a meeting held in Geneva on 13 March. Reducing matters to the absurd, Home commented that ‘if there was a bang and a rumble in Russia and we said that it was an atomic explosion, the Soviets might reply that it was Mr Molotov falling down stairs; how could it be decided who was right’. Showing a sharpness of wit not always apparent in his negotiating style, Gromyko replied that ‘Mr Molotov was not made of fissionable material’.85 For Macmillan, though, the prospect of test resumption and the dangers it held for the future of mankind meant that efforts should be maintained for as long as possible to find some way forward on disarmament. His

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genuine hope remained that it would be possible to achieve progress on test suspension at least. But if, as seemed likely, his efforts proved to be of no avail, he wanted the resulting breakdown in negotiations to reflect as well as possible on his own conduct, and that of the Western powers. An altruistic concern for the future was thus mixed with a self-interested concern for the present. The prime minister’s motivations were nothing if not complex. Despite his deepening frustration, Macmillan managed to resist the temptation to take any dramatic independent initiative in the weeks remaining before the resumption of atmospheric testing. Instead, he attempted to prod Kennedy into joining with him in making a final approach to Khrushchev in the form of a letter accompanied by a public statement, pressing him to accept international verification of any test ban agreement.86 In the event, Kennedy agreed to join with him in the public statement, but suggested that the prime minister alone should send an accompanying letter to the Soviet leader.87 On 9 April, the joint statement was issued to the Soviet Government and, a day later, Macmillan’s personal letter to Khrushchev delivered.88 Neither had any tangible effect other than perhaps to improve slightly the public posture of the Western powers. Experiencing a final crisis of confidence during a stay at Chequers after the issuing of the Anglo-American statement, Macmillan scribbled six pages of notes including draft telegrams to Kennedy and Khrushchev inviting them to a summit meeting in Geneva on 16 April. Retreating from uncomfortable realities, Macmillan tried to persuade himself that ‘if the President would rise to the level of events’, he could make a declaration halting tests without having to bring a treaty before the Senate. ‘Opinion, even in the US,’ he believed, was ‘mounting up against the gloomy prospect of test succeeding test’.89 The messages were never delivered. Instead, a negative and vituperative reply from Khrushchev to Macmillan’s personal letter scotched the prime minister’s increasingly unrealistic hopes of finding an immediate way out of the nuclear testing race. The final scene in this particular act of the nuclear testing drama was destined to be played out at the end of the month just as Macmillan, appropriately enough, was about to depart for a planned visit to the United States. On the evening of 25 April, the AEC issued a statement announcing that that morning a nuclear test detonation had taken place in the vicinity of Christmas Island. Travelling first to New York to give a speech to the American (Newspaper) Publishers Convention, Macmillan noted in his diary entry for 27 April that the British press seemed fairly calm about the American tests. For his own part, Macmillan wrote that ‘it is very sad’. He was also interested to find ‘most people here very disappointed. I did not find a “Jingo” spirit in talking to the Publishers and Press’.90 Moving on to Washington for his meetings with the president, Macmillan must have been struck by the change of tone, for he was immediately treated by

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Kennedy to what he called ‘a very curious entertainment’.91 There was a dinner for a thousand guests, followed by ‘an “all star” entertainment (including Peter Sellars and the world’s best Jazz players); a “take off” of me; a “take off” of the President; a reply by the President doing a “take off” of himself – altogether a most uproarious & amusing evening.’ For Macmillan, ‘it was a very American scene – with all the American humour and good nature, and a sort of hilarious school boy crudity which was engaging’. During the substantive meetings that took place over the weekend of 28–29 April, there proved little further to add on the issue of nuclear tests.92 Macmillan had a number of private chats with Kennedy, including a private luncheon at the White House on Sunday. He took away the impression that the president ‘likes these private and confidential talks. He seems to want advice – or at least comfort. At the same time, it’s all very vague. And when we come down to brass tacks, we don’t make much headway.’93 Specifically: on future policy – nuclear tests, disarmament, ‘détente’ with Russia etc, the President is in agreement with us. But he is very secretive & very suspicious of leaks, in the State Dept or Pentagon, which are intended to frustrate his policy. He is all the time conscious of this, as well as of his difficulties with Congress. He looks to us for help – and this means not going too far ahead of him.94 No doubt in all of this there was an element of Kennedy flattering Macmillan’s vanity. In other words, the president may well have played up his need for advice, and the degree of his community of interest with the British Prime Minister in blocking the machinations of enemies in the State Department, Pentagon, and Congress. All the same though there was a kernel of truth in Macmillan’s portrait of a president anxious to achieve something in the field of nuclear testing and the arms race, but wary of bureaucratic and political opponents. In these circumstances there was clearly likely to be a future role for Macmillan as the standard-bearer for policies that the president himself would have to be more cautious about advancing. For much of the rest of the year, though, there was little further progress to report on the question of a test ban agreement. ‘As autumn came’, Macmillan wrote, ‘the controversy ran tediously on, losing itself like some great river in the sands and never reaching the sea’.95 In October, though, the more languid flow of East–West relations, which had characterised the summer months of 1962, was rudely interrupted by the Cuban missile crisis. Although it was not immediately apparent, the Cuban crisis was to have significant repercussions for the nuclear testing question. Specifically, the proximity of superpower nuclear conflict during the crisis concentrated

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the minds of the leaders on both sides on the need to find ways of reducing and managing tensions. Nuclear testing was one area in which there was clearly scope for progress. Still, this did not result in any immediate change in the negotiating climate. Indeed, a minute by Foreign Secretary Home, written in midDecember 1962, described negotiating prospects that seemed every bit as gloomy as at any stage over the previous two years.96 Moreover, in respect of the question of inspections, the Cuban crisis had if anything hardened attitudes. The Soviet Union’s covert attempt to introduce missiles into Cuba seemed to strengthen the case of those in the US who saw the need for a more, not a less rigorous inspection regime. Although the American test series begun in April had been completed in November, the US Administration reserved its position as to the need to conduct further such tests in the future.97 Briefly hopes were raised by a letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy delivered just before the Anglo-American Nassau Conference. In it, the Soviet leader struck a reasonable tone, offering to meet the US ‘halfway’ on the question of inspections.98 However, the apparent breakthrough seems to have been based on either a genuine Soviet misunderstanding or a deliberate misconstruction of the Western position on inspections. Deputy Foreign Minister Kuznetsov claimed to have gained the impression from an informal conversation with US Ambassador Arthur Dean in New York that two to four on-site inspections per year would be sufficient to satisfy the Kennedy Administration.99 Khrushchev’s offer to accept up to three inspections per year fell within these limits. While taken by the Western negotiators to be an opening bargaining position that could be pushed upwards to perhaps seven or eight inspections, the offer was in fact intended to be final. As this emerged over the coming weeks the initial optimism with which both Kennedy and Macmillan had greeted the Soviet offer soon turned to pessimism and frustration. By the time news reached London on 8 March that the Geneva Disarmament Conference had arrived at a complete impasse, Macmillan had evidently already begun to mull over the possibility of a new direct approach to the president.100 After discussions with Foreign Secretary Home, the prime minister decided to sound out David Ormsby-Gore’s views as to whether Kennedy might be receptive to some form of summit meeting in Geneva to try to resolve outstanding differences.101 Rather unexpectedly, Ormsby-Gore replied to the prime minister in positive terms.102 Whilst the domestic political environment in the US would make the president reluctant to move too far, Ormsby-Gore felt that Kennedy remained prepared to take risks in pursuit of a test ban agreement. Significantly, Ormsby-Gore suggested that Macmillan should introduce the idea of the president sending a personal emissary to Khrushchev to assess the possibilities of progress. After

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working through the various amendments suggested by Ormsby-Gore to his original draft letter to the president until late on the evening of 15 March, Macmillan was ready to send off the final version by the following morning.103 In tone and character it bore many similarities to his letter of 5 January 1962. Indeed, as Macmillan told Ormsby-Gore, it had been his intention to recast the letter so as to follow that precedent. This meant that although the prime minister suggested a number of possible ways in which the process of negotiation could be carried forward, the main thrust of his appeal was to the sense of duty and responsibility that he believed the president shared with him.104 As had been the case with his letter of 5 January 1962, Macmillan’s initiative did not find a welcome in all quarters in Washington. In a memorandum sent to Secretary of State Rusk on 21 March, Ambassador-at-Large Llewellyn Thompson warned that he could not help but be very suspicious of Macmillan’s letter.105 It had been sent on the same day that a Pugwash Committee meeting of American, Soviet, and British scientists had convened in London. Thompson evidently thought that it might have been prompted by an approach from the Soviet physicist Artsimovich to one of his British counterparts with a new proposal on the numbers of inspections.106 In the event, as the British documents show, Macmillan had been planning his initiative for some time, and Thompson’s suspicions were thus unfounded. Still, his memorandum did serve to illustrate the doubts that were entertained in various quarters in Washington about the prime minister’s motivations. When Ormsby-Gore met the president on 21 March to discuss the contents of Macmillan’s letter, he found Kennedy sympathetic but still preoccupied with the domestic political ramifications of a test ban agreement. In particular, he felt that if the Chinese Communists were to explode a bomb shortly after the signature of a test ban treaty it would be the end of his political career.107 Perhaps a fear of leaks to domestic opponents was one reason why the president allowed the State Department free rein in drafting his reply to Macmillan, in contrast to the course of events in January 1962.108 There is certainly no evidence of the text on this occasion having been reworked by sympathetic members of the president’s staff. Waiting for Kennedy’s reply, Macmillan became impatient. ‘I am becoming more and more alarmed lest we are in danger of missing the bus with the Russians,’ he wrote to Ormsby-Gore. ‘As a politician you will understand that it is very important also that the bus should not leave without me.’109 As before, Macmillan’s political self-interest remained mixed up with his more noble altruistic concerns about nuclear testing. Still, on both counts Kennedy’s reply when it finally arrived was disappointing.110 The letter focused on current State Department assessments of the Kremlin’s preoccupations, in particular on Sino-Soviet relations. In the current climate, it asserted, ‘Khrushchev probably has too many problems on his hands … to give the

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test ban the attention it deserves’. In these circumstances, the time was not ripe for any major Western initiative.111 That Macmillan did not now abandon his efforts was due in large measure both to the continuing encouragement of David Ormsby-Gore and also to the comments of US Ambassador David Bruce.112 Ormsby-Gore advised that Macmillan should ‘return to the charge with the President and get the argument back on to the higher plane which was typified by your own letter’.113 After checking the text with the ambassador, Macmillan sent a further message to the president on 3 April, attaching a suggested draft of a letter to Khrushchev.114 On this occasion, Macmillan had rather more good fortune in terms of the way in which the American response was prepared. Although a State Department draft was ready on the president’s desk by the morning of 10 April, it arrived just before Kennedy was due to depart for Palm Beach on vacation.115 The president’s planned absence in Palm Beach, where there was no secure phone link available to London, also seemed to make it unlikely that Macmillan would be able to discuss his own draft of a letter to Khrushchev before Kennedy rubber-stamped the State Department version. In the event, domestic politics in the US intervened to alter the course of events. Kennedy was detained in Washington a further day dealing with difficulties with the steel industry.116 This meant that Macmillan was able to speak to him by phone on the afternoon of 11 April. Better still from the prime minister’s point of view was that the president conducted the conversation on the basis of Macmillan’s draft letter to Khrushchev, rather than that of the State Department. Indeed McGeorge Bundy had forwarded the State Department’s proposed response to Philip de Zulueta the previous night, commenting somewhat ironically that ‘this document has no formal standing and in the White House we rely on you to protect us from the wrath of our learned colleagues’.117 The only significant amendment Kennedy now sought to Macmillan’s draft was the watering down of the commitment to call a summit meeting to strike the final deal. A summit should only take place in Kennedy’s view when all of the significant issues had been resolved at a lower level.118 Although Macmillan was disappointed by what he called this ‘old Eisenhower position’ on a summit, in other respects he must have been pleased that the president was prepared to take on board so much of his suggested message. Still, it was important to get the final text settled with President Kennedy and his White House advisers ‘before the State Dept & Pentagon rats get at it’.119 After some further fencing over the precise wording, the message was ready for despatch on 15 April.120 As regards the achievement of agreement over a joint Anglo-American approach, Macmillan was in no doubt as to whom the credit belonged. Writing to David Ormsby-Gore on the day the final text was agreed he was effusive in his praise. ‘I hardly know how to thank you sufficiently for all

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your help over the test ban proposals’, he confessed.121 However, if in private he was generous in his praise of Ormsby-Gore’s role, Macmillan was anxious to see that in public the British press were left in no doubt as to who was really responsible for the latest efforts to secure a test ban. Background briefing material stressed that it was the prime minister himself who had initiated the latest round of Anglo-American discussions.122 Having contrived to catch the test ban bus that he had been so afraid of missing, Macmillan was anxious to stress that it could not in fact have left without him. Nevertheless, at first sight, Khrushchev’s response to their letter suggested that both Macmillan and Kennedy might as well disembark at the following stop. When Ambassadors Trevelyan and Kohler met the Soviet leader on 24 April to deliver the Macmillan–Kennedy letter, Khrushchev was ‘completely negative throughout’.123 In his formal reply of 8 May, he criticised the Western leaders’ failure to accept his existing offer on inspections, asserting once again that their goal was merely to spy on Soviet territory. As far as he was concerned, the Macmillan–Kennedy letter could be reduced to a proposal to ‘continue haggling over inspections, but at a higher level’. Nevertheless, Khrushchev did express his willingness to receive in Moscow the high-level British and American representatives mentioned in the Macmillan–Kennedy letter, provided they were empowered to negotiate on a ‘realistic and equitable basis’.124 While recognising that the substance of the letter was negative, Macmillan chose to seize on the one positive dimension of the Soviet leader’s reply, by emphasising the significance of Khrushchev’s willingness to receive highly placed Anglo-American emissaries.125 As far as Philip de Zulueta was concerned, the immediate problem was in fact how to control the ‘quite unnecessarily negative reactions from the Foreign Office and the State Department’.126 This observation reinforces once again the notion that a sort of Anglo-American executive community of interest manifested itself over the test ban negotiations during the spring of 1963 in the face of bureaucratic resistance.127 During a series of discussions held at Chequers over the weekend of 18–19 May, Macmillan, in consultation with his closest advisers, including David Ormsby-Gore who had flown back specially from Washington, considered possible responses to Khrushchev’s letter.128 The conclusion that the prime minister drew from these meetings was that he should press the idea of sending emissaries to Moscow for no stronger reason than to play for time. It would keep the process of negotiation going thus giving the political climate the chance to improve. As regards the choice of possible envoys, Macmillan seemed paradoxically to be much more certain about who should represent Washington than he was about who should represent London. For the United States emissary, Macmillan consistently advocated the name of Averell Harriman.129 Although the prime minister’s

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positive opinion of Harriman was evidently of long-standing, it had been reinforced by a discussion he had held with the veteran diplomat in London on 22 April. On the test ban, Harriman had offered an assessment of the feasibility and importance of an early agreement that was music to Macmillan’s ears. As far as Harriman was concerned, the overwhelming enthusiasm of the American people for a test ban agreement would force the hand of the Senate should it come to a vote over ratification. For Macmillan, it was ‘very encouraging to have people like Harriman around – liberal, enthusiastic, a good negotiator, & very youthful for his age’. Not only that, but he was ‘anti-Pentagon’.130 The choice of a British emissary, should the president agree to Macmillan’s plan, was at this stage far from clear. One particularly curious possibility floated around this time involved summoning Lord Avon back from retirement to carry out the task. On the prime minister’s behalf, Philip de Zulueta had asked Harold Caccia to gauge Avon’s state of mind. According to Caccia, the former prime minister ‘was enjoying a little wine, appeared quite relaxed and not troubled by fevers’. He did ‘not once talk about Suez’.131 No doubt all of these qualities would have proven valuable in a meeting with Khrushchev, but Macmillan evidently thought better of the idea and did not pursue Avon’s candidacy further. The result of the Chequers discussions was a letter to Kennedy proposing that, although the substance of Khrushchev’s response was ‘not very hopeful’, his acceptance of the proposal to send Anglo-American emissaries should be taken up.132 Macmillan attached a draft of a suggested joint reply to Khrushchev. Once again the Anglo-American executive community of interest was apparent in the handling of Macmillan’s draft. The reply produced by the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in Washington, which Schlesinger called a ‘debater’s screed’, was discarded as the working basis for the Administration’s response, with Macmillan’s draft favoured instead.133 After some modification by the president’s staff, the joint letter was despatched to Khrushchev on 30 May.134 The Soviet leader, in his reply of 8 June, although still grudging on the question of inspections, accepted the Kennedy–Macmillan offer on emissaries.135 Part of the reason why Macmillan’s approach to the test ban question during the spring of 1963 had been successful, was that it had chimed in with the trend towards compromise in the president’s own thinking. This was to culminate in his so called ‘peace speech’ at the American University on 10 June. The idea for the speech may have been sparked by the journalist Norman Cousins, who had urged after his April meeting with Khrushchev that the president should extend an olive branch to the Soviet leader.136 In any event in early June, Kennedy instructed Sorensen to prepare a draft peroration that would attempt to set relations with the Soviet Union on a new footing. The thrust of Kennedy’s speech was to call for a re-examination of attitudes towards the Cold War. Mistrust and hos-

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tility could be overcome if greater efforts were made to understand those on the other side of the communist/capitalist divide. Both the United States and the Soviet Union had ‘a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race … If we cannot end now all our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.’137 Specifically, the president pointed to the field of nuclear tests as one in which agreement could be grasped if only a fresh perspective could be adopted. In pursuit of this goal, he announced that the United States would not now resume atmospheric testing unless another power did so first. No doubt Kennedy’s comments represented the results both of an evolution in his own thinking about the Cold War and changes in the American political environment, brought on by the events of the first two and a half years of his presidency.138 Certainly, the occasion was well chosen. The president’s speech helped to smooth the path for the arrival of the Anglo-American emissaries in Moscow the following month. The question now remaining to be resolved was who would represent Macmillan and Kennedy in Moscow? Despite Macmillan’s strong advocacy of the cause of Averell Harriman as the American negotiator, Kennedy himself had earlier entertained doubts about the veteran diplomat. At one point the president indicated that he preferred John McCloy for the post,139 perhaps because of his reputation as a tough negotiator with the Soviets who might impress congressional sceptics. However, McCloy was unavailable for the mission, and in the end the president decided on Harriman. Harriman’s long experience, his unpopularity in the State Department and his insistence on the exclusion of the military from the process of negotiation were all qualities that ultimately recommended him to Kennedy.140 Macmillan’s own decision to nominate Lord Hailsham as the British representative for the mission has rightly been judged one of the strangest of his premiership. Even Hailsham himself later recorded the opinion that his selection was a matter of surprise to him.141 In his own memoirs Macmillan offers no convincing explanation of his decision to send a man who had little specific knowledge of the negotiations to date and who was not known for his tact or experience of diplomacy.142 He refers only to Hailsham’s ‘qualities of energy and imagination’ which he thought might appeal to Khrushchev. Elaborating a little further on his choice in a later television interview, Macmillan recollected that he had believed Hailsham might ‘amuse’ Khrushchev. Not only that but he was both shrewd and determined.143 Certainly, Khrushchev did manage to have some fun at Hailsham’s expense when, on his arrival in Moscow, the Soviet leader informed him in front of the world’s press that for men of his kind, ‘the Russians had internment facilities available’.144 Hailsham’s response was that his wants were comparatively simple: just a bed and a meal. Solly Zuckerman, who as Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Defence also travelled to Moscow, interpreted the choice of Hailsham as just a case of

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‘picking a minister to go’. When Macmillan asked Zuckerman ‘what do you think of the idea of sending Quintin’, he replied ‘it’s a bright idea. He’ll enjoy it, he likes talking.’ Hailsham, though, as Zuckerman acknowledged, ‘knew nothing whatever about seismic matters or disarmament’.145 He was, too, an odd choice in terms of his record on Anglo-American relations. Although, like Macmillan he could boast an American mother, he had, as the US Embassy in London reported, ‘on occasion, made statements which are at least extremely critical of the United States if not actually antiAmerican’. Most noteworthy amongst these was his ‘vituperative speech in the House of Lords … in which he accused the United States of living parasitically on the brains of other countries (the “brain drain”).’ All in all, US Embassy officials concluded that ‘there is in him more than a suggestion of intellectual arrogance and the consequent tendency to find his own opinions especially congenial and convincing’.146 It may well be that the prime minister’s mind was elsewhere when he had to take the final decision to send Hailsham, preoccupied by the domestic turmoil of the Profumo scandal. Still, by choosing Hailsham, Macmillan could have imperilled much of the good work he had done up to that point in pursuit of the test ban had it not been for the skill of Harriman, and Khrushchev’s own determination to reach agreement. In the interim before the planned arrival of the emissaries in Moscow during the second week of July, there were two main noteworthy developments from the point of view of Anglo-American relations and the test ban. The first was Kennedy’s visit to Birch Grove on 29–30 June, and the second Khrushchev’s statement on 2 July, during a visit to East Berlin, that he considered the conclusion of a comprehensive test ban impossible due to Western inspection demands. The Soviet Union, he indicated would only be willing to conclude a partial (atmospheric) ban. The Birch Grove visit, taking place at the height of Macmillan’s domestic political woes, did at least provide an opportunity to exchange views on the current state of East–West relations. Although there were flashes of the former Macmillan–Kennedy rapport, Macmillan’s acting skills were not up to disguising from the president either the seriousness of his political plight or his own personal despondency.147 On the test ban question, the president and prime minister did not advance much beyond the position already established in talks between Rusk and Home. This was to try first for a comprehensive treaty with an inspection regime satisfactory to the West, and, if this failed, to try for a partial test ban.148 During the preparations for the Moscow visit, Macmillan’s chosen representative, Hailsham, made a less than favourable impression on the Americans. Kennedy expressed the concern that he might try to act as some sort of mediator between the Americans and Russians in Moscow.149 During a visit to London on the way to Moscow Harriman too was unimpressed with Hailsham. Zuckerman who was present at their meeting, later

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acknowledged that Hailsham was ‘regarded by certain members of the US delegation as a bit of a joke’. With no background knowledge of the issue, Hailsham still took it upon himself to describe the drafting of the agreed Anglo-American position paper as ‘very poor’. Harriman’s response was sharp. ‘Well, if that’s how you feel about it, we’d better break off now,’ he retorted. ‘My instructions were to coordinate our tactics with you, not to negotiate a new position.’150 Nevertheless, the Americans were reassured by Macmillan’s commitment to instruct Hailsham to support their position on any points of disagreement with the Russians.151 In an effort to prevent the British from trying to steer the negotiations through the judicious use of leaks to the press, Kennedy had also secured a commitment from Macmillan to make sure that there would be the closest consultation before any statements were made by either party.152 With these limitations imposed on the freedom of manoeuvre of the British delegation, it is little surprise that during the Moscow negotiations themselves the main players were Harriman and Gromyko. At one point during a discussion in which Harriman and Gromyko had been doing all the talking, Hailsham interjected to say that ‘if whatever was said was agreeable to them, clearly it would be agreeable to him’.153 Although the British contribution had been important in helping to pave the way for the meeting during the spring, in the final stages of the negotiations the British presence was little more than a formality. In practice the most important feature of Macmillan’s contribution, much as during the Cuban missile crisis, was to resist the temptation to launch any independent initiative. The initial Soviet insistence on the linking of a test ban treaty to a nonaggression pact provided Macmillan with a tempting opportunity for just such a move. The main difficulty with such a pact lay in the reaction of the West German Government, which saw it as a means of freezing the division of Europe. West German diffidence about such an agreement was likely to be shared by the French. Thus, from the American perspective, a non-aggression pact would serve to divide the Western alliance.154 Macmillan, on the other hand, saw far fewer difficulties with such an agreement.155 He was, after all, by this stage, not especially concerned with soothing West German and French feelings in the wake of the collapse of the British EEC bid. It would have been interesting to see the effect on Anglo-American relations had the Soviets pressed their insistence on the non-aggression pact to the very end of the negotiations. As it was, Gromyko accepted wording in the final communiqué that involved no specific or binding commitment on the part of the Western powers.156 If the non-aggression pact had been one potential stumbling block in the negotiations, another was provided by the so-called ‘withdrawal’ clause. At the outset of the negotiations, Khrushchev made it clear to the Western representatives that his main interest was in a partial test ban treaty.157 He withdrew the existing Soviet offer to permit two or three annual

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inspections of seismic events on Soviet territory.158 Although there was some limited discussion of a comprehensive test ban thereafter, it was clear that the main thrust of the negotiations involved trading off Western and Soviet demands in relation to a partial test ban treaty. From the point of view of satisfying congressional opinion, the Kennedy Administration felt that any treaty signed by the US must contain a clause explicitly permitting withdrawal in the event of testing by other signatories or third parties.159 To the Soviets, however, such a provision indicated a lack of seriousness about the commitments entered into in the treaty. In the event a compromise form of wording was found.160 A final difficulty to emerge near the end of the negotiations concerned the question of deposition of instruments of accession for subsequent signatories to the treaty. The American delegation believed that an understanding was necessary with the Soviet Union to allow instruments of accession to be deposited with one or two of the original signatories, rather than with all three. This was to deal with the problem of the accession of states, such as East Germany or Communist China, which the US did not recognise. Gromyko would not accept this, fearing that the US would become the depositary of choice for the majority of states. In the event, this difficulty did not prove insurmountable. On the final day of negotiations a compromise was arrived at in which states would submit instruments of accession to all three original signatories. The signatories themselves would then be entitled to accept or reject the instruments as they chose, although in practice this would make no difference to the adherence of the state concerned to the treaty.161 After last-minute consultations by telephone with Washington, Harriman, together with Hailsham and Gromyko, initialled the Limited Test Ban Treaty at about 7.15 p.m. in the evening Moscow time on 25 July 1963. For Macmillan, the final day of waiting had been a period of tension and frustration. He had thought it ‘incredible’ that what he saw as minor technical difficulties over questions such as depositary states might prevent the signature of the treaty. But, other than pressing Ormsby-Gore to ask the president to modify the US position, he was powerless to influence the course of events.162 Finally, he managed to get through to Kennedy on the phone at around 5.30 p.m. in the afternoon, London time, to hear that the American objections had been resolved, and that the treaty was in the process of being initialled. The reaction to Macmillan’s announcement of the agreement to the House of Commons late that evening was enthusiastic. Despite his domestic political difficulties, MPs on all sides were prepared to acknowledge the prime minister’s personal role in the achievement of an agreement he had pursued doggedly over the course of a number of years.163 As Kennedy himself put it, ‘what no one can doubt is the importance in all this of your own persistent pursuit of a solution. You have never given up for a minute, and more than once your initiative is

The Search for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty 219

what has got things started again.’164 No doubt there was an element of two politicians engaging in a bout of mutual backslapping in this and Macmillan’s own letter of congratulation to the president in which he praised his ‘courage and faith’,165 but still there was a kernel of truth in Kennedy’s analysis. Certainly his comment about Macmillan’s initiative restarting the process at certain junctures rings true in relation to the events of the spring of 1963 in particular. There remained indeed, one final task for the prime minister to perform in order to help smooth the path of the treaty domestically in the US. This was his intercession at Kennedy’s request with former President Eisenhower asking that he support the treaty in order to secure its ratification in the Senate.166 When making an overall assessment of Anglo-American relations in the test ban field one is struck by their ironical nature. The British role in influencing US policy was special but subordinate, significant and yet limited. On the one hand the British status as the third nuclear power gave Macmillan a legitimate place at the top table. On the other, when it came to the final negotiations, the British role amounted to little more than a watching brief. Through his initiative in the spring of 1963, Macmillan certainly helped the president bypass bureaucratic and political obstacles in the US. But it is arguable that Kennedy could have achieved the same results without this assistance. Nor do Macmillan’s motives in pursuit of the test ban, much like those of Kennedy, lend themselves to easy or glib analysis. No doubt both men saw possible domestic political advantage in the tactics they adopted at various stages of the test ban saga. On the other hand, it seems churlish to deny both of them a genuine interest in limiting the dangers of nuclear fallout. In the end, therefore, the signature of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in Moscow on 5 August 1963 was a triumph of both political self-interest and altruism. It also represented one of the few tangible dividends from Macmillan’s pursuit of Anglo-American interdependence.

