Allies Apart Heath Nixon and the Anglo American Relationship

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					         Allies Apart
Health, Nixon and the Anglo-American

           Andrew Scott
Allies Apart
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Allies Apart
Heath, Nixon and the Anglo-American

Andrew Scott
© Andrew Scott 2011
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as the author of this work in accordance with the Copyright,
Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First published 2011 by
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To Mum – in memory of Dad
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Acknowledgements                                            viii

Abbreviations                                                 x

Introduction                                                  1

1 Joining Europe                                             18

2 The Nixon Shocks: The Opening to China and New
  Economic Policy                                            50

3 The South Asia Crisis                                      80

4 Negotiating Détente: SALT and the Prevention of Nuclear
  War Agreement                                             108

5 The Year of Europe                                        140

6 The Middle East Crisis                                    166

Conclusion                                                  196

Notes                                                       205

Bibliography                                                238

Index                                                       248


As I publish my first book – and in case it’s my last – it feels fitting to take
a step back and think about all of the people who helped me through-
out my education. It is a real pleasure to be able to thank some of them
here. At school, I was lucky to have three very inspiring history teachers:
Mr Davies, Mr Dean and Mr Williams. At university, I was fortunate
to be taught by some of the leading historians in the world. At Leeds,
Professor John Gooch and Dr Joe Maiolo were especially supportive
and gave me the confidence to carry on with my studies. At McGill,
where I spent a year as an exchange student, I was inspired by the
teaching of Professor Peter Hoffman and Professor Brian Lewis. At the
London School of Economics, I greatly benefited from the teaching and
guidance of Professor Paul Preston and Dr Nigel Ashton, whose course
on Anglo-American relations set me off on this path. At Cambridge,
Dr John Thompson and Dr Andrew Preston were very supportive and
encouraging. I was also lucky enough to spend two years as a visiting
fellow at Yale University where I was warmly welcomed by Professor
Paul Kennedy and Professor John Gaddis.
   My biggest academic debt, however, is to my graduate supervisor, Pro-
fessor David Reynolds. This book began life as a PhD; the fact that it is
now being published owes a huge amount to David’s generous advice,
support and encouragement. His clear thinking and writing remain a
constant inspiration to me.
   Throughout my graduate studies, I was fortunate to receive funding
from a number of organisations. At the LSE and Cambridge, I was spon-
sored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. During my time at
Yale, I was supported first by the generosity and vision of Mr Joseph Fox
and then by International Security Studies and the Smith–Richardson
Foundation. As a PhD student, I also really valued being a member of
Sidney Sussex College. Aside from providing a fantastic place to live and
work, it enabled me to have a bigger social life and play more football
and squash than I perhaps should have.
   Having been a student for nearly ten years at five different universities,
I have been lucky enough to have made many friends from around the
world. A few even took an interest in this project, but most made what
could have been a lonely experience a lot of fun.

                                                      Acknowledgements   ix

   Over the past couple of years, as I sought to turn my PhD into a book,
I have been greatly assisted by the history team at Palgrave Macmillan.
It was Professor Saki Dockrill who first agreed to take on my project;
sadly, though, I never got to thank her in person. I am also very grateful
to Michael Strang, Ruth Ireland and the rest of the editorial team at
Palgrave Macmillan for sticking with this project, despite it taking much
longer than it should have.
   Finally, and most importantly, thanks to my family. My sister, Lizzie,
and brothers, Chris and Rob, have been incredibly supportive to their
younger brother and helped me through countless issues, mostly unre-
lated to this book. None of this would have been possible, however,
without the belief, inspiration and generosity of my dad which contin-
ues with me every day. I am not sure what he would have made of this,
but I am proud that my book can finally sit by his. Above all, though,
I want to thank my mum. She, more than anyone, has given me the
unconditional love and support I have needed to finish this.

ABM      Anti-Ballistic Missile
ACDA     Arms Control and Development Agency
CAB      Cabinet Files (TNA)
CAP      Common Agricultural Policy
CIA      Central Intelligence Agency
CSCE     Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
DBPO     Documents on British Policy Overseas
EC       European Community
ECSC     European Coal and Steel Community
EEC      European Economic Community
EFTA     European Free Trade Area
ERDF     European and Regional Development Fund
FBS      Forward Based (Nuclear Delivery) Systems
FCO      Foreign and Commonwealth Office papers (TNA)
FRUS     Foreign Relations of the United States
GATT     General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
HAK      Henry A. Kissinger Files (NPMP)
ICBM     Intercontinental Ballistic Missile
Memcon   Memoranda of conversation
MIRV     Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicle
MP       Member of Parliament
NA       National Archives, US
NAC      North Atlantic Council
NATO     North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
NSA      National Security Archive
NSC      National Security Council
NPMP     Nixon Presidential Materials Project
NSDM     National Security Decision Memoranda
NSSM     National Security Study Memoranda
OECD     Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
OPEC     Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries
POF      President’s Office Files (NA)
PPPUS    Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States
PRC      People’s Republic of China

                                                Abbreviations xi

PREM     Prime Minister’s Files (TNA)
RAF      Royal Air Force
RG       Record Group (NA)
SALT     Strategic Arms Limitations Talks
SLBM     Submarine-Launched Ballistic Missile
SRG      Senior Review Group
Telcon   Telephone conversation
TNA      The National Archives, UK
UK       United Kingdom
UN       United Nations
US       United States of America
WHCF     White House Central Files (NA)
WHSF     White House Special Files (NA)
WSAG     Washington Special Action Group
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The Heath–Nixon years, extending from Edward Heath’s election in June
1970 to his defeat in February 1974, have been widely portrayed as a
low-point for Anglo-American relations – perhaps the lowest. Political
commentators and historians alike have characterised the early 1970s
as ‘the lean years of almost forgotten friendship’, highlighting how,
in numerous policy areas, longstanding cooperation and dialogue gave
way to disagreement and acrimony.1 And, as for personal relations at
the top, they are said to have become uniquely strained and distant.
All in all, it is contended that the period marked a turning point –
albeit a temporary one – when the so-called ‘special relationship’ was
‘abruptly ended’.2 The aim of this book, using recently released govern-
ment documents on both sides of the Atlantic, is to examine if and why
this was the case. Whereas there has been much debate about what has
made Anglo-American relations so special, the question here is what, if
anything, was so bad about the Heath–Nixon years?
   In many ways, though, the fact that the premierships of Edward Heath
and Richard Nixon have emerged as such a difficult time for the alliance
is surprising. Certainly, from the vantage of Heath’s election, things
looked very different. Having been privately cheering for the Con-
servatives, Nixon was ‘ecstatic’ about Heath’s surprise victory, calling
his national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, repeatedly to express his
delight.3 After what had been personally and politically difficult times
under his predecessor, Harold Wilson, Heath’s victory brought renewed
hope for the Anglo-American relationship. During the Wilson–Johnson
years, the alliance had been badly damaged by what, in Washington’s
eyes, was the Labour government’s ‘three pronged misbehaviour’: its
refusal to send even a token force to help fight in Vietnam, the
announcement of its intention to withdraw British forces from ‘East of

2   Allies Apart

Suez’ and its devaluation of the pound.4 Individually, each decision
caused profound resentment in Washington; collectively, they almost
amounted to Britain’s abdication as an ally. While Nixon was unable to
overcome the sense of personal betrayal that had built towards Wilson,
he evidently regarded the Conservative government as a natural match
for his Republican administration and had the highest regard for its
leader. Internationally, Heath had already proven himself a staunch ally,
being one of the few foreign leaders to stand by US policy in Vietnam –
an issue which had sorely tested America’s friendships. In opposition,
Heath had also signalled his own discontent with the East of Suez deci-
sion, negotiating a Five-Power Defence Pact in the Far East. Moreover,
like Nixon, Heath was an instinctive Cold Warrior who believed it was
essential to protect the global balance of power against the Soviets.
Here, it seemed, was a leader with whom Nixon could finally share the
burdens of the world.
   Furthermore, there also appeared to be better prospects for personal
relations under the new prime minister. In many ways, Nixon and Heath
were kindred spirits, both having risen to the top from humble origins –
respectively the son of a small town grocer and carpenter – through
their own determination and hard work. While these two notorious
loners had little time or talent for small talk or socialising, they were at
home in set-piece exchanges on international relations. Beyond politics,
they even shared the same pastimes – sailing and the piano. Ultimately,
though, these were two serious politicians driven by a profound sense
of personal mission and political ambition. Although their relationship
might lack the public appeal or outward intimacy of previous president–
prime minister connections, there was good reason to hope that it would
be a genuine partnership based on deep mutual respect. In short, it
was expected that their shared social shortcomings would enable them
to shed their insecurities and get down to business together. Follow-
ing Heath’s election, the two leaders professed their desire to rebuild
relations and, in particular, establish a close personal connection.5
   By all accounts, things got off to a good start.6 When Nixon met Heath
for the first time as prime minister at his country residence, Chequers,
on 3 October 1970, the two leaders engaged in a frank and wide-ranging
discussion on international affairs, demonstrating a broad harmony of
views. On Vietnam, Heath fully endorsed Nixon’s emphasis on the need
for the United States to be seen to withdraw in ‘good order’. If America
lost in South East Asia, he reasoned in a logic shared by the president,
the Soviet attitude would harden elsewhere, especially in Europe. Turn-
ing to the Middle East, Heath was equally hard-headed, warning that the
                                                             Introduction 3

Soviets stood ready to extend their influence towards the Gulf and across
the entire region without necessarily moving to confrontation – an anal-
ysis which Kissinger considered the most ‘original and cogent’ he had
heard by any world leader.7 The new prime minister also keenly played
up the significance of the Five-Power Defence Pact, which had just been
finalised and committed 4500 British troops in South Asia, proclaiming
that it would help reinforce American determination to continue to play
a role in maintaining the security of the area. Given the number of issues
that confronted them, Nixon stressed that the need for close contacts
between their governments was ‘greater than it had ever been’. Refer-
ring explicitly to the ‘special relationship’, the president underlined its
purpose and value as a free and confidential exchange of ideas and opin-
ions before formal policies were adopted. Britain, he pledged, would not
be kept in the dark over America’s intentions.8
   On his return to Washington, Nixon wrote a warm message to Heath,
addressing him as ‘Ted’, in which he emphasised the ‘special advantages
of speaking with old friends’.9 Kissinger enthusiastically affirmed that
the visit had demonstrated that ‘there indeed was a special relationship
and that it continued to flow strong.’10
   Things continued in this rosy vein when Heath visited Washington
the following December. Once again, the two leaders had relaxed and
productive discussions, with Nixon even commenting that, compared
to Wilson, Heath was a ‘great guy’.11 A photo of the two leaders play-
ing a piano duet seemed to capture the spirit of the new relationship,
with the media widely reflecting on the ‘unusual degree of personal
cordiality’ that had developed at the top; the New York Daily News
even suggested that it was ‘the first time since the Eisenhower Admin-
istration that genuine personal friendliness has been enjoyed by the
leaders of the two nations’.12 Speaking more broadly about his hopes
for the alliance during an appearance on the American television show
Meet the Nation, Heath was effusive, stressing that he had come to
power eager to recreate the ‘automatic process’ of consultation with
Washington which he felt had been lost in recent years.13 After difficult
times, then, the Heath–Nixon years heralded something of a new begin-
ning for the Anglo-American alliance – even the rebirth of the ‘special
   However, as indicated at the outset, despite such high hopes and a
promising start, transatlantic relations are said to have plummeted to
their nadir under Heath and Nixon. In stark contrast to the early talk
of a shared global outlook and renewed intimacy, historians have char-
acterised the early 1970s as a time of ‘unusual fractiousness’ when the
4   Allies Apart

alliance ‘faltered and lost direction’.14 Moreover, for all the good faith,
early pledges and apparent commonalities, relations at the top are said
to have devolved into ‘mutual contempt’.15 By the time Heath left office,
some commentators had even pronounced the end of the ‘special rela-
tionship’. Thus, to slightly rephrase the opening question, after such an
auspicious beginning, what went so wrong? In short, what drove the
allies apart?
   As will be discussed below, the current literature points to a num-
ber of answers which, broadly speaking, can be divided into two kinds:
first, those which, setting the period against the long-term trajectory
and pattern of the relationship, see it as marking an inevitable low;
and, second, those which, focussing on the particular personalities
and policies of the Heath and Nixon governments, identify a distinct
breakdown. In part, these varied explanations derive from different
understandings of what constitutes the ‘special relationship’. Depend-
ing on which view is taken, the early 1970s are seen as a time when it
was in terminal decline, exposed as illusory or abruptly ended.
   When Winston Churchill first popularised the notion of the ‘special
relationship’ during his ‘Iron Curtain’ speech on 5 March 1946, he
depicted it as the central partnership in the struggle against tyranny.
However, for all of Churchill’s talk of shared values and commitments –
the ‘fraternal association of the English-speaking peoples’ – it was clear
that the relationship was acutely imbalanced. While the Second World
War had propelled the United States to global pre-eminence, it had left
Britain prostrate, having lost a quarter of its national wealth, struggling
to hold on to the remains of its empire and relying on America for
economic assistance and a security guarantee. The basic story of post-
war Anglo-American relations was of America taking Britain’s place –
‘succeeding John Bull’16 – and Britain becoming dependent on its dom-
inant partner for its own power and influence. This was most clearly
demonstrated in the nuclear field in which Britain, having once led the
way, came to depend on American assistance to sustain its own capabil-
ity and attendant seat at the diplomatic top table. In December 1962, the
then prime minister, Harold Macmillan, was forced to make a personal
appeal to President Kennedy to allow Britain to purchase American
Polaris missiles, since its own technology had proved obsolete. In effect,
Britain’s status as an independent nuclear power had become chimeri-
cal. As John Young writes, by the mid-1960s ‘Britain was becoming
one US ally among many and was far less powerful than its transat-
lantic partner.’17 Increasingly, then, Churchill’s vision of the ‘special
relationship’ as a genuine partnership of equals seemed illusory.
                                                              Introduction 5

   When viewed against this story of British decline and dependency,
the ‘special relationship’ emerges as a particularly British concept. For all
of the Churchillian rhetoric of common history, culture and language,
the term’s genesis and endurance, it can be argued, has owed most to
a calculation of national interests in London. As David Reynolds con-
cludes, it was in part a ‘“tradition” invented as a tool of diplomacy’.18
Simply put, successive governments have attempted to arrest British
decline through seeking special access, influence and privileges within
Washington. Viewed in the most flattering light, this has amounted to
Britain playing the role of helmsman to the unwieldy superpower. Most
famously, Harold Macmillan conjured up the analogy of the Greeks lead-
ing the Romans to convey this paternalistic view: ‘These Americans’, he
explained, ‘represent the new Roman Empire and we British, like the
Greeks of old, must teach them how to make it go.’19
   For others, though, the notion of a ‘special relationship’ with the
United States has increasingly fostered a damaging national illusion
which has prevented a rational and realistic assessment of Britain’s place
in the world. Far from being the helmsman to US power, for many, a
more accurate caricature of Britain has been as America’s poodle giv-
ing unconditional support to its master. Most damaging of all, it is
argued that the belief that Britain shares a unique association with the
world’s pre-eminent power has prevented it from committing to and
being accepted by its proper place in the world – at the heart of a
united Europe.20 When, in December 1962, former Secretary of State
Dean Acheson jibed that Britain had ‘lost an empire and not yet found
a role’, a central point of his speech was that the ‘special relationship’
was an outdated concept and had become an obstacle to British mem-
bership of the European Community (EC).21 The reason the particular
line hurt so much was that it was largely true, whatever conceit had
been invented to disguise the fact.
   In this light, the ‘special relationship’ has inevitably counted for less
in Washington. As a rising superpower, America had little incentive to
attach its destiny to any notional association with another country. Yet,
it can still be argued that, beyond the connections of history, culture
and language, Britain has had particular – even special – value as an ally
in the United States. Having once been a world power and still holding
on to the remnants of its empire, Britain offered a uniquely global per-
spective and presence. In the mid-1960s, Britain maintained over 60,000
servicemen and 80 vessels at various bases in the Middle East and Asia
and was looked to by Washington as its principal partner in the effort to
contain communism. Furthermore, its remaining possessions, scattered
6   Allies Apart

across the globe, constituted an important network of intelligence and
communications posts. Thus, whatever America’s previous opposition
to Britain’s empire, its residue came to be regarded by Washington as an
invaluable strategic asset in the struggle against the Soviet Union.
   Conversely, as Britain gradually relinquished its remaining posses-
sions abroad, so its utility in Washington diminished. The defining
moment came in July 1967 when, despite protests from Johnson, the
Wilson government announced its intention to withdraw British forces
from East of Suez. A report by the Overseas Policy and Defence Commit-
tee put the effects of the move in the starkest terms: ‘by the mid-1970s
we shall have to cease to play a worldwide military role.’22 With this
statement, Saki Dockrill concludes, ‘the lengthy British transforma-
tion of its world role since 1945 had reached a final conclusion.’23
For the United States, beyond the sense of personal betrayal – with
the decision coming just as the president faced his toughest challenge
yet in Vietnam – the planned withdrawal marked an end to Britain’s
pretensions as a global partner. ‘If these steps are taken’, Johnson
upbraided Wilson, ‘they will be tantamount to British withdrawal in
world affairs.’24 In terms of Britain’s status as an ally, a State Depart-
ment memo was incisive: ‘Inasmuch as the US will continue to have
worldwide responsibilities and vast military, economic, and diplomatic
resources, while Britain will not, how can the latter hope to still qual-
ify for the role of favoured partner?’, it asked rhetorically. Reflecting on
the significance of the moment, the British ambassador in Washington,
Patrick Dean, observed that a ‘watershed’ had passed in Anglo-American
relations, while his counterpart in London, David Bruce, concluded that
the ‘so-called special relationship had become little more than senti-
mental terminology.’25 Thus, as Jonathon Colman concludes, Britain’s
retreat from East of Suez marked the ‘end of an era’ in post-war transat-
lantic relations.26 By the early 1970s, then, the ‘special relationship’, if
not an illusion, was, some would suggest, in terminal decline.
   Beyond this ‘terminalist’ school of thought, it can also be argued that
relations were particularly distant during the early 1970s due to the
prevailing international circumstances of the time. Overall, the Anglo-
American relationship has been closest during times of conflict or at
least when there has been a perception of a common threat. What-
ever the growing asymmetry of power, many have argued that, at its
core, the alliance’s purpose has remained constant: it has always been
a defensive arrangement founded on a common commitment to liberal
democracy.27 Much of what is commonly understood to make relations
so intimate and enduring – the institutionalised military, intelligence
                                                              Introduction 7

and nuclear cooperation – was forged in the fight against fascism. After
a brief period of post-war disintegration, the relationship was revived
to meet the perceived communist challenge. More recently, the inva-
sions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the so-called war on terror, have
re-focussed the defence commitments and, as a result, renewed talk
of the ‘special relationship’. By contrast, the early 1970s was a period
dominated by the pursuit of global détente, with Nixon’s energies con-
centrated on building relations with America’s communist adversaries.
As the president proclaimed an ‘era of negotiation’ and the Soviet lead-
ers reverted to the rhetoric of peaceful coexistence, some even spoke
of the end of the Cold War. Inevitably, then, as the rival superpow-
ers engaged in direct talks, US relations with Britain – no longer a
superpower – lost their importance and vitality. The fact that the Anglo-
American relationship would become distant under Heath and Nixon
was, on this analysis, predictable but not necessarily problematic.
   Although these deterministic views of the Heath–Nixon years will
consistently form part of the argument here, the overwhelming impres-
sion that emerges from the existing literature is that relations in this era
were not on a natural ebb but suffered a distinct breakdown – the early
1970s are seen not so much as a story of transatlantic drift as transat-
lantic rift. The main proponent of this view has been Henry Kissinger.
Throughout his mammoth set of memoirs, which extend to three vol-
umes and nearly 4000 pages, Kissinger offers the most detailed personal
account of Anglo-American relations during the period. Somewhat sur-
prisingly, given his reputation as an arch-realist, Kissinger emerges as a
convinced exponent of the sentimentalised view of the ‘special relation-
ship’. Writing in the late 1970s, he reflected on what he considered to
be its essence:

   The special relationship with Britain was peculiarly impervious
   to abstract theories. It did not depend on formal arrangements;
   it derived in part from the memory of Britain’s heroic wartime
   effort; it reflected the common language and culture of two
   sister peoples . . . This was, in effect, a pattern of consultation so
   matter-of-factly intimate that it became psychologically impossible
   to ignore British views . . . It was an extraordinary relationship because
   it rested on no legal claim . . . Britain’s influence was great precisely
   because it never insisted on it; the ‘special relationship’ demonstrated
   the value of intangibles.28

According to Kissinger, both he and Nixon came to office determined to
renew these unique bonds, going out of their way to accord the Heath
8   Allies Apart

government preferential status, even offering a direct phone line to the
president.29 Furthermore, in public and private, both frequently and
pointedly employed the rhetoric of the ‘special relationship’. All in all,
Nixon is said to have wanted ‘nothing so much as the intimate collabo-
ration of a kind he would grant to no other foreign leader’.30 However,
despite their best efforts, Kissinger records ruefully how during his time
in office he witnessed a ‘wanton breaking of traditional Anglo-American
relations’ which resulted in an ‘unprecedented period of strain’ for the
   For Kissinger, the blame rested squarely with one man – Edward
Heath. Although Nixon had a deep respect for the new prime minister,
Kissinger recalls how Heath was particularly difficult to get along with,
variously describing him as prickly, stubborn and prone to bouts of ‘icy
aloofness’.32 All of which, he suggests, made it impossible for Nixon,
despite such auspicious beginnings, to establish anything like the kind
of personal rapport that had characterised president–prime minister
relationships in the past. Moreover, Heath is said to have lacked the
instinctive pro-Americanism of his predecessors and even felt indifferent
to Americans individually.33 All things considered, the new prime minis-
ter, Kissinger bemoans, dealt with the United States ‘not on sentimental
attachments, but on cool calculations of self-interest’.34
   However, for Kissinger, the real problem with Heath was not his per-
sonal predisposition or prejudice but his political ambition. Above all,
he is remembered for his determination to lead Britain into Europe,
which he finally managed in January 1972 with the signing of the Treaty
of Accession – his ‘proudest moment’.35 Whereas Churchill gave birth to
the notion of the ‘special relationship’, Heath is said to have been the
father of a European Britain.36 To this end, according to Kissinger, Heath
was single-minded – even blinkered – and prepared to sacrifice all else.
Relations with the United States were, Kissinger concludes, ‘doomed’.37
   As the story goes, having twice been barred from the EC by the
domineering French president, Charles de Gaulle, who accused Britain
of being too close to America to be able to fully commit to Europe,
Heath was determined to show otherwise. In order to prove Britain a
good European, Kissinger charges, he deliberately and decisively down-
graded relations with Washington.38 When Heath first visited the White
House as leader in December 1970, he pointedly refused to reciprocate
Nixon’s repeated public references to the ‘special relationship’. Instead,
to the president’s evident embarrassment, he announced he preferred
the less exclusive term, ‘natural relationship’, to describe the transat-
lantic connection.39 Behind the shift in rhetoric, the prime minister
                                                               Introduction 9

seemingly spurned Nixon and Kissinger’s offers of special treatment,
preferring to build relations with his new partners in the EC. More-
over, once in Europe, rather than leading opinion, Britain, under Heath’s
direction, is said to have simply followed the French and sought to
communicate with Washington as one of the Nine.
   For Kissinger, 1973 was a particularly bad year for the alliance. When,
in April, he launched his ‘Year of Europe’ initiative, which called for
the creation of a new Atlantic Charter, Britain, despite prior consulta-
tion, showed little enthusiasm for the project, instead seeming more
concerned to align with the French. In July, Heath even wrote a letter to
Nixon insisting that all bilateral exchanges on the matter would hence-
forth be shared with the other members of the EC. For Kissinger, the
demarche marked a critical turning point for Anglo-American relations
signalling an end to their exclusive channel of communications. Worse
followed in October when war broke out in the Middle East. As the
United States came to the aid of the Israelis and requested support from
its allies, Britain refused and instead joined the other Europeans – led
by the French – in expressing sympathy for the Arab cause. By the end
of the year, Kissinger claims he had grown completely exasperated with
the behaviour of America’s closest ally. In both word and deed, Heath
had struck a terminal blow at the ‘special relationship’. The paradox
was striking: just as the United States finally seemed eager for the kind
of relationship Britain had craved in the past, the prime minister pushed
for separation. All of which is said to have left Nixon feeling like a ‘jilted
   Kissinger’s account has since come to dominate scholarship to such an
extent that it could be said that there now exists something of a Heath-
centric orthodoxy, whereby it has become widely accepted that relations
with Washington were fatally undermined by Heath’s ambitions in
Europe.41 Ritchie Ovendale captures the trend: ‘Nixon’s overtures of
friendship’, he writes, ‘were met with a deliberate and sustained aloof-
ness by the Europe-obsessed Heath.’42 Most recently, Philip Zeigler’s and
Alistair Horne’s authorised biographies of Heath and Kissinger have rein-
forced this view. ‘Never’, Horne writes, ‘has the “special relationship”
been in worse shape than with Heath at the helm in London.’43
   In this light, the Heath years, and Heath himself, emerge as something
of an aberration. Looking down the line of post-war prime ministers,
Heath is painted as the ‘odd man out’ – the first and only British leader
to have chosen a place in Europe over and at the expense of relations
with America.44 It was, Kissinger laments, a ‘painful transformation’.45
However, he stresses that Heath’s reorientation of British policy from
10   Allies Apart

across the Atlantic to over the Channel did not reflect official opinion
or popular will. According to Kissinger, ‘old hands at the Foreign Office’
were deeply unhappy about Heath’s wilful break with Washington.46
Moreover, whatever the machinations of their maverick leader, Kissinger
maintains that the British people’s interests and identity remained
firmly anchored across the Atlantic. In the end, then, any transfor-
mation in British foreign policy, while painful, was only temporary –
‘nothing more than a curious anomaly in post-war history’, Catherine
Hynes concludes in her recent study.47 Accordingly, when Heath was
forced out of office at the beginning of March 1974 following elec-
tion defeat, the new government’s priority was to restore relations with
Washington. Thus, in the wider sweep of Anglo-American relations, and
indeed British history, Heath emerges as a blip in the ocean rather than
marking a genuine sea change.
   Now, with the release of official sources in both Washington and
London, it is possible to re-examine Kissinger’s claims, and those of like-
minded scholars, in the light of evidence from the time. To some extent,
what follows will corroborate his version of events. As will be shown,
officials on both sides of the Atlantic clearly did feel that, after such a
promising beginning, relations hit a distinct – even unprecedented –
low. Furthermore, Kissinger’s subsequent reflections were consistent
with his remarks at the time. Particularly towards the end of 1973, he
can be found frequently lambasting British behaviour, warning that the
‘special relationship’ was collapsing under its newfound role in Europe.
For his part, Heath was undoubtedly the most committed of all lead-
ers to Britain’s vocation in Europe, having established membership as a
dominant theme early in his political career. To this end, he was careful
to avoid being labelled as America’s ‘special’ ally. Rhetorically speak-
ing, at least, under Heath, the ‘special relationship’ was indeed ‘abruptly
   However, it is a central argument of this book that this Heath-
centric view of events goes too far and misses another side to the story.
Taken as a whole, Allies Apart develops two basic counter-arguments.
First, it challenges the notion that one man single-handedly affected a
transformation – even revolution – in Britain’s post-war foreign policy,
demonstrating how it is not only exaggerated but positively misleading.
As will be shown in Chapter 1, Britain’s turn to Europe reflected a grad-
ual evolution rather than a sudden change in policy. By the time Heath
came to power, arguments were mounting in favour of entry to the point
where it was widely regarded as both essential and inevitable – Heath’s
role was to sail on the tide of history rather than steer his own course.
                                                            Introduction 11

For Heath, like his predecessors, joining Europe was first and foremost
about renewing Britain’s status and role as a world power, especially
given the increasing preponderance of the superpowers.
   Moreover, as will become evident, a growing argument for Europe was
the changing nature of relations with the United States. In short, as
Britain’s status and influence dwindled in Washington, policy-makers
across Whitehall turned to the EC as an alternative platform of global
power. However, as will be shown, this did not necessarily dictate a rift
or weakening of ties with the United States. In fact, central to Heath’s
own reasoning was the need to reconfigure relations with Washington.
It was only as part of a united Europe, he argued, that Britain could work
in genuine partnership with the United States – the exact argument that
had long been made in Washington. Nevertheless, it was recognised on
both sides of the Atlantic that, to get in, Britain would have to dispel at
least the appearance of the ‘special relationship’ and therefore do away
with the term itself.
   Second, Allies Apart reveals a very different view in London from
the one Kissinger presents. While British policy-makers, at all levels,
observed how relations had indeed suffered under Heath, as will become
the major theme of subsequent chapters, it was felt that the princi-
pal cause of Anglo-American difficulties was not the ambition of their
leader but the nature of policy-making in Washington. In short, to really
understand what drove the allies apart, we need to consider the policies
of Nixon as much as of Heath.
   While Nixon will forever be associated with domestic turmoil – the
scandal of Watergate – he was, above all, determined to make his mark
in foreign policy. Facing protest at home and new constraints on the
exercise of US power abroad, the one-time red-baiter launched an ‘era
of negotiation’ with America’s communist adversaries. While recognis-
ing the reality of the communist giants, Nixon moved to exploit the
tensions between them, establishing a system of ‘triangular diplomacy’
with Moscow and Beijing. By the end of his first term, Nixon had
opened relations with China and negotiated the first arms control agree-
ments with the Soviet Union. As well as transforming the geopolitical
landscape, Nixon also overhauled the international economic system,
ending the Bretton Woods arrangements which had regulated the global
economy since the end of the Second World War.
   In many ways, these developments were welcomed or at least pre-
dicted in London. However, behind the government’s official support,
there was also deep distress and anger in Whitehall. As will be shown,
the issue was not so much the overall substance or direction of US policy
12   Allies Apart

but the way in which it was made and presented. In each case, Nixon’s
major initiatives were secretly conceived and then announced on televi-
sion. The British were given just a few token minutes notice before the
president told the rest of the world. It was all a far cry from Nixon’s early
pledges to Heath and from Kissinger’s musings on the ‘special relation-
ship’. As Chapter 2 shows, the sudden announcements on China and
the New Economic Policy – what became known as the ‘Nixon shocks’ –
in the summer of 1971 caused particular upset in London. Not only were
British officials kept in the dark, but they were at times misled and even
double-crossed over matters of extreme importance for Britain. At all
levels, from the planning staff to the prime minister, it was felt that
relations had been badly shaken. Worst of all, it was feared that a pat-
tern had been set and that future surprises were in store, especially when
the United States was engaged in exclusive arms control talks with the
Soviet Union.
   As will become evident, the key point in all this was not that
the White House’s conduct constituted a particular snub to Britain;
rather, it was symptomatic of a breakdown of communications within
Washington and with America’s allies as a whole. The problem was
partly one of design. Nixon came to power determined to run foreign
policy from the White House, beyond the reaches of the bureaucracy
and Congress – creating what infamously became known as the ‘Impe-
rial Presidency’. To this end, he employed the Harvard academic Henry
Kissinger as his national security adviser and ordered him to conduct
a review of policy-making. In many ways, Kissinger was the perfect
choice to see through Nixon’s plan. Not only did he come from out-
side the traditional foreign policy establishment, but he had long mused
about the shortcomings of bureaucracy, judging it to be a positive barrier
to creative policy-making.48 Under Kissinger’s recommendations, the
National Security Council (NSC) machinery, formed at the beginning
of the Cold War but disbanded in later years, was fully revived and sit-
uated in the White House. Below the central Council, Kissinger created
and chaired a number of ‘groups’ which prepared policy papers for the
president. While Nixon was able to intervene at any point and took the
final decisions, the new system gave Kissinger unprecedented authority
over national security policy. It was, many have argued, a ‘palace coup’
whereby Kissinger secured his place as the unelected czar of American
foreign policy.49
   The principal casualty of this internal revolution was the State Depart-
ment which over time was deliberately and decisively sidelined in favour
of the new NSC apparatus. Nixon had even chosen his secretary of
                                                             Introduction 13

state, William Rogers, on the basis of his relative inexperience and
ignorance of foreign affairs – he was the ideal candidate to lead the
State Department into obscurity. Yet, Nixon did not just marginalise
his colleagues at Foggy Bottom; he positively excluded and, at times,
intentionally deceived them. In order to keep their key initiatives out-
side the bureaucracy, Nixon and Kissinger relied extensively on secret
backchannels to conduct negotiations and allowed policy to emerge on
two separate tiers. On several occasions, as members of the State Depart-
ment engaged in their own lengthy talks on particular issues, they were
upstaged by sudden announcements from the White House. It was all
very demoralising for Rogers and his team.
   Nixon and Kissinger would later argue that their extreme methods
had been essential to the success of their major policies. The State
Department was judged to be congenitally prone to leaks and too
parochially minded to grasp the links between issues on which their
strategy depended. ‘The essence of bureaucracy’, Kissinger had con-
cluded a decade earlier, ‘is its quest for safety’ – ill-suited, then, to the
kind of daring diplomacy to which he aspired.50 However, although
many commentators have sympathised with this view, citing as proof
Nixon and Kissinger’s biggest achievement – the opening to China –
it can be argued that their particular style of diplomacy owed more to
their own personal predilections and political ambition than practical
necessity. For all of their differences and jealousies, the grocer’s son and
Jewish intellectual, the political animal and the political scientist – the
‘odd couple’ – were essentially similar in their psychological makeup,
sharing a deep-seated insecurity about their place in history and distrust
of those around them.51
   While these traits manifested themselves as a common quest for con-
trol and secrecy, they were determined by Nixon and Kissinger’s own
particular roles and susceptibilities. As president, Nixon was obsessed
with crafting his image as an international statesman, seeking to emu-
late such global giants as Churchill, de Gaulle and Mao. It was essential,
he believed, to appear strong, courageous and, most of all, master of
events. To this end, he positively encouraged the view of himself as
a detached loner – someone who stood apart from and above all oth-
ers. Through bold and sudden diplomatic masterstrokes, engineered in
the White House, he would secure his place as a ‘great man’ of history.
Whatever his preferred self-image, though, for many, Nixon’s abiding
quality was his ruthless political ambition. Above all, as the 1972 elec-
tion approached, Nixon was consumed by the needs of victory. Follow-
ing the Republicans’ poor results in the Congressional elections, Nixon
14   Allies Apart

turned to foreign policy to give him a boost. Ultimately, he hoped to use
dramatic and timely triumphs abroad to lift his campaign at home.
   For his part, Kissinger came to the White House imbued with the
lessons of nineteenth-century statecraft, having studied closely the
efforts of Metternich and Castlereagh to manage the balance of power
and secure a lasting peace in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars.
Despite their ultimate failure, one of the main conclusions in his 1957
book A World Restored is the capacity for individual statesman to shape
the course of events, whatever the prevailing forces – or to ‘rescue choice
from circumstance’, as the Cold War historian John Gaddis puts it.52
In office, Kissinger would cultivate his image as a master strategist – a
modern Metternich – seeking to build a ‘structure of peace’ through a
complex system of links and levers which, ultimately, only he could
control. Yet, for all his reputation as ‘Super-K’ the ‘Doctor of Diplo-
macy’, Kissinger was reduced to an intense rivalry with Rogers, jealously
guarding policy and threatening to resign any time he felt the State
Department encroaching on his design or reputation. For Kissinger,
then, beyond the diplomatic imperative, secrecy was an essential means
of self-promotion.
   While Nixon and Kissinger’s extreme methods had the desired effect
on their adversaries both at home and abroad (at least in the short term),
it is a major theme of this book that they severely undermined rela-
tions with America’s allies. As Nixon unilaterally transformed the shape
of international political and economic relations, America’s friends in
Europe and the Far East were left feeling marginalised, impotent and,
worst of all, deeply sceptical about the trustworthiness of their most
powerful ally. Although London was treated no worse than the others,
the effect was particularly debilitating, given the recent history of Anglo-
American relations and Nixon’s early promises. Aside from causing deep
unease and resentment, Nixon’s surprise diplomacy also undermined
Britain’s own relations with the State Department. As the most impor-
tant policy initiatives came exclusively from the White House, doubts
grew in London over the reliability and utility of communications with
Rogers and his staff. For the ‘old hands at the Foreign Office’, who
had grown accustomed to close consultations with their counterparts
in Washington, it was a deeply frustrating experience. With the State
Department channel defunct, there was no longer the same opportunity
to discuss policy at lower levels which in the past had often been cru-
cial to resolving differences and avoiding public disagreements. Instead,
with Nixon and Kissinger in charge, the Foreign Office was forced
to rely on infrequent high-level exchanges once policy had largely
                                                              Introduction 15

been determined. In effect, Nixon and Kissinger’s excessive reliance on
secrecy and surprise, ruptured the very thing that, for all Britain’s declin-
ing value as a global ally, in British policy-makers’ eyes, remained of the
‘special relationship’ – the unique patterns of consultation.
   In retrospect, though, the most frustrating aspect of the White House
revolution for British officials was the fact that their perspective on
international issues often concurred most closely with that of the State
Department. As will be shown in Chapter 3, this became especially evi-
dent in December 1971 when war broke out between India and Pakistan.
While Nixon and Kissinger viewed the conflict through the lens of
their rivalry with the Soviet Union and opening to China, the State
Department was deeply sceptical of this view. In the final analysis, so
too was London which came to regard the White House’s geopolitical
approach to the region and macho diplomacy as inherently misguided
and dangerous.
   By the end of 1971, therefore, relations with the United States had
suffered a series of profound blows. While not terminal, the effect was
cumulative. London felt sorely let down by the lack of consultation,
anxious that future shocks were in store and concerned by the White
House’s approach to regional issues. As will be shown in Chapter 4,
although London’s worst fears did not transpire, the way in which the
White House reached its arms control agreements with Moscow fuelled
British anxieties. The logic of all this was clear. If Britain could no longer
count on its relations with the United States, it would have to put more
effort into building them with – and within – a united Europe. To be
sure, Heath was one of the most determined to make the link, but he was
not alone. At all levels, officials across the government concluded that,
at a time when world events were dominated by the superpowers and
transatlantic relations seemed in doubt, there was no alternative but for
Britain to work more closely with its partners in Europe. As Allies Apart
shows, even Home, who has previously been portrayed as a staunch –
even exclusive – Atlanticist, came to see the overwhelming logic, recog-
nising that for Britain to retain global power and influence it would have
to help build a stronger EC.
   Moreover, Britain’s experience reflected a wider impulse towards
unity. Across Europe, the same arguments were being made – that with
the United States engaged in such exclusive superpower diplomacy and
failing to consult its allies, the members of the Community would have
to redouble their efforts to work together. It was not entirely coinciden-
tal, then, that Nixon’s administration coincided with a renewed phase
of European integration.
16   Allies Apart

   The irony of all this was that Nixon and Kissinger’s methods of policy-
making were providing a spur to the very thing that they were anxious
to avoid – an inward-looking Europe which defined itself against the
United States. As Chapter 5 argues, it was partly in an effort to offset
this trend that the ‘Year of Europe’ was conceived and launched in April
1973. In the event, though, it backfired. Irritated by the lack of consul-
tation and suspicious that Kissinger’s secret bilateral approaches – what
became known in London as ‘the Kissinger rules’ – were designed to
stifle their own unity, the Europeans pulled closer together.
   As will be shown in Chapter 6, the Year of Europe suffered a final blow
when transatlantic differences came to a head during the Middle East
war in October 1973. With the president consumed by Watergate, it was
left to Kissinger, who had recently been made secretary of state, to direct
the US response. Once again, he viewed the regional crisis principally as
a test of relations with the Soviet Union and looked to his main allies for
support. In the event, though, the Europeans had their own vital energy
needs at stake and believed that Kissinger had dangerously raised the
spectre of a superpower confrontation.
   By the end of 1973, then, it seemed that transatlantic relations, not
just the Anglo-American relationship, were at their lowest point, with
Kissinger declaring that both NATO and the ‘special relationship’ were
finished. However, despite all of the doubts and difficulties of previ-
ous years, British officials did not share Kissinger’s fatalism, since it was
largely based on a misreading of British policy under Heath. For all that
the Heath government marked a decisive shift towards Europe, Britain
continued to place great emphasis on the Atlantic Alliance – more so
than some of its partners in Europe. Moreover, part of the reason sub-
sequent scholarship has come to present the period as such a bad one
for the Anglo-American relationship is that it has relied so heavily on
Kissinger’s account. Like Churchill 30 years before, the ex-practitioner
of power wrote the first history of his time in office on a blockbuster
scale. Unsurprisingly, it presents an intensely personalised view of rela-
tions. At times, what is portrayed as a uniquely difficult period for the
relationship as a whole simply reflects his own grievances and sensi-
tivities. After all, British criticisms were often directed at the Nixon
White House – particularly Kissinger – rather than the United States
at large.
   Ultimately, Allies Apart tells the story of Anglo-American relations at a
particular moment and from the perspective of particular personalities
and events. Placed in its wider historical context – looking both back-
wards and forwards from the early 1970s – the period emerges as merely
                                                           Introduction 17

a nadir in the constant cycles of transatlantic highs and lows rather
than as a definitive moment. Moreover, for all the diplomatic strains
of the Heath–Nixon years, at the most fundamental level of shared
political traditions and commitments, the Anglo-American alliance
remained intact. Certainly, the notion of the ‘special relationship’ lives
on, celebrated and derided in almost equal measure.
Joining Europe

On 1 January 1973 Britain officially became a member of the European
Community (EC).1 It has been widely seen as the greatest achievement
of the Heath government and as marking a major turning point in
British history. When the first attempts at integration during the 1950s
produced the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and then
the European Economic Community (EEC), Britain had stayed aloof
from the process, seeking to be associated with but not part of a united
Europe. Having changed its mind and twice tried to join in 1961 and
1967, Britain faced stubborn opposition from the domineering French
president, Charles de Gaulle, who on both occasions proclaimed that
the British were not yet ready to commit to Europe. It was the Heath
government which having renewed the application in June 1970 was,
after a year of tough negotiations, finally able to convince de Gaulle’s
successor, Georges Pompidou, that Britain was indeed ready to be part
of a united Europe.
   Moreover, once in, Heath was intent on taking a leading role in work-
ing towards the founding treaty’s aim of building an ‘ever closer union’.
On 17 September 1971, speaking in Zurich, Heath outlined his inten-
tion to look beyond the common market towards forging a common
foreign and defence policy. As a member of the Community, he stuck to
his word, making various suggestions aimed at European foreign pol-
icy and security cooperation that in many ways surpassed anything
discussed at the time and achieved since. Thus, having spent nearly
a quarter of a century first rejecting and then failing to join the inte-
gration process, the Heath years brought a decisive shift in Britain’s
relationship with the EC. According to David Reynolds, it was ‘perhaps
the most profound revolution in British foreign policy in the twentieth

                                                          Joining Europe   19

   This chapter sets these events within the context of Anglo-American
relations. Britain’s position in Europe has been seen as an important –
even defining – factor in its relationship with the United States. Some
commentators have argued that in a world after empire, Britain’s value
as an ally in Washington has come to depend on it playing a central role
within a united Europe. In this way, Britain could act as a bridge builder
across the Atlantic and help to steer the EC in a direction conducive to
American interests. In short, Britain would take a sense of its ‘special
relationship’ with America into Europe.
   For others, though, this very perception of an Anglo-American ‘special
relationship’ has consistently and fatally undermined Britain’s position
in Europe in two key respects. First, the conviction that Britain shares
a unique association with the world’s pre-eminent power has encour-
aged leaders in London to believe that they could avoid being fully
part of an integrated Europe. Second, from the European perspective,
the perception of an Anglo-American ‘special relationship’ has pro-
voked leaders, particularly in Paris, to question whether Britain could
really commit to Europe or whether it intended to act as America’s
front man on the continent. After all, Britain had twice been barred
from the European club by the French, ostensibly at least, for being
too close to Washington – British membership, de Gaulle had ruled,
would bring about a ‘colossal Atlantic community under US direction
and leadership’.3 Commentators have therefore concluded that it is only
when the ‘special relationship’ – real or imaginary – is ended that Britain
can fully commit to and be accepted by Europe.
   It is against these broad judgements that this chapter will seek to
examine how Britain’s attempt to join the EC featured as a factor in
the Anglo-American relationship at a defining moment. It will ask three
basic questions. First, how did relations with the United States influence
Heath’s decision to apply? Second, what was the Nixon administra-
tion’s attitude towards enlargement and British membership? Third,
what was the impact of British entry on the Anglo-American alliance –
did it reinforce or end the ‘special relationship’? Ultimately, at the
heart of this study are defining questions about Britain’s place in the
world after empire and how it has sought to reconcile alternative
roles as a special ally of the United States and member of a united
Europe in its search for a global vocation. This chapter will focus on
the crucial period, June 1970–June 1971, when the Heath government
made its application and the way to membership was finally opened.
The themes and issues discussed here will be developed in subsequent
20   Allies Apart

Choosing Europe – the end of the ‘special relationship’?