10 Conclusion

Despite Macmillan’s hopes that the signature of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty might open the way to a broader process of détente, it in fact marked the final chapter of Anglo-American relations under his premiership. Two months later the prime minister was forced by ill health to relinquish his office, and a month after that Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Although history rarely lends itself to the neat drawing of dividing lines, on this occasion there is certainly a case to be made that the passing of the Macmillan–Kennedy era marked something of a watershed in high level Anglo-American relations.1 Although Macmillan’s successor at Number 10, Alec Douglas-Home, maintained good transatlantic links, his was very much a caretaker premiership. From October 1964 Home was replaced by Harold Wilson, a man who, as was observed at the outset of this study, was viewed with diffidence and suspicion in Washington. Correspondingly, Kennedy’s successor in the White House, Lyndon Johnson, boasted none of the European personal or political connections of his predecessor. Indeed, it is arguable in a broader sense that Kennedy was the last of the ‘European’ presidents. The changed climate of relations at the high political level finds no better illustration than the response of President Johnson to the first attempt of Ambassador David Ormsby-Gore to gain access to him in the wake of his assumption of office. As has been made clear in this study, during the Kennedy years Ormsby-Gore had enjoyed remarkable access to the president. Now the situation was different. The exchange between Johnson and National Security Advisor McGeorge Bundy over Ormsby-Gore’s approach was recorded for the benefit of posterity by the president’s taping equipment.2 Bundy began by acknowledging that the president would not want to see Ambassador Ormsby-Gore if it could be avoided, but ‘he does have a Cabinet instruction to present the views of the British Cabinet to you. His subject is Indonesia.’ Johnson’s response was dismissive. ‘I’m not going to start seeing all of these ambassadors. I don’t care how many Cabinet instructions they’ve got …’ Still, Bundy persisted: ‘Mr President, I under220

Conclusion 221

stand that and I think we can get them to an understanding that this ought to be very rare …’ Johnson grudgingly conceded, but then added the barb: ‘then line up all the rest of them that are going to follow.’ Bundy reassured him: ‘no sir, I will not. We’ll have it off the record. It doesn’t have to appear … nobody has to know he’s in here …’ While it is impossible to do full justice to the tone of this exchange on paper, particularly in respect of Johnson’s comments, a number of important points in respect of the new climate in Anglo-American relations can be drawn from it. The most obvious observation is that the change in president had produced a different attitude both to Ormsby-Gore as an individual and to the significance of an approach from the British Cabinet. The British Ambassador and Cabinet were no more significant than the representatives of other foreign governments. Bundy played his own part in this process by insisting that the Cabinet could be brought to an understanding that such direct approaches to the president should be very rare. This stood in marked contrast to the Kennedy years when both Ormsby-Gore’s friendship with the president, and Kennedy’s willingness to listen to British views made for easy and frequent exchanges at the highest level. On the other hand, the picture as regards Anglo-American relations illuminated by this exchange is not entirely negative. First of all, Bundy himself evidently thought it was important for the president to see Ormsby-Gore and persisted in his attempts to gain access to the Oval Office for the ambassador. This shows that the White House staff Johnson had inherited from Kennedy continued to attach some significance to British views, highlighting once again the importance of the Anglo-American bureaucratic contacts discussed at the beginning of this study. Secondly, Bundy’s comment that the ambassador’s visit could be kept secret shows that the formal record of Anglo-American relations remains the tip of the iceberg of a whole series of concealed contacts that, unlike Ormsby-Gore’s visit to the president on this occasion, may not have been recorded in any way. Ironically, of course, Bundy was not to know that although he could keep Ormsby-Gore’s visit off the official record, the president’s recording equipment ensured that it was preserved for the historical record. This exchange highlights that although at the high political level the closeness in personal relations that typified the Macmillan–Kennedy years was transient, the substructure of Anglo-American relations, in respect of the links between the bureaucracies of the two countries, remained. This was particularly true of their close cooperation in specific fields such as intelligence and nuclear strategy.3 So we should be wary of postulating a complete break in Anglo-American relations at the end of 1963. On the other hand, the removal of two leaders who for all their ironic detachment from events, evidently still set a good deal of store on the maintenance of close relations between London and Washington, meant the end of the executive community of interest that had manifested itself over problems

222 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

such as the nuclear test ban. When tensions subsequently arose over issues such as the conduct of the Vietnam War the absence of this presidential–prime ministerial personal bond was to be keenly felt. Witness Johnson’s curt dismissal of Wilson’s attempt to mediate during the escalation of tensions in Vietnam in February 1965: ‘I won’t tell you how to run Malaysia and you don’t tell us how to run Vietnam.’4 Apart from the change in personalities at the top there were other factors making for an increasing distance in Anglo-American relations after 1963. If we return to Dean Rusk’s ‘transaction of business’ model for understanding Anglo-American relations, it would have to be admitted that the diminishing British world role meant that there was simply less business to transact between London and Washington. Not only that, but the renewed British attempts to secure entry into the EEC, first under Wilson during 1966–7 and then successfully under Heath in 1973, showed that successive British governments adopted Macmillan’s idea of the need for an alternative foundation for Britain’s international position. Indeed, the extent of the Anglo-American business transacted under Macmillan and Kennedy is far greater than this study has been able to show. There was, put simply, in the years 1961–3, hardly any significant international issue that did not have some form of Anglo-American dimension to it. To name but a few of the issues on which this study has been unable to touch: there were Anglo-American consultations over aid to India in the wake of the Chinese incursion in late 1962; discussions over policy towards the Indonesian–Malaysian confrontation, particularly from the latter part of 1963 onwards; discussions over, and a measure of British assistance for, the US position in South Vietnam; detailed consideration of a range of international financial and trading issues;5 and a significant degree of coordination of British and American tactics over disputes at the United Nations. No doubt all of these sins of omission in this study are culpable to a degree but the need to prioritise and focus on the questions that loomed largest and longest at the high political level has been its basic guiding principle. Correspondingly, although the lack of detailed consideration of the process of British decolonisation may also look like a sin of omission, this is one area in which there was surprisingly little American involvement. Apart from the cases of the Congo, which prompted US concerns about British policy towards the Central African Federation and British Guiana, both of which are discussed here, no other British colonial issue seems to have received consistent high-level American attention.6 Pulling together the threads of the range of crises and international problems touched on in this study, it is clear that neither the glib dismissal of the Anglo-American relationship as mythical, nor its rosy presentation as special will do. The pattern of relations as detailed here is simply too subtle and complex for either of these characterisations to prove useful as analytical tools. What this study has aimed instead to reconstruct are the percep-

Conclusion 223

tions of a series of international problems and crises as they appeared to leaders in London and Washington. These perceptions were informed by a combination of interest, ideology, culture, domestic politics, public opinion and bureaucratic politics. The explanation for Anglo-American cooperation during the Kennedy years as much as for Anglo-American division lies in the complex interplay of these factors. Indeed, as the crisis of interdependence during the winter of 1962–3 witnessed, the belief of British and American leaders that they could understand each other’s perceptions when they could not was the source of much tension. The blithe assumption of the Foreign Office paper on ‘Britain through American Eyes’ that ‘we have the advantage of being able to get inside each other’s minds and work from common assumptions’ was a seductive fallacy. 7 A decision in Washington to sell Hawk missiles to Israel made on the grounds of domestic political considerations and regional politics could be read in London as another chapter in the cut-throat American pursuit of international commercial domination. A decision to cancel the Skybolt missile made by the US Defense Secretary on grounds of cost and utility could be read by the British Prime Minister as part of a US conspiracy to drive Britain out of the nuclear business. Tensions were bound to arise in a relationship that for one party was one of partnership and equality and for the other one of patron and client: even more so when both called this ‘interdependence’. This was the irony at the heart of Anglo-American relations by the beginning of the 1960s. It was the crisis of interdependence of the winter of 1962–3 that crystallised these differences in British and American perceptions. The most visible symbol of this was the unilateral decision of the Kennedy Administration to cancel the Skybolt missile that carried the hopes of Britain’s ‘independent’ nuclear deterrent for a decade to come. Richard Neustadt’s subsequent report into the Skybolt crisis commissioned by a president who evidently found significant gaps in his understanding of what had transpired has by virtue of its lucidity and persuasiveness dominated the field of inquiry ever since. But, it is arguable that the terms of reference of the Neustadt report were simply too narrowly framed to do full justice to the extent of the crisis of Anglo-American interdependence that Skybolt precipitated. Neustadt himself has recently begun the work of broadening the frame of reference with his perceptive analysis of the ‘extraordinary dialogue of the deaf’ between Macmillan and McNamara in Washington in April 1962 referred to at the beginning of this study.8 But there was more to the crisis of interdependence than simply the cancellation of Skybolt and the subsequent failure of the British EEC application, important though these elements were. The Skybolt cancellation has to be set in the context of the failure of the British attempt to give some broader foundation to defence interdependence. Watkinson’s discussions with McNamara, and Macmillan’s attempts to persuade Kennedy of the need for

224 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

‘complementarity’ during the course of 1961–2 were part of this process, as were the Sergeant and Hawk missile controversies of the summer and autumn of 1962. Not only was there a gathering crisis of interdependence in the field of defence by the time the Skybolt controversy broke in November 1962, the crisis extended into other fields of foreign policy. So, over the Congo, British and American policies had been diverging from the summer of 1961 onwards. By the end of 1962, Anglo-American relations over the Congo had effectively broken down, with a final ‘dialogue of the deaf’ over the issue taking place at the Nassau Conference. One should not underestimate the scorn with which Macmillan delivered his suggestion that ‘of course if the United States would take over the Congo that would be very satisfactory. They could make Tshombe a maharaja with an American Resident …’9 Similarly, over the Middle East, the British and American approaches to the Yemeni civil war diverged further and further as the winter progressed. Although the break here was less open than over the Congo, Macmillan’s own private notes on how to handle the crisis written on 12 December 1962 make it clear that one of the guiding principles of British policy was in fact to make sure that it contradicted that of the US.10 This would be the best way to preserve Britain’s prestige and hence its position in the Gulf. Over Cuba, although the missile crisis of October had been negotiated without any Anglo-American breach, the running sore of Britain’s Cuban trade, on which Kennedy had pressed Macmillan both before and after the crisis, remained. British and American perceptions of Castro, just as of Nasser, were simply too different for disagreements in both of these regions to be avoided. The collapse of the British EEC application also contributed to the crisis of interdependence. US views on the future utility of the Anglo-American relationship focused, as was made clear to Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell, on the need to secure British entry to the EEC as a means of controlling future German ambitions.11 From the British side, the EEC application had been conceived by Macmillan as a hedge against the unreliability of the AngloAmerican alliance. As he underlined to Peter Thorneycroft in advance of his September 1962 visit to the US, ‘Americans respect strength and rather admire a “tough” attitude. If only we can “get into Europe” we shall, of course, have a much stronger position.’12 Although the collapse of the EEC application left the British government in the short term having to fall back on the Anglo-American relationship, in the longer run the same uncertainties and insecurities about Britain’s international position that had prompted the application in the first place could only be reinforced by its failure. Finally, British domestic politics also contributed to the crisis of interdependence. The death of Hugh Gaitskell in January 1963 removed from the scene an opposition leader whose standing was high in Washington. His

Conclusion 225

replacement by Harold Wilson underlined uncertainties about the future course of Anglo-American relations. Not only that, but from the end of December 1962 onwards even the British weather seemed to have joined a conspiracy to sap national morale. As Macmillan put it in a letter to his close friend Viscountess Waverley on 28 January 1963: I do not remember going through a worse time since Suez. Ever since Christmas it has been terrible: the weather and the ensuing problems at home – power, coal, gas etc; General de Gaulle and Brussels; unemployment; the attack on the Nassau agreement; and of course all the work incidental to the death of poor Gaitskell.13 If defence, Europe, Cuba, the Congo, the Middle East and domestic politics all contributed to the interlocking crisis of interdependence of the winter of 1962–3, the picture presented of the state of Anglo-American relations at this juncture still has to qualified in certain respects. In the fields of nuclear testing, the Far East and Berlin, Anglo-American relations by this stage had passed their crisis points. Over nuclear testing, the crisis point was in fact the winter of 1961–2 and the negotiations in the wake of the Bermuda Conference over the resumption of US atmospheric tests on British territory at Christmas Island. By the winter of 1962–3, although the outlook on tests was bleak, Macmillan still clung to hopes of being able to persuade Kennedy to take a major new disarmament initiative in the spring. Over Laos, the crisis point had been March to April 1961 when the British government had come close to being dragged into war in South East Asia on US coat-tails. Although the Geneva agreement of June 1962 was already showing signs of considerable strain by the winter of 1962–3, Anglo-American differences were of a less pressing nature than they had been two years earlier. Finally, on Berlin, the tensions of the early months of the Kennedy Presidency had largely been resolved, both by the Administration’s change of tack in the summer of 1961, and by the building of the Berlin Wall. During the Cuban crisis of October 1962 both Macmillan and Kennedy agreed that they would not countenance any attempt by Khrushchev to trade Cuba for Berlin. Still, if not every crisis and issue surveyed in this study falls neatly into the pattern of a crisis of interdependence in the winter of 1962–3 it is nevertheless clear that the problems in Anglo-American relations at this point were much more wide-ranging than a straightforward focus on Skybolt might suggest. Indeed, viewed in isolation, the vehemence of British reactions over Skybolt and, even more, the earlier storm over the Hawk missile sale might seem out of proportion. Without the erosion of trust on the British side mirrored in Macmillan’s comments to Lord Home, that ‘the Americans have deceived us all through’ and ‘how can we have any confidence again in anything they say to us’, these crises cannot properly

226 Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War

be understood.14 This erosion of trust, caused by differences of perception, was at the heart of the winter 1962–3 crisis of interdependence. While it is clear from this study that concepts of national interest remained the most important of the range of factors that informed the perceptions of policy-makers in London and Washington during this period, it should be equally clear that interest in isolation provides an incomplete explanation of Anglo-American relations. This observation holds as much truth for the principal protagonists on whose role this work has focused. Neither Harold Macmillan nor John F. Kennedy can satisfactorily be fixed in a formulated phrase, although Anthony Sampson’s description of Macmillan as ‘a study in ambiguity’ would be the closest one could come to a pithy summing up of the character and motivations of both men. While their personal relationship could do nothing to prevent the AngloAmerican crisis of interdependence of the winter of 1962–3, it did at least serve to mask and mitigate some of its immediate effects. Despite the dominant refrain of scepticism this study has struck in respect of the pursuit of Anglo-American interdependence during the Kennedy era, the Macmillan–Kennedy record was certainly not completely barren of achievement. Indeed, in view of their final success in securing the signing of the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, we may still indulge their shades by acknowledging a grain of truth in the terms of Jack’s farewell message to Mac: ‘I believe that the world is a little more safe and the future of freedom more hopeful than when we began …’15

Notes Chapter 1


1. Evans, H., Downing Street Diaries: The Macmillan Years, 1957–1963 (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1981), pp.144–5; Macmillan, H., Pointing the Way, 1959–1961 (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1972), p. 335. In his diary, Macmillan noted that the president had spoken of a two-hour flight, but he had forgotten the long detour necessary to avoid Cuban airspace (HMD, 26 March 1961, dep.d.41, p. 99). 2. Caccia to F.O., 24 March 1961, telegram no.765, PREM11/3280. 3. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 145. 4. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, 1959–1961, p. 335. 5. See for example his diary description of his visit to Washington in April 1962 (HMD, 27 April 1962, dep.d.45, pp. 116–17), and his comments in a letter to Rab Butler: ‘I look forward to hearing about Washington. It is always a strange world – but I suppose it is now odder than ever.’ (13 February 1964, G42/3, RABP.) 6. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, pp. 335–6. 7. Record of a discussion at the US Naval Base at Key West, Florida, at 12.10pm on Sunday, 26 March 1961, PREM11/3280. 8. Ormsby-Gore’s sister, Katie, was married to Macmillan’s son Maurice, so there was also a family tie to complement the two men’s friendship. 9. This was a contemporary satirical revue. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, p. 28–9, JFKL; Bruce to Rusk, 28 October 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 10/22/62–10/28/62, Box 173, NSF, JFKL. 10. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, p. 28–9, JFKL. 11. HMD, 26 March 1961, dep.d.41, p. 101. 12. For the British record see: ‘Record of a discussion at the US Naval Base at Key West, Florida’, 12.10pm, Sunday, 26 March 1961, PREM11/3280. For the US record see Memcon, Key West, Florida, 26 March 1961, Folder UK General 3/1/61–5/15/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL. 13. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 336; Horne, A., Macmillan, 1957–1986 (London: Macmillan, 1989), p. 292; HMD, 26 March 1961, dep.d.41, p. 101. 14. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 336. 15. Record of a discussion at the US Naval Base at Key West, Florida, 12.10pm, Sunday, 26 March 1961, p. 5, PREM11/3280; Memcon, Key West, Florida, 26 March 1961, Folder UK General 3/1/61–5/15/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL. 16. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 145. 17. Stevenson, C., A., The End of Nowhere: American Policy Toward Laos Since 1954 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972), p. 147. 18. Memcon, Key West, Florida, 26 March 1961, Folder UK General 3/1/61–5/15/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL. 19. According to the American record (Memcon, Key West, Florida, 26 March 1961, Folder UK General 3/1/61–5/15/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL), neither side could agree to the other side’s text, although a copy of Macmillan’s draft is to be found in US archives (Prime Minister’s Record, undated, Folder UK Security 227

228 Notes


21. 22. 23. 24.

25. 26. 27. 28.

29. 30.


3/21/61–4/30/61, Box 127A, POF, JFKL). Instead, Macmillan handed Kennedy a copy of the message he intended to forward to Home and Butler. Macmillan’s memoirs, by contrast, suggest that the president accepted his record of the talks with some minor amendments, as well as the copy of his intended message to Home and Butler (Pointing the Way, p. 338). The official British record (Record of a discussion at the US Naval Base at Key West, Florida, at 12.10pm on Sunday, 26 March 1961, p. 5, PREM11/3280) follows the same lines. No doubt this lack of clarity was part of the reason for the problems that ensued in respect of Anglo-American planning. The only text to result from the Key West meeting about which there is no dispute was Macmillan’s message to Home. Note by the Prime Minister, undated, PREM11/3280; Bowles to Rusk, 27 March 1961, Conference Files 1949–72, Folder CF1826 – SEATO meeting, Bangkok, 3/27–29/61 SECTO-TOSEC File (folder 1 of 2), Box 243, USNA. Stevenson (The End of Nowhere, p. 147) argues that the agreement contained ‘calculated ambiguity; the British would help, if necessary, but that was not seen as very likely’. Kennedy to Rusk, 27 March 1961, Foreign Relations of the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, p. 105. Kennedy to Rusk, 27 March 1961, Folder Laos General 3/25/61–3/31/61, Box 130, NSF, JFKL. For the impact of the Bay of Pigs on JFK’s thinking about Laos see Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, pp. 32–3, JFKL. For discussion of Anglo-American relations over Indochina up to 1954 see: Ruane, K., ‘Anthony Eden, British Diplomacy and the Origins of the Geneva Conference, 1954’, The Historical Journal, Vol. 37, No. 1, 1994, Ruane, ‘ “Containing America”: Aspects of British Foreign Policy and the Cold War in South-East Asia, 1951–54’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Vol. 7, No. 1, 1996 and Ruane, ‘Refusing to Pay the Price: British Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Victory in Vietnam, 1952–4’, English Historical Review, Vol. CX, No. 435, 1995; Warner, G., ‘The Settlement of the Indochina War’ in Young, J. W., (ed.) The Foreign Policy of Winston Churchill’s Peacetime Administration, 1951–1955 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1988); Cable, J., The Geneva Conference on Indochina (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1986). Macmillan to Butler, 26 March 1961, T.178/61, PREM11/3280. Quoted in Reynolds, D., ‘Rethinking Anglo-American Relations’, International Affairs, Vol. 65, No. 1, Winter 1988–9, p. 94. Ibid, p. 95. Reynolds, D., The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937–41: A Study in Competitive Cooperation (London: Europa, 1981); Hathaway, R. M., Ambiguous Partnership: Britain and America, 1944–1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981); Thorne, C., Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain and the War Against Japan, 1941–1945 (London: Hamish Hamilton, 1978). Danchev, A., ‘Special Pleading’ in Burk, K., and Stokes, M., The United States and the European Alliance since 1945 (Oxford: Berg, 1999), pp. 272–3. One notable exception is David Reynolds’ attempt to identify ideological ties that strengthened the bond between the two nations in the shape of the liberal political tradition. (Reynolds, ‘Rethinking Anglo-American Relations’, pp. 98–104.) Watt, D., ‘Introduction: The Anglo-American relationship’, in Louis, W. R., and Bull, H. (eds) The Special Relationship (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), p. 4.

Notes 229 32. Crossman quoted in Sampson, A., Macmillan: A Study in Ambiguity (London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1967), p. 61. 33. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 112. 34. Edmonds, R., Setting the Mould: The United States and Britain, 1945–1950 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), endnote 1, p. 319. 35. Interview with Dean Rusk, 9 February 1970, Nunnerley Papers, JFKL. 36. Macmillan to Kennedy, 18 August 1962, T.406/62, PREM11/4933. 37. Bundy to Kennedy, 19 August 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 63–4. 38. Lindsay despatch, 22 March 1937 quoted in Reynolds, ‘Rethinking AngloAmerican Relations’, p. 96. 39. Quoted in Dimbleby, D., and Reynolds, D., An Ocean Apart: The Relationship Between Britain and America in the Twentieth Century (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988), p. 138. 40. Memcons with William Tyler, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, 1 & 14 June, 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 41. For a broader attempt to analyse US Cold War alliance relations in terms of gender see Costigliola, F., ‘The Nuclear Family: Tropes of Gender and Pathology in the Western Alliance’, Diplomatic History, Vol. 21, No. 2, 1997, pp. 163–84. 42. Bundy to Kennedy, 19 August 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 63–4; Brook to Macmillan, ‘Interdependence’, 5 July 1962, PREM11/3779. 43. ‘Macmillan at six years PM’, notes by Butler, 8 January 1963, G40/7, RABP. 44. For an analysis of McNamara as the Cold War manager see Twing, S. W., Myths, Models and US Foreign Policy: The Cultural Shaping of Three Cold Warriors (London: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998), pp. 39–44, 145–85. Shapley, D., Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara (Boston: Little, Brown, 1993) offers a broader biographical account. 45. Neustadt, R. E., Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999), p. 136. 46. Gearson, J. P. S., Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, 1958–62: The Limits of Interest and Force (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), pp. 26–30; Brivati, B., Hugh Gaitskell (London: Richard Cohen Books, 1997), pp. 314–17. 47. Macmillan, H., At the End of the Day (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1973), p. 481. 48. The ‘withering away’ phrase is used by John Young to describe Churchill’s rationale for détente, but it can equally well be applied to Macmillan’s approach (Winston Churchill’s Last Campaign: Britain and the Cold War 1951–5 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pp. vi–vii). 49. See for example the description of the initial British approach to the Berlin question as ‘appeasement-minded’ in the March 1963 State Department survey of ‘Current American Attitudes toward Britain’ (Office of Atlantic Political and Economic Affairs, Alpha-Numeric Files 1948–63, Box 11, RG59 USNA). Also, Young, Winston Churchill’s Last Campaign, pp. 339–40. 50. Bruce to State, 17 July 1961, 741.00/7–1761, RG59, USNA. 51. See for example Aldous, R., ‘A Family Affair: Macmillan and the Art of Personal Diplomacy’, in Aldous, R., and Lee, S., Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996). 52. For the two most prominent sympathetic accounts of the Kennedy presidency written in the aftermath of his assassination see Schlesinger, A. M., Jr,

230 Notes

53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58. 59.

60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67.

A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967), and Sorenson, T. C., Kennedy (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1965). For Kennedy character assassinations see Hersh, S., The Dark Side of Camelot (London: HarperCollins, 1998), and Reeves, T. C., A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy (London: Arrow Books, 1992). For the ‘PT-109’ incident and its aftermath see Nigel Hamilton’s outstanding study, JFK: Reckless Youth (London: Century, 1992), pp. 559–602. William Douglas-Home, 1966 Oral History, JFKL. For a flavour of the realist case see Firestone, B. J., ‘Kennedy and the Test Ban: Presidential Leadership and Arms Control’, in Brinkley, D., and Griffiths, R. T., President Kennedy and Europe (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999), pp. 75–6. Quoted in Reeves, R., President Kennedy: Profile of Power (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 36–7. Quoted in Firestone, B. J., ‘Kennedy and the Test Ban’, p. 76. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 279. Westad, O. A., ‘The New International History of the Cold War: Three (Possible) Paradigms’, Diplomatic History, Vol. 24, No. 4, Fall 2000, pp. 552–3. Records of the Vienna debates are in Foreign Relations of the United States ( hereafter FRUS), 1961–63, Vol. V (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1998), pp. 172–97. Macmillan to Home, 9 November 1960, M.389/60, PREM11/3599; HMD, 11 November 1960, dep.c.21/1, p. 127. Among Macmillan’s private office staff, Philip de Zulueta was particularly influential in the formation of foreign policy during this period. De Zulueta to Macmillan enc. ‘A Possible Approach’, 4 November 1960, PREM11/3599. Home to Macmillan, 10 November 1960, PREM11/3599; Brook to Macmillan, 10 November 1960, ibid. Macmillan to Kennedy, 19 December 1960, T.736/60, PREM11/3326. Caccia to Macmillan, 3 January 1961, Washington telegrams nos. 19 & 20, PREM11/3326. Ibid, telegram no. 20. The two other candidates for inclusion in this list of colonial controversies are the question of the financing of the Upper Volta Dam in Ghana, which rose to prominence during the final months of 1961, and the Indonesian threat to the Federation of Malaysia, which became a significant concern at the end of the Macmillan premiership. However, as David Shields acknowledges in his discussion of the Upper Volta Dam question, the Congo crisis was undoubtedly the key concern in Anglo-American relations over Africa, next to which Ghana ranks in his estimation as ‘relatively obscure’ (The Impact of the Kennedy/Macmillan Relationship on the Making of Anglo-American Foreign Policies, 1961–1963: Five Case Studies, University of London, PhD Thesis, 1998, p. 168). With regard to the Malaysian–Indonesian confrontation, although this gained some high-level attention during the final months of Macmillan’s premiership, the topic can only satisfactorily be treated through a consideration of the whole of the period up to 1965, which goes well beyond the scope of this study. For detailed discussion see Jones, M., Conflict and Confrontation in South East Asia, 1961–1965: Britain, the United States, Indonesia and the Creation of Malaysia (Cambridge: CUP, 2002); and Subritsky, J., Confronting Sukarno: British, American, Australian and New Zealand Diplomacy in the Malaysian–Indonesian

Notes 231


69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76. 77. 78. 79.

80. 81.



84. 85. 86. 87. 88.

89. 90. 91. 92.