As discussed in the Introduction, to date, the broad consensus, reflecting
the view first propagated by Kissinger’s memoirs, is that the Heath gov-
ernment’s decision to renew Britain’s EC application and its eventual
success had a decisive impact on relations with Washington. In order
to smooth the path to Brussels, Heath is said to have broken old
transatlantic ties and deliberately brought about a low-point in the
relationship. In part, Kissinger explains this as an understandable conse-
quence of the fact that, to get into Europe, Britain had to make clear to
the French its wish not ‘to appear as – or, for that matter be – America’s
Trojan horse’.4 By this logic, Heath’s rejection of the term ‘special rela-
tionship’ can simply be seen as a rhetorical sop to the French. For
Kissinger, though, the shift in rhetoric reflected something much deeper.
Ultimately, he argues, it symbolised an attempt by Heath to com-
pletely re-orientate British interests away from the Atlantic to across the
Channel. According to Kissinger, when Heath first visited the White
House as prime minister in December 1970, he left no doubt about
the ‘new priorities’ of British policy.5 Moreover, on reflection, he con-
cludes that, in Heath, Washington encountered a ‘more benign version
of de Gaulle’ – in other words, someone who was determined to turn
Europe into a ‘third force’ operating independently from the United
   Commentators have since concurred that the effect of Heath’s
European ambition on relations with Washington was terminal. Donald
Cameron Watt contends that British entry into Europe brought about
the ‘end of the Anglo-American political relationship as it had hitherto
existed’.7 Heath’s biographer, John Campbell, makes the link between
Heath’s vision and the decline in Anglo-American relations even more
explicit, concluding that as the new prime minister sought to realign
Britain’s sense of identity irrevocably towards Europe, the ‘special rela-
tionship’ was brought to an abrupt end.8 It was, Campbell concludes,
the most radical aspect of Heath’s foreign policy, differentiating his gov-
ernment sharply from every past and future post-war administration.9
   For Kissinger, though, this transformation – even revolution – in
British policy was entirely orchestrated at the top and unmatched by
popular feeling. As Heath pursued the path to Europe, Kissinger main-
tains that the country’s emotional and institutional ties remained firmly
across the Atlantic.10 Ultimately, then, the turn to Europe did not reflect
the will of the British people, but was chiefly the result of the aberrant
vision and ambition of one man.
                                                          Joining Europe   21

   All this lends support to the wider verdict – and favourite argument of
Euro-sceptics – that, at heart, Britain has always been apart from its con-
tinental allies and only ended up in the EC because of the delusional
obsessions of a Euro-fanatic rather than a rational or realistic appreci-
ation of British interests. The case has most forcefully been made by
Christopher Brooker and Richard North in their recent polemic, The
Great Deception. As the title suggests, they argue that the British public
were hoodwinked into joining an integrated Europe by a few political
elites who ultimately envisaged being part of a European super-state but
who never fully divulged their ambition for fear that the wider pop-
ulation would baulk at the prospect. According to Booker and North,
Heath was the greatest deceiver of them all. More than any other British
leader, he is said to have shared the European founding fathers’ dream
of building a United States of Europe and led Britain blindly along the
path towards federalism.11 As Kissinger suggests, there could be no wider
commitment to Heath’s ideal of a united Europe, since the British public
were starved of information and honest debate by their leader.
   Although Britain had already tried twice to join the EEC under Con-
servative and Labour governments, Heath’s application is seen differ-
ently. Both Harold Macmillan and Harold Wilson are widely portrayed
as reluctant converts who became resigned to entry against the backdrop
of imperial and economic decline. For them, the turn to Europe is said
to have been a tactical measure in pursuit of traditional goals – specifi-
cally, the ‘special relationship’ with America. As Britain’s global presence
waned, so the argument goes, London calculated that the only way to
preserve its privileged status in Washington was as America’s front man
in Europe.12 To this end, their decision to apply is viewed principally as a
response to pressures from the White House. As Stephen George writes,
Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson had all urged Britain ‘to go in there
and dominate it on behalf of joint British and American concerns’.13
Ultimately, then, Macmillan and Wilson’s Europeanism can be seen
simply as an extension of their Atlanticism. By this analysis, de Gaulle’s
objections had been astute – ‘the idea of choosing Europe’ was not ripe
in British hearts.
   In contrast, Heath emerges as someone who was genuinely – and
uniquely in Britain – committed to the ideal of an enlarged and united
Europe as an end in itself.14 Moreover, for Heath, taking Britain into
the EC is said to have been a matter of personal destiny and a polit-
ical crusade.15 What is said to have really set him apart was not just
his determination to join Europe but the fact that he was instinctively
communautaire in his outlook. Uniquely amongst British leaders, he
22   Allies Apart

hoped to expand the competency of the EC’s institutions, believing
that Britain’s own destiny was intimately bound with the success of
   In digging for the roots of Heath’s Europeanism, many commentators
have found an innate connection and commitment that was nurtured
early on. His biographer even suggests that his birthplace – the small sea-
side resort of Broadstairs, tucked away in the southeast corner of Kent,
where on a clear day the European mainland could be seen – had an
incalculable significance in setting the theme of his subsequent career.17
As a teenager, Heath made a series of trips to the continent which evi-
dently fostered a deep and enduring affinity for all things European.18
From these formative experiences are said to have grown his political
ambition. Starting out as an MP, Heath chose Europe as the theme of
his first speech to Parliament in June 1950, urging the Labour govern-
ment to attend the talks on the Schuman Plan which prepared the way
for the first major step towards integration. It was, Hugo Young con-
cludes, a personal announcement that came from both the head and
heart.19 It was no surprise, then, that, when Britain changed its mind
in 1961 under Macmillan and decided to join, Heath was called upon
to lead the negotiations – with this, Campbell concludes, he found his
‘life’s cause’.20 Having worked tirelessly as Macmillan’s chief negotiator
during the first application, Heath developed the reputation of being
a consummate Europhile amongst his colleagues on the continent and
was hailed as ‘Mr Europe’ at home.
   In the end, the strength and credibility of Heath’s own conviction
is said to have been decisive to British entry.21 When, in the spring of
1971, talks were stalling and France seemed once again poised to end
them, Heath stepped in, injecting the necessary will from the top. It was
only after 11 hours of head-to-head talks in Paris in May that he was
able to convince de Gaulle’s successor, Georges Pompidou, that Britain
was ready to make a ‘fundamental choice’ and work towards the ‘ideal of
a united Europe’.22 With some cause, then, Hugo Young proclaims that
Heath was the ‘father of a European Britain’.23 By Kissinger’s analysis, he
was also the terminator of the ‘special relationship’.
   The rest of this chapter will challenge this view in a number of
respects. First, by tracing the evolution of Heath’s Europeanism and
Britain’s attitude towards integration, it will become apparent that
Heath’s views were not so distinct from his predecessors’ and that British
entry was the result of a decade of debate rather than a one-man revolu-
tion. Moreover, it will be shown that once in power, Heath’s views, along
with those of his colleagues, continued to be shaped by global events
                                                         Joining Europe   23

and, in particular, the changing nature of relations with the United
States. In fact, it can be argued that by the end of 1971 Heath’s
position reached something of a watershed, whereby he no longer
regarded European cooperation as desirable but essential. This will
become a major theme of subsequent chapters, which will demonstrate
how the arguments for integration gained renewed force against the
changing international landscape. Finally, it will be shown how the
US attitude towards European unity and British membership shifted
under Nixon. Having set out to reaffirm US support for integration
and British membership, by the end of 1971, the administration’s
position had become cautious, even combative. In part, this reflected
latent and long-term ambivalences about the whole project, but it
was also the result of the particular doubts of the Nixon White
House. In short, it was US thinking as much as Britain’s which had

Britain, Heath and the turn to Europe, 1945–70

As will be shown in the brief overview below, the caricature of Heath as a
renegade Europhile is in many ways a false one, both in terms of Heath’s
own attitude and Britain’s relationship with Europe. Heath’s views were
not innate or fixed but reacted and evolved against the changing inter-
national context, as did debate in Britain as a whole. Ultimately, Heath
embodied the paradox at the heart of the EC, viewing it first and fore-
most as a vehicle for promoting British interests and influence. Like his
predecessors, for Heath, the overriding goal was to secure a renewed
global role for Britain. To this end, a key argument for entry was that
relations with the United States no longer satisfied this impulse. By the
time Heath came to power, it was a logic that was exerting considerable
force across Whitehall.
  While unquestionable, there was nothing mystical or preordained
about Heath’s commitment to Europe and Britain’s place in it. The sig-
nificance of his birthplace and early contacts should not be overstated.
Rather, like so many of his generation, his initial enthusiasm for Europe
as a political project grew from his experiences of the Second World
War. Although he spent most of his time during the war on anti-aircraft
duty in Britain, in the last months of fighting his unit was called up
to help liberate France and the Low Countries. It was here that Heath
saw for himself the extent of devastation wrought by a divided conti-
nent. In common with his contemporaries, a guiding sentiment behind
his enthusiasm for unification was ‘never again’. Looking back, Heath
24   Allies Apart

claims that he had no idea this would become the preoccupation of his
political career.24
   By the time Heath came to make his maiden speech to Parliament,
his own views had already shifted with developments since the end of
the war. Having just returned from a trip to the Federal Republic of
Germany, he argued that the renewed power and dynamism he had
encountered needed to be harnessed for the good of the continent as
a whole. Taking part in the Schuman discussions, he contended, ‘would
give us a chance of leading Germany into the way we want it to go’.25
Heath was not alone. At the time, MPs on both sides of the House made
the same point with equal vigour, urging the Attlee government to take
part in the talks.
   However, despite cross-party support for European unity, successive
Labour and Conservative governments stood aside from the main effort
towards integration, refusing to attend the Schuman talks and sending
only a lowly civil servant to the meeting at Messina which led to the for-
mation of the EEC in 1958. In the end, then, Churchill’s infamous words
seemed to capture the British mindset – Europe was ‘for them but not
for us’. And so Britain’s reputation as a ‘reluctant European’ or ‘awkward
partner’ has grown, with Heath being the only notable exception.26
   However, this distinction is distorting. British leaders were not anti-
European or opposed to the goal of a united continent. It was, after
all, Churchill who, in September 1946, had issued a clarion call for
a ‘United States of Europe’, while across the House the foreign secre-
tary, Ernest Bevin, had advocated a strong and unified Europe as a ‘third
force’ independent from either of the two superpowers with Britain at
its heart.27
   Rather, the issue for British leaders was the kind of Europe the found-
ing members hoped to build and mechanism by which they chose to
unite – in a word, federalism. Whereas the original Six, having suffered
invasion, occupation or defeat, had all calculated that it was in their
national interests to pool their sovereignty, Britain did not.28 With its
institutional and parliamentary system still intact, the sense of conti-
nuity after the Second World War remained strong. Moreover, despite
having lost over a quarter of its national wealth, Britain emerged from
the war victorious and by far the most powerful nation in Europe and
third only to the United States and Soviet Union in global terms: it held
a permanent seat on the UN Security Council, had developed its own
nuclear programme and headed a global Commonwealth which guar-
anteed it privileged access to a huge overseas market. Thus, in body and
soul, Britain was distinct from the continent and still very much a world
                                                           Joining Europe   25

power in its own right. ‘We are a global power or we are nothing’, Eden
defiantly exclaimed. By comparison, a federal Europe was considered
provincial, compelled by weakness and therefore doomed to failure. Con
O’Neil, who was a young diplomat in Bonn at the time of the Schuman
Plan, and would become leader of the negotiating team under Heath,
defined the matter: ‘The idea that there should be a body with real
authority over decisions of the national government was something
we felt was grotesque and absurd.’29 Looking back, Heath well under-
stood the psychological chasm the war had opened between Britain and
mainland Europe: ‘we British thought of ourselves as intrinsically supe-
rior, because we were the victors in the Second World War and we were
dealing with the vanquished.’30
   In the face of the deepening Cold War and abiding doubts over the
future of Europe, Britain turned instead to restoring the alliance that had
saved her during the Second World War. Behind Churchill’s emotional
appeals to the notion of a ‘fraternal association’, policy-makers across
the government made the hard-headed calculation that Britain’s future
depended on its transatlantic connection. In January 1949, British
thinking was summarised by senior officials in four departments: ‘Since
post-war planning began, our policy has been to secure close political,
military and economic cooperation with the USA . . . It will always be
decisive for our security . . . for in the last resort we cannot rely on the
European continent.’31 Under Bevin’s stewardship, the following April,
the North Atlantic Treaty was signed which, crucially, contained an
American commitment to defend Europe.32 Over the next years, suc-
cessive prime ministers on both sides of the House sought to harness
this American internationalism as a means of maintaining Britain’s own
security and influence. And so one version of the ‘special relationship’
was born; Europe, by Churchill’s famous formulation, had become a
secondary circle of British power.
   However, by the beginning of the 1960s, official thinking had begun
to shift. In early 1961, the cabinet, under the leadership of Macmillan,
signalled its readiness to contemplate a ‘fundamental change’ in
Britain’s approach to the Community.33 On 31 July, the prime minister
announced to the House of Commons his intention to seek member-
ship. When Heath formally opened negotiations in October, he pledged
that the British desired to become ‘full, whole hearted and active mem-
bers of the EC in its widest sense’.34 Having initially excluded itself from
efforts to integrate, Britain was suddenly announced to be a convinced
convert. David Unwin concludes that Macmillan’s decision ‘destroyed
traditional British policy in a stroke’.35 Thus, if we are to talk of a
26   Allies Apart

revolution in British foreign policy this was the moment it began.
Although Heath was called upon to lead the negotiations, and would
eventually preside over their success a decade later, it was Macmillan
who initiated the whole process of re-orientating British interests.
   So, what prompted the change? As has been indicated, the prevailing
view is that Macmillan became resigned to Europe. Against a stalling
economy and dissolving empire, Macmillan was forced to concede that
Britain would be better off within the EEC which had displayed much
higher rates of growth and was cohering in a way that leaders in London
had not expected. Above all, he had come to recognise that the alliance
with the United States – his priority – depended on taking a leading role
in Europe. De Gaulle’s objections merely confirmed this impression.
   However, this distinction is inaccurate and obscures a key compo-
nent of Macmillan’s thinking which would become integral to Wilson’s
and Heath’s too – the changing nature of relations with Washington.
While many continued to champion the notion of the ‘special relation-
ship’, others began to see it as illusory given Britain’s waning influence
in Washington. For some, the Suez Crisis of November 1956 marked a
defining moment. Although it has been widely asserted that the main
lesson British leaders took from the whole debacle was that they must
stick close to the United States,36 there was an alternative message that
Britain could no longer rely on its main ally to support its global poli-
cies. According to former Labour MP Kenneth Younger who became
director at the Royal Institute for International Affairs, following the
humiliating back down under US pressure, ‘the switch to Europe fol-
lowed naturally.’37 Even Eden, reflecting on the consequences of the
crisis during his last days as prime minister, conceded that ‘it would
determine Britain to work more closely with Europe.’38 For Heath, who
had served as chief whip at the time, Suez was proof that Britain’s future
lay on its ‘own continent’ rather than in the far-flung lands of empire.39
   Although in 1959 Britain launched a looser European Free Trade
Association, which was intended to head off the emergence of a supra-
national European bloc, the high political case for joining the main
European powers was gaining momentum as Britain struggled to main-
tain its status within the changing geopolitical landscape. When, in
March 1960, Macmillan put a series of questions about European pol-
icy to a steering committee, the advice was clear: the Community
was the only Western bloc that had any hope of matching the influ-
ence of the United States or USSR; left outside, British influence would
decline.40 Moreover, in his recent study of the Kennedy–Macmillan
relationship, Nigel Ashton shows how, following a series of profound
                                                           Joining Europe   27

blows to Britain’s role as honest broker between the superpowers, the
prime minister came to seriously question his own version of the
Anglo-American relationship. When Macmillan had tried to act as an
intermediary between Eisenhower and Khrushchev in 1959, he found
himself left on the sidelines as the two leaders met alone. The defin-
ing moment, though, came in May 1960 with the collapse of the Paris
summit which Macmillan had been working towards for over a year.
According to Ashton, it was a ‘crucial watershed’ – Paris was the moment
when Macmillan realised that the British were no longer the Greeks but
the slaves.41 His own switch to Europe followed. Before heading to meet
de Gaulle at Rambouillet in December 1962, Macmillan reflected on
the French president’s thinking: ‘On the political issue . . . it was surely
right that with the growing strength of the Russians on the one side
and the Americans on the other, and in view of the alarming tenden-
cies in American policy, Europe should grow closer together to defend
its widest interests.’42 Speaking to his ministerial counterparts among
the Six, Heath outlined the case in starker terms: ‘Europe must unite or
   Despite rejection, Macmillan remained convinced that Britain’s future
was inside Europe. On 4 February 1963, he wrote in his diary, ‘The
great question remains “What is the alternative?” to the EC. If we are
honest, we must say there is none.’44 Although a late and perhaps reluc-
tant convert, Macmillan had nevertheless clearly become persuaded,
against the emerging superpower relationship and declining influence
in Washington, that Europe was the route to a global role for Britain.
Having travelled over 100,000 miles as chief negotiator, entry had
become something of a personal quest for Heath.45
   The second application can be seen in a similar light. Far from being
a tactical ploy or ‘cringing submission’ to Johnson, as Hugo Young and
others suggest, Wilson’s decision to re-apply marked a determined and
coherent response to a set of challenges, both at home and abroad,
particularly in relation to defining Britain’s world role. Against the back-
ground of a massive balance of payments deficit and the shock of
another sterling crisis in July 1966, Wilson and his cabinet colleagues
came to see Europe as the last hope for reinvigorating Britain’s flail-
ing economy – a way out of the ‘economic labyrinth’. In particular,
Wilson saw the EC as an opportunity to reignite his vision of Britain
at the vanguard of a scientific and technological revolution. Thus,
not only would membership of the Common Market boost Britain’s
technological exports, but it would provide a platform for renewed
global influence. Ultimately, Wilson envisaged Britain leading a giant
28   Allies Apart

European technological community projecting its scientific know-how
and influence in the world economy.
   More fundamentally, though, Wilson’s turn to Europe can be seen as
a reaction to Britain’s precipitate global decline and the resulting impact
on its key alliances. For the Labour government, the decisive moment
came in 1967 with its decision to withdraw British forces from East of
Suez, which in effect signalled an end to Britain’s pretensions as a world
power. As discussed in the Introduction, though, for some commenta-
tors, the true significance of the planned withdrawal lay in its impact
on the relationship with the United States. Not only did the decision
have a debilitating effect on relations at the top – coming just at the
time when Johnson was looking for support in Vietnam – but, more
profoundly in the long-term, it rendered redundant Britain’s role as a
truly global partner. As John Young suggests, stripped of its global sta-
tus, Britain was no longer a special partner, but merely ‘one ally among
many’.46 Reflecting the change, following a visit by Wilson to the White
House, Johnson symbolically told one of his aides that ‘spending two
days with the British Prime Minister was overdoing it because Britain
was not that important anymore.’47
   It is against this demise of the Anglo-American partnership that some
commentators identify the true essence of Wilson’s apparent conver-
sion to Europe. Far from seeing EC membership as an end in itself – or
even the means to a renewed global role – Wilson is said to have viewed
the application as a ‘tactical diversion’ geared towards sustaining his
principal aim in foreign policy – maintaining Britain’s privileged sta-
tus in Washington. Writing to George Brown, the British ambassador in
Washington, Patrick Dean, set out the logic: ‘The continuing . . . value of
our relation to them [the Americans] will depend largely on the degree
to which we can act as a force for stability, reason and responsibility,
within the region which our power is centred – Europe.’48 Essentially,
then, Wilson is said to have pursued the path to Europe in search of a
renewed ‘special relationship’ with the United States.
   However, while this view is reflected by existing scholarship, increas-
ingly, and convincingly, it has been argued that Wilson’s bid to join
Europe was seen less as a means to saving the ‘special relationship’ and
more as an alternative to it. As Ben Pimlott concludes, against the back-
ground of global retreat, the British government became conscious as
never before that the Anglo-American relationship was actually a client
one.49 Already in September 1966, cabinet member Richard Crossman
complained that ‘I haven’t found the twenty months we have spent out-
side Europe and close to America very attractive, particularly in view of
                                                          Joining Europe   29

the new subordinate relationship to President Johnson.’50 For Wilson,
a defining issue was Vietnam. With Johnson so infuriated by Britain’s
refusal to commit troops, Wilson came to realise that the only way to
fully restore relations with Washington would be to follow the United
States into South East Asia – a price that his party, so evidently, would
not pay. Instead, addressing members of his cabinet, Wilson evoked
British leadership of Europe as the key to resisting American pressure
while at the same time retaining global influence. In the final analysis,
then, it can be argued that Wilson saw the EC less as a route to interde-
pendence with the United States and more as a means to independence
from the United States.
   Moreover, as the world became increasingly polarised around two
superpowers, Wilson recognised that it was imperative not to just join
Europe but to help build it from within. Speaking to Parliament on
10 May 1967, George Brown, who had recently become foreign secre-
tary, issued a rallying call proclaiming that it was only an integrated
Europe that could ‘stand up to both the Russians and the Americans’.51
   Although, as leader of the opposition, Heath sought to discredit
Wilson, supporting his application while mocking his apparent conver-
sion, in reality, his own views were not so different. As negotiations were
reopened in Brussels, Heath travelled to America to deliver a series of lec-
tures at Harvard based on his vision for Europe and Britain’s place in it.
‘People in Europe today are feeling European’, he enthused. From eco-
nomic union, he predicted, political union would necessarily grow.52 But
behind his own public appeals to notions of Europeaness and enthusi-
asm for political union lay realist calculations and pragmatic instincts.53
Taking Kennedy’s twin-pillar formulation of the Atlantic Alliance as his
inspiration, the main theme of Heath’s Godkin lectures was the need
for the old world – Europe – to balance the new world – the United
States. His most distinctive suggestion, which became something of
a pet notion, was the creation of a European nuclear force based on
existing British and French forces but held in trusteeship for Europe
as a whole. It would, Heath asserted, crown the experiment in eco-
nomic and political union.54 Although Heath was careful to relate his
vision for Europe to Kennedy’s design for the Atlantic Alliance, it is
clear that Heath’s Europeanism, like Wilson’s, was spurred by the rise
of the superpowers, which after the scare of the Cuban missile crisis
were moving towards direct and exclusive talks. ‘It is not healthy’, Heath
counselled, ‘that the Americans and Russians, as a natural result of their
nuclear pre-eminence, should discuss private matters such as a non-
proliferation treaty which intimately affect the security of Europe.’55
30   Allies Apart

For Heath, European unity would depend ultimately on the ‘habit of
working together’ rather than any innate sense of community or vague
transnational concept.56
   However, despite his support for integration, Heath was not above
using it as an instrument of partly politics. As Philip Lynch observes, in
bashing Wilson, Heath hoped to seize the issue for himself and present
the Conservatives as the real party of Europe. In the end, his own pol-
iticking only helped to undermine the second application, which was
vetoed just after negotiations began.57
   Nevertheless, Wilson remained committed to entry and left Britain’s
application on the table. Despite rejection, membership was now a car-
dinal goal across the political spectrum. Assessing the consequences
of exclusion, a Foreign Office paper was adamant that ‘in the long
run, there existed no satisfactory alternative economic grouping with
which Britain could join.’ To sustain political strength and influence,
it concluded, Britain needed access to the EEC’s large and sophisticated
market.58 Moreover, against the changing nature of relations with the
United States, advice was mounting on both sides of the Atlantic that
Britain should try again. At the beginning and end of 1969, papers to
this effect were produced by both the Foreign Office and the planning
staff at the British Embassy in Washington. Officials in London judged
that, on present form, British influence on the United States had become
a ‘dwindling asset’, while the impression had grown on the other side
of the ocean that ‘We have become less and less of an equal and in an
objective sense more and more an instrument of American purposes.’59
The advice from the embassy was clear: ‘Our influence will increasingly
depend on our representing a joint European view . . . If we fail to become
part of a more united Europe’, it predicted, ‘we shall become increas-
ingly peripheral to US concerns.’60 Amongst the diplomatic community,
then, it had become generally accepted that whether Britain tried to
retain special status within or achieve independence from Washington,
it would have to join the EC.
   With de Gaulle in office, though, the road to Europe seemed forever
blocked. However, in 1969, events took a propitious turn. In February,
the recently appointed British ambassador and renowned Francophile,
Christopher Soames, was given a private meeting with de Gaulle who
proposed that France and Britain could work towards a new kind of
unity which abandoned the supranational elements of the EC. Although
Franco-British relations famously took a plunge when records of the
talks were made public back in London, which infuriated de Gaulle,
in the long run, as Alan Campbell points out, the important thing
                                                        Joining Europe   31

about the whole affair was the fact that the president had signalled his
readiness to cooperate with Britain over Europe’s future.61 When he was
forced out of office two months later following a domestic showdown,
it meant that his successor, Georges Pompidou, was free to consider
British entry without necessarily betraying his old boss. Furthermore,
Pompidou himself was much less doctrinaire about Europe than de
Gaulle, viewing the EC more as a means to a common market which
could compete with the superpowers and protect small French farmers
than an instrument of French grandeur. Most importantly, though, he
did not share de Gaulle’s obsessive hostility towards the Anglo-Saxon
world, calculating that Britain could act as a potential counterweight to
the growing economic power and political influence of West Germany.
It was clear, from Soames’ point of view, that France’s ‘perennial mis-
trust of Germany’ was one of the most pressing factors realigning French
opinion in favour of British membership.62 All of which compelled
Pompidou in his first press conference as president to renounce any
principled objection to British accession.63
   However, before completely opening the door to Britain, Pompidou
was determined to set the Community in a way which was consis-
tent with French interests. As Uwe Kitzinger and others have argued,
the main precondition – even quid pro quo – to British entry was that
the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) be finalised and accepted in full
by London. When leaders of the Six met at The Hague in December
1969, the French largely succeeded in advancing their interests, obtain-
ing preferential treatment for their agricultural products. For Britain,
though, the crucial point about The Hague summit was that the lead-
ers unanimously agreed to work towards political unification within the
context of enlargement, thus finally endorsing the principle of British
   It was against this renewed will of the Six to broaden and deepen
the Community that Wilson, in May 1970, announced his intention to
reopen negotiations, setting a date for the end of June. A week later,
however, he also announced that there would be a general election
on 18 June. Following the surprise victory of the Conservatives, it was
Heath who would finally have his chance.

Getting in

By the time Heath came to power, membership was widely regarded as
both essential and inevitable.64 Against the demise of empire and con-
tinued decline of British manufacturing, combined with the growing
32   Allies Apart

preponderance of the superpowers and changing relationship with the
United States, the political class and industrial elite had come to accept
that, given the right terms, entry was vital to British interests. On enter-
ing Number 10, Heath was strongly advised by senior officials that
Britain needed a ‘new power base in Europe’.65 With de Gaulle out of
office and Wilson having laid the groundwork to success, all Heath had
to do, as Hugo Young suggests, was pick up the pieces where others had
left off.66 There was little, then, that could be regarded as truly revolu-
tionary about Heath’s bid to join Europe. As has been shown and he
himself argued, the ‘tide of events’ was moving in this direction.67
   Nevertheless, Heath is still portrayed by his supporters as a piv-
otal player in getting Britain into the EC; conversely, the charges
of his Euro-sceptic detractors remain. First, having promised only to
negotiate – ‘no more, no less’ – Heath is said to have been prepared
to enter ‘at almost any price’ he could sell to Parliament and taken
Britain in on unfavourable terms.68 Second, the British public, which
was evenly split over entry, was not properly informed about the costs
and consequences of membership. Finally, as discussed, in opening
the door to Europe, Heath is said to have recklessly and needlessly
upset relations with the United States. Given that entry was so likely,
Kissinger protested, ‘Did he really need to pay the price in intimacy
with Washington to establish his European credentials?’69 All in all, by
entering in the way he did, Heath is accused of creating problems for the
future – resentment at the price of membership, wider disenchantment
with the EC and a badly damaged relationship with the United States.
   There is some truth to all of this. As the chief negotiator, Con O’Neil,
reflected, none of the Community’s policies were essential to Britain and
some were objectionable.70 In the end, the Conservative team departed
from Wilson’s terms, and Britain was forced to sign up to the Common
Agricultural Policy which, being an industrial nation and net importer
of food, came at a high cost and with little benefit. Indeed, with
the Community budget coming from the CAP, membership came at a
disproportionately high price for Britain. On the issue of public commu-
nication, it could be fairly argued that the government was intentionally
elusive on key issues. While its White Paper, published in July 1971, pro-
vided detailed information on the EC’s past performance, it was not so
clear on how membership would improve Britain’s economic prospects.
Although Heath supported further integration, the White Paper fudged
the issue, assuring the public that there was ‘no question of any erosion
of essential national sovereignty’, yet predicting an ‘enlarging of indi-
vidual national sovereignties’.71 Finally, as discussed, in preparing for
                                                          Joining Europe   33

Britain’s future in Europe, Heath publicly renounced the notion of the
‘special relationship’ and privately spurned the offer of special privileges
in Washington.
   However, while valid, these criticisms miss two essential points: first,
in attempting to join a club that had been founded two decades earlier
and had firmly established rules, there was little chance of changing
the terms of membership; and, second, despite objections to certain
community policies, the political case and will for entry that had been
building for over a decade had become irresistible.
   Although the Wilson government had prepared the way for a renewed
application, success was not a foregone conclusion. The Heath team’s
opening position in Brussels in June 1970 was virtually identical to
the one it inherited; however, by the following spring, negotiations
had reached an impasse over preferential arrangements for the Com-
monwealth and Britain’s contribution to the EC budget, with France
demanding a much higher proportion than had been anticipated in
London. Uncertain over French intentions, it was Soames who sug-
gested that Heath should meet with Pompidou to break the deadlock.
With the resulting boost of political will from the top, by the end of
June 1971 the outstanding issues were settled through compromise and
transitional arrangements or simply deferred. While some accused the
government of selling out, a fairer assessment would be that, given the
circumstances, Britain got the best deal available and that the terms were
‘reasonable enough’.72 Moreover, with some cause, Heath believed that
once in he could adapt the Community to work better for Britain. One of
his main aims – the creation of a European Regional and Development
Fund (ERDF) – which is seen as evidence of his federalist tendencies
was billed as the industrial nations’ answer to the CAP and specifically
intended to promote British interests.73
   In the end, though, as even O’Neil conceded, the negotiations them-
selves were in some ways ‘peripheral, accidental and secondary’ to the
main issue – the overriding political case for entry.74 Lord Crowther put
it vividly: ‘you do not haggle over the subscription when you are invited
to climb into a lifeboat.’75 Given that membership was considered essen-
tial, the guiding strategy became ‘swallow the lot, and swallow it now’.76
What mattered, O’Neil stressed, was ‘getting in’.
   As has been a central argument of this chapter, this point of total com-
mitment had been gradually reached over a period of two decades, as
British leaders adjusted their search for global prominence to the chang-
ing international context. The New York Times put it candidly: ‘Britain
has lost its superiority, but not its superiority complex.’77 ‘The fact is’,
34   Allies Apart

Heath told Parliament, ‘that our membership of the UN, nor our mem-
bership of the Commonwealth, nor our relationship with the US, has
provided us with the leverage in world affairs for which the instinct of
the House continues to ask.’78
   Furthermore, by the time Heath took charge at Number 10 his views
had been sharpened by recent events. When he came to write the for-
ward for the publication of his Godkin lectures in September 1969, he
observed how during the two-and-a-half years since he had delivered
them ‘events of the highest importance to Europe made it clear that
the underlying need for European unity was becoming more pressing.’79
It was a view shared across Whitehall. The day after becoming prime
minister, Heath received a study from the Foreign Office advising him
that the background to negotiations had changed significantly since
the failures of the 1960s which made the current efforts ‘of greater
import for the future of the UK’.80 As will be discussed below, there
were four basic considerations that shaped the most recent calcula-
tions on Europe: first, the sense that the superpowers’ dominance was
greater than ever; second, a combined anxiety over Soviet ambitions
in Europe and United States resolve to help contain them; third, grow-
ing fears that European interests would be neglected as the superpowers
engaged in exclusive bilateral talks; and, finally, against all of this, a
heightened awareness of the limitations of relations with the United
   The essential backdrop to the renewed bid to join Europe was the
evolving geopolitical landscape. Speaking to Pompidou at their land-
mark meeting in May 1971, Heath stressed that for countries of Britain
and France’s history and stature the situation had grown unhealthy:
‘Until thirty years ago only Europe had counted. Now they were living
in a world of two great superpowers.’81 Although this bipolar structure
had emerged gradually since the end of the Second World War, there
was a sense as the new decade began that the disparity of power was
greater than ever. Both Heath and his foreign secretary referred to a ‘new
geography of power’ as they made their case for Europe.82 Debating the
government’s White Paper, Home highlighted the changing geopolitical
context: ‘A completely new platform from anything we have known
before has arisen. A new class of superpowers has arrived and it has
arrived to stay.’83 Looking to the future, a Foreign Office study pre-
dicted that there would be little change: ‘Over the next two decades
the two superpowers will remain in a position to exercise predomi-
nant influence in international affairs.’ Within this world of giants, it
predicted that Britain by itself would be ‘dwarfed’.84 Individually, the
                                                         Joining Europe   35

government concluded, none of the Western European countries were
powerful enough to exert a decisive influence on world events.85
   The only remedy, officials argued, was ‘an enlarged and increasingly
integrated European Community’.86 Home presented Europe’s choice to
Parliament in stark terms: ‘either carry on, each of us in our traditional
ways, or seek to maximise cooperation so that acting together, we can
seek to influence and steer events.’87 The White Paper put it simply:
‘A Europe united would have the means of recovering the position in
the world which Europe divided has lost.’88
   Against this logic, the case for British membership was gaining force
on the continent itself. Whereas in the past de Gaulle had maintained
that for Europe to stand up to the superpowers it would have to tighten
existing bonds between the Six rather than dilute them through enlarge-
ment, the British argument that only an enlarged Europe would be
capable of exerting its independence was beginning to prevail. In short,
the old Gaullist designs and sensitivities were starting to work in
London’s favour.
   Beyond the concerns that Europe’s interests would be squeezed
through the superpower embrace, there was also growing alarm in
London over the particular policies of Moscow and Washington. On the
one hand, the Soviet Union was displaying a renewed will to con-
solidate and expand its own power abroad; on the other, the United
States, consumed by the Vietnam War and divided at home, was fac-
ing mounting pressures to reduce its international commitments –
especially in Europe. These fears were sparked in August 1968 when
Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sent 500,000 troops into Czechoslovakia
to re-establish socialist control following the Prague Spring. As Heath
observed, the reaction in Washington was noticeably weaker than in
Western Europe.89 Although Johnson had cancelled his visit to Moscow
in protest, American indignation was short-lived in the interests of
resuming arms talks. For Heath, it signified ‘a growing reluctance of
the US to continue to carry so heavy a weight of responsibility for
the defence of her allies.’90 With the Soviets wielding a heavy hand,
it became clear to Heath that ‘the countries of Europe must do more to
protect themselves.’91
   By the time Heath came to power, other developments had mag-
nified these apprehensions. Having doubled the size of the Soviet
naval infantry during the 1960s, in 1970 Brezhnev ordered a series of
large-scale manoeuvres in the Indian and Mediterranean oceans. For
Britain, the projection of Soviet power was particularly alarming since
it infringed on many sea routes that connected its remaining imperial
36    Allies Apart

outposts. Home warned that the rapidly expanding range and size of the
Soviet navy could have serious consequences for the balance of power
across the oceans.92 ‘What was required’, the foreign secretary told the
cabinet at the end of September, ‘was a counterbalancing western pres-
ence as evidence of western concern and in order not to leave a free
hand for the Soviets.’ Home was counting on US help: ‘We should make
it clear to the Americans that the situation gives cause for concern and
propose a joint assessment of the threat and a joint study of measures to
counter it.’93 Accordingly, a British delegation was sent to Washington
to seek advice. However, when its head, John Thomson, met with the
Senior Review Group in Washington, the threat was played down by
the Americans.94 Back in London, this was taken as another sign that
the United States could no longer be automatically counted on to over-
see the security needs of Europe. For Home, it underlined the need for
greater European cooperation.
   When Heath visited Bonn for the first time as prime minister, he
reflected more generally on how global events made further unity an
urgent matter:

     The world will not stand still. If Europe fails to seize this opportunity
     our friends will be dismayed and our enemies heartened. Soviet ambi-
     tions of domination will be pursued more ruthlessly. Our friends,
     disillusioned by our disunity, would more and more be tempted to
     leave Europe to its own devices.95

Given these concerns about Soviet intentions, the Foreign Office con-
cluded that it was ‘vitally important that US troops in Europe should
remain at substantially present levels’.96 Yet it was at precisely this
moment that the White House was facing mounting pressure to with-
draw them. Between 1964–72, the United States unilaterally pulled out
over 65,000 troops from Europe, most of which were sent to Vietnam,
leaving a total of just over 250,000.97 Although Nixon pledged to
halt the trend, he faced renewed calls to make massive cuts when, in
May 1971, Senator Mike Mansfield put forward a resolution calling for
US troops in Europe to be halved.
  Heath had long predicted that if the United States – despite the lessons
of Czechoslovakia – became determined to reduce its forces in Europe,
the Europeans would be forced to find their voice within NATO. 98
When he met with Pompidou in Paris, just as Mansfield’s Bill was being
debated in Washington, the two leaders agreed that the only response
to increasing pressures in the United States was ‘the development of
                                                        Joining Europe   37

Europe for the long-term future’.99 As he concluded his speech, urging
Parliament to accept the terms which had been negotiated in Brussels,
Heath stressed how recent events had highlighted the need for a more
independent Europe:

  There have been growing, even since our last debate, pressures for
  changes in the American forces in Europe. These pressures are grow-
  ing apace, and with them, the renewed demand for Europe to do
  more in the cause of its own defence. We would maintain that
  an Atlantic alliance is still vital for the defence of Western Europe,
  but there can be no doubt of the growing pressures for Europe to
  consolidate its own defence position.100

It was a noticeable shift in rhetoric from his Godkin lectures when Heath
had explicitly championed Kennedy’s twin pillar concept. With increas-
ing doubts about the US commitment, the distinction between calls for
an independent Europe and a ‘third force’ was becoming harder to dis-
tinguish. To some degree, Heath had indeed come to reflect Gaullist
thinking – but not so much through preference as necessity.
   Moreover, it is clear from advice emanating from across Whitehall
that Heath was echoing the concerns of his colleagues rather than
inventing them to fulfil any preconceived design. On coming to power,
a Foreign Office report advised the prime minister that the ‘partial
withdrawal of American support’ was the top issue he would have to
consider. Given recent events, the report doubted whether Britain could
take for granted the US ‘capacity’ or ‘will’ to maintain its commitment
to Europe as it had in the 1960s. The conclusion was plain: ‘Europe will
potentially have to do more to look after itself.’101
   The media read the situation even more drastically. The Economist,
referring to troop withdrawals and a survey of US public opinion,
pointed to America’s ‘querulous and indiscriminate rejection of the
world’. Employing the widely used analogy of the day, it concluded
that Parliament’s vote to join the EC was made to look like a ‘superbly
timed jump from the sinking ship into the waiting lifeboat’. Although
it was questioned how watertight the waiting lifeboat was, the overall
lesson was clear: ‘The unity of Europe could be the child fathered by the
departing US.’102
   Even Home, who is generally regarded as a convinced Atlanticist who
consciously saw himself as working to balance Heath’s Europeanism,
had come to recognise that, against the conduct of the superpowers,
it was vital not only to join the EC but to help build it from within.
38   Allies Apart

Speaking to Parliament on 6 July 1970, he appealed to the cause of
greater European collaboration in response to two ‘facts of life’: the
increase and extension of Soviet naval power and the United States’
expectation that Europe assume a greater burden of its own defence.103
At the Conservative Party Conference the following October, he under-
lined the point: ‘With the Soviet Union constantly expanding her
conventional military strength while the US tends to pull her horns the
spotlight falls yet again on Europe.’104
   Somewhat conversely, these anxieties over Soviet posturing and
American disengagement were compounded by the superpowers’ moves
towards cooperation. As Chapter 4 will show, as Washington and
Moscow embarked on direct arms control negotiations, policy-makers in
London grew concerned that Britain’s own interests and security would
be neglected or even undermined. Heath complained to Pompidou that
although the superpowers might consult individually with the European
countries, ‘in practice they then settled things as they wished.’105 The
Foreign Office predicted that the trend would only get worse: ‘The areas
which they will be ready to deal directly with each other are likely to
expand, and the scope for smaller political and economic units to play
an independent role between them will be diminished.’106 ‘The only
antidote to the risk of superpower bilateralism’, officials would con-
clude, ‘is to build the community into an effective power in its own
right.’107 Home was certain: ‘The Community will proceed whether or
not we like it, and we should be in it to make sure that the voice of
Britain is heard by the superpowers.’108
   It was against this backdrop of growing superpower preponderance
and condominium that Heath and his colleagues increasingly came to
question the nature and future of relations with the United States. Heath
had long taken the view that against the post-war shift in power the ‘spe-
cial relationship’ had become an anachronism.109 As he explained at the
Jubilee Conference in June 1971, held to discuss the previous quarter
of a century of international relations, ‘The “Special Relationship” was
seen as a relationship between, on the one side, Britain backed by the
Commonwealth and, on the other, the United States, if not as equals at
least of comparable strength and importance.’ In Heath’s view, because
the Commonwealth did not develop and cohere in the way expected,
‘there was never any question of the special relationship developing
between balanced partners.’110 In the world of superpowers, Heath
assured Pompidou ‘there could be no satisfactory partnership, even if
Britain wanted it, between two powers one of which was barely a quar-
ter the size of the other.’111 Moreover, with America ‘increasingly and
                                                          Joining Europe   39

inevitably’ concerned with its superpower relations, Heath questioned
how relevant the ‘special relationship’ really was from Washington’s
point of view.112
   Viewed in this light, the question of choice – Europe or the ‘special
relationship’ – was a false one. In Heath’s mind, with relations so unbal-
anced and the United States focussed on superpower negotiations, it
simply did not exist. He was not alone. A study considering the vari-
ous alternatives for Britain determined that it faced a dismal future in
the new world outside the EC. In short, it concluded, ‘there is no good
alternative policy’.113
   With nowhere else to turn to secure Britain’s future as a world power,
the stakes for the third application could hardly have been higher.
Moreover, Heath feared and was advised that another failure would
be final, since it was widely felt that public opinion would not stand
for another ‘non’ and, with a new president in Paris, failure could no
longer be blamed on de Gaulle.114 Having personally suffered rejection
in the past, Heath, more than anyone, understood that regardless of
opinion at home, the outcome of the negotiations in Brussels depended
on Paris.
   Even with de Gaulle out of office and a successor who declared him-
self open to the possibility of British membership, there was still anxiety
in London that the old Gaullist fears and prejudices lingered in Paris.
Many of de Gaulle’s advisers carried over into Pompidou’s government
and a number of the French officials who had kept Britain out of the
EEC in the past remained in Brussels and Paris.115 Assessing the strategy
for negotiations, advisers in the Foreign Office cautioned that, though
opinion was changing, ‘the old suspicions still existed.’116 From Paris,
Soames advised that anti-British feeling was still entrenched in certain
pockets and that Pompidou would have to reckon with it. The pres-
ident, himself, while conceding that Britain’s attitude to Europe had
evolved considerably’, was, Soames counselled, ‘not wholly convinced
that we are yet free of our intuitive and deep-seated attachments to the
outside world and prepared wholeheartedly to throw in our lot with
Europe.’117 Following the previous failure, a planning paper advised that
in dealing with Europe ‘we have to make clear that the UK is in no
sense a Trojan horse for the US.’118 For his part, Home was equally cog-
nisant of French sensitivities, advising the prime minister before his
meeting with Pompidou in May 1971 that he would have to dispel
any ‘residual legacy of mistrust and disbelief about Britain which he
[Pompidou] inherited from the General and which he has instinctively
40   Allies Apart

   It is understandable, then, given the lessons of the previous attempts
and advice emanating from both the Foreign Office and Paris, that
Heath resolved to do everything possible to dispel the spectre of the ‘spe-
cial relationship’. ‘Once again’, Heath determined, ‘we had to convince
a French President that Britain was sufficiently European and would not
exploit membership to disrupt or dilute the Community.’ ‘Our task’,
he recalled, ‘was to reassure France.’120 The assignment was not a new
one. When Wilson and Brown visited the six member states in January
1967 in preparation for entry, they sought to convince them that Britain
was ‘breaking loose from the US’, assuring de Gaulle that they were
asserting their independence in Washington in just the same way as
France.121 After all, on coming to power, Wilson himself had begun to
publicly redefine the relationship, proclaiming that it was no longer
‘special’ but ‘close’.122 In this light, Heath’s own rejection of the ‘spe-
cial relationship’ in Washington and assurances in Paris were nothing
new and appear as, above all, calculated and symbolic gestures to soften
the French.
   However, despite the fact that Heath considered the ‘special relation-
ship’ to be something of an illusion and was determined to dispel the
notion in order to clear the way into Europe, none of this necessarily
dictated a rift with Washington. In fact, Heath came to power sharing
the prevailing view in Whitehall that the only way to reinvigorate the
Anglo-American relationship and create a genuine Atlantic partnership
was by joining Europe. This had, after all, been a central theme of his
Godkin lectures.123 Countering accusations that his Europeanism had
determined a rift with Washington, Heath was adamant: ‘I have always
believed part of the point of developing the unity of Europe is that a
united Europe will be able to better cooperate with the USA for the ben-
efit of the whole free world’, he assured one of his constituents who had
raised the issue.124 In his recent account of relations, Niklas Rossbach
goes as far to suggest that in pursuing the path to Europe, Heath had his
sights on a greater cause: ‘the rebirth of the special relationship’ between
the United States and EC, with Britain at its heart.125
   Even the most radical manifestation of Heath’s apparent Gaullist
pretensions – the creation of an Anglo-French nuclear force – can
be interpreted in this light. For Rossbach, Heath’s efforts to create a
European deterrent – which, after all, depended on American backing –
were not intended to forge independence from America, but instead
part of a concerted effort to draw France back into the Atlantic alliance.
In March 1971, Home reminded Heath how they had assured Nixon
that they would try to make France more outward looking; in his
                                                         Joining Europe   41

view, the only way of achieving this was to tempt the French with
nuclear collaboration.126 Under Heath’s vision of European defence,
then, the EC would be more, not less, dependent on Anglo-American
   While, on this basis, officials in London recognised that Anglo-
American relations were bound to become less exclusive, a determined
effort was made to reassure Washington that Britain’s turn to Europe
did not necessarily mean a turn away from the United States. Mark-
ing the level of importance he attached to transatlantic relations, Heath
chose his close friend and former governor of the Bank of England,
Lord Cromer, to succeed John Freeman as ambassador in Washington
at the beginning of 1971. Being both favourably disposed to the United
States and someone whom the prime minister had complete trust
in, Cromer was the ideal candidate to sustain links with the Nixon
administration.127 Writing to the new ambassador, Home stressed that
support for European enlargement was ‘not a case, vis-à-vis America,
of “off with the old and on with the new” ’.128 More widely, the For-
eign Office emphasised that ‘our European policies will not affect our
basic attitude with the US.’129 Sensing growing American unease about
Britain’s imminent membership, Hugh Overton, head of the Foreign
Office’s North American Department, drafted a letter to Rogers con-
firming Britain’s intention ‘to work within the Community for policies
which are outward looking’. Furthermore, he stressed that the close
working relationship would not be undermined: ‘Bilateral collaboration
with you in a number of important fields, notably nuclear affairs and
intelligence, will not be affected in any way by British entry into the
EEC.’ In Overton’s view, then, there was ‘no reason why our future as
loyal and effective Europeans should involve any weakening with the
American government and people’.130
   Thus, to see Heath’s turn to Europe as marking a determined detach-
ment from the United States is not only distorting but also misses
the wider arguments that were being made at the time, both across
Whitehall and in Number 10. Certainly, for Heath, the ‘special rela-
tionship’, seen in the Churchillian terms of a partnership of equals,
was over – the East of Suez decision had finally seen to that. However,
in joining Europe Heath – initially at least – held out the hope of a
wider Atlantic partnership with the Anglo-American relationship at its
heart. To a large extent, advice from the Foreign Office aptly summed
up the Heath government’s approach to EC membership and relations
with Washington: ‘So far as possible’, it concluded, ‘we should try to eat
our cake and have it.’131
42   Allies Apart

From sponsors to sceptics: the view from Washington

In many respects, all this mirrored official thinking in Washington.
Since the end of the Second World War, the United States, reflecting
its federalist traditions and Cold War concerns, had consistently sup-
ported the creation of a united Europe led by Britain. On coming to
power, Nixon publicly reaffirmed this position. An enhanced Europe
with Britain at its heart, it seemed, remained integral to the White
House’s global strategising. However, as will be shown, lurking behind
Nixon’s enthusiastic pronouncements, were deep-seated ambivalences,
which reflected both long-held thinking in America and the particular
concerns and prejudices of his own administration. By the time Britain
had successfully negotiated entry, Nixon’s public statements had turned
cold, even confrontational. In private, he and Kissinger became posi-
tively scornful of the whole project, dismissing the decision to push
Britain in as a ‘horrible mistake’.132 The paradox was striking: just as
an enlarged Europe led by the British, which had been a professed
aim of successive administrations, became reality, the US attitude had
seemingly turned against the whole thing.
   Initially, Nixon appeared to confirm, even deepen, Washington’s sup-
port for integration. Reflecting the broad conclusions of a review of
American policy towards Western Europe (NSSM 79), the president pub-
licly renewed US enthusiasm in his First Annual Foreign Policy Report to
Congress in February 1970: ‘Our support for strengthening and broad-
ening of the European Community has not diminished . . . We consider
that the possible price of a truly unified Europe is outweighed by the
gain in the political vitality of the West as a whole.’133 As the then British
ambassador, John Freeman, observed, Nixon’s statement not only car-
ried the weight of being included in his first public formulation of
US foreign policy, but also, more significantly, made mention of US pre-
paredness ‘to make sacrifices in the common interest’ as a necessary
corollary to European unity.134
   The president’s public enthusiasm for European integration can be
interpreted against both conventional wisdom and new calculations.
From the Marshall Plan through to Kennedy’s Grand Design, the United
States had been the chief advocate and principal sponsor of a united
Europe, urging Britain to join all along. Although widely regarded as
one of the most high-minded acts of any country, historians have shown
that European unity was never seen as an end in itself in Washington
but was viewed as a means to larger strategic objectives: the containment
of first Germany and then the Soviet Union. As Ambassador Freeman
                                                       Joining Europe   43

concluded, Nixon started from the same basic premise: that ‘it would be
contrary to the US fundamental interests for Europe to be dominated by
the Soviet Union.’135
   However, beyond conventional Cold War calculations, Nixon’s sup-
port for an enhanced EC can also be understood as part of his overall
design for a new world system based on a multipolar balance of power.
The White House, it seemed, was just as keen to end the condition of
bipolarity as the governments in Europe. ‘It was not healthy to have
just two superpowers’, Nixon told Pompidou.136 ‘Political multipolarity,
while difficult to get used to’, he explained, ‘is the precondition of a
new period of creativity.’137 Specifically, Nixon conceived of a pentago-
nal balance of power with a united Western Europe forming one of the
five apexes, along with the United States, the Soviet Union, Japan and
China. It was on this basis that Nixon looked to his European allies
to create a solid building bloc for his new, more fluid, world order.
‘A strong, healthy and independent Europe’, Nixon decreed, ‘is good
for the balance of the world.’138
   In reality, though, the president’s enthusiasm for a stronger Europe
was underlined by growing doubts about American pre-eminence.
When Nixon entered the White House, the United States was suffering
from a mounting balance of payments deficit and deepening domes-
tic divisions, with over 250,000 US troops still embroiled in Vietnam
and even more committed to the defence of Western Europe. The sit-
uation, Kissinger warned, was unsustainable: if ‘the US remains the
trustee of every non-Communist area it will exhaust its psychologi-
cal resources. No country can act wisely simultaneously in every part
of the globe at every moment of time.’139 Compounding these strains
were mounting calls at home for the withdrawal of US troops abroad.
Caught between domestic protest and their own determination to pre-
serve US credibility abroad, Nixon and Kissinger looked increasingly
to their allies to take a greater role in global security. In a landmark
speech at Guam in July 1969, Nixon outlined his intention to devolve
US power to regional allies – what eventually became known as the
‘Nixon Doctrine’. Although the president was referring explicitly to
South Asia, his design also applied to Europe, with Nixon frequently
stressing that ‘a highly cohesive Western Europe would relieve the US of
many burdens.’140 A State Department paper made the case for integra-
tion along similar lines: ‘The US interest lies in the development of
an effective decision-making entity in Europe in both the political as
well as economic field. In the defense field, a substantially increased
West European contribution is unlikely except in the context of greater
44   Allies Apart

European political unity.’141 According to Kissinger, there was ‘no alter-
native’ to European unity either for the United States or for Europe.142
Summarising the administration’s thinking, Kissinger concluded that
‘Only a federal Europe could end Europe’s wars, provide an effective
counterweight to the USSR, bind Germany indissolubly to the west, and
share with us the burdens and obligations of world leadership.’143
   To this end, Nixon and Kissinger – reflecting established thinking
in Washington – looked to Britain to play a leading role. Overall,
British membership was seen as essential to the development of the
EC, signifying its ‘final creation’ – only then would Europe become the
regional power centre that Nixon and Kissinger envisaged.144 Specifi-
cally, though, US policy-makers identified two defining features of the
British outlook which they hoped would guide the Community in a
way that was conducive to American interests, both politically and eco-
nomically. First, as Nixon explained to Heath, Britain was seen as the
sole country in Europe ‘capable of taking a world view of events’.145
And, second, Britain was regarded as a liberalising force in what had the
potential to become a protectionist economic bloc. In short, American
strategists hoped that British traditions would guarantee that the EC
developed a ‘democratic, liberal and outward looking character’.146 From
Washington’s perspective, then, Britain indeed had a special role to play
in Europe as the protector of US interests. It was on these grounds that,
when Nixon met with Heath, he repeatedly stressed his preference for an
integrated Europe led by Britain.147 On learning of the successful conclu-
sion of negotiations, Nixon conveyed his personal congratulations and
satisfaction to the prime minister.148
   However, despite such positive soundings, in reality, by the time
Britain had successfully negotiated its terms of entry in the summer
of 1971, US opinion appeared to have changed, even reversed. Nixon’s
Second Annual Foreign Policy Report to Congress on 25 February 1971
had reflected the shift. Rather than embracing the prospect of expan-
sion, the central theme of the president’s message on Europe was the
‘Challenge of European Unity’.149 In the past, Nixon argued, the United
States had been blindly uncritical. The truth, he now warned, was
that in the future ‘European unity would pose problems for American
policy, which it would be idle to ignore.’150 In private, Kissinger con-
fided to Cromer that ‘if history were to be rewritten, it would have
been better for the US if the UK had not been compelled by events to
join the EEC.’151 Within a year, then, it seemed that the chief spon-
sor of a united Europe had become its principal sceptic. So, what had
                                                          Joining Europe   45

   To some extent, the apparent volte face reflected the culmination and
expression of long-held doubts. While the White House had consistently
spoken in favour on an enhanced Europe, behind the public rhetoric,
American opinion was deeply divided – and increasingly so, as enlarge-
ment moved from principle to reality. Whereas the United States had
consistently advocated European political unity as part of a strength-
ened West, in reality the most tangible manifestation of the EC was
its customs union. Thus, behind the support for political integration,
there was a growing Frankenstein-like fear that Europe, aided by the
United States, would merely turn into a giant protectionist and com-
petitive economic monster. Even President Kennedy who had appeared
such a strong advocate of integration was privately persuaded by his key
economic adviser, John Galbraith, that the effect of a high-tariff bloc
such as the EEC could be ‘extremely serious’.152
   Compounding these concerns was the fact that the EC’s trading sys-
tem extended well beyond its borders, offering special and exclusive
arrangements to non-members in Europe, its Mediterranean neighbours
and former colonies. Potentially, the community stood at the centre of a
trading bloc of 58 states stretching from the Arctic Circle to the northern
border of South Africa.153 Inevitably, the EC’s increasing size and vigour
manifested itself across the Atlantic through a growing disparity in
global exports: between 1950 and 1970 America’s share had dropped
from 16.7 per cent to 13.7 per cent while the EEC’s had almost doubled
to 28.8 per cent.154 By the end of Nixon’s first year in office, US frustra-
tions were coming to a head, particularly as the EC adopted its Common
Agricultural Policy and moved to extend its preferential trade arrange-
ments. Looking ahead, an NSC study warned that an ‘expanded Europe’
could account for half of world trade compared with America’s 15 per
cent.155 To make matters worse, all this occurred just as the United States
began to experience its first trade deficit and entered into a recession.
   In 1970, following the EC’s Hague Summit, which set members on the
path towards economic and monetary union, American fears about the
effects of an expanded community became more vocal especially among
the trade agencies – the Treasury, and Departments of Commerce and
Agriculture. Moreover, with anxieties among America’s producers begin-
ning to boil, there was growing talk of a trade war. At an interagency
meeting of 13 May 1970, the representatives argued that the opening
move should be a ‘reinterpretation’ of the president’s First Foreign Policy
Report. Summarising their position to Nixon, Kissinger explained that
‘they see Europe as too strong a competitor already for us to pay any
economic price for further movement toward European unity.’156 Under
46   Allies Apart

mounting pressure from agricultural and industrial officials, Nixon’s
own attitude began to turn. ‘It seems to me’, he scribbled to Kissinger,
‘that we “protest” and continue to get the short end of the stick in our
dealings with the Community.’157
   Against this rising tide of resentment over Community practices, the
Nixon administration looked to Britain to use its negotiations to steer
the EC in a more outward-looking direction – or, as the economic agen-
cies had urged, to ‘conduct battle’.158 In particular, the Department of
Agriculture hoped that British negotiators would defend US commercial
interests by insisting on reductions in CAP prices on key feed grains.159
   By the end of 1970, however, events appeared, at least in the short-
term, to have turned the prospect of British membership against the
United States. In order to prove its readiness to enter the Community, in
October 1970 the British government announced its intention to unilat-
erally introduce an interim levy system to prepare the way for entrance
into the CAP. The move instantly fuelled anti-Europe sentiment within
American farming circles. Fred Bergsten, Kissinger’s adviser on interna-
tional economics, warned that the ‘flames have just been fanned’.160
When British representatives met with officials in Washington in March
1971 to discuss their application, the Americans stressed the difficulties
the British measures had created, especially with an election loom-
ing. Peter Peterson, the president’s assistant for international economic
affairs, still hoped, though, to convince the British to help relieve the sit-
uation. Speaking to Geoffrey Rippon, the minister in charge of Britain’s
negotiations, he stressed that the problems were very narrow and could
be alleviated if the British would only insist on lower community agri-
cultural prices.161 But Rippon stood firm, maintaining that the British
had to accept the CAP: ‘There was no possibility of re-negotiation
during our negotiations,’ he insisted. In the event, then, the talks
ended in further disappointment for the Americans. In their final meet-
ing, Kissinger retorted that he ‘hoped that the British government
realised what a difficult domestic political problem they had created
for President Nixon’.162 In the end, Kissinger concludes, although the
prospect of British membership did not cause tensions between Europe
and America, it brought them to a head: ‘With Britain’s entry into the
Common Market imminent we were brought face to face for the first
time with the full implications of what we had wrought.’163
   While the prospect of enlargement had aroused perennial doubts in
the United States, the shift in rhetoric also reflected the particular prior-
ities and prejudices of the Nixon White House, and a growing split with
the State Department. For Nixon, frustrations with the EC were sharply
                                                         Joining Europe   47

exacerbated by electoral concerns. With the 1972 contest on its way,
it was the very group that protested most fervently about the effects
of an enlarged common market – the farmers – that Nixon looked to
as one of the main bases of political support. As Peterson explained to
Rippon, with an election approaching the question of farm support was
absolutely paramount in the president’s mind.164 For his own political
survival, then, Nixon deemed it essential to appear to protect the inter-
ests of a key voting constituent which included the citrus growers from
his own state.
   As Nixon prepared for combat over the EC’s economic policies, he
also grew impatient with the Community’s institutional arrangements.
While Nixon had publicly championed a unified Europe, in reality,
he remained predisposed to bilateral relations and had deep misgiv-
ings over the member states’ move towards enhanced cooperation and
collective decision-making. With evident bitterness, Robert Schaetzel,
who served as US ambassador to the EC between 1966 and 1972,
characterised Nixon’s policy towards the Community as one of ‘stud-
ied neglect’. Moreover, according to Schaetzel, Nixon’s obsession with
national diplomacy undermined the development of the EC by mak-
ing it excessively difficult for the European governments to break away
from bilateral habits which were at odds with their expressed Commu-
nity commitments.165 Nixon was adamant: ‘We’ve got to work with the
heads of the government in the various countries and not that jackass
in the European Commission in Brussels.’166
   While the prospect of enlargement stirred Nixon’s own susceptibili-
ties, his principal foreign policy adviser had a long record of doubting
the whole project all along. One of the defining themes of Kissinger’s
academic career had been his scepticism over European integration
and its effect on Atlantic relations. For Kissinger, the conventional
wisdom – formalised by Kennedy’s Grand Design – that a united Europe
would simply emerge in partnership with the United States was overly
sentimental and failed to recognise the fundamental tension between
European autonomy and the bigger goal of Atlantic unity. After all,
he concluded in his 1964 treatise, The Troubled Partnership, ‘A separate
identity has usually been established in opposition to a dominant
power.’ Europe’s, he predicted, was unlikely to be any different.167
Moreover, Kissinger the theorist warned that the assumption that
British membership could solve the central dilemma had always been
‘overoptimistic’.168 On entering the White House, Kissinger, now chief
strategist, expressed his reservations early on, gradually steering policy
away from established views. As the State Department prepared papers
48   Allies Apart

restating US support for a federal Europe, he called for a ‘more neutral
posture’.169 ‘The big mistake’, Kissinger privately counselled the presi-
dent, ‘was made by Kennedy in pushing them [the British] so hard on
the Common Market.’170
   Just as European enlargement moved to reality and, as Kissinger pre-
dicted, aggravated long-standing concerns, the Nixon administration
began to consider ways to tackle both the economic and political effects
of integration. As will be shown in the following chapter, facing what
was perceived to be a growing protectionist bloc in Europe and mount-
ing protest at home, the president took dramatic measures to head off
trade competition. And, as Chapter 5 details, once détente had been
launched, Kissinger turned his diplomacy to transatlantic relations in
an attempt to address the dilemma he had outlined a decade earlier.