Confrontation, 1961–5 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). Stephen Rabe (The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999), p. 91) calls the debate over British Guiana at the Birch Grove summit of June 1963 ‘one of the most extraordinary exchanges of views during the history of the Cold War’. HMD, 17 July 1963, dep.d.49, pp. 153–4. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 3 July 1962, Fol. 591, dep.c.333, HMA. HMD, 13 November 1961, dep.d.44, p. 25. HMD, 23 December 1961, quoted in Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 147. The Concise Oxford Dictionary (Oxford: OUP, 1999), p. 748. Memcon with the President, 27 April 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Richard E. Neustadt Papers, JFKL. Britain’s total defence expenditure in 1963 stood at $5.2 billion as against $52.2 billion on the part of the United States (Kennedy, P., The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (London: Unwin Hyman, 1988), p. 384). Brief by the Ministry of Defence, ‘Anglo-American Interdependence in Military Research and Development’, 12 April 1962, P.M.(W)(62)3, CAB133/246. Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 30 January 1970, Nunnerley Papers, JFKL. Wyndham to Macmillan, 20 September 1960, PREM11/3346. For further discussion of the role of officials in British policy-making see Deighton, A., ‘British Foreign Policy-Making: the Macmillan Years’, in Kaiser, W., and Staerck, G., British Foreign Policy, 1955–64: Contracting Options (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), pp. 9–13. Dickie, J., ‘Special’ No More: Anglo-American Relations: Rhetoric and Reality (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994), pp. 105–10. May, E. R., and Zelikow, P. D., The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Cambridge, Mass: The Belnap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997), pp. 396–7. It should be noted that the Americans preferred to call the October 1957 agreement a ‘Declaration of Common Purpose’ (Greenwood, S., Britain and the Cold War, 1945–91 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), p. 149). Macmillan’s ‘Declaration of Interdependence’ title is to be found in Cabinet Conclusions, 28 October 1957, CAB128/31 Part 2. Ashton, N. J., Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser: Anglo-American Relations and Arab Nationalism, 1955–59 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), pp. 150–89. Brook to Heads of Foreign Office Departments, 25 March 1959, FO371/143671. Washington Talks: April 1961: Coordinated Action in Defence of Free World Interests, Brief by Foreign Office, 20 March 1961, CAB133/244. HMD, dep.d.49, 13 April 1963, p. 51. See for example Aldous, ‘A Family Affair’, pp. 9–36. From the summer of 1960 until the autumn of 1963, while extensive renovations took place to 10 Downing Street, Macmillan had to move his residence to Admiralty House. Kennedy to Macmillan, 6 April 1962, T.187/62, PREM11/4045. De Zulueta to Ormsby-Gore, 27 November 1962, PREM11/4460. Telephone Call, Bundy to Johnson, 14 January 1964, WH6401.14/1362, LBJL. Dickie, ‘Special’ No More, p. 111.

232 Notes 93. Macmillan’s ideas are outlined in F.O. to Washington, 24 October 1962, telegram no. 7457, PREM11/3690. Ormsby-Gore’s response is in Ormsby-Gore to Home, 24 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2667, ibid. Bundy’s account of their meeting is in Bundy to Kennedy, 24 October 1962, Folder Cuba General–Macmillan Telephone Conversations – 10/62–11/62, Box 37, NSF, JFKL. 94. Interview with McGeorge Bundy, 30 January 1970, Nunnerley Papers, JFKL. 95. See for example Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 28 January 1963, T.65/63, PREM11/4148; Ormsby-Gore to Thorneycroft, 2 February 1963, Washington telegram no. 382, PREM11/4149 96. ‘Britain through American Eyes’, 13 February 1962, PREM11/5192. 97. ‘Current American Attitudes toward Britain’, undated March 1963, Office of Atlantic Political and Economic Affairs, Alpha-Numeric Files 1948–63, Box 11, RG59, USNA. 98. For a useful broader study of relations between the United States and the Labour Party that offers some insights for the Kennedy years see Jones, P., America and the British Labour Party: The ‘Special Relationship’ at Work (London: I. B. Tauris, 1997). 99. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 171. 100. HMD, dep.d.45, 5 March 1962, p. 51. 101. HMD, dep.d.45, 8 March 1962, pp. 54–5. Philip de Zulueta also referred to ‘the makings of an unholy alliance between the Labour Party and the American administration, supported by some rather woolly thinking in Whitehall’ in a 6 March memorandum to the Prime Minister (PREM11/4043). 102. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 7 March 1962, T.99/62, PREM11/4043. 103. Murrow to Bundy, 9 March 1963, Folder UK Subjects Harold Wilson Visit 1/63–4/63, Box 175A, NSF, JFKL; Bundy to Murrow, 11 March 1963, ibid. 104. Memcon, Kennedy and Adenauer, 15 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIII, p. 127. 105. Memcon Paul H. Nitze, 19 June 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. It should be noted that Neustadt omitted the sentence about Wilson when quoting this passage in his final report to the president (‘Skybolt and Nassau: American Policy-Making and Anglo-American Relations’, 15 November 1963, pp. 70–1, Folder Richard E Neustadt, Skybolt and Nassau, Box 322, Staff Memoranda, NSF, JFKL). 106. HMD, 21 September 1963, dep.d.50, pp. 96–8. 107. Schlesinger, A. M., Jr. Robert Kennedy and His Times (London: André Deutsch Ltd, 1978), p. 702. 108. Macmillan to Eisenhower, 26 July 1963, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 7/63, Box 174, NSF, JFKL; HMD, dep.d.50, 27 July 1963, p. 17; Macmillan to Home, 14 September 1963, HMA, dep.c.352, Fol. 40. 109. HMD, dep.d.39, 26 May 1960, p. 41. 110. See for example Bruce to Bundy enc. Russell to Bruce, 7 June 1962, Folder UK General 6/1/62–6/20/62, Box 170A, NSF, JFKL. 111. See for example his diary entries for 23 & 24 October 1962, Vol. 40, David K. E. Bruce Diaries (hereafter DKEBD), Virginia Historical Society (hereafter VHS), Richmond, Virginia. 112. Memcon, ‘Committee of One Hundred Anti-Nuclear Demonstrations on December 9’, 8 December 1961, 741.00/12-861, RG59, USNA. 113. Headlines quoted in ‘ “Brain Drain” – Newspaper Comment on an Allegedly Excessive Outflow of Scientists from the UK to the US’, London to State, 10 January 1963, 741.00/1-1063, RG59, USNA.

Notes 233 114. Lewis, G., Lord Hailsham: A Life (London: Jonathan Cape, 1997), p. 187. 115. Hathaway, R. M., Great Britain and the United States: Special Relations Since World War II (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990), pp. 56–8. 116. Williams, F., The American Invasion (London: Anthony Blond, 1962), p. 11, quoted in Dimbleby and Reynolds, An Ocean Apart, p. 276. 117. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 335–6. 118. Record of a Meeting at the Chateau de Champs at 10.30am on Sunday 3 June 1962, PREM11/3775.

Chapter 2

The Laotion Crisis

1. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 312. 2. Castle, T. N., At War in the Shadow of Vietnam: US Military Aid to the Royal Lao Government, 1955–1975 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993), pp. 11–12. 3. Dommen, A. J., ‘Lao Nationalism and American Policy, 1954–9’, in Zasloff, J. J., and Unger, L., Laos: Beyond the Revolution (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1991), p. 254. 4. Laos: Annual Review for 1959, Lincoln to Lloyd, 20 January 1960, PREM11/2961. 5. Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, p. 19. 6. Toye, H., Laos: Buffer State or Battleground (London: OUP, 1968), p. 147. 7. Ibid, pp. 141–3. 8. Sorensen, Kennedy, p. 640. 9. Vientiane to F.O., 25 August 1960, telegram no. 844, PREM11/2961; F.O. to Washington, 26 August 1960, telegram no. 4015, ibid. 10. De Zulueta to Macmillan, ‘Laos’, 22 December 1960, ibid. 11. Usowski, P. S., ‘Intelligence Estimates and US Policy toward Laos, 1960–63’, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1991, pp. 371, 374; Hilsman, R., To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1967), p. 116; de Zulueta to Macmillan, ‘Laos’, 26 August 1960, PREM11/2961. 12. F.O. to Vientiane, 7 December 1960, telegram no. 1300, ibid. 13. Macmillan annotations (dated ‘23/12’) on a memo from de Zulueta, 22 December 1960, ibid. 14. HMD, 19 December 1960, dep. c.21/1, p. 145. 15. Macmillan to Eisenhower, 30 December 1960, telegram no. 6293, PREM11/3278. 16. Eisenhower to Macmillan, 31 December 1960, ibid. 17. HMD, 1 January 1961, dep. d.41, p. 25. 18. Record of a Conversation between the Secretary of State and Mr Gaitskell and Mr Denis Healey, 2 January 1961, PREM11/3278. 19. Caccia to Home, 3 January 1961, telegram no. 8, ibid. 20. Watkinson to Macmillan, enc. report by the Chiefs of Staff, ‘Developments in Laos’, 4 January 1961, ibid. 21. Stevenson, The End of Nowhere, p. 131. 22. Memorandum for the Record, 19 January 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 20–2. 23. Clifford, C., Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Anchor Books, 1992), p. 342–4. The emphasis in Robert McNamara’s version of the meeting is more on Eisenhower’s uncertainty as to the proper course of action in Laos (In

234 Notes

24. 25.

26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.

33. 34. 35. 36.

37. 38.

39. 40. 41. 42. 43.

44. 45. 46. 47.

48. 49.

Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (New York: Random House, 1995), pp. 35–7). Report Prepared by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Laos, 23 January 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 28–40. Warner, G., ‘President Kennedy and Indochina: the 1961 decisions’, International Affairs, Vol. 70, No. 4, 1994, p. 687; Memorandum from the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Nitze) to Secretary of Defense McNamara, 23 January 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 26–7. Summary Record of Meeting, 8 February 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 48–50. Caccia to Home, 9 February 1961, telegram no. 299, PREM11/3279. Caccia to Home, 9 February 1961, telegram no. 301, ibid. Caccia to Home, 9 February 1961, telegram no. 302, ibid. Home to Caccia, 10 February 1961, telegram no. 803, ibid. F.O. to Vientiane, 11 February 1961, telegram no. 446, ibid. Rostow to Kennedy, 10 March 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, p. 83. Rostow makes reference to a meeting on 9 March, the record of which is still classified (ibid, p. 80). See also Rostow, W.W., The Diffusion of Power: An Essay in Recent History (New York: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1972), pp. 266–7. Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, p. 30. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 310–11. Memorandum for the Record, 21 March 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 95–6. Cabinet meeting, South East Asia Treaty Organisation Laos, 23 March 1961, CC 16(61) and CC17(61), CAB128/35; Macmillan’s message to the president, Macmillan to Kennedy, 24 March 1961, PREM11/3280. For more detailed discussion of these operations see Ashton, Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser, pp. 165–89. Rusk to Bowles, 25 March 1961, Conference Files 1949–72, Folder CF1824 SEATO meeting, Bangkok 3/27–29/61, Substantive Miscellaneous, Box 243, RG59, USNA. Caccia to F.O., 24 March 1961, telegram no. 765, PREM11/3280. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 335. Macmillan to Home, 26 March 1961, T.176/61, PREM11/3280. Macmillan to Home, 26 March 1961, T.177/61, ibid. The minutes of the relevant Cabinet meeting (CC 18(61)) remain closed at the Public Record Office. A summary of the discussion was conveyed by Butler to Home in F.O. to Bangkok telegram no. 569, 27 March 1961, PREM11/3280. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 339. Home to F.O., 26 March 1961, Bangkok telegram no. 213, PREM11/3280. Home to Macmillan and Butler, 28 March 1961, Bangkok telegram no. 234, ibid. Bangkok to State, 27 March 1961, Conference Files 1949–72, Folder CF1826 – SEATO meeting, Bangkok, 3/27–29/61, SECTO-TOSEC file (Folder 2 of 2), Box 243, RG59, USNA. Home to Macmillan and Butler, 28 March 1961, Bangkok telegram no. 234, PREM11/3280. Samuel to Woodfield, 30 March 1961, enclosing ‘Laos and the Americans’, notes by the foreign secretary, for the prime minister’s attention, ibid.

Notes 235 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68.

69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77.

78. 79. 80.

81. 82. 83. 84.

HMD, 28 March 1961, dep. d.41, pp. 110–11. Watkinson to Macmillan, 30 March 1961, T.193A/61, PREM11/3280. Macmillan to Watkinson, 30 March 1961, T.196/61, ibid. Watkinson to Macmillan, 30 March 1961, T.195/61, ibid. Macmillan to Watkinson, 30 March 1961, T.196A/61, ibid. HMD, 30 March 1961, dep. d.41, p. 113. Lloyd to Macmillan, 31 March 1961, T.200/61, PREM11/3280. Butler to Macmillan, 1 April 1961, T.204/61, ibid. Home to Macmillan, 31 March 1961, T.201/61, ibid. Macmillan to Home, 1 April 1961, T.203/61, ibid. Thompson to State, 1 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 110–11. Memcon, 6 April 1961, ibid, p. 117; British record in PM(W)(61) 3rd Meeting, 6 April 1961, p. 5, CAB133/24. Watkinson to Macmillan, 5 April 1961, T.209/61, PREM11/3281. Memorandum by Macmillan, undated (9 April 1961), ibid. State to Laos, 14 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 129–32. The British démarche was in response to Khrushchev’s 1 April aide-mémoire. Home to Rusk, 14 April 1961, PREM11/3281. Rusk to Home, 15 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 132–4. Home to Rusk, 16 April 1961, PREM11/3281. Usowski, ‘Intelligence Estimates and US Policy toward Laos’, pp. 376–7; Beschloss, M., Kennedy versus Khrushchev: The Crisis Years, 1960–3 (New York: Faber & Faber, 1991), p. 161; Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, pp. 35–6; Schlesinger, Robert Kennedy and His Times, p. 702. Brown to State, 26 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 139–40. Memcon, 26 April 1961, ibid, pp. 142–44. Record of a conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 12.15am, 27 April 1961, PREM11/3282; Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 346. Record of a conversation between Lord Hood and Mr de Zulueta, 27 April 1961, PREM11/3282. HMD, 28 April 1961, dep. d.42, p. 11. Warner, ‘President Kennedy and Indochina: the 1961 Decisions’, pp. 690–1; Memcon, 29 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 150–4. Sorensen, Kennedy, p. 644. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, pp. 346–7. Kennedy to Rusk, 11 May 1961, Folder Laos General 5/9/61–5/13/61, Box 130, NSF, JFKL. Stevenson (The End of Nowhere, p. 153) notes that one of the reasons for the four-day delay in opening the Geneva Conference was that the Administration was ‘still trying to work out a common front with Britain and Canada’. Macmillan to Home, 14 May 1961, T.269/61, PREM11/3283. Watkinson to Macmillan, 25 May 1961, ibid; Caccia to Home, 25 May 1961, Washington telegram no. 1304, ibid. Watkinson to Macmillan, 30 May 1961, ibid. For the terms of reference see Caccia to F.O., 28 May 1961, Washington telegram no. 1322, ibid; and Mountbatten to Watkinson, ‘Contingency Planning for Laos’, 30 May 1961, ibid. Rostow to Kennedy, 17 August 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, p. 373. For discussions of the Laotian problem at Vienna see ibid, pp. 225–36. Macmillan to Home, 5 July 1961, M.220/61, PREM11/3739. HMD, 8 July 1961, dep. d.42, p. 107.

236 Notes 85. MacDonald to F.O., 25 September 1961, Geneva telegram no. 656, PREM11/3739. Harriman repeated his opinions of Phoumi in a telegram to the president, 26 June 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 431–3. 86. MacDonald to F.O., 25 September 1961, Geneva telegram no. 656, PREM11/3739. 87. HMD, 15 September 1961, dep. d.43, p. 64. 88. Quoted in Hilsman, To Move a Nation, p. 136. 89. Hall, D. K., ‘The Laos Crisis of 1961–1962: Coercive Diplomacy for Minimal Objectives’, in George, A. L., and Simons, W. E., The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy (2nd edn., Boulder: Westview Press, 1994), pp. 101–2. 90. Instructions approved by President Kennedy, 28 February 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 640–1. 91. Vientiane to State, 25 March 1962, ibid, pp. 667–8. 92. Memcon, 28 April 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 706–8; Record of a Meeting held at the White House, 28 April 1962, p. 16, PREM11/3648. 93. There is some controversy about what actually took place at Nam Tha. For a range of different opinions see Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, p. 45; Stevenson, The End of Nowhere, p. 174; Toye, Laos: Buffer State or Battleground, pp. 182, 196; Hilsman, To Move a Nation, p. 141; Dommen, A. J., Conflict in Laos: The Politics of Neutralization (London: Pall Mall Press Ltd, 1964), pp. 217–18. 94. Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, pp. 396–7; Memorandum for the Record, 10 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 734–5. The somewhat chaotic decision-making process in Washington during the period 10–12 May 1962 is described in Peltz, S. E., ‘ “When Do I Have Time to Think?” John F. Kennedy, Roger Hilsman, and the Laotian Crisis of 1962’, Diplomatic History, Vol. 3, No. 2, Spring 1979, pp. 215–29. For Hilsman’s own account see To Move a Nation, pp. 143–6. 95. Hilsman to Harriman, ‘Three-Phase Contingency Plan for Laos’, 12 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, p. 749. 96. Ormsby-Gore to Home, 18 May 1962, Washington telegram no. 1409, PREM11/3740. 97. Macmillan to Home, 24 May 1962, M.144/62, ibid. 98. Ormsby-Gore to Stephenson, 25 May 1962, Washington telegram no. 1469, ibid. McCone himself told the president he was disturbed by the report, although he believed it to be largely based on gossip (Memorandum of Discussion, 26 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, p. 796). 99. Forrestal to Bundy, 31 May 1962, Folder Laos General 5/26/62–5/31/62, Box 131, NSF, JFKL. 100. Home to Macmillan, 29 May 1962, PM/62/75, PREM11/3740. 101. Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, p. 396; Memorandum of Discussion with Former President Eisenhower, 13 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 760–1. 102. Forrestal to Kennedy, 14 May 1962, ibid, pp. 767–9; Sorensen, Kennedy, p. 647. 103. Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, p. 45; Memcon, Congressional Leaders, 15 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XXIV, pp. 770–4. 104. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 242. 105. Darby, P., British Defence Policy East of Suez, 1947–1968 (London: OUP, 1973), pp. 228–30. 106. Schlesinger argues that the agreement in fact ‘never went into effect’. (A Thousand Days, p. 453). See also Hall, ‘The Laos Crisis of 1961–1962’, pp. 103–5.

Notes 237 107. US covert operations are outlined in a memorandum prepared on the instructions of Dean Rusk whose disingenuous purpose was to detail US activities which ‘raise questions of consistency with the Geneva Agreements’. (Memorandum, ‘United States Operations in Laos and the Geneva Agreements’, 22 April 1963, Folder Laos General 4/22/63–4/30/63, Box 132, NSF, JFKL.) See also Usowski, ‘Intelligence Estimates and US Policy toward Laos’, pp. 386–7; Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, pp. 47–61; Stevenson, The End of Nowhere, pp. 183–7. 108. Dommen, Conflict in Laos, p. 244. 109. Quoted in Castle, At War in the Shadow of Vietnam, pp. 56–7. 110. Sorensen, Kennedy, p. 648. 111. Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, p. 337. 112. Warner, ‘President Kennedy and Indochina: the 1961 Decisions’, p. 700.

Chapter 3 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6. 7.




11. 12. 13. 14.

The Berlin Crisis

Quoted in Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, pp. 808–9. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 312. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History Interview, JFKL. Gearson, J. P. S., Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, 1958–62: The Limits of Interest and Force (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan 1998), p. 185; and ‘British Policy and the Berlin Wall Crisis, 1958–61’, Contemporary Record, Vol. 6, No. 1, Summer 1992, p. 160. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 312. Macmillan to Kennedy, 28 August 1961, Folder UK Security 5/61–9/61, Box 127A, POF, JFKL. London to State, 28 August 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, Background Data, Drafts and Extra Copies 6/1/61–9/7/61, Box 173A, NSF, JFKL. For a very different interpretation of Anglo-American relations over Berlin see Trachtenberg, M., A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945–1963 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999), pp. 263–7. Lawrence Freedman, by contrast, agrees that Kennedy was inclined to the British view over Berlin (Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (Oxford: OUP, 2000), p. 61). Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, pp. 119–20; Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, pp. 21–3; Lee, S., ‘Pragmatism versus Principle? Macmillan and Germany’, in Aldous, R., and Lee, S., Harold Macmillan: Aspects of a Political Life (Basingstoke: Macmillan, – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), p. 113. Schild, G., ‘The Berlin Crisis’, in White, M. J., (ed.), Kennedy: The New Frontier Revisited (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), pp. 94–5. Aldous, ‘A Family Affair’, in Aldous and Lee, Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role, pp. 18–19; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, pp. 120–1. Comments by Frank Roberts in Gearson, ‘British Policy and the Berlin Wall Crisis’, p. 139. Comments by Sir Bernard Ledwidge in Gearson, ‘British Policy and the Berlin Wall Crisis’, p. 134. Keeble, C., ‘Macmillan and the Soviet Union’, in Aldous and Lee, Harold Macmillan: Aspects of a Political Life, p. 210.

238 Notes 15. Aldous, ‘A Family Affair’, in Aldous and Lee, Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role, pp. 24–5. 16. Tusa, A., The Last Division: Berlin and the Wall (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), p. 225. 17. Tusa, The Last Division, p. 231; Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 168. 18. Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 168. 19. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 353; Tusa, The Last Division, p. 232. 20. Douglas Brinkley suggests that Kennedy actually drafted Acheson in ‘to reassure Macmillan of his strong commitment to Europe’, and that ‘Kennedy’s strategy backfired.’ (Brinkley, D., Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953–71 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992), p. 125.) However, Kennedy was too sharp a political operator to have been unaware of the likely effect of Acheson’s firebrand views on Macmillan. A memorandum from Henry Kissinger, passed to the president by McGeorge Bundy, titled ‘Prime Minister Macmillan’s Visit and the German Problem’, stressed that, during Macmillan’s visit, the opportunity should be taken to ‘deal with one of the weaknesses in the Western reaction to the last Berlin crisis …’ (Memorandum for the President, 29 March 1961, Folder United Kingdom Security, 3/27/61–4/30/61, Box 127a, POF, Countries, JFKL). The use of Acheson as a sort of diplomatic battering-ram was also suggested by Bundy as a means of opening up the question of the British independent deterrent and NATO’s nuclear posture. (Memorandum for the President, 4 April 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Briefing Book 4/4/61–4/9/61, 3/22/61–4/5/61, Box 174A, NSF, JFKL.) 21. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 354. 22. The President’s Meetings with Prime Minister Macmillan, 5 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIV, pp. 36–40. 23. Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 88; Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace, p. 264. 24. The President’s Meetings with Prime Minister Macmillan, 5 April 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIV, p. 38. 25. Ibid, p. 44. 26. Home to Caccia, 19 April 1961, telegram no. 2540, PREM11/3347. 27. Home to Macmillan, 19 April 1961, PM/61/44, ibid. 28. Caccia to Home, 22 April 1961, Washington telegram no. 1045, ibid. 29. Macmillan to Caccia, 24 April 1961, T.237/61, PREM11/3316. 30. Memorandum of Conversation, Vienna, 4 June 1961, 10.15am, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIV, p. 89; Tusa, The Last Division, p. 241. 31. Memorandum of Conversation, Vienna, 4 June 1961, 3.15pm, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIV, p. 98; Schlesinger, A Thousand Days , p. 348. 32. Reeves, President Kennedy, pp. 172–3. 33. HMD, 11 June 1961, dep.d.42, p. 69. 34. HMD, 11 June 1961, dep.d.42, p. 70. The record referred to also survives in Kennedy’s own files as ‘Notes of Points made during the Private Discussion between President Kennedy and Prime Minister Macmillan at Admiralty House from 10.30am–12.45pm on Monday June 5 1961’, Folder United Kingdom Security, 5/61–9/61, Box 127a, POF, Countries, JFKL. 35. Memcon, Vienna, 4 June 1961, 3.15pm, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIV, p. 97. For further comments to the same effect see Memcon, Vienna, 4 June, 1961, 10.15pm, ibid, pp. 91, 94. 36. Ibid, p. 91.

Notes 239 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62.

63. 64. 65.

66. 67.


Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, pp. 350–1. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 304. HMD, 2 June 1961, dep.d.42, p. 58. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 359. Ibid. HMD, 11 June 1961, dep.d.42, p. 69. Brandon, H., Special Relationship (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1989), p. 160. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 357. Dean Rusk offers a very different perspective on the fate of the State Department draft in his memoirs (Rusk, D., As I Saw It: A Secretary of State’s Memoirs (London: I. B. Tauris & Co., 1991), p. 194). Brinkley, Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953–71, pp. 137–9. Ibid, pp. 140–2; Trachtenberg, M., History and Strategy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), p. 218. Tusa, The Last Division, p. 252. Macmillan to Watkinson, 5 July 1961, M.219/61, Fol.155, dep.c.351, HMA. Home to Macmillan, 14 June 1961, T.335/61, PREM11/3347. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 389. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 310. HMD, 8 July 1961, dep.d.42, p. 107. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, pp. 390–1. Macmillan to Bishop, enc. draft minute to the Foreign Secretary, 24 June 1961, M.200/61, PREM11/3348. Macmillan to Bishop, 24 June 1961, M.207/61, ibid. Draft minute from the prime minister to the foreign secretary, Macmillan to Bishop, 24 June 1961, M.200/61, ibid. Ibid. Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 180. Tusa, The Last Division, p. 252. DKEBD, 21 July 1961, Vol. 37, VHS. Schild, ‘The Berlin Crisis’, p. 110. None of Acheson’s reports to the president suggested the possibility that Khrushchev might wall in West Berlin (Brinkley, Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, p. 150). A 17 July memorandum by Rusk, defining US interests in the ‘German-Berlin problem’ only in terms of security, viability and access to West Berlin, together with the security of the Federal Republic, is typical of how the question was conceived in Washington at this point. (‘Outline on Germany and Berlin’, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIV, p. 207–9.) Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 391. Home to Macmillan, 6 August 1961, T.456/61, PREM11/3349. Schlesinger confirms that in the early part of August Kennedy tried to set a diplomatic offensive in motion (A Thousand Days, pp. 365–6). Rusk himself evidently sought the holding of ‘exploratory talks’ to see if there was a basis for negotiations (Rusk, As I Saw It, p. 194). Home to Macmillan, 6 August 1961, T.456/61, PREM11/3349. Schlesinger saw himself as part of a ‘White House group’ that included Henry Kissinger, Abram Chayes, Carl Kaysen, Ted Sorensen, and McGeorge Bundy who worked successfully during July and August to counter the Acheson hardline approach (A Thousand Days, pp. 359–64). ‘Rusk’, he argues, ‘was circumspect, and no one quite knew where he stood’ (p. 357). Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, pp. 311–12.

240 Notes 69. Tusa, The Last Division, p. 257. 70. Kennedy evidently mentioned the possibility in an aside to Walt Rostow during early August (Reeves, President Kennedy, p. 208). However, there are discrepancies in the various versions of what he actually said. There was no discussion of this contingency at the Western Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Paris on 5 August (Tusa, The Last Division, p. 262). 71. Zubok, V., and Pleshakov, C., Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1996), p. 253; Tusa, The Last Division, p. 261. 72. Ibid, p. 267. 73. Comments by Sir Bernard Ledwidge in Gearson, ‘British Policy and the Berlin Crisis, 1958–61’, pp. 160–1. 74. Rusk (As I Saw It, p. 195) claims that he actually heard of the closure while at the match. The timings make it probable that he had heard the news earlier, and then chosen to attend the game afterwards (Reeves, President Kennedy, pp. 210–11). 75. Brinkley, Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, p. 149. 76. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 392. 77. Macmillan to Ava Viscountess Waverley, 19 August 1961, Fol. 99, MS Eng. C.4778, Bodleian Library, Oxford. 78. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 393. 79. Reeves, President Kennedy, pp. 214–18. 80. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 393. 81. Home to Rusk, telegram no. 5664, 19 August 1961, PREM11/3349. See also Thorpe, D. R., Alec Douglas-Home (London: Sinclair-Stevenson, 1996), pp. 226–8. 82. Tusa, The Last Division, p. 305. 83. Reeves, President Kennedy, pp. 216–17. 84. Trachtenberg, History and Strategy, pp. 226–7; Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 188. 85. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 398. 86. HMD, 3 October 1961, dep.d.43, p. 98. 87. HMD, 8 October 1961, dep.d.43, p. 100. 88. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 403. 89. Tusa, The Last Division, pp. 330–1. 90. Berlin to F.O., 2 November 1961, telegram no. 543, PREM11/3612. 91. Macmillan to Home, 4 November 1961, M.346/61, ibid. 92. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 8 November 1961, ibid. 93. Tusa, The Last Division, pp. 334–6. 94. Reeves, President Kennedy, p. 249. 95. Schild, ‘The Berlin Crisis’, p. 118. 96. Reeves, President Kennedy, p. 251. 97. Gearson, Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, p. 193. 98. Memorandum for the President, ‘Your Conversation with Macmillan’, 9 November 1961, Folder United Kingdom General 6/61–12/61, Box 127, POF, JFKL. 99. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 28 November 1961, T.660/61, PREM11/3338; Kennedy to Macmillan, 22 November 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 9/26/61–12/24/61, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. See also Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace, pp. 328–43. 100. Macmillan to Kennedy, 27 November 1961, T.655/61, PREM11/3338.

Notes 241 101. Macmillan to Kennedy, 22 October 1962, T.492/62, PREM11/3689. 102. Macmillan to Home, 29 October 1962, M.298/62, PREM11/3691. 103. For a very different view see Trachtenberg, A Constructed Peace, p. 325.

Chapter 4

The Castro Question and the Cuban Missile Crisis

1. May, E. R., and Zelikow, P. D., The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Cambridge, Mass: The Belnap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997), p. 17; Rusk, As I Saw It, p. 205. On the British side, see for example Macmillan’s diary entry, 22 October 1962, dep.d.46, p. 69. 2. In a July 1960 telegram to Eisenhower Macmillan himself had drawn this parallel, describing Castro as ‘your Nasser’ (quoted in Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 298). 3. Fursenko, A., and Naftali, T., One Hell of Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958–1964 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997), pp. 10–11; Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, p. 96. 4. Brinkley, D., Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, pp. 154–5. 5. Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, p. 95. 6. Rabe, S., Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anticommunism (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988), pp. 124–5. 7. Ibid, p. 129. 8. HMD, 17 June 1960, dep.d.39, p. 69. 9. Fursenko and Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble, pp. 65–9. 10. Ibid, p. 83; Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, pp. 101–2. 11. Grose, P., Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles (London: André Deutsch Ltd, 1995), p. 516. 12. Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, p. 114. 13. Ibid, pp. 375–6; Andrew, C., For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (London: HarperCollins, 1995), pp. 275–6. 14. Ormsby-Gore to Kennedy, 18 May 1961, Folder UK General, 1/61–5/61, Box 127, POF, JFKL. 15. Quoted in Rabe, Eisenhower and Latin America, p. 173. 16. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 296. 17. Ibid, p. 300. 18. Editorial Note, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. X, p. 191. 19. Thorpe, Alec Douglas-Home, p. 232. A State Department telegram, dated 1 June 1961, asking Ambassador Bruce whether he had yet had the opportunity to discuss Mayaguana Island with the foreign secretary, suggests that the original instructions were probably sent out in May 1961. (State to London, telegram no. 5622, 1 June 1961, Folder UK General 5/26/61–6/10/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL.) 20. London to State, 26 September 1961, telegram no. 1225, Folder UK General 9/16/61–9/30/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL. Len Scott (Macmillan, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis [Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999], p. 27) believes that a final decision was taken by the government in early October. It appears to have been along the lines of Heath’s comments. 21. Hershberg, J. G., ‘Their Men in Havana: Anglo-American Intelligence Exchanges and the Cuban Crises, 1961–62’, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 15, No. 2, Summer 2000, pp. 122–3.

242 Notes 22. London to State, 17 August 1961, Folder British Guiana General 5/19/61–8/23/61, Box 14a, NSF, JFKL; London to State, 7 September 1961, Folder British Guiana General 9/7/61–9/28/61, Ibid. 23. Record of a Conversation held in the State Department, 11am, 6 April 1961, PREM11/3666. There is a brief account of this meeting in Battle to Bundy, 19 May 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, pp. 517–8. See also Fraser, C., ‘The “New Frontier” of Empire in the Caribbean: The Transfer of Power in British Guiana, 1961–1964’, The International History Review, Vol. 22, No. 3, September 2000, pp. 585–6. 24. Rusk to Home, 11 August 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, p. 520. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area in the World, pp. 83–4, argues that the Administration still tried to influence public opinion in the colony against Jagan despite British objections. 25. Home to Rusk, 18 August 1961, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, pp. 521–2. 26. Schlesinger to Kennedy, 30 August 1961, ibid, pp. 524–5; Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area of the World, p. 86. 27. London to State, 7 September 1961, Folder British Guiana General 9/7/61–9/28/61, Box 14a, NSF, JFKL; London to State 13 September 1961, ibid; London to State, 27 September 1961, ibid. See also Fraser, ‘The “New Frontier” in British Guiana’, pp. 591–3. 28. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, pp. 665–8. Records of Jagan’s discussions in Washington are in FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, pp. 536–40. 29. Rusk to Bruce, 4 September 1961, Ibid, pp. 528–9; 5 September 1961, Ibid, p. 530; Record of a Meeting held at the White House, 5.15pm, Saturday 28 April 1962, CAB133/246. A presumably identical summary of the conclusions of this meeting has been withheld from the transcripts of the Washington talks in PREM11/3648. 30. Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area of the World, pp. 88–9. 31. Rusk to Home, 19 February 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, pp. 544–5; also PREM11/3666. 32. Macmillan to Home, 21 February 1962, M.51/62, PREM11/3666. 33. Stevenson to Rusk, 26 February 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, pp. 545–6. 34. DKEBD, 1 March 1962, Vol. 39, VHS. 35. Schlesinger to Bruce, 27 February 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, p. 549. 36. Shepherd, R., Iain Macleod (London: Hutchinson, 1994), p. 239. 37. DKEBD, 27 February 1962, Vol. 39, VHS. 38. Home to Rusk, 26 February 1962, PREM11/3666; FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, pp. 546–8. 39. Record of a Conversation between the Secretary of State and Mr Rusk in Geneva, 12 March 1962, PREM11/3666. 40. Rusk to State, 13 March 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, p. 553. See also Fraser, ‘The “New Frontier” in British Guiana’, p. 599. 41. Schlesinger to Kennedy, 8 March 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XII, p. 548. 42. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 23 March 1962, PREM11/3666. 43. Fraser to Home, 20 March 1962, Ibid. 44. Fraser to Kennedy, 4 April 1962, Folder UK General 1/62–6/62, Box 127, POF, JFKL. 45. Macmillan to Brook, 3 May 1962, M.112/62, PREM11/3666. 46. Bundy to Kennedy, 13 July 1962, Folder British Guiana General, 6/62–12/62, Box 15, NSF, JFKL.

Notes 243 47. Shepherd, Iain Macleod, p. 239; Rabe, The Most Dangerous Area of the World, pp. 90–5. 48. Record of a Conversation after Dinner at 1 Carlton Gardens, 24 June 1962, PREM11/3689. 49. Home to Macmillan, D.3.53pm, 1 October 1962, PREM11/3689; Hershberg, ‘Their Men in Havana’, p. 155. 50. HMD, 3 October 1962, dep.d.47, pp. 39–41. 51. Macmillan to Home, 1 October 1962, PREM11/3689. 52. Brugioni, D. A., Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Random House, 1991), pp. 152, 162. 53. Ormsby-Gore to F.O., D.6.27pm, 20 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2623, PREM11/3689. 54. Scott (Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cuban Missile Crisis, pp. 35–6) argues that earlier differences with the British were a factor in Kennedy’s decision not to consult London on how to respond to the initial discovery of the missiles. 55. Interpretation of the photos was facilitated by information on Soviet missile types and technology provided in the months leading up to the crisis by the Soviet agent, Colonel Oleg Penkovsky. Since Penkovsky was jointly handled by MI6 and the CIA his role can also be seen as an example of successful AngloAmerican intelligence cooperation. Schecter, J. L., and Deriabin, P. S. (The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992)) provide an account of the Penkovsky saga which somewhat sensationalises his role. Scott, L., ‘Espionage and the Cold War: Oleg Penkovsky and the Cuban Missile Crisis’, Intelligence and National Security, Vol. 14, No. 3, Autumn 1999, p. 23–47 is a more balanced recent assessment of his significance. 56. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, pp. 71–2, 202. 57. There is some debate as to when Ormsby-Gore (and Macmillan himself) first heard of the impending crisis. According to David Nunnerley (President Kennedy and Britain (London: Bodley Head, 1972), p. 77–8), the information was passed to Ormsby-Gore on the morning of Friday 19 October by two British intelligence experts (Sir Hugh Stephenson, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and Major-General Sir Kenneth Strong, Director of the Joint Intelligence Bureau) who were coincidentally in Washington at the time. Scott (Macmillan, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, pp. 40–1) asserts that the British intelligence officers had been formally briefed by the CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence, Ray Cline, on Friday 19 October. Dickie, ‘Special’ No More, pp. 105–10, goes rather further, arguing that the briefing took place on Tuesday 16 October, and that, after informing Ormsby-Gore, Strong flew back to London on the first available plane, briefing Macmillan himself on 17 October. For Ormsby-Gore’s own recollection quoted here see Lord Harlech, Oral History, p. 15, JFKL. 58. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, D.7.13pm, 21 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2630, PREM11/3689; Kennedy to Macmillan, 21 October 1962, T.488/62, Ibid. 59. The president was not alone. Subsequent commentators have struggled to come to a balanced assessment of the prime minister’s views. Macmillan’s advocacy of both ‘hawkish’ and ‘dovish’ opinions means that he does not fit well into the neat typography of reactions to the crisis established by Blight, Nye and Welch, although his diffidence about blockade means that the one

244 Notes

60. 61. 62. 63. 64.

65. 66. 67. 68. 69.

70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.


77. 78. 79. 80. 81.

thing he certainly could not be called is ‘owlish’ as they define the term. (Blight, J. G., Nye, J. S., and Welch, D. A., ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited’, Foreign Affairs, 1986, Vol. 66, No. 1, p. 173.) Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, D.9.42pm, 22 October 1962, telegram no. 7395, PREM11/3689. HMD, 22 October 1962, dep.d.47, p. 69. HMD, 22 October 1962, dep.d.47, p. 70. Record of a Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy at 12.30am on Tuesday, 23 October 1962, PREM11/3689. The Hitler analogy was evidently in Home’s mind as he worked with Macmillan on his 22 October reply to Kennedy’s letter (Thorpe, Alec DouglasHome, p. 239). HMD, 22 October 1962, dep.d.47, p. 69. De Zulueta to Ormsby-Gore, 23 October 1962, PREM11/3689. Macmillan to Kennedy, D.9.35pm, 22 October 1962, T.492/62, PREM11/3689. Record of a Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy at 12.30am on Tuesday, 23 October 1962, PREM11/3689. HMD, 22 October 1962, dep.d.47, pp. 69–70. The Lord Chancellor, Lord Dilhorne, also argued that the blockade was illegal, although the Foreign Office, at Home’s instigation, avoided issuing any statement to this effect (Thorpe, Alec Douglas-Home, pp. 241–2). The US Administration was aware of the legal problems of the resort to blockade, as is witnessed by the selection of the term ‘quarantine’ to describe its actions (Rusk, As I Saw It, p. 205; Brinkley, Dean Acheson, p. 160–1). Macmillan to Home, 26 October 1962, M.295/62, Fol. 380, dep.c.351, HMA. Macmillan to Kennedy, D.9.35pm, 22 October 1962, T.492/62, PREM11/3689. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, pp. 366–7; Record of a meeting held at Admiralty House at 5pm, on Tuesday, 23 October 1962, PREM11/3689. HMD, 22 October 1962, dep.d.47, p. 71. Memo by Butler, 23 October 1962, G38 31, RABP. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 365. Rusk (As I Saw It, p. 208) describes the British as ‘somewhat sceptical until they saw the aerial photographs’. Brugioni, Eyeball to Eyeball, pp. 328–30 offers a tendentious account of Macmillan’s reaction. Beschloss, Kennedy v. Khrushchev, p. 494, offers what now seems to be an inaccurate version of this sequence of events as does Brugioni, Eyeball to Eyeball, pp. 389–90. Ormsby-Gore’s claim to have been involved in the decisionmaking process over the release of the photos on the evening of Tuesday 23 October is dubious in view of the fact that they had already been released in London (Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, p. 16, JFKL; Scott, Macmillan, Kennedy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis, pp. 116–20). For the ExComm discussions see May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, pp. 340–1. For David Bruce’s account see DKEBD, 25 October 1962, Vol. 42, VHS. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, D.6.09pm, 23 October 1962, T.500/62, PREM11/3689. Minutes of the 507th Meeting of the National Security Council, 3 pm 22 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XI, p. 152. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, pp. 268–9. Rusk, As I Saw It, p. 206. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 692.

Notes 245 82. For Ormsby-Gore’s discussions with the Kennedys see his reports in OrmsbyGore to Macmillan, 24 October 1962, Washington telegram nos. 2662 & 2664, PREM11/3690; and Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, pp. 16–17, JFKL. Len Scott argues that Ormsby-Gore’s proposal ‘made no difference to the quarantine, as Khrushchev decided to avoid a conflict at sea’ (Scott, Macmillan, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, p. 116). But, irrespective of this, it was still an indication of the influence over the president wielded by the ambassador. 83. Macmillan’s ideas are outlined in F.O. to Washington, 24 October 1962, telegram no. 7457, PREM11/3690. Ormsby-Gore’s response is in Ormsby-Gore to Home, 24 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2667, Ibid. Bundy’s account of their meeting is in Bundy to Kennedy, 24 October 1962, Folder Cuba General–Macmillan Telephone Conversations–10/62–11/62, Box 37, NSF, JFKL. 84. ‘Record of Telephone Message between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy’, 24 October 1962, PREM11/3690. 85. For further discussion of the role of the Committee of One Hundred and CND see Taylor, R., Against the Bomb: the British Peace Movement, 1958–1965 (Oxford: OUP, 1988), pp. 88–91. 86. DKEBD, 23 and 24 October 1962, Vol. 42, VHS. 87. Macmillan to Kennedy, 25 October 1962, PREM11/3690. 88. Record of a Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy at 11.00pm, 25 October 1962, PREM11/3690. 89. Ormsby-Gore to Home, 26 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2691, ibid. 90. State to USUN, 5.16pm, 26 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XI, pp. 232–4. 91. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, pp. 467–8. 92. May and Zelikow, ibid, pp. 480–4 provide the fullest transcript of this conversation by combining the available British and American records, both of which are by themselves incomplete. The American record can be found in FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XI, pp. 244–8, while the British record is in PREM11/3690. 93. For example, Minutes of the 505th meeting of the National Security Council, 20 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XI, pp. 134–6. 94. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 482. 95. ‘Message to President Kennedy from Prime Minister Macmillan Teleprinted to Washington’, 27 October 1962, T.513/62, PREM11/3690. The message is also reproduced in May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, pp. 484–5, who note that, due to the time difference between London and Washington, it actually arrived late on the evening of 26 October 1962. 96. Finletter to Rusk, 25 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XI, pp. 213–15. 97. Moscow to State, 7pm, 26 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VI, p. 176. 98. Lebow, N. L., and Stein, J. G., We All Lost the Cold War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), pp. 131–2; Zubok and Pleshakov, Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War, pp. 266–7; May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 485. 99. Scott, Macmillan, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, pp. 162–3; May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 496. 100. Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold War, pp. 132–5; Fursenko and Naftali, One Hell of a Gamble, p. 279; May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 499. 101. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 499. 102. Ibid, p. 513. 103. HMD, 28 October 1962, dep.d.47, pp. 84–5. 104. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 568–9.

246 Notes 105. State to Moscow, 8.05pm, 27 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VI, pp. 181–2. 106. Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold War, pp. 121–9; Dobrynin, A., In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York: Times Books, 1995), pp. 86–91; May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, pp. 605–6. 107. A further complication in establishing the sequence of events is provided by the fact that the clocks were turned back one hour during the night of 27–28 October in Washington from Daylight Saving Time to Eastern Standard Time. 108. Ormsby-Gore to Home, D.10.26pm, 27 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2701, PREM11/3691. 109. The text of this message, referred to in a personal telegram from Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 27 October 1962, T.517/62, PREM11/3691, does not appear to be available in either British or American archives. 110. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 27 October 1962, T.517/62 & T.518/62, PREM11/3691. 111. ‘Summary Record of a Conversation’, 1.30am, 28 October 1962, Ibid; Memorandum by Bundy, 27 October 1962, Folder UK General 10/15/62–1/12/62, Box 170A, NSF, JFKL; May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 609. 112. Memorandum by Bundy, 27 October 1962, Folder UK General 10/15/62–1/12/62, Box 170A, NSF, JFKL ; ‘Telephone Conversation Between Mr Bundy and Mr de Zulueta’, 4am Sunday 28 October, PREM11/3691. 113. Evans, Downing Street Diary, pp. 225–6. 114. F.O. to Moscow, 28 October 1962, telegram no. 2758, PREM11/3691. 115. Macmillan to Kennedy, 28 October 1962, FO371/162388. 116. Boyle, P., ‘The British Government’s View of the Cuban Missile Crisis’, Contemporary Record, Vol. 10, No. 3, Autumn 1996, p. 31. 117. The text of Kennedy’s message is in State to Moscow, 5.03pm, 28 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VI, p. 187–8. 118. Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold War, p. 143. 119. Bruce to Rusk, 28 October 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, 10/22/62–10/28/62, Box 173, NSF, JFKL. 120. Ormsby-Gore to Home, D.3.55pm, 28 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2710, PREM11/3691. 121. Macmillan to Home, 29 October 1962, M.298/62, ibid. 122. Home to Ormsby-Gore, 29 October 1962, telegram no. 7636, ibid. 123. Ormsby-Gore to Home, 29 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2715, ibid. 124. Memcon, 6.15pm, 28 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XI, pp. 288–9. 125. Ormsby-Gore to Home, 30 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2733, PREM11/3691. 126. ‘Telephone Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy’, 11p.m., 14 November 1962, PREM11/4695. 127. ‘Record of a Conversation between President Kennedy and the Prime Minister’, 10.55 pm, 15 November 1962, PREM11/4695. 128. Macmillan to Kennedy, 28 October 1962, T.524/62, PREM11/3691. 129. Kennedy to Macmillan, 28 October 1962, ibid. 130. Bruce to Rusk, 28 October 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, 10/22/62–10/28/62, Box 173, NSF, JFKL. 131. It should be noted that Macmillan made tape recordings of all of his phone conversations with the president, which were later played back to create an accurate record. Confirmation of this comes from Macmillan’s own diary

Notes 247

132. 133. 134. 135. 136.

137. 138.

139. 140.

(HMD, 24 October 1962, dep.d.47, p. 76) and from the Butler papers (Memo by Butler, 18 November 1962, G38 29, RABP: ‘[de] Zulueta brought in the tape record saying “the Americans have won”’). According to a letter to the author from the Cabinet Office Historical and Records Section (19 July 1999) it is not known what has subsequently become of these tapes. However, they have evidently been heard by one historian (Thorpe, Alec Douglas-Home, p. 239), suggesting that they do survive, possibly in private papers. De Zulueta to Bundy, 1 November 1962, PREM11/4460. The Times, 27 November 1962. De Zulueta to Ormsby-Gore, 27 November 1962, PREM11/4460; Thorpe, Alec Douglas-Home, p. 239. Williams to Bligh and de Zulueta, 18 July 1962, PREM11/4460. May and Zelikow, The Kennedy Tapes, p. 692, judge Macmillan alongside Ormsby-Gore to have become ‘de facto members of Kennedy’s Executive Committee’. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 23 February 1962, PREM11/4460. Nunnerley, President Kennedy and Britain, pp. 83–4; Gary Rawnsley, ‘How Special is Special? The Anglo-American Alliance During the Cuban Missile Crisis’, Contemporary Record, Vol. 9, No. 3, Winter 1995, p. 599. Memo by Butler, 18 November 1962, G38. 29, RABP. Bruce to Rusk, 28 October 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, 10/22/62–10/28/62, Box 173, NSF, JFKL.

Chapter 5

The Middle East

1. For a fuller version of this thesis see Ashton, Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser. 2. Gerges, F. A., ‘The Kennedy Administration and the Egyptian–Saudi Conflict in Yemen: Co-opting Arab Nationalism’, Middle East Journal, 49/2, Spring 1995, 292–311. 3. Little, D., ‘The New Frontier on the Nile: JFK, Nasser, and Arab Nationalism’, Journal of American History, 75/2, September 1988, 501–27. 4. Ben-Zvi, A., Decade of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Origins of the American-Israeli Alliance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998), pp. 131–2, sees much continuity in the regional policies pursued by the two Administrations. 5. Alani, M., Operation Vantage: British Military Intervention in Kuwait 1961 (London, LAAM, 1990), pp. 72–3. 6. For a fuller discussion see Ashton, N., ‘Britain and the Kuwaiti Crisis, 1961’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Vol. 9, No. 1, March 1998, pp. 163–81. 7. Home to Macmillan, 3 October 1961, PREM11/3430. 8. Dann, U., King Hussein and the Challenge of Arab Radicalism: Jordan, 1955–1967 (Oxford: OUP, 1989), p. 118; F. O. to Amman, 4 October 1961, FO371/158790. 9. Memorandum for McGeorge Bundy, ‘Tentative Analysis of the Situation in Syria as of 30 September, 1961’, 783. 00/9–3061, RG59, USNA. 10. Gerges, ‘Co-Opting Arab Nationalism’, p. 293. 11. Bidwell, R., The Two Yemens (London: Longman, 1983), pp. 128–9. 12. Halliday, F., Arabia Without Sultans (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books Ltd, 1974), pp. 101–5; O’Ballance, E., The War in the Yemen (London: Faber and Faber, 1971), pp. 66–70, 84–5; Gandy, C., ‘A Mission to Yemen: August 1962–January

248 Notes

13. 14. 15.

16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.


1963’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2, 1998, pp. 250–1; Trevaskis, K., Shades of Amber: A South Arabian Episode (London: Hutchinson, 1968), p. 183; Stookey, R. W., Yemen: The Politics of the Yemen Arab Republic (Boulder: Westview Press, 1978), p. 231. Stookey, Yemen, pp. 231–2. Halliday, Arabia Without Sultans, pp. 106–8, argues that there was also an economic motive. Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen’, pp. 254–5; O’Ballance, The War in the Yemen, pp. 86–9. Johnston, C. H., The View From Steamer Point: Being an Account of Three Years in Aden (London: Collins, 1964), pp. 124–9; Balfour-Paul, G., The End of Empire in the Middle East: Britain’s Relinquishment of Power in Her Last Three Arab Dependencies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 78–9. Sandys to Johnston, 4 October 1962, PREM11/3877. Macmillan to Thorneycroft, 6 October 1962, PREM11/3877. Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen’, pp. 263–4; Trevaskis, Shades of Amber, pp. 186–7. Little, ‘The New Frontier on the Nile’, p. 505. Ibid. Ben-Zvi, Decade of Transition, pp. 101–3. Little, ‘The New Frontier on the Nile’, p. 510. Ashton, Eisenhower, Macmillan, and the Problem of Nasser, pp. 111–12. Talbot-Rusk, ‘Yemen Situation and its Implications, Action Program’, 9 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XVIII, pp. 172–3; and footnote, ibid, p. 179. Ormsby-Gore to F. O., 11 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2549, PREM11/3877. Komer to Talbot, 12 October 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XVIII, pp. 177–8. Ormsby-Gore to F. O., 13 October 1962, Washington telegram no. 2562, PREM11/3877. HMD, 19 October 1962, dep. d. 47, p. 62. For this somewhat murky episode, see Taiz to State, telegram no. 139, 741. 56/10–1862; Aden to State, telegram no. 63, 741. 56/10–1962; and State to Taiz, telegram no. 168, 741.56/10–1862, RG59, USNA. Note for the record by Bligh, undated, PREM11/3877. Home to Macmillan, 25 October 1962, PM/62/139, PREM11/3877; de Zulueta to Macmillan, 26 October 1962, ibid. Cabinet minutes, 26 October 1962, ‘The Yemen’, CAB130/189. Sandys to Macmillan, 10 November 1962, PREM11/3878; Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen’, p. 267; O’Ballance, The War in the Yemen, p. 89. Johnston to Sandys, 13 November 1962, telegram no. 1076, PREM11/3878. Johnston to Sandys, 13 November 1962, telegram no. 1077, PREM11/3878. Ibid, annotation by Macmillan; Macmillan to Kennedy,15 November, T. 555/62, ibid. Rusk to Kennedy, 12 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XVIII, pp. 218–20. See footnotes, ibid, p. 223; Macmillan to Kennedy, 14 November 1962, T553/62, PREM11/3878. Telephone Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 11.00pm, 14 November 1962, PREM11/4695; Record of a Conversation between President Kennedy and the Prime Minister, 10.55pm, 15 November 1962, PREM11/3878; footnote 1, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, p. 223. Macmillan to Kennedy, 16 November 1962, T. 562/62, PREM11/3878; Macmillan to Kennedy, 17 November 1962, T. 567/62, ibid; Kennedy to Macmillan, 15 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 223–4.

Notes 249 41. HMD, 17 November 1962, dep. d. 47, p. 107. 42. Saudi Arabia to State, 19 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 229–236. Jordan’s support for the royalists remained ‘total and consistent’ throughout the crisis (Susser, A., On Both Banks of the Jordan: A Political Biography of Wasfi al-Tall (London: Frank Cass, 1994), p. 57). 43. Komer to Kennedy, 28 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 238–9. 44. Ormsby-Gore to F. O., 19 November 1962, telegram no. 2897, PREM11/4356; Ormsby-Gore to F. O., 23 November 1962, telegram no. 2942, ibid. 45. F. O. to Washington, 24 November 1962, telegram no. 8600, ibid. 46. HMD 26 November 1962, dep. d. 47, p. 112. 47. Macmillan to Home, 4 December 1962, M. 327/62, PREM11/4356. 48. The texts of the agreed YAR and UAR statements were incorporated in State to Cairo, 14 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 265–7. 49. Rusk to Kennedy, 17 December 1962, ibid, pp. 267–8. 50. Memorandum by Macmillan, ‘United Kingdom recognition of the Yemen regime’, 12 December 1962, PREM11/4356. 51. Johnston to C. O., 29 December 1962, telegram no. 1322, PREM11/4356; Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen’, pp. 270–1. 52. Gandy to F. O., 30 December 1962, telegram no. 336, PREM11/4356; Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen’, pp. 259–60. 53. Kennedy to Macmillan, 26 January 1963, T. 50/63, PREM11/4357; FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 324–5. 54. Macmillan to Kennedy, 27 January 1963, PREM11/4357. 55. Kennedy to Macmillan, 31 January 1963, ibid. 56. GEN776, 3rd Meeting, 3.45pm, 5 February 1963, CAB130/189. Gandy’s own account reveals that he had been well enough immediately after his return from Yemen to air his views on recognition in a meeting with Harold Caccia and Lord Home on 20 January, of which Macmillan was appraised (Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen, pp. 271–2). This makes the prime minister’s use of Gandy’s subsequent illness in his communications with Kennedy look even more like a delaying tactic. 57. Perhaps in a bid to influence the outcome of the debate, Gandy also kept the US Embassy in London informed about the discussions over recognition. (London to State, telegram no. 3030, 8 February 1963, USNA, POL 16 Yemen RG59, USNA. ) 58. State to Cairo, 31 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 288–9. Charles Johnston argues that this same period witnessed the triumph of ‘realism’ over ‘anti-colonial prejudice’ in the form of a US acknowledgement that, despite differences over Yemen, the security of the Aden base would be treated as a matter of joint Anglo-American concern. (Johnston, The View From Steamer Point, pp. 161–2.) 59. Bundy to Taylor, 11 January 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 303–4. 60. Memorandum by Komer, 28 January 1963, ibid, pp. 329–30. 61. Little, ‘JFK, Nasser and Arab Nationalism’, pp. 518–19. 62. Komer to Bundy, 7 February 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 338–9. 63. Memorandum by the Foreign Secretary, ‘The Yemen’, OP(63)3, 11 February 1963, CAB134/2371. 64. Memorandum by the Colonial Secretary, ‘The Yemen’, 12 February 1963, OP(63)4, CAB134/2371; Gandy, ‘A Mission to Yemen’, pp. 265–6; Halliday, Arabia Without Sultans, pp. 188–9.