The tables turned

In many ways, the success of Britain’s entry negotiations at the end of
June 1971 should have marked a crowning moment for Washington as
much as London. After all, British membership of the EC had been a
professed US objective since its creation. However, when the principle
of enlargement finally moved to reality, it became more a cause of trep-
idation than celebration, bringing to a head fears about an economic
behemoth and concerns that integration would undermine both bilat-
eral relations and Atlantic unity – all of which had long been predicted
by Kissinger. According to his account, though, the situation was made
all the more difficult by the man in charge at Number 10.
   To some extent, Kissinger’s analysis reflects a contradiction which
had been inherent in the US position on Europe all along. As John
Lamberton Harper has observed, the United States, while supporting a
federal Europe, has consistently encouraged Britain, the least federalist
of nations, to take a leading role.171 What Nixon and Kissinger really
wanted, Schaetzel suggests, was a ‘docile, client Europe’.172 Ultimately,
their hopes that British negotiators could help resolve US doubts were
misplaced. It was, after all, the very perception that Britain was acting
on behalf of US interests that had been the barrier to entry in the past.
By the third application, it was recognised on both sides of the Atlantic
that appearances would have to change if Britain was to be successful.
   Moreover, as this chapter has argued, the notion that Britain ended
up in Europe because of the fanatical ambition of one man is mislead-
ing in a number of respects. As shown, the case for entry had been
gaining force for over a decade; by the time Heath came to power,
                                                         Joining Europe   49

membership was regarded across the political spectrum as both essen-
tial and inevitable. But, as John Young has argued, the turn to Europe
did not mean an abandonment of traditional policies; rather, ‘it was a
reaction to their collapse.’173 Ultimately, EC membership was viewed as
the key to retaining a world role, which as Stephen George concludes,
reflected a ‘long-held habit of mind’ in Britain.174 In this respect, a key
factor in the argument for joining Europe was the changing nature of
relations with the United States. As Macmillan and Wilson came to
recognise that Britain no longer had special influence in Washington,
so they looked to Europe.
   It is against this logic that Heath’s application should also be con-
sidered. As discussed, his own views were not innate or ideological but
developed against the changing international context – he was more a
man of his times than a ‘forward looking aberration’.175 By the time he
reached Number 10, Europe had become a career as much as an ideal.
Above all, though, like his predecessors, Heath looked to Europe as a
platform for a renewed world role for Britain, continuously presenting
his Europeanism as part of a ‘sober, modern and realistic assessment of
Britain’s place in the world’.176 In this sense, Heath’s Europeanism, like
Churchill’s appeals to the ‘special relationship’, was prescriptive.
   Although Heath had consistently related his views on Europe to
a broader Atlanticist vision, explicitly championing Kennedy’s Grand
Design, by the end of his first year in office, his views had shifted with
international events. Against growing anxieties about the superpow-
ers’ policies and their changing relationship, Heath and his colleagues
placed increasing emphasis on the need for an independent Europe.
In this sense, they came to reflect a certain Gaullist logic. Moreover, as
will be shown in Chapter 2, the case for unity gained force as US policy-
making in both the economic and geopolitical sphere sparked renewed
questions about the state and future of Anglo-American relations.
The Nixon Shocks: The
Opening to China and New
Economic Policy

In just one month, Nixon shook the foundations of both international
relations and the global economy. On the evening of 15 July 1971,
he appeared on national television to announce that Henry Kissinger,
during a secret trip to China, had arranged for him to visit Beijing by
May of the following year.1 After 20 years of often bitter Sino-American
estrangement and diplomatic deadlock, Nixon’s broadcast came as a
startling surprise both at home and abroad. It was, according to Dutch
radio, ‘the most significant news since World War Two’.2 Not only did it
signify a dramatic step towards a rapprochement between two sworn ene-
mies, but it also opened the way to a new world order no longer frozen in
bipolarity. With some cause, Nixon later wrote that his short television
appearance had produced one of the greatest diplomatic surprises of the
century.3 At the time, The Washington Post expressed widely held senti-
ments when it exclaimed that it was ‘flabbergasted at the momentous
   Before the world could catch its breath, the president made a second
televised address the following month, this time announcing a major
overhaul of the international economic system. On 15 August, having
spent the weekend hidden away at Camp David with his treasury sec-
retary, John Connally, and a team of advisers, Nixon unveiled his ‘New
Economic Policy’.5 Buried at the end of a series of wage and price con-
trols intended to cool inflation and increase employment at home, the
package contained two highly protectionist measures designed to shake
allies abroad: a 10 per cent import surcharge and the suspension of dol-
lar convertibility. With one stroke, Nixon had ended the Bretton Woods
system which had regulated international monetary arrangements since
1944. The president of the Ford Motor Company remarked that it made
Nixon’s trip to China look like ‘child’s play’.6

                                                       The Nixon Shocks   51

   The rest of the world could only watch in astonishment as the presi-
dent unilaterally transformed international relations and the monetary
system with his sudden television broadcasts. In Japan a new word even
had to be introduced to describe the stunning developments – shokku.
   As this chapter reveals, these ‘Nixon shocks’, as they became widely
known, had a profound effect on the Anglo-American alliance, which
has hitherto not been fully understood. By the end of 1971, British offi-
cials on both sides of the Atlantic and at all levels were reflecting on how
relations with Washington had reached a low-point. It was felt that the
‘old ease and closeness’ of Anglo-American communications had been
lost and that the sources of strain had increased in number and serious-
ness over the past months.7 In short, the very ‘special relationship’ that
Kissinger came to celebrate in his memoirs – based on the intangibles of
trust and consultation – had been badly damaged. From London’s per-
spective, the problem was not a Europe-obsessed prime minister but the
nature of policy-making in Washington, demonstrated most acutely by
Nixon’s opening to China and New Economic Policy.

The ‘first Nixon shock’: the opening to China

Nixon’s announcement that he would be visiting China the following
year is widely seen by scholars as the most significant and successful
foreign policy event of his administration.8 For a generation, America’s
relations with the biggest nation in the world had been defined by ide-
ological hostility and brought into direct confrontation in Korea and
Vietnam, taking a further plunge with Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Thus,
the revelation that Nixon would be visiting Beijing – a first for a US
president – signalled a dramatic transformation in America’s relations
with Communist China.
   As well as opening the way to a full rapprochement with America’s
ideological nemesis and clearing the path for its entrance into the
United Nations, Nixon’s announcement presaged a profound shift in
the contours of international relations. Kissinger later proclaimed how
‘Overnight it transformed the structure of international politics.’9 For
a quarter of a century, the pattern of international relations had been
predominantly defined by the entrenched East–West bipolar stand-
off between two alliance systems ostensibly tied to Washington and
Moscow. Thus, China’s split from the Soviet Union and engagement
with the United States marked a transition to a more flexible multipo-
lar world. It was, Margaret MacMillan concludes, an ‘earthquake in the
Cold War landscape’.10
52   Allies Apart

   By design, Nixon’s announcement stunned adversaries both at home
and abroad. As election year approached, Nixon’s diplomatic coup stole
the initiative from his Democrat rivals who had long made China their
cause. From Washington, British Ambassador Lord Cromer concluded
that ‘There is no doubt that the President has delivered a historic black
eye to the Democratic Party.’11 In Moscow and Hanoi news of Nixon’s
planned visit and the prospect of a Sino-American rapprochement that
it foreshadowed was deeply unnerving. According to Kissinger, he sud-
denly found the Soviet ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin, to be much
more forthcoming – even anxious – over a number of issues which the
Soviets had been stalling on. It was no coincidence, he writes, that less
than a month later, Brezhnev issued a formal invitation for Nixon to
visit Moscow. Moreover, during the next weeks, negotiations on Berlin
moved rapidly towards an agreement.12
   While Nixon succeeded in rattling his adversaries, his principal allies
reacted with a mixture of admiration, astonishment and alarm. As Jussi
Hanhimäki writes, most welcomed the development as an important
step in the cause of international peace.13 It was, according to the
Australian prime minister, ‘an act of great imaginativeness and political
courage’.14 The global press was generally very favourable, struggling to
find adequate words to capture the feat. A correspondent from Vienna
exclaimed that it was ‘sensational, striking and simply unbelievable’,
while a Dutch headline proclaimed that ‘Nixon Has the Whole World
with Him.’15
   However, amidst the clamour of support, there was also angry opposi-
tion. At home, the sharpest criticism came from the right of Nixon’s own
party. Congressman John Schmitz of California charged Nixon with sur-
rendering to international communism by accepting Mao’s invitation,
while the publisher of the National Review, William Rusher, accused the
president of ‘one of the greatest historical double-crosses of all time’.16
Overseas, the main objections emanated from America’s Asian allies.
Unsurprisingly, it was the Nationalist government in Taiwan which
found the news hardest to take, since it signalled the very thing it
dreaded most – a sudden alignment of its main friend and foe. In a
strong diplomatic protest, Tapei judged the move a ‘most unfriendly
act’ which would have the ‘gravest consequences’.17 In Tokyo, the
announcement also came as a rude awakening. Ever since indepen-
dence, Japan had deferred to American policy in Asia, promising to sign
a treaty with Taiwan and accepting limitations on its trade with China.
The prospect of a sudden reversal in US policy became known as the
‘Asakai nightmare’, after the Japanese ambassador who woke one night
                                                       The Nixon Shocks   53

having dreamt that Washington had made the switch without bothering
to inform Tokyo. In the event, Prime Minister Sato was given three min-
utes warning and, in the parlance of the day, the president’s broadcast
became known as the ‘first Nixon shock’.
   While the effect on relations with Taiwan and Japan has become
well known, somewhat surprisingly, behind the official guise, Nixon’s
announcement caused acute upset in Britain which has been less well
documented. In public, the move was broadly welcomed. Heath con-
gratulated the president, maintaining years later that he had ‘fully
approved’ of Nixon’s initiative.18 After all, as will become evident,
Britain had been working to improve its own relations with China for
many years and, as Robert Boardman shows, a belief in the wisdom of
a Sino-American rapprochement had been a ‘constant in British thinking
since 1949’.19 However, behind the public face, there was widespread
consternation and resentment. Privately, Heath protested that Nixon’s
‘sudden action’ had ‘undermined confidence in the US’.20 Moreover,
Nixon’s China initiative was widely considered to have struck a dam-
aging blow at the Anglo-American relationship and raised fundamental
questions about its future.
   The issue that rankled the British was not the principle of establishing
relations with China but the way in which such a significant devel-
opment in American foreign policy was presented as a fait accompli.21
Contrary to John Dickie’s claim that there were those in Number 10
who had been party to the preparations that led up to Kissinger’s secret
visit, it is clear from the available memoirs and recently released govern-
ment papers that Nixon’s announcement came as a complete surprise
in London.22 Moreover, looking back, there were those at the Foreign
Office who felt that they had been ‘positively misled’ and even double-
crossed during the weeks prior to Kissinger’s secret trip.23 The president’s
personal assurances at Chequers that he would not leave Britain in the
dark over major foreign policy developments suddenly rang hollow.24
   The underlying point, which will be highlighted by the first section
of this chapter, is that Nixon’s China initiative shows the extent to
which policy-making became centralised and secretive in Washington.
Ultimately, analysis of the US approach to Beijing reveals the rising
influence of Kissinger and his National Security Council against the
gradual exclusion of the State Department. For the Foreign Office, it
was a deeply frustrating experience as its communications with Foggy
Bottom became unreliable. However, as the second part of this chapter
will show, the level of resentment – as opposed to just frustration – in
London can only be fully understood when Britain’s own China policy
54   Allies Apart

is taken into account. Just when British negotiations for an exchange
of ambassadors were moving to completion, they were first held back
by Washington and then upstaged by Nixon’s announcement. It was
a shock from which the prime minister is said to have never fully

The decision not to consult

Ever since the communist victory in 1949, the United States and Britain,
despite efforts to ‘keep in step’, had diverged over how best to approach
China.26 Beginning with Truman, successive American administrations
opposed Mao’s government, severing trade and diplomatic relations
while supporting the Nationalists in Taiwan. Spurred by domestic opin-
ion, policy-makers in Washington calculated that the only way to
protect Western interests and prevent the spread of communism was
through the economic and political containment of China. Britain, on
the other hand, had consistently advocated a more conciliatory line,
becoming the first country to recognise the People’s Republic in Jan-
uary 1950 and, thereafter, seeking to expand trade relations. Overall,
leaders in London were guided by more pragmatic concerns than their
American counterparts. First and foremost, Britain had significant com-
mercial ties in China – substantially more than the United States – and
was eager to keep the door open to its enormous market. And, second,
in order to safeguard British interests in Hong Kong, it was deemed
essential to maintain good relations with whoever was in charge on the
Chinese mainland. However, despite being driven by its own regional
economic and political interests, Britain was not indifferent to the com-
munist challenge. Rather, British analysts were more circumspect about
the links between Beijing and Moscow, arguing that the best way to sep-
arate China from the Soviet camp was through engagement rather than
   These basic Anglo-American differences came to a head over China’s
representation at the United Nations. Whereas the United States was
determined to keep the Nationalist in and the Communists out, Britain
favoured the reverse. With the outbreak of the Korean War, the question
was postponed. However, by the 1960s the issue had sprung back to life
as Mao searched for international recognition. In order to block the Peo-
ple’s Republic, the United States introduced the ‘Important Question’
resolution, which stipulated that any vote required a two-thirds major-
ity to pass, and looked to Britain, with its legion of Commonwealth
followers, for support. It left London in a difficult position. On the one
                                                       The Nixon Shocks   55

hand, it did not want to upset Beijing; on the other hand, relations with
Washington had become paramount. In the end, as Victor Kaufman
shows, the British government deferred to the Americans, voting for
the admission of the PRC while effectively blocking its membership by
supporting the ‘Important Question’.27
   With every year, however, as more countries recognised Communist
China, the situation became harder to sustain and pressures mounted
in Britain to drop the ‘Important Question’. The stage seemed set for
an Anglo-American run-in. However, as Kaufman writes, matters took a
‘dramatic turn’ in 1968 with the election of Richard Nixon.28 Despite
having made his political career as an anti-communist crusader, pil-
lorying the Democrats for ‘losing China’, Nixon came to power as a
self-styled realist calling for a new pragmatic policy towards Mao’s gov-
ernment. Writing in Foreign Affairs, following a trip to Asia in April
1967, the presidential hopeful asserted that American policy ‘must
come urgently to grips with the reality of China’. Nixon cautioned that
‘we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of
nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its
   On coming to power, Nixon signalled his readiness for a rapprochement
with Beijing, pronouncing the need for good relations with all nations
and privately ordering Kissinger to carry out a review of China policy.30
However, it was following the Sino-Soviet border clashes in March and
August 1969 that an approach to China was pursued with any real pur-
pose and chance of success. For Beijing, the incidents raised the fear of
a Soviet attack – even a nuclear strike – and underlined the dangers of
isolation, while for Washington, they confirmed that the Sino-Soviet
split was terminal and presented an opportunity to move closer to
China.31 With both sides keen to improve relations, official talks were
reopened between diplomats in Warsaw in January 1970 and appeared
to be going well; there was even mutual support for the idea of sending a
presidential representative to Beijing for more direct discussions.32 How-
ever, following the US invasion of Cambodia in May, Beijing promptly
cancelled the talks, reverting to the extreme anti-American rhetoric
of the past. With relations so publicly damaged, Nixon began to test
private channels, eventually establishing communications through the
Pakistani president, Yaya Khan, at the end of 1970. Over the next
months, several letters were exchanged with the Chinese premier, Zhou
Enlai, via the Pakistani ambassador in Washington, Agha Hilaly, in an
effort to arrange high-level talks. Then, in April 1971, relations took
a very public turn when, following a chance encounter between an
56   Allies Apart

American table tennis player and the Chinese team on a bus at the
World Championships in Japan, Mao invited the entire US squad to
Beijing. To the amazement of the watching world, Zhou proclaimed that
the visiting players had ‘opened a new chapter in the relations between
the Chinese and American peoples’.33
   The following week Nixon and Kissinger received the message they
had been waiting for. Zhou reaffirmed China’s willingness to receive a
special envoy without stipulating any conditions over Taiwan.34 It was,
Nixon proclaimed, ‘the most important communication that has come
to an American president since the end of World War Two’.35 In the end,
Kissinger managed to convince Nixon that he was the only man for the
job and set out on his secret mission.36 On the evening of 8 July, dur-
ing a stopover in Islamabad, Kissinger feigned a stomach ache, excused
himself from the public eye and took a secret flight over the Hindu Kush
into China. Over the next two days, he met with the Chinese premier for
17 hours of what he described as the ‘most intense, important, and far
reaching’ talks of his White House experience.37 Having found a mutu-
ally satisfactory way to defer the prickly issue of Taiwan, Kissinger and
Zhou moved on to make arrangements for a presidential visit. It was left
to Nixon to tell the rest of the world.38
   In many ways, the build up to Nixon’s announcement finally marked
the convergence of Anglo-American policies over China. Britain had
consistently urged the United States to engage with Mao’s regime and,
as will be shown, was simultaneously trying to improve its own relations
with Beijing as the White House made its own approach.
   Why, then, at this conjunction did Nixon choose not to consult with
or even inform Britain about his initiative? After all, the Foreign Office
already had diplomats in China who could have helped. It has been
suggested that the answer had most to do with personal relations at
the top. Employing Kissinger’s broader thesis on the state of Anglo-
American relations at the time, Kaufman contends that, despite his best
efforts, Nixon was unable to establish a close relationship with Heath
who was determined to downgrade relations with Washington in order
to open the door to Europe. In relation to China, then, there was little
hope or incentive for serious consultations as there might have been in
the past.39
   However, just as Kissinger’s Heath-centric view is exaggerated and mis-
leading when considering the Anglo-American relationship as a whole,
it is also entirely distorting when applied to the China opening. As will
be shown, the basic issue that led to the breakdown of communica-
tions over China was not difficulties with Heath, but a determination
                                                      The Nixon Shocks   57

on the part of Nixon and Kissinger to seize complete control of policy
and conceal it from all others. Once the official talks in Warsaw had
broken down, the president and his national security adviser became
obsessive about the need for complete secrecy in their contacts with
Beijing. Outside Nixon’s inner circle, nobody was informed about the
Pakistani backchannel or Zhou’s invitation. When Kissinger set off for
his trip to Beijing the State Department was told that he was going on a
‘fact-finding’ mission to South Asia.40 Relaying news that a presidential
visit had been agreed back to Washington, Kissinger warned his deputy,
Alexander Haig, that ‘a leak or even a hint is almost certain to blow
everything.’41 In terms of the White House’s failure to consult with the
Heath government, then, the simple fact is that Britain did not feature in
its calculations on China and would have been left in the dark whoever
was in charge at Number 10.
   Nixon’s surprise announcement and the fall out it caused amongst
America’s allies has sparked debate about whether the use of secrecy
was necessary or worthwhile. At the time, many commentators ques-
tioned the ‘unusual secrecy’, concluding that it was both disturbing
and unhealthy.42 However, while Nixon and Kissinger later acknowl-
edged the offence caused to their allies, both maintained that it was
crucial to the success of their initiative.43 ‘We had no choice’, Nixon
insisted; sharing information would have ‘aborted the entire effort.’44
The case for secrecy rests on three basic claims. First, it is alleged
that the Chinese insisted on it. General Vernon Walters, who served
as the White House contact over China in Paris, recalls how Mao
and his aides were ‘very concerned with secrecy’.45 Having successfully
arranged a presidential visit, Kissinger reported back to Washington
that the Chinese had ‘made a special point about the need to keep
word meticulously’.46 On his return from Beijing, he informed the press
that one of the conditions of his visit had been that it was under-
cover. Second, it is argued that to have informed the bureaucracy and
other governments would have risked leaks which would have upset the
Chinese and mobilised conservative opposition at home. Under pub-
lic scrutiny, it is held that discussions with Beijing would have been
bound to collapse. Third, underlying Nixon’s and Kissinger’s analysis is
the presumption that they alone understood the true significance of the
opening to China. Rogers and his team of specialists at the State Depart-
ment, Kissinger insists, were too concerned with particular issues –
especially Taiwan – and gaining prior concessions to grasp the overall
strategic logic drawing Washington and Beijing together. By Nixon and
Kissinger’s account, they alone were able to rise above these parochial
58   Allies Apart

concerns, recognising that a visit to China was key to the bigger objec-
tives of American foreign policy – exiting Vietnam and containing the
Soviet Union.
   Through a complex system of links and levers, Nixon and Kissinger
calculated that the opening to China could be used to put pressure on
Hanoi and Moscow. Nixon, in particular, hoped to enlist China’s help
to achieve ‘peace with honour’ by linking the withdrawal of US forces
in Taiwan to a Chinese undertaking on Vietnam. Even if Beijing could
not be convinced to coerce the North Vietnamese, he reasoned, the
spectacle of a Sino-American rapprochement would be enough to shake
Hanoi. However, with talk of a possible nuclear strike by Moscow against
Beijing, according to Kissinger, the primary reason for courting Mao was
the need to protect the balance of power against the Soviet Union.47
‘If Moscow succeeded in humiliating Peking and reducing it to impo-
tence,’ Kissinger reasoned, ‘the whole weight of the Soviet Union’s
military effort would be thrown against the West.’48 Thus, in order
to deter the Soviets, Washington suddenly found itself compelled to
align with an erstwhile enemy with which it had no diplomatic rela-
tions. However, despite Kissinger’s grand strategising, the opening to
China also served a more tactical purpose in America’s negotiations with
Moscow. Although Kissinger would later deny that he had envisaged
‘ “using” the People’s Republic against the Soviet Union’,49 following his
secret visit, Nixon’s chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, set out the rationale
driving the initiative: ‘We’re using the China thaw to get the Russians
shook.’50 And, as indicated, Kissinger himself would later boast how the
president’s announcement had got the Soviets moving on a number of
issues, including the arrangements for their own summit. In private,
Nixon was characteristically blunt about the purpose of the whole exer-
cise: ‘We’re doing this China thing to screw the Russians and help us
in Vietnam . . . and maybe down the road to have some relations with
   Beyond meeting the central challenges of American foreign policy,
Nixon and Kissinger also presented their approach to China as part of
their grand scheme for a new world order. As discussed in Chapter 1,
the president and his national security adviser considered the bipolar
balance to be both undesirable and unsustainable. In order to break
the Cold War freeze and open the potential for creative diplomacy,
Kissinger argued that it was essential to build a ‘new concept of interna-
tional order’ with multiple centres of decision.52 By Nixon’s pentagonal
design, China would form one of the five main axes of power. It was this
determination to integrate China within an overall ‘systematic global
                                                      The Nixon Shocks   59

strategy’, writes Jeremi Suri, which distinguished Kissinger’s thinking on
the Sino-American rapprochement.53
   For Nixon and Kissinger, then, the stakes could hardly have been
higher for their China initiative: an end to the war in Vietnam, the con-
tainment of the Soviet Union and the creation of a new world order.
With others failing to grasp the enormity of the opportunity, so it is
argued, it was essential to prevent their interference. In the end, the
bureaucracy and allies became unavoidable casualties of a higher cause.
Many commentators have sympathised with this view. John Gaddis
argues that ‘to have consulted the Departments of State and Defence,
the CIA, the appropriate Congressional committees, and all allies whose
interests would have been affected prior to Kissinger’s 1971 Beijing trip
would only have ensured that it did not take place.’54 In her recent study
of the Sino-American courtship, Margaret MacMillan also concedes that,
with such huge potential for misunderstanding, secrecy was ‘essential’.55
   However, while many have come to accept Nixon and Kissinger’s
reasoning, there are significant grounds for questioning the need for
secrecy and whether it served more personal ends. A more open dia-
logue would certainly have avoided upsetting Washington’s allies and,
some argue, built a more solid foundation for the development of Sino-
American relations in the future. Moreover, to varying degrees, each of
the arguments for secrecy is misleading. First, the suggestion that it was
a Chinese demand is disingenuous. Kissinger’s claim that Beijing had
insisted on a secret visit is simply untrue. The all-important message
from Zhou at the end of April stated that his government was willing
to receive a special envoy ‘publicly’.56 In fact, as David Reynolds sug-
gests, Zhou would have probably preferred an open visit because of the
likely effect on Moscow.57 In reality, secrecy was a White House condi-
tion. From the first contacts with Zhou, it had been Nixon and Kissinger
who had insisted on the use of private channels and maintaining ‘strict
   Second, although Nixon’s concern that consulting the State Depart-
ment and engaging in open negotiations would have resulted in leaks
and disruptive public debate was genuine, it does not explain the need
for an undercover trip once the Chinese had made their invitation.
As Hanhimäki suggests, a public announcement could have helped to
prepare the domestic constituencies and avoid any public backlash.59
   Finally, the notion that Nixon and Kissinger shared a unique under-
standing of the significance of the China opening is overstated. Much
of their own analysis is a retrospective effort to stamp their author-
ity on China policy and take the credit. Indeed, by the time Nixon
60   Allies Apart

came to power, many in the United States regarded an approach to
Beijing as inevitable.60 Even Kissinger acknowledges that an attempt at
a rapprochement would have been made by whoever was in charge at the
White House.61 In the event, as recent research has shown, US policy-
making on China was more complex than Nixon or Kissinger would
have us believe. Kissinger’s distinction between his own grand strategic
thinking and the parochialism of the State Department is exaggerated.
In fact, on coming to power, Nixon and especially Kissinger were equiv-
ocal over the China opening. The assistant secretary of state for Far
Eastern Affairs, Marshall Green, concludes, on the other hand, that
the president ‘couldn’t have found a group of people who were bet-
ter informed, or more supportive of him than the Foreign Service’.62
According to William Burr, Rogers actually hoped that the Taiwan issue
could be put aside.63 And, as indicated, before the invasion of Cambodia,
representatives from the State Department were already in the process
of negotiating a visit by a presidential envoy to Beijing. In the event, the
breakdown of the Warsaw talks came as something of a relief to Nixon.
On learning that records of the discussion had been transmitted to other
governments, he is said to have retorted, ‘We’ll kill this child before it
is born.’64
   The key point, then, is that once contacts had been established with
China and preparations for a high-level visit to Beijing were underway,
secrecy was no longer necessary; rather, it was primarily a function
of Nixon and Kissinger’s own personal and political ambition and
insecurities. For both men, the secrecy and drama surrounding the
China opening served their own particular self-images as ‘great men’ of
history – Nixon’s as a towering world leader who had changed the course
of international relations, and Kissinger’s as a grand strategist who,
applying the lessons of his nineteenth-century forefathers in Europe,
had forged stability amongst the great powers. However, beyond – or
below – these lofty self-perceptions were baser impulses and short-term
calculations. While the president’s quest for secrecy and control suited
Kissinger’s own worldview, they also played to a far more basic instinct –
jealousy. Despite being initially reticent over the approach to China,
Kissinger soon came to recognise its significance both in terms of its
impact on international relations and on his own reputation. Thus,
as NSC member Richard Solomon recalls, Kissinger became ‘very jeal-
ous of who got the credit, and of the visibility that resulted from all
facets of the China issue’.65 Ultimately, Kissinger’s determination to
control the opening to China led to a fierce rivalry with the State
Department. Haldeman’s diaries record the almost daily drama, with
                                                           The Nixon Shocks   61

Kissinger playing prima donna, threatening to resign each time he felt
Rogers encroaching on the initiative. For Kissinger, then, the need for
secrecy and exclusive control was as much about his own ego and
self-promotion as the diplomatic imperative.
  While Kissinger was locked in a bitter rivalry with his counterpart at
Foggy Bottom, Nixon was waging a war against the entire establishment.
In a meeting with his Cabinet at the end of June 1971, he launched into
a bitter tirade:

   Down in the government are a bunch of sons of bitches. We’ve
   checked and found that 96 per cent of the bureaucracy are against
   us; they’re bastards who are here to screw us . . . beneath you have a
   whole department full of vipers and they’ll strike because they want
   to beat us, especially next year.66

For Nixon, keeping the bureaucracy marginalised was a matter of
personal survival and means of combat. ‘We’ve got to destroy the con-
fidence of the people in the American establishment’, he conspired to
Kissinger. In relation to the China opening, Nixon was adamant: ‘We’re
not going to let these bastards take credit for it . . . We’ve got to take credit
every time we turn around.’67
  Moreover, it can be argued that, in the short-term, the obsessive
secrecy and staged drama of the China initiative served Nixon’s bid
for re-election. As Haldeman’s daily accounts reveal, towards the end of
1970 the president was in a despondent mood following poor results
in the Congressional elections and polls which showed his approval
ratings had fallen to 52 per cent.68 Three months later, they slipped a
further two points – marking the low-point of his first term. Consumed
by a fear of ‘screwing up 1972’ and spurred by his chief pollster, Robert
Teeter, the president looked to events on the international stage to pull
him back up.69 As Robert Dallek concludes, he believed that doing some-
thing news-worthy and spectacular was essential for re-election.70 Nixon
agreed with Haldeman: they should ‘let the world rock.’71 What better
way than a surprise opening to China?

The British reaction

In the event, London was given 35 minutes warning of Nixon’s
announcement, which was just enough time to prepare an official
statement in support of the president’s visit and maintain some
semblance of Anglo-American accord.72 However, in reality, Nixon’s rev-
elation became a source of profound resentment and cut deep into
62   Allies Apart

apprehensions about relations with America both in connection with
China policy and as a whole. Walter Annenberg, the American ambas-
sador in London, reported back to Washington that the British had
been ‘startled’ by Nixon’s revelation and were now having ‘long second
thoughts about the “Special Relationship.”’73 Against the advice from
Washington, Heath pointedly refused to send Nixon a congratulatory
message, instead reflecting on the need for a ‘full and frank exchange of
views on a personal basis of the real problems which have arisen over
Anglo-American relations’ as a consequence of Nixon’s China policy.74
The foreign secretary and British official circles at large underlined that
the cause of distress was not the principle of Nixon’s China initiative
but the ‘manner in which the decision was sprung upon us’.75 ‘On the
whole’, Sir Stanley Tomlinson, deputy under-secretary at the Foreign
Office, concluded that the way in which the China initiative was han-
dled provided a ‘model of how the leading power in a great alliance
ought not to act’.76
   To fully understand the extent of trauma that Nixon’s announcement
caused in London, a number of important contextual factors need to be
taken into account: first, Britain had endeavoured to keep Washington
fully informed of its own progress in its relations with China which were
moving towards an important juncture with Heath himself hoping to
visit Beijing; second, on a number of occasions, the Foreign Office had
agreed to delay its own China negotiations in deference to Washington,
which seriously impeded their progress; and, finally, with hindsight
there was a realisation that the Foreign Office had been misled by the
double-dealings of the State Department and White House. Aside from
issues relating specifically to the China question, the nature of Nixon’s
announcement raised wider concerns about the conduct of US for-
eign policy and fuelled doubts about the state of the Anglo-American
   By the time Heath came to power, Britain’s efforts to enhance its own
trade and diplomatic relations with Beijing had found a new momen-
tum. Following the end of the Cultural Revolution, which had been a
difficult time for British interests in China, Sino-British relations were
set on the path of renewal by a number of reciprocal developments.
In November 1967, British staff in Beijing returned to the embassy
building, symbolically raising the Union Jack. The following April the
British government lifted all remaining restrictions placed on staff at
the Chinese chargé d’affaires in London. And, in 1970, relations were
further improved by a number of gestures from Beijing, including a
talk between Mao and the British chargé d’affaires, John Denson, and
                                                       The Nixon Shocks   63

a birthday message to the queen. Heath interpreted these acts as clear
signals that Beijing was ready to resume negotiations for an exchange of
   While years later, Heath would play up the long-term geopolitical
imperatives behind boosting relations with China, at the time, the most
keenly anticipated advantages were economic and related to defending
British interests in Hong Kong in order to help secure the best arrange-
ments for its safe return in 1997.78 At the end of 1970, Ian McClauney
of the Foreign Office expressed clearly the British priority: ‘The most
tangible and immediate benefit of our relations with Peking is in fact
our trade.’79 According to Home, trade with Beijing was approaching
£90 million per annum and there was considerable scope for growth,
particularly in the sale of civil aircraft.80 For Heath, the sale of Spey
engines and Tridents in 1970 marked the beginning of what promised
to be a ‘major trading operation’.81 Accordingly, a British trade mission
was sent to China at the end of the year to discuss further commercial
   However, despite the will and gestures on both sides, negotiations for
an exchange of ambassadors were obstructed by two factors. First, there
was Britain’s ambiguous position on the question of Chinese represen-
tation at the United Nations. While voting for the Albanian Resolution,
which recognised the People’s Republic as the sole representative of
China, British governments had also – in the interests of maintaining
Anglo-American accord – supported the ‘Important Question’ which
effectively blocked Chinese membership.82 Second, there was the issue
of Britain’s stance on Taiwan, which was deliberately vague. Since 1955,
the British government had decreed that the island’s status was ‘unde-
termined’ and maintained an unaffiliated consulate in Tamsui. Beijing
took offence to Britain’s position on both counts, insisting that it was
the sole representative of China and sovereign of Taiwan.
   By the end of 1970, the Heath government judged that the imper-
atives for improving relations with Beijing far outweighed the reasons
for stalling them. In McClauney’s mind the position was clear: ‘Our
relations with Peking, despite their vicissitudes, are patently of far
greater importance, in both short and long term, than our relations
with Taiwan.’83 McClauney concluded that it would be foolish to risk
trade with the mainland, which exceeded that with Taiwan by over ten
times, for the sake of relations with the island.84 In these circumstances,
both Heath and Home were convinced that the time was right for
the British government to end its ambivalence towards Mao’s regime.85
On 20 November, the foreign secretary instructed Sir John Rodgers, who
64   Allies Apart

had just returned from a trip to Taiwan to assess British relations with
the island, that ‘We would like the Peking Government to be in no doubt
that we recognise them as the government of China.’86
   Accordingly, on 8 February 1971, Anthony Royle, the parliamentary
under-secretary at the Foreign Office, formally conveyed to the Chinese
representative in London Britain’s desire to proceed to an exchange
of ambassadors as a visible sign of the improvement in relations.
On 26 March, Beijing responded favourably, setting just two precon-
ditions: that Britain no longer support the ‘Important Question’ and
remove its consulate from Taiwan.87 With these terms seeming ‘gen-
erally reasonable’, formal Sino-British talks commenced in Beijing and
appeared to be moving quickly towards agreement.88 For Heath, they
even opened the prospect of fulfilling a personal quest – to be the
first Western leader to visit Beijing. ‘I hope I get to Peking before the
President’, he had scribbled enthusiastically on a note by Home.89
   Soon into the negotiations, however, the United States began to inter-
vene. At the outset, the Foreign Office, backed by the prime minister,
had resolved to keep Washington thoroughly informed of its inten-
tions, in the tradition of their close consultations over China in the past.
In October 1970, it had sought the State Department’s views on a pos-
sible change of its attitude towards the ‘Important Question’. However,
despite repeated reminders over the next four months, the British were
given no official response by the Americans.90 On 27 April 1971, Home
took the opportunity of a visit by his American counterpart to reiterate
the basis of the new British negotiating position. Rogers was hesitant,
since although American efforts to improve relations with the People’s
Republic were also moving ahead – though he knew nothing of the
White House’s backchannel efforts – Washington was still allied to the
Nationalist government and had treaty obligations to defend the status
of Taiwan. The UN vote, therefore, presented the Nixon administration
with a dilemma. Rogers advised Home that Washington would reach a
decision over the China representation question within a month and
urged him to defer a final British decision until then. The foreign secre-
tary agreed.91 The following day, Kissinger met with Cromer over lunch
in Washington to discuss the China representation issue and expressed
his hope that the British government would ‘hold up’ its own decision
on the UN vote until the middle of May.92 Thus, just as American rela-
tions with China were moving on to a fast track through a combination
of ping-pong diplomacy and backchannel negotiations, both the State
Department and White House began to exert pressure on London to
delay its own proceedings.
                                                      The Nixon Shocks   65

  As Washington successfully employed delaying tactics in London,
officials responsible for Britain’s China policy became anxious about
the dangers of sacrificing British interests ‘because of American
preoccupations’.93 It was feared that, having made up its mind to remove
the ambiguity in its own China policy, the British government would be
coerced by America into postponing its approach to Beijing only to be
presented at the UN with a new American formula aimed at providing
for both Beijing’s and Taipei’s membership of the UN. Given that both
the People’s Republic and the Nationalists insisted that they were the
sole representatives of China, the British viewed any dual representation
deal as nothing more than a ‘procedural gimmick’.94 At the beginning
of May 1971, as the British stalled their own talks with China in defer-
ence to the United States, Michael Wilford, the assistant under-secretary
at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, made plain his anxiety to
George Millard, the British minister in Washington:

  What I now fear is that at some time in the next month the President
  will take a decision of which you will be informed at the last moment
  and we shall probably read of it in our newspapers early in the morn-
  ing. It will be deplorable if after we have gone out of our way to assist
  the Americans, we should find the ground out from under our feet by
  a Presidential announcement of this kind.95

Having agreed to defer its own decision over China, the Foreign Office
was left hanging by the Americans. In the event, Rogers’ and Kissinger’s
promises at the end of April to clarify American policy within a month
came to nothing. Throughout May and June, the Foreign Office became
increasingly impatient and concerned that the prolonged delay would
impair its own negotiations with Beijing. At the end of May, a Foreign
Office steering brief outlined the deepening British quandary: ‘Time is
not on our side and a further delay could encourage the Chinese to pro-
duce additional preconditions for an exchange of ambassadors. We need
therefore to avoid any commitment to delay any further.’96 The prime
minister agreed. As ten other countries moved ahead in their recog-
nition of the People’s Republic, there was growing concern that the
Chinese would ‘soon be less anxious for British support’.97
  When Home and Rogers met again at a NATO ministerial meeting
in Lisbon on 3 June 1971, the foreign secretary pressed the point. But
Rogers was still unable to clarify American policy, predicting that it
would probably resemble some form based on dual representation. Two
weeks later Rogers – still unaware of the fact that the Chinese premier
66   Allies Apart

had invited a US envoy to Beijing – remained unclear on the position
that Nixon intended to take; however, he finally agreed that Britain need
not postpone its negotiations with Beijing any longer on account of
American wishes.98 In reply, Home stated his intention to inform the
Chinese on 22 June of the name of Britain’s proposed ambassador and
to withdraw support from the ‘Important Question’ resolution as well as
the British consulate in Taiwan. In view of the attitudes of Beijing and
Taipei, Home advised that any proposal based on two Chinas sitting at
the UN would be a non-starter.99
   At the end of June, Kissinger visited London as a cover for one of
his secret trips to Paris to negotiate with the North Vietnamese. In the
course of his visit, he met with Cabinet Secretary Burke Trend to discuss
the various problems of East–West relations. On the subject of China,
Kissinger was markedly elusive and disclosed nothing of the White
House’s secret manoeuvrings. ‘Left to themselves’, Kissinger disingen-
uously concluded, ‘the Americans would have sought to ensure that
any improvement in US/China relations was at a measured pace, in
order to minimise the dangers of Soviet overreaction to any possibil-
ity of US/China détente.’100 In the harsh light of hindsight and given
that, in reality, Kissinger intended to use the threat of a Sino-American
rapprochement as a lever against the Soviet Union and was in the pro-
cess of finalising his secret trip to Beijing, his comments were not only
evasive but positively misleading.
   With the State Department go-head, Home resumed negotiations with
Beijing. However, in the months that had passed since Britain had
set out to elevate its relations with China, Beijing’s diplomatic posi-
tion had improved considerably. Then, as Heath recalls, the talks ‘were
suddenly halted by the Chinese without any explanation’.101 On the
evening of 10 July, the British chargé d’affaires, John Denson, was sum-
moned at short notice by Vice Foreign Minister Chiao Kuan-Hua who
explained that his government now required that the principles for an
exchange of ambassadors be put in writing in the form of an exchange
of notes. In addition to the two conditions already accepted by London,
Chiao’s draft included the recognition of ‘China’s Taiwan province’,
which departed markedly from Britain’s position on the issue.102 With-
out cause, so it seemed, the Chinese had significantly raised their
   Then, on 15 July, it was dramatically revealed to the world that
Kissinger had been in Beijing arranging a presidential visit. The
announcement surpassed even the worst apprehensions envisaged by
Wilford two months earlier. From London’s point of view, the entire
                                                      The Nixon Shocks   67

basis of Washington’s pressure on Britain was suddenly shattered. Jan
Graham at the Foreign Office observed that Nixon’s announcement
‘emphasises how little we know of what has been going on in the Pres-
ident’s mind since our last information suggested that he was being
recommended to try precisely for some sort of two China’s solution’.103
A stark realisation began to dawn in London that the whole time that
Kissinger and the State Department were urging the Foreign Office to
suspend its advances to Beijing, the White House had been pursuing its
own covert China policy all along. The feeling of having been double-
crossed by their American counterparts was a bitter pill for officials in
London. Worse still was the fact that Kissinger’s trip had hardened the
Chinese position over negotiations for an exchange of ambassadors.
Now that Nixon’s initiative had taken place, it was felt that it would
be very difficult to reject China’s new terms.104
  The nature of Nixon’s sudden announcement and its damaging effect
on Britain’s own China policy came as a double blow in London. When
Cromer advised that a personal message from Heath to Nixon would
be well received in Washington the response in London was cold. Still
recovering from the immediate aftershock of Nixon’s announcement,
Morgan conveyed the prevailing sentiment:

  I should find it hard to recommend a message which did not at
  least touch on the contrast between our total openness with the
  Americans on our own initiative towards China and the 35 minutes
  notice we received in London of the President’s intention. The fact is
  that in delaying in deference to American wishes we are being faced
  with unprecedentedly hard terms on the exchange of Ambassadors
  in Peking.105

Heath was also in no mood for massaging the president’s ego.
On 20 July, Home reported back to Cromer that ‘The Prime Minister
has decided in all circumstances to send no message.’106
   Over the next days and weeks, the enormity of what had passed began
to sink in. Nixon’s announcement had shaken America’s allies across
the world and the tremors soon hit Washington. In his assessment of
the impact of Nixon’s China coup, Cromer observed that ‘the apparent
disregard of the Allies’ susceptibilities, and the obvious weight given to
domestic political considerations on the US side have aroused disquiet
among US Allies and will raise doubts about US reliability.’107 In par-
ticular, America’s friends in Asia felt aggrieved at having the prospect
of a Sino-American rapprochement sprung upon them. Cromer judged
68   Allies Apart

that the damage done to relations with Tokyo was terminal: ‘according
to Japanese sources they cannot be the same again.’108 One senior offi-
cial in Tokyo concluded that, ‘It will be necessary for us to recognise,
once again, that Japan is an Asian nation.’109 In his damning indict-
ment, ‘Is This Trip Necessary?’, published in The New York Times, former
Under-Secretary of State George Ball questioned whether the advantages
of the president’s visit to Beijing were worth the ‘critical damage to key
relationships from our failure to consult’.110
   For Heath, in particular, Nixon’s announcement came as a bitter
pill. Not only would he now be beaten to Beijing, but the imminent
presidential trip undermined the prospects of him making a visit at
all. In terms of Anglo-American relations, though, the most damag-
ing aspect of Nixon’s China bombshell was the lack of consultation.
‘If we can’t be trusted on a matter such as this’, Heath protested, ‘there
would seem little scope for exchange between the Americans and their
friends.’111 Moreover, it was feared that Nixon’s actions had set a prece-
dent: ‘What matters most of all is that the President by his sudden action
and reversal of policy has undermined confidence in the US in so far as
now everyone believes that a similar sudden reversal could take place in
every other sphere of American external relations.’112
   The prime minister was not alone. Home conveyed the essence of
Heath’s anxieties in a letter to Cromer the following week: ‘Without
any warning despite a long previous period of consultation on the mat-
ters at issue, it is bound to make us feel that the manner in which
the US government conducts its foreign relations has changed and has
caused us to wonder what further surprises may be in store.’113 Peter
Jenkins, writing in the Guardian on the forthcoming Anglo-American
summit in Bermuda, judged that the ‘sensational announcement’ was
‘dramatic proof of America’s future unreliability’.114
   In their précis of what Graham characterised as the new ‘cavalier
American approach to consultation’, British officials in London and
Washington were perceptively clear about its root cause – the rupture
in communications between the White House and State Department.115
Cromer’s analysis was apposite: ‘The brilliant technical success of
Kissinger’s coup may prove to some extent to be counterbalanced by
the consequences of the apparently deliberate decision not to consult
anyone in the State Department.’ In his meeting with Rogers on 19 July,
Cromer was struck by ‘how little thought appeared to have been given
to the international repercussions of the move’. It had become clear to
the ambassador how over the past year ‘that China policy is essentially
decided at the White House’.116
                                                          The Nixon Shocks   69