250 Notes 65. State to London, 9 February 1963, telegram no. 4259, POL 16 Yemen, RG59 USNA. Report of Embassy discussions with Assistant Under-Secretary Crawford, London to State, 11 February 1963, telegram no. 3080, ibid. 66. Trend to Macmillan, ‘The Yemen’, 13 February 1963, PREM11/4357. For Trevaskis’s version of the reasons why London decided against recognition at this point see Shades of Amber, p. 186. 67. State to London, 12 February 1963, telegram no. 4299, POL 16 Yemen, RG59, USNA; London to State, 13 February 1963, telegram no. 3113, ibid. 68. OP(63) 1st Meeting, 4.15pm, 13 February 1963, CAB134/2371; Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 275–6. 69. Macmillan to Kennedy, 14 February 1963, T. 96/63, PREM11/4357. There was little surprise in Washington at the British decision in view of the ultimatum from Sallal. Robert Komer still expressed the view that ‘the UK will end up … exacerbating the very threat to Aden it would like to damp down’. (Komer to Kennedy, 14 February 1963, Folder 8, ‘Yemen, Security’, Box 128a, POF, JFKL.) 70. Macmillan’s annotation, Beeley to Home, 25 February 1963, PREM11/4173. 71. HMD, 11 March 1963, dep. d. 48, p. 108. 72. Presidential Meeting on Yemen, 25 February 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, p. 363. 73. Komer to Kennedy, 21 February 1963, ibid p. 352. 74. Ormsby-Gore to Home, 27 February 1963, PREM11/4357. 75. NSAM no. 227, 27 February 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 366–7. 76. Presidential meeting on Yemen, 25 February 1963, ibid, pp. 363–6; Little, ‘JFK, Nasser, and Arab Nationalism’, p. 520. 77. Dhahran to State, 7 March 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 401–2; Bunker to State, 8 March 1963, ibid, pp. 403–5; O’Ballance, The War in the Yemen, pp. 100–1. 78. Hilsman to Rusk, 8 March 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, p. 406. 79. Komer to Kennedy, 11 March 1963, ibid, pp. 416–17. 80. State to Saudi Arabia, 14 March 1963, ibid, pp. 427–8. 81. Bunker to State, 19 March 1963, ibid, pp. 429–32. 82. London to State, 16 March 1963, airgram no. 2159, POL 16 Yemen, RG59, USNA. 83. Kennedy to Nasser, 18 April 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 468–70. 84. Telephone Conversation, Ball to McNamara, 27 April 1963, ibid, p. 483. 85. Meeting with the President on the Situation in Jordan, 27 April 1963, ibid, pp. 484–6. 86. Footnote 1, ibid, p. 487; editorial note, ibid, p. 523. 87. Kennedy was forced to devote some attention to the increasing domestic criticism of his Arab policy during early May 1963 (see, for example, Daily White House Staff Meeting, 1 May 1963, ibid, pp. 505–6; Grant to Rusk, 11 May 1963, ibid, pp. 526–7). 88. Editorial Note, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 581–3; Komer to Kennedy, 2 July 1963, ibid, pp. 621–2. 89. London to State, 16 August 1963, telegram no. 802, POL 16 Yemen, RG59, USNA; editorial note, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 649–50. 90. Home to Rusk, 17 September 1963, telegram no. 9214, PREM11/4928. 91. Johnston, The View From Steamer Point, p. 170; Trevaskis, Shades of Amber, p. 193. Balfour-Paul (The End of Empire in the Middle East, p. 80) describes Trevaskis as an ‘indefatigable federalist’, while for Gandy he was the formidable

Notes 251

92. 93. 94. 95.

driving force behind Johnston’s mistaken policies, the ‘arch Jacobite’ (‘A Mission to Yemen’, pp. 262, 266). Aden: Valedictory Reflections of Sir Charles Hepburn Johnston, 16 July 1963, PREM11/4936. Macmillan to Johnston, 2 September 1963, PREM11/4936. Komer to Kennedy, 20 September 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 710–13. Little, ‘JFK, Nasser, and Arab Nationalism’, pp. 524–5; Bundy to Fulbright, 11 November 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 775–6; Ben-Zvi, Decade of Transition, p. 133.

Chapter 6

The Congo Crisis

1. James, A., Britain and the Congo Crisis, 1960–3 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), pp. 184–95. 2. Hoskyns, C., The Congo Since Independence: January 1960–December 1961 (London: OUP, 1965), p. 14. 3. Ibid, p. 12. The figures quoted by Jean Stengers (‘Precipitous Decolonization: The Case of the Belgian Congo’, in Gifford, P., and Louis, W. R., The Transfer of Power in Africa: Decolonization, 1940–1960 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982), p. 311) are slightly different: 6 Congolese as against ‘more than 4500 Europeans’. 4. This discussion of Congolese nationalism is based on Hoskyns, The Congo Since Independence, pp. 21–31. 5. Ibid, p. 83. 6. Higgins, R., United Nations Peacekeeping, 1946–1967: Documents and Commentary: III Africa (Oxford: OUP, 1980), p. 15. 7. Hansard, Vol. 626, Col. 1603, cited in Hoskyns, The Congo Since Independence, p. 119. 8. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 13 July 1960, PREM11/2883. 9. Turner, J., Macmillan (London: Longman, 1994), p. 185; Shepherd, Iain Macleod, pp. 211, 216–17, 222–4. 10. Darwin, J., Britain and Decolonisation: The Retreat from Empire in the Post-War World (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1988), pp. 274–6. 11. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis p. 31; Scott to Lloyd, 7 July 1960, PREM11/2883. 12. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, p. x. 13. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 511; Noer, T. J., ‘New Frontiers and Old Priorities in Africa’, in Paterson, T. G., Kennedy’s Quest for Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961–1963 (Oxford: OUP, 1989), p. 256. 14. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, p. 168. 15. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 531–2 notes that Ball did defend the Administration’s Congo policy publicly, while entertaining ‘moments of wariness and reservation’ in private. 16. Noer, ‘New Frontiers and Old Priorities in Africa’, p. 259. 17. HMD, 27 November 1962, dep. d.47, p. 114. 18. Noer, ‘New Frontiers and Old Priorities in Africa’, p. 259, sees this constraint on Administration policy as operating rather differently. 19. Ibid, p. 263.

252 Notes 20. 21. 22. 23.

24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32.


34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46.

47. 48. 49. 50.

James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, p. 63. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 431. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, p. 62. Caccia to F.O., 15 February 1961, PREM11/3189; State to London, 15 February 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 65; Home to Caccia, 17 February 1961, PREM11/3189. F.O. to Washington, 13 July 1961, PREM11/3190; Williams to Rusk, 15 July 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 160–1. Noer, ‘New Frontiers and Old Priorities in Africa’, pp. 263–4. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 442. State to Brussels, 16 September 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 221. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, pp. 140–1. Notes by Knox Cunningham, Foreign Affairs Committee, 15 November 1961, Fol.18, dep. c.354, HMA. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, pp. 142–3. Ibid, p. 144. Although there was discontent in evidence at the meeting of the Conservative Party Foreign Affairs Committee on 13 December, Macmillan’s fears seem to have been disproportionate. Knox Cunningham reported to him that ‘I think apart from a small group those present will support the Government.’ (Notes by Knox Cunningham, Fol.3, dep. c.354, HMA.) Record of a Telephone Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 7.08pm, 13 December 1961, PREM11/3193. The American record is in FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 310–11. Dean to Home, 13 December 1961, PREM11/3193. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History Interview, JFKL; Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 14 December 1961 PREM11/3193; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 402. Mahoney, R. D., JFK: Ordeal in Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), pp. 117–18. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 455. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, p. 38, JFKL; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 403. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 15 December 1961, T.702/61, PREM11/3627 Macmillan to PUS, 15 December 1961, M.389/61, PREM11/3627. Record of a Meeting at Government House, Bermuda, 3.40pm, 21 December 1961, p. 10, PREM11/3782. Record of a Meeting at Government House, Bermuda, 12.05pm, 22 December 1961, p. 20, ibid. Footnote 2, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 339. There is no detailed account of the discussions on the Congo at Bermuda in US records. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 404. Record of Meeting held at the White House, 3.30pm, 28 April 1962, pp. 23–4, PREM11/3648. The American record of the same meeting has Kennedy asking directly ‘what contribution could Rhodesia make, what are the pressure points on Tshombe?’ (Memcon, 3.30pm, 28 April 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 430–2.) Record of Meeting held at the White House, 3.30pm, 28 April 1962, pp. 23–4, PREM11/3648. Kennedy to Bruce, 14 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 449–50. Bruce to State, 16 May 1962, ibid, pp. 452–3. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, p. 181.

Notes 253 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

56. 57. 58. 59. 60.

61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68.

69. 70.

71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76. 77. 78.


Bruce to State, 16 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 452–3. Dundee to Home, 17 May 1962, PREM11/3628. Macmillan to Home, 17 May 1962, ibid. State to Congo, 19 May 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 460. Bundy to de Zulueta, 23 May 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 4/5/62–6/19/62, Miscellaneous and Extra Copies, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. Conversation between the Foreign Secretary and the United States Ambassador, 24 May 1962, PREM11/3629. Bruce to State, 25 May 1962, Folder Congo Cables, 5/25/62–5/29/62, Box 30 NSF, JFKL. Macmillan to Kennedy, 25 May 1962, T.272/62, PREM11/3629. Kennedy to Macmillan, 2 June 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 473. Bruce had earlier cabled Washington noting that ‘I imagine [the] British government has rather thorough knowledge of [the] maneuvers, capabilities and intentions of Union Minière and Tanganyika concessions, but will not, as we desire, bring governmental pressures officially to bear on [the] conduct of operations of those companies.’ Bruce to State, 31 May 1962, Folder Congo Cables 5/30/62–5/31/62, Box 30, NSF, JFKL. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 2 June 1962, PREM11/3629. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 25 May 1962, ibid. Conversation at Rambouillet, 16 December 1962, PREM11/3630. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 22 June 1962, PREM11/3629. Ball to Kennedy, 3 August 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 530. Ibid, p. 528. Macmillan to de Zulueta, 9 August 1962, Fol.377, dep. c.353, HMA. Ambassador Bruce had earlier observed that British policy in the Congo was based on the unspoken belief that they are ‘much more experienced and fitted to handle African native problems than ourselves’. (Bruce to State, 31 May 1962, Folder Congo Cables 5/30/62–5/31/62, Box 30, NSF, JFKL.) Home to Rusk, 10 August 1962, PREM11/3629. Lefever, Ernest W., Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action (Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 1965), pp. 118–19, sees this as the main factor determining the British position. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, pp. 184–6. HMD, 27 November 1962, dep. d.47, pp. 114–15. Meeting with the President, 14 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 734–7. Cleveland to Ball, 16 December 1962, ibid, pp. 737–43; Memorandum by Sorensen, 17 December 1962, ibid, pp. 749–50; editorial note, ibid, pp. 750–2. State to Brussels, 19 December 1962, Conference Files, 1949–72, Folder CF2210 Kennedy–Macmillan Nassau Meeting December 19–20 1962, Substantive Telegrams, Box 306, RG59, USNA; Manning to McGhee, 18 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, p. 755. Memorandum for the Record, 20 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 768–9. DKEBD, 19 December 1962, Vol. 42, VHS. Memcon, 6pm, 19 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX. (hereafter ‘US record’), p. 762. The British record is in PREM11/3630 (hereafter ‘British record’). US record, p. 762.

254 Notes 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85.

Ibid; British record, p. 3. US record, p. 764. Memcon, noon, 21 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XX, pp. 774–6. DKEBD, 31 December 1962, Vol. 42, VHS. James, Britain and the Congo Crisis, p. 191. Noer, ‘New Frontiers and Old Priorities in Africa’, pp. 268–9 (in common with Stephen R. Weissman, American Foreign Policy in the Congo, 1960–1964 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974), pp. 192–3) argues that Kennedy’s policy had been one of indecision. However, this interpretation does not sit too easily with the evidence of presidential activism on the issue in the second half of December 1962. 86. State to Dar es Salaam etc, 14 January 1963, Folder Congo Cables 1/11/63–11/20/63, Box 34, NSF, JFKL.

Chapter 7

The EEC Application

1. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 22. 2. Quoted in Young, J. W., Britain and European Unity, 1945–1992 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1993), p. 52. See also Ellison, J., Threatening Europe: Britain and the Creation of the European Community, 1955–58 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), pp. 97–103. 3. For more detail see Ellison, Threatening Europe, pp. 37–63. 4. Macmillan, Riding the Storm, p. 435. 5. Moravcsik, A., The Choice For Europe: Social Purpose and State Power From Messina to Maastricht (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998), pp. 128–9. 6. Ludlow, N. P., Dealing with Britain: The Six and the First UK Application to the EEC (Cambridge: CUP, 1997), p. 26. 7. Ellison, Threatening Europe, pp. 153–220 provides a detailed study of this process. 8. Griffiths, R. T., ‘A slow one hundred and eighty degree turn: British policy towards the Common Market, 1955–60’, in Wilkes, G., Britain’s Failure to Enter the European Community, 1961–63: The Enlargement Negotiations and Crises in European, Atlantic and Commonwealth Relations (London: Frank Cass, 1997), pp. 39–40. 9. De Gaulle, C., Mémoires de Guerre (Paris: 1959) quoted in Moravcsik, The Choice For Europe, p. 178. 10. Gordon, P. H., A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and the Gaullist Legacy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), p. 8; Newhouse, J., De Gaulle and the Anglo-Saxons (London: André Deutsch, 1970), pp. 44–6. 11. Memorandum for the President by Arthur Schlesinger Jr, ‘Mendès-France on De Gaulle’, 23 May 1961, Folder France General 5/19/61–5/29/61, Box 70, NSF, JFKL. Moravcsik, The Choice For Europe, pp. 178–9, argues by contrast that de Gaulle understood that Britain and France were natural allies on most geopolitical matters. 12. Bange, O., The EEC Crisis of 1963: Kennedy, Macmillan de Gaulle and Adenauer in Conflict (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), p. 22; Gerbet, P., ‘The Fouchet negotiations for political union and the British application’, in Wilkes, Britain’s Failure to Enter the European Community, 1961–63, p. 135. 13. Horne, A., Macmillan, 1894–1956 (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1988), pp. 167–8; 179–90.

Notes 255 14. Horne, Macmillan, 1894–1956, p. 187. See also Charmley, J., ‘Harold Macmillan and the Making of the French Committee of Liberation’, The International History Review, Vol. IV, No. 4, 1982, pp. 565–6. 15. Macmillan, H., The Blast of War, 1939–1945 (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1967), pp. 345–6. 16. Aldous, ‘A Family Affair’ in Aldous and Lee, Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role, pp. 23–5. 17. Macmillan to Lloyd, 24 May 1960, FO371/152128. 18. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 231. 19. Quoted in Charlton, M., The Price of Victory (London: BBC, 1983), p. 237. 20. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 231. 21. Tratt, J., The Macmillan Government and Europe: A Study in the Process of Policy Development (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), p. 191. 22. Lee had been appointed Joint Permanent Secretary at the Treasury at the start of the year. 23. Tratt, The Macmillan Government and Europe, pp. 95–101. 24. Ibid, p. 199. 25. Moravcsik, The Choice For Europe, pp. 164–76. 26. Bange, The EEC Crisis of 1963, pp. 13–16. 27. Kaiser, W., Using Europe, Abusing the Europeans: Britain and European Integration, 1945–63 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), p. 108. 28. Ibid, pp. 130, 135. 29. See also Young, Britain and European Unity, 1945–1992, p. 71. 30. In his diary entry for 1 December 1960 Macmillan expressed doubts as to whether the Americans would honour the Skybolt deal (HMD, dep.c.21/1, p. 135). 31. Sampson, Macmillan: A Study in Ambiguity, p. 139. 32. Macmillan to Bligh, 16 September 1960, PREM11/3334. 33. Record of a Conversation between President de Gaulle and the Prime Minister in the Marble Room at Rambouillet at 2.30pm on Saturday 28 January 1961, PREM11/3322. 34. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 34–6. 35. Memorandum for the President by McGeorge Bundy, 4 April 1961, ‘Points we hope to communicate in Macmillan meetings’, Folder UK Security 3/27/61–4/30/61, Box 127a, POF, JFKL. 36. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 36–7. 37. It is worth noting, as pointed out by John Campbell (Edward Heath: A Biography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1993), pp. 113–15), that the Heath of early 1961 did not possess the same depth of devotion to the European cause that he came to exhibit in later years. ‘It was the job that consolidated his European faith, rather than his faith that recommended him for the job.’ 38. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, p. 38. 39. As Hugo Young puts it, Gaitskell ‘did not seem to have a secure anchorage’ on the EEC issue (This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), p. 160). 40. Record of a meeting held at the White House on Wednesday 5 April 1961 at 11.00am, PM(W)(61) 1st Meeting, CAB133/244. 41. Memcon, 6 April 1961, Office of Atlantic Political and Economic Affairs, Records Relating to Negotiations for Membership in the EEC, 1961–62, Box 1, RG59, USNA.

256 Notes 42. Record of a meeting held at the White House on Wednesday 5 April 1961 at 11.00am, PM(W)(61) 1st Meeting, CAB133/244. 43. Thomas W. Zeiler (‘Meeting the European Challenge: The Common Market and Trade Policy’, in White, Kennedy: The New Frontier Revisited, pp. 136–7) adds a third group, the Atlanticists and internationalists who included Christian Herter, Clarence Streit, and William Clayton. They disapproved of trade blocs and sought an Atlantic common market. However, this strand of opinion seems to have been by far the least influential in shaping the Administration’s policy and may be discounted for the purpose of this analysis. 44. Winand, P., Eisenhower, Kennedy and the United States of Europe (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1993), p. 144, 147. Ball was promoted in December 1961 to the rank of Under-Secretary of State. 45. Ball, G., The Past Has Another Pattern: Memoirs (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982), p. 74. 46. Ibid, p. ix. 47. Ibid, p. 210. 48. Macmillan to de Zulueta, 14 May 1961, Fol.245, dep.c.353, HMA. 49. Winand, Eisenhower, Kennedy and the United States of Europe, p. 144. 50. Memcon, 16 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIII, p. 1090. 51. This analysis draws on Winand, Eisenhower, Kennedy and the United States of Europe, pp. 140–60, but presents a different interpretation. 52. Memcon with the president, 27 April 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Richard E. Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 53. See McNamara’s comments, memcon, 16 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIII, pp. 1088–91. 54. Memcon with the president, 27 April 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Richard E. Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 55. Macmillan to Kennedy, 28 April 1961, T.247/61, PREM11/3328. 56. Kennedy to Macmillan, 8 May 1961, T.261/A61, PREM11/3311. 57. Memcon with the British Ambassador, 12 May 1961, Folder UK General 3/1/61–5/15/61, Box 170, NSF, JFKL; Caccia to Macmillan, Washington telegram no. 1234, 12 May 1961, PREM11/3316. 58. Macmillan to Kennedy, 15 May 1961, T.272/61, PREM11/3311. 59. These were the alternative courses of action suggested by de Zulueta in an 18 June 1961 memorandum to the prime minister, PREM11/3337. 60. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 18 June 1961, PREM11/3337. 61. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 39–40. 62. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 21–2. 63. Dutton, D., ‘Anticipating Maastricht: The Conservative Party and Britain’s First Application to Join the European Community’, Contemporary Record, Vol. 7, No. 3, Winter 1993, p. 524. 64. Heath, E., The Course of My Life: My Autobiography (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1998), p. 211. 65. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 27. 66. Ludlow, N., P, ‘Le Paradoxe Anglais: Britain and Political Union’, Revue d’Allemagne et des Pays de langue allemande, Vol. 29, No. 2, April–June 1997, pp. 259–60. 67. Footnote 2, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIII, p. 31. 68. NSAM No.76, 21 August 1961, Kennedy to Ball, ibid, p. 32. 69. Memorandum from the Under-Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Ball) to President Kennedy, 23 August 1961, ibid, p. 37.

Notes 257 70. Ball, The Past Has Another Pattern, p. 218. 71. Of course in addition to domestic and Commonwealth interests, the government was also in theory committed to defending the interests of its EFTA partners. However, by this stage EFTA does not seem to have played a significant role in Macmillan’s calculations about the EEC application. 72. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 244–5, argues that had the negotiations in Brussels been handled differently, if Macmillan had in effect placed them at centre stage, then a French veto might well have been averted. 73. Ball, The Past Has Another Pattern, pp. 217–18; Dutton, ‘Anticipating Maastricht’, pp. 525–6. 74. Heath, The Course of My Life, pp. 219–20. 75. De Gaulle had written that ‘leaders of men are remembered less for the usefulness of what they have achieved than for the sweep of their endeavours … In the concourse of great men Napoleon will always rank higher than Parmentier.’ Parmentier introduced the potato to France. Quoted in Newhouse, De Gaulle and the Anglo-Saxons, p. 3. 76. Macmillan to Ava Viscountess Waverley, 23 August 1962, Fols.23–4, MS Eng. c.4779, Bodleian Library, Oxford. 77. Dutton, ‘Anticipating Maastricht’, p. 526. 78. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 353. 79. ‘Life of the Right Hon. Harold Macmillan’, 10 September 1962, G38/27, RABP. 80. Poole to Macmillan, 28 August 1963, Fols.265–8, dep.c.355, HMA. 81. Dutton, ‘Anticipating Maastricht’, p. 527. 82. Macmillan to Ava Viscountess Waverley, 29 September 1962, Fol.27, MS Eng. c.4779, Bodleian Library, Oxford. 83. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, pp. 353–5. See also Gaitskell’s comments to George Ball, Memcon, 19 February 1962, 741.00/2-1962, RG59, USNA. 84. Young, This Blessed Plot, pp. 148–51. See also Gaitskell’s comments to George Ball, Memcon, 24 February 1962, 741.00/2-2462, RG59, USNA. 85. Brivati, Hugh Gaitskell, p. 414. 86. Brook to Macmillan, 14 October 1962, Fol.102, MS Eng.lett.C.273, Baron Normanbrook Papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford. 87. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 426. 88. Macmillan to Kennedy, 18 August 1962, T.406/62, PREM11/4933. 89. Record of a Conversation at the Chateau de Champs, at 5.50pm on Saturday 2 June 1962, PREM11/3775; Pagedas, C. A., Anglo-American Relations and the French Problem, 1960–1963: A Troubled Partnership (London: Frank Cass Publishers, 2000), p. 209. 90. Record of a Conversation at the Chateau de Champs, at 5.50pm on Saturday 2 June 1962, PREM11/3775. 91. Record of a Meeting at the Chateau de Champs at 10.30am on Sunday 3 June 1962, ibid. 92. Record of a Conversation at the Chateau de Champs at 3.15pm on Sunday 3 June 1962, ibid. 93. Pagedas, Anglo-American Relations and the French Problem, 1960–1963, p. 210; Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, p. 121. 94. The French record, translated by Piers Ludlow, and quoted in Dealing With Britain, p. 121. 95. Record of a Meeting at the Chateau de Champs at 10.30am on Sunday 3 June 1962, PREM11/3775. 96. Record of a Conversation at the Chateau de Champs, at 5.50pm on Saturday 2 June 1962, ibid.

258 Notes 97. Pagedas (Anglo-American Relation and the French Problem, 1960–1963, pp. 211–13) offers a different interpretation of these events, as does Horne (Macmillan, 1957–1986, pp. 328–30). Ludlow (Dealing With Britain, p. 122) by contrast, argues that ‘there was no significant change in the French stance as a result of the Champs meeting’. Young, Britain and European Unity, 1945–1992, p. 80, notes that ‘whatever transpired at Champs, it did not lead to any relaxation in France’s negotiating position at Brussels’. 98. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 195–7. 99. Record of a Meeting at the Chateau de Rambouillet at 10am on Sunday 16 December 1962, PREM11/4230. 100. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 354–5. 101. HMD, 1 December 1962, dep.d.47, p. 118. 102. Macmillan’s relationship with Adenauer had been an uneasy one throughout his premiership. He had earlier dubbed the Chancellor in his diary ‘half crazy’, and ‘a false and cantankerous old man’. (Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 134.) 103. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 183–7. 104. Record of a Meeting at Government House, Bermuda, on Friday 22 December 1961, at, PREM11/3782; and ‘Scope Paper prepared in the Department of State’ (Secretary’s European Trip), 11 June 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIII, p. 107. 105. Memcon, 15 November 1962, ibid, pp. 125. 106. Ibid, p. 126. 107. Ibid. 108. Ball to Kennedy, 10 December 1962, ibid, pp. 138–9; Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 193–4. 109. Bange, The EEC Crisis of 1963, pp. 158–9. 110. ‘The Prime Minister was determined that so long as he was in power, Britain would maintain her independent deterrent and he would explain to the President that if he could obtain an adequate replacement from the United States he would be content, but otherwise Britain would have to make her own system; whether submarine or aerial.’ (Record of a Conversation at Rambouillet at 3.45pm on Saturday 15 December 1962, PREM11/4230.) 111. Ibid. Horne concludes that ‘if de Gaulle misheard at Rambouillet … it was almost certainly because he wished to do so …’ (Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 431). Pagedas (Anglo-American Relations and the French Problem, 1960–1963, pp. 247–50) reads these exchanges differently. He argues that Macmillan told de Gaulle that Britain would work with France on a nuclear missile if let down by the Americans. Macmillan had again offered the ‘Common Market – nuclear force quid pro quo’. But this is nowhere explicitly stated in the British record of the Rambouillet talks. Ian Clark (Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 406) seems to strike the right note when he says that on the question of Anglo-French nuclear cooperation in exchange for EEC entry, ‘de Gaulle did not ask and Macmillan did not offer’. 112. Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 419. 113. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 30 December 1962, T.644/62, PREM11/4147. 114. In a meeting with the Foreign Secretary, Minister of Defence, Lord Privy Seal, and Ambassador to Paris the following day, Macmillan made no mention of his initiative, although the likely French reaction to the Polaris offer was one of the main topics of discussion (Record of a Meeting at Admiralty House at 6.00pm on Monday 31 December 1962, ibid).

Notes 259 115. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 2 January 1963, T.3/63, PREM11/4147. 116. Moravcsik, The Choice For Europe, pp. 192–3, argues that a causal link between Nassau and de Gaulle’s veto can be rejected outright. The basis of the General’s decision, he believes, was economic and not geopolitical. Not only that, but he had in any case announced his intentions during a Cabinet meeting on 17 December 1962, before the Nassau summit. 117. Report to the President, Skybolt and Nassau, by Richard E. Neustadt, 15 November 1963, Box 322, Staff Memoranda, NSF, JFKL (hereafter ‘Neustadt Report’), p. 112. 118. Among recent commentators there is a broad consensus, albeit for different reasons, that Nassau represented no more than the opportunity for de Gaulle’s veto. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 198–9, sees the Nassau accord as ‘no more than a pretext’ for de Gaulle’s actions. Kaiser, Using Europe, Abusing the Europeans, pp. 192–3 views the negotiations as ‘doomed to failure from the very beginning’, and regards the Nassau agreement as simply providing the ‘ideal opportunity’ for de Gaulle to break the talks off. Young, Britain and European Unity, 1945–1992, p. 84, believes that ‘Pierson Dixon’s argument, that de Gaulle had intended to deliver the veto for some time, has considerable weight’. Finally, Bange, The EEC Crisis of 1963, p. 234, stresses that the veto resulted from competing ‘grand designs’ and from de Gaulle’s ‘concept of Europe’, thus also implying that its roots were deeper-seated. 119. Paris to State, 15 January 1963, Folder France Subjects, de Gaulle Press Statement 1/14/63 Part 2, Box 73A, NSF, JFKL. 120. Ludlow, Dealing With Britain, pp. 207–8. 121. Bange, The EEC Crisis of 1963, p. 109. 122. Macmillan to Kennedy, 15 January 1963, T.24/63, PREM11/4523. 123. Telephone Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 19 January 1963, PREM11/4148. 124. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 26 January 1963, T.51/63, ibid. 125. Macmillan to Home and Thorneycroft, 31 January 1963, M.33/63, PREM11/4149. 126. Summary Record of NSC Executive Committee Meeting No. 38 (Part II), 4pm, 25 January 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. XIII, pp. 487–91; editorial note, p. 492. 127. Summary Record of NSC Executive Committee Meeting No. 39, 6pm, 31 January 1963, ibid, p. 161. 128. HMD, 4 February 1963, dep.d.48, pp. 67–8; Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 374.

Chapter 8

Interdependence and the British Nuclear Deterrent

1. Reynolds, An Ocean Apart, pp. 222–3. 2. For detailed discussion of Anglo-American nuclear relations under Eisenhower see: Melissen, J., The Struggle for Nuclear Partnership: Britain the United States and the Making of an Ambiguous Alliance, 1952–59 (Groningen: Styx, 1993). 3. For further discussion of the range of these Working Groups see Ashton, Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser, pp. 135–9. For the nuclear negotiations see Melissen, The Struggle for Nuclear Partnership, pp. 35–62, and Melissen, J., ‘The Restoration of the Nuclear Alliance: Great Britain and Atomic Negotiations with the United States, 1957–58’, Contemporary Record, Vol. 6, No. 1, 1992.

260 Notes 4. Clark, I., Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship: Britain’s Deterrent and America, 1957–1962 (Oxford: OUP, 1994), p. 3. 5. Baylis, J., Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy, 1945–1964 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995), p. 280, 286. 6. Ball, S. J., ‘Macmillan and British Defence Policy’, in Aldous, R., and Lee, S., (eds), Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), pp. 88–9. 7. Ibid, p. 87; Baylis, Ambiguity and Deterrence, p. 294. 8. Freedman, L., and Gearson, J., ‘Interdependence and Independence: Nassau and the British Nuclear Deterrent’, in Burk, K., and Stokes, M., The United States and the European Alliance since 1945 (Oxford: Berg, 1999), p. 189; Baylis, Ambiguity and Deterrence, pp. 282–3. 9. HMD, 29 March 1960, dep.d.38, p. 81. 10. Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 264–80; Baylis, Ambiguity and Deterrence, pp. 296–8; Murray, D., Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000), pp. 41–3. See also Macmillan’s later diary entry in which he described the Scottish base as being offered to the Americans ‘more or less’ in return for Skybolt (HMD, 12 June 1960, dep.d.39, p. 63). 11. Memcon with the Secretary of State, 27 August 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 12. Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 255–6; Baylis, Ambiguity and Deterrence, p. 291–3. 13. HMD, 1 December 1960, dep.c.21/1, p. 135. 14. Record of a meeting between Watkinson and Gates, 12 December 1960, MM54/60, FO371/173548. See also Evelyn Shuckburgh’s report of the meeting as conveyed to Lord Home, 13 December 1960, ibid; Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, p. 47. 15. For initial British reactions to this approach see ‘US Views of NATO Defence Policy’, memorandum by the foreign secretary and minister of defence, 1 May 1961, D(61)24, CAB131/25. 16. Home and Watkinson’s paper on ‘US Views on NATO Defence Policy’ noted that ‘the general emphasis is now on American control’, 1 May 1961, D(61)24, CAB131/25. 17. Owen to Bundy, 21 April 1961, quoted in Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 299. 18. Editorial Note, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. VIII, pp. 245–6. 19. Editorial Note, ibid, p. 282. 20. Ibid. 21. Quoted in Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 335. 22. Ormsby-Gore to F.O., 22 June 1962, Washington telegram no. 1656, PREM11/3709. 23. Macmillan to Watkinson, 24 June 1962, M.175/62, PREM11/3709. For the US–UK ‘gentleman’s agreement’ see Kennedy to Macmillan, 6 February 1961, enclosing ‘Understanding with the British on the Use of British Bases and Nuclear Weapons’, Folder UK General Macmillan Correspondence Background Drafts and Extra Copies, Box 173A, NSF, JFKL. 24. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 24 June 1962, PREM11/3709. Macmillan’s reply takes the form of a scribbled annotation. 25. Watkinson to Macmillan, 21 March 1961, Washington telegram no. 726, T.162/61, PREM11/3715. Memcon, US–UK Defense Talks, dated 27 March 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Visit 1/61–5/61, Box 175, NSF, JFKL.

Notes 261 26. Memcon, US–UK Defense Talks, dated 28 March 1961, ibid. 27. Watkinson to Macmillan, 21 March 1961, Washington telegram no. 727, PREM11/3715. 28. Watkinson to Macmillan, 21 March 1961, Washington telegram no. 728, ibid. 29. Memo by Sir Hugh Stephenson, 21 March 1962, FO371/166309. 30. ‘Interdependence with the US in Military Research and Development’, memorandum by the Minister of Defence, 12 March 1962, D(62)16, CAB131/27. 31. Watkinson to Macmillan, ‘Interdependence’, 13 February 1962, PREM11/3779. 32. Record of a Conversation in the British Embassy, Washington, 29 April 1962, PREM11/3648. 33. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 252. 34. Brief by the Ministry of Defence, ‘Anglo-American Interdependence in Military Research and Development’, 12 April 1962, P.M.(W)(62)3, CAB133/246. 35. Prime Minister’s Visit to Washington, April 27–29, 1962, Position Paper, Weapons Research and Development, 21 April 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Briefing Book, 4/27/62–4/29/62, Box 175, NSF, JFKL. 36. Record of a conversation in the British Embassy, Washington, 29 April 1962, ‘Interdependence’, p. 26, PREM11/3648; Memorandum for the President, 28 April 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, 4/5/62–6/19/62, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. 37. Kennedy to Macmillan, enc. Memorandum for the Prime Minister, 17 May 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 4/5/62–6/19/62, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. 38. Macmillan to Kennedy, 19 June 1962, FO371/166311. 39. Kennedy to Macmillan, 28 June 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, 5/23/62–10/21/62, Box 173, NSF, JFKL. 40. Brook to Macmillan, ‘Interdependence’, 5 July 1962, PREM11/3779. 41. Watkinson to Macmillan, ‘Interdependence with the United States in Military Research and Development’, 12 July 1962, ibid; Watkinson–McNamara, 10 July 1962, FO371/166312; Stephenson to Ormsby-Gore, 18 July 1962, ibid; Brook to Macmillan, 16 July 1962, PREM11/3779; Macmillan–Kennedy, 16 July 1962, FO371/166313. The connections Hawthorne developed in the Pentagon later allowed him to give early warning of the Skybolt cancellation. (Report to the President, ‘Skybolt and Nassau: American Policy-Making and Anglo-American Relations’, by Richard E. Neustadt, 15 November 1963, p. 20, Folder Richard E Neustadt, Skybolt and Nassau, Box 322, NSF, Staff Memoranda, JFKL: hereafter ‘Neustadt Report’.) 42. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 335–6. 43. D(62) 2nd Meeting, 31 January 1962, CAB131/27. 44. D(62) 6th Meeting, 13 April 1962, ibid. 45. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, pp. 20–1, JFKL. By coincidence the ambassador was with the prime minister on his holiday, but evidently could not block his vitriolic message to the president. 46. Macmillan to Kennedy, 18 August 1962, T.406/62, PREM11/4933. 47. Hood to F.O., 19 August 1962, Washington telegram no. 2048, ibid. The telegram bears the hand-written annotation ‘dictated to Bolton Abbey 19/8/62’. 48. Hood to Home, 18 August 1962, Washington telegram no. 2049, ibid. 49. Macmillan to Kennedy, 19 August 1962, T.407/62, ibid. 50. Kennedy to Macmillan, 20 August 1962, T.410/62, ibid. 51. Macmillan to Home, 5 September 1962, M.240/62, Fol.428, dep.c.351, HMA. 52. Macmillan to Home, 28 September 1962, PREM11/4933.

262 Notes 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

60. 61. 62. 63. 64.


66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71.

72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77.

Macmillan to Home, 1 October 1962, T.479/62, ibid. Macmillan to Home, 1 October 1962, T.480/62, ibid. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 20 September 1962, T.465/62, ibid. Notes of Conference, 14 August 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XVIII, pp. 54–8. Notes of Meeting, 14 August 1962, ibid, pp. 59–60. Bundy to Kennedy, 19 August 1962, ibid, pp. 63–4. The reasons for and impact of what Butler termed the ‘Massacre of Glencoe’ (Memo by Butler, 22 July 1962, G38/15, RABP) are discussed in Alderman, K., ‘Harold Macmillan’s “Night of the Long Knives”’, Contemporary Record, Vol. 6, No. 2, Autumn 1992, pp. 243–65. London to State, 31 August 1962, 741.13/8–3162, RG59, USNA. Nunnerley, President Kennedy and Britain, p. 136. Macmillan to Thorneycroft, 4 September 1962, PREM11/3779. Thorneycroft to Macmillan, ‘Visit to the United States 9th to 17th September, 1962’, 18 September 1962, ibid. Thorneycroft’s predecessor, Watkinson had quoted figures of £240 million per annum for the UK defence R&D budget and £2800 million for that of the US. (‘Interdependence with the US in Military Research and Development’, Memorandum by the Minister of Defence, 12 March 1962, D(62)16, CAB131/27.) Prime Minister Macmillan’s Visit to Washington, April 27–29 1962, Scope Paper prepared in the Department of State, 20 April 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, p. 1066. Bundy to Kennedy, 24 April 1962, ibid, p. 1068. Neustadt Report, p. 20. Neustadt Report, p. 7. Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 66–7. Neustadt Report, pp. 16–18. There are two available contemporary accounts of what was said at this meeting. The first takes the form of a long telegram from Ormsby-Gore to the Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, 8 November 1962, Washington telegram no. 2832, PREM11/3716. The second is a set of very brief notes made by McNamara of his meeting with Ormsby-Gore, and his telephone conversation with Thorneycroft the following day (Notes of Conversation Relating to Skybolt, 9 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1085–6). According to the account Ormsby-Gore later gave to Neustadt, McNamara’s approach did not come as a complete surprise. He had already received ‘intimations through his own channels’ that opposition to Skybolt was gaining steam as much as a fortnight earlier. (Memcon, Sir David Ormsby-Gore, 18 June 1963, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL.) Ormsby-Gore to PUS, 8 November 1962, Washington telegram no. 2832, PREM11/3716. Notes of Conversations Relating to Skybolt, 9 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1085–6. Rusk to McNamara, 24 November 1962, ibid, pp. 1086–8. Memcon with Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, 29 June 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. McNamara to Kennedy, 21 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. VIII, pp. 398–415. Ibid, pp. 412–13.

Notes 263 78. Memorandum for the Record, 23 November 1962, ibid, p. 415. 79. See Neustadt’s own re-evaluation of British responses in this period in Report to JFK, pp. 125–7. 80. Memcon, Peter Thorneycroft, 30 July 1963, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A Neustadt Papers, JFKL; Baylis, Ambiguity and Deterrence, pp. 315–6; Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 353. 81. Memcon, Peter Thorneycroft, 30 July 1963, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. McNamara had delayed his call to Thorneycroft by arrangement with Ormsby-Gore to allow time for the ambassador’s report of their 8 November conversation to land on the defence minister’s desk. (Memcon, Sir David Ormsby-Gore, 18 June 1963, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL.) 82. Neustadt Report, pp. 19–20; Notes of Conversations Relating to Skybolt, 9 November 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1085–6. 83. Memcon, Philip de Zulueta, 16 August 1963, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL; Neustadt Report, p. 43. 84. Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 355. 85. HMD, 7 December 1962, dep.d.48, p. 5. Acheson’s speech quoted in Brinkley, Dean Acheson, p. 176. 86. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 234. 87. Brinkley, Dean Acheson, p. 186. 88. DKEBD, 13 December 1962, Vol. 42, VHS. 89. Note for the Record by Bligh, 9 December 1962, PREM11/3716, quoted in Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 357. 90. Skybolt and the Press, memorandum by Harold Evans, 12 December 1962, PREM11/4147. 91. Bligh to Scott, ‘Draft Annex to Prime Minister’s Brief on Skybolt’, 12 December 1962, ibid. 92. Lord Harlech, third Oral History interview with David Nunnerley, p. 20, Nunnerley Papers, JFKL. 93. Memcon with Paul H. Nitze, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, 19 June 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 94. Neustadt Report, pp. 62–9. Neustadt follows closely Rubel’s notes of the meeting (Folder, Skybolt, Atlantic Affairs, 12/62, Skybolt-Nassau (Classified) Folder 2, Box 19A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL). The aide mémoire, amended and approved by Rusk and Ball, and used by McNamara as the basis of his discussions with Thorneycroft has also recently been declassified (Ball to McNamara, 10 December 1962 enc. Aide Memoire, 741.5611/12–1062, RG59, USNA). See also Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 358–9; Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 55–6. 95. HMD, 12 December 1962, dep.d.48, p. 14. 96. ‘Last Conversation with the President before NATO meeting of December 1962’, 10 December 1962, Memorandum by Bundy, Folder, Skybolt Atlantic Affairs, 12/62, Skybolt-Nassau (Classified) Folder 3, Box 19A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 97. Bligh to Scott, 12 December 1962, ‘Draft Annex to the Prime Minister’s Brief on Skybolt’, p. 4, PREM11/4147; Memorandum by Rubel, McNamara– Thorneycroft meeting, 11 December 1962, Folder, Skybolt, Atlantic Affairs, 12/62, Skybolt-Nassau (Classified) Folder 2, Box 19A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL; Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, p. 355.

264 Notes 98. De Zulueta to Ormsby-Gore, 11 December 1962, PREM11/3716, quoted in Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 359–60. 99. See for example the Washington Post editorial of 15 December 1962 (Folder, Skybolt, Atlantic Affairs, 12/62, Skybolt-Nassau (Classified) Folder 1, Box 19A Neustadt Papers, JFKL); Melissen, J., ‘Pre-Summit Diplomacy: Britain, the United States and the Nassau Conference 1962’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, Vol. 7, No. 3, p. 666–7. 100. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 14 December 1962, T616/62, PREM11/4147. 101. Notes of a Conversation with Mr McNamara, 15 December 1962, ibid. 102. Memcon, 16 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, p. 1091. 103. Proposed US–UK Agreement for a Substitute Weapon Incident to Skybolt Cancellation, 17 December 1962, Folder Kennedy–Macmillan Nassau Meeting, 12/19-20/62, Box 9, Vice-Presidential Security File, Lyndon B. Johnson Library. The document may well have been ‘post-dated’ due to the fact that the meeting with the president was originally expected to take place on Monday 17 and not Sunday 16 December. According to Henry Owen, the paper was written by Rowen and Lee under McNamara’s instructions in Paris after the Thorneycroft conversations (Memcon with Henry Owen, Vice-Chairman, Policy Planning Staff, Department of State, 25 May 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL). 104. Memcon, 16 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1088–91. 105. Memcon with Under-Secretary of State George Ball, 24 May 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 106. The exception to this is Marc Trachtenberg who argues that ‘there was no real confrontation at Nassau’, and that ‘it was as though a kind of charade was being acted out … ’ (A Constructed Peace, p. 362.) 107. Thorneycroft to Macmillan, 19 December 1962, PREM11/4147. 108. Neustadt Report, pp. 86–7. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, pp. 736–7, follows this line of argument, describing Kennedy’s 50-50 offer as ‘wise and generous’. Smith, M., ‘“Oh Don’t Deceive Me”: The Nassau Summit’, in Dunn, D. H., Diplomacy at the Highest Level: The Evolution of International Summitry (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996), pp. 188–9, also sees the offer as intended to fulfil Macmillan’s political requirements. 109. Reading between the lines of Neustadt’s 1999 commentary on his original report, in which he returns briefly to the question of JFK’s acute political awareness during his plane ride with Ormsby-Gore, it may well be that Neustadt himself recognises the full Machiavellian subtlety of the president’s offer, albeit that he does not press his argument to this conclusion (Neustadt, Report to JFK, pp. 130, 134–5). He also hints at this in his original report (Neustadt Report, p. 120). 110. Kennedy had been particularly concerned by a Washington Post editorial on 15 December castigating the insensitivity of the Administration’s handling of the Skybolt question (Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 95–6). 111. Ormsby-Gore quoted in Neustadt Report, p. 88. 112. Lord Harlech, third Oral History interview with David Nunnerley, p. 29, Nunnerley Papers, JFKL. 113. Ibid, pp. 29–30. 114. Neustadt Report, pp. 86–7. 115. Kennedy had explained to Neustadt at an early stage of his assignment that the 50-50 offer had been conceived as a means of helping out the British. The question of covering his own political position was not mentioned: ‘it was

Notes 265

116. 117. 118. 119.

120. 121. 122. 123.

124. 125. 126. 127.

128. 129. 130. 131.

132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138.

only on the way down to Nassau in the plane with Ormsby Gore … that he became fully aware of the intensity of the British need for help and then cooked up the proposal for sharing SKYBOLT development costs.’ (Memcon with the President, 27 April 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL.) Minute by Macmillan, 24 July 1963, PRO PREM11/4737. Report of a meeting between Neustadt and Bligh, 1 August 1963, Macmillan annotation, dated 3 August 1963, ibid. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 355. Melissen, ‘Pre-summit Diplomacy’, pp. 663–4, discusses the possible explanations for Rusk’s non-attendance. Rusk himself insisted that ‘his absence from Nassau had no significance whatsoever’. (Memcon with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, 28 May 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL). Nassau Meeting, Timetable, p. 5, PREM11/4229; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 438. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 236. Memcons with William Tyler, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, 1 & 14 June, 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. Memcon, 9.45am, 19 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, p. 1094. Ormsby-Gore told Neustadt that he believed the prime minister vetoed the 5050 proposition during the course of this conversation. (Memcon, Sir David Ormsby-Gore, 18 June 1963, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL.) Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 357–8. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 237. Memcon, Sir David Ormsby-Gore, 18 June 1963, Folder, Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. Record of a Meeting at Bali-Hai, 9.50am, 19 December 1962, PREM11/4147 (hereafter ‘British Record’). The US record is in FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1091–101 (hereafter ‘US Record’). It makes no mention of Macmillan’s reference to the Polaris model. See also Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 84–9. British Record, p. 3. British Record, p. 3. British Record, p. 3; Smith, ‘“Oh Don’t Deceive Me”’, p. 191. British record, p. 3. Neustadt suggests that the president put forward his 50-50 offer ‘without much force. He knew what the response would be … ’ (Neustadt Report, p. 89). However, Kennedy came back to it repeatedly during the first day’s talks, and the proposal remained in the various subsequent drafts of an Anglo-American agreement. British Record, p. 4. Ibid. US Record, p. 1096; British Record, p. 5. Ibid. British Record, p. 7; US Record, p. 1098. DKEBD, 19 December 1962, Vol. 42, VHS. Record of a Meeting held at Bali-Hai, 4.30pm, 19 December 1962, pp. 4–5, PREM11/4147 (hereafter ‘British Record II’). The text of these documents is not available in the US record, (see footnote 1, p. 1102) Memcon, 4.30pm, 19 December 1962, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1102–5 (hereafter ‘US Record II’).

266 Notes 139. 140. 141. 142. 143. 144. 145. 146. 147. 148.

149. 150. 151.



154. 155. 156.

157. 158. 159. 160.

British Record II, p. 5. Ibid, p. 1. Ibid, p. 3. This exchange does not appear in US Record II. HMD, 23 December 1962, dep.d.48, p. 24; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 439. Neustadt Report, p. 89. Thorneycroft to Macmillan, 19 December 1962, PREM11/4147. Lord Harlech, third Oral History interview with David Nunnerley, p. 32, Nunnerley Papers, JFKL. Macmillan to Thorneycroft, 19 December 1962, M.339/62, PREM11/4147. Macmillan to Butler, 20 December 1962, D.9.38am, T.623/62, PREM11/4147. Record of a Meeting at Bali-Hai, The Bahamas, 10.30am, Thursday 20 December, p. 1, PREM11/4147 (hereafter, ‘British Record III’); Memcon, Nassau, 20 December 1962, 10am, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, p. 1109 (hereafter ‘US Record III’). See also, Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 89–91. British Record III, p. 2; US Record III, p. 1109. British Record III, p. 2; US Record III, p. 1110. Quotations are from the British Record of a Meeting held at Bali-Hai, the Bahamas, 12 noon, Thursday 20 December 1962, PREM11/4147. US record: Memcon, Nassau, 20 December 1962, 10am, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1111–12. Record of a Meeting held at Bali-Hai, The Bahamas, 12.30pm, Thursday 20 December, 1962 PREM11/4147. These words appear in paragraph seven of Annex I and paragraph eight of Annex II. These paragraphs may be compared with paragraph seven of the US Draft Statement on Nuclear Defence Systems, 11am, 20 December 1962, Annex I, Record of a Meeting held at Bali-Hai, The Bahamas, 12 noon, 20 December 1962, ibid. Both Principal Private Secretary Tim Bligh and Deputy Cabinet Secretary Michael Cary later argued that the Cabinet at home would have preferred that Nassau conclude with a joint study of alternatives in the wake of Skybolt’s cancellation. Both also believed that in Bligh’s words there was ‘a nascent sentiment in Cabinet for giving up an independent nuclear deterrent’, which might then have crystallised. Ambassador Ormsby-Gore subsequently hotly disputed this view after Neustadt had completed his report. (Memcons, Michael Cary, 30 July and 2 August 1963; Timothy Bligh, 31 July and 1 August 1963; David Ormsby-Gore, 28 May 1964, Folder Memcons UK, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL.) Macmillan to Butler, D.11.59pm, 20 December 1962, CODEL 24, PREM11/4147. Butler to Macmillan, D.2.50pm, 21 December 1962, CODEL 62, ibid. Butler to Macmillan, D.2.13pm 21 December 1962, CODEL 63, ibid. Redmayne still held to this point of view three weeks later, according to notes Butler subsequently made about a lunch with him on 9 January 1963 (Notes by Butler, 10 January 1963, G40/3, RABP). Record of a Meeting Held at Bali-Hai, The Bahamas, 11.30am, Friday, 21 December 1962, PREM11/4147. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 28 December 1962, T.638/62, ibid. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 361; Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 91–2. London to State, 11 January 1963, 741.00/1-1163, RG59, USNA.

Notes 267 161. Ibid. 162. HMD, 23 December 1962, dep.d.48, pp. 24–5; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–1986, p. 441. 163. Macmillan to Kennedy, 24 December 1962, T.635/62, PREM11/4147. 164. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 28 December 1962, T.638/62, ibid. 165. Ormsby-Gore also discusses the episode in an Oral History account (Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, pp. 19–20, JFKL). 166. Macmillan to Thorneycroft, 26 December 1962, M.343/62, PREM11/4147. 167. Record of a meeting at Admiralty House, 6pm, Monday 31 December 1962, ibid. 168. Kitchen to Rusk, 4 January 1963, FRUS, 1961–1963, Vol. XIII, pp. 1123–8. 169. Ibid, p. 1125. 170. Thorneycroft to Ormsby-Gore, draft message to McNamara, 15 January 1963, telegram no. 562, PREM11/4148. 171. Ormsby-Gore to Thorneycroft, 15 January 1963, Washington telegram no. 154, ibid. 172. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 15 January 1963, ibid. 173. HMD, 28 January 1963, dep.d.48, p. 56. 174. Thorneycroft to Ormsby-Gore, 18 January 1963, Washington telegram no. 744, PREM11/4148. 175. Thorneycroft to Macmillan, 22 January 1963, ibid. 176. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 26 January 1963, T.51/63, ibid. 177. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 26 January 1963, T.54/63, ibid. 178. Macmillan to Maudling, 27 January 1963, ibid. 179. Maudling to Macmillan, 28 January 1963, ibid. 180. Ormsby-Gore to F.O., 31 January 1963, Washington telegram no. 357, PREM11/4149. 181. Thorneycroft to Ormsby-Gore, 1 February 1963, telegram no. 1370, ibid. 182. Ormsby-Gore to Thorneycroft, 2 February 1963, Washington telegram no. 382, ibid. 183. George Ball argues that McNamara suddenly discovered Congress in the spring of 1963, and refers also to his ‘recently acquired terror’ of congressional scrutiny. (Memcons with Under-Secretary of State George Ball, 24 May and 2 July 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL.) 184. Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 420–1. 185. See paragraph six, Ormsby-Gore to F.O., 30 January 1963, Washington telegram no. 382, PREM11/4149. 186. Macmillan’s annotation, Wright to Bligh, 15 February 1963, ibid. 187. Macmillan to de Zulueta, 23 February 1963, ibid. 188. Ormsby-Gore to F.O., 23 February 1963, Washington telegram no. 606, ibid; Home to Ormsby-Gore, 25 February 1963, telegram no. 2100, ibid. 189. Note for the Record by de Zulueta, 13 March 1963, ibid; Ormsby-Gore to F.O., 16 March 1963, Washington telegram no. 823, ibid. 190. Draft minute by de Zulueta, 20 March 1963, PREM11/4150. 191. See records of conversations between the Foreign Secretary and Mr Livingston Merchant in the Foreign Office, 10.15am, 12 March 1963, and 11am, 13 March 1963, PREM11/4587; also, Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 116–21. 192. Memcon with Under-Secretary George Ball, 2 July 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 193. Home to Macmillan, 22 March 1963, PREM11/4150.

268 Notes 194. Macmillan to Home, 23 March 1963, ibid. 195. Record of a Conversation between Lord Mountbatten and the President, 6 February 1963, Annex to COS.1278/12/2/63, FO371/173530. See also Memorandum for the President by Bundy, ‘Your Talk with the Earl Mountbatten’, 6 February 1963, Folder UK Security 1/63–4/63, Box 127a, POF, JFKL. 196. Macmillan to Thorneycroft, 30 May 1963, PREM11/4589. 197. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 9 May 1963, PREM11/4161. 198. Records of the extensive discussions held over the MLF at this point are in CAB130/191.For more detailed discussion of the MLF plan during the final months of the Macmillan Government see Murray, Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons, pp. 122–43. 199. Memcon with Carl Kaysen, 1 June 1963, Folder Memcons US, Box 20A, Neustadt Papers, JFKL. 200. Memcon with General Maxwell D. Taylor and Major William Smith, 3 July 1963, ibid. 201. Memcon with the President, 27 April 1963, ibid.

Chapter 9

The Search for a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty

1. Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 222–3; Baylis, Ambiguity and Deterrence, p. 338. 2. Ibid, pp. 338–9. 3. Macmillan to Kennedy, 5 January 1962, T.5/62, PREM11/4041; Macmillan, At The End of the Day, p. 151. 4. Brandon, Special Relationships, p. 160. 5. Sorensen, Kennedy, pp. 621–22; Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 421; Seaborg, G. T., Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981), p. 32. 6. Divine, R. A., Blowing on the Wind: The Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1954–1960 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978), p. 289. 7. Nash, P., ‘Bear Any Burden? John F. Kennedy and Nuclear Weapons’, in Gaddis, J. L., Gordon, P. H., May, E. R., and Rosenberg, J. (eds), Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy since 1945 (Oxford: OUP, 1999), pp. 123–4. 8. Oliver, K., Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63 (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998), pp. 19–20. 9. Taylor, Against the Bomb, pp. 293–305. 10. Folder Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Box 238, Vice-Presidential Subject File, LBJL. Firestone, ‘Kennedy and the Test Ban’, pp. 90–1, argues that Kennedy was able, through a carefully orchestrated media campaign, to shift public opinion during the summer of 1963. Whereas a Harris poll conducted in early July showed only 47% offering unqualified approval for the negotiations, by the beginning of September, 81 per cent approved of the final treaty. 11. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63, p. 25. 12. Memorandum by J. K. Galbraith, ‘Policy on Testing and the Test Ban’, 12 June 1961, Folder Nuclear Weapons Testing 6/61, Box 299, NSF, JFKL. 13. The emergence of France as the fourth nuclear power in February 1960 did not disturb the superpower moratorium. 14. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63, p. 11.