   More widely, the pattern of Anglo-American contact over China
demonstrated the debilitating complications of working with the State
Department when it was being deliberately undermined by the White
House. It had become impossible for London to work in partnership
with Foggy Bottom when it was excluded from key foreign policy
decisions. A Foreign Office brief outlined the problem: ‘The Admin-
istrative machine is working badly at present – Dr Kissinger’s meth-
ods have shaken the confidence both within the administration and
abroad . . . Some of the allies are left in the dark, if not positively misled,
merely because the White House does not trust the State Department or
other agencies.’117 Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Denis Greenhill con-
cluded that the methods of decision-making employed under Kissinger
were ‘worse than they have ever been’.118
   The unprecedented degree to which decision-making had become
centralised under Nixon was the principal theme of Ball’s caustic cri-
tique. The way the presidential visit had been arranged and planned,
he quipped, represented a move ‘back towards the medieval dynastic
practice’ – with Nixon as the autocratic sovereign and Kissinger his
principal henchman.119 Ball’s article received much attention and praise
within British circles. Donald Tebbit, from the British Embassy in
Washington, considered Ball’s analysis to be so ‘measured, perceptive
and weighty’ that he sent on a copy to the Foreign Office.120 In his
appraisal, Wilford agreed with the thrust of Ball’s argument. ‘The White
House, by usurping the functions of the State Department’, he observed,
‘has damaged America’s relations with its allies.’ From the point of view
of his own responsibilities, Wilford concluded that ‘the drawing of all
the threads of policy into the hands of Dr Kissinger is a development
which risks being even more fraught with danger than any possible
damage to the morale of the State Department.’121
   For London, the grim realisation that it could no longer rely on
being consulted by the United States over major policies, pointed to
one lesson: that if it hoped to maintain its influence in world affairs,
it would have to work more closely with its allies in Europe. After
the first Nixon shock, Heath is said to have redoubled his efforts
to improve Britain’s relationship with the EC.122 Across Europe, the
same conclusion was drawn. The pro-NATO French paper, Aurore,
concluded that ‘The great change . . . should prompt Europeans to get
hold of themselves.’ ‘Isn’t it necessary and urgent’, it implored, ‘to
go about building a political Europe able to hold its own at the
level of the three big powers, so that our future is not decided with-
out us?’123
70   Allies Apart

The ‘second Nixon shock’: the New Economic Policy

With the world still reeling from his first shock, Nixon turned to solve
America’s economic woes with a similarly bold and sudden strike. His
televised broadcast on the evening of 15 August announcing his ‘New
Economic Policy’, which included a 10 per cent import surcharge and an
end to dollar convertibility, came as another startling surprise. At home,
it was widely welcomed as a brave and necessary act; abroad, it was seen
as practically an act of economic war. Against all his previous rhetoric
on a liberal trading order, Nixon’s highly protectionist actions ended the
Bretton Woods system and violated the General Agreement on Tariffs
and Trade (GATT). Aside from the economic damage, America’s allies
were infuriated by the complete lack of consultation or advance warn-
ing. As with his China initiative, Nixon’s methods and style reflected
his total disregard for his own bureaucracy and desire to achieve max-
imum political impact. Side-lining the State Department, he chose a
select group of advisers to prepare his economic policy, swearing them to
strict secrecy until he made his public announcement. Denied the usual
channels of communication, Nixon’s television appearance came as
another rude awakening for America’s allies. As will be shown, although
the measures were not principally aimed at Britain, the Heath govern-
ment was outraged. Ultimately, the sudden and unilateral assault on the
international monetary system once again underlined the need for the
Europeans to pull together.
   However, although Nixon’s New Economic Policy came as a shock
to the world, it was widely recognised that an overhaul of the Bretton
Woods system was long overdue. The arrangements set up at the end
of the war to stabilise the global economy, with a fixed dollar as the
central mechanism, had been designed to synchronise the prostrate
economies of Japan and Europe with the preponderance of the United
States. In order to work, they relied on US domination of produc-
tion and trade. By the 1960s, however, circumstances had changed.
Under American sponsorship, the economies of the defeated nations
began to recover at impressive rates. In particular, America’s erstwhile
enemies, Germany and Japan, showed remarkable capabilities in pro-
duction. Their newly built factories could produce better goods more
efficiently and their cars and textiles soon began to flood the US market.
As Japan’s and Germany’s share of world production soared from 3 per
cent to 12 per cent and 1 per cent to 7 per cent respectively between
1950 and 1970, America’s fell.124 Moreover, during the same period, the
United States began to experience accelerating inflation and a growing
                                                     The Nixon Shocks   71

balance of payments deficit under the growing strain of global con-
tainment, particularly in Vietnam.125 As American producers lost out to
foreign exporters, while the EC introduced a protectionist agricultural
policy and Japan refused to accept restrictions on its textile exports –
both operating under the umbrella of a US security guarantee – a new
tone of economic nationalism began to grip America. As Richard Barnet
concludes, in these conditions, ‘the old identity between the American
national interest and liberal internationalism had broken.’126
   By 1970, as the Japanese and German economies reached record rates
of growth, the United States was sliding into recession. A report by
the director of the Council for International Economic Policy, Peter
Peterson, in April 1971 showed that the United States was losing its
position as the dominant world trader and by the end of the year
would be running a trade deficit for the first time in the twentieth
   With the United States clearly losing out to the ageing system, a
change was widely seen as both necessary and inevitable. A State Depart-
ment paper, assessing the best international economic strategy for the
decade ahead, advised that it was essential to find a new framework
among the industrial countries that dealt with pressures in the United
States. However, it urged against acting alone. ‘Such a program’, the
State Department stressed, ‘will require considerable preparation at
home and careful consultation abroad.’127
   The president, however, had his own ideas. The State Department,
he believed, was incapable of solving America’s economic difficulties,
since it was too concerned with the interests of other countries.128 Fac-
ing mounting pressures at home and with an election approaching,
Nixon was eager to be seen fighting for US national interests, which
meant protecting the dollar and jobs. With the growing protectionism
of the EC and Japan’s continued refusal to cooperate on textiles, he was
determined to take the initiative. In Nixon’s mind, when it came to eco-
nomics, Europe and Japan were increasingly seen as adversaries rather
than allies.
   Nixon’s instinct for combat was fuelled and hardened by his newly
appointed treasury secretary, John Connally. Connally, who brought
little experience of economics, had made his reputation as the tough-
talking governor of Texas – his first instinct was for political survival
rather than economic sense. With Connally at the helm, economics
became fused with politics. In short, economic policy would be viewed
in terms of influencing Congress, elections and public opinion.129
To deal with the ill-health of the economy, Connally decreed, was
72   Allies Apart

‘simply good politics’.130 Moreover, as governor of the ‘Lone Star
State’, Connally well understood the power of nationalist rhetoric. His
approach was simple and direct: ‘My philosophy is that all foreigners are
out to screw us. Our job is to screw them first.’131
   Connally publicly set his adversarial tone in an uncompromising
speech to the American Bankers Association in Munich on 21 May 1971.
Observing that the US economy no longer dominated the ‘free world’,
Connally declared that ‘the US cannot continue to carry so heavy a
share of the common burden.’132 As a result, he insisted, Europe would
have to assume a more equitable proportion of the mutual defence
burdens, liberalise international trade policies and relax its exchange
restrictions. For Cromer, Connally’s speech was the clearest statement
yet of a renewed isolationism in America.133 Heath was outraged by the
apparent ultimatum. ‘The US’, he fumed, ‘cannot be allowed to get away
with this’.134
   Back in Washington, though, Connally slowly won over the president
with his mix of economic realpolitik, bombast and flattery, tapping into
Nixon’s own prejudices and insecurities. ‘I believe that we must real-
ize there is a strong element of thinking within Europe that would take
advantage of weakness or clumsiness on our part to promote the Com-
mon Market not as a partner but as a rival economic bloc’, he warned
Nixon.135 Another of their exchanges captured the dynamic: ‘The sim-
ple fact is’, Connally explained to his attentive boss, ‘in many areas
other nations are out-producing us, out-thinking us, and out-trading us’;
‘We’ll fix those bastards’, Nixon retorted.136 The president outlined their
approach in a more measured fashion at a meeting of the Productivity
Committee on 29 June. Looking to the future, he predicted, Europe and
Japan would become tough competitors. It was essential that the United
States remain number one economically, he maintained; otherwise, he
said, ‘we can’t be number one diplomatically or militarily.’137 Talking
to his group of economic advisers later that day, Nixon demanded
that they speak with ‘one voice’. That voice, he ruled, would be John
   By the beginning of August, Connally had assumed control of eco-
nomic policy and designed a plan of attack. With the assistance of his
under-secretary, Paul Volcker, he had devised a package of domestic and
international measures – including the import surcharge and suspen-
sion of dollar convertibility – which would eventually form the basis of
the New Economic Policy. On 2 August, Connally forcefully outlined his
scheme to Nixon, arguing that it was vital to establish a link between the
domestic and international situation. 139 ‘I’m not sure this program will
                                                     The Nixon Shocks   73

work, but I’m sure that anything less will not work’, he concluded.140
However, another of the president’s senior economic advisers, George
Shultz, who also attended the meeting, sounded a word of caution,
questioning the wisdom of such ‘big steps’.141 For his part, Nixon won-
dered if they should not separate the domestic from the international.
In any case, he favoured waiting a few weeks until the economic num-
bers were worse and domestic demand for action greater. Whatever the
course, Nixon was adamant that ‘under no circumstances was the State
Department to be consulted.’142
   Over the next week, a number of events finally convinced Nixon of
the need for comprehensive and immediate action. First, a series of polls
reported an overwhelmingly negative view of his handling of the econ-
omy. Moreover, his overall approval rating had slumped to 27 per cent –
not good news for his re-election campaign.143 Then, on 7 August, Henry
Reuss, chairman of the Joint Economic Committee on Exchange and
Payments, released a damning report which suggested that the dollar
was overvalued and criticised the Treasury for not doing enough to cor-
rect the balance of payments deficit which was expected to be more than
double from the previous year.144 During the week beginning 9 August,
things really took a turn for the worst, when international speculators
rushed to sell their dollars and the greenback fell to its lowest point
against the deutsche mark since the Second World War. The breaking
point came on 11 August when the British government requested that
$3 billion of its dollars be converted into gold. Volcker warned that
dozens of countries would follow suit. It was time to act, he urged
Connally. In turn, Connally warned the president the following day
that ‘we are losing the initiative.’145 Nixon was finally swayed, resolv-
ing to be big and bold. He decided that they would go to Camp David
for the weekend and announce the whole programme the following
Monday. It would be ‘like the “China thing” totally unexpected’, he
crowed elatedly.146
   Between 13 and 15 August, Nixon assembled a team of 13 economic
advisers, headed by Connally, at his Maryland retreat. Neither Rogers
nor Kissinger were invited. In an excited atmosphere, Nixon demanded
strict secrecy. ‘Between now and Monday’, he insisted, ‘everybody here
is to say nothing.’147 The meetings themselves were dominated by
Connally’s presentations. The task was merely to sort out the details
rather than the substance – there were no option papers.148 Such a pro-
gramme, Connally enthused, ‘will be an act of great awareness, great
statesmanship, and great courage, and must be presented to the people
this way’.149
74   Allies Apart

   Once the specifics of the package had been worked out, Nixon’s atten-
tion turned to its presentation, which he regarded as just as important.
He was determined to appear gutsy, bold and in control – just the image
he wanted the American people to see. The important point was that
his address be ‘brutal and effective’, he instructed his speechwriter, Bill
Safire.150 On the night before his big appearance, Nixon was in a ‘mys-
tic mood’ sitting in his study in front of an open fire – it was still hot
outside – reflecting on the significance of his speech. ‘The PR types have
got to be sure’, he told Haldeman, ‘the big point is not actions, but the
leadership in taking those actions.’151
   At 9.00 p.m. on 15 August, Nixon addressed the American nation
from the Oval Office. ‘We are going to take action’, he announced,
‘not timidly, not half-heartedly, not in piecemeal fashion.’ Turning
to the international situation, Nixon was defiant. The once shattered
economies of Europe had become ‘strong competitors’, he explained;
the time had now come for them to ‘bear the fair share of defending
freedom around the world’. Finally, he added, in a line that he had
scripted late the previous night, ‘The American dollar must never again
be a hostage to the hands of international speculators.’152
   After his 20-minute show, Nixon was on a high, receiving a flurry
of approving calls from advisers. He boasted to his attorney general,
John Mitchell, how he had just made the most important announce-
ment on economics since Franklin Roosevelt. But, whereas Roosevelt
had taken six speeches, he had done it in one, he chortled.153 On the
international front, Nixon was unapologetic. ‘We’re not going to fight
with one hand tied behind our back’, he told Gerald Ford. It was cru-
cial that other countries, particularly Germany and Japan, he explained,
be given ‘shock treatment’.154 Celebrating the moment with his co-
conspirator, Connally, Nixon said that the main thing was that ‘the
average person doesn’t understand international monetary policy, but
he will understand that this is something dramatic.’155
   By design, Nixon’s announcement split opinion at home and abroad.
In the United States, Nixon’s measures were widely welcomed as an
act of great courage and statesmanship. A Sindlinger Poll reported that
75 per cent of national respondents backed the president. The New York
Times applauded the ‘scope and daring of his effort’. Most importantly,
Nixon’s ratings shot up.156 Possibly, the least impressed of his domes-
tic audience was Henry Kissinger, who had been thoroughly put out
by the whole affair. ‘A decision of major foreign policy importance had
been taken about which neither the Secretary of State nor the national
security adviser had been consulted’, he later grumbled.157 America’s
                                                       The Nixon Shocks   75

allies were left stunned and incensed by Nixon’s sudden fait accompli.
As expected – and intended – the measures hit hardest those countries
which had benefited most from the jobs and profits generated by exports
to the United States – principally Germany and Japan. A German news-
paper called Nixon’s economic policy a ‘declaration of trade war’. The
Japanese prime minister was inconsolable. ‘No. Not again!’, he is said to
have cried on receiving warning, this time ten minutes before the pres-
ident’s appearance. Years later, Nixon was unrepentant, recalling with
evident satisfaction how he had ‘stuck it to Japan’.158
   However, the trauma was felt much more widely and deeply than it
seems Nixon had anticipated. Checking with Rogers – who was, once
again, given the thankless task of phoning around various capitals to
explain his government’s actions – which leaders he had called, Nixon
was keen to know if he had managed to contact Heath. Rogers explained
that it was the middle of the night in London. ‘Oh well’, Nixon mused,
‘it doesn’t affect him too much anyway. The British aren’t too badly
affected by this.’159 Economically speaking, he was right. It was cal-
culated that the import surcharge would only reduce British world
exports by 2 per cent.160 Nevertheless, Heath was furious. ‘I knew they
killed the wrong man in Dallas’, he is said to have snapped, refer-
ring to Connally who had been sitting next to Kennedy when he was
assassinated.161 He made his outrage plain in a minute to Home, describ-
ing the measures as ‘another sudden outburst which had damaged
friend and foe alike’. The prime minister was incensed: ‘overnight . . . we
are bashed with a 10 per cent surcharge . . . we are forced to float our
currency against our will . . . and our negotiators from Hong Kong – who
had been waiting for months to start to reach an agreement with the
American Administration – are bullied, blackmailed and treated like
dirt.’162 Somewhat more soberly, the Foreign Office deemed that the
unilateral action reflected a new introverted and protectionist trend in
US economic policy.163
   Beneath the hurt, there was genuine understanding in London that
the old system had not been working for America. However, there was
no sympathy for the way in which Nixon had gone about changing
it. The complete lack of consultation over such a critical decision had
made fresh wounds considerably worse. In a letter to Home, Cromer
advised against reacting ‘too tragically’ to the lack of prior consulta-
tion. However, he did think it important to draw a few conclusions from
the experience. ‘Firstly, and most important, as the implications are by
no means confined to monetary affairs’, he observed, ‘the Americans
no longer consider it necessary to consult with the UK as an imperial
76   Allies Apart

world power.’ Secondly, Cromer deduced that the ‘old concept that the
dollar and Sterling should stand together as the two major world trading
currencies is now obsolete’.164
   Cromer’s stark realisation pointed to one lesson that was widely taken
across the government – that Britain would have to act in greater
concert with Europe, both economically and politically. It was a sen-
timent shared on the continent where it was expected that the tremors
caused by the second Nixon shock would shake Europe into action.
‘This is the moment for Europe to take an initiative: if Europe really
exists, this is the time for it to present itself as a united Commu-
nity’, proclaimed the Italian minister of the Treasury.165 On 19 August
ministers of the EC, including the British chancellor, Anthony Bar-
ber, met in Brussels to try to coordinate their response to Nixon’s
measures. In the end, they failed to reach agreement. However, Bar-
ber was keen to emphasise that this was not so much because of
the difficulty of agreeing on common action as ‘because of the diffi-
culty of agreeing on the degree of “anti-America-ness” which should
be adopted’.166 The really significant thing about the meeting, Barber
concluded, was that it was the first time that Britain had met with
members of the EC as an equal and the degree of ‘Community spirit’
that was shown. ‘There is no doubt’, he said of his European colleagues,
‘about their success in promoting closer cooperation between the UK
and the Community or of the genuine warmth of the reception given
[to him].’167 According to Con O’Neil, Nixon’s New Economic Policy
‘undoubtedly contributed to making the atmosphere in our negotia-
tions with the Community more favourable’.168 As Cromer concluded,
and had warned Connally, it now seemed that American actions were
forcing the very thing that Washington had feared: the creation of a
European monetary bloc in a spirit of retaliation against the United
   Nixon’s second shock also had an impact on important groups out-
side the government. The City of London, which was influential on
the Treasury’s thinking, and previously divided on the question of EC
membership, rallied to the cause following the events of August 1971.
As Henk Overbeek concludes, ‘the dollar crisis led those in charge of the
City’s strategy to rethink London’s place in the international financial
world. Europe they became convinced, provided the direction for the
City’s flight forward: London would find a new role as the “financial
growth pole” for Europe.’170
   Although members of the EC were caught off guard by Nixon’s second
shock and unable to concert their efforts in the immediate aftermath, it
had provided a distinct spur to unity. It could even be argued that a
                                                     The Nixon Shocks   77

direct line can be drawn between 15 August 1971 and the Paris summit
in October 1972, when, with Heath playing an assertive role, the empha-
sis of the final communiqué was on completing the process of Economic
Monetary Union by the end of 1980.
   Moreover, for Heath, Nixon’s demolition of the international mone-
tary system had demonstrated the need for a particular kind of Europe –
one that could survive and thrive independently from the United States.
Confronting the new spirit of economic nationalism across the Atlantic,
Heath wondered whether, in the future, Europe’s defensive arrange-
ments and even the nuclear deterrent would be held hostage to mone-
tary and commercial conditions in Washington.171 The prime minister’s
concerns were also reflected in a discernable change of emphasis in his
public treatment of relations between Europe and the United States.
Addressing the Conservative party conference at Brighton in October,
rather than appealing to European unity as a foundation of a reinvig-
orated partnership with America, as he had done in the past, Heath
warned that the Nixon’s August announcement was a sign that the
Europeans could not rely on America forever. Europe, he stressed, would
henceforth have to work harder to protect its own economy and make
provisions for its own defence.172

Towards a summit

The consternation caused by Nixon’s summer shocks did not go unno-
ticed in Washington. Haig, for one, was clearly concerned. ‘I am con-
vinced’, he told Kissinger, ‘that the greatest task of the Administration
at the present moment is to mend our fences with the key European
leaders, all of whom are infuriated with our economic policy and our
failure to consult with them on Peking.’173 In turn, Kissinger recom-
mended that Nixon intervene personally with the European heads of
state. Over the following weeks, efforts were made to arrange meetings
with leaders in Europe, Canada and Japan to discuss the new develop-
ments and allay the tensions that they had caused. Carefully avoiding
any allusion to the strains in America’s alliances, the White House press
secretary, Ronald Ziegler, stated that ‘The purpose of the consultations
is to inform our allies about our views of the world and to inform
them about what the President intends to accomplish.’174 George Ball
described more frankly their purpose: ‘to repair the damage – to the
extent possible – that resulted from his [Nixon’s] failure to consult in
the first place.’175
   In the event, Heath initially turned down a head-to-head meeting
with Nixon, making a clear point.176 It was only when he could be
78   Allies Apart

sure that similar meetings were being arranged with the other European
leaders and progress had been made on repairing the international mon-
etary system that Heath agreed to meet Nixon in Bermuda at the end of
December. The prime minster was, however, clear on the purpose of the
summit. It would, he stressed, be an opportunity to have a ‘full and
frank exchange of views on a personal basis of the real problems which
have arisen over Anglo-American relations and indeed of the US with
the rest of the world’.177 Heath’s comments expressed a pervasive feel-
ing across official circles in London that Anglo-American relations had
reached a discernable low by the autumn of 1971. As Hugh Overton of
the North American Department reflected, it had been a ‘bad year’ for
relations with the United States.178
   During November, as preparations were made for the Bermuda sum-
mit, the prime minister and Foreign Office attempted to account for the
precipitate decline in Anglo-American relations and the loss of their ‘old
ease’. From the various meetings, minutes and transatlantic exchanges,
it is evident that the Nixon shocks still haunted officials in London and
were seen as a significant factor in both the deterioration of relations
and symptomatic of its cause. The cardinal issue remained Nixon’s fail-
ure to consult. It had both undermined confidence in the functioning
and durability of the Anglo-American relationship, reflecting a damag-
ing and divisive trend in US foreign policy-making under the Nixon
   At the beginning of November 1971, Heath drafted a lengthy and
revealing memo to Home in which he made plain the extent of his anx-
ieties and outrage: ‘The real point which needs to be brought home to
the President is that the present method of conducting foreign relations,
political, military and economic, has completely undermined confi-
dence in the US and is threatening in all three spheres to damage the
whole western world.’179 Although Heath’s memo was only a draft and,
in comparison with the tone set in his memoirs and letters, appears
to mark an uncharacteristic outburst, two factors should be taken into
account which confirm that it was not merely a momentary relapse.
First, it was written some three months after Nixon’s announcements
and, therefore, should not simply be seen as an overreaction penned
in the heat of the moment. Second, its essence was captured by similar
reflections across the government. A Foreign Office steering brief, pro-
duced in preparation for the Bermuda meeting, underlined the point
that events during 1971 had marked a perceptible change in the nature
of Anglo-American relations: ‘We have been confronted at short notice
with decisions on matters affecting us which have been taken without
                                                      The Nixon Shocks   79

the old kind of consultation.’180 An annex to another Foreign Office brief
expressed apprehensions ‘about the present trend of US overseas policies
which seems to be leading away from the constructive role which the
United States has played in world affairs since the war towards a more
selfish and inward looking attitude’.181
   Overall, as this chapter has shown, the main lesson that London took
from the summer shocks was the need to work more closely with Europe
in both foreign and economic policy. Against the background of the
changing nature of relations with the United States, a Foreign Office
planning paper – approved by Home and distributed widely as a broad
guide to policy – was plain: ‘our European commitments must now have
priority.’182 As discussed in Chapter 1, Heath’s own views on Europe con-
tinuously reacted and evolved against the international scene. Nixon’s
dramatic announcements appear to have had a significant impact on
the prime minister’s thinking at a crucial time. Speaking to Parliament
on the occasion of the second reading of the European Communities
Bill, on 9 February 1972, Heath announced that his views on Europe had
reached a watershed. Until recently, he maintained, he had believed that
Britain could carry on fairly well outside the EC – recent events, though,
had proved to him otherwise.183 Although Heath was not explicit on
this, it can be reasonably argued, given his private views, that the Nixon
shocks had been a decisive factor.
   Moreover, Britain’s experience reflected a wider European impulse
towards unity. Across Europe, the same arguments were being made –
that with the United States engaged in such exclusive superpower diplo-
macy and failing to consult its allies, the members of the Community
would have to redouble their efforts to work together. Writing in Inter-
national Affairs in 1972, Kenneth Younger observed that ‘never before in
their history’ have the members of the EC been so motivated to act as
a single community.184 The French historian Raymond Aaron captured
the main stimulant: ‘Never have the Americans in such good conscience
inflicted such egotistical decisions.’185
   With relations at a low, Nixon looked to Bermuda as a chance to
rebuild bridges across the Atlantic. For his part, Cromer was hopeful,
believing that a personal meeting at the top could represent a turning
point for Anglo-American relations. However, on the eve of the sum-
mit, events in South Asia suddenly sparked new tensions across the
Atlantic, raising further questions about the nature of policy-making in
The South Asia Crisis

Over the course of 1971, events on the Indian subcontinent increasingly
became the focus of American and British attention. At the beginning
of the year a bitter internal struggle unfolded over the future status of
East Pakistan. Following a brutal military crackdown by the Pakistani
army, a humanitarian disaster ensued as millions of refugees fled into
India. By the end of the year India and Pakistan were at war. The
regional conflict threatened to turn global when the communist super-
powers, through diplomatic and military support, aligned themselves
on opposite sides.
   In their efforts to contain the crisis and broker peace, America and
Britain also found themselves indirectly facing each other over events
in South Asia. While both governments publicly professed neutrality
over the conflict, their private negotiations and conduct during the
crisis revealed a strongly partisan approach: the Nixon administration
‘tilted’ towards Pakistan while the Heath government took the Indian
line. These Anglo-American differences came to a head at the UN where
British and American delegates effectively became spokesmen for India
and Pakistan in their efforts to accommodate the competing positions
of New Delhi and Islamabad. The attempts ultimately proved to be frus-
trating and futile. When diplomacy failed to bring an end to hostilities,
Nixon ordered a US naval task force into the Bay of Bengal to pressure
India – the British were not consulted, and were left feeling perplexed
and alarmed by this bold intervention.
   When Heath and Nixon met in Bermuda at the end of December
1971, just four days after the crisis had ended with an Indo-Pakistani
ceasefire, the two leaders and their colleagues talked at length about
events on the subcontinent and what had separated them. In the end,
though, an effort was made to show how their assessments reflected a
common view of the crisis. Nixon concluded: ‘We have fundamental

                                                    The South Asia Crisis   81

agreement on policy with the British despite occasional tactical differ-
ences which may arise.’1
   However, on the basis of an analysis of the policy-making at the
time and subsequent reflections by those involved – including Heath
and Nixon – this chapter will demonstrate that in fact the Anglo-
American fall out over the Indo-Pakistan crisis was much graver than the
guarded exchanges at Bermuda would suggest. Although London and
Washington shared the same overriding end-goal on the subcontinent –
peace and stability – it is the contention here that the ‘tactical differ-
ences’ stemmed from fundamentally divergent assessments of what had
generated the crisis, its potential ramifications, how it affected their own
interests and how they could best help to resolve it. Years later, when
Heath came to reflect on American involvement he recorded with a
measure of contempt that Nixon and Kissinger’s analysis had been badly
flawed.2 In a radio discussion alongside Kissinger, the ex-prime minister
sniped ‘What they wanted . . . was to land us in it as well.’3 Nixon and
Kissinger’s assessment of British conduct at the time was hardly more
favourable. Speaking to the president, Kissinger remarked that British
behaviour at the UN had been ‘outrageous’.4
   As will be shown, these mutual recriminations over the South Asia
crisis pointed to deeper issues which were drawing the two allies
apart. For the Heath government, US policy was driven by the mis-
applied geopolitical reasoning of the White House which exaggerated
the intentions of outside powers and obscured the regional condi-
tions necessary for peace. Once again, British frustrations reflected
the experience of the State Department and wider bureaucracy which
disagreed with the Pakistani tilt but was deliberately and decisively
marginalised by the White House. More than any other episode, the
South Asia crisis highlighted the degree to which foreign policy-making
had become the personal preserve of Nixon and Kissinger. For their
part, Nixon and Kissinger charged that British conduct signified a new-
found Europeanism and determination to loosen transatlantic ties under
Heath. Ultimately, then, events on the Indian subcontinent in 1971
both reflected and deepened tensions that caused both governments to
look back on the year as such a bad one for the alliance.

A human tragedy unfolds – keeping aloof

The crisis on the Indian subcontinent, which would eventually escalate
into a third Indo-Pakistani war and threaten the direct involvement of
the superpowers, began as a bitter internal dispute over the relationship
82   Allies Apart

between East and West Pakistan. Although ostensibly united by reli-
gion when formed into a single Islamic state in 1947, the two wings
of Pakistan were divided by language, ethnicity and over a thousand
miles of Indian territory. The largely Bengali populated East had stronger
cultural ties with its neighbouring province in India and resented the
imposition of Urdu as its national language. In the years after the cre-
ation of the single Pakistani state, these ethnic divisions combined with
an increasing sense of social and political marginalisation to give rise to
a Bengali nationalism that would eventually prove a stronger stimulant
to statehood than religion.
   Following language riots in 1952 and protests during the 1960s, a bur-
geoning independence movement found its voice through Sheikh Mujib
and his Awami League, which called for economic and political auton-
omy in East Pakistan.5 The stage was set for a showdown when Yahya
Khan, the commander-in-chief of the Pakistani army, seized power in
a military coup in 1969. Although he promised free elections, Yahya
was staunchly committed to a united Pakistan. When polling was post-
poned following torrential flooding and a devastating monsoon, which
killed over 200,000 people in the East, the divisions deepened. The fail-
ure of the central government in Islamabad to provide adequate relief
was, according to one American observer, ‘a mandate from heaven for
the Awami League’.6 When the population finally took to the ballot box
on 7 December 1970, the League won an overwhelming share of the
vote in the East and an overall majority in Pakistan as a whole. How-
ever, Zulifikar Ali Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People’s Party which had
emerged as the stronger force in the West, refused to occupy the oppo-
sition benches and opposed sharing power with the Awami League on
the basis of Mujib’s programme for secession. Moreover, Yahya remained
intransigent over Pakistani unity.
   Over the next months, a bitter deadlock ensued as the two sides hard-
ened their positions. Things came to a head when protests and riots
broke out in the East. On 25 March 1971, Yahya imposed martial law,
arrested Mujib, outlawed the Awami League and sent 40,000 troops in
and around the Dacca area to suppress the revolt. A brutal military crack-
down followed in which youth organisations, students and intellectuals
were targeted. In the first three days, at least 10,000 civilians were killed;
the eventual death toll over the next months is put anywhere from half
to three million.7 It was, according to Sumit Ganguly, a scale of brutality
unparalleled in South Asian history.8
   Although all foreign press had been expelled from Dacca, some corre-
spondents managed to stay and relayed to the outside world the horrors
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   83

unfolding in East Pakistan. Their shocking reports included accounts of
mass rape and of students being rounded into gymnasiums before being
torched and then machine gunned down as they fled.9 In Britain and
the United States, the atrocities received particular press attention and
provoked widespread indignation.10 As the full extent of the repression
against the Bengali people began to emerge, some commentators even
described it as genocide. The New York Times declared that the Pakistani
army had engaged in ‘indiscriminate slaughter’ while a London Times
report on 2 April was unequivocal: ‘Political and Intellectual Leaders
being wiped out in War of Genocide.’11
   As the outside world became aware of what was happening in East
Pakistan, there were calls for political leaders to act. Across US embassies
in the region, officials urged Nixon to take a stand. From New Delhi,
Ambassador Kenneth Keating called on Washington to ‘promptly, pub-
licly and prominently deplore this brutality’.12 The following week,
the consul general in Dacca, Archer Blood, composed an impassioned
plea to his government to take a moral stand over events in Pakistan,
which was signed by a further 29 US officials in Bangladesh and the
State Department’s South Asia division.13 According to Christopher
Hitchens, it was ‘the most public and strongly worded demarche from
State Department servants to the State Department that has ever been
   Despite the gruesome reports emerging from Pakistan and mount-
ing pressures to take a moral stand, the governments in London and
Washington refrained from condemning Yahya, taking the view that it
was an internal affair of Pakistan. Speaking in Parliament at the end of
March, Heath and his foreign secretary maintained that events in Dacca
were exclusively a matter for Pakistan.15 A few days later Washington
declared the need for humanitarian assistance but similarly avoided
ascribing blame. In a memo from Kissinger outlining the various pol-
icy options, Nixon made clear his own priority scribbling at the end:
‘To all hands – Don’t squeeze Yahya at this time.’16 Moreover, in pri-
vate meetings with Yahya’s representatives in Washington, Nixon and
Kissinger sought to reassure the Pakistani chief that they would not do
anything to embarrass him or complicate the situation.17 Thus, as the
atrocities continued in Pakistan and appeals mounted in Washington,
the White House effectively granted Yahya immunity from US protest.
Later, Nixon transferred Blood from Dacca and ridiculed Keating for
having been taken in by the Indians.18 Initially, then, it was clear that
neither Britain nor the United States was prepared to speak out against
the atrocities committed by Yahya’s army. Kissinger summarised the two
84   Allies Apart

governments’ position: ‘We would stay aloof from this as long as we
could, as did Britain.’19 Why?
   Ostensibly, Washington and London’s determined detachment
reflected their overriding commitment to the principle of state
sovereignty. For Kissinger, such moral aloofness was one of the central
tenets of his programme for a more rational foreign policy. ‘If short-
sighted and repressive domestic policies are used to justify foreign and
military intervention’, he counselled, ‘the international order will soon
be deprived of all restraints.’20 Speaking to the Pakistani ambassador,
Agha Hilaly, Nixon made plain his own feelings: ‘It is wrong to assume
that the United States should go around telling other countries how
to arrange their political affairs.’21 Looking back, Heath was equally
forthright: ‘There was never any question of outside interference in
the internal affairs of a Commonwealth country.’22
   However, Nixon and Heath’s overt commitment to the sanctity of the
state obscures their own particular motives for keeping quiet over the
Pakistani dispute. Underpinning their unity of inaction were very dif-
ferent sets of interests and priorities. Even at this early stage, when both
governments appeared to be pursuing the same course, it is clear that the
considerations which drove their policies would eventually set them far
apart over events on the subcontinent.
   The British government’s initial response was determined first and
foremost by its role as leader of the Commonwealth of which Pakistan
was a member. Given these links, Heath reflects, it was inevitable that
strong feelings were aroused in Britain.23 His own priority was to keep
the Commonwealth unified rather than ostracising a member through
public condemnation.
   Nixon’s position stemmed from his own long-standing personal and
political commitment to the alliance with Pakistan. As vice president,
he had visited the country twice and come to admire the Pakistanis for
their straight talking. At a National Security Council meeting in Decem-
ber 1953, Nixon made plain his feelings: ‘Pakistan is a country I would
like to do everything for . . . The Pakistanis are completely frank, even
when it hurts.’24 ‘Nobody’, he assured Yahya once he had become presi-
dent, ‘has occupied the White House who is friendlier to Pakistan than
me.’25 Aside from his personal affinity, Nixon was impressed with the
anti-communist credentials of the Pakistanis and considered Pakistan
to be an essential bulwark against Soviet expansion. To this end, dur-
ing his time under Eisenhower, he supported the supply of military aid
to Islamabad. As president, he renewed the commitment, approving
a $50 million ‘one time exception’ to the 1965 arms embargo, which
                                                 The South Asia Crisis   85

enabled Pakistan to purchase replacement aircraft and personnel carri-
ers from the United States. When Kissinger met with Ambassador Hilaly
on 18 June 1970, to secretly confirm the deal, he stressed that Nixon
wanted Yahya to know that it had been done ‘on the basis of his personal
intervention and interest’.26
  By 1970, though, America’s ‘special relationship’ with Pakistan had
become not so much a means of containing the communists as of
courting them. As shown in Chapter 2, ever since Nixon had first
approached Yahya in August 1969 and then again in October 1970,
Pakistan was regarded as the vital link in the opening to China. It was
just as the whole initiative was moving towards fruition through a
combination of backchannel exchanges and ping-pong diplomacy that
the crisis in South Asia had broken out. For Nixon, the priority was
clear: whatever the public pressure to speak out against the Pakistani
regime, it was crucial to avoid shutting the gateway to Beijing by
upsetting Yahya. In short, he was not about to risk his most impor-
tant foreign policy venture for the sake of appeasing liberal opinion at
home. As Kissinger explained to the US ambassador to Pakistan, Joseph
Farland, it was essential to support Yahya while Pakistan remained the
only channel to China, regardless of opposition at home.27 Further-
more, Nixon and Kissinger also feared that US support for secession and
self-determination in East Pakistan would aggravate the Chinese whose
policies on Taiwan and Tibet could not be ignored.28
  Outside the White House, though, no one had a clue about the diplo-
matic manoeuvrings that made Nixon so supine in the face of Yahya’s
crackdown. Ambassador Keating reflected general feelings within and
outside Washington when he explained to Kissinger that he recognised
the president had a ‘special relationship with Yahya’ but could not
understand why.29 As highlighted in Chapter 2, even the secretary of
state, William Rogers, was left in the dark. With Nixon so keen to keep
his approach to China secret for fear it would be upstaged, the Foreign
Office was also totally unaware of what was driving American policy
in South Asia. Thus, even though Britain and the United States had
adopted the same policy of detachment, a gulf of perception had opened
up as to why.

From humanitarian disaster to international crisis

By the time Nixon publicly announced his new China policy to the
world in July 1971, the judgement that events in South Asia were
the ‘internal affair’ of Pakistan had become untenable. As Yahya’s
86   Allies Apart

brutal crackdown continued, thousands and eventually millions of East
Bengalis fled across the border. By mid-May it was estimated that some
ten million refugees had arrived in India. In a speech on 24 May the
Indian prime minister, Indira Gandhi, declared that ‘what was claimed
to be an internal problem of Pakistan has also become an internal
problem of India.’30
   Over the next weeks, as the exodus continued, tensions inevitably
mounted between the two archrivals. For India, the sudden deluge of
refugees imposed a massive strain on its already overburdened resources
and infrastructure. However, it also presented a pretext for promoting
its long-standing goal – the disintegration of Pakistan. Gandhi publicly
supported Bengali independence and, under her authority, the Indian
army began to train and arm the East Pakistan Liberation Force (Mukti
Bahini) which had also fled to India.31 The only way to resolve the crisis,
Gandhi insisted, was to release Mujib and begin political negotiations
with him. With some cause, Yahya accused Gandhi of cynically exploit-
ing an internal issue for her own ends. He rejected her calls for the
release of Mujib, instead announcing on 9 August that he would be put
on trial for treason. As reports began to circulate of military preparations
along the borders, both Yahya and Ghandi declared their readiness to
fight if a situation was forced upon them.32
   As the Indo-Pakistani tensions escalated, each side appealed to the
international community for support. At the UN, a struggle emerged
between two of its founding principles – self-determination and state
sovereignty. While India accused Yahya of obstructing the political will
of the East Bengali people, Pakistan charged Gandhi with meddling in
its internal affairs and sponsoring its disintegration. As the Pakistani
repression continued and India helped the Mukti Bahini prepare for
a major offensive, the positions hardened. When, on 9 August 1971,
India signed a Treaty of Friendship with the Soviet Union, which pro-
vided for bilateral consultations in times of crisis, the regional struggle
became a potential stage for a much wider rivalry. Under the umbrella
of the Soviet veto, India deflected Pakistani protests and blocked UN
involvement. With the two sides having reached a political impasse, the
accompanying military standoff along the East Pakistan border began to
give way. On 30 October, the first engagement occurred when the Indian
army took major action to silence Pakistani artillery batteries, which it
claimed had fired on Indian territory. Both sides accused the other of
throwing the first punch, beginning a pattern of border skirmishes and
mutual recriminations. When, on 21 November, further clashes in the
East drew Indian tanks across the border, Yahya declared on radio that
                                                  The South Asia Crisis   87

the Indians had launched an all-out offensive. On 3 December, in a des-
perate attempt to relieve pressures in the East, he ordered an air attack
on eight Indian airfields in the region around West Pakistan and sent his
armed forces into the Indian-administered part of Kashmir. It was this
action, most commentators agree, that opened the Indo-Pakistani war
of 1971.33
   Now that India and Pakistan were officially at war – though they
contested who had started it – the danger to the outside world was
that a third power would intervene and spark a wider conflict, as both
sides turned to their great power allies for support. On 2 December,
Ambassador Hilaly delivered a letter from Yahya to Nixon appealing
to Article I of the 1959 bilateral agreement with the United States as
a basis for military aid to Pakistan. The day after the Pakistani attack,
Gandhi invoked Article IX of the Indo-Soviet Treaty, which promised
mutual consultation in the event of war with a third party. Finally,
Kissinger became convinced that China would fulfil its own alliance
with Pakistan. On 3 December, Yahya declared that ‘the final war with
India is upon us.’ By Kissinger’s logic, there seemed to be a real danger
that it would turn into the final war full stop.

Emerging tilts – division and deadlock at the United Nations

As hostilities spread to the west, opening a full-scale war between India
and Pakistan, both the United States’ and Britain’s main concern was
to bring about peace on the subcontinent. However, their judgement of
who had caused the conflict and of Indo-Pakistani intentions diverged.
Moreover, they took very different views on the potential for outside
intervention and of their own capacity to resolve the crisis.
  Within the United States, there had emerged a deepening split
between the State Department and White House over events in South
Asia. As the repression continued in East Pakistan, members of the State
Department took the Indian position, arguing for strong public pressure
against Yahya and the suspension of all aid to Pakistan until a polit-
ical settlement which recognised the will of the Bengali people was
reached. Aside from the moral compulsion to punish Pakistan there
were, as Christopher Van Hollen, the State Department’s senior South
Asia expert, concludes, ‘hard-headed’ reasons for taking the Indian line.
Due to its greater size, resources and political, strategic and economic
potential, relations with India were judged to be of more importance
than with Pakistan. Van Hollen contends that on the basis of this
objective assessment there was ‘government-wide agreement that India
88   Allies Apart

merited greater attention in terms of US interests’.34 Furthermore, just
at this time, Ambassador Keating forecast that the troubled relationship
with India was about to enter a new phase. Having emerged victoriously
from elections, he reported a renewed willingness on Gandhi’s part to
improve relations with the United States.35 As will become evident, the
State Department’s position closely reflected that of Britain.
   Yet, however compelling the logic for supporting India, Nixon took
the opposite view, accusing the State Department of being staffed by a
bunch of softheaded ‘Indian lovers’.36 Instead, the president was deter-
mined that aid to India should be terminated, while aid to Pakistan
would be increased. As the crisis in South Asia developed into an Indo-
Pakistani conflict, the White House’s infamous ‘tilt’ towards Pakistan
became a ‘tilt’ against India. At the Washington Special Action Group
(WSAG) meeting on 3 December, Kissinger enforced the will from the
top: ‘I’ve been catching uncharted hell every half-hour from the Pres-
ident who says that we’re not being tough enough [on India] . . . He
really doesn’t believe that we’re carrying out his wishes. He wants to
tilt toward Pakistan, and he believes that every briefing or statement is
going the other way.’37 Kissinger himself believed that the State Depart-
ment was heavily influenced by its traditional Indian bias.38 Moreover,
as George Bush, the US ambassador to the UN, observed, he became
consumed by the belief that the State Department was completely
incompetent: ‘The situation’, Bush groused, ‘is getting increasingly
   Nixon and Kissinger’s own approach to events on the subcontinent
continued to be determined by relations with China which, with
Nixon’s dramatic announcement, had publicly moved to a new foot-
ing. With the president’s trip to Beijing scheduled to take place in
February 1972, now, more than ever, they were determined not to
upset the Chinese. As Robert McMahon concludes, in this critical sense
the smouldering crisis in South Asia had become a test for Nixon
and Kissinger – a test by which China would draw conclusions about
American reliability and resolve as an ally.40 During his secret trip to
Beijing and talks with Zhou Enlai, the veteran Chinese diplomat had
impressed upon Kissinger his apprehension about India’s expansionist
tendencies: ‘If India commits aggression’, he declared, ‘we will support
Pakistan.’41 Though it remains unclear what kind of support Zhou was
talking about, Kissinger had little doubt. Relaying his discussions to
the National Security Council the day after Nixon had told the world
about them, Kissinger disclosed that if war broke out between India and
Pakistan, there would be a high chance that China would intervene
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   89

militarily. In which case, he warned, ‘everything we have done [with
China] will go down the drain.’42
   For Nixon and Kissinger, then, whether it was simply to impress the
Chinese as an ally or to prevent a wider war from diverting their efforts
at rapprochement, the key point was to pressure India. In many ways,
this compulsion played to existing instincts, since both men were per-
sonally inclined to see India as the aggressor. In their view, Gandhi’s
support for Bengali self-determination disguised her real objective – the
destruction of Pakistan and domination of the subcontinent. At the core
of Nixon’s thinking were deeply ingrained suspicions and resentment
towards India. In contrast to the straight talking Pakistanis, he con-
sidered the Indians to be a ‘slippery, treacherous people’.43 To Nixon,
Indira Gandhi was the worst of the lot. He found her patronising, sanc-
timonious and, ultimately, a cynical opportunist. According to Kissinger,
she brought out the worst of Nixon’s own insecurities.44 In private,
he variously referred to her as an old witch or whore. Kissinger was
hardly better. If he did not fully share Nixon’s hatreds, he certainly
fuelled them. ‘The Indians are bastards anyway’, he told the president.45
While it is difficult to assess the extent to which personal prejudice
clouded the White House’s political judgement during the crisis –
Kissinger vociferously denies the charge – Van Hollen concludes that
it undoubtedly did.46
   What is clear, though, is that whatever the intelligence assessments,
each time the White House received news of the escalating tensions
in South Asia, Nixon – encouraged by Kissinger – was certain that
India was the aggressor. At a National Security Council meeting in
July, Kissinger fed Nixon’s suspicions: ‘the Indians seemed bent on war.
Everything they have done is an excuse for war.’47 Despite the CIA’s con-
trary assessment, Nixon was persuaded by Kissinger’s fatalistic analysis.48
At another meeting with advisers on 11 August, the president said with
a great deal of emphasis that he was ‘convinced’ that India wanted to
use the refugee crisis as a ‘pretext for breaking up Pakistan’.49 When
Gandhi visited Washington at the beginning of November as part of a
tour of western capitals to help raise awareness of the plight at home, she
assured Nixon that India had never wished the destruction of Pakistan.50
‘Above all’, she stressed, ‘India seeks the restoration of stability.’51 But
Nixon was not convinced. ‘It was not clear’, he wrote to Heath after his
talks, ‘that India does not have larger objectives reaching beyond East
Pakistan.’52 When Yahya announced on radio that India had launched
a full-scale invasion on 21 November, it was clearly the news Kissinger
had been anticipating. He rushed straight into the president’s office to
90   Allies Apart

announce that India had finally attacked.53 ‘I had no doubt’, Kissinger
recalls, ‘that we were witnessing the beginning of an Indo-Pakistani war
and that India had started it.’54 However, few others have come to share
this view. When reports came through that fighting had spread to the
West on 3 December – the generally accepted date for the beginning of
the war – Kissinger assumed, without any proof, that India had been
the aggressor. Even when he learned otherwise, he claimed that Yahya
had been forced into launching a ‘pre-emptive strike’.55 In a message
to Nixon the following day, Kissinger gave a gloomy but clear progno-
sis: India was now waging full-scale war on East Pakistan and ‘will be
moving in on West Pakistan’.56
   For Nixon and Kissinger, though, whatever their suspicions of Indian
intentions, their main concern was not so much the planned destruc-
tion of Pakistan but the fact that it would happen under Soviet auspices.
Both Nixon and Kissinger agreed: ‘The bigger game is the Russian
game.’57 Even in the emerging climate of détente, the Soviet Union was
judged to be a ruthless opportunist seeking any chance to extend its
regional influence and turn the global balance of power in its favour.
It was in this Cold War mindset that Nixon and Kissinger interpreted
the signing of the Indo-Soviet Treaty in August 1971. Although the
agreement had been in the making for over two years and the State
Department considered it to be relatively benign in intent, Kissinger
recalls how news of it came like a ‘bombshell’.58 The key point, he writes,
was that by removing India’s main constraint – fear of Soviet aid drying
up and facing China alone – the treaty had ‘objectively increased the
danger of war’. In effect, Kissinger concludes, Moscow had ‘thrown a
lighted match into a powder keg’.59 And, when the chips were down,
India had shown itself to be a satellite of the Soviet Union. ‘The issue
to us’, Kissinger reflected, ‘was the assault on the international order
implicit in Soviet-Indian collusion.’60 Once war had broken out on
the subcontinent and India’s military superiority had begun to show,
Kissinger was convinced: ‘What we are seeing here’, he deduced to a
receptive Nixon, ‘is a Soviet-Indian power play to humiliate the Chinese
and also somewhat the US.’61
   What is more, Nixon and Kissinger feared that the destruction of
Pakistan would send a signal to other Soviet allies around the world
to undertake similar ventures. Most worryingly of all, Kissinger warned
Nixon, the Indo-Pakistani conflict would turn into a ‘dress rehearsal for
the Middle East’. This seemed especially prescient, since the Egyptian
president, Anwar Sadat, had proclaimed that 1972 would be another
year of decision. By Kissinger’s logic, it was crucial that Sadat was not
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   91

spurred by a display of Soviet adventurism and American impotence
in South Asia.62 For the Nixon White House, a ‘reputation for unrelia-
bility’ was not something it could afford – especially when China was
   Kissinger summarised to Nixon the web of logic which would deter-
mine their support for Pakistan during the war: ‘If we collapse now the
Soviets won’t respect us for it; the Chinese will despise us and the other
countries will draw their own conclusions.’63 According to Nixon, this
geopolitical equation left little choice: ‘We can’t allow a friend of ours
and China’s to get screwed in a conflict with a friend of Russia’s.’64
   It was not, then, a determination to prevent the destruction of
Pakistan per se which mobilised the White House, but the understanding
that it represented something much bigger in terms of the global stakes.
Accordingly, in a telephone conversation with Kissinger early on the
afternoon of 4 December, Nixon outlined four measures which would
isolate India and thwart its aggressive designs on the subcontinent:
issuing a public demarche against Indian actions; getting support for a
ceasefire and the withdrawal of Indian forces at the Security Council;
pressuring the Soviets to enforce restraint in New Delhi; and, finally,
endorsing the transfer of US military supplies to Pakistan through a third
   On 4 December, Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Sisco briefed
the press on recent developments between India and Pakistan. Under
instructions from Kissinger, he charged India with the major respon-
sibility for ‘the broader hostilities’.66 At the meeting of the Washington
Special Action Group on the same day, Kissinger laid down the approach
that would be taken at the UN. A meeting of the Security Council would
be requested immediately to register the US view and call for a resolu-
tion along Pakistani lines. Although he predicted that it would be a futile
exercise, since the Soviet Union would inevitably use its veto, Kissinger
maintained that it was important that the US register its position.67
Ultimately, the Security Council move was seen as a means of isolat-
ing the Soviet Union and currying favour at home. As they devised
their strategy, Kissinger made plain his view that it was ‘just a paper
   The real diplomacy would happen in private. Through his backchan-
nel contacts with Dobrynin, Kissinger sought to exert direct pressure on
Moscow using his favourite strategy – linkage. Nixon himself seized on
the idea of threatening to cancel the upcoming Strategic Arms Limita-
tions Talks (SALT) unless the Soviets restrained the Indians. He conspired
to Kissinger: ‘We are going to end up by saying to the Russians you
92   Allies Apart