Notes 269 15. For a reinterpretation of the role of the U-2 incident in the test ban negotiations see Pharo, P. F. I., ‘A Precondition for Peace: Transparency and the TestBan Negotiations, 1958–1963’, The International History Review, Vol. 22, No. 3, September 2000, pp. 562–7. 16. Macmillan to Kennedy, 27 April 1961, PREM11/3590; FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 52–5. 17. Footnote 1, ibid, p. 53. 18. Memcon, Vienna, 10.15am, 4 June 1961, ibid, p. 90. 19. Macmillan, Pointing the Way, p. 357. 20. Memcon with the President and the Congressional Leadership, 6 June 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 92–3. 21. The missing passage (in italics) from Macmillan’s account of a 5 March House of Commons debate on nuclear testing (in At the End of the Day, p. 171) can be filled in from his original diary entry (HMD, dep.d.45, 5 March 1962, p. 51): ‘Mr Gaitskell … (who seems to have been nobbled by the President) … was very helpful.’ 22. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63, p. 27. 23. ‘Nuclear Tests Negotiations’, 9 June 1961, PREM11/3590. 24. Macmillan’s annotation, Washington to F.O., 16 June 1961, telegram no. 1483, PREM11/3590. 25. Macmillan’s annotation, Washington to F.O., 17 June 1961, telegram no. 1494, ibid. 26. De Zulueta to Samuel, 5 July 1961, enclosing ‘Draft telegram from Prime Minister to President Kennedy’, PREM11/3591. 27. Kennedy to Macmillan, 3 August 1961, SZ/784/61, PREM11/3591; FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 130–1. 28. Macmillan to Kennedy, 14 August 1961, T.466/61, PREM11/3591; FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 137–9. 29. Sorensen, Kennedy, p. 619. 30. Reeves, President Kennedy, pp. 223–4. 31. Sorensen, Kennedy, p. 620; Editorial Note, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 159–60. 32. Macmillan to Caccia, D.10.50pm, 5 September 1961, T.491/61, PREM11/3591. 33. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation between Secretary of State Rusk and the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy), 12.55pm, 5 September 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 163. 34. Footnote 1, ibid, p. 164. 35. Macmillan to Kennedy, 7 September 1961, PREM11/3591. 36. Macmillan to Kennedy, 7 September 1961, ibid; Footnote 3, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 164. 37. Kennedy to Macmillan, 7 September 1961, ibid, pp. 165–6. 38. Macmillan to de Zulueta, 28 October 1961, PREM11/3592. 39. Record of a Telephone Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 5.30pm, Friday 27 October 1961, ibid. 40. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 24 October 1961, Washington telegram no. 7649, ibid; Footnote 2, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 208. 41. Ibid. 42. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63, pp. 44–5; Brook to Macmillan, ‘Christmas Island’, 13 November 1961, PREM11/3246. 43. Macmillan to Kennedy, 3 November 1961, T.603/61, PREM11/3706. 44. Seaborg to Kennedy, 30 October 1961, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 212; Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63, p. 43.

270 Notes 45. Ibid, p. 44. 46. DKEBD, 7 November 1961, Vol. 38, VHS; Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, pp. 47–8. 47. Kennedy to Macmillan, 10 November 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 9/26/61–12/24/61, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. 48. Note of a Meeting held at Admiralty House, 15 November 1961, PREM11/3246; Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 215–16. 49. Macmillan to Kennedy, 16 November 1961, T.634/61, PREM11/3246; FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 227–30. 50. Bundy to Kennedy, 17 November 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 9/26/61–12/19/61, Miscellaneous and Extra Copies, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. 51. Kennedy to Macmillan, 10 November 1961, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 9/26/61–12/24/61, ibid. 52. Seaborg, Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban, pp. 118–19; Footnote 5, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 230. 53. Note of a Meeting held in Sir Norman Brook’s room, Cabinet Office, 17 November 1961, PREM11/3246. David Bruce (DKEBD, 7 November 1961, Vol. 38, VHS) described sovereignty over Christmas Island as ‘in dispute’. 54. Note of a Meeting held in Sir Norman Brook’s room, Cabinet Office, 17 November 1961, PREM11/3246. 55. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 16 November 1961, telegram no. 8400, ibid. 56. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 453. 57. For the British records see PREM11/3782 (Record of a Meeting held in Government House, Bermuda, 5.15pm, 21 December 1961 & 10.30am, 22 December 1961). For the US records see FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 272–81. There is also a detailed account taken from his own contemporary notes in Seaborg, Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban, pp. 126–31. 58. For a range of views as to who ‘won’ and who ‘lost’ at Bermuda see: Seaborg, Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban, p. 131; Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, pp. 452–4; Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, pp. 324–5; Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, p. 60. 59. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 453. 60. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, p. 325; Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 151. 61. Macmillan to Home, 29 December 1961, M.401/61, Fol.3, dep.c.351, HMA; Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, pp. 61–6; Clark, Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship, pp. 217–18. 62. Macmillan to Kennedy, 5 January 1962, T5/62, PREM11/4041; Macmillan, At the End of the Day, pp. 154–63. 63. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, pp. 66–8. 64. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 456. 65. Kennedy to Macmillan, 13 January 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 295–7. 66. Macmillan to Kennedy, 16 January 1962, T.18/62, PREM11/4041. 67. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 13 January 1962, T.16/62, PREM11/3718. 68. Oliver perhaps slightly overstates the gains achieved by Macmillan here (Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, pp. 70–1). 69. For example, Ormsby-Gore indulged in some subtle repackaging of Macmillan’s original conditional offer in relation to Christmas Island (OrmsbyGore to Macmillan, 10 January 1962, T.10/62, PREM11/4041). 70. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 17 January 1962, T.23/62, ibid; Bundy to Rusk, 18 January 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 1/5/62–2/28/62 Miscellaneous and Extra Copies, Box 172, NSF, JFKL.

Notes 271 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99.

100. 101. 102. 103. 104.

105. 106.

Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 184. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 168. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, p. 77. Gilpatric to Kennedy, undated, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 312–16; Rusk to Kennedy, undated, ibid, pp. 319–22. Ormsby-Gore to Home, 21 February 1962, Washington telegram no. 563, PREM11/3719. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 27 February 1962, T.84/62, PREM11/4042. Kennedy to Macmillan, 27 February 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 337–9. HMD, 28 February 1962, dep.d.45, pp. 41–2. Kennedy to Macmillan, 28 February 1962, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 1/5/62–4/3/62, Box 172, NSF, JFKL. Macmillan to Kennedy, 28 February 1962, T.89/62, PREM11/4042. See the discussion of this in Chapter 1. Evans, Downing Street Diary, p. 189. HMD, 24 March 1962, dep.d.45, p. 66. HMD, 31 March 1962, dep.d.45, p. 84. Record of a Conversation after Dinner at 10 Rue Senebier, Geneva, 13 March 1962, PREM11/4044. Macmillan to Kennedy, 30 March 1962, T.174/62, ibid. Kennedy to Macmillan, 3 April 1962, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 414–15. Editorial Note, ibid, pp. 425–6. ‘Nuclear Tests’, notes by Macmillan, 12 April 1962, PREM11/4045. HMD, 27 April 1962, dep.d.45, p. 115. HMD, 27 April 1962, dep.d.45, pp. 115–17. For the British records see PREM11/3783. US records are in FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 447–9. HMD, 6 May 1962, dep.d.45, p. 119. HMD, 6 May 1962, dep.d.45, p. 120. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 178. Home to Macmillan, 14 December 1962, PM/62/154, PREM11/4554. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, pp. 139–40; Pharo, ‘A Precondition for Peace’, pp. 572–3. Ibid, pp. 570–1; Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, p. 146. Editorial Note, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 623–5. Dean denied having made such an offer. Carl Kaysen later suggested that Macmillan himself might have been the source of this Soviet misconception of the American position (Memorandum for the President, 19 March 1963, Folder Macmillan Correspondence 2/1/63–4/15/63 Extra Copies and Miscellaneous, Box 173A, NSF, JFKL). HMD, 15 March 1963, dep.d.48, p. 118. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 12 March 1963, T.123/63, PREM11/4555. HMD, 15 March 1963, dep.d.48, p. 118; Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 14 March 1963, T.126/63, PREM11/4555. HMD, 15 March 1963, dep.d.48, p. 118. These themes are outlined in Macmillan’s covering letter to Ormsby-Gore, 16 March 1963, T.131/63, PREM11/4555. The letter to Kennedy itself is attached, 16 March 1963, T.130.63, ibid. See also At the End of the Day, pp. 456–64. Thompson to Rusk, 21 March 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 657–8. Footnotes 2 and 3, ibid, p. 657. See also Kaysen’s earlier Memorandum for the President, 19 March 1963, Folder Macmillan Correspondence 2/1/63–4/15/63

272 Notes



109. 110.

111. 112. 113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118.

119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127. 128.


Extra Copies and Miscellaneous, Box 173A, NSF, JFKL. In fact it was the American scientist Kistiakowsky who had been approached by Artsimovich. Kistiakowsky was subsequently asked to phone Artsimovich in London to indicate that his message had been received in Washington (Memorandum for the Record, 24 March 1963, ibid). Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 21 March 1963, T.138/63, PREM11/4556. According to a memorandum by Carl Kaysen, the discussion ‘turned chiefly on how a message might be gotten to the Russians that we were willing to compromise’. (Memorandum for the Record, 24 March 1963, Folder Macmillan Correspondence 2/1/63–4/15/63 Extra Copies and Miscellaneous, Box 173A, NSF, JFKL.) Kennedy to Macmillan, 28 March 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 659–61. The text was approved by Rusk after review by Ambassador-at-Large Thompson and Assistant Secretary Tyler. In view of the suspicions already expressed by Thompson about Macmillan’s motivations it is not surprising that the letter was unsympathetic. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 27 March 1963, T.147/63, PREM11/4556. HMD, 1 April 1963, dep.d.49, p. 32. In his later memoir account Macmillan put a different gloss on his reaction, referring to the letter as ‘not unhelpful’ (At the End of the Day, p. 464). Kennedy to Macmillan, 28 March 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 659–61. HMD, 1 April 1963, dep.d.49, p. 32. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 28 March 1963, T.151/63, PREM11/4556. Macmillan to Kennedy, 3 April 1963, T.162/63, ibid; FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 659–63. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 10 April 1963, T.168/63, PREM11/4556. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 11 April 1963, T.173/63, ibid. Bundy to de Zulueta, 10 April 1963, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence, 2/1/63–4/15/63, Box 173A, NSF, JFKL. Record of a Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 5.15pm, 11 April 1963, PREM11/4556. There appears to be no US record of this conversation (Footnote 1, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 670). Kennedy’s suggested amendments to Macmillan’s draft are in Kennedy to Macmillan, 11 April 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 670–1. HMD, 13 April 1963, dep.d.49, p. 51. State to Moscow, 15 April 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 676–8. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 15 April 1963, PREM11/4556. Draft Press Guidance on the Subject of Nuclear Tests Letter, 16 April 1963, ibid. Trevelyan to F.O., 24 April 1963, FO371/171217 quoted in Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, p. 176. Khrushchev to Kennedy [and Macmillan], 8 May 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 693–9. Macmillan to Kennedy, 9 May 1963, T.206/63, PREM11/4557. De Zulueta to Macmillan, 9 May 1963, ibid. The same could be said of the events of the early months of 1962. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 469; Summary Record of Meetings at Chequers on Saturday 18 May 1963, PREM11/4557; Record of a Meeting at Chequers, Sunday 19 May 1963, ibid. See for example: Record of a [Phone] Conversation between the Prime Minister and President Kennedy, 11 April 1963, PREM11/4556; Record of a Meeting at Chequers, Sunday 19 May 1963, PREM11/4557.

Notes 273 130. HMD, 23 April 1963, dep.d.49, p. 66. 131. Bligh to Macmillan, ‘Lord Avon’, 20 May 1963, PREM11/4557. 132. Macmillan to Ormsby-Gore, 20 May 1963, T.223/63, (enc. Macmillan to Kennedy), PREM11/4557. 133. Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 821; Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, p. 182. 134. State to Moscow, 30 May 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 707–10. See the footnotes for revisions to Macmillan’s draft. 135. Moscow to State, 8 June 1963, ibid, pp. 714–18. Schlesinger (A Thousand Days, p. 822), called the tone of the letter ‘ungracious and sulky’. 136. Firestone, ‘Kennedy and the Test Ban’, pp. 81–2; Beschloss, Kennedy v Khrushchev, p. 597. 137. Quoted in Schlesinger, A Thousand Days, p. 823–4. 138. For a range of different opinions on the motivations behind the speech see: Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, pp. 186–8; Beschloss, Kennedy v Khrushchev, p. 600; Reeves, President Kennedy, pp. 510–14. 139. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 22 May 1963, T.231/63, PREM11/4557. 140. Firestone, ‘Kennedy and the Test Ban’, pp. 82–3. 141. Hailsham, Lord, The Door Wherein I Went (London: Collins, 1975), p. 217. 142. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 470. 143. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, pp. 511–12. 144. Lewis, Lord Hailsham, p. 206. 145. Oral History, Sir Solly Zuckerman, pp. 14–15, JFKL. 146. London to State, 9 July 1963, State Department Alpha-Numeric File, POL61UK, RG59, USNA. 147. Horne, Macmillan, 1957–86, pp. 514–17. 148. Record of a Meeting Between the Foreign Secretary and the United States Secretary of State in the Foreign Office, 27 June 1963, PREM11/4586. 149. Summary Record of the 515th Meeting of the National Security Council, 9 July 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 782; Memorandum for the Record, 10 July 1963, ibid, p. 789; Lewis, Lord Hailsham, pp. 206–7. 150. Oral History, Sir Solly Zuckerman, p. 16–17, JFKL. 151. London to State, 12 July 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 796. 152. Kennedy to Macmillan, 10 July 1963, T.299/63, PREM11/4559; Macmillan to Kennedy, 11 July 1963, T.300/63, ibid. 153. Oral History, Sir Solly Zuckerman, pp. 17–18, JFKL. 154. Ormsby-Gore to Macmillan, 22 July 1963, T.360/63, PREM11/4559; State to Moscow, 18 July 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 812; State to Moscow, 22 July 1963, ibid, p. 831; Lewis, Lord Hailsham, p. 210. 155. Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 481. 156. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, p. 203. 157. Specifically, a treaty covering tests in the atmosphere, underwater or in outer space. 158. Moscow to State, 15 July 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 799. 159. Oliver, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test ban Debate, p. 200. 160. See text in Moscow to State, 20 July 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, p. 817; and amendments in Moscow to State, 22 July 1963, ibid, p. 824; Kaysen, C., ‘The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963’, in Brinkley and Griffiths, John F. Kennedy and Europe, pp. 110–11. 161. Moscow to State, 25 July 1963, FRUS, 1961–63, Vol. VII, pp. 853–6; Firestone, ‘Kennedy and the Test Ban’, pp. 87–8.

274 Notes 162. 163. 164. 165.

Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 482–3. Ibid, p. 484. Kennedy to Macmillan, 26 July 1963, PREM11/4560. Macmillan to Kennedy, 25 July 1963, Folder UK Subjects, Macmillan Correspondence 7/63, Box 174, NSF, JFKL. 166. Macmillan to Eisenhower, 26 July 1963, ibid; HMD, 27 July 1963, dep.d.50, p. 17.

Chapter 10


1. Watt, D. C., Succeeding John Bull: America in Britain’s Place, 1900–1975 (Cambridge, CUP, 1984), p. 111. 2. Phone conversation, Bundy to Johnson, 10.20am, 15 January 1964, Citation no. 1362, WH6401.14, LBJL. 3. For a fuller discussion of intelligence relations see Aldrich, R., ‘British Intelligence and the Anglo-American “Special Relationship” during the Cold War’, Review of International Studies, Vol. 24, No. 3, July 1998. See also Kandiah, M. D., and Staerck, G., ‘ “Reliable Allies”: Anglo-American Relations’ in Kaiser and Staerck, British Foreign Policy, 1955–64, pp. 148–50. 4. Record of telephone conversation, 11 February 1965, PREM13/692. 5. For a recent discussion of the Cold War dimension of trade see, Jackson, I., The Economic Cold War: America, Britain and East–West Trade, 1948–63 (Basingstoke: Palgrave – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2001), pp. 159–81; and also Kandiah and Staerck, ‘Reliable Allies’, pp. 145–7. On financial questions in Anglo-American relations see Schenk, C. R., ‘Shifting Sands: the International Economy and British Economic Policy’, in Kaiser and Staerck, British Foreign Policy, 1955–64, pp. 27–31. 6. As noted in Chapter 1, the Indonesian–Malaysian confrontation only rose to prominenece at the end of the Macmillan premiership, while the Ghanaian Upper Volta Dam question was a short-lived episode in Anglo-American relations. 7. ‘Britain through American Eyes’, 13 February 1962, PREM11/5192. 8. Neustadt, Report to JFK, p. 136. 9. Memcon, 6pm, 19 December 1962, PREM11/3630. 10. Memorandum by Macmillan, ‘United Kingdom recognition of the Yemen regime’, 12 December 1962, PREM11/4356. 11. Lord Harlech, 1964 Oral History, p. 52–3, JFKL. 12. Macmillan to Thorneycroft, 4 September 1962, PREM11/3779. 13. Macmillan to Ava, Viscountess Waverley, 28 January 1963, Fol.36, MS Eng.c.4778, Bodleian Library, Oxford. 14. Macmillan to Home, 1 October 1962, T.479/62, PREM11/4933; Macmillan to Home, 1 October 1962, T.480/62, ibid. 15. Kennedy to Macmillan, 18 October 1963, Folder UK Subjects Macmillan Correspondence 8/63–10/63, Box 174, NSF, JFKL.

Select Bibliography Primary sources Archive and manuscript collections United Kingdom Public Record Office, Kew, Surrey CAB128/129: Cabinet Meetings and Memoranda CAB131: Cabinet Defence Committee CAB133: International Conferences and Meetings FO371: Foreign Office General Political Files PREM11: Prime Minister’s Office Files Bodleian Library, Oxford Harold Macmillan Diaries (‘HMD’) Harold Macmillan Prime Ministerial Archives (‘HMA’) Harold Macmillan, letters to Ava, Viscountess Waverley Baron Normanbrook Papers Churchill College Archives Centre Lord Duncan Sandys Papers Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge R. A. Butler Papers (‘RABP’)

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276 Select Bibliography Presidential Recordings Senate Papers Lyndon Baines Johnson Archives George Ball Papers Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia David K. E. Bruce Diaries (referred to as ‘DKEBD’)

Printed primary sources Hansard, House of Commons Debates. Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), 1961–63 (Washington DC: United States Government Printing Office): Volumes: 5, Soviet Union (1998); 6, Kennedy–Khrushchev Exchanges (1996); 7, Arms Control and Disarmament (1995); 8, National Security Policy (1996); 10, Cuba, 1961–2 (1997); 11, Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath (1996); 13, Western Europe and Canada (1994); 14, Berlin Crisis, 1961–2 (1993); 15, Berlin Crisis, 1962–3 (1994); 17, Near East 1961–2 (1994); 18, Near East, 1962–3 (1995); 20, Congo Crisis (1994); 24 Laos Crisis (1994). National Security Archive: The Berlin Crisis, 1958–1962 (Alexandria: ChadwyckHealey, 1991) and The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962 (ibid. 1990) Newspapers: The Times; The Economist; The Daily Telegraph; The New York Times; The Washington Post. Unless otherwise stated, the place of publication of all books cited below is London.

Memoirs and autobiographies Ball, G., The Past Has Another Pattern: Memoirs (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1982) Brandon, H., Special Relationships: A Foreign Correspondent’s Memoirs from Roosevelt to Reagan (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1989) Clifford, C., Counsel to the President: A Memoir (New York: Anchor Books, 1992) Dobrynin, A., In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York: Times Books, 1995) Evans, H., Downing Street Diaries: The Macmillan Years, 1957–1963 (Hodder & Stoughton, 1981) Hailsham, Lord, The Door Wherein I Went (Collins, 1975). Heath, E., The Course of My Life: My Autobiography (Hodder & Stoughton, 1998) Home, A., The Way the Wind Blows (Collins, 1976) Kennedy, R., Thirteen Days (New York: W. W. Norton, 1969) Macmillan, H., The Blast of War, 1939–1945 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1967) Macmillan, H., Pointing the Way, 1959–1961 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1972) Macmillan, H., At the End of the Day, 1961–3, (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1973) McNamara, R., In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam (New York: Random House, 1995) Roberts, F., Dealing With Dictators: The Destruction and Revival of Europe, 1930–1970 (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1991) Rusk, D., As I Saw It: A Secretary of State’s Memoirs (I. B. Tauris & Co., 1991)

Select Bibliography 277 Salinger, P., With Kennedy (Trinity Press, 1967) Schlesinger, A. M., Jr, A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House (New York: Fawcett Crest, 1967) Sorenson, T. C., Kennedy (Hodder & Stoughton, 1965) Watkinson, H., Turning Points: A Record of Our Times (Salisbury: Michael Russell, 1986) Zuckerman, S., Monkeys, Men and Missiles, 1946–88: An Autobiography (Collins, 1988)

Secondary sources Books Alani, M., Operation Vantage: British Military Intervention in Kuwait 1961 (LAAM, 1990) Aldous, R., and Lee, S., Harold Macmillan and Britain’s World Role (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Aldous, R., and Lee, S., Harold Macmillan: Aspects of a Political Life (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999) Andrew, C., For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush (Harper Collins, 1995) Ashton, N. J., Eisenhower, Macmillan and the Problem of Nasser: Anglo-American Relations and Arab Nationalism, 1955–59 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Balfour-Paul, G., The End of Empire in the Middle East: Britain’s Relinquishment of Power in Her Last Three Arab Dependencies (Cambridge: CUP, 1991) Bange, O., The EEC Crisis of 1963: Kennedy, Macmillan, de Gaulle and Adenauer in Conflict (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000) Bartlett, C. J., ‘The Special Relationship’: A Political History of Anglo-American Relations Since 1945 (Longman, 1992) Baylis, J., Anglo-American Defence Relations, 1939–84 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1984) Baylis, J., Ambiguity and Deterrence: British Nuclear Strategy, 1945–1964 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995) Ben-Zvi, A., Decade of Transition: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Origins of the American–Israeli Alliance (New York: Columbia University Press, 1998) Beschloss, M., Kennedy v. Khrushchev: The Crisis Years, 1960–3 (New York: Faber & Faber, 1991) Bidwell, R., The Two Yemens (Longman, 1983) Bill, J. A., George Ball: Behind the Scenes of US Foreign Policy (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997) Bird, C., The Color of Truth: McGeorge Bundy and William Bundy: Brothers in Arms (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998) Brinkley, D., Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years, 1953–71 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992) Brinkley, D., and Griffiths, R. T., President Kennedy and Europe (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1999) Brivati, B., Hugh Gaitskell (Richard Cohen Books, 1997) Brugioni, D. A., Eyeball to Eyeball: The Inside Story of the Cuban Missile Crisis (New York: Random House, 1991) Burk, K., and Stokes, M., The United States and the European Alliance since 1945 (Oxford: Berg, 1999)

278 Select Bibliography Cable, J., The Geneva Conference on Indochina (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1986) Campbell, J., Edward Heath: A Biography (Jonathan Cape, 1993) Castle, T. N., At War in the Shadow of Vietnam: US Military Aid to the Royal Lao Government, 1955–1975 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1993) Charlton, M., The Price of Victory (BBC, 1983) Clark, I., Nuclear Diplomacy and the Special Relationship: Britain’s Deterrent and America, 1957–1962 (Oxford: OUP, 1994) Dann, U., King Hussein and the Challenge of Arab Radicalism: Jordan, 1955–1967 (Oxford: OUP, 1989) Darby, P., British Defence Policy East of Suez, 1947–1968 (OUP, 1973) Darwin, J., Britain and Decolonisation: The Retreat from Empire in the Post-War World (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1988) Deighton, A., (ed.) Building Postwar Europe: National Decision-Makers and European Institutions, 1948–63 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1995) Dickie, J., ‘Special’ No More: Anglo-American Relations: Rhetoric and Reality (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1994) Dimbleby, D., and Reynolds, D., An Ocean Apart: The Relationship Between Britain and America in the Twentieth Century (Hodder & Stoughton, 1988) Divine, R. A., Blowing on the Wind: The Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1954–1960 (New York: OUP, 1978) Dobson, A. P., The Politics of the Anglo-American Economic Special Relationship, 1940–1987 (Brighton: Wheatsheaf, 1988) Dockrill, S., Controversy and Compromise: Alliance Politics between Great Britain, Federal Republic of Germany and the United States, 1945–67 (Bodenheim: Philo, 1998) Dommen, A. J., Conflict in Laos: The Politics of Neutralization (Pall Mall Press Ltd, 1964) Duke, S., US Defence Bases in the United Kingdom: A Matter for Joint Decision? (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1987) Dunn, D. H., Diplomacy at the Highest Level: The Evolution of International Summitry (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Edmonds, R., Setting the Mould: The United States and Britain, 1945–1950 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) Ellison, J., Threatening Europe: Britain and the Creation of the European Community, 1955–58 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000) Freedman, L., Kennedy’s Wars: Berlin, Cuba, Laos and Vietnam (Oxford: OUP, 2000) Freeman, J. P. G., Britain’s Nuclear Arms Policy in the Context of Anglo-American Relations, 1957–68 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1986) Fursenko, A., and Naftali, T., One Hell of Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958–1964 (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1997) Gaddis, J. L., Gordon, P. H., May, E. R., and Rosenberg, J. (eds), Cold War Statesmen Confront the Bomb: Nuclear Diplomacy since 1945 (Oxford: OUP, 1999) Gearson, J. P. S., Harold Macmillan and the Berlin Wall Crisis, 1958–62: The Limits of Interest and Force (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998) George, A. L., and Simons, W. E., The Limits of Coercive Diplomacy (2nd edn, Boulder: Westview Press, 1994) George, S., Britain and European Integration since 1945 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1991) Gifford, P., and Louis, W. R., The Transfer of Power in Africa: Decolonization, 1940–1960 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1982) Giglio, J. W., The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1991)

Select Bibliography 279 Gordon, P. H., A Certain Idea of France: French Security Policy and the Gaullist Legacy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993) Greenwood, S., Britain and European Integration since the Second World War (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996) Greenwood, S., Britain and the Cold War, 1945–91 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000) Griffiths, R. T., and Ward, S., (eds) Courting the Common Market: The First Attempt to Enlarge the European Community, 1961–63 (Frank Cass, 1996) Grose, P., Gentleman Spy: The Life of Allen Dulles (André Deutsch, 1995) Halliday, F., Arabia Without Sultans (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1974) Hamilton, N., JFK: Reckless Youth (Century, 1992) Harrison, M., The Reluctant Ally: France and Atlantic Security (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1981) Hathaway, R. M., Ambiguous Partnership: Britain and America, 1944–1947 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1981) Hathaway, R. M., Great Britain and the United States: Special Relations Since World War II (Boston: Twayne Publishers, 1990) Hersh, S., The Dark Side of Camelot (HarperCollins, 1998) Higgins, R., United Nations Peacekeeping, 1946–1967: Documents and Commentary: 3 Africa (Oxford: OUP, 1980) Hilsman, R., To Move a Nation: The Politics of Foreign Policy in the Administration of John F. Kennedy (Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Co., 1967) Hollowell, J., Twentieth Century Anglo-American Relations (Basingstoke: Palgrave – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2001) Horne, A., Macmillan, 1894–1956 (London: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1988) Horne, A., Macmillan, 1957–1986 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1989) Hoskyns, C., The Congo Since Independence: January 1960–December 1961 (OUP, 1965) Jackson, I., The Economic Cold War: America, Britain and East–West Trade, 1948–63 (Basingstoke: Palgrave – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2001) James, A., Britain and the Congo Crisis, 1960–3 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Johnston, C. H., The View From Steamer Point: Being an Account of Three Years in Aden (Collins, 1964) Jones, M., Conflict and Confrontation in South East Asia, 1961–1965: Britain, the United States, Indonesia and the Creation of Malaysia (Cambridge: CUP, 2002) Jones, P., America and the British Labour Party: The ‘Special Relationship’ at Work (I. B. Tauris, 1997) Kaiser, W., Using Europe, Abusing the Europeans: Britain and European Integration, 1945–63 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Kaiser, W. and Staerck, G., British Foreign Policy, 1955–64: Contracting Options (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000) Kalb, M. G., The Congo Cables: The Cold War in Africa from Eisenhower to Kennedy (New York: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1982) Kennedy, P., The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers: Economic Change and Military Conflict from 1500 to 2000 (Unwin Hyman, 1988) Lamb, R., The Macmillan Years: The Emerging Truth (John Murray, 1995) Lankford, N. D., The Last American Aristocrat: The Biography of Ambassador David K. E. Bruce (Toronto: Little, Brown & Co., 1996) Lebow, N. L., and Stein, J. G., We All Lost the Cold War (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994)