proved to be so untrustworthy we can’t deal with you on any issue.
Let’s use that card now.’69 On 6 December, Nixon sent Brezhnev a let-
ter which implicitly linked their forthcoming summit with disciplining
the Indians: ‘I am convinced that the spirit in which we agreed that the
time had come for us to meet in Moscow next year requires from both of
us the utmost restraint and most urgent action to end the conflict and
restore territorial integrity on the subcontinent.’70
   The attempt to affect the outcome of the conflict went beyond tough
talking diplomacy. On Nixon’s express orders, on 6 December the State
Department cut off all economic aid to India, while aid to Pakistan con-
tinued. Moreover, against the judgement of the State Department – and,
as it stood, the law – the White House, responding to Yahya’s desper-
ate appeals, also secretly began to encourage the transfer of American
military supplies to Pakistan through third countries. As the Pakistani
position on the ground worsened, Jordan and Iran received requests for
aircraft purchased from the United States. At the 6 December WSAG
meeting, Van Hollen ruled that the United States could not permit the
transfer of arms to Pakistan.71 In private, the president and his chief
advisor overruled him.
   In mind and deed, then, Nixon and Kissinger were not just ‘tilt-
ing’ towards Pakistan, but were, as much as possible, actively waging a
proxy war against India under the assumption that it was part of the
wider contest with the Soviet Union. Increasingly, though, Kissinger
found himself isolated amongst his colleagues and having to enforce
the president’s – and his own – determination to ‘tilt’ against calls to
keep upright. ‘The President has told you what he wants’, Kissinger
rebuked his team of special advisers, ‘He doesn’t want to be com-
pletely even-handed.’72 The problem, though, Kissinger maintained was
that the foreign policy-making bureaucracy and regional experts were
too parochially minded to understand the geo-strategic imperative for
supporting Pakistan.73
   Britain’s assessment was also completely different. Once the human-
itarian crisis had grown into an Indo-Pakistani dispute, the Heath
government increasingly took the Indian line. Against a rising tide of
indignation at home, at the end of June the foreign secretary announced
the suspension of all aid to Pakistan until there was sufficient progress
towards a political settlement.74 In contrast to the fast deteriorating
relationship with the United States, India’s relations with Britain were
reported to have reached a ‘new dimension of understanding’.75 When
war broke out on the subcontinent, London did not assume India
to be the aggressor or to have any designs beyond recognising the
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   93

independence of Bangladesh. All the signals coming to the Foreign
Office from Sir Terence Garvey at the British Embassy in New Delhi were
that, despite domestic pressures, Gandhi was determined to avoid war.76
A paper produced by the Foreign Office’s South Asia Department was
clear: ‘It is not, we believe, an Indian aim to destroy West Pakistan, and
we do not share American fears on this count.’77 In fact, the growing
concern in London, which Ambassador Cromer relayed to Van Hollen,
was that a ‘war psychosis’ was developing amongst the military leaders
in Pakistan.78
   British policy-makers were also unconvinced that the Soviet Union
was goading India as a means of shifting the global balance – in fact,
it was believed to be restraining New Delhi. Moscow, the Foreign Office
reasoned, did not want to be seen to sponsor the destruction of Pakistan,
since this would encourage its own isolation. Furthermore, according to
Home, London ‘tended to take a more relaxed view’ of the Indo-Soviet
Treaty.79 Heath himself later concluded that it was not a case of the
Soviets stirring up trouble in the region, as Nixon and Kissinger feared,
but an Indian initiative to counter developing links between Pakistan
and China.80
   From London’s point of view, then, Kissinger’s geopolitical reason-
ing was geopolitical fantasising. Worse, though, it was considered to
overlook regional realities and to be counterproductive. Making the case
from New Delhi, Garvey contended that India would accept nothing less
than the full independence of Bangladesh as a precondition to ending
the hostilities. The embassy predicted that any attempt by the interna-
tional community to forestall this would cause massive resentment in
India and ultimately reinforce the view of those, who he believed to be
still in a small minority, who argued that the Soviet alliance and way
of life offered India’s ‘only hope of survival and development’. In short,
resisting an independent Bangladesh would merely increase Moscow’s
influence on the subcontinent. On this basis, Garvey strongly urged
his government to ‘reflect carefully before thinking of following the
American lead’.81
   In the event, Britain did not follow the United States on the cancel-
lation of aid or at the UN. On 6 December, to bipartisan approval at
home, the foreign secretary outlined his guiding objective: to help stop
the fighting and find a political settlement that recognised the wishes
of the people of East Pakistan – he believed the former was predicated
on the latter. It was not a matter of taking sides either within the region
itself or amongst the global alignments, he explained, but of making ‘up
our minds ourselves on what is the best role which Britain can play to
94   Allies Apart

help bring about a ceasefire and an orderly political settlement’.82 Ulti-
mately, it was felt that although Britain had limited influence on the
subcontinent, what power it did have worked in the opposite direction
to Washington’s. Like the State Department, the Foreign Office made
its assessment on the basis of what it perceived to be the regional reali-
ties: India, it concluded, ‘has been and will continue increasingly to be
more important of the two countries in terms of both power and our
interests’.83 The head of the Foreign Office’s South Asian Department,
Iain Sutherland, explained to Earl Sohm at the US Embassy in London
that the British stance was based on the ‘firm assumption that India will
win and that Bangladesh will be established as an independent coun-
try’. It was not, he conceded, a valiant position but it was a realistic
one.84 The Foreign Office made clear to Washington that it considered
its public criticism of India to be badly mistaken.
   These Anglo-American differences came to a head at the UN, which
became the scene of diplomatic jousting and was ultimately paralysed
by the fact that both sides of the Indo-Pakistani dispute carried the
support of a veto wielding power on the Security Council. The day
after full-scale war broke out on the subcontinent, George Bush was
instructed by the White House to brand India as the ‘major aggressor’
and to take the initiative in presenting a resolution that supported the
Pakistani position. In contrast, Colin Crowe, the British ambassador, was
told by Home to ‘keep in the background’ until there was more concrete
information about the situation on the subcontinent.85 That evening
the Security Council met. Following a bout of mutual recriminations
between the Indian and Pakistani representatives, who had attended
the meeting, Bush introduced a draft resolution which called for the
immediate cessation of hostilities and mutual withdrawal of troops.
As expected, Russia vetoed. Of the 13 remaining members (Poland voted
with the Soviets), only two abstained: France and Britain. The White
House was not impressed. Kissinger later groused that it was ‘another
example of the tendency of our Western allies to let us carry the burden
of global security alone’.86 In particular, Nixon and Kissinger were disap-
pointed and concerned by Britain’s performance. Talking that evening,
they concluded that it appeared to follow the alarming tendency of
the Europeans – led by the French – to position themselves between
the United States and the Russians. In light of the present situation,
Kissinger concluded that pushing Britain into the European Community
had been ‘one of the worst mistakes’. The president agreed.87
   But to London it was not at first an issue of global security – or follow-
ing the French – but a question of recognising the regional realities and
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   95

settling the future of East Pakistan – something that it felt was missing
from Washington’s position. Furthermore, British officials maintained
that voting for resolutions that they knew would be vetoed was a futile
exercise. Moreover, Britain believed that isolating India and the Soviet
Union would simply drive them closer together. Summarising reports
of the episode at the UN to the prime minister, his private secretary
for foreign affairs, Peter Moon, concluded that the ‘American attitude
is worrying. They risk getting themselves on a hook leading to possible
humiliation of the outside world generally.’88
   With the Anglo-American differences exposed, Moon suggested that it
would be helpful to send a message to Nixon explaining the British posi-
tion. The prime minister’s subsequent letter expressed regret at falling
apart over the issue but also cautioned that ‘vetoed resolutions would
have no good effect and indeed may only result in promoting greater
Indian and Russian intransigence.’ Heath warned of the wider implica-
tions of another veto: ‘it risks driving the Indians increasingly into the
arms of the Russians and diminishing Western influence with them.’89
In conclusion, Heath urged the United States to avoid presenting further
resolutions and to give more time to finding a settlement that recog-
nised the political will of the people of East Pakistan. But Nixon and
Kissinger were convinced that India was intent on smashing Pakistan –
and, for them, time was running out. In any case, their purpose at the
UN was different. As Kissinger had divulged earlier that day, at this stage,
Bush’s resolution was just a ‘paper exercise’ and expected to fail; the aim
was to isolate India and the Soviet Union on the world stage – and pre-
senting more resolutions for them to obstruct would simply add to the
   The Security Council was now stuck.90 The United States had declared
that it would veto any resolutions that did not call for an immediate
ceasefire and withdrawal – while knowing the Soviets would veto any
that did. Britain found itself in an impossible position. Crowe publicly
stood by the principle that he would not vote for any one-sided reso-
lutions that would be vetoed. Along with France, the British delegation
tried to find a resolution that would be acceptable to all sides while
recognising the reality of the situation on the subcontinent. It seemed
like a genuinely even-handed and pragmatic position. But, in effect, it
incorporated a bias towards India. Crowe reported back to the Foreign
Office that he was finding it increasingly difficult to balance the ‘need
not to destroy our carefully restored relations with India’ by continu-
ing to oppose resolutions unacceptable to New Delhi with the risk of
alienating friends at the Security Council through appearing to abstain
96   Allies Apart

simply out of deference to the Indians.91 But Home’s instructions were
clear: Crowe should keep abstaining, even if it meant separating from
the French.
   Nixon and Kissinger, on the other hand, were determined to keep
up the pressure against India and the Soviet Union. Back at the UN,
Bush deplored the failure of the Security Council to act because of the
obstruction of one member. With an impasse reached in the Coun-
cil, Bush invoked the ‘Uniting for Peace’ resolution which took the
issue to the General Assembly and called for all members of the UN
to ‘consider the matter immediately with a view to making appropriate
recommendations to Members for collective measures’.92
   The British did not favour the action. With the issues still so fresh
and unresolved at the Security Council, Crowe predicted that it would
simply devolve into another round of polemics and delay a political
solution.93 When the resolution came to a vote on 7 December, Britain
was one of only ten countries to abstain (there were 11 votes against).
In the White House, frustration was growing with the British position
which was considered unhelpful and obstructive.94 Moreover, it fuelled
Nixon and Kissinger’s doubts about the state of the Anglo-American
relationship under Heath’s leadership. Reflecting on the UN vote, both
agreed that if Britain behaved ‘just like any other country’, they would
have no choice but to treat it that way.95

Gunboat diplomacy

Once again events on the subcontinent overtook the faltering diplo-
macy at the UN. The overwhelming superiority of Indian forces began
to show in the East and, overall, the war was turning decisively against
Pakistan. On 7 December, Yahya informed the White House that East
Pakistan was disintegrating.96 That afternoon Kissinger gave a back-
ground press briefing on developments in South Asia: ‘What started as
a tragedy in East Bengal’, he observed, ‘is now becoming an attempt to
dismember a sovereign state and member of the UN.’97 At this point,
Kissinger claims to have learned through ‘reliable sources’ that Gandhi
was determined to reduce West Pakistan to impotence and had an
assurance from the Soviet Union that it would come to India’s aid if
China intervened on behalf of Pakistan.98 He outlined the gravity of the
situation, as he saw it, to his colleagues at the WSAG meeting the fol-
lowing day: ‘What we may be witnessing is a situation where a country
equipped and supported by the Soviets may be turning half of Pakistan
into an impotent state and the other half into a vassal.’99 Nixon was
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   97

grimly resolute: ‘We don’t really have a choice. We can’t allow a friend of
ours and China’s to get screwed in a conflict with a friend of Russia’s.’100
   Against a background of bureaucratic dissent, Nixon and Kissinger
were determined to act alone. East Pakistan may have been lost, but
they deemed it essential to prevent a Soviet-sponsored decimation of
the entire country. Kissinger made the point to CIA Director Richard
Helms: ‘If we do nothing we will surely lose. If we do something and
do it daringly enough, we might get the Russians to call a halt to their
games.’101 For Nixon and Kissinger, the reasons for action were clear and
urgent: India had attacked Pakistan and was about to move in for the
final kill; the Soviet Union was ready to help, seeing the conflict as an
opportunity to extend its own regional influence and shift the global
balance of power; the Middle East would be next; China was watch-
ing intently; and, the Western allies lacked the power and will to act.
‘This [is] our Rhineland’, Kissinger concluded, goading Nixon with an
inflated sense of history.102 It was time to use their last card – unilateral
diplomacy backed with the threat of force.
   The final act of the drama began on the morning of 10 December
when Kissinger met with Yuli Vorontsov, Dobrynin’s deputy, to give
him a letter for Brezhnev calling for an immediate ceasefire in the West
and urging him to exercise restraint on India.103 To accompany the writ-
ten demarche, Nixon, without consulting Defense Secretary Laird or the
joint chiefs of staff, ordered part of a US fleet already in the area to move
towards the Bay of Bengal. Task Force 74 – consisting of the world’s
largest nuclear aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise, the amphibious assault
ship, Tripoli, complete with a Marine battalion, assault helicopters, three
guided-missile escorts, four destroyers and a nuclear attack submarine –
was formed and sent to a holding position off Singapore.104 Officially,
Washington stated that the flotilla was sent to evacuate American citi-
zens from Dacca; however, in reality, the naval movement, which took
place in daylight hours so as to have maximum effect, was a signal to
Moscow and the other powers.
   At this stage, though, the appearance of the task force in the area
was not so much intended to deter New Delhi or Moscow as to spur
Islamabad and Beijing. Just as the letter was being drafted to Brezhnev,
the State Department received a report that the Pakistani commander
in East Pakistan had requested permission from Yahya to seek a UN-
sponsored ceasefire.105 The news troubled Kissinger. He feared that a
separate ceasefire in the East would free Indian forces to attack the
West. It was at this moment that the decision was made to send in the
US fleet. The following day, word reached Dacca from Islamabad that
98   Allies Apart

there should be no ceasefire. Once Dacca received news that help was
on the way, which was understood by authorities in East Pakistan to
refer to American naval intervention, the proposals for a ceasefire were
abandoned and the fighting continued.106
   Most importantly, though, Nixon and Kissinger hoped that the fleet
movement would trigger Beijing. With India taking the military initia-
tive on the ground and, they believed, about to move in for the final
kill, the only power that could really deter Gandhi was China. Specif-
ically, Nixon and Kissinger were certain that if the Chinese could be
convinced to move troops to the shared border, India would baulk.
In light of Kissinger’s intelligence claims, the president was unwaver-
ing, ruling out any more ‘goddamn meetings’ to decide. ‘As I look
at this thing’, he decreed, ‘the Chinese have got to move to that
damn border. The Indians have got to get a little scared.’107 Accord-
ingly, Kissinger flew to New York on 10 December to meet with Huang
Hua, China’s newly appointed ambassador to the UN, at a CIA safe
house and sought to induce Beijing. As well as offering US support at
the UN, Kissinger promised that if China decided that events on the
subcontinent constituted a threat to its own security and took measures
accordingly, ‘the US would oppose efforts of others to interfere with
the People’s Republic.’108 To give substance to his assurances, Kissinger
handed Huang a top secret folder of US intelligence and photos showing
the naval fleet’s movement into the region.109 It was, he later concluded,
an extraordinary state of affairs: ‘an active if tacit collaboration was
developing with a country that we did not recognize.’110 As Hanhimäki
writes, the tilt towards Pakistan had, ultimately, become ‘a tilt toward
   Believing that Beijing was now on board, Nixon and Kissinger waited
for a reply from Moscow. In the meantime, they remained unconvinced
by Indian renunciations of territorial ambitions in West Pakistan. Each
time they received assurances from New Delhi, Kissinger notes, the ques-
tion of Kashmir was left conspicuously open. For Kissinger, all of India’s
soothing words amounted to ‘careful evasions’. It was against this back-
ground that Nixon, Kissinger and his deputy, Alexander Haig, met in
the Oval Office on the morning of 12 December to play out their final
moves. The president and his national security advisor were in a defiant
mood, psyching each other up for the endgame. Both men were aware
that their plan risked ultimate disaster. But the most important thing,
Kissinger resolved, was to come off ‘like men’. Nixon agreed, conclud-
ing that the Chinese, Soviets and Indians needed to be shown that the
‘man in the White House’ was tough.112
                                                    The South Asia Crisis   99

   Shortly after 10.00 a.m., they received Brezhnev’s reply. It sim-
ply restated Indian assurances, remaining silent on Kashmir. Kissinger
judged that the Soviets were just buying time for India to make its move
in the West. An hour later, Haig and Kissinger drafted a new message
repeating the US demand for an immediate ceasefire. It concluded with a
thinly veiled threat: ‘I cannot emphasize too strongly that time is of the
essence to avoid consequences neither of us want.’113 For the first time,
the hot line to Moscow was used to help convey a sense of urgency.
   Just as the message was being sent, Kissinger received word that Huang
needed to see him with an ‘urgent response’ from Beijing following his
talks two days earlier. Nixon and Kissinger agreed that it meant that the
Chinese ‘are going to move’. Suddenly, their plan was moving towards
a fateful reality. By Kissinger’s reckoning, the Soviets were bound to
intervene. In which case, he warned, there would be a final showdown
between the communist superpowers; and, if the Soviets humiliated
China, he portended in the most dramatic terms, ‘all prospects for a
world equilibrium would disappear’ and US security would be compro-
mised for decades to come. It could hardly have been worse. Kissinger
was adamant: if the United States did nothing, ‘we’ll be finished’.114
   Convinced by his adviser’s grim prognosis, Nixon now ordered the
task force to proceed through the Strait of Malacca and into the Bay of
Bengal. It was the moment, Kissinger reflects in his memoirs, that he cast
aside all of his reservations about Nixon, admiring his courage and patri-
otism in the face of crisis. The president had made a decision, he writes,
‘at risk to his immediate political interest, to preserve the world balance
of power for the ultimate safety of all free peoples’ – nothing, he gushed,
could be more laudable in a leader. 115 Somewhat paradoxically, though,
Kissinger noted two pages earlier that it also marked the moment when
the ‘first decision to risk war in the triangular Soviet–Chinese–American
relationship was taken.’116
   As New Delhi continued to refuse a UN call for a ceasefire and Moscow
prevaricated, the fleet sailed into the Bay of Bengal on 13 December.
Three days later, Gandhi unilaterally declared an end to the fighting in
the East and announced that she had ordered a ceasefire to take effect
in the West the following day. At 3.30 p.m. on 17 December, Yahya
declared that Pakistani forces would reciprocate, thereby ending the war
with India.
   Both Nixon and Kissinger were convinced – at least in their memoirs –
that their brinkmanship had played a crucial role in bringing an end to
the conflict, thereby averting a possible Armageddon. In the end, they
believed that it had been Soviet pressure which had caused India to back
100 Allies Apart

down; and it was only the apparent US threat of force which had finally
convinced Moscow that it risked its wider interests unless it restrained
the Indians. The genius of the fleet movement, Kissinger writes, had
been that, without committing the United States to any final act, ‘it had
created precisely the margin of uncertainty’ needed to divide the Soviet
Union from India and force a decision. The White House had played
the few cards it had wisely, bravely and to great effect. In the last resort,
West Pakistan had been saved and a major confrontation with the Soviet
Union averted – given the circumstances and the few cards they held, it
had been quite an achievement.117
   Few others have come to share Nixon and Kissinger’s own glow-
ing assessment. Rather than being brave and subtle, their decision to
send a US task force into the region is widely seen as being misguided
and reckless.118 ‘If anything’, Hanhimäki concludes, reflecting a wide
body of opinion, ‘the end result was lost prestige and punctured moral
authority.’119 The main criticisms fall into three areas. First, Nixon’s deci-
sion was based on mistaken assumptions – about Indian intentions,
Soviet influence and China’s inclination to act. The contention that
India was intent on using the crisis to settle the Kashmir dispute and
destroy all of Pakistan is, in the final analysis, contradicted by the way
the crisis ended: India declared a unilateral ceasefire even when it had
the clear military initiative. Nixon and Kissinger also misread Soviet
intentions and exaggerated its capacity to influence New Delhi. From
the beginning, Dobrynin insists, Moscow had hoped to avoid war.120
Soviet failures to bring an end to the crisis did not so much reflect
delaying tactics, but the fact that its influence upon India was limited.
In the end, it was New Delhi which, on its own accord, decided to imple-
ment a unilateral ceasefire. Kissinger, himself, admits that he misjudged
China’s readiness to act. When Beijing’s urgent message came through
on 12 December, it did not announce that China had begun assisting
Pakistan but instead offered to support a unilateral ceasefire. In short,
then, Kissinger’s brinkmanship was of his own making and his fatalistic
geopolitical scenario illusory.
   Second, the movement has been criticised for being a risky and ill-
defined venture which ultimately had little effect. Admiral Zumwalt,
who was charged with leading the task force, later reflected how he
had been puzzled and alarmed by the move.121 Without a clear mission,
he was sent into a dangerous area at a time of day which most risked
attack. Moreover, far from sending an unmistakable signal, the purpose
of the fleet’s movement was unclear to those watching. Throughout the
world, the press was forced to speculate: it seemed most likely that it was
                                                 The South Asia Crisis   101

moving in for an evacuation of American citizens.122 Just as Kissinger
published his own stellar evaluation, a Brookings Institute study on
US armed forces as a political instrument came to a very different con-
clusion: ‘It is important to emphasize that Soviet and Indian support for
a ceasefire was not the result of US military pressure generated by task
force 74.’123
   Third, and most critically, the decision to send in part of the fleet
was considered by many to be counterproductive and potentially dis-
astrous. In terms of the war itself, the initial movement encouraged
the Pakistanis to keep fighting for several more futile days. In rela-
tion to the Indo-Soviet connection, rather than creating the level of
uncertainty needed to divide the two powers, it drove them closer
together. Moreover, the investigative journalist Jack Anderson reported
that he had learned from reliable intelligence sources that the Soviet
ambassador in New Delhi gave secret assurances that the Soviet’s own
naval force in the area would not allow the US fleet to intervene.124
It is even suggested that, in the long-term, the appearance of the
US fleet in the Bay of Bengal had fateful implications for Indian defence
planning. Since 1960, there had been a sharp debate in India over
whether to develop its own nuclear weapons facilities, particularly
in view of China’s emerging capabilities. No firm decision had been
taken by 1971, but Van Hollen suggests that events at the end of the
year decisively tipped the scales towards those advocating the devel-
opment of nuclear facilities.125 Certainly, the US decision to send the
Enterprise, which many Indians believed had nuclear weapons aboard,
intensified debate in the Indian Parliament over the next months –
and just two-and-a-half years later India exploded its first nuclear
   In London, the fleet movement came as a complete surprise. The
Foreign Office was still instructing the British delegation at the UN to
continue work with the French on a resolution that would be acceptable
to all sides. The first that Home learned of Nixon’s bold intervention was
through the press. He assumed that the task force had been deployed to
evacuate US nationals. When administration briefers disclosed the real
purpose over the next days, officials at the foreign office tended to take
the view that ‘US actions had no effect.’126 Tebbit reported to the For-
eign Office that he believed Anderson’s revelations to be accurate and
had found his own CIA contacts to be uninformative or embarrassed
when asked about them.127 For London, the whole episode had been
another example of the White House acting alone, leaving the Foreign
Office to work out why. Moreover, on reflection, it was concluded that
102 Allies Apart

the US macho diplomacy had risked pushing the Indians and Soviets
closer together.
  Thus, at the moment when Nixon sought to take decisive action to
resolve a crisis between two members of the Commonwealth, which
according to Kissinger’s analysis risked bringing about a worldwide con-
flagration, Britain was left in the dark. As well as being uninformed, it
had also been unimpressed.


In the immediate aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani war, the debate over
the rights and wrongs of US conduct erupted. It was fuelled by the rev-
elations of Jack Anderson who obtained and published various secret
documents which included minutes of WSAG meetings and Keating’s
cables from New Delhi.128 The papers showed Nixon ranting about
the Indians and Kissinger explicitly enforcing their ‘tilt’ policy towards
Pakistan. Anderson presented the papers as evidence that policy had
been determined by the personal pique of the president who had ‘placed
the US on the side of a minor military dictatorship against the world’s
largest democracy’.129 What is more, the United States had not just sup-
ported a morally odious regime but had ended up backing the losing
side and risked transforming a regional war into a global catastrophe.
In effect, Anderson concluded, Nixon and Kissinger’s policy had been
one big blunder. The only discernable result had been to tighten the link
between New Delhi and Moscow leaving the United States ‘out in the
cold on the Indian subcontinent’.130 Ultimately, it was seen as another
demonstration of the kind of miscalculation which had got the United
States embroiled in Vietnam.
   The leaks inevitably brought a barrage of criticism against Nixon
and Kissinger, but once their ‘tilt’ policy had been exposed they stood
staunchly by it. In his memoirs, Kissinger maintained that it was not
Nixon’s personal pique which had determined policy, but his farsighted
understanding of the potential consequences of the crisis. In the long-
term, Kissinger asserts, the strategy boosted US global credibility and
the prospects of triangular diplomacy: ‘Peking had learned that we took
seriously the requirements of the balance of power; Moscow had seen a
sufficiently strong reaction not to be tempted to test us in areas of more
central concern.’131
   In response to charges that his approach was amoral, Kissinger retorts
that he was in fact guided by the highest moral goal that can be achieved
in international relations, especially in a nuclear age – the quest for
                                                  The South Asia Crisis   103

equilibrium. If history teaches us anything, Kissinger decreed, it is that
‘there can be no peace without equilibrium.’132 Since support of Yahya
ultimately served this end, it was, by the statesman’s standards, abso-
lutely moral. In his discussion of the relationship between morality and
realpolitik, Mark Gismondi sets out the logic: ‘At some level, politics is
always fundamentally immoral by ultimate standards. The ideal politi-
cian understands this and can take responsibility for engaging in evil to
secure the greater good.’133 Talking to Heath at Bermuda, Nixon put it
more candidly: ‘I would like the devil, if the devil could help.’134
   Kissinger had expected to find a receptive audience for his think-
ing amongst the British. After all, as he had learned from his studies
of British policy during the Napoleonic Wars, Britain’s priority as an
island state had always been to maintain a stable balance of power
on the European continent to ensure against any power becoming too
dominant and threatening.135 But, in the event, Kissinger’s geopolitical
reasoning had little appeal in London. From Heath through to his staff
at the Foreign Office, the White House’s geopolitical logic in South Asia
was seen as inherently misguided. At a dinner party in Washington
on 11 December, Kissinger outlined to the Labour MP Roy Jenkins the
rationale which had compelled his administration to tilt in favour of
Pakistan. All the elements were there: if India was allowed to destroy
Pakistan with Soviet support, the regional balance would be danger-
ously tipped towards Moscow; the Chinese would inevitably conclude
that the United States was impotent in Asia and any chance of having
successful talks in Beijing would be ruined. When Kissinger’s analysis
was relayed back to the Foreign Office, it was received with a mixture
of derision and despair. Anthony Elliot judged that it was all ‘pretty
obscure’ and bore out the ‘convoluted way in which Kissinger and prob-
ably the White House as a whole are thinking on Asia’. Michael Wilford,
under-secretary at the Foreign Office, was positively despondent: ‘This
bears out our worst fears of American policy and how it is formed.’136
Heath was also unconvinced by Kissinger’s rationalisations. He recalled
in his memoirs how at Bermuda Nixon had turned to his national secu-
rity advisor to explain US policy in South Asia. Expecting the British
leader, above all, to understand, Kissinger proceeded to set out the logic
in terms of supporting the smaller power to restore the overall balance
on the subcontinent. In response, Heath quipped that British policy ‘had
not been to side with the weaker partners if we thought all three of us
would lose’.137
   In their own attempts to explain White House thinking on South
Asia, British policy-makers emphasised the role of personal pique,
104 Allies Apart

domestic politics and Kissinger’s inflated conception of himself as the
arbiter of world affairs. In a report analysing US policy towards the
subcontinent, Tebitt highlighted the importance of ‘Mr Nixon’s personal
view’. The president, Tebitt astutely observed, ‘seems instinctively to see
the Pakistanis as the honest “hard hats” of the region . . . The Indians
in contrast are self-seeking, dishonest and above all moralistic.’ In con-
clusion, Tebitt directly contradicted Kissinger’s claims about steering
US policy towards a new rational course: ‘It is hard to explain in terms
of policy as opposed to those of sentiment why the US persisted in back-
ing Pakistan.’138 A paper prepared for staff at the South Asia Department
could only make sense of all the geopolitical posturing through the lens
of ‘domestic political considerations’. The president was believed to be
paranoid that his image as ‘the statesman of the “era of negotiation”’
would be tarnished if the United States failed to exert influence over
events in South Asia. In short, the whole ‘tilt’ policy was considered
to be inextricably linked to Nixon’s pretensions as a global statesman
which were in turn driven by his overriding goal of re-election.139
   The other grand motive of the ‘tilt’ policy – preventing the Soviet
Union from upsetting the balance of power – was identified squarely
with Kissinger. Both at the Foreign Office and the US Embassy he was
widely portrayed as behaving like – and considering himself to be –
a ‘latter-day Metternich’. Cromer reported that it was Kissinger, more
than Nixon, who had been running US policy.140 All this may have
gratified Kissinger’s ego were it not for the fact that the British con-
sidered the whole basis of his Metternichian-style manoeuvring to have
been completely misguided. The Foreign Office paper concluded that
‘Dr Kissinger’s conception of himself as the modern Metternich manip-
ulating the balance of power’ was based on a faulty supposition that
Moscow was directing New Delhi.141 Cromer reported to Home that,
contrary to CIA assessments, Kissinger had consistently elected to accept
the worst case scenarios of Indian and Soviet intentions. At certain
stages, it seemed to the ambassador that the Americans welcomed the
very thing the British feared most: India and the Soviet Union isolated
together. Indeed, Cromer wondered whether this ‘emotional desire’ had
been the ‘main aim of the Americans’.142
   Overall, it is clear that British policy-makers regarded the White
House’s strategy as totally wrongheaded. Like many in London, James
Cable, head of planning staff at the Foreign Office, was confounded
by Washington’s ‘tilt’: ‘It can scarcely be regarded as being in the gen-
eral Western interest that the US should identify their prestige with the
rump of Pakistan or promote friendship with China at the cost of a
                                                  The South Asia Crisis   105

quarrel with the Soviet Union and India.’143 Given Nixon’s mauling at
home, Cable predicted that the president would be looking for interna-
tional support for his policies in South Asia; he urged that Britain resist
the pressure ‘not only because the President’s policies seemed inher-
ently misguided, but because our compliance could easily be followed
by another sudden switch in American policy which would leave us
holding the baby’.144
   While London was baffled by the substance of US policy in South Asia,
the Foreign Office concluded that bilateral relations had suffered pri-
marily due to the ‘strange decision-making process in Washington’.145
Stanley Tomlinson at the South Asia Department met with William
Galloway from the US Embassy in London to discuss the problems
which had arisen between their governments over events on the
subcontinent. He complained that there had been nothing like the
degree of cooperation and coordination that used to be the norm. It was
difficult to see how this could be remedied, he continued, ‘so long as
we were never consulted at the formative stage but only heard about
decisions after they had been reached’. In response, Galloway quickly
got to the heart of the matter: it was not that Britain was particularly
snubbed by the United States, but, he complained bitterly, that the pres-
ident had decisively marginalised the State Department – the decline
in relations with the Foreign Office was an inevitable consequence of
this fact. This explained to Cromer why, at desk level, members of his
chancery had found it impossible to get interviews with State Depart-
ment officials over US policy in South Asia: ‘It is understandable that
[they] wished to avoid the embarrassment in displaying their complete
ignorance of US policies and tactics.’146 Britain had been no exception,
then, but, as Tomlinson stressed, it did have cause to feel particularly
upset since it had been used to such a close relationship with the State
Department in the past.147
   From Nixon’s and Kissinger’s perspective, though, it had been the
British who had been behaving oddly. Kissinger found it hard to under-
stand why they had been so unsupportive at the UN. Despite the fact
that, in the end, the tabling of motions at the UN was just a ‘paper exer-
cise’, he was outraged by the British delegation’s persistent abstentions.
When Bush relayed Britain’s decision not to support a new US reso-
lution, Kissinger became infuriated: ‘if the British won’t come along,
the hell with them.’148 Discussing the British conduct the following
day, Nixon was even suspicious whether they were ‘playing the Russian
line’149 – more a case of the ‘perfidious Albion’ than the ‘special rela-
tionship’. Cromer warned Home before the meeting in Bermuda that
106 Allies Apart

both Nixon and Kissinger were smarting over London’s conduct during
the crisis: ‘you will find them in a despondent mood and feeling very
much that we have not stood by them in the manner which Americans
(in their rather simplistic way) expect their friends to.’ In their efforts to
understand why the British government had not played its expected role
during the crisis, the impression in the White House was growing that it
was a consequence of its ‘new found Europeanism’.150 In Kissinger’s eyes,
Britain, along with the other Europeans, had, in the end, been drawn by
the moral pretensions of Indian leaders who had slyly exploited ‘the
guilt complexes of a liberal, slightly socialist west’.151
   On the eve of their meeting in Bermuda, neither party was in good
spirits about the state of Anglo-American relations. It had been a diffi-
cult year: from London’s point of view, it had been left in the dark over
the opening to China and then suddenly hit with Nixon’s New Eco-
nomic Policy; from Nixon’s and Kissinger’s perspective, Heath seemed
to be pursuing European membership at the expense of relations with
Washington. It was the aim of Home to use the meeting to heal some of
the wounds and ‘clear the air’.152 It was in this context that the two lead-
ers discussed events on the subcontinent when they met in Bermuda on
20 December. Each offered a cautious critique of the other. Heath ques-
tioned how far it was possible to invoke the theory of the balance of
power in specific regional crises, while Nixon tried to get behind the
British stance at the UN.153 But criticism was muted – the focus was on
consensus-building rather than dwelling on differences.
   Whatever the official pronouncements at Bermuda, however, it is clear
that damage had been done to Anglo-American relations as a conse-
quence of each other’s conduct over events in South Asia. For Nixon
and Kissinger, it signified the fact that, under Heath, Britain was turn-
ing to Europe. For London, US policy had been dangerously misguided
by the personal pique and geopolitical fantasising within the White
House. In short, the United States, under the leadership of Nixon, was
viewed as a superpower treading clumsily in a regional crisis which it
did not understand. Moreover, at all levels, relations with the United
States had suffered due to the highly secretive and centralised style of
decision-making employed by Nixon and Kissinger. As shown in the
Chapter 2, the experience over South Asia had been no exception, but
reflected a pattern over a whole series of issues during the year, which
had made it such a bad one from the Foreign Office’s point of view in
terms of relations with Washington. Once again, it was not that British
behaviour was predetermined by its new found Europeanism under
Heath, as Nixon and Kissinger speculated, but that the substance and
                                                The South Asia Crisis   107

nature of US policy-making – under their direction – convinced officials
in London of the need to work more closely with their allies in Europe.
  Following his meeting in Bermuda, Heath wrote to Pompidou to con-
vey his impressions of US policy-making under Nixon. He had, above all,
been struck by the extent to which the formulation of the broad lines of
US policies was ‘confined to a very few people within the White House’.
Heath believed that it was something they should have ‘very much
in mind when we make any attempts to harmonise Western European
and American approaches to particular issues’.154 Nixon had stressed in
Bermuda his hope that Europe would not seek to develop as a ‘third
force’. But he was failing to appreciate that the substance and style of
his decision-making – demonstrated so acutely by the summer shocks
and now US actions in South Asia – was, in part, providing a spur to
just that.
Negotiating Détente: SALT
and the Prevention of Nuclear
War Agreement

On becoming president, Nixon staked his reputation on reducing ten-
sions with Moscow – détente – when he pledged to work towards an ‘era
of negotiation’ and ‘peace for all mankind’.1 On past record, he was an
unlikely candidate to transform relations with the Soviet Union, having
made his name as a fierce red-baiter. However, the ideological dogma-
tism of his early career belied a more opportunistic inclination. Once in
the White House, Nixon was out to advance his own political position
and maintain American pre-eminence, whatever the means. Facing new
constraints at home and abroad, he reinvented himself as a hard-nosed
realist and ‘man of peace’.
   While Nixon sensed the political imperative behind détente, Kissinger
provided its intellectual ballast. As a student and teacher of international
relations, he had become convinced that the way to a lasting peace was
through a stable balance of power. It was, he believed, the only mecha-
nism that would enforce mutual restraint among the great powers. As he
liked to say, ‘there can be no peace without equilibrium’.2 In the nuclear
age it had become essential to the very survival of mankind – for the
statesman there could be no higher moral goal. Ultimately, it would
depend on engagement and cooperation with the Soviet Union.
   Although his predecessors had talked about going to Moscow and ini-
tiated arms control talks, it was Nixon – aided by Kissinger – who turned
détente into a distinct chapter in Cold War history.3 In May 1972, he
became the first US president to visit the Soviet capital where he signed
a range of agreements for cooperation in economics, the environment,
space and arms control. The most significant were the Basic Principles,
which formalised the notions of peaceful coexistence and equality, and
SALT I which marked the first step towards limiting nuclear weapons.
It was Nixon’s crowning moment as peacemaker. Along with his trip to

                                                    Negotiating Détente   109

Beijing, he had pulled off the diplomatic double. On his return home,
Nixon was euphoric: ‘this was the year’, he gushed to Congress, ‘when
America helped to lead the world up out of the lowlands of constant
war, and onto the high plateau of lasting peace.’4 Brezhnev kept up the
momentum with a trip to Washington the following June. Among other
exchanges – including a John Wayne-style gun and holster which the
general secretary seemed particularly pleased with – the leaders signed
the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement, by which the two sides aimed
to reduce the threat of a nuclear attack. For some, it marked the ‘high-
point’ of Soviet-American détente and even an end to the Cold War
   However, as will become apparent, for all of the achievements, lofty
rhetoric and high hopes of Soviet-American cooperation, there were seri-
ous flaws. On closer inspection, sown into the negotiations for détente
were the seeds of its downfall. First, and foremost, the idea that Nixon’s
new ‘era of negotiation’ reflected the end – or even a pause – to Soviet-
American confrontation is misleading. Détente was never seen as an end
in itself but is best understood as an adversarial process by which both
sides attempted to further traditional Cold War goals. For the Kremlin,
this meant formalising strategic parity and peaceful coexistence which
had long been seen as essential preconditions to the consolidation of
socialism at home and promoting revolution abroad.6 In the White
House, détente was conceived as a strategy for managing Soviet power
in unfavourable circumstances. As Kissinger himself later concluded, the
‘era of negotiations served as a strategy for enabling America to regain
the diplomatic initiative while the war in Vietnam was still in progress.’7
   To really understand what set Nixon, the one-time anti-communist
crusader, off on the path to Moscow, it is essential to start with the
dire set of circumstances he inherited on becoming president. The most
pressing issue, which had caused the demise of his predecessor, was the
ongoing trauma in Vietnam. By the time Nixon came to office, the war
was costing 200 American lives a week and $30 billion a year without
any prospect of victory.8 At home, the conflict had opened up deep divi-
sions and doubts about the ethics and efficacy of American power, and
provoked mass protest. The challenge, as Nixon saw it, was to find a
way out while preserving American credibility – ‘peace with honor’, as
he called it. To this end, he believed it essential to have Moscow onside
or at least separated from Hanoi.
   Furthermore, just when the United States was having to face the fact
that it could not win a war on the periphery of the Cold War, it was also
becoming apparent that it was beginning to lose one at the centre – the
110 Allies Apart

strategic arms race. By 1969, the Soviet Union, having carried out a
crash-programme in arms production following its humiliating back
down in Cuba, had reached parity with the United States and, in crude
terms, begun to overtake it. Since 1965, it had more than quadrupled its
Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) from 220 to 1060. The United
States had 1054 and on the current trends the gap was set to increase.9
Nixon faced a tough dilemma. On the one hand, he refused to accept
Soviet superiority; but, on the other, he was confronted by a Democrat-
dominated Congress which was already critical of the level of defence
spending, particularly on strategic weapon systems. What the right wing
of his own party did not understand, Nixon explained, was that ‘we sim-
ply can’t get from the Congress the additional funds needed to continue
the arms race.’10
   As Kissinger would present it, détente was a creative response to these
tough questions and constraints on US power. The one thing the White
House felt it had in its favour was the fact that the Soviets seemed
equally – if not more – eager for cooperation. By linking the prospect
of progress on one issue, Nixon and Kissinger believed they could mod-
erate Soviet behaviour on others. Kissinger later summarised the logic:
‘The idea was to emphasise those areas in which cooperation was pos-
sible, and to use cooperation as leverage to modify Soviet behaviour in
areas in which the two countries were at loggerheads.’ This, Kissinger
explains, was what the Nixon administration understood by the word
détente.11 In other words, the continuation of containment by other
   Second, a comparison between the presentation of the agreements
and the negotiations themselves reveals a sharp disjuncture between the
rhetoric and reality of détente. As will be shown, the efforts at cooper-
ation were infected by mutual distrust, as each side tried to manoeuvre
for advantage. ‘You could almost smell the suspicion,’ recalled the leader
of the US SALT delegation.12 In the end, the limited arms control agree-
ments reflected as much a determination to keep ahead in the arms race
as any desire to end it. While the two sides managed to cap numbers,
the White House balked at qualitative restrictions, which would create
problems for the future. Moreover, as will become evident, the apparent
pinnacle of détente – the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement – was,
in its early stages, viewed by Washington as a cynical Cold War ploy.
The fact that any agreement was signed at all was a result of a lengthy
exercise to make it as meaningless as possible.
   Finally, much of the fanfare of détente reflected an effort to
take the personal glory and political initiative at home rather than
                                                     Negotiating Détente   111

the relationship itself. Facing growing protest over Vietnam and an
approaching election, Nixon became convinced that a visit to Moscow
would deflect opposition and enhance his image as a ‘man of peace’,
thereby boosting his chance of re-election. But, as will be shown, the
push for an early summit came at the expense of progress in arms
control. While the SALT team hoped for a comprehensive agreement,
Kissinger privately settled for less in order to dress up the summit. In the
end, his parallel negotiations would frustrate the official team and future
efforts to curb the arms race. Ultimately, the real weakness of détente
stemmed from the fact that the negotiations had been such a ‘one-man
show’. As Phil Williams writes, ‘if policy is to outlast its architects, it
must have institutional rather than personal bases.’13
   For all onlookers, the sight of superpower détente was both encour-
aging and unnerving. Among America’s allies, there was widespread
support for the efforts to relax tensions and reduce the threat of
nuclear war. However, as they watched from the sidelines, there was
also deep unease that their own interests would be neglected, or
even undermined, in the grip of the bilateral negotiations. The real
nightmare for Europe was that the United States would concede to
Soviet pressure and sign away its security guarantee. The spectre of
the superpowers deciding on issues of global peace and security pro-
voked heckles of condominium from those watching. As Richard Barnet
observes: ‘At the heart of every alliance is the fear of betrayal – that
one member or another will make a secret accommodation with the
   For Britain, as the third nuclear power, the advent of direct Soviet-
American arms control talks raised its own particular set of issues.
In the past, British leaders had played a determined role in bringing
the superpowers together. During the 1950s and 1960s, Churchill and
then Macmillan led calls for a summit on nuclear weapons. Although
initial efforts proved frustrating, it has recently been shown how succes-
sive British governments deserved credit for finally bringing Washington
and Moscow to sign first the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963 and
then the Limited Test Ban Treaty five years later.15 In taking such a
central role, British leaders had been spurred by a mix of enlight-
ened and self-interested motives. On the one hand, they were driven
by a basic hope to reduce the threat of nuclear war. On the other
hand, they were seeking to promote their own role and reputation as
honest broker between the superpowers. And, conversely, they were
trying to safeguard Britain’s own nuclear deterrent – consisting of
just four Polaris submarines, which were completely dependent on
112 Allies Apart

access to US missiles – by checking the race which was reducing it to
   In contrast, however, during the 1970s, when the first major efforts
were made to regulate nuclear weapons, Britain played no direct role and
is said to have viewed détente through a ‘sceptics lens’.16 As Kissinger
observes, the paradox was striking: those who had urged détente in
the past suddenly ‘shrunk before its consequences’.17 A central aim of
this chapter is to ask, in the light of new sources, if and why this
was the case. To some extent, the explanation remains fairly plain. The
superpowers had initiated direct talks over weapons systems that Britain
did not posses. To this end, London could only accept its role on the
periphery. However, in the most detailed analysis of the British approach
to détente, Brian White argues that the apparent change in attitude
was consistent with the underlying principle of foreign policy which
Samuel Hoare in the 1930s called the ‘double line’: a strong defence pos-
ture combined with the energetic search for accommodation.18 In other
words, Britain has always struck a careful balance between the quest
for détente and deterrence, maintaining that one should never be pur-
sued at the expense of the other. For British policy-makers, then, Nixon’s
sweeping vision of détente went too far. In November 1971, the defence
secretary, Peter Carrington, raised the concern to the House of Lords:
‘It has become a truism to say that NATO stands for the twin concepts
of defence and détente [but] we must not fall into the trap of striving
for détente and forgetting about defence.’19
   Fuelling these anxieties were renewed suspicions about Soviet inten-
tions. For Heath, the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 had demon-
strated that Moscow was prepared to defend its interests through a
‘brutal use of logic’.20 Moreover, throughout 1970–71, the Foreign Office
became increasingly concerned by the spectre of Soviet naval manoeu-
vres, which were viewed as an assault on the balance of power of the
oceans and a threat to British sea routes. Then, in September 1971,
relations took a further plunge when the government expelled 105
Russian officials who were believed to be intelligence officers. Thus, just
as America’s relations with the Soviet Union appeared to be reaching
a new level of understanding, Britain’s were sliding into a deep freeze.
Reflecting these issues, Heath summarised his own hard-line view to
Nixon: ‘The man in the street does not understand that when Brezhnev
speaks of “peaceful coexistence”, he means that the political struggle
against the West is to continue, and that when he speaks of ending
the Cold War, he has in mind the dismantling of Western defence
                                                   Negotiating Détente   113

   However, as will be shown, this was not the full picture. In fact,
despite suspicions over Soviet intentions, there was also enthusiasm for
détente in London. Talking to Nixon at Bermuda, Heath said that he
fully approved of his planned visit to Moscow, later praising him for his
farsighted initiative.22 And, as it turned out, the government was sat-
isfied that the agreements themselves had safeguarded both European
security and Britain’s deterrent. In the end, the thing that really came
to trouble the British was not so much the substance of détente, but the
process. In this regard, from London’s point of view, the real offender
was not Moscow but Washington. As indicated, the overriding point
that emerges from an analysis of the negotiations is the extent to which
US policy-making had became so centralised, secretive and concerned
with making a public show. For Britain, the White House’s conduct
would gradually raise and add to the concerns provoked by the Nixon
   The rest of this chapter will develop these themes in relation to
the two flagship agreements of détente – SALT and the Prevention of
Nuclear War Agreement. In some ways, they represented very differ-
ent experiences for Britain. Although the British were excluded from
the arms limitation talks, they initially had high hopes for a com-
prehensive settlement and felt gratified by the level of contact with
the US negotiating team. However, it would gradually become evident
in London that the key decisions were not being made by the nego-
tiators in Europe but through secret discussions back in Washington.
What is more, Nixon’s agenda did not match as closely to British inter-
ests as first thought. Although the negotiations for the Prevention of
Nuclear War Agreement demonstrated to an even greater extent the
White House’s control over policy, this time British officials found them-
selves in the unique position of not only being informed but employed
to help draft the agreement itself. It was, according to Kissinger, an
example of the ‘special relationship’ at its best. However, from London’s
perspective, the most striking thing about the experience was what
it revealed about the state of decision-making in Washington rather
than its own relations. Moreover, at the time Britain was about to
formally enter Europe, the government was not entirely comfortable
with its secret role in Washington. There were even suspicions that
Kissinger was somehow out to exploit the situation to serve his own
Machiavellian ends. Overall, then, the methods employed by the White
House would prove problematic and provoke suspicions in Britain
whether it was excluded from or included in the negotiations for
114 Allies Apart

High hopes for SALT

After several months of deliberation, on 25 October 1969 the White
House and Kremlin officially announced that the Strategic Arms Limi-
tation Talks would begin in Helsinki in November. The initiative came
at a critical moment for the arms race, which had entered a new phase
with major developments in defensive and offensive technology. By the
time Nixon came to power, both sides had installed Anti-Ballistic Mis-
sile systems (ABMs). Although ostensibly designed for defence, they
also increased the chances of surviving an attack and therefore launch-
ing a counter-strike. Moreover, as the United States pushed ahead in
the race to build a protective shield, it began to develop and deploy
Multiple Independently targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs) – missiles
that could carry up to 14 warheads, each with a separate target. It was
widely seen as a quantum leap in the arms race – as significant as the
step from the atomic to the hydrogen bomb or development of the
ballistic missile itself.23 Armed with enough MIRVs, the United States
could conceivably overwhelm Russia’s defensive system and launch a
decisive first strike. The crucial point about these new technologies
was that they undermined the condition of Mutually Assured Destruc-
tion (MAD) and destabilised the precarious nuclear balance which had
made an attack inconceivable in the past. Despite massive expense and
widespread protest at these new powers of annihilation, Nixon gave
both the advanced ABM and MIRV programmes the go-ahead during
his first five months in office. The opening of SALT, then, appeared to
come just in time.
   As the talks got underway, there seemed to be a real chance that they
would halt or even reverse this dangerous new momentum in the arms
race. The man chosen to lead the negotiations, Gerard Smith of the Arms
Control and Development Agency (ACDA), was determined to achieve
an agreement outlawing both ABM systems and MIRVs. With the nec-
essary will from the top, SALT promised to reduce the threat of nuclear
war and lay the foundation for détente.
   The view from London, under the then Labour government, was
generally positive, reflecting long-standing calculations. At the Foreign
Office, Nicholas Barrington set out the prevailing sentiment, affirming
that there was an ‘intrinsic desirability’ for the talks and ‘overwhelm-
ing concern’ that they end in success.24 Coming at what seemed the
‘point of no return’ for the arms race, they were seen as the ‘only effec-
tive means’ of slowing it down.25 On the one hand, this was considered
an important end in itself. As the government’s scientific adviser, Solly
                                                     Negotiating Détente   115