280 Select Bibliography Lefever, Ernest W., Crisis in the Congo: A United Nations Force in Action (Washington DC: Brookings Institution, 1965) Lewis, G., Lord Hailsham: A Life (Jonathan Cape, 1997) Louis, W. R., and Bull, H. (eds) The Special Relationship (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986) Ludlow, N. P., Dealing with Britain: The Six and the First UK Application to the EEC (Cambridge: CUP, 1997) Mahoney, R. D., JFK: Ordeal in Africa (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983) May, E. R., and Zelikow, P. D., The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (Cambridge, Mass: The Belnap Press of Harvard University Press, 1997) Mayer, F. A., Adenauer and Kennedy: A Study in German–American Relations, 1961–1963 (New York: St Martin’s Press – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Melissen, J., The Struggle for Nuclear Partnership: Britain the United States and the Making of an Ambiguous Alliance, 1952–59 (Groningen: Styx, 1993) Moravcsik, A., The Choice For Europe: Social Purpose and State Power From Messina to Maastricht (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1998) Murray, D., Kennedy, Macmillan and Nuclear Weapons (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 2000) Nash, P., The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957–1963 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1997) Neustadt, R. E., Report to JFK: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1999) Newhouse, J., De Gaulle and the Anglo-Saxons (André Deutsch, 1970) Nunnerley, D., President Kennedy and Britain (Bodley Head, 1972) O’Ballance, E., The War in the Yemen (Faber & Faber, 1971) Oliver, K., Kennedy, Macmillan and the Nuclear Test Ban Debate, 1961–63 (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998) Pagedas, C. A., Anglo-American Relations and the French Problem, 1960–1963: A Troubled Partnership (Frank Cass, 2000) Parmet, H., JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (New York: Dial, 1983) Paterson, T. G., Kennedy’s Quest for Victory: American Foreign Policy, 1961–63 (OUP, 1989) Pierre, A. J., Nuclear Politics: The British Experience with an Independent Strategic Force, 1939–70 (OUP, 1972) Rabe, S., Eisenhower and Latin America: The Foreign Policy of Anticommunism (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988) Rabe, S., The Most Dangerous Area in the World: John F. Kennedy Confronts Communist Revolution in Latin America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999) Reeves, R., President Kennedy: Profile of Power (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993) Reeves, T. C., A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy (Arrow Books, 1992). Reynolds, D., The Creation of the Anglo-American Alliance, 1937–41: A Study in Competitive Cooperation (Europa, 1981) Reynolds, D., Britannia Overruled: British Policy and World Power in the Twentieth Century (Longman, 1991) Reynolds, D., and Dimbleby, D., An Ocean Apart (Hodder & Stoughton, 1988) Risse-Kappen, T., Cooperation Among Democracies: The European Influence on US Foreign Policy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995) Rostow, W.W., The Diffusion of Power: An Essay in Recent History (New York: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1972) Sampson, A., Macmillan: A Study in Ambiguity (Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1967)

Select Bibliography 281 Schecter, J. L., and Deriabin, P. S., The Spy Who Saved the World: How a Soviet Colonel Changed the Course of the Cold War (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1992) Schlesinger, A. M., Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times (André Deutsch, 1978) Scott, L., (Macmillan, Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis, (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999) Seaborg, G. T., Kennedy, Khrushchev and the Test Ban (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1981) Shapley, D., Promise and Power: The Life and Times of Robert McNamara (Boston: Little, Brown, 1993) Shepherd, R., Iain Macleod (Hutchinson, 1994) Simpson, J., The Independent Nuclear State: The US, Britain and the Military Atom (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1983) Stevenson, C., A., The End of Nowhere: American Policy Toward Laos Since 1954 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1972) Stookey, R. W., Yemen: The Politics of the Yemen Arab Republic (Boulder: Westview Press, 1978) Subritsky, J., Confronting Sukarno: British, American, Australian and New Zealand Diplomacy in the Malaysian–Indonesian Confrontation, 1961–5 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1999). Susser, A., On Both Banks of the Jordan: A Political Biography of Wasfi al-Tall (Frank Cass, 1994) Taylor, R., Against the Bomb: the British Peace Movement, 1958–1965 (Oxford: OUP, 1988) Thorne, C., Allies of a Kind: The United States, Britain and the War Against Japan, 1941–1945 (Hamish Hamilton, 1978) Thorpe, D. R., Alec Douglas-Home (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1996) Toye, H., Laos: Buffer State or Battleground (OUP, 1968) Trachtenberg, M., History and Strategy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991) Trachtenberg, M., A Constructed Peace: The Making of the European Settlement, 1945–1963 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1999) Tratt, J., The Macmillan Government and Europe: A Study in the Process of Policy Development (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1996) Trevaskis, K., Shades of Amber: A South Arabian Episode (Hutchinson, 1968) Turner, J., Macmillan (Longman, 1994) Tusa, A., The Last Division: Berlin and the Wall (Hodder & Stoughton, 1996) Twing, S. W., Myths, Models and US Foreign Policy: The Cultural Shaping of Three Cold Warriors (Lynne Rienner, 1998) Watt, D. C., Succeeding John Bull: America in Britain’s Place, 1900–1975 (Cambridge: CUP, 1984) Weissman, S. R., American Foreign Policy in the Congo, 1960–1964 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1974) White, M. J. (ed.), Kennedy: The New Frontier Revisited (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998) Wilkes, G., Britain’s Failure to Enter the European Community, 1961–63: The Enlargement Negotiations and Crises in European, Atlantic and Commonwealth Relations (Frank Cass, 1997) Williams, F., The American Invasion (Anthony Blond, 1962) Winand, P., Eisenhower, Kennedy and the United States of Europe (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1993) Young, H., This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1998)

282 Select Bibliography Young, J. W. (ed.), The Foreign Policy of Winston Churchill’s Peacetime Administration, 1951–1955 (Leicester: Leicester University Press, 1988) Young, J. W., Britain and European Unity, 1945–1992 (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1993) Young, J. W., Winston Churchill’s Last Campaign: Britain and the Cold War 1951–5 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996) Zasloff, J. J., and Unger, L., Laos: Beyond the Revolution (Basingstoke: Macmillan – now Palgrave Macmillan, 1991) Zubok, V., and Pleshakov, C., Inside the Kremlin’s Cold War: From Stalin to Khrushchev (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1996)

Articles Alderman, K., ‘Harold Macmillan’s “Night of the Long Knives”’, Contemporary Record, 6 (2), Autumn 1992 Aldrich, R., ‘British Intelligence and the Anglo-American “Special Relationship” during the Cold War’, Review of International Studies, 24 (3), July 1998 Ashton, N., ‘Britain and the Kuwaiti Crisis, 1961’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 9 (1), March 1998 Baylis, J., ‘The Anglo-American Relationship and Alliance Theory’, International Relations, 8 (4), November 1985 Beckett, I., ‘Robert Thompson and the British Advisory Mission to South Vietnam, 1961–1965’, Small Wars and Insurgencies, 8 (3), 1997 Blight, J. G., Nye, J. S., and Welch, D. A., ‘The Cuban Missile Crisis Revisited’, Foreign Affairs, 66(1), 1986 Boyle, P., ‘The British Government’s View of the Cuban Missile Crisis’, Contemporary Record, 10 (3), Autumn 1996 Caroll, F. M., ‘A Double-Edged Sword: Anglo-American “Special Relations”, 1936–1981’, International History Review, 6 (3), August 1984 Charmley, J., ‘Harold Macmillan and the Making of the French Committee of Liberation’, The International History Review, 4 (4), 1982 Costigliola, F., ‘The Nuclear Family: Tropes of Gender and Pathology in the Western Alliance’, Diplomatic History, 21 (2), 1997 Dobson, A., ‘The Years of Transition: Anglo-American Relations 1961–1967’, Review of International Studies, 16 (3), July 1990 Dobson, A., ‘Labour or Conservative: Does it Matter in Anglo-American Relations?’, Journal of Contemporary History, 25 (4), 1990 Dobson, A., ‘The Special Relationship and European Integration’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 3 (1), March 1992 Dutton, D., ‘Anticipating Maastricht: The Conservative Party and Britain’s First Application to Join the European Community’, Contemporary Record, 7 (3), Winter 1993 Fain, W. T., ‘Unfortunate Arabia: The United States, Great Britain and Yemen, 1955–63’, Diplomacy and Statecraft 12 (2), 2001. Fraser, C., ‘The “New Frontier” of Empire in the Caribbean: The Transfer of Power in British Guiana, 1961–1964’, The International History Review, 22 (3), September 2000 Gandy, C., ‘A Mission to Yemen: August 1962–January 1963’, British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 25 (2), 1998 Gearson, J. P. S., ‘British Policy and the Berlin Wall Crisis, 1958–61’, Contemporary Record, 6 (1), Summer 1992

Select Bibliography 283 Gerges, F. A., ‘The Kennedy Administration and the Egyptian–Saudi Conflict in Yemen: Co-opting Arab Nationalism’, Middle East Journal, 49 (2), Spring 1995 Hershberg, J. G., ‘Their Men in Havana: Anglo-American Intelligence Exchanges and the Cuban Crises, 1961–62’, Intelligence and National Security, 15 (2), Summer 2000 Little, D., ‘The New Frontier on the Nile: JFK, Nasser, and Arab Nationalism’, Journal of American History, 75 (2), September 1988 Louis, W. R., and Robinson, R., ‘The Imperialism of Decolonization’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 22, 1994 Ludlow, N., P., ‘Le Paradoxe Anglais: Britain and Political Union’, Revue d’Allemagne et des Pays de langue allemande, 29 (2), April–June 1997 Melissen, J., ‘The Restoration of the Nuclear Alliance: Great Britain and Atomic Negotiations with the United States, 1957–58’, Contemporary Record, 6 (1), 1992 Melissen, J., ‘Pre-Summit Diplomacy: Britain, the United States and the Nassau Conference 1962’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 7 (3), 1996 Peltz, S. E., ‘“When Do I Have Time to Think?” John F. Kennedy, Roger Hilsman, and the Laotian Crisis of 1962’, Diplomatic History, 3 (2), Spring 1979 Pharo, P. F. I., ‘A Precondition for Peace: Transparency and the Test-Ban Negotiations, 1958–1963’, The International History Review, 22 (3), September 2000 Rawnsley, G., ‘How Special is Special? The Anglo-American Alliance During the Cuban Missile Crisis’, Contemporary Record, 9 (3), Winter 1995 Reynolds, D., ‘A “Special Relationship”? American, Britain and the International Order since the Second World War’, International Affairs, 62 (1), Winter 1985–86 Reynolds, D., ‘Rethinking Anglo-American Relations’, International Affairs, 65 (1), Winter 1988–9 Ruane, K., ‘Anthony Eden, British Diplomacy and the Origins of the Geneva Conference, 1954’, The Historical Journal, 37 (1), 1994 Ruane, K., ‘Refusing to Pay the Price: British Foreign Policy and the Pursuit of Victory in Vietnam, 1952–4’, English Historical Review, 110 (435), 1995 Ruane, K., ‘“Containing America”: Aspects of British Foreign Policy and the Cold War in South-East Asia, 1951–54’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 7 (1), 1996 Scott, L., ‘Espionage and the Cold War: Oleg Penkovsky and the Cuban Missile Crisis’, Intelligence and National Security, 14 (3), Autumn 1999 Smith. S. C., ‘Revolution and Reaction: South Arabia in the Aftermath of the Yemeni Revolution’, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 28 (3), 2000. Snell-Mendoza, M., ‘In Defence of Oil: Britain’s Response to the Iraqi Threat towards Kuwait, 1961’, Contemporary Record, 10 (3), 1996 Usowski, P. S., ‘Intelligence Estimates and US Policy toward Laos, 1960–63’, Intelligence and National Security, 6 (2), 1991 Warner, G., ‘The Anglo-American Special Relationship’, Diplomatic History, 13 (4), Autumn 1989 Warner, G., ‘President Kennedy and Indochina: the 1961 Decisions’, International Affairs, 70 (4), 1994 Westad, O. A., ‘The New International History of the Cold War: Three (Possible) Paradigms’, Diplomatic History, 24 (4), Fall 2000

Unpublished secondary works Shields, D., B., The Impact of the Kennedy–Macmillan Relationship on the Making of Anglo-American Foreign Policies, 1961–1963: Five Case Studies (University of London, PhD thesis, 1998)

Index Acheson, Dean, 51–3, 56, 59, 65, 136, 170 Aden, 92–3, 96, 98, 105–6 Adenauer, Konrad, 17, 50, 61, 62, 87, 129, 145–6, 149 Adoula, Cyrille, 111, 116, 119, 122–3 Amery, Julian, 94 Anglo-American relations, 220–2 American views of Britain, 22–3 Berlin, 54–5, 59–61, 62–3 British views of America, 25–7 bureaucracies, 18–19, 154–5, 221 Congo, 126 communications, 19–20, 86–8 EEC, 127, 132–3, 151 gendering of, 8–9 interdependence, 191–2, 223–6 language, 17 Laos, 46–7 Middle East, 90–1, 107–8 nuclear tests, 218 anti-Americanism, 25–7 Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), 95, 101 Badeau, John, 94, 107 Ball, George, 79, 105, 114, 118, 123, 124–5, 134–6, 139–40, 146, 173–4, 176, 182 Bay of Pigs, 4, 28, 41, 42, 66–7 Beeley, Harold, 98, 103, 108 Belgium, 109–12, 120–1 Berlin, 48–63, 75, 84–5, 146, 195, 197, 225 Berlin Wall, 59–60 Bermuda conference (December 1961), 119–20, 203–4, 225 Bishop, Freddie, 13 Bligh, Tim, 2, 170–1, 175–6, 180 Blue Streak missile, 154–5 Bohlen, Charles, 148 Bolshakov, Georgi, 62 Boothby, Basil, 114 Bowles, Chester, 114

‘Brain Drain’, 26–7 British Guiana, 15, 16, 67–71, 222 Brook, Norman, 14, 19, 160 Brown, Winthrop, 41 Bruce, David, 2, 11, 49, 57, 61, 67, 69, 76, 78, 84, 86, 88, 121–2, 125, 136, 170, 176, 178, 212 Brundrett, Sir Frederic, 154 Bundy, McGeorge, 20, 24, 92, 121, 220–1 Berlin, 62 British Guiana, 71 Congo crisis, 119 Cuba, 65, 73, 77, 81, 83 EEC, 134, 136 Hawk missile sale, 9, 164 Nassau conference, 182 nuclear cooperation 166 nuclear tests, 199, 202, 205, 212 Yemen, 101–2 Bunker, Ellsworth, 103–4 Burke, Arleigh, 42, 155 Butler, R. A. (‘Rab’), 3, 38, 76, 88, 134, 140–1, 183 Caccia, Harold, 2, 17, 32, 34, 37, 55, 138, 198, 214 Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), 22 Castro, Fidel, 64–7, 69, 71, 224 Central African Federation (CAF), 112–13, 117, 222 Champs meeting (June 1962), 141–4 China, 124, 222 Christmas Island, 23, 201–6, 208, 225 Churchill, Sir Winston S., 5, 8, 11, 127, 140 Clay, Lucius, 60–2 Cline, Ray, 18 Clifford, Clark, 33 Committee of One Hundred, 26, 78 Congo crisis, 14, 63, 109–26, 144, 222–3, 225 Conservative Party, 117, 134, 139, 141, 184 284

Index 285 Coote, Colin, 25 Cousins, Norman, 214 Crossman, Richard, 6 Cuba, 51, 63, 64–7, 71–89, 90, 96–7, 109, 205, 209–10, 224–5 Dean, Arthur, 210 Dean, Sir Patrick, 118 Decker, George, 42 de Gaulle, Charles, 17, 27, 61, 62, 87, 122, 129–30, 138, 141–50, 176 de Zulueta, Philip, 13, 20, 31, 41, 74, 83, 87, 97, 112, 121–3, 131, 138, 142, 172, 174, 176, 189, 212–14 Dillon, Douglas, 132 Dobrynin, Anatoly, 44, 82 Douglas-Home, William, 12 Dulles, Allen, 56, 65 Dulles, John Foster, 29, 90, 108 Dundee, Earl of, 121 Eden, Anthony (Lord Avon), 10, 32, 141, 214 Egypt, 92, 97, 101 Eilts, Hermann, 104–5 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 2, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 55, 131–2 Berlin, 50–1, 53 Congo crisis, 114 Cuba, 65, 66 Laos, 29, 31–2, 33, 45 Middle East, 90–1, 95, 108 nuclear cooperation, 153, 155, 165, 177 nuclear tests, 196 Erhard, Ludwig, 145 European Economic Community (EEC), 11, 57, 109, 127–51, 178, 217, 222, 224 European Free Trade Association (EFTA), 132–3 Evans, Harold, 1, 3, 6, 170, 176, 205, 207 Feisal bin Saud, Prince of Saudi Arabia, 95, 103–4 France, 127, 129–30, 137–8, 141–50, 156, 217 Fraser, Hugh, 70 Free Trade Area (FTA), 128–30, 132

Gaitskell, Hugh, Cuba, 75 disengagement in Europe, 10–11 EEC, 141, 224 Kennedy relationship, 23–4 Laos, 32 nuclear tests, 197–8 Gandy, Christopher, 100–1 Gates, Thomas, 155 Geneva accord (July 1962), 45–6 Geneva conference (1954), 4, 29 Geneva conference (1955), 10 Geneva conference (1961–2), 42–3 Germany, East (DDR), 50, 53–4, 57–9, 61 Germany, West (Federal Republic), 58, 60, 129, 137, 145, 150, 217 Gilpatric, Roswell, 185 Grimond, Jo, 23 Gromyko, Andrei, 40, 44, 207, 218 Gruening, Ernest, 107 Hailsham, Lord, 26, 215–8 Hammarskjold, Dag, 112, 115 Harriman, Averell, 43–4, 45–6, 114, 213–18 Hawk missile sale, 7–8, 94, 142, 161–4, 223–4, 225 Healey, Denis, 32 Heath, Edward 67, 134, 138, 140 Heron, Louis, 45 Home, Lord, 3, 14, 149, 190, 220, 225 Berlin, 52–3, 56, 58–61 British Guiana, 68–71 Congo crisis, 114, 117, 121–5 Cuba, 71–2, 75, 84–5, 88 Hawk missile sale, 162–3 Laos, 34, 36, 37, 40, 42 Nassau conference, 176, 178–9, 183 nuclear tests, 204, 207, 210, 216 Yemen, 97–8, 102, 105–6 Hood, Lord, 41, 162, 164 Hussein bin Talal, King of Jordan, 92, 106 India, 117, 124 Indonesia, 220, 222 interdependence, 16–17, 27, 109, 152, 157–60, 184, 191–2, 223–6 Iraq, 105

286 Index Iraqi revolution (July 1958), 90 Israel, 161–5, 223 Jagan, Cheddi, 15, 68–71 Javits, Jacob, 107 Johnson, Alexis, 31, 37 Johnson, Lyndon Baines, 20, 48, 60, 220–1 Johnston, Sir Charles, 93–4, 97–8, 100, 102, 105–7 Jordan, 98, 105–6 Kasavubu, Joseph, 110 Katay, Don, 29, 30 Kaysen, Carl, 125, 136 Keating, Kenneth, 107 Kennedy, Joe, 12–13 Kennedy, John Fitzgerald, Berlin, 48–50, 53–4, 62 British Guiana, 70–1 character, 2, 12 colonialism, 14–15 Cuba, 64, 65–7, 76–7, 78–81, 82–4, 85–9 Congo crisis, 114–15, 117–20, 125–6 EEC, 135–6, 139, 144, 145–6, 149–51 Hawk missile sale, 162–4 ideology, 13–16 interdependence, 16, 160 Jordan, 105–6 Key West meeting, 1–4, 36–7 Laos, 33–4, 35, 41, 42 Macmillan relationship, 2, 54–5 Middle East, 90–1, 108 Multilateral Force, 137 Nassau conference, 175–85 nuclear cooperation, 155 nuclear tests, 194–219 Polaris missile, 147 Skybolt missile, 174 Yemen, 97–8, 101, 103–4, 107 Kennedy, Robert Francis, 62, 77 Key West conference (March 1961), 1–4, 36–7 Khrushchev, Nikita, 12, 13, 131, 181, 225 Berlin, 50–1, 53–4, 58–9 Congo crisis, 115 Cuba, 64, 74–5, 77–8, 80–4, 88 Laos, 28, 39, 43, 44, 46

nuclear tests, 197, 199, 206, 208, 212–18 Kitchen, Jeffrey, 185–6 Kohler, Foy, 213 Komer, Robert, 94, 96, 101–2, 107 KY-9 scrambler telephone, 19–20, 86–7 Kuwait, 91–2, 181 Lae, Kong, 30, 31 Laos, 1–4, 25, 28–47, 51, 52, 225 Lee, Sir Frank, 131 Le May, Curtis, 42 Lightner, Allan, 62 Lindsay, Sir Robert, 8 Linner, Sturre, 117 Lloyd, Selwyn, 38, 57, 127, 131 Lumumba, Patrice, 111, 115–16 MacDonald, Malcolm, 43–4 Macleod, Iain, 70, 133 Macmillan, Harold, Bay of Pigs, 66–7 Berlin, 48–9, 52–3, 56–8, 60–1 British Guiana, 69–71 colonialism, 15 Congo crisis, 114–15, 117–22 Cuba, 65, 73–6, 78–80, 83–7, 217 de Gaulle relationship, 130, 141–5 disengagement in Europe, 11 disengagement in Yemen, 99–101 EEC, 127–8, 134–5, 139–40 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 25 ‘Greeks and Romans’, 6–7 Hawk missile sale, 161–4, 172 ideology, 13–14 interdependence, 157–60 Kennedy relationship, 2, 54–5 Key West meeting, 1–4, 36–7 Laos, 31–2, 38–40 Nassau conference, 176–84 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 103, 108 nuclear tests, 193–5, 197–219 Paris summit (May 1960), 11–12, 131–2 Polaris sales agreement, 185–9 Skybolt, 155–6, 171–2, 175–6 summitry, 11 Washington talks (April 1961), 39 Washington talks (April 1962), 10 Yemen, 97–9, 105

Index 287 Macmillan, Lady Dorothy, 55 Makins, Sir Roger, 201 Mansholt, Sicco, 140 Maudling, Reginald, 70, 188 McCloy, John, 198, 215 McCone, John, 24, 45, 79 McGhee, George, 104 McLean, Neil (‘Billy’), 94 McMahon Act (1946), 152–3 McNamara, Robert, 21, 150, 165, 223 Anglo-American relations, 9–10 Cuba, 77, 82 EEC, 136 Jordan, 105 Multilateral Force, 136–7 Nassau conference, 180, 182 nuclear cooperation, 155, 157–60 nuclear tests, 198 Polaris missile, 185, 187–9 Skybolt missile, 165–80 Merchant, Livingston, 190 Middle East, 63, 90–108, 225 Mills, Sir George, 2 Monnet, Jean, 135 Mountbatten, Lord, 190 Multilateral Force (MLF), 136–7, 148, 178, 190–1 Murrow, Edward, 24

Laos, 45 Nassau conference, 176–7, 180, 182, 184–5 nuclear cooperation, 157 nuclear tests, 197, 200, 205–6, 210–13, 218 Polaris missile, 147, 187–9 Skybolt missile, 167–8, 171, 174 Yemen, 96, 98, 103 Oum, Prince Boun, 30 Owen, Henry, 136, 168

Nassau conference (December 1962), 8, 17, 24, 55, 109, 124–5, 146–8, 156, 176–84, 210, 224 Nasser, Gamal Abdel, 64–5, 90–6, 98–108 Neustadt, Richard, 10, 136–7, 148, 168, 174–5, 223 Nitze, Paul, 56, 104, 124, 136, 171 Nixon, Richard, 12 Nkrumah, Kwame, 111, 115 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), 57, 71, 76, 82, 87, 134, 138, 169, 178–9, 181–2, 189

Rambouillet talks (January 1961), 133 Rambouillet talks (December 1962), 122–3, 144–5, 146–7, 176 Redmayne, Sir Martin, 183 Roberts, Frank, 39, 40, 83 Rockefeller, Nelson, 194 Roosevelt, Kermit, 101, 103 Rostow, Walt, 43, 56, 136 Rothschild, Robert, 121 Rubel, John, 158 Rusk, Dean, 14, 24 Anglo–American relations, 7–8 Berlin, 59–61 British Guiana, 67–71 Congo crisis, 114, 117, 123 Cuba, 71, 76, 79, 85 EEC, 136 Hawk missile sale, 162, 164 Laos, 33, 36, 37, 42, 43, 45 Nassau conference, 176 nuclear cooperation, 155, 166

Ormsby-Gore, David, 2, 20–1, 220–1 Berlin, 48 British Guiana, 71 chosen as ambassador, 37 Congo crisis, 118 Cuba, 66, 72–4, 76–9, 83–5, 87–8, 205 Hawk missile sale, 163

Pathet Lao, 29, 30, 39, 41, 42, 44–5 Paris summit (May 1960), 11–12, 28, 51, 127, 131–2 Penney, William, 203–4 Phouma, Souvanna, 29, 30, 31, 34, 39, 44–6 Phoumi, General, 30, 31, 35, 42–5 Plan G, 128 Polaris missile, 82, 147, 149–50, 155, 168, 170, 172–5, 177, 181–2, 185–90, 192, 202 Poole, Oliver, 141 Powell, Enoch, 94 Powers, Gary, 196 Qassem, Abdel Karim, 91–2, 102

288 Index Rusk, Dean – continued nuclear tests, 206, 216 Yemen, 96, 99, 106 Russell, Lord, 75, 78 Salinger, Pierre, 185, 199 Sallal, Abdullah, 93, 97, 100 Sananikone, Phoui, 30 Sandys, Duncan, 93, 97, 102, 105, 180, 183 Saud, King of Saudi Arabia, 95 Saudi Arabia, 92, 94–6, 98–101, 103–4 Schaetzel, Robert, 136, 168 Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr., 13, 52, 54, 58, 70, 125, 130, 205 Seaborg, Glenn, 201 Sellars, Peter, 209 Shoup, David, 42 Skybolt missile, 133, 146, 148, 154–6, 158–9, 164–84, 187, 201, 223, 225 Sorensen, Theodore, 31, 42, 214 Souphanouvong, Prince, 45 South Africa, 113 South East Asia Treaty Organisation (SEATO), 3, 29, 32–3, 35, 37, 39, 42–3, 45 Soviet Union, 13, 29, 39, 40, 45, 49, 65, 80–1, 108, 113–14, 116, 120, 125, 156, 181, 196–200, 203, 208, 210, 216–18 ‘special relationship’, 5–6 Stalin, Joseph, 49, 61 Stephenson, Sir Hugh, 158 Stevens, Sir Roger, 114 Stevenson, Adlai, 69, 79, 114, 118 Strong, Sir Kenneth, 18 Suez crisis, 64, 74, 86, 103, 127, 181–2 Syria, 92–3, 105 Talbot, Phillips, 96, 164 Taylor, Maxwell, 191

Test Ban Treaty (Limited), 217–19, 220 Thant, U, 78–80, 117–18, 124 Thompson, Llewellyn, 28, 211 Thorneycroft, Peter, 149, 165–6, 169–74, 180, 182–3, 185, 187–8, 224 Trend, Burke, 102 Trevaskis, Kennedy, 106 Trevelyan, Humphrey, 213 Tshombe, Moise, 110, 112, 117, 119–20, 122, 125–6, 224 Tyler, William, 8 United Arab Republic (UAR), 99, 105 Vatthana, Prince Savang, 30 Vienna summit (June 1961), 43, 53, 197, 198, 199 Vietnam, 29, 46, 222 Washington talks (April 1961), 39, 66–8 Washington talks (April 1962), 17, 44, 120, 158–9, 166, 223 Watkinson, Harold, 165, 223 Laos, 32–3, 38, 43 nuclear cooperation, 157–8 Skybolt, 155–6 Waverley, Viscountess Ava, 59, 140, 225 Welensky, Sir Roy, 15, 113, 117, 120 Wiesner, Jerome, 194 Williams, Mennen (‘Soapy’), 114 Wilson, Harold, 24, 170, 220, 222, 225 Working groups (Anglo-American), 18–19 Wyndham, John, 17 Yemen, 90, 92–108, 109 Zuckerman, Sir Solly, 158, 187, 215–16