Zuckerman, concluded, it was a great chance to ‘urge events along the
road to nuclear sanity’.26 At the same time, though, Zuckerman also
argued that Britain’s ‘vital and paramount interests’ were at stake.27
In particular, he recognised that the future of Britain’s own deterrent was
tied to the fortunes of SALT. To remain a credible threat, the British force
had to be able to destroy at least one major Soviet city. However, the
appearance of a defensive system around Moscow had made even this
minimum requirement seem doubtful. Furthermore, the leaps in missile
technology had reduced Britain’s meagre force to even greater obscurity.
For the British government, then, the prospect of an agreement which
limited – or, ideally, banned – both the ABM and MIRV paradoxically
became a lifeline for its own deterrent and status as a nuclear power.28
   However, as well as giving cause for hope, the beginning of SALT
sparked concerns in London. The double nightmare for Britain was
that the Soviet-American exchanges would erode European security and
at the same time undermine its own nuclear force. Underlying British
apprehensions were deep suspicions about Moscow’s intentions. Rather
than acting for the good of world peace, the Kremlin was believed to
be out to consolidate its own strategic position.29 In particular, British
officials had two concerns: first, that the Russians would try to include
America’s Forward Based Systems (FBS) stationed in Europe in any agree-
ment; and, second, that they would press for a ‘no-transfer clause’
prohibiting the exchange of nuclear information with third countries,
which would effectively kill off Britain’s deterrent, since it depended on
US assistance.
   In the event, British suspicions proved well-founded. At the prelimi-
nary SALT session in November and December, the two sides failed to
agree on what the term ‘strategic’ actually referred to. By the Soviets’
definition, it covered all weapons capable of striking each other’s terri-
tory, which included American forces in Europe. Moreover, the Russians
also insisted on a ‘no-transfer’ agreement. In short, then, the Kremlin
was pushing for the very things that Britain feared most. It had
become clear to the then British foreign secretary, Michael Stewart, that
NATO interests had become ‘directly engaged’ in the superpower talks.30
   What was not immediately apparent to the British at this stage,
though, and which would have a decisive impact on the outcome
of SALT, was the extent to which official opinion was divided in
Washington. While Smith and his team, backed by the State Depart-
ment, were determined to reach a comprehensive agreement, which the
British were so eager for, the president, along with Kissinger and key
defence advisers, was not. In fact, even as the talks got underway, Nixon
116 Allies Apart

was anxious to advance both the ABM and MIRV programmes. The
divergence stemmed from a fundamentally different approach to SALT.
Whereas Smith saw arms control as an end in itself, Nixon – spurred
by Kissinger – viewed it as just one element in the tangled web of issues
dividing the United States and Soviet Union. On the eve of the talks, the
president underlined the guiding principle to Smith: ‘progress in arms
limitation’, he decreed, ‘must be accompanied by progress in the solu-
tion of critical political problems.’31 By this logic, the promise of arms
control became an instrument of détente – or linkage – as conceived in
the White House. It was essential, then, for the United States to be in a
strong bargaining position, which meant keeping ahead with the new
technologies. As Nixon explained to his principal aides: ‘it is unthink-
able to me that we should go into arms talks with the Soviet Union
with them having “in being” a significant defensive capability and our
having the capability only on the drawing boards.’32
   Above all, Nixon’s determination to lead the arms race reflected his
abiding, and overriding, commitment – to remain Number One. At the
time, the forecasts were gloomy. Nixon was particularly roused by a
British Institute of Strategic Studies Survey, which observed how in the
previous year Russia had become a ‘full equal’ to the United States in
military and political terms and was set to overtake it in ICBMs by mid-
1969. ‘The United States’, the survey concluded, ‘has lost “the desire and
ability” to be the dominant power in the world.’33 As Nixon presented it
to key aides, the issue was simple: ‘whether during this Administration
we allow the Soviet Union to pass the US in overall nuclear capability
and thereby leave us in a second-rate position.’ From a diplomatic stand-
point, he warned that it would devastate US policies across the world.
For his part, Nixon was not prepared to allow this to happen – ‘whatever
the political consequences’.34 With the stakes so high and Congressional
opposition so strong, he regarded the ABM issue as a crucial test of
his own authority at home and was determined to demonstrate who
was boss.35
   For now, though, London had some cause for satisfaction. As the
US delegation prepared for the next round of negotiations, its overall
position closely matched British hopes: Smith remained convinced that
a comprehensive agreement was best for the United States.36 Moreover,
he was finally instructed by Washington to put forward a proposal for a
moratorium on MIRVs. At the same time, he resisted all Soviet demands
to include FBS. Most crucially for Britain, now that its interests had
become directly implicated in the talks, the Americans seemed to be tak-
ing seriously their obligations to consult. Before, during and after each
                                                   Negotiating Détente   117

session, Smith debriefed the NATO allies at the North Atlantic Coun-
cil. At London’s request, the British delegation was even granted special
bilateral consultations prior to the opening of the second round.37
The effort to keep the allies informed appeared to reflect priorities
at the top. Setting out the president’s approach to the negotiations,
Kissinger marked out allied consultation as the ‘cornerstone’ of policy.38
On reflection, members of the British delegation to the North Atlantic
Council felt sure that the United States had really taken into account
their views.39 It was even decided that Wilson should send a letter to
Nixon expressing the government’s appreciation at his handling of the


British confidence in the talks was soon tested, though, with the
opening of the second session in Vienna in April 1970. The Soviets
immediately rejected the US proposals for a comprehensive agreement
and remained adamant over FBS. On the question of an MIRV morato-
rium they refused to accept the US conditions for on-site inspections.
An impasse was reached. Moscow, it seemed, would not allow the talks
to proceed along the lines proposed by the US delegation and favoured
by the British. Although SALT had become stuck and a comprehensive
agreement suddenly appeared out of reach, at least the British could feel
consoled by the fact that these were shared frustrations.
   However, all was not as it seemed in London. In Washington, the
White House was slowly and secretly enforcing its will on the SALT pro-
cess. The key point about the MIRV offer was that it had been designed
to be rejected, since Nixon knew full well that the Soviets would refuse
on-site inspections. In reality, his goal was to win approval at home
without jeopardising the MIRV programme.41 The unpalatable truth for
Smith was that the president considered his proposals for an MIRV ban
to be ‘bullshit’.42
   Moreover, as the US delegation sought to prepare a package for
Vienna, back in Washington Kissinger had secretly initiated his own
arms control discussions with Dobrynin. While Smith remained com-
mitted to a comprehensive agreement, Kissinger had his own agenda,
which had been set by the president. Just as the SALT delegation was
about to embark on round two in April, Nixon suddenly announced
to his national security adviser that he was anxious to visit Moscow
as soon as possible. Facing continued opposition over Vietnam and
frustrated by the lack of progress in foreign affairs generally, Nixon
118 Allies Apart

judged that an appearance in the Soviet capital would deflect anti-war
protesters at home and provide a much-needed boost to his image as
   But with no SALT agreement in sight, Kissinger was concerned that
an early summit would turn into a charade. Accordingly, he suddenly
became much more flexible over arms control. On 9 April, in answer to
the Soviet ambassador, he indicated that the United States was no longer
fixed on whether the agreement was comprehensive or limited.43 More-
over, he confided that the White House had also dropped its insistence
on an MIRV ban. It was, William Bundy exclaims, ‘an extraordinary
concession!’44 In short, Kissinger’s covert efforts to clear the path to an
early summit had completely undermined the SALT team’s position in
Vienna. As it happened, the plan for a swift summit soon faltered –
what mattered in the long run, though, was the fact that Kissinger had
effectively destroyed any hope for an MIRV agreement.
   For the British, the episode had two disturbing implications that
would only gradually become evident. First, it revealed that the SALT
negotiations had become subject to a two-tier decision-making process.
What the British were told in Brussels could no longer be taken as the
true US position. In reality, their satisfaction at the process of consul-
tation had been misplaced. Second, Kissinger’s intervention had ruined
the chances of the thing Britain hoped for most – an end to MIRVs.
   By the time the Heath government came to power in June 1970 and
formulated its own approach to SALT, there was a growing realisation
that policy-making in Washington was not only divided but operat-
ing on two distinct levels. In a meeting with the British ambassador,
John Freeman, on 8 July, Kissinger emphasised the degree to which for-
eign policy was controlled by the president. As a result, he cautioned,
the State Department could not always be taken as a reliable author-
ity. ‘To put it frankly’, he concluded, ‘Rogers could be 15 per cent off
course.’45 In many ways, it was a remarkable admission. For the Foreign
Office, it confirmed the emerging problem with its relations with the
United States: that it could no longer rely on its communications with
the State Department. When Home met with Heath to reflect on the
state of the Anglo-American relationship prior to his first meeting with
Nixon at Chequers in October, the Foreign Secretary highlighted the
degree to which the policy-making process in Washington had become
confused. In his experience, it had been difficult to establish the kind
of close working relationship of the past, since the State Department’s
views could no longer be counted on as an accurate gauge of US policy.46
Nevertheless, despite growing doubts, the British still felt that their
                                                   Negotiating Détente   119

views were being listened to through their consultations with Smith –
they were not yet aware of Kissinger’s secret efforts.47
   Overall, the new government’s position on SALT remained consis-
tent with Wilson’s: ultimately, Heath hoped for a successful agreement,
but was concerned about the possible implications for European secu-
rity and Britain’s own deterrent. If anything, he took a more direct
role in guiding the government’s approach than his predecessor. This
partly reflected his particular determination to uphold British interests,
but also the fact that these had become more clearly implicated in the
evolving superpower talks. Given these sharpened concerns, it was again
wondered whether Britain should seek to participate in the negotiations.
In the end, though, the decisive point remained a simple one: it did
not possess the weapon systems that were the main focus of the talks.48
If necessary, Heath resolved to make direct appeals on issues affecting
British interests.
   Under the new leadership, the British pressed particularly hard for a
ban on ABMs. During Rogers visit to Chequers on 12 July 1970, Heath
seized the opportunity to highlight his concerns about SALT and ABMs,
focussing on the issue of European security to make his case. Without an
agreement, he argued, the United States and Soviet Union would be pro-
tected under their own defences while Europe would be left exposed.49
If they failed to limit ABMs, he later warned, the Europeans would have
no choice but to join the race and build their own.50 To some degree, it
appears that the prime minister was choosing his arguments carefully,
since back at the Ministry of Defence the real concern was Britain’s own
deterrent. The calculation was simple: ‘The greater the limitations on
Soviet ABM deployment, the longer the effective life of our own nuclear
forces in their present form.’51
   Towards the end of the year, the possibility of a ‘no-transfer’ agree-
ment took on a new significance for Britain. In the autumn, the decision
was taken to begin improvements on the British nuclear force in order
to counteract Soviet defences. The project, codenamed ‘Super Ante-
lope’, was designed to harden the Polaris missiles so that they could
penetrate the Russian ABM system. The British required US help for
development and testing.52 As a result, London became more anxious
than ever that the Americans remain resolute in the face of Soviet
insistence on a ‘no-transfer’ clause – the future of the British deterrent
depended on it. As Stephen Twigge observes, given Britain’s reliance on
American technology to upgrade its Polaris force, ‘the no-transfer clause
held out the possibility of disarming the UK deterrent at the stroke of
a pen.’53
120 Allies Apart

  While Britain redoubled pressures on the Americans to push for
a comprehensive agreement, the US delegation was forced to pursue
a more limited settlement. The British continued to assume that it
was the Soviets who had made anything else impossible. At a meet-
ing of the North Atlantic Council on 13 July, Smith reported that,
regrettably, a provision including MIRV was not possible ‘owing to the
Soviet position’.54 At Chequers, Kissinger explained that the Soviets had
rejected an ABM ban due to the threat from China. It was assumed, then,
that the United States was making the best of a bad situation.55 Given
the circumstances, Home accepted that a limited agreement, despite its
omissions, would constitute a ‘worthwhile check on the nuclear arms
race’ and that it was better than no agreement at all.56
  But, again, all was not as it seemed. In reality, the obstruction of an
ABM ban was not simply due to Soviet fears of China, as Kissinger had
asserted – though Zuckerman doubted him on this57 – but was also a
result of Nixon’s insistence that the Americans maintain an ABM system.
According to Raymond Garthoff, a member of the US SALT delegation,
in July 1970 Smith had informally approached the head of the Soviet
team, Vladimir Semenov, over the possibility of a zero-ABM agreement.
Though Semenov did not respond with immediate enthusiasm, he nev-
ertheless indicated that the Soviets were interested in exploring the idea
further.58 However, Nixon was not. Smith was instructed by the White
House to state that the United States did not consider an ABM ban
appropriate for any initial agreement. As Bundy observes, the US dele-
gation tried in vain to make bricks without straws.59 For Britain, Nixon’s
directive had ended the chances of the agreement it hoped for.
  By April 1971, Rogers reported that formal negations had reached
deadlock. Not all British officials were convinced that this was the whole
story, though. After all, Kissinger had practically told them to doubt
anything the secretary of state said. On 7 May, Cabinet Secretary Burke
Trend conveyed his suspicions to Peter Moon, the prime minister’s pri-
vate secretary, speculating that, while negotiations seemed deadlocked
in Vienna, elsewhere the Americans were considering a direct deal with
the Russians over the heads of Western Europe in which SALT could be
just one element. ‘Something was going on’, between the Russians and
Americans, ‘of which we are not fully informed’, he warned.60


As it turned out, Trend’s suspicions were prescient. Just two weeks later,
on 20 May, Nixon announced on television and radio that following
                                                   Negotiating Détente   121

contacts at the ‘highest level’ Washington and Moscow had worked out
the basis for an eventual settlement: henceforth, the two governments
would work towards ‘an agreement for the limitation and deployment
of ABMs’ and ‘certain measures’ with respect to the control of offensive
strategic weapons.61 Although it marked a sharp climb-down from the
high hopes of the SALT delegation, Nixon was euphoric: ‘if we succeed’,
he proclaimed, ‘this joint statement that has been issued today may well
be remembered as the beginning of the new era.’ Across the world, it was
welcomed as a major breakthrough. In London, The Times hailed it as ‘a
step forward for mankind’.62
   Others, however, were not so impressed. The SALT team regarded
Nixon’s announcement as confusing, counter productive and thor-
oughly disillusioning. Looking back, Smith was scathing. The pub-
lic statement, he concluded, was ‘so poorly drafted as to defy clear
construction’.63 Moreover, his colleague, Raymond Garthoff, was con-
vinced that the deal was less advantageous than the one they were about
to reach through the official negotiations.64 Thus, far from constitut-
ing a breakthrough, it was seen as a ‘backward step’.65 The most acute
cause of distress, though, was the fact that the president had made his
announcement without consulting those he had originally put in charge
of the negotiations. Smith was only informed of the development the
day before the rest of the world.66 Having worked for over a year and a
half towards an agreement, it was utterly galling to be suddenly upstaged
by his own leader. Rogers, who had also been kept in the dark, was shat-
tered by the news. He even offered to resign, complaining to Haldeman
that he had been made a ‘laughing stock’.67
   On reflection, Smith wondered why the apparently simple task of
spelling out a general understanding was handled in such a bizarre fash-
ion. At the time, Nixon had assured him that it was simply the way
of the Soviets; however, Smith was unconvinced, deducing that the
real issue had been the president’s distrust for his own staff. This was
undoubtedly true. Both Nixon and Kissinger felt that the SALT team
and State Department were incapable of grasping the bigger picture.
In general, they dismissed the arms controllers as a bunch of ‘crusad-
ing madmen’ who were unable to think with their heads.68 However,
beyond doubts over the SALT delegation’s faculties, there was another
reason that had little to do with policy – the quest for personal control
and credit. To many NSC staff members, Kissinger’s struggle to dominate
the SALT process appeared to be ‘as much part of his drive to control
the bureaucracy as a matter of intrinsic belief in the necessity of arms
control’.69 For Nixon, the crucial point was to appear as the man making
122 Allies Apart

the moves and to boost his image as peacemaker: ‘I’ve got to take credit’,
he told Rogers, ‘for anything that happens in arms control.’70
   Whatever the reason, Smith considered the whole episode a ‘sad
reflection on the state of affairs in the administration’.71 In his view, the
most damaging aspect of Nixon’s announcement was that it caused a
complete breakdown in trust between the SALT team and White House.
From the moment Kissinger’s secret parallel negotiations were revealed,
Smith and his colleagues assumed that they could be upstaged again at
any moment.
   The British, it turned out, were given similar treatment, though
without quite the same effect. The day before Nixon’s announcement,
Kissinger had called on Cromer to give him advance warning. On the
one hand, it marked a special gesture to the British who Kissinger, it
seemed, was particularly concerned to bring into his confidence; on the
other, this did not really amount to much – in the end, they had been
informed but not consulted. The important lesson was not that Britain
was accorded special status in Washington, but that with Nixon in
power it could no longer trust its channels of communication with the
State Department and would have to reckon on learning things at the
last minute when effective consultation was no longer possible. In the
end, Kissinger said very little about the way in which the agreement had
been reached.72 His backchannel to Dobrynin, in which so much policy
was being decided, remained a secret to the British.
   The sense that Nixon’s announcement had marked a major break-
through was tinged with cynicism over his motive. On reflection, the
Foreign Office was sure that, in his desire to advance SALT, the president
had one eye on the approaching election. With his public appearance,
it seemed that he had staked his prestige on achieving an agreement
by the following year. The Foreign Office cautioned that Britain would
have to be aware that in the future Nixon was likely to put electoral
calculations over the interests of his allies and any imperative to con-
sult: ‘In short, we shall have to guard against the erosion of our national
(and NATO’s) interests as a result of their subordination to the US aim
of reaching a successful SALT agreement by the end of the year.’73

Towards a summit

As it turned out, it was not in the realm of arms control but the admin-
istration’s China initiative and New Economic Policy that really shook
the British. As shown in Chapter 2, Nixon’s double-shock over the sum-
mer of 1971 had severely shaken London’s confidence in Washington.
                                                   Negotiating Détente   123

Nixon, it seemed, had disregarded his promises to consult in the inter-
ests of impressing his adversaries at home and abroad. The concern now
was that a trend had been set and that other upsets were on the horizon.
In particular, Heath feared a similar ‘sudden reversal’ over SALT.74
   In the event, it was not long before Nixon’s next dramatic revela-
tion. On 12 October, he called another press conference to announce
that it had been arranged for him to visit Moscow the following year.
Although the British were only informed unofficially the day before
through Kissinger’s channel to Cromer – Ambassador Annenburg was
instructed to call on Heath just an hour before to break the news – this
time the announcement came as no great surprise. However, it did indi-
cate that a new timescale had been set for SALT, if Nixon’s summit was
to be a success. Looking back, it seemed to Smith that the president
had made a ‘tactical error’ in committing himself to visit Moscow when
the main item on the agenda was so far from solution.75 At the time,
Annenburg’s assurances could not entirely allay British concerns that,
given the new time scale, the United States would be tempted to give in
to Soviet pressures.
   Now that it was clear where the important decisions were being
made, every opportunity was taken to make direct appeals to the White
House. When Heath met with Nixon at Bermuda in December 1971,
he stressed the need for strict limitations on ABM defences. On learn-
ing that Kissinger would be stopping over at a British NATO base on
his return from his visit to Moscow in April 1972, Home offered to
send Trend to meet him on his arrival. Kissinger declined the invita-
tion, though, reasoning that the first person he would have to speak
with after his trip was the president. It was suggested, then, that Nixon
stop over in London on his way to Moscow. Again, though, Britain was
sidestepped as Nixon had decided to lay over in Sulzburg to help him
adjust to the time difference.
   Instead, it was Rogers who was sent to London to brief the British on
the final stages of the negotiations. On 4 May, he met separately with
Home and Heath in an effort to reassure them. In the event, his igno-
rance on SALT showed and he ended up fuelling their anxieties. The
issue of contention was the apparent asymmetry inherent in any freeze
in offensive weapons – the Soviets would be left with a clear numerical
advantage in ICBMs. When speaking to Home, Rogers explained that
the Soviet lead in missiles would be offset by the American advantage in
MIRV technology. However, when Heath later quizzed him on the issue,
the secretary of state deviated, explaining that the reason for the asym-
metry was the existence of FBS and allied missile systems. On reviewing
124 Allies Apart

the record of their conversations, Home immediately picked up on the
discrepancy. If what Rogers had told Heath was true, it meant that
in effect the Americans, after all their assurances to the contrary, had
included FBS in their overall calculations for an agreement. Home made
plain his fears to Cromer: ‘If the acceptance of asymmetry is intended
to compensate the Russians for the existence of US (and possible Allied)
FBS, it is difficult to see how the Americans can argue, as Mr Rogers
did, that FBS would not be affected by the agreement.’ Moreover, Home
observed, Rogers’ admission appeared to invalidate US assurances that
Britain’s own nuclear forces would not be involved in SALT.76
   Home looked for clarification from the Americans but ended up only
uncovering more confusion in Washington. The inconsistency was ini-
tially explained by the fact that the FBS had been used in the media to
convince those in doubt that the United States could accept asymme-
try. Although the issue had been debated at the NSC, it was never part
of the official US negotiating position. Yet, there was still concern that
Kissinger may have made concessions during his trip to Moscow. On his
return, he had boasted that he had managed to solve the problem of
the Russian lead. Having listened to Carter of the NSC on the matter,
Cromer concluded that it was hard to judge whether Kissinger had ‘sold
the pass’ on FBS.77 Ultimately, nobody except Kissinger knew.
   The Foreign Office probed further. On instructions from London,
the British counsellor, Michael Butler, called on Ronald Spiers, direc-
tor of the Bureau of Politico-Military Affairs at the State Department, to
formally make several points of concern arising from Rogers’ trip. He
requested confirmation that neither FBS nor British forces would be
included in any agreement.78 The matter was finally resolved on 22 May
when Cromer was informed by Carter that the SALT delegation had been
instructed by the NSC to reject any Soviet attempt to link FBS and allied
systems with a missile freeze. Moreover, he was assured that the form of
the statement had been considerably influenced by Britain’s demarche.79
Overall, though, Rogers’ blunder and its aftermath had been another
revealing episode in the pitfalls of Washington’s two-tier policy-making
apparatus and added to the sense of distrust building in London.

The summit

On 22 May 1972, Nixon travelled to Moscow. What followed was more
a public relations exercise than substantive negotiations, since most of
the terms had been hammered out beforehand. For Nixon, the thing
that mattered most about the trip was the chance to boost his image as
                                                     Negotiating Détente   125

an international statesman and ‘man of peace’ – in time for the election,
but not so close that it looked like a political stunt.80 Nixon intended to
milk the visit for all the political and personal capital he could. Even the
SALT delegation, which had been locked in talks for nearly three years,
was kept away until the final signing ceremonies – it was a calculated
snub. The trip had its desired effect. In the following months, Nixon
floated on a personal and political high as his approval ratings shot up
by over ten points.
   The SALT agreements themselves were of no great surprise. The
ABM Treaty limited the number of sites to two – one for the capital
and another around a missile site – each with 100 missiles. The
Interim Agreement on Offensive Weapons obliged both sides to freeze
their strategic offensive missile forces for a period of five years. The
Soviets were allowed a higher ceiling in ICBMs (1618:1054) and SLBMs
(740:656) since it was accepted that they had ongoing programmes. The
main omission was any agreement on MIRVs.
   Critics immediately rained in from both sides of the political spec-
trum. From the right, they seized on the fact that the offensive freeze
had given the Soviets a numerical lead in offensive missiles. Republican
challenger John Ashbrook denounced the agreement as one that would
‘lock the Soviet Union into unchallengeable superiority and plunge the
United States and its allies into a decade of danger’.81 In September, the
intellectual leader of détente’s critics, Henry ‘Scoop’ Jackson, passed an
amendment which ruled that the United States could not agree to infe-
rior numbers in the next stage of the talks. From the left, it was argued
that the agreements had done little to curb the arms race, since MIRVs
had been omitted. Indeed, one of Kissinger’s advisers, William Hyland,
would later point out that SALT I actually produced a sizeable build-up
in strategic weaponry.82
   In the days after the summit, British officials made their own assess-
ments. Their immediate reaction was that although the summit had
been a personal triumph for Nixon, it had also been a great success for
the Soviets. In the Foreign Office’s preliminary analysis for the prime
minister, John Graham concluded that Moscow would celebrate the
agreements as ‘American acceptance of their claim to equal status’.83
From the point of view of British interests, in the final analysis, the
Americans appeared to have upheld them: ABM defences had been
limited; last minute efforts by the Soviets to include FBS had been
rejected; and, they had successfully resisted any ‘no-transfer’ agree-
ment on offensive weapons. In short, the United States had maintained
its commitment to European security and Britain’s nuclear force had
126 Allies Apart

survived. Overall, Trend felt that the government had ‘reason to be
   As Nixon flew back from Moscow, he sent Heath a triumphant mes-
sage celebrating his accomplishments and the depth of Anglo-American
companionship.85 In reply, Heath praised Nixon for the success of his
visit and expressed gratitude at how carefully he appeared to have taken
account of allied interests.86 Over the next days, Nixon received many
more such messages from his European counterparts, though Kissinger
reflects that they ‘may not have accorded with their private views’.87
In Heath’s case, it certainly did not reflect the complexity of British
feelings: on the one hand, the hopes for peace and security, but, on
the other hand, deep misgivings about a superpower condominium and
anxiety over the nature of Nixon’s policy-making. Writing to the prime
minister, Carrington summarised allied concerns. At root, he contended,
was the impression that ‘the Americans are now viewing the interna-
tional scene increasingly in terms of their super-power relationship with
the USSR, and that they may be prepared to subordinate the interests of
their European allies to this.’ These suspicions, he added, were fuelled
by the fact that the Americans had handled their discussions with the
allies so badly. As a result, the defence secretary could not rule out the
possibility of bilateral agreements about which Britain had not been
told. The important point, he concluded, was that ‘these suspicions
exist and that there are apparently growing doubts in Europe about
US intentions.’88

The Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement

As it turned out, the attempt to reach an advanced arms control
settlement – SALT II – proved to be slow and frustrating. The main
obstacle to a new agreement was the omission of the first. By failing
to press for an MIRV ban, the United States had left the Soviets free
and determined to develop its own capabilities. Thus, when Brezhnev
visited America on 17 June 1973 there was no new SALT agreement
to sign. Overall, his second meeting with Nixon – perhaps some-
what inevitably – lacked the significance and symbolism of the first.
Moreover, at the time, the issue that was really holding the public’s
attention was not the president’s high-minded diplomacy but his slide
into domestic disgrace. Following links of the ‘third-rate burglary’ to the
White House, Nixon’s dismissal of key aides and the televised Senate
Committee hearings, by the time Brezhnev came to America, Watergate
had become a daily fixation. As the president fought to cover his own
                                                     Negotiating Détente   127

back at home, only sinking into deeper trouble, he was increasingly
forced to cede control of foreign affairs to his principal adviser – Nixon’s
loss would be Kissinger’s gain.
   Yet, even without a crowning arms control agreement and in spite of –
or perhaps because of – the looming shadow of Watergate, Brezhnev’s
visit was presented as a great success, marking a ‘further milestone’ on
the road to détente.89 Among the ten new agreements, covering a range
of issues from the peaceful use of atomic energy to increasing cultural
exchanges, the most significant and celebrated was the Prevention of
Nuclear War Agreement, by which the two sides undertook to remove
the danger of nuclear war, refrain from the threat of force and engage
in urgent consultations should there be the risk of a conflict between
themselves or any other country.90
   Both sides hailed the agreement as another ‘historical landmark in
Soviet-American relations’.91 Brezhnev celebrated its ‘historic signifi-
cance’ while a Soviet journal later judged it to be one of the most impor-
tant documents in the history of international relations.92 At the time,
Nixon and Kissinger were equally effusive. In his press briefing shortly
before the agreement was signed, Kissinger presented it as an important
foundation in building the structure of peace and further triumph of the
era of negotiation.93 On Brezhnev’s departure, Nixon proclaimed that it
was not only an important development in Soviet-American relations
but ‘a landmark agreement for the whole world’.94
   However, behind the soaring rhetoric, an analysis of the negotiations
reveals a darker story of mutual distrust and machination. In particular,
Kissinger’s subsequent account contrasts sharply from the presentation
he made at the time. As he tells it in his memoirs, the agreement began
with an approach by Brezhnev during his secret visit to Moscow in April
1972. The Soviet leader proposed that the two sides sign a treaty jointly
renouncing the use of nuclear weapons against each other – what he
called his ‘peaceful bomb’.95 For Kissinger, the proposal raised imme-
diate alarm bells. Whereas the renunciation of nuclear weapons had
been a long-standing Soviet project, this time it applied only to each
other, leaving third parties aside. In his view, it was a cynical attempt to
divide the United States from its allies and isolate China. By removing
the backbone of NATO’s security (the US nuclear deterrent), it would
leave the Europeans starkly exposed to the Soviet’s overwhelming lead
in conventional forces and, he believed, be sure to turn them neutral.
It was, Kissinger exclaimed, a ‘colossal piece of effrontery’ to the Atlantic
Alliance.96 Moreover, the Soviet proposal also presented a serious chal-
lenge to the ongoing rapprochement with China. ‘Joining in a US-Soviet
128 Allies Apart

alliance against China’, Kissinger glibly concluded, ‘was not exactly our
idea of détente.’97 Overall, then, Brezhnev’s offer was interpreted not
as an effort to improve US–Soviet relations but as an attempt to under-
mine US alliances – in other words, the Cold War in costume. The whole
thing, Kissinger later carped, was ‘outrageous’.98
   At the time, though, the proposal presented the White House with a
dilemma. On the one hand, it appeared to be a blatant political stunt
designed to destroy the foundations of America’s foreign policy and was
best dismissed; on the other, it ostensibly aimed at reducing the risk of
nuclear war and had an obvious popular appeal. Since Nixon had staked
his reputation as a ‘man of peace’, it would be difficult to reject it out of
hand without denting his image and handing Brezhnev a valuable pro-
paganda victory. Furthermore, the timing of Brezhnev’s offer entangled
it with another issue – Vietnam. Just when Brezhnev first approached
Kissinger in April 1972, the North Vietnamese had launched their spring
offensive. He calculated that if Brezhnev’s desire for an agreement was
effectively harnessed, it could be used to keep Moscow from meddling in
South East Asia at a critical moment. Thus, despite his complete distrust
for the idea itself, Kissinger decided that outright rejection was unwise.
Instead, he searched for a formulation that would keep the Soviets
hanging and Nixon’s reputation intact without damaging relations with
other countries.
   Over the next year, Kissinger worked to negotiate a version of the pro-
posal that was as meaningless as possible. What eventually emerged, he
recounts, was like the final figure of a Russian matryoshka doll.99 The
original Soviet proposal for an unconditional renunciation of the use
of nuclear weapons had been reduced to a somewhat banal statement
which committed the two sides to aim to remove the threat of force in
international relations and applied to all countries. It was Kissinger, con-
cludes, ‘one of our better diplomatic performances’.100 While in public
he and Nixon joined Brezhnev in celebrating the agreement as another
joint triumph on the road to détente, the real success from their point
of view was having deflected an audacious Soviet Cold War gambit – the
rest was just a big charade.
   Once again the whole affair demonstrated the extent to which policy-
making had become so centralised and secretive under Nixon. This time,
however, there was only one level of negotiation, since the State Depart-
ment was not even informed about Brezhnev’s offer. With the help
of just a few close aides – principally Helmut Sonnenfeldt, his chief
Soviet aide – Kissinger did all of the negotiating himself through his
backchannel with Dobrynin and trips to Moscow.
                                                     Negotiating Détente   129

   According to Kissinger, though, none of his efforts would have paid
off without British help. It was the one episode of superpower détente,
he writes, when British officials moved from being impotent bystanders
to central players.101 From the beginning, Kissinger consulted officials in
London and employed their expertise, later presenting the whole effort
to dismantle the Soviet plan as an example of the unique collaboration
between the White House and Foreign Office. In fact, Kissinger con-
cludes that it was British officials who take most credit for finding a
workable version of the Soviet proposal. In the end, then, the final Pre-
vention of Nuclear War Agreement turned out to be as much a British
creation as a superpower one.
   As Kissinger tells it, the basic story was as follows. He made his initial
approach over the Soviet proposal during one of Burke Trend’s regu-
lar visits to Washington at the end of July 1972, just two months after
Dobrynin had handed him the first text. He outlined the US dilemma
and invited a British response. Two weeks later, the Foreign Office sent
its Soviet expert, Sir Thomas Brimelow, and a small team of advisers
to Washington to review the project in more detail. After examining
the Soviet draft and US attempts at a redraft, Brimelow was asked to
make an attempt himself. Applying his subtle mind, he quickly came up
with a formula that would remove the dangers of the initiative without
rejecting it. In short, the two superpowers would make the avoidance
of nuclear war an aim rather than an obligation. Over the next months,
the British draft was refined and further drafts were exchanged with the
Soviets, but the essential point of Brimelow’s initial effort was the key to
eventual success.102
   The whole affair according to Kissinger was extraordinary. Above
all, it highlighted how America’s relations with Britain were demon-
strably different from those with other countries: ‘There was no other
government’, he mused, ‘with which we could have dealt with so
openly, exchanged ideas so freely, or in effect permitted to participate
in our own deliberations.’103 From the outset, British officials were con-
fided in to an unprecedented degree. Other countries were gradually
informed about the negotiations, but it was only Britain that played
any part. In short, it was an example of the ‘special relationship’ at
its best.104
   The broader point that emerges from Kissinger’s account is that all
this happened in spite of the personality and political orientation of
the prime minister of the day. While Heath is accused of deliberately
downgrading relations with Washington, the episode was proof that a
genuinely special relationship continued to operate at other levels.
130 Allies Apart

   The rest of this chapter will reconsider Kissinger’s account in the
light of records from the time. In part, what follows will substanti-
ate his version of events. Britain was indeed given a unique role and
contributed to the final agreement. However, British officials speculated
that behind Kissinger’s appeal for help lay other motives for drawing
them so close. Just as Britain was about to formally enter the EC, it
was dangerous to be caught in collusion with the United States on an
issue affecting the future of European security as whole. In the end,
although the Heath government stood by the Americans, the main
thing the episode reflected was not the ‘special relationship’ but the
strange decision-making process in Washington.

Testing the water

From London’s point of view, Trend’s visit to Washington at the end
of July 1972 was primarily seen as a chance to test the US response to
requests for help with its nuclear deterrent. It was clear, though, that
Kissinger was preoccupied with other matters. After a broad-ranging dis-
cussion on world affairs, he moved the meeting to his own office down
in the basement of the White House where he outlined the Soviet pro-
posal and US dilemma. Kissinger hoped for a British response as soon
as possible and stressed that Nixon was particularly anxious to have the
prime minister’s views on the matter.105 According to Trend, Kissinger
even said that if Heath thought the whole thing too dangerous, Nixon
would reconsider it.106 ‘Literally no one on our side’, he stressed, had
the ‘slightest inkling’ of what was going on.107 It seemed, then, that
the White House was genuinely, and exclusively, seeking the advice of
Britain to the point where it was even being given a veto over the whole
matter. Why?
   As indicated, from Kissinger’s perspective – or at least the one he
presents in his memoirs – it was all an example of the ‘special rela-
tionship’ in action. His approach to Trend, he intimates, was not just
a reflection of the strength of their own personal relationship, but was
symbolic of the intangibles of trust and consultation that, for him, made
the Anglo-American bond so unique and enduring. Kissinger made it
clear that no decisions would be made without British involvement and
endorsement – it was, he implied, the natural order of things.108
   However, others have speculated that underlying Kissinger’s illusions
to ‘specialness’, he had another agenda. After all, for all his talk of
transcendent ‘intangibles’, Britain’s experience over the Prevention of
Nuclear War Agreement stands in stark contrast to the way it had
                                                      Negotiating Détente   131

been treated over other more important issues. It is against this back-
ground of past transgressions that Garthoff explains Kissinger’s decision
to approach British officials.109 In fact, Trend’s initial visit in July 1972
had come as a result of his own suggestion in Bermuda at the end of
1971 to establish a regular exchange of views over world affairs after
what had been a difficult year for the relationship.110 With the key initia-
tives announced, here was a chance to finally give some credence to the
president’s earlier promises without fear of being upstaged. It was, then,
not so much a case of engaging the ‘special relationship’ as keeping up
   At the time, however, the British were not necessarily convinced by
Kissinger’s flattery. In fact, they had learned to be positively wary of it.111
On his return from Washington, Trend warned that ‘one always has to
take what he says with several grains of salt.’112 Having had the most
exposure to Kissinger’s ways, Cromer was deeply suspicious: ‘We must
always remember, if only at the back of our minds, the highly devi-
ous nature of Kissinger’s intellectual make-up.’ Behind the more overt
reasons for American behaviour, the British ambassador speculated that
there were other much more parochial ones, which were addressed to
‘their own self-interest and not necessarily to ours’.113 To some degree,
Kissinger was open about this. As he explained to Trend, the British were
being talked to first so he could get an understanding of ‘how to han-
dle the Europeans’.114 He thought it unwise to consult with the rest
of NATO until it had become clear that there was a prospect of agree-
ing with the Soviets a text which could be adopted without harm to
the alliance.115 Britain, it seemed, could be safely used to test the water
without stirring the ocean.
   But as Cromer implied, Kissinger had other motives. The British
ambassador thought that it was going too far to suggest that they were
being used as ‘cats paws’; in truth, he was close to the mark. Kissinger
recognised that any deal with the Soviets renouncing nuclear force was
bound to provoke allied criticism. With British assistance, he could at
least claim to have consulted and share the flack. As he confided to
Dobrynin, ‘it’s helpful to have the British on our side on the subsequent
discussions that are going to start.’116 And, given his views on European
integration, it would be no bad thing to stir the pot.
   Whatever Kissinger’s exact purpose, the most striking thing for
the British was what it said about communications in Washington –
Kissinger, it seemed, was unwilling to trust his own bureaucracy.117
Cromer reflected on what he saw as an odd and unsustainable state
of affairs: ‘as always, we are struck by the astonishing anomaly of the
132 Allies Apart

most powerful nation in the world invoking the aid of a foreign govern-
ment to do its drafting for it, while totally excluding its own Ministry
of Foreign Affairs.’ It was, he felt, a ‘ludicrous’ situation that had to
   When Trend returned to London with news of the Soviet proposal,
the response was unanimously critical. For the few senior figures in
the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister’s Office
who were informed, it immediately raised alarm. Even more clearly
than in Washington, Brezhnev’s initiative was seen as a Cold War ploy.
It was, Heath would warn Nixon, an ‘updated version of a very old
   The essential point to keep in mind, the Foreign Office concluded, was
that the Soviets, however subtly, ‘are still trying to change the military
and political balance of power in the world in their favour’.120 By creat-
ing the ‘appearance of détente’, Brimelow warned Kissinger, ‘they hoped
to bring about a political climate which would simultaneously make
it easier for the US administration to reduce the US military presence
in Europe.’121 In common with the White House, it was assumed that
Brezhnev’s primary target was the US security guarantee and confidence
of the Western Alliance as a whole. A renunciation of nuclear war, it was
concluded, would ‘destroy the current foundations of NATO defences’
and ‘clear the decks’ for a conventional attack.122 When Heath first
learned of the proposal, he immediately foresaw the worst: ‘If the
US buys this’, he noted, ‘Europe will go neutral.’123
   On his return to London following his first consultation with
Kissinger, Brimelow warned that ‘any text which is to stand a chance of
being accepted by the Soviet Government is likely to weaken confidence
in the US deterrent and to give rise to additional doubts in NATO.’124
Even after Brimelow’s attempts to blunt the agreement, Heath remained
unconvinced. He found all the drafts to be ‘so imprecise as to be a dan-
ger to international peace and open to ridicule if published.’125 From
Britain’s point of view, the only solution that would safeguard allied
interests was outright rejection.
   Yet, even though Kissinger had assured Trend that he would ‘squelch
the whole thing’ if they thought it too dangerous, the British main-
tained that it was ‘good to talk’.126 The key point, as Home explained
to the prime minister, was that whatever Kissinger promised, the White
House was intent on exploring the proposal, since it could not be seen to
publicly ignore or reject, without exploration, a Soviet initiative which
had a ‘certain popular appeal’.127 In the end, Heath was convinced by his
advisers that the only way to protect British and allied interests was to
                                                    Negotiating Détente   133

stay close to the Americans and to try to help improve the draft, rather
than suppress it.128 ‘In short,’ Trend concluded, ‘there are going to be
discussions of some sort; and the more we know about them while they
are happening, the better.’129
  It was a hazardous position, though. From the moment Britain agreed
to assist Kissinger, there were constant and widespread fears that it
would be caught. Although Trend was sure that it was right to stay
close to the Americans, he also warned Heath that ‘we must watch our
position in relation to our European allies.’130 In Washington, Cromer
was acutely alive to the risks involved in secretly cooperating with the
Americans: ‘it is a dangerous and complicated path we tread and I am
always aware of the pitfalls that lurk on either side.’131 Given these
fears, the British opted for a policy of denial: as Home explained to
Heath, ‘If questioned, we would refuse to admit that the question had
been discussed with us.’132 On balance, though, it was believed that the
importance of ‘keeping close to the US’ and ‘knowing what they are up
to’ outweighed the risks that were involved.133

Britain’s role – Hullabaloo?

For all its doubts about the Soviet proposal and anxieties at being caught
too close to the United States, Britain has since emerged as the piv-
otal player in the making of the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement.
In particular, it was Sir Thomas Brimelow, an intransigent Cold Warrior,
who managed to devise a formula that would keep the Soviets in play
without undermining the Atlantic Alliance. He has recently been char-
acterised as a real-life ‘Sir Humphrey’ who managed to single-handedly
foil an audacious Soviet plot.134
  In reality, though, it is going too far to suggest that Britain – or more
precisely Brimelow – masterminded and executed the plan. After all, as
has been shown, the starting point for the British was something of a fait
accompli. In London’s eyes, by the time Kissinger made his first approach
to Britain in July 1972, he was already committed to pursuing the Soviet
initiative in some form or another. The task put before Britain was to
help redesign the thing. As Nixon put it to Heath, the aim was to find
a way of modifying the agreement that would ‘purport to go some way
towards meeting the Soviet Government without really meaning very
much at all’.135 In short, Britain would have a supporting role rather
than a defining one. As Kissinger later made clear, it was he and Nixon
who decided on policy; ‘Brimelow’s job was . . . to help steer it in the
safest directions.’136
134 Allies Apart

   When Brimelow travelled to Washington at the beginning of August
for the first stage of what had been secretly codenamed ‘Operation
Hullabaloo’, the American’s were apparently stuck. The original Soviet
proposal, Kissinger explained, was totally unacceptable, but he was
unhappy with their attempts at a redraft. Brimelow was asked to have
a go himself. His key suggestion was to downgrade the obligation not
to use nuclear weapons into an objective ‘to create conditions in which
recourse to nuclear weapons would not be justified’.137 Crucially, the
superpower undertaking would apply to all countries and the outcome
would no longer threaten the US nuclear deterrent. It is for these
modifications that Brimelow has taken so much credit, especially from
Kissinger. In effect, Brimelow’s masterstroke was simply to apply the
fairly banal Statement of Basic Principles signed by the two superpow-
ers the previous year specifically to the use of nuclear weapons. At the
time, Kissinger’s response was ‘phlegmatic’.138 He could not see how it
would have any appeal to Moscow; however, it served his own purpose
at this stage – to buy time and ‘dangle a carrot’ to the Soviets. With a
few alterations, Kissinger agreed that Brimelow’s draft should be used as
a working document.
   Over the next few months Brimelow, with the help of colleagues at
home refined his draft. After consulting with legal adviser Sir Vincent
Evans, Home made some stylistic changes.139 Most significantly, Heath
insisted that a clause be included to formalise procedures for consulta-
tion between the superpowers. Thus, the draft that Brimelow presented
back in Washington was not simply the result of a one-man show,
but was something that had been widely considered, even at the
highest level.
   On 5 March 1973, Brimelow travelled back to Washington to discuss
the finished British draft. Kissinger was impressed by its subtlety: ‘It was
longer, more comprehensive, more vague, gave the impression of con-
veying more but in fact a great deal less’ – it was exactly what he wanted.
Indeed, he thought it ‘unlikely that the Americans could have achieved
anything so good’.140 It seemed that Kissinger’s faith in British abilities
had paid off – he now had a draft that he could present to Moscow with-
out fearing allied backlash; best of all, it came with a ‘Made in Britain’
   Over the next weeks, the Americans reworked the text. The essen-
tial points, however, remained the same: the avoidance of nuclear war
would be an objective rather than an obligation and apply to all par-
ties. Thus, when Kissinger set out to Zavidovo in May to negotiate the
final terms of the agreement, he took with him a version that barely
                                                   Negotiating Détente   135

reflected what Brezhnev had initially set out to achieve, or at least what
the United States and Britain assumed he had set out to achieve. How-
ever, since Brezhnev had made his original proposal the previous year,
circumstances had changed which had effectively weakened the Soviet
negotiating position. First, by the end of February 1973, the Paris Agree-
ment had ended the Vietnam War, which meant that Kissinger no longer
felt so constrained by the one issue that had kept him ‘dangling a car-
rot’ to the Soviets. Second, by the end of 1972, Brezhnev had shown
himself eager to set an early date for his visit to Washington and had
clearly staked the reputation of his ‘peace programme’ on a successful
outcome. With the second stage of the SALT talks stalling, he was even
more anxious for an agreement on nuclear war to crown his efforts –
given these pressures, it became clear that he would have to accept the
US version or leave with nothing.
   In the end, then, the agreement that was signed on 22 June 1973
was as much a US creation as a Soviet one. Although it was celebrated
as a significant landmark on the road to détente, the real success from
Washington’s perspective was that it had managed to blunt a Soviet Cold
War ploy. For all his grandiose rhetoric at the time, Kissinger later com-
mented that they had gained only a marginally useful text that was best
ignored.141 For this, the British could take a lot of the credit.

In a tight spot – Britain and the aftermath
of the agreement

In the final analysis, from London’s point of view, British interests were
upheld by the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement – sticking close to
the Americans seemed to have paid off. Although the final agreement
was not perfect and, ideally, would have been avoided altogether, the
Foreign Office’s assessment was fairly positive. Home instructed his mis-
sions abroad that the agreement had taken ‘full account of the security
interests and susceptibilities of the European members of NATO’; most
importantly, he noted, ‘nothing in the agreement can be held to “decou-
ple” the US nuclear deterrent from the defence of Europe.’142 In a letter
to Nixon, Heath conveyed his appreciation for the way Britain had been
consulted and gave the final agreement itself his ‘sincere welcome’.143
For Britain, though, even more than the United States, the most sig-
nificant aspect of the agreement was what it was not, rather than what
Nixon and Brezhnev hailed it to be.
   However, the agreement – especially Britain’s involvement – presented
London with a dilemma. Though the government was somewhat
136 Allies Apart

gratified by its role, the main priority was to keep it a secret, for fear
of being exposed in Europe as Washington’s henchman. ‘It is essential’,
a Foreign Office brief concluded, ‘that the extent of our involvement
should not be revealed to the French, nor to anybody else.’144 Kissinger,
though, seemed to have other ideas. On learning that the British did
not want their role revealed in the run up to the official announcement,
he confronted Cromer. ‘One wonders’, he mused, ‘what is the benefit of
consulting you in advance, except for getting your views.’ After all, he
added, ‘we’ve . . . been fairly meticulous, and we’ve knocked out a num-
ber of articles you’ve requested.’145 Suddenly, then, Britain’s role as the
special confidante appeared in a different light and seemed to come at a
price – that the rest of the world should know about it.
   In the event, Kissinger only alluded to British involvement when he
seemingly dropped his guard at a press briefing just before the agree-
ment was signed. In response to a question concerning allied interests,
he assured that several NATO allies had in fact been ‘closely consulted
over an extended period of time’.146 Although he refused to go into
details, the remark was enough to spark suspicions amongst those allies
who were angered by the very lack of consultation – either Kissinger was
lying or he had been in collusion with an ally all along. For British offi-
cials, it was an unnerving moment; unintentionally or not, Kissinger,
it was said, had ‘dropped his brick’.147 Although the episode passed
without incident, the British were annoyed. Ultimately, it served to
highlight the perilous path Britain trod as special consultant to the
United States. Kissinger’s secretive operations had caused frustrations
for the British when they were kept in the dark on policy; but they also
created difficulties when Britain was closely involved.
   Britain was also put in a tricky position when the Europeans com-
plained about the substance of the agreement that it had helped to
create. The Time Magazine’s correspondent in Bonn reported that the
reaction in Western Europe ‘was a collective gasp,’ with de Gaulle
now seeming posthumously vindicated in his view that ‘the US would
not risk nuclear destruction to defend Europe or risk New York to
save Hamburg.’148 The most determined critics were the French who
protested about all aspects of the accord. It was viewed in Paris as
exactly the thing the United States and Britain had been anxious to
avoid – a superpower condominium which eclipsed the interests of the
Western Alliance. The French felt compelled to act and at a meeting of
the Political Committee of the Nine on 5 July proposed that a group of
experts should meet to consider the implications of the agreement for
                                                   Negotiating Détente   137

   Britain was in an awkward spot, caught between its unique relation-
ship with the United States and its pretensions to lead the EC – or, in
the parlance of the day, stranded between Europe and the open sea.
At the meeting of the Group of Experts on 25 July, the British repre-
sentative, John Goulden, having sat through a detailed critique by the
French representative, attempted to straddle the divide. First, he wel-
comed the French initiative, but then went on to defend the agreement
itself. It was important to put it in perspective, he said, maintaining
that it was just one of many such agreements between the United States
and Soviet Union and there would likely be many more. The fact that
it had a superpower flavour was unsurprising given the nature of the
agreement. Most importantly, Goulden concluded, the Americans had
been ‘successful in securing what was essential from the West’s point of
view’.149 At the Foreign Office, Wiggin noted that their aim throughout
had been to ‘try to help the Americans in a rather delicate situation’.150
   As it happened, the French initiative came to little since European
opinion proved to be divided on the matter. With Britain and France
defending opposite corners, it was impossible to achieve any kind of
consensus or joint response. In these conditions, the exercise seemed
more likely to expose European division than demonstrate unity and
came to little. It was something of a reprieve for Britain.
   In the end, the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement itself dis-
appeared into desuetude, which was largely a relief for both the
Washington and London. Both governments had been caught in a tight
spot between competing aspirations and interests. Brezhnev’s proposal
was immediately viewed as a Cold War ploy, which Nixon and Kissinger
were anxious to dodge. However, they also had their reputation as peace-
makers to preserve and were keen to buy time with the Soviets over
Vietnam. Officials in Britain were, if anything, even more suspicious of
the proposal and concerned about its impact on the balance of power.
Once, though, it was accepted that Kissinger was determined to explore
the initiative – or ‘dangle a carrot’ – Britain accepted its role to help
render the whole thing as meaningless as possible. To this end, it was a
pretty successful exercise in Anglo-American cooperation.
   However, as has been shown, Kissinger’s decision to secretly and
exclusively approach Britain consistently presented difficulties. While
the other allies were once again infuriated by the lack of consultation
and concerned about the agreement itself, Britain was left trying to con-
sole them. It was always a fine line, as the risks of being exposed as a
special confidante and advocate of the United States among the Nine
were acute when Britain was trying to prove itself a reliable partner in
138 Allies Apart

Europe. Moreover, there were suspicions that Kissinger was somehow
exploiting the situation. In the end, the whole episode was, in many
ways, less about the ‘special relationship’ and more to do with the
breakdown of decision-making in Washington. While Kissinger would
later present the negotiations and final agreement as a triumph of the
Anglo-American ‘special relationship’, it was not one that the British,
for various reasons, were too keen to celebrate.

Détente and its discontents

Nixon had come to power promising to pursue the most noble cause –
peace for all mankind. To this end, he pledged to cease confrontation
and open up an era of negotiation. Over the next four years, he would
present the superpower summits and agreements as the fulfilment of
this hope. Above all, Nixon would be remembered as a ‘man of peace’ –
or so he hoped.
   However, as has been one of the underlying themes of this chapter,
behind the soaring rhetoric of détente the reality of Soviet-American
relations was very different. The basic point was that détente was
not seen as an end in itself but as a means to traditional Cold War
goals. In the White House, it was conceived as a way of moderating
Soviet behaviour by harnessing Moscow’s hope for cooperation and link-
ing progress in one area with progress in others. In short, the Soviet
Union would be induced to contain itself at a time when Nixon and
Kissinger were forced to reckon with new constraints on the exercise of
US power. Ultimately, then, Nixon and Kissinger’s realpolitik did not end
the ideological or strategic struggle; it merely subverted it.
   In order to implement their somewhat duplicitous design, the presi-
dent and his adviser relied on extreme methods of centralisation and
secrecy to take charge of policy. To sell détente to the public, they
deployed the diplomatic spectacular and high rhetoric. Nixon and
Kissinger would later justify their ways on the grounds that everyone
else in Washington was either too narrow-minded or ideological to grasp
their overall strategy. But there were other reasons. As Jeremi Suri con-
cludes, at the heart of their approach was an effort to insulate policy
from domestic criticism and the democratic process.151 And, as shown,
there were more personal motives – the desire for control and credit.
As Kissinger concedes, personal vanity was never entirely absent from
   In the end, Nixon’s methods would result in détente’s – and even-
tually his own – downfall. Ultimately, the thing that détente lacked
was consensus. By relying on their own exclusive diplomacy and the
                                                   Negotiating Détente   139

hard sell, Nixon and Kissinger gradually undermined the foundations on
which, in the long run, successful foreign policy depended. As Kissinger
himself had reflected 20 years earlier, ‘the acid test’ of a policy is its
‘ability to obtain domestic support’.153 By attempting to override core
US beliefs – an aversion to both Communism and realpolitik – Nixon
and Kissinger alienated the public and provoked a right wing back-
lash at home. Furthermore, their complete disregard for their own
bureaucracy caused the disaffection of a key constituent of US foreign
policy. For the allies abroad, the White House’s exclusive diplomacy,
covert manoeuvres and penchant for surprise fuelled their insecurities.
Talking to the Soviet foreign minister, Andrei Gromyko, on 13 June,
Pompidou wondered aloud if the agreements ‘did not amount more or
less to a sort of will to establish a condominium over the rest of the
world’.154 As Georges-Henri Soutou has recently observed, with détente,
in Pompidou’s mind, taking on a dangerous direction, he began to revert
to a more independent stance vis-à-vis Washington.155
   Ultimately, it has been the aim here to demonstrate how all this
fed into British opinion. In the end, it was the methods rather than
the substance of détente which proved most concerning for London.
Despite misgivings about Soviet intentions, there were initially high
hopes for SALT. The official negotiating team seemed determined for
a comprehensive agreement, which suited British interests, and took
great pains to keep the Foreign Office in step. However, it gradually
became evident that the key decisions were not being made in Europe
but in Washington. As Kissinger would later write, the SALT negotiations
demonstrated the extent to which the White House had come to domi-
nate both the formulation and execution of policy.156 Moreover, it had a
competing agenda based on a determination to maintain the initiative
over the Soviets and make political capital at home. Although in some
ways the Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement marked a different expe-
rience for the British, in the end it raised many of the same concerns.
Whether up close or far removed, the White House’s secret dealings cre-
ated problems and distrust in Britain, especially when it was looking for
a new role in Europe.
The Year of Europe

Having made giant strides towards détente and secured a peace settle-
ment in Vietnam, the Nixon administration turned its attention to allied
relations. After Nixon’s historic visits to Beijing and Moscow in 1972,
1973 was boldly proclaimed to be the ‘Year of Europe’. Although the
phrase had been coined the previous autumn to indicate the administra-
tion’s renewed focus on transatlantic relations, it was Kissinger’s address
to the Associated Press in New York on 23 April 1973 that publicly
launched the Year of Europe as a policy initiative. With the president’s
backing, the theme – or challenge – of Kissinger’s speech was how to
revitalise the Atlantic Alliance in an era of global détente and European
integration, and at a time when a new generation was emerging with-
out the collective memory of world war. Kissinger declared that, for the
transatlantic relationship to retain its cohesion and vigour, the bond of
common fear would have to be replaced by a set of ‘shared positive aspi-
rations for the future’. The time and circumstances, he urged, called for
a dramatic show of political will at the highest level to recapture the
public’s imagination on both sides of the Atlantic. To kick-start the pro-
cess, he proposed that the Western allies work towards creating a ‘new
Atlantic Charter’ setting the goals for the future to be signed during
Nixon’s scheduled tour of Europe in the autumn.1
   Ostensibly, then, Kissinger’s speech and scheme for Atlantic renewal
was a rallying call to both sides of the ocean. It was designed to impress
the Europeans and galvanise them into a joint display of solidarity.
At the same time, he claimed, it was intended to provide the political
framework for American engagement in Europe and mark the ‘definitive
end of US isolationism’.2 In spirit and scope, it was billed as nothing less
than a Marshall Plan for the new era.3 After years when allied relations
had been overshadowed by the developments of détente and dogged by

                                                      The Year of Europe   141

bitter divisions over Vietnam, Kissinger was convinced that his new ini-
tiative was a necessary and welcome prospect. ‘When we put forward
the Year of Europe’, he recalled, ‘we had expected to elicit an organ-
ised European response that would lead to a conclusion within a few
   However, the subsequent story of the Year of Europe, as told from
both sides of the Atlantic, was a very different one. Instead of inspiring
a common vision and display of collective will, it generated deep dis-
trust and resentment, giving rise to what William Cromwell observed
to be an ‘unprecedented period of acrimony’ in transatlantic relations.5
The initial European reaction to the speech was at best mixed and at
worst positively scathing. The overriding complaint was that Kissinger
had unveiled his initiative without properly consulting his allies. Heath
later quipped that ‘For Henry Kissinger to proclaim the Year of Europe
without consulting any of us was rather like my standing in between the
lions in Trafalgar Square and announcing that we were embarking on a
Year to Save America.’6 The title and timing of his speech seemed all the
more presumptuous given that 1973 was the very year that the European
Community had officially grown from Six to Nine. As Kissinger would
later be reminded, for the Europeans, every year was the year of Europe
and 1973 especially so – the fact that he had identified European unity
only as a function of Atlantic strength seemed like an attempt to detract
from Europe’s own achievements.
   The most pointed criticisms were aimed at particular formulations
and themes within the speech which were considered deeply insensi-
tive and provoked suspicions that the administration’s real focus was
parochial US interests rather than the cause of Atlantic solidarity. For the
Germans, the very notion of a ‘new Atlantic Charter’ was particularly
galling, since the original one had been aimed at them. More generally,
Kissinger’s assertion that the political, military and economic issues were
‘linked’ and could be dealt with ‘comprehensively’ raised alarm bells
across Western Europe. The abiding concern was that Kissinger’s notion
of ‘linkage’ would translate into a strategy of bargaining and black-
mail and that forthcoming trade negotiations would be held hostage
to security matters. The aspect of Kissinger’s speech which caused most
offence, though, was his distinction between the ‘global responsibil-
ities’ of the United States and ‘regional interests’ of the Europeans.
Although Kissinger later claimed that it was merely intended to describe
the situation rather than prescribe the future, it was widely regarded as
supercilious and insulting. In particular, it roused French sensibilities to
any suggestion of European subservience to the United States. Overall,
142 Allies Apart

there was a sense on the continent that the Year of Europe had struck
an imperious tone and marked a veiled attempt to reassert American
   Ultimately, Kissinger’s speech and the reaction to it brought into
sharp relief the ongoing battle over the future of Europe – defined by
Coral Bell as the ‘Atlanticist’ versus the ‘Carolingian’ vision.7 The first,
born out of the ruins of the Second World War, was predicated on
Europe’s weakness and dependence on the United States. Nurtured dur-
ing the early Cold War and embodied by NATO, it was sponsored by
Washington as an essential bulwark against Communism. During the
1960s, Kennedy’s ‘twin pillar’ formulation envisaged Europe graduat-
ing from being America’s junior to an equal partner in the Atlantic
Alliance. Ultimately, though, European unity would always serve a
greater Atlanticist cause. The second, taking its name from the ninth-
century Frankish dynasty, was predicated on Europe’s strength and
independence from the Anglo-Saxon world, and became most closely
associated with General de Gaulle. Having developed a deep distrust
of American and British intentions vis-à-vis France during the war,
de Gaulle dreamed of a revived Europe under French leadership and
free from the Atlantic swell. Ultimately, Europe would operate as a
‘third force’ autonomous from both the superpowers. By the early
1970s, despite the passing of de Gaulle and British membership, the
enlargement of the EC and its members’ professed intention to work
towards full unity by the end of the decade appeared to be moving
the prospect of a resurgent and independent Europe towards reality.
Kissinger’s speech was, therefore, seen by some to be an Atlanticist
   Over the following months, the Year of Europe began to unravel.
With the French refusing to entertain the initiative and the other mem-
bers of the EC struggling to forge a joint response, Kissinger became
impatient, resorting to secret bilateral approaches. In the event, his
heavy-handed diplomacy acted as a spur to European cooperation as the
Nine resolved to act as one in their dealings with the United States. For
Kissinger, it was a deeply depressing turn of events, with the Europeans
appearing to use his initiative for Atlantic unity as an ‘anvil for forg-
ing their own emergent institutions’.8 Finally, just when there seemed
to be renewed hope for some form of a joint declaration, war erupted
in the Middle East, dividing the allies and overshadowing all progress
towards an agreement. In the final analysis, Kissinger concludes, the
outbreak of the October War ‘ended what was either an illusion or a
                                                      The Year of Europe   143

   The reasons for the Year of Europe and its misfire have been the source
of great speculation – did Kissinger set out to forge Atlantic solidarity or
undermine European autonomy? Was Kissinger or were his allies respon-
sible for its failure? The aim here is to examine the Anglo-American
dimension to all this. Although US relations with Britain did not decide
the Year of Europe or mark its main fault line, it is the contention
here that they did play a major role in determining its course and out-
come. Moreover, as will be shown, the events surrounding Kissinger’s
speech reveal a great deal about the state and nature of Anglo-American
relations at the time.
   In short, two very different impressions emerge. As Kissinger tells
it, British behaviour was a depressing story of inaction, cowardice and
betrayal. Of all the allies, Kissinger maintains, he had expected Britain
to welcome his call for a renewed commitment to the Atlantic Alliance
and to take a lead in forging a positive European response. After all,
Kissinger reflected, ‘for the entire post-war period, Britain had prided
itself on a “special relationship” based on a preferential position in
Washington.’10 However, to his deep regret, Kissinger describes how, far
from leading the Europeans to embrace his proposal, the government
became preoccupied with impressing the French and forging a united
European response, which helped turn the whole thing into an ugly
charade. Looking back, Kissinger concluded that the course of British
behaviour was somewhat predictable, given who was in charge at Num-
ber 10. As he portrays it, Britain’s craven response to the Year of Europe
was another manifestation of Heath’s determination to prove his cre-
dentials as a good European: ‘No clearer demonstration’, he bemoaned,
‘could be given of the new priority Heath attached to Europe over
Atlantic relations than the British obsession with French attitudes.’11
Reflecting Kissinger’s account, Catherine Hynes concludes in her recent
study that it was Heath’s ‘paranoiac determination to assert Britain’s
new identity’ in Europe that prevented him from accepting the White
House’s goal of redesigning the Atlantic Alliance.12 In short, Heath had
become France’s poodle. Moreover, he is said to have fatally changed the
nature of Anglo-American relations when, along with the other mem-
bers of the EC, he agreed to share all information received bilaterally
from the United States. In effect, this meant the end of the kind of con-
sultation and trust that, in Kissinger’s mind, had made relations with
Britain so special in the past.
   As will be shown, there is some truth to all of this – Heath was indeed
highly critical of the Year of Europe and was determined that the Nine
should act as one. However, using recently released British sources, it is
144 Allies Apart

possible to analyse in detail Britain’s response from its own perspective.
What emerges is a very different version of events from the one Kissinger
tells. Far from being a turncoat, the British publicly welcomed the Year
of Europe and tried to forge a positive European response – this meant
leading rather than following French opinion.
   In the event, though, British officials became deeply frustrated by
Kissinger’s constant efforts to work with the Europeans secretly and
bilaterally, raising suspicions, even in London, that he was out to
divide and rule them. Overall, Britain’s experience of the Year of Europe
was further illustration of the real difficulties posed by the Nixon
administration’s unorthodox mode of operation.
   With these themes in mind, the rest of this chapter will ask three
main questions. First, why did the Nixon administration embark on
the Year of Europe? Was it, as Kissinger maintained, a genuine attempt
to rehabilitate transatlantic relations, or were European suspicions
well-founded? In short, was Kissinger’s diplomacy clumsy or calcu-
lating? Second, what was Britain’s reaction and why? Was it really
another example of Heath’s determination to pursue Britain’s role in
Europe at the expense of relations with Washington? Finally, what
does the whole episode tell us about the state and nature of Anglo-
American relations at the time and during the Nixon–Heath years as
a whole?

Nixon, Kissinger and the origins of the Year of Europe

The task of explaining why the Nixon administration embarked on the
Year of Europe is a difficult one. At the time, Robert Schaetzel, who
had recently served as US ambassador to the EC, judged that ‘It is only
slightly more painful to draw conclusions from the affair than it is to
decipher the Administration’s motives.’13 In part, this reflected the fact
that, like all of the Nixon administration’s key foreign policy initiatives,
the Year of Europe was secretly conceived and executed by just a few
figures within the White House – principally Kissinger and his closest
aides. Even senior members of the State Department were kept out-
side the decision-making process and left wondering exactly what the
project was all about.14 As a result, historians have had to rely heavily on
Kissinger’s memoirs – Nixon’s do not even contain a passing mention –
to construct their own understandings. The problem here is not just
that his memoirs, like many others, are notoriously self-serving, but that
they are at times positively misleading. It is no surprise, then, that very
different explanations have emerged.
                                                    The Year of Europe   145

   By Kissinger’s own select reading of his speech, it reflected a genuine
and high-minded attempt to refocus Washington’s attention on allied
relations and revitalise the Western Alliance. Ultimately, he presents
it as the logical and necessary extension of US endeavours to build
Atlantic relations as the cornerstone of international peace and security.
European frustrations and suspicions, he claimed, were simply the result
of their misunderstanding of a few unfortunate phrases.15 Kissinger has
consistently stuck by this line and has largely been taken at his word by
historians such as Geir Lundestad and Thomas Schwartz.16
   However, other officials and commentators have suggested that
Kissinger’s public protestations and memoirs actively disguised the
real, much narrower, motives that inspired the Year of Europe. Just as
Kissinger was in New York delivering a speech which had been built up
to be of major international significance, the president was hidden in
his Florida retreat agonising over whether to force the resignation of his
two closest aides in order to save himself from Watergate.17 At the time
and ever since, it has been speculated that this was no mere coincidence.
To some, the speech appeared as a ‘quick foreign policy fix’ designed to
deflect attention from the president’s deepening troubles at home.18
   However, as Schaetzel observed, there were many in Europe who
detected a much more ‘sinister ploy’.19 In short, it was suspected that
the aim of Kissinger’s speech was not to foster Atlantic solidarity but to
undermine European unity and preserve American predominance in the
West. As Schaetzel speculated:

  the scope of the agenda, an impossible time schedule with a demand
  for a European reaction, can only intensify internal European dis-
  agreement. With the increase in pressure the centrifugal forces in
  Europe would be strengthened, driving the individual nations to deal
  with Washington bilaterally, as Kissinger had always wished. The end
  result would be to bury an Atlantic partnership of equals and to revive
  the Atlantic Community, meaning ‘pax Americana’.20

Using recently released documents on both sides of the Atlantic, this
first section will attempt to make sense of these divergent claims. As will
be shown, it is useful to distinguish between the period in which the
‘Year of Europe’ was first conceived and the speech itself, since, to some
degree, they reflected different priorities and circumstances. As Kissinger
explained, he had first used the phrase the previous December to indi-
cate the administration’s renewed focus on transatlantic relations in
response to an array of deeply rooted political issues.21 The specific way
146 Allies Apart

and time it was launched, on the other hand, reflected more immediate
personal concerns.
   If viewed against the course of post-war US foreign policy, it could
be argued that the Year of Europe began with America’s long-standing
commitment to the Western Alliance. With some justification, Kissinger
maintained that the desire to develop Atlantic unity was ‘the most con-
structive American foreign policy since the end of World War Two’.22
From the Marshall Plan through to Kennedy’s Grand Design, the notion
of a strong and united Europe in partnership with the United States
had been a basic axiom of Washington’s Cold War strategising. Both he
and Nixon came to the White House apparently more committed than
ever to Atlantic unity. Nixon’s first trip abroad as president had been
to Europe where he declared that the alliance was the ‘cornerstone’ of
all other policy. When explaining their initiative to European officials,
Kissinger repeatedly stressed how Nixon was more dedicated than any-
one in America to the transatlantic alliance and determined to create
an enduring relationship that would survive his presidency.23 For his
part, Kissinger had established himself as a serious thinker on transat-
lantic relations, having written an entire book on the subject a decade
earlier.24 ‘There was no goal’, he later reflected, ‘that meant more to me
than to maintain the vital partnership between the US and Europe.’25
   Taking this overriding commitment as their starting point, Nixon and
Kissinger were moved by a sense that the Alliance was in jeopardy.
Whatever Kissinger said elsewhere about the need to purge foreign pol-
icy of all sentiment, a key theme of his transatlantic appeal was the
concern that the ‘emotional attachment’ was being lost. As the gen-
eration passed which had shared the experience of the Second World
War, he warned, the US ‘establishment with vested interests in Atlantic
relations were fading into the past.’26 In proclaiming a ‘Year of Europe’,
Kissinger explained to Pompidou, ‘the President wants to build an emo-
tional commitment from our bureaucracy, our leaders and the press.’27
Cromer was convinced that it was the ‘most fundamental’ factor ‘from
which all else stems’.28
   In reality, though, while Nixon and Kissinger partly succeeded in pro-
jecting their own self-image as enlightened Atlanticists and talked of
finding new purpose from ‘shared positive aspirations’, their concern
for the alliance most closely reflected traditional Cold War calculations.
‘If Europe and the US come apart, the Soviets will pick us all off one by
one’, Nixon warned.29 In this light, both the successes and limitations of
détente had created problems for the alliance. On the one hand, all of
the talk of ending Soviet-American confrontation appeared to remove
                                                   The Year of Europe   147

the whole raison d’être of NATO. However, as Chapter 4 demonstrated,
for all of the high hopes and soaring rhetoric, the contest with Moscow
continued. As Kissinger later recalled in a discussion on transatlantic
relations, the period was ‘dominated by our consciousness of the Soviet
Union as a superpower’.30 With the basic assumptions about Soviet
intentions unchanged, there was concern that Moscow would exploit
the public trappings of détente as cover to extend its influence. More-
over, the ratification of nuclear parity had shifted the overall military
balance in favour of the Soviet Union by bringing into sharper relief
its lead in conventional forces. The situation appeared even more acute
against growing pressures at home. As discussed in Chapter 1, in May
1971 Senator Mike Mansfield had introduced his amendment calling for
US forces in Europe to be cut by half. With Nixon and Kissinger leading
the opposition, he was narrowly defeated; however, by the end of 1972
the debate had grown from being an elite issue into a matter of popu-
lar appeal. As Kissinger would repeatedly stress to the European allies,
his Year of Europe speech was designed to combat the isolationists and
Mansfieldites at home. There was a grave danger, he warned, of 1973
becoming ‘the year of America first’.31
   As well as being concerned by domestic opinion, Nixon and Kissinger
were also anxious about the Europeans own growing tendencies towards
withdrawal and isolationism. If the American public and Congress were
to be convinced of the importance of the European commitment, they
would need to demonstrate their own resolve. As much as Kissinger
set out to keep US forces in Europe, he also expected the Europeans to
take greater responsibility for their own security. The burdens should be
‘equitably shared’, he decreed.32 In this respect, the Year of Europe can
be seen as an extension of the Nixon Doctrine which, through devolving
responsibility to regional powers, was conceived as a solution to meeting
security needs abroad in a climate of isolationism at home.
   While détente had created problems for the alliance, which the Nixon
administration was keen to resolve, it is the contention here that the
principal issue that spurred the White House to review transatlantic
relations was a concern over the development and direction of the EC.
As discussed in Chapter 1, the US attitude towards European integration
was mixed, even contradictory. On the one hand, successive administra-
tions had consistently supported a strong and united Europe as a means
of containing the Soviet Union. On the other hand, though, Americans
feared both the economic and political consequences of integration – in
short, the emergence of a competitive bloc and ‘third force’. A decade
earlier, Kissinger had addressed what he regarded as the tension between
148 Allies Apart

European and Atlantic unity. A united Europe, he predicted, would
insist on its own specifically European view of the world, which, he
concluded, ‘is another way of saying that it will challenge American
hegemony in Atlantic policy’.33 Instinctively disliking Kennedy’s Grand
Design which envisaged a partnership of independent equals, Kissinger
preferred the construction of an Atlantic Commonwealth bound
together by a common set of aspirations.34 These, then, could be
regarded as the intellectual seeds which would grow into his proposal
for a ‘new Atlantic Charter’ ten years later.
   As it happened, the Nixon administration coincided with an intense
period of growth for the EC. By the beginning of 1972, the Six had
effectively become Nine and at their first meeting in October declared
their intention to ‘transform the whole complex of their relations into a
European Union with a distinct personality before the end of the present
decade’.35 Moreover, in his speech at the summit, Pompidou insisted
‘that Europe affirm its individual personality with regard to the United
States’.36 It seemed, then, that Kissinger’s prophecy was moving to real-
ity. And, as shown in Chapter 1, far from resolving US concerns, British
membership had brought them to a head.
   By the end of 1972, with an election looming, these issues had sharp-
ened. As the EC moved ahead with preferential trade agreements with
countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, a rising tide of ‘eco-
nomic nationalism’ swept the United States. With the next round of
trade talks approaching, pressures mounted on the president to take a
tougher stand. One of his key economic aides and a fierce critique of
EC trade policies, Peter Flanigan, prepped him for combat. ‘The Com-
munity’, he warned, ‘is determined to maximise its economic potential
regardless of the cost to the United States and the Atlantic system.’37
Moreover, as hostility towards the EC’s trade policies grew, Nixon and
Kissinger became increasingly disenchanted with its political proce-
dures. By the end of 1972, contempt had turned to frustration. During a
meeting between the president and his advisers in September, Kissinger
predicted that if the price for unity ‘is that we cannot talk with our tra-
ditional European friends, then over time this could create a massive
change in our relations’. For his part, Nixon was determined to con-
tinue working with national leaders and not, he sneered in characteristic
fashion, that ‘jackass in the European Commission in Brussels’.38
   It was as officials in Washington became exasperated by both the
economic and political aspects of European integration that the first
calls were made to systematically address transatlantic relations. The
initiative was taken by the 84-year-old founding father of the EC,
                                                      The Year of Europe   149

Jean Monnet, who had grown deeply concerned about the state of the
alliance. Towards the end of 1972, Monnet approached a number of
US officials, including Kissinger, to urge the president to establish a high-
level dialogue with members of the EC on economic matters, envisaging
that this would clear the road towards a declaration of common goals
and objectives in the future.39
   Having taken note of Monnet’s concerns and ideas, Nixon instructed
Kissinger to carry out a review of relations with Western Europe (NSSM
164) which, in policy-making terms, set in motion the Year of Europe.
At the same time, Kissinger’s principal advisers on European affairs,
Helmut Sonnenfeldt and Robert Hormats, produced papers that laid out
the essential themes of his subsequent speech. Both recommended that
the president should start by underlining his support for the principle
of European integration. However, they stressed the need for a coherent
view and ‘overall design’ that recognised the link between economic
relations and other issues. ‘There is little doubt’, Sonnenfeldt advised
Kissinger, ‘that our military commitments, and our willingness to collab-
orate with the Allies in working out the strategy of détente are powerful
levers should we chose to use them.’ The links between security and eco-
nomic relations, he concluded, were inescapable and vital.40 In terms of
procedure, Hormats recommended that the president initiate a series
of bilateral talks with European leaders, working towards an eventual
joint statement. To kick-start the process, it was suggested that he use
his forthcoming meeting with Heath.
   It was, then, the prime minister’s trip to Washington at the end of
January 1973 – less than a month after Britain officially joined the EC –
which was considered by the White House as the official opening of the
Year of Europe. At Nixon’s press conference on the first day of Heath’s
visit, Nixon dramatically announced that ‘We have been to the People’s
Republic of China. We have been to the Soviet Union. We have been
paying attention to the problems of Europe, but now those problems
will be put on the front burner.’41 In their initial discussions, he elabo-
rated on the problems as he saw them, outlining his concerns about the
direction of European integration. There was ‘considerable suspicion’
and ‘growing resentment’, he explained, about the Community’s com-
petitive power.42 With trade negotiations approaching, Kissinger stressed
that there was a risk that Atlantic relations would be reduced to a display
of economic rivalry. ‘If the problems of the US/European relationship
were treated separately’, he warned, ‘then there was a danger that the
“technicians” would get the upper hand’.43 Against this background, he
explained, the White House was searching for a ‘conceptual framework’
150 Allies Apart

and comprehensive solution. Nixon hoped that they could do some
‘really hard thinking together’ – without, he emphasised, necessarily
telling the rest of the Alliance.44 Once again, the British, it seemed, could
be safely used to test the water without stirring the ocean.
   Over the next months, as the Foreign Office worked on the Prevention
of Nuclear War Agreement, it was also asked by Kissinger to come up
with a preliminary ‘think-piece’ on the Year of Europe.45 The resulting
analysis was sobering. Its focus was on identifying the problems of the
future, rather than providing answers. Although it reflected a genuine
enthusiasm for the cause of Atlantic solidarity, this was tempered by an
instinctive caution about what could be achieved. In short, the notion
that transatlantic issues could be resolved through a bold overarching
design was regarded with deep scepticism.46
   Moreover, Kissinger’s approach fuelled British concerns about White
House methods. ‘His mode of behaviour’, Cromer observed, ‘can be
regarded as an analogue for an international policy which concen-
trates on the hard-headed pursuit of US interests and makes little
concessions to fostering the habit of multilateral decision-making and
consultation.’47 Britain’s NATO representative, Sir Edward Peck, was
doubtful whether the United States, given its ‘current mode of oper-
ation’, was capable of carrying out a constructive allied policy at all.
The Americans, he observed, had resorted to ‘bilateral arm-twisting’ and
tended to treat allies ‘like children on the ends of bits of string’.48
   Meanwhile, Nixon’s own attitude had hardened. His impatience with
the Europeans had turned to outrage following their protests against
the renewed bombing of North Vietnam in December, with Heath
remaining the only leader prepared to support them. In view of their
current behaviour, Nixon had become convinced that European unity,
both from the economic and political viewpoint, was no longer in
the US interest. ‘What matters now’, Nixon resolved, ‘is what we do.’
‘We must act effectively and soon’, he instructed Kissinger, ‘or we will
create in Europe a Frankenstein monster which could prove to be highly
detrimental to our interests in the years ahead.’49 The president, it
seemed, was ready for a showdown.
   However, just as Nixon was preparing to face the Europeans, his atten-
tion was diverted by events at home, as an incriminating link began to
emerge between the so-called ‘third rate burglary’ of the Democrat head-
quarters and the White House. At the end of March, it was reported that
one of the five men arrested for the original break-in, James McCord,
had identified senior officials in the administration as having prior
knowledge of the whole affair. Nixon then learned in the middle of
                                                    The Year of Europe   151

April that both Haldeman and Ehrlichman had been implicated. With
events closing in, the president became completely preoccupied, devot-
ing over three-quarters of his working time to the unfolding scandal and
related matters – as Haldeman recorded, every day had now become a
‘Watergate day’.50
   It was just as Nixon was preoccupied with his own survival and ago-
nising over whether to get rid of his two closest aides that he directed
Kissinger to make a speech expounding the ideas behind the Year of
Europe.51 His exact instructions are unclear, but given his predicament it
seems likely, as Robert Dallek suggests, that the immediate objective was
to provide a high-minded distraction from events at home.52 Over the
next days, Kissinger prepared what would be his first policy announce-
ment on the issue he claimed to care about most. On 19 April, he met
with Brimelow and Trend who were visiting the White House to discuss
their own paper. Without going into specifics, Kissinger explained that
he was about to make a speech on the president’s behalf which would set
out the administration’s thinking and raise relations above the ‘assort-
ment of picayune problems’ which were infecting the relationship. He
hoped to create a new vested interest within the American establish-
ment and was looking to Europe for support. The Foreign Office’s paper,
on the other hand, was dismissed as being ‘too fatalistic in tone’ –
it became obvious to Trend that he had barely read it.53 Kissinger, it
seemed, already had a clear agenda – to deflect attention from the mess
at home and, no doubt, boost his own profile.

A surprising speech

In the event, Kissinger’s speech created its own problems. Allied reac-
tion was at best cautious and at worst utterly dismissive. Rather than
deflecting from Nixon’s problems at home, its immediate effect was to
create a crisis of confidence abroad. The most outspoken critics were
the French who instantly appeared to distrust the whole thing. At a
meeting of the EC Council of Ministers on 26 April, the French represen-
tative, Geoffrey Courcel, summarised his government’s deep misgivings.
Kissinger’s vision of transatlantic relations, he warned, was a step back
from Kennedy’s twin-pillar approach and left no room for European
independence. Within the Quai d’Orsay, there was a general feeling
that Kissinger’s proposal was mainly a ‘tactical ploy’ designed to get
American demands on the table in advance of forthcoming negotiations
and to put Europe on the defensive. The overriding issue for the French,
though, was the feeling that the main theme of Kissinger’s speech was
152 Allies Apart

the ‘world role of the US compared with the regional responsibilities of
Europe’.54 In short, it was a direct affront to their vision of Europe.
   Facing a public relations disaster, Kissinger turned to his closest allies
to welcome his speech and set the tone of allied reaction. The British
ambassador was repeatedly called upon to urge his government to issue
a high-level public show of support.55 After all, on the basis of his various
contacts with the Foreign Office, Kissinger had come to expect nothing
less. He believed – or so he claimed – that his initiative had the Heath
government’s complete endorsement.
   In light of his subsequent speech, though, it was clear that Kissinger’s
discussions with the British had fallen far short of proper consulta-
tion. There was a huge difference between indicating a general desire
to revive Atlantic relations and the specific concepts contained within
his address. The intention to work jointly towards a ‘conceptual frame-
work’ was one thing; his unilateral proposal for a ‘new Atlantic Charter’
to be drawn up within a few months was quite another.
   In the event, then, Kissinger’s Year of Europe speech came as a real sur-
prise to the British. While there was enthusiasm for the overall theme
of his address, its timing and content caused considerable concern in
London, which though sympathetic with French views was independent
from them. To be sure, Heath was one of the most ardent critics. When
Walt Rostow, who had been national security advisor under Johnson,
called in to see the prime minister, Heath made his views plain. The
rhetoric and terminology of the speech had been insensitive, he com-
plained; however, it was the fact that Kissinger had launched his new
Atlantic Charter ‘without even any attempt at preliminary consultation
with Europe’ that bothered him most.56 Given that these were tentative
days for the enlarged EC, Heath considered Kissinger’s proposal both
untimely and unrealistic.57
   The prime minister was not alone. Several of his advisers on both
sides of the Atlantic raised similar concerns. Whatever Kissinger’s private
motives, there was a feeling that his speech would be counterproductive
in terms of Atlantic solidarity. After all, it had come just as relations
between the United States and Europe in the trade and defence spheres
were becoming easier, following a difficult year. Hugh Overton, head
of the North America Department, warned that the speech threatened
to ‘reverse all this’; by linking the president’s prestige to the idea of a
new Atlantic Charter and feeding public expectations, Overton judged
that the ‘political stakes’ had been dangerously raised. There was, he
feared, a risk that relations would crack under the sudden increase in
                                                      The Year of Europe   153

   Despite – or perhaps because of – his close links with Kissinger, Trend
suspected that what seemed counterproductive was in fact calculated.
By calling for a ‘comprehensive’ solution to Atlantic problems, he spec-
ulated that the Nixon administration ‘may be inviting us, in effect, to
subordinate the economic interests of Europe to the political exigen-
cies of Washington’. Moreover, Trend warned the prime minister that
Kissinger’s speech could have a pernicious effect on relations with the
EC. There was a particular danger that Britain would be used as a ‘stalk-
ing horse’ for Washington’s purposes in Europe and pitted against the
French. ‘We must be wary’, he counselled, ‘of any US attempt to drive a
political wedge between ourselves and our European allies.’59
   However, despite these underlying doubts and sobering warnings,
policy-makers in London widely agreed that to rebuff or simply ignore
Kissinger’s appeal would be a mistake. Apart from the fact that, for all its
dubious terminology, there was general sympathy for the overall theme
of the speech, it was felt that failure to respond could be damaging for
both the United States and Britain. Cromer warned that if London’s
reaction was ‘crabbed’, the whole initiative could fall flat, which would
compound Nixon’s domestic plight and was bound to sour relations
with Washington.60 Above all, though, it was recognised that Britain’s
own security was at stake. Unlike the French, who dismissed Kissinger’s
claim that his speech was intended to deflect isolationist sentiment at
home, the British were inclined to take him seriously. After all, the signs
were that the Mansfieldites were on the rise again and that Congress
was facing increasing protectionist pressures. Trend advised Heath that
if Britain rejected Kissinger’s proposals ‘we should foster the isolationist
tendencies in the US which President Nixon’s Administration is gen-
uinely trying to resist.’61 Accordingly, the prime minister told his cabinet
that ‘It was essential that the US should continue to share in the defence
of Europe and if President Nixon needed European help in containing
domestic pressures to reduce the American commitment, the Europeans
must do their best to respond.’62
   On balance, then, British policy-makers – including the prime
minister – agreed that, for all its problems, Kissinger’s Year of Europe
speech required a positive response. With a nudge from the White
House, the Foreign Office issued an official statement the following
day which welcomed the address as ‘an important speech with a con-
structive intent’.63 Three days later, Home hailed Kissinger’s remarks
as both ‘realistic and timely’. Britain, he declared, was ready to play a
part in discussions at the highest level to ‘preserve the harmony of the
154 Allies Apart

Forging a European response – bridging
the Atlantic divide

Although there was widespread agreement in London that Kissinger’s
initiative demanded a common and constructive European response, in
practice this proved to be a frustrating task. As will be shown, Britain
was caught somewhere between the opposing views of the United States
and France and obstructed by their difficult behaviour – at times its
self-appointed role as transatlantic bridge builder left Britain exposed
to storms from both sides of the ocean.65
  The difficulties in finding a common position became apparent from
the outset. When the European political directors met three days after
Kissinger’s speech, there was unanimous agreement that a common
approach was needed – all, that is, except for the French. While the
British representative, Charles Wiggin, was joined by most of his col-
leagues in calling for a united and positive dialogue between the United
States and Europe, Claude Arnaud, representing France, objected. Any
attempt to institutionalise transatlantic relations, he insisted, would
give the United States a privileged position. Although Arnaud was
completely isolated amongst his European colleagues, the Belgian chair-
man, Etienne Davignon, was forced to accept that a joint response
was impossible.66 It was a frustrating situation. Whatever the collective
will of the majority, they found themselves effectively vetoed by the
  Over the next weeks there seemed little hope of progressing towards
a common position, however much the Foreign Office tried. As the
next meetings of European representatives approached, Assistant Under-
Secretary of State John Robinson was resigned to failure owing to the
French position, which, if anything, seemed to harden.67 When Michael
Palliser, the newly appointed British representative to the EC, met with
his French counterpart, François Puax, for a working dinner on 24 May
he hit a dead-end. Palliser reported back to London that Puax had come
with ‘the most restrictive brief imaginable’, refusing to allow any work to
be done on the advantages and disadvantages of Kissinger’s proposal.68
At the meeting of political directors, two days later, Wiggin tried his
hand at convincing the French of the need for the Europeans to take
the initiative; it seemed, though, that Puax was determined to give a
negative response regardless of what was said.69
  Facing the ‘collective paralysis’ of his European allies, Kissinger put
forward an alternative suggestion at the beginning of June.70 Rather
than building a new Atlantic Charter, which had proved to be an
                                                      The Year of Europe   155

impossibly loaded notion, he proposed that they work towards a more
anodyne ‘Declaration of Principles’ to get the dialogue moving. The
British remained hesitant, treading a fine line between appearing forth-
coming and remaining realistic. On the one hand, they were mindful
of the ‘real danger’ that in the coming months Mansfield and his
supporters would force through Congress unilateral troop reductions
in Europe. Michael Butler, head of the European Integration Depart-
ment, warned that ‘The Europeans must not weaken the hand of
those in Washington who oppose such cuts by seeming to reject
American overtures out of hand.’ ‘Europe’, he concluded, ‘must not
seem obstructionist or unreasonable.’71 On the other hand, though, it
was agreed that Kissinger’s proposal for a single declaration was unreal-
istic. It implied that the Nixon administration was ‘still hankering after
its “one ball of wax”’ approach to transatlantic relations, which sought
to link economics and defence, and was bound to be rejected by the
   To pre-empt the inevitable Franco-American deadlock, the British
came up with the idea of two declarations: one would focus explicitly
on defence matters and would be signed by NATO; the other would
define the future of relations between the United States and EC. The
prime minister gave the plan his full support at a Cabinet meeting on
20 June.73 To facilitate the whole process and, in particular, to assuage
French suspicions, the Foreign Office also recommended that the for-
eign ministers of the Nine should prepare a paper on ‘European Identity’
vis-à-vis the United States.74 Kissinger’s suggestion, then, that Heath
became a ‘pained bystander’ to events seems far off the mark.75 Despite
all the obstacles, setbacks and false starts, the British, above all, were
determined to clear a path ahead.
   The first step, though, remained convincing Paris to participate. When
Heath and Home met with Michel Jobert on 2 July, they found the
French foreign minister repeating familiar objections, concluding that it
was all designed to improve the president’s popularity at home. Despite
their own doubts, the prime minister and foreign secretary sought to
deflect his criticisms. Home stressed that the administration was fright-
ened of the growing isolationism in the United States, while Heath
urged that the Year of Europe could be seen as a genuine attempt to
re-engage the United States in transatlantic solidarity and security. The
challenge for Europe, if it really believed in its own identity, he stressed,
was to prepare a common position. Otherwise, he warned, they would
be forced into what the French feared most – ‘accepting the American
156 Allies Apart

In steps Kissinger

As the British did their best to get the French onside, it gradually tran-
spired that Kissinger was making his own private attempts to bring them
along and mould European opinion. By the end of June, the National
Security Council and State Department had each produced draft decla-
rations. Kissinger first presented copies to the French and then, a few
days later, to the British. Both governments were sworn to strict secrecy
and prohibited from sharing their views – even with each other.77 The
drafts were widely judged to be clumsy and unworkable, since they
still took the form of a single declaration covering all issues. Moreover,
they implied a retraction of Nixon’s earlier commitments on European
defence without offering any concessions in return. The Foreign Office
concluded that the NSC draft was ‘so bad that there is sometimes room
for doubt whether its ambiguities and objectionable passages are always
   However, the main issue for the British was to do with procedure.
The thing that bothered them most – even more than the French being
given the first look – was the fact that Kissinger’s secret and bilateral
approaches completely undermined their efforts to forge a common EC
response. It was only ten days later that the Germans were finally given
copies and, even then, the other six were left in the dark. Kissinger’s
dealings threatened to divide the Community and spark deep resent-
ment amongst its smaller members. Facing what was regarded as a
‘procedural mess’, Home determined that it was time for the Europeans
to work around and rise above Kissinger’s operations.79 They would dis-
regard the US drafts and, henceforth, work together through proper
multilateral channels of consultation.
   The stage for their display of collective will was to be the next foreign
ministers meeting in Copenhagen on 23 July. When Home met with
his EC counterparts, they finally made progress towards a common
position. The nine ministers all stressed the great importance which
they attached to the definition of European identity and agreed that it
should serve as a basis for constructive dialogue with the United States.
More significantly, in the short-term, they resolved to exchange all
information which they obtained in their bilateral conversations with
the United States.80 Three days later, Heath enthusiastically relayed the
developments to Nixon. Stressing his own commitment to the under-
takings at Copenhagen, he added: ‘I think that we shall both stand the
best chance of achieving the success which you and I both want if we
ourselves are now seen to adhere to this decision as regards the present
                                                    The Year of Europe   157

   It was, Kissinger lamented, the moment that changed everything for
the Anglo-American relationship. Heath’s agreement to disclose Britain’s
bilateral exchanges with the United States negated the ‘intangibles’ of
trust and consultation which he had held so precious – in effect, the
‘special relationship’ was over. On reflection, Kissinger viewed the let-
ter as final proof of Heath’s own determination to prove himself a good
European at the expense of relations with the United States. No other
prime minister, he contended, would have considered sending such a
demarche to the president. Nixon’s reply – drafted by Kissinger – was
unusually stern, expressing his own deep resentment at the Copenhagen
decisions. ‘It frankly had never occurred to us’, he bemoaned, ‘that
the principal European pre-occupation would turn out to be with pro-
cedure.’ He concluded with a stark warning: unless commitment and
impetus could be found at the highest levels, ‘the injury to the interests
of all our countries could be severe and lasting.’82
   Kissinger personally made clear his own disgust when he met with
Trend and Brimelow at the White House on 30 July. Launching into
an intemperate attack, he accused the Europeans of turning his quest
for solidarity into an ‘adversary relationship’. While he had set out
to re-invigorate the Atlantic relationship, the members of the EC, he
charged, had used it as an opportunity to forge their own exclu-
sive unity. The idea that the United States would now deal with its
European partners through a single representative from Denmark, he
groused, was both absurd and insulting. Given the way that things
had turned out, Kissinger confessed that the whole project had been
a big mistake – perhaps his biggest. He had launched the Year of
Europe convinced that the Europeans were anxious for such an initia-
tive and would rise to the challenge. The months of grumbling followed
by a European diktat had proved him sorely mistaken. He was no
longer prepared to take the criticism. The Europeans, Kissinger resolved,
would now have to take the initiative – for him the Year of Europe
was over.83
   He saved his final scolding for the British. The United States, he
protested, had never treated Britain as ‘just another country’. However,
he explained, the agreement at Copenhagen was ‘incompatible with
the sort of relationship the United States had had with Britain in the
past.’ The government’s refusal to talk substance with the United States
on an issue of major importance marked a painful transition in Anglo-
America relations. ‘Never before’, he lamented, ‘had there been a failure
at the beginning of a major negotiation to keep each other informed of
their thinking.’84 It was a ‘sad day in the history of our two countries’,
he rued.85 Kissinger, it seemed, was determined to teach the British a
158 Allies Apart

lesson – they were not going to have it both ways. He told the president
that he intended to cut the British off from intelligence and nuclear
information. ‘If they are going to share everything with the Europeans’,
he explained, ‘we can’t trust them for the special relationship.’86
   Britain’s view of the events surrounding the Copenhagen meeting was
very different. On reflection, Kissinger’s reprimand was widely regarded
as not only thoroughly bad tempered, but also totally unjustified; in the
final analysis, it was believed to highlight the fundamental problems in
his own approach.87 The underlying issue, from London’s perspective,
was the Nixon administration’s schizophrenic attitude towards both
the European Community and Britain’s role in it. On the one hand,
Kissinger had challenged Europe to forge a common response to his ini-
tiative; yet, just when they began to show some progress, he suddenly
became resentful. According to Home, the fundamental problem was
Kissinger’s unwillingness to accept the Nine as an entity with which the
United States would have to deal with.88 In particular, he had shown
little sensitivity towards the dilemma Britain faced as a special ally of
the United States and new member of the EC. He had failed to under-
stand that Britain’s efforts to forge a constructive response to Atlantic
solidarity depended on behaving ‘loyally as one of the Nine’.89
   It was widely judged that the problems and bad feelings generated
by the Year of Europe were essentially of Kissinger’s own making.90 His
first mistake had been to launch the initiative without consulting the
Europeans. Then, when they appeared to falter, he resorted to secret
bilateral exchanges. What became dubbed as the ‘Kissinger rules’ were
widely regarded as ‘deplorable’. Heath summed up the situation: ‘we
have to accept the fact that Kissinger went into all this without ade-
quate preparation, with an imperfect understanding of the situation on
the European side, and in a secretiveness of manner which has led to
repeated misunderstandings.’91 It was these conditions that finally com-
pelled the members of the EC to take the very counter-measures that
would cause such offence in the White House.
   In the end, though, there was a feeling that Kissinger’s indignation
had been more apparent than real. A Foreign Office report speculated
whether the stormy meeting at the White House had been ‘a deliberate
tactical expedient intended to frighten the Europeans and make them
get a move on’.92 Whatever the mixture of bluff and bluster, Britain
became even more determined to forge a collective European response.
The problems posed by Kissinger’s diplomacy were now presented as an
opportunity for the EC. A Foreign Office paper on European identity
concluded that ‘American exigencies have provided a useful stimulus
                                                   The Year of Europe   159

towards greater cooperation among the Nine and are thus helping to
promote the objectives of the Nine.’93 Heath saw it as a real chance to
‘take the matter into our hands and to launch a European initiative’.94
Whether Kissinger had set out to undermine European unity or not, it
is clear that his actions were inadvertently having the opposite effect.
   The key question was whether the Nixon administration would now
work with a united Europe. By referring to the professed long-term
aim of US policy, Heath may have called the president’s bluff on the

  it will surely be judged one of the greater ironies of history if, just
  at the moment when the purpose of that aid is being realised and
  nine of the countries of Western Europe are at last emerging as an
  entity, the US themselves should be tempted to reject the concept
  of an equal partnership which all their efforts for nearly thirty years
  have been designed to create.95

A false dawn

Over the next months, British officials sought to recast the Year of
Europe in a form that would be acceptable to both sides of the
Atlantic. The central challenge remained bridging the gulf in expec-
tations between the United States and France, which meant finding
a formula for transatlantic relations that impressed the White House
without alarming Paris. The resulting British document was inevitably
somewhat bland. It envisaged a more equal transatlantic partnership
that recognised Europe as a ‘distinct entity’. However, the emphasis was
on continuity rather than change. It underlined the common values,
problems and aspirations of the United States and EC, rather than dis-
cussing their differences. In short, how Europe distinguished itself as
a ‘distinct entity’ remained unclear.96 In the end, though, it proved
to be enough to bring the French along. At the Copenhagen meeting
on 11 September, the British draft declaration on US–EC relations was
unanimously approved – finally the Europeans had a common position.
Pointing to the broader significance of the moment, Home talked of a
turning point in EC history and the beginning of a ‘new diplomacy’.97
The question now, though, was whether it was enough to satisfy the
White House.
   On 25 September, the Nine’s Danish representative, Knud Andersen,
travelled to Washington to present the draft. He found Kissinger to be
open and friendly, though distinctly unimpressed by European efforts.
160 Allies Apart

The declaration was considered disappointingly thin on substance.
However, the main problem, he lectured, was the complete lack of
consultation.98 ‘It was worse than dealing with the Soviets’, he had
carped to Home the previous day.99 Whatever his complaints, the impor-
tant point was that Kissinger was finally dealing with the Nine as one
and, for all its shortfalls, the European draft was accepted as a work in
progress. At a press conference in New York, Kissinger concluded that
in ‘historical retrospect’ it could be that the meeting of the Nine at
Copenhagen on 11 September will be seen as ‘one of the decisive events
of the post-war period’.100
   These tentative steps were given a boost when the French produced
a draft NATO declaration which was also accepted by the United States
as a basis for negotiation. Then, on 29 September, there were the first
talks between members of the Political Committee of the Nine and
American officials to discuss the drafts, marking the triumph of multilat-
eral negotiations over Kissinger’s bilateral approaches. Things appeared
to be back on track. After the tumultuous exchanges at the end of July,
there seemed some cause for celebration. The British took much of the
credit. While it was recognised that the developments depended on the
evolution of American and French attitudes, it was felt that it had been
their own persistence and, crucially, their suggestion to draft separate
declarations that had finally got things moving.
   However, just as the Year of Europe underwent something of a rein-
carnation, events elsewhere dealt a final blow. On 6 October, Egypt and
Syria attacked Israel beginning the fourth and largest Arab–Israeli war.
As will be shown in Chapter 6, over the next two weeks, the alliance
became badly strained as the United States and Europeans took opposite
sides, sparking some of the worst moments in NATO’s history. Against
the dramatic events in the Middle East, Alfred Grosser concludes that
the Year of Europe negotiations seemed ‘mendacious and absurd’.101

‘The Year That Never Was’ – reflections and lessons

Looking back, Kissinger portrayed the events surrounding his Year of
Europe speech as a sorry tale of false hopes, mistrust and bitter disap-
pointments. As he told it, he had set out to reaffirm America’s allied
commitments and revitalise transatlantic relations. Given the double
developments of détente and European enlargement, combined with
domestic pressures, it was, he believed, an urgent mission. What is
more, his European partners seemed to agree. However, these high-
minded intentions ultimately dissolved into a crisis of confidence for
                                                    The Year of Europe   161

the Atlantic Alliance – in the end, the Year of Europe, Kissinger laments,
proved to be ‘The Year That Never Was’.102
  Although shocked by its demise, the reasons were painfully clear to
Kissinger – he had been badly let down by his European partners. The
main offenders were the French, particularly Jobert, who, rather than
engage with the spirit of his speech, seized upon particular phrases and
did their best to discredit the whole project. Most upsetting, though,
was British behaviour. ‘They have not led the charge against us, but
they have been only one step behind’, he lamented.103 The result,
in Kissinger’s mind, was an introverted and self-indulgent display of
European unity. The higher ideal of Atlantic solidarity was lost and
Kissinger was left feeling dejected and disillusioned – in one reported
outburst, he claimed to no longer care about NATO.104 In terms of Anglo-
American relations, London’s determination to follow the French and
fulfil the undertakings at Copenhagen had been fatal. ‘Before’, Kissinger
explained, ‘we did not treat Britain as a foreign government.’105 Recent
events had proven otherwise.
  ‘Who do you think is up to this?’, the president had asked. Kissinger
had no doubt. The problem, he explained, was Heath and his doctri-
naire views on Europe. ‘Well, you know he has these tacky tendencies’,
he sneered. According to Kissinger, he had long believed that if Britain
joined Europe it would steal de Gaulle’s line, and now Heath had
proved him right. Under his direction, he observed, the British were
following the Gaullist path ‘with the same single-mindedness that they
pursued the special relationship’. On reflection, both the president and
his adviser agreed that pushing Britain into Europe had been a ‘horrible
mistake’.106 Above all, recent events had demonstrated to Kissinger that
the enlarged EC was out to build its identity in confrontation with the
United States.107
  That was Kissinger’s tale. However, as this chapter has sought to
demonstrate, things looked very different from London, both in terms
of the Year of Europe itself and what it illustrated about the nature of
the Anglo-American relationship. In short, it was judged that Kissinger’s
whole approach had caused his initiative to misfire and had fuelled
doubts about relations with the United States.
  With hindsight, it seems that the seeds of Anglo-American misunder-
standing and resentment were sown early on. When Kissinger met with
British officials in the months prior to launching the Year of Europe,
he misinterpreted their cautious encouragement as complete support
for his initiative. As the Foreign Office later concluded, their comments
were ‘mistaken for commitments’.108 In the light of his subsequent
162 Allies Apart

speech, it became all too clear to the British that he had not prop-
erly consulted them. His proposal for a ‘north Atlantic Charter’ came
as a complete surprise and, given his projected timescale, was deemed
insensitive, unrealistic and reckless.
   Nevertheless, contrary to the impression painted by Kissinger in his
memoirs, British officials, despite their own doubts, did not simply
follow the French in obstructing the whole thing. In fact, in spite of
them, the Foreign Office publicly welcomed the speech and persistently
worked in various forums towards forming a constructive European
response. Aside from a general concern for the well-being of the Atlantic
Alliance, the key factor that defined the British position was Nixon and
Kissinger’s warnings about the rise of isolationism in the United States
and the threat to troops abroad. Whatever their other motives, it was
clear to the British that the security of Europe was at stake. It was there-
fore deemed essential for the Europeans to respond to Kissinger’s call for
a display of Atlantic unity. For Britain to act as the catalyst, though, it
would have to act as one of the Nine.
   However, Kissinger’s subsequent intervention and secret bilateral
approaches seemed deliberately obstructionist and divisive. As it turned
out, though, his conduct pushed the members of the EC closer together.
Despite protests from the White House along the way, the Foreign Office
judged that its own efforts had averted total failure.
   Although there was some cause for satisfaction in London, over-
all, the Year of Europe had been a deeply troubling experience for
British officials. Home felt that the whole sequence of events warranted
a closer examination and commissioned a Foreign Office study. The
resulting paper, ‘The Year of Europe – The Impact on Transatlantic and
Anglo-American Relations’, sought to explain how the renewed sense
of harmony at the beginning of 1973 had, by the summer, dissolved
into ‘indignant resentment’. The 16-page report highlighted two fac-
tors: (1) the role of Kissinger and (2) Britain’s attempt to have the best
of both worlds in its relations with the United States and Europe.109
   In Home’s mind, there was no doubt which had been most signifi-
cant: ‘In my view’, he explained in his cover letter to Heath, ‘most of
the troubles we have experienced can be attributed to Dr Kissinger’s
own attitudes and methods of work.’110 The problem was not specifi-
cally related to the Year of Europe but reflected the pattern and impact of
Kissinger’s diplomacy overall. During the previous three years, his obses-
sive secrecy and tight personal control had come to dominate Britain’s
relations with the Nixon administration. As has been shown, in rela-
tion to the Year of Europe, his determination to deal with the European
                                                       The Year of Europe   163

allies secretly and separately – the ‘Kissinger rules’ – caused intense frus-
tration and sparked suspicions that his real intention was to divide and
rule. In many ways, though, the bigger issue was Kissinger’s exclusive
control over policy. His deep distrust, contempt and ultimate exclu-
sion of his own bureaucracy from policy-making had two debilitating
effects on the course of the Year of Europe. First, he deprived himself
of the advice of experts who may have provided a clearer insight into
European intentions and doubts. Second, he rendered redundant the
usual channels of consultation between the State Department and For-
eign Office. As the paper concluded, the ‘normal practice’ would have
been to pursue the initiative at lower levels and identify areas of agree-
ment and contention informally. Instead, Britain and the other allies
were left relying on infrequent high-level discussions. As a result, the
stakes were raised precariously high, without any prospect of relief, and
misunderstandings were allowed to fester rather than being resolved at
lower levels.111 In short, under Kissinger’s clasp, the Year of Europe had
little chance to breath.
   Kissinger’s initiative and Britain’s reaction to it also pointed to a basic
difference between American and British approaches to foreign policy –
the conceptual versus the empirical tradition. As the Foreign Office
put it, the very nature of Kissinger’s proposal, being a sweeping vision
to resolve transatlantic issues, was ‘somewhat alien to the essentially
responsive pragmatism of the British’ (otherwise known as ‘muddling
through’).112 For his part, Heath was highly sceptical of the conceptual
approach, warning Pompidou that Kissinger’s method of looking for
policies that could most appropriately fit a predetermined framework
was a ‘dangerous approach’.113 By London’s reckoning, Kissinger had set
himself up for disappointment.
   From Britain’s perspective, then, the reason the Year of Europe col-
lapsed was plain and simple: it was poorly conceived and badly exe-
cuted. In many ways, Hanhimäki’s analogy of ‘the flawed architect’
is particularly apt here: Kissinger drew up his grand structure without
consulting his own engineers or surveyors (the State Department) and
presented only scant plans to his clients (the Atlantic allies).114 More-
over, his speech was hastily drafted against the background of Watergate.
It was no surprise, then, that when the Year of Europe was unveiled
it was declared unsound and began to fall apart. Certainly in London
Kissinger was widely judged to be the architect of his own failure.
   However, while the attitude and actions of the Year of Europe’s creator
have necessarily formed a central focus of this analysis, it would be an
oversight to stop here. For their part, British officials at the time took
164 Allies Apart

some of the blame for all of the misunderstanding and mistrust that
built up on both sides of the Atlantic. The Foreign Office study recog-
nised that in trying to accommodate the United States and France, it
had, at times, only succeeded in upsetting both. To some extent, the
problem arose from the nature of the relationship Britain shared with
the United States. Washington’s assumption that London shared its own
expectations and intentions had created ‘fertile soil’ for disillusionment.
The lesson for the future was that Britain would have to define its pur-
poses more precisely and analyse more carefully those of America. Only
then could differences be identified and resolved, instead of causing
   In the final analysis, though, focussing exclusively on the immediate
diplomacy surrounding the Year of Europe risks overlooking the under-
lying issues that explain why it was such a misfire. First, as Kissinger
would later reflect, his initiative exposed a deep gulf of empathy across
the Atlantic. The Europeans did not experience the trauma of Vietnam
and resulting surge of isolationism. Nor did they share the same bur-
dens of maintaining the strategic balance of power or face Congressional
pressures. It was no surprise, then, that Kissinger’s warnings and, ulti-
mately, his appeal for action fell somewhat flat in Europe. From the
newly enlarged Community’s perspective, it raised new questions and
deep doubts about its relationship with the United States. As one British
official put it, it was ‘a relationship between a society of aspiration
and evolution with a society of actuality and even decay, or between a
partly formed phoenix and a complete but groggy leviathan’.116 In this
light, the vision for a ‘conceptual framework’ binding the two had little
   Ultimately, though, Kissinger’s speech brought into renewed focus the
ongoing contest between conflicting visions of Europe. While Nixon
had come to power professing his commitment to a strong and uni-
fied Europe in the tradition of Kennedy’s Grand Design, by the time
his administration had turned to Atlantic relations with any deter-
mination, the underlying tensions in the US approach had come to
a head. As Chapter 1 highlighted, there was an ever-thinning line
between American support for an enhanced ally and fear of an emergent
rival. With the EC’s enlargement and renewed political will, Europe,
it seemed, was tipping towards the latter. Writing ten years earlier,
Kissinger had warned that a resurgent Europe would insist on its own
view of the world, deriding Kennedy’s ‘twin pillar’ concept for being
overly sentimental. In office, and with the president consumed by
Watergate, Kissinger had a unique chance to put his theorising into
                                                   The Year of Europe   165

practice. In the event, it was his methods as much as his words that
revealed his thinking on Europe and Atlantic relations. Rejecting the
‘twin pillar’ approach, Kissinger dealt with the EC as a series of power
centres, seeking to contain – even subvert – the process of integration.
As Willy Brandt observed, rather than appreciate their unity as a stabil-
ising factor in world politics, Kissinger seemed to enjoy juggling Paris,
London and Bonn, playing them off against one another.117 Seen in this
light, there was a distinct similarity between his dealings around the
Year of Europe and pursuit of détente. While Kissinger’s rhetoric sug-
gested a more equalised vision of transatlantic and superpower relations,
his diplomacy served a different end – retaining American hegemony.
   As it happened, Kissinger’s speech and subsequent diplomacy acted as
a spur to the very kind of Europe he had hoped to contain. While mock-
ing the whole initiative, the French, particularly Michael Jobert, seized
upon it as a chance to assert the Nine’s unity and independence from
America. For Heath, the Year of Europe came at a time when his views on
Atlantic relations were in flux. Having long connected his Europeanism
to a broader Atlanticist vision, as earlier chapters have shown, events
since assuming power had raised profound doubts about the reliability
and future of relations with the United States, demonstrating the need
for Britain to act as part of a strong, unified and independent EC. Thus,
Kissinger’s unilateral proclamation and the machinations that followed
only served to aggravate a growing sense of frustration and, to be sure,
feed any Gaullist tendencies in Heath. In the end, though, the Year of
Europe was overtaken by events in the Middle East. But, as Chapter 6
shows, it was during the war in the far flung lands of the Sinai Desert
and Golan Heights that many of the issues that had been debated in the
abstract over previous months suddenly came to a head.
The Middle East Crisis

On 6 October 1973, Egypt and Syria launched simultaneous attacks
against Israel beginning the fourth and largest Arab–Israeli war. Over
the next three weeks the fight for territory in the Middle East, through
a series of outside interventions, posed a multiple threat to the founda-
tions of international peace and prosperity. For the United States and
Soviet Union, the conflict quickly turned into a major test of their new
relationship, as they took opposite sides launching massive re-supply
efforts to the Israelis and Arabs. When their joint efforts to negotiate
a ceasefire broke down, the superpowers became engaged in a sharp
trial of wills. In response to a Soviet threat to directly intervene, on the
evening of 24 October, the United States put its forces, including nuclear
facilities, throughout the world on a high state of alert. Although the
measures lasted for just a few hours, for many, it marked the most
perilous moment of the Cold War after the Cuban missile crisis.
   In the long run, though, the most significant intervention came
from the other Arab states which sat atop two-thirds of the world’s oil
reserves. In what is widely regarded as one of the pivotal moments of
the twentieth century, on 17 October the Arab oil producers increased
prices, cut back production and imposed a rolling embargo to bring pres-
sure on Israel. For the Western economies, particularly in Europe, which
over the past two decades had become dependent on cheap and readily
available oil from the Middle East, the effect was devastating.
   Indirectly, then, the October War had exposed both the frailty of
superpower détente and vulnerability of Western economic growth. Put
starkly, it marked the demise of détente and an end to the post-war
boom.1 What is more, all of this occurred against the backdrop of the
worst presidential crisis in US history. As the administration tackled
some of its toughest challenges abroad, the president faced growing calls

                                                   The Middle East Crisis   167

for impeachment at home. At critical moments, Nixon was politically
and, at times, quite literally out of it.2
   All this placed great strain on relations with America’s allies. It is even
claimed that the crisis in the Middle East produced the biggest rift in
the alliance’s history.3 From the outset, American and European poli-
cies diverged. While the Nixon administration provided vital support
to Israel, viewing it as an essential bulwark against Soviet influence, its
allies in Europe were careful to avoid any association with American
actions and anxious to show their sympathy for the Arab cause. Ostensi-
bly, the fall out was precipitated by four events. First, during the opening
stages of the conflict, the Europeans refused to sponsor an American-
Soviet proposal for a ceasefire at the UN. Second, when negotiations
failed and the United States launched an airlift to Israel, one by one
the Europeans (except for Holland and Portugal) made clear that they
would not permit the use of their bases or allow over-flights to assist
in the re-supply effort. Third, when, at the end of the war, the US alert
level was increased to deter an apparent Soviet threat, the Europeans not
only refused to endorse the move but were openly critical of it. Finally,
in the aftermath of the conflict, the members of the EC issued a joint
statement favouring a peace settlement on Arab terms.
   For Kissinger, this depressing train of events showed the Europeans at
their very worst – craven, short-sighted and introspective. He and many
others argue that they were fixated on immediate concerns over oil and
cowered in the face of Arab blackmail, while completely neglecting their
obligations to global security and the Atlantic Alliance.4 After all of the
furore over his remark in his Year of Europe speech that the Europeans
had ‘regional interests’, the judgement now seemed depressingly apt.
In short, Kissinger lamented, they ‘acted as though the alliance didn’t
exist’.5 Most galling of all, the Europeans seemed to exploit their very
abrogation of responsibility and abandonment of the United States
as an opportunity for forging their own unity. For Kissinger, it signi-
fied his worst fear – that European identity was being defined against
the United States. The fundamental point, he blasted to the French
ambassador, was that the Europeans had behaved ‘not as friends but
as hostile powers’.6 The man who had claimed to be the most ardent
Atlanticist reportedly fumed, ‘I don’t care what happens to NATO, I’m so
   The ill-feeling was mutual. For their part, the Europeans widely argued
that US policy was misguided and dangerous. It failed to recognise
the regional conditions that were necessary for peace, misconstrued
Soviet actions and, in doing so, helped to turn the Middle East into
168 Allies Apart

an arena of superpower rivalry. As Garthoff concludes, US policy jeop-
ardised European security and the flow of oil.8 Overall, the experience
also sharpened the perception of an unpredictable superpower condo-
minium. Both at times of cooperation and confrontation with Moscow,
Washington left its allies feeling excluded and uninformed about key
decisions affecting their own interests. The most acute moment came
when Kissinger ordered the alert. Despite the fact that it included bases
in Europe, the Europeans were only notified of the measures after they
were implemented. Europe, Jobert exclaimed, was ‘treated like a non-
person’9 – it was, then, the United States which was behaving as if
the alliance did not exist. In addition to these frustrations, there were
growing suspicions that US actions in the Middle East were designed
to deflect from domestic problems. With the president so vulnerable at
home, there was concern that his exercise of power abroad would be
   The logic of all this was a familiar one. Against the backdrop of a
dysfunctional Atlantic Alliance and volatile superpower condominium,
the Europeans widely concluded that they would have to work towards
greater cohesion in order to protect their own interests and influence.
Shortly after the conflict, Willy Brandt made the case to the European
Parliament: ‘In a world whose destiny cannot and should not be deter-
mined by two superpowers alone, the influence of a united Europe has
become indispensable.’10 In short, the Middle East war did not so much
present an opportunity for European unity as provide further proof that
it was a necessity.
   In the immediate aftermath of the war, many harsh words were
exchanged across the Atlantic and gloomy prognoses made on the state
of the alliance. While Kissinger considered ways to teach the Europeans
a lesson, the Europeans made clear their own displeasure by terminat-
ing all work on the NATO declaration – the Year of Europe it seemed was
finally over. In the media, commentators widely proclaimed that events
in the Middle East had pushed transatlantic relations to the brink. The
Washington Post concluded that the rift was ‘unprecedented’, while The
Economist judged that the alliance was at its ‘lowest point in its 24-year
history’.11 According to Kissinger, one of the principal casualties of the
transatlantic split was the ‘special relationship’ which after a period of
strain finally collapsed. The aim of this chapter is to examine, against
the issues and themes discussed, if and why this was the case.
   For Kissinger, British behaviour, while not the worst, had been most
disappointing. He later recalled how the United States had looked
instinctively towards its closest and most trusted ally. From the moment
                                                   The Middle East Crisis   169

the war began, he kept in close contact with the British, frequently call-
ing on Cromer and Home for their guidance and support. Moreover,
when the United States raised its level of alert, Britain was the only
NATO power to be notified before the Soviet Union, proving its special
status in Washington. In this light, the Anglo-American experience of
the crisis harked back to the tense days of the Cuban missile crisis when
the then British ambassador, David Ormsby-Gore, was given unprece-
dented access to the White House and President Kennedy sought the
counsel of Prime Minister Macmillan.12 A decade later, now facing a new
crisis, the United States once again leaned on Britain.
   However, despite high hopes, when it counted, Kissinger found the
‘special relationship’, like the NATO alliance in general, to be badly
wanting. At every stage, the British seemed determined to join the other
Europeans in their ‘stampede of disassociation’, refusing to support his
plans for a ceasefire, denying the use of their airbases, failing to endorse
the alert and, finally, once the conflict was over, taking a lead in forging
the joint EC statement.13 Although Kissinger was bitterly disappointed
by British conduct, he was not, on reflection, necessarily surprised by it.
In the final analysis, it was viewed as another manifestation of the prime
minister’s ambitions in Europe. In his determination to prove Britain’s
credentials as a committed European, Heath is said to have been anxious
to align his government with France’s pro-Arab posture and avoid being
labelled as America’s ‘fall guy’ in the region. In short, rather than leading
Europe, as Kissinger had hoped, Britain simply followed the French.14
   A central aim of this chapter is to assess whether Kissinger’s account
is fair. Certainly the official government line at the time was very dif-
ferent, with both Heath and Home insisting that their position was
strictly neutral and guided by the search for peace in the region. As will
be shown, though, both Kissinger’s critique and the government’s offi-
cial position obscured other more fundamental factors. Overriding the
desire to impress Europe or secure a just peace settlement were fears
of an Arab oil embargo, since Britain, like the rest of Europe, had
come to depend on a cheap supply from the Middle East. However,
London’s disassociation from the White House was not simply a mat-
ter of its energy needs but, as during the Indo-Pakistani War two years
earlier, reflected profound concerns about US policy in the region and
deep divisions within Washington, with British policy-makers tend-
ing towards the State Department’s more regional approach against
the White House’s global strategising. Moreover, during the war itself,
US conduct – directed by Kissinger – was viewed by London as mis-
guided and reckless. Once again, with US policy endangering British
170 Allies Apart

interests, undermining the alliance and risking confrontation with the
Soviet Union, the need to work more closely with Britain’s European
partners became ever more apparent. Although relations were not as
damaged as reported, on reflection, the experiences had tapped into and
deepened latent concerns and insecurities on both sides of the Atlantic.
   The rest of this chapter will be divided chronologically into five main
sections. First, it will examine the outbreak of war and the different
approaches adopted by the United States and Britain which led to an
early split. Second, it will focus on the US effort to secure a ceasefire pro-
posal with the Soviet Union and London’s refusal to support it. Third,
it will look at the deepening superpower involvement and US efforts to
get help with its airlift. Fourth, it will analyse the alert and the British
reaction. Finally, it will turn to the aftermath of the crisis and the debate
that ensued.

The outbreak of war

The origins of the fourth Arab–Israeli war lay in the conclusion of their
previous contest. In June 1967, Israel had launched a pre-emptive strike
against its Arab neighbours. After just six days of fighting, it emerged
victorious on all fronts, having conquered the Sinai Desert from Egypt,
the Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank from Jordan. The Arabs
were left thoroughly humiliated. The following November the UN Secu-
rity Council issued Resolution 242 which called for Israel’s withdrawal
from the occupied territories. Its terms were left impossibly vague, with
Israel claiming that it referred to only some territories while the Arabs
insisted that it meant all. With the Israelis feeling invincible and Nasser
calling for Israel’s destruction, there was little hope for a long-term
settlement. For the next three years, the two sides lived in a perilous
state of ‘no war, no peace’. Then, with the death of Nasser in Septem-
ber 1970, there seemed cause for renewed hope. His successor, Anwar
Sadat, was a more moderate figure. Being a determined nationalist rather
than a pan-Arabist, his aim was to reclaim the Sinai, not destroy Israel.
To this end, Sadat was willing to recognise Israel’s existence and engage
in direct talks. However, for Tel Aviv there was no real incentive to
compromise, since it remained indomitable and came under little pres-
sure from its main ally – the United States. With diplomacy stalling
and pressures mounting at home, Sadat began to consider the use of
force to increase Egypt’s negotiating hand. In early 1973, he approached
the Syrian leader, President Hafez Asad, and began planning for a joint
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   171

   The Arab armies finally struck on 6 October – Yom Kippur – catching
the Israelis completely off guard. Using high-pressured hoses, the
Egyptians blasted through Israeli defences along the Suez Canal and
poured thousands of troops and tanks onto the Sinai. In the north,
Syria launched a Blitzkrieg-style attack on the Golan Plateau. Mean-
while, Israel was left struggling to mobilise its largely reservist force,
having shut down for a day of fasting and prayer.
   News of the war came as a complete surprise in the United States.
Despite mounting warning signs, the White House had shared Israel’s
assumption that the Arabs would never dare attack without provoca-
tion. Thus, when Kissinger was first woken with reports that Egypt and
Syria were about to strike, he initially assumed that it was an ‘Israeli
trick’ designed to justify a move against the Arabs.15 By 9.00 a.m., how-
ever, news had reached Washington that Israel was under attack. With
the president hiding in his retreat at Key Biscayne, seeking refuge from
the mounting pressures against his deputy, Spiro Agnew, following mul-
tiple charges of corruption and tax evasion, it fell upon Kissinger to
direct the initial US response to the outbreak of war.
   Kissinger’s immediate aim was to stop the fighting. His first allegiance
was to Israel. Having lost 13 members of his own family in the holo-
caust, he was acutely sensitive to the plight of the Jewish people and
their quest for a secure homeland; however, in office, his overriding
concern was geopolitical rather than personal. Ever since the Soviets
had begun to support the Arabs, Kissinger came to regard the region as
a potential front line in the Cold War and Israel as a strategic asset.
It was a logic that had brought him increasingly into conflict with
Rogers and the State Department. While Rogers had favoured a more
even-handed approach to the Arab–Israeli dispute, pushing for a com-
prehensive settlement in the Middle East, whereby the Arabs would
make peace in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from nearly all occupied
territory, Kissinger was fundamentally opposed to any such agreement
until the Arab countries had renounced their ties with the Soviet Union
and re-orientated themselves to the United States. Giving substance to
his views, Kissinger held that America should remain the principal arms
supplier of Israel, maintaining that Israeli military supremacy was essen-
tial to the regional balance of power. Gradually, and definitively once he
had become secretary of state, Kissinger’s hard-line approach won over
the president and came to determine the administration’s approach to
the Arab–Israeli conflict.
   However, when war broke out in 1973, the White House’s efforts were
geared towards détente with the Soviet Union. Although suspicious that
172 Allies Apart

Moscow had encouraged the Arab attack, Kissinger’s priority was to
avoid derailing their burgeoning relationship. While, in the long run,
Kissinger’s aim remained driving the Soviets out of the region, his initial
worry was not that Israel would be destroyed but that the Arabs would
be humiliated. Despite news of the initial Egyptian and Syrian advances,
Kissinger was convinced that Israel would soon be on the offensive and
inflict a final crushing blow. Such an outcome, he feared, would harden
the Israelis, play into the hands of the Arab radicals and, ultimately,
increase Soviet influence in the region.
   Against this logic, Kissinger quickly began to hatch a plan to end the
fighting. His efforts focussed on finding a way to introduce a proposal at
the Security Council for a ceasefire ante which would restore the pre-war
lines (at this stage, he could not countenance a simple ceasefire in place,
since it would appear to sanction Arab aggression and be politically
disastrous at home). Success depended on getting the Soviets onside,
as their veto could scupper the whole exercise. Talking to Dobrynin,
he put his proposition in foreboding terms. If the Soviets refused to
cooperate and defended the Arabs at the UN, he warned, the United
States would be forced to defend the Israelis. ‘We are then in a hell of
a mess’, he concluded, stressing that their whole relationship would be
in jeopardy.16 As it turned out, Moscow was also concerned to prevent
events in the Middle East from upstaging their relationship and initially
endorsed Kissinger’s plan.
   The only question now was who would initiate the move. Since
Kissinger had ruled out the United States because of concerns over
domestic reaction, he turned to his most trusted and reliable ally –
Britain. Over the next few hours Kissinger contacted Cromer and
Donald Maitland, Britain’s representative at the UN, to try to enlist
their government’s support. ‘It is the interests of everybody, includ-
ing Western Europe, not to run across us on this particular issue’, he
counselled Cromer sternly, no doubt alluding to events of the pre-
vious months.17 The prospects for peace, it seemed, now rested with
   In the event, Kissinger’s best hopes were dashed. Early that evening,
Cromer came back with news that his government had decided not to
support a ceasefire ante. Although Britain shared the same goal – an
immediate end to the fighting – it was only prepared to introduce a
ceasefire in place linked to a fulfilment of Resolution 242, which, as
explained, was out of the question for Kissinger. Over the next two days,
Britain stood firm leaving Kissinger increasingly exasperated as his plan
fell apart.
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   173

   For Kissinger, it was a depressingly familiar situation. He grumbled
to Cromer that it was looking like a repeat of the Indo-Pakistani cri-
sis, when Britain had also refused to back the United States at the
UN.18 Once again, the British seemed eager to get out of the line of
fire. In the first hours of the war, Kissinger later rued, Britain was pre-
pared to ratify Arab military gains and disassociate from the United
   This basic issue between London and Washington – whether or not
to accept Arab gains – was no momentary aberration but reflected long-
standing differences over the Arab–Israeli dispute. While, both countries
had professed their support for a settlement based on Resolution 242,
there was disagreement on the best way to get there. Whereas the
United States had taken a step-by-step approach, Britain favoured an
immediate implementation. Under Heath, this position hardened. In a
major speech at Harrogate in October 1970, Home advanced his govern-
ment’s policy, calling for Israel’s withdrawal from its 1967 territories in
exchange for ‘binding commitments’ between the Arabs and Israelis ‘to
live in peace with each other’.20
   It had long been believed in Britain that the way to a permanent settle-
ment was through the Egyptian–Israeli relationship. In short, the key to
peace in the Middle East lay in the Sinai. With the new leader in Cairo
speaking in more moderate terms, there seemed a chance for negotia-
tions. From London’s point of view, the onus now fell on Israel. Heath
made clear British thinking in a letter to Nixon on 15 June 1973. The
Egyptians, he concluded, could not be squeezed any more. It was up
to Israel, he stressed, to ‘show greater willingness to withdraw from the
territories she occupied in 1967’.21
   In explaining why Britain took such a determined stance, which effec-
tively put it at odds with the United States, commentators have pointed
to a range of factors. In a withering critique of European conduct during
the war, Coral Bell contends that Britain’s Arab tilt can be understood
against the traditional bias of the Foreign Office.22 More widely, though,
it is argued that the apparent commitment to the Arab cause served
an ulterior purpose – helping to secure Britain’s place in Europe. Under
Heath, it is observed, there was a progressive Europeanisation of British
policy towards the Middle East. In effect this meant aligning more
closely with France’s pro-Arab posture, which was formalised in the EC’s
first joint pronouncement in May 1971 calling for a fulfilment of Reso-
lution 242. It was no coincidence, then, that with Britain’s membership
imminent, its own proclamations on the Middle East converged with
the Community’s. Leading the opposition, Harold Wilson charged that
174 Allies Apart

British policy was no longer objective since Heath had sought to align it
with the French.23 All of which adds grist to the Kissinger mill.
   However, in light of recently released British documents, it is clear
that there was an even more fundamental issue at stake for Britain in
the Middle East than facilitating its position in Europe – oil. Although
Britain had significant coal reserves and had recently discovered oil in
the North Sea, the bare fact was that in 1973 it still relied on Arab oil for
over half of its energy needs. Moreover, as Heath took on the coal miners
at home as they threatened to strike, a constant flow of oil became even
more critical. In his assessment of British interests in the Middle East,
Anthony Parsons, the assistant under-secretary at the Foreign Office, put
it bluntly: ‘our national interest is far more heavily engaged with the
Arabs than with Israel.’24 His advice to the government was clear: until
Britain was independent from Middle East oil, it should adopt a ‘pro-
Arab’ posture. Drawing on the counsel of officials at the Foreign Office,
Home, in turn, advised the prime minister: ‘We need to continue to
take out insurance policies aimed at protecting our position in the Arab
world, which means giving the Arabs all of the political support we can
at the UN and elsewhere.’25
   However, Foreign Office officials had long recognised that to secure
Britain’s vital interests in the Middle East it was not enough to sim-
ply express support for the Arab position. Without an actual settlement,
they feared that there would be a progressive radicalisation of the Arab
world and corresponding threat to Britain’s oil supply. Britain would
have to be proactive. As indicated, from London’s perspective, the main
obstacle was Israeli intransigence which it was widely assumed could
only be cracked by one thing – the United States. Acting on advice from
the Foreign Office, Heath wrote a strongly worded letter to Nixon outlin-
ing Britain’s main concern. Without directly instructing the president,
Heath presented his views forcefully: ‘I do not think it is over-stating it’,
he warned, ‘to say that, unless Israel can be persuaded to show greater
willingness to withdraw from the territories she occupied in 1967, vital
Western interests will soon be at risk.’26
   When the United States failed to compel Israel, the Arab attack came
as no great surprise in London. As early as May, Middle East analysts
had predicted that Sadat would launch a limited war to break the dead-
lock with Israel and restore his credibility at home.27 When they were
proved right a few months later, British priorities remained the same: to
avoid provoking the Arabs to ‘turn the tap off’ and to work towards a
peace settlement consistent with Resolution 242.28 It was quickly calcu-
lated that the best chance for successful negotiations was if the situation
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   175

could be stabilised in the Golan Heights with Egypt left holding posi-
tions on the east bank of the Suez Canal.29 That way the Israelis would
be forced to talk, which was, after all, Sadat’s aim. It was on the basis
of this reasoning – both long and short-term – that Britain refused to
support America’s proposal calling for the Arabs to return to their pre-
war lines. Against such a fundamental divergence, it was, as Kissinger
concluded, a ‘hint of things to come’.30
   Aside from divisions on how to stop the war, Anglo-American dif-
ferences also quickly emerged in relation to the supply of arms to the
region. Following the Arab attack, Washington received requests from
Israel for key items including ammunition, 40 Phantom airplanes and,
most critically of all, Sidewinder missiles.31 Although the Israelis had
come to assume US support, Kissinger was anxious to maintain a low
profile in order to avoid alienating the Arabs and provoking the Soviets.
A compromise was struck: as a means of boosting Israeli morale with-
out necessarily drawing unwanted attention, on the night of 7 October,
Israel was allowed to collect 80 Sidewinder missiles and bomb racks
from the Oceana Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia, using unmarked El
Al commercial planes.32
   In contrast, the British government implemented an immediate
embargo on all arms to both sides.33 At the time and thereafter, the
prime minister and foreign secretary presented the move as a ‘genuinely
even-handed’ policy designed to end the fighting and preserve British
neutrality.34 In reality, though, Israel was hit hardest, since it relied
on British spare parts and ammunition for its Centurion tanks which
bore the brunt of its defence effort. The key point for Britain was that,
without the embargo, it would have been in the position of dispropor-
tionately supplying Israel, which the government was anxious to avoid.
All of which, as the veteran journalist John Dickie concludes, can only
have added to the sense of Anglo-American division.35

The failed ceasefire

Events on the ground soon outpaced the faltering diplomacy at the
UN. Against all expectations, by the end of the first day of fighting,
the Egyptians had managed to breach Israeli defences, pouring some
100,000 men and 1000 tanks across the Suez Canal; in the north, Syria
had thrown over 700 tanks onto the Golan Plateau. Meanwhile, the
Israelis were still struggling to mobilise. When they attempted a counter-
attack on 8 October in the Sinai, they failed to dislodge the Egyptian
army and suffered heavy losses. By 9 October, the expectation of a quick
176 Allies Apart

and crushing Israeli victory had faded. Some even began to think the
unthinkable – that Israel would be defeated.
   Against this ominous tide of events, the United States faced mount-
ing pressures to intervene. Following heavy losses on the battlefield, Tel
Aviv made repeated and increasingly desperate appeals for help. Early on
the morning of 9 October, Israel’s ambassador, Simcha Dinitz, relayed
a distress signal from his leader. Golda Meir put it bluntly: without
US supplies in consumables and planes, her country faced ruin.36 The
following day Kissinger woke to even more alarming news – the Soviets
had launched an airlift to Syria.37 Although, as Lebow and Stein con-
clude, it was intended as defensive measure to avert Arab disaster and
defer calls for more direct intervention, Kissinger recalls how in his mind
it marked the beginning of a direct Soviet challenge in the region.38
   With Israel now facing a Soviet backed defeat, there was, from
Kissinger’s point of view, a clear and urgent need to influence events
on the ground – both to save Israel and to protect the regional bal-
ance of power. However, he was confronted with a dilemma: on the
one hand, he recognised that US intervention was imperative; on the
other, he did not want to aid an Arab humiliation or be caught overtly
supporting Israel, since it would provoke the Soviets to intensify their
own efforts and ruin his chances as peacemaker. In the end, facing resis-
tance from the Pentagon and fears of provoking the Arabs, the White
House decided to launch a modest re-supply effort using civilian charter
planes to disguise the operation.39
   A curious situation had developed between the superpowers. As both
Washington and Moscow professed their desire to end the fighting, they
now embarked on efforts to keep it going. Neither wanted to jeopardise
détente; but nor could they be seen to abandon their allies, especially
when they feared the actions of the other. With the risks of interven-
tion so high, both turned again to diplomacy. This time the initiative
came from the Soviets. On 10 October, Dobrynin relayed a message from
Brezhnev that Moscow would not stand in the way of a ceasefire at the
UN. He suggested that if a third party could be persuaded to put for-
ward a proposal, the Soviet Union and United States could abstain. The
plan, Dobrynin assured Kissinger, had Egypt’s full support. By 12 Octo-
ber, Washington had Israel’s reluctant agreement that they too would
accept a ceasefire in place.40
   The question now was who could be convinced to instigate the
plan. Despite previous disappointment, Kissinger once again turned to
Britain. Following the initial setback, the stakes for the Anglo-American
relationship were high.
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   177

   The initial contacts seemed promising. When Kissinger first
approached Cromer early on the evening of 12 October, assuring him
that the plan had both the Soviets’ and Egyptians’ backing, he found the
British ambassador to be personally in favour of the idea. It seemed to
him to be both a ‘sensible thing to do’ and a role that Britain could ‘use-
fully play’.41 Moreover, Heath and Home, who were at the Conservative
party conference in Blackpool, were also initially receptive. Their prior-
ity, after all, was to bring an end to the fighting as quickly as possible
in order to safeguard Britain’s energy needs. Home instructed Cromer
to inform Kissinger that both he and the prime minister were ‘very
interested in these proposals’.42
   There was, however, one crucial doubt about the whole scheme –
whether Egypt would really comply. On the basis of the most recent
information, Home was doubtful. On 7 October, Sadat had made clear
to the British ambassador in Cairo, Sir Philip Adams, that the only
circumstances under which he would consider a ceasefire and peace con-
ference was a prior commitment from Israel to withdraw from all of the
occupied territories.43 Given that British interests were tied to the Arab
position, any proposal that deviated from Sadat’s conditions held little
appeal in London.
   Over the next two days, the British found themselves in a tricky situa-
tion as they attempted to parry Kissinger’s efforts while trying to clarify
the Egyptian position. Kissinger grew impatient, warning Cromer, ‘if
I can’t get [you] to introduce the resolution, we will pour in supplies and
see when the battle breaks.’44 It was, Cromer reflected, a ‘very awkward
position’. At the same time as being confronted with the responsibility
for containing the conflict, he noted, ‘We are being asked to act as an
American stalking-horse with the Arabs, and of course risk bearing the
brunt of Arab unpopularity.’45
   Having met with Sadat that afternoon, Adams was able to confirm
that Egypt’s basic position had not changed.46 It seemed, then, that the
Soviets had either been misinformed or were tricking Kissinger. That
evening, on his return from Blackpool, Heath called a number of advis-
ers to Chequers to make a final decision on the American proposal. Their
conclusion was unanimous: given that there was now little doubt that
Sadat would reject a simple ceasefire in place, Britain could not be party
to it.47
   It was left to Home to inform Kissinger. ‘The time is not right for
an initiative’, he explained, promising only to let Washington know
if Sadat’s position changed. Kissinger did not take it well. Without a
ceasefire, he predicted, ‘there will be the need for a massive re-supply’.
178 Allies Apart

‘Then’, he warned, ‘the fat will be in the fire and we will all suffer.’48
Following his ill-tempered exchange with Home, Kissinger summoned
Cromer to his office to further vent his frustration. The president, he
reported angrily, had also taken the news extremely badly. ‘When we
look back over the crises of the last three years, we just don’t seem to
be able to get together’, he bemoaned. British obstinacy, he warned, was
driving events to confrontation.49
   It is clear, though, that Kissinger was playing up his anger. It turns
out that he had not yet spoken to the president, but, as he often did,
was invoking his authority to make a point. Moreover, he later admit-
ted that he was stretching the truth when he had linked the start of the
airlift to Britain’s failure to support the ceasefire initiative – it had, after
all, already begun.50 In the end, Kissinger was forced to concede that he
had in fact been acting on faulty information from Moscow all along.
In response to his suggestion to use the Australians instead of the British,
Dobrynin reported that Moscow had now given up on the whole exer-
cise, since it had transpired that Sadat was not prepared to go along with
a simple ceasefire after all. In a rare admission, Kissinger acknowledged
to Cromer that he had misread Arab intentions. With evident satisfac-
tion, the ambassador reported back to London that Kissinger was ‘now,
finally convinced that we could not have succeeded with the resolution
against Egyptian wishes’.51
   Nevertheless, Kissinger still seemed genuinely exasperated by Britain’s
behaviour. Briefing Nixon on the whole episode, he maintained that
the British attitude was ‘basically lousy’. Rather than attempting to exert
their influence on Sadat, he complained, they were just ‘passively sitting
there’.52 Even worse, as Britain turned its back on the United States, it
pursued its own initiative with the French. Under pressure from London
and Paris, on 13 October the European Council of Ministers issued an
invitation to both sides to a ceasefire and the opening of negotiations
based on Resolution 242 while offering their own assistance. Kissinger
thought it a disgrace – the Europeans, he charged, were practically
egging the Arabs on. He later groused that America’s principal allies had
behaved like ‘jackals’ over the whole affair.53
   Despite protests from Washington, the British felt vindicated. In the
final analysis, they believed that theirs was a more realistic approach,
since as events had shown they had been acting on more reliable infor-
mation from Cairo than either of the superpowers.54 From the British
perspective, it was US behaviour that had raised cause for concern. For
Cromer, the whole episode reflected an absence of forward planning in
Washington. In a damning critique of US policy he reported that ‘there
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   179

is a complete lack of medium thinking at the highest levels.’ ‘There
is nothing’, he continued, ‘between day to day thinking (which cur-
rently seems to be most dangerous) and the grandiose global designs
with which you are wholly familiar and are not entirely relevant to the
Middle East.’55 Furthermore, there was a growing feeling that Britain was
being used as a stalking horse in the Middle East and a pawn between
the superpowers. Lord Balniel, minister of state at the Foreign Office,
asked why, if the Americans and Russians were so worried, could they
not agree to take their own action. It was a sentiment shared by the
prime minister. The problem, it seemed, was that when it counted they
did not trust each other. ‘It would be ridiculous for us all to be exposed
to a Third World War because they could not control themselves’, Heath
railed.56 As subsequent events showed, this was a forewarning of things
to come.

The airlift

As a ceasefire proved elusive, the US and Soviet airlifts took on a dan-
gerous new momentum. Having made an initial 20 flights to Damascus,
by 13 October, Moscow was sending up to 90 planeloads of supplies per
day and had extended its effort to Egypt. Despite several approaches to
Dobrynin, Kissinger failed to convince Moscow to curb its operations.
In his mind, Soviet actions presented an unmistakable challenge in the
region and to the global balance. It was essential, he resolved, to meet it
head on.57
   However, there was still considerable debate in Washington over the
appropriate scale of any US response. Although the Pentagon now recog-
nised that a full-blown airlift was necessary, it feared an Arab backlash
and proposed sending just three C-5A transport planes. At this point the
president stepped in. Despite his continued preoccupation with events
at home – having just managed the resignation of Agnew, he now faced
a direct challenge to his own authority with a court order to release the
White House tapes – Nixon appeared to be clear-sighted on the matter.
‘This is bigger than the Middle East’, he told his colleagues at a WSAG
meeting. If Soviet-supported operations managed to succeed against
American-supported operations, he warned, US credibility around the
world would be ‘severely shaken’.58 By the president’s reckoning, it was
essential that the United States go all out. In any case, he reasoned, ‘we
are going to get blamed just as much for three planes as for 300.’59 He
was certain: ‘By golly no matter how big they are. Just go gun ho.’60
In the end, Nixon’s view prevailed. That afternoon 30 C-130 transport
180 Allies Apart

planes departed for Israel beginning Operation Nickel Grass – an effort
that would turn out to be bigger than the Berlin airlift. The US–Soviet
contest had begun in earnest.
   Having failed to win support in its attempt to launch a ceasefire with
the Soviet Union, the United States now turned to its European allies
to facilitate its airlift. To help re-supply Israel, the United States needed
logistical support, primarily in the form of bases to refuel. However, once
again, Kissinger found his European partners wanting. One by one, all
of them – except Portugal and Holland – refused the United States use
of their bases and airspace. The Middle East, it was argued, fell out-
side NATO’s jurisdiction. In the end, Britain was not even approached,
since the Foreign Office had already made it clear that it would refuse if
   It is widely held that the decision marked one of the low-points
for the Anglo-American relationship. Alan Dobson contends that the
airlift caused the ‘most serious difference between the two countries’
during the whole Middle East crisis, while the Times correspondent
Henry Brandon even claims that Kissinger had to call planes back in
mid air when he got ‘Heath’s no’.62 Having assumed the support of
its closest ally, it was an embarrassing experience – as one commen-
tator put it, almost the Suez crisis in reverse.63 More recently, though,
it has been argued that the extent to which Britain’s decision caused a
genuine rift between the allies has been overstated. First, British bases
were never essential to the airlift. It was only later that US officials con-
sidered using RAF Mildenhall, but merely as a fallback to relieve the
congested base in the Azores. Second, Kissinger was loath to widen
the operations and draw additional attention to the US operations,
anyway.64 Finally, though, to focus on the airlift obscures the real source
of Anglo-American tensions – disagreement over the ceasefire.
   Nevertheless, it would seem reasonable to assume that Britain’s
pointed refusal to assist with the airlift undoubtedly heightened the
feeling in Washington that it had been deserted by its closest ally.
It certainly reflected a determined policy difference on Heath’s part. He
warned his cabinet that Britain would be ‘powerless to help’ in negoti-
ations if they sacrificed relations with Egypt by being in any way asso-
ciated with the support of Israel.65 As Kissinger recalled, ‘disassociation
from us was accelerating.’66
   Once Parliament resumed after the summer recess on 16 October,
there was a heated debate over British policy in the Middle East. Home
staunchly defended the government’s approach as one of genuine and
necessary neutrality. With the superpowers directly engaged in the
Middle East, he argued, now more than ever, Britain was in a position to
                                                  The Middle East Crisis   181

act as an honest broker between the warring sides. ‘We are perhaps the
country of all in the world best able to do this’, he maintained.67 Oth-
ers were not convinced, arguing that Home’s professions of impartiality
were bogus and that there was nothing noble about British policy at
all. In the most withering denunciation of the day, Conservative MP
John Gorst proclaimed that Britain was creeping into ‘frightened neu-
trality’. The reason was obvious – the government was cowering in the
face of the ‘oily blackmail of the Arabs’. This, he charged, is ‘the reverse
of statesmanship’.68 Kissinger could not have put it better himself.
   To a large extent, these criticisms, though harsh, were fair – whatever
its pretensions to be honest broker, the underlying factor guiding the
Heath government’s policy in the Middle East was a concern to avoid
provoking an Arab assault on Britain’s oil supplies. As the US airlift
to Israel increased, so these fears grew. On 15 October, Heath made
plain his anxiety in a letter to Nixon: ‘I am seriously concerned’,
he stressed, ‘about the grave situation we are facing over supplies
and prices.’69
   As it turned out, he had good reason to be. The following afternoon
the Saudi deputy foreign minister, Muhammad Masoud, summoned the
five representatives of the EC present in Jedda. In light of the US air-
lift, he explained, King Faisal had decided to warn them that if they
did not bring pressure to bear on the Americans to adopt a more even-
handed policy in the Arab–Israeli dispute, Saudi Arabia would cut oil
production.70 With no sign of an end to the airlift, the Arabs finally
struck. After a two-day meeting in Kuwait, on 17 October they unilater-
ally increased the price of oil by 70 per cent from $3.01 to $5.11 a barrel
and imposed a rolling embargo whereby production was to be reduced
by 5 per cent a month until Israel withdrew to its pre-1967 borders. The
measures hit the Europeans hardest. Peter Walker, the secretary for trade
and industry, informed the Cabinet that they would add £420 million to
the United Kingdom’s balance of payments.71 Much worse would follow.
   Against this spiralling course of events, the Atlantic rift deepened.
Both sides now believed they had good reason to criticise the other.
By Kissinger’s reckoning, Britain’s refusal to support the ceasefire had
made the US airlift necessary. Now, though, from London’s perspective,
the US airlift had provoked the very thing it feared most – an Arab oil
   It was in this heavy atmosphere that the North Atlantic Council met
for the first time during the crisis. Having been instructed to take a ‘stiff
line’ by Kissinger, US representative Donald Rumsfeld opened the first
session with a statement calling on his counterparts to take a number
of actions against the Soviet Union, including threatening to suspend
182 Allies Apart

NATO involvement in the talks on the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) negotiations, economic sanctions and a
review of their own agreements with Moscow.72 It left the allies troubled.
The representatives from France and Belgium, de Rose and de Staerck,
led the charge, questioning whether US actions would really produce
its professed aims. De Staerck asked portentously if we are ‘on the eve
of another Cuban crisis?’73 There was also widespread resentment at
the fact that now the United States had engaged in a contest with the
Soviets, the Europeans were being asked to sacrifice their own relations
with Moscow. The unifying theme amongst the allies, though, was that
they were being kept in the dark. Speaking in more measured tones, Sir
Edward Peck, the British representative, said that it would be difficult
to consult meaningfully without better knowledge of Soviet intentions
and of what had passed between Washington and Moscow.74
   Britain’s bilateral exchanges were fairing no better. Back in London,
Home was anxious to know more about the high-level contacts between
Washington and Moscow.75 But when Cromer met with Kissinger the
following evening, he found it impossible to get a full account of his
dealings with the Soviets.76 It was a frustrating experience for America’s
closest ally.
   Meanwhile, the war on the ground had begun to change direction.
The turning point came on 14 October when Egypt launched a massive
tank offensive in an attempt to finally break the Israelis in the Sinai.
Despite Sadat’s claims that it was one of the most glorious battles in Arab
history, it ended in catastrophic losses for Egypt. By 16 October Israel
was on the counter-attack and had breached the Suez Canal. The 20,000-
strong Egyptian Third Army was left stranded on the Sinai Peninsula and
was being gradually encircled by the Israelis. It was, Lebow and Stein
conclude, a ticking time bomb.77
   Facing the prospect of an Arab disaster, the Soviets began to push
the pace of diplomacy anew. On 18 October, Brezhnev sent an urgent
message to Washington requesting a ceasefire; the following morning
he suggested that Kissinger visit Moscow for emergency talks. Between
21–22 October, the superpowers – as their airlifts reached new heights –
negotiated an end to the fighting. With news that Sadat was now ready
to accept an unconditional ceasefire in place following Israeli advances
on Cairo, Brezhnev agreed to American terms. Early on 22 October the
UN Security Council passed Resolution 338 which called for an imme-
diate ceasefire and the start of peace talks. For all their intense rivalry,
then, the two superpowers had managed to jointly negotiate an end to
the fighting – the feeling would not last long.
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   183

  On his way back from Moscow, Kissinger made what turned out to
be a fateful stop in Tel Aviv. He found the Israelis incensed by the
US–Soviet diktat, since they were sure that with just an extra two or
three days fighting they could finish off the Egyptians. In an ill-judged
attempt to appease Meir and gain support for the ceasefire, Kissinger
granted the Israelis some leeway – what he later described as a ‘few
hours slippage’.78 In reality, though, it was an open invitation to keep
on fighting. ‘You won’t get violent protests from Washington if some-
thing happens during the night [of 22–23 October], while I’m flying’,
he granted. ‘If they don’t stop, we won’t’, Meir replied. ‘Even if they
do . . . ’, he winked back.79 Whether out of desperation, conceit or just
plain fatigue, Kissinger’s green light to the Israelis would have grave

The alert

Kissinger returned to Washington from his mission to Moscow to find
the president facing disaster at home. In the days he had been negotiat-
ing a ceasefire in the Middle East, Watergate had flared up with renewed
intensity. Nixon was resisting mounting pressures to release the White
House tapes, publicly proclaiming that their disclosure would pose a
threat to national security and be an affront to the constitutional pow-
ers of the presidency; privately, he feared – with good reason – that they
would implicate him in the cover-up of the initial break-in.
   Things came dramatically to a head on 20 October when the pres-
ident fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox who had insisted that
the tapes be released, and Attorney General Richardson and Deputy
Attorney General William Ruckelshaw resigned in protest. Years later,
Nixon defended the move on the basis of events in the Middle East:
‘I thought of Brezhnev and how it would look to the Soviets if in the
midst of a diplomatic showdown with them I were in a position of
having to defer to the demands of my own employees.’80 At the time,
though, what became dubbed the ‘Saturday night massacre’ brought
Nixon’s reputation crashing down at home. It was widely portrayed as
the last desperate act of a mad tyrant who was prepared to go to any
lengths to save his own back. That night his approval ratings fell to
17 per cent which was unprecedented for any president. Over the next
days, Nixon was subject to savage attacks in the press – six newspapers
that had previously been staunch supporters now called for his resig-
nation. Then, on 23 October, eight resolutions of impeachment were
submitted to the House of Representatives. Finally, under irresistible
184 Allies Apart

pressures, Nixon agreed to the release of the tapes. ‘It was’, he recalls,
‘a wrenching decision for me.’81
   With the president reeling over Watergate, events in the Middle
East took an ominous turn. As Kissinger flew home, the ceasefire
began to unravel. With his consent, the Israelis had kept on fighting.
Egypt formally complained about the violations and, with the Third
Army now completely cut-off, Sadat made a personal plea to Nixon.
On the afternoon of 23 October, a new resolution was passed. However,
the fighting still continued and Israel pushed on to Suez City. With the
Arabs facing the disaster Kissinger was so anxious to avoid, he made a
concerted and ultimately successful effort to compel Israel to observe
the ceasefire. In the meantime, though, news reached Cairo that UN
observers sent to enforce the agreement were being stopped by Israeli
forces. Sadat now turned to both the superpowers. On the afternoon of
24 October, in a desperate bid to save the Third Army, he announced
on radio that Egypt was requesting a meeting of the Security Council to
ask that the Soviet Union and United States send forces to the Middle
East to oversee the ceasefire. Nixon immediately rejected the proposal:
‘Should the two great nuclear powers be called upon to provide forces,’
he warned, ‘it would introduce an extremely dangerous potential for
direct great-power rivalry in the area.’82
   The Soviets seized on the idea, though. Later that evening, Kissinger
received news from Dobrynin that Moscow was ready to support the
joint mission. For Kissinger, the plan was unthinkable, since it would
have sanctioned the very thing that he was determined to prevent – a
renewed Soviet military presence in the Middle East. As Kissinger saw it,
the Kremlin had ‘decided on a showdown’.83
   That night, events moved to a dramatic climax. Just before 10.00 p.m.,
Dobrynin called Kissinger with a note from Brezhnev that confirmed
Soviet intentions. It stipulated that a joint Soviet-American force be sent
to the Middle East without delay. The message ended on a harsh peremp-
tory note: ‘I will say it straight that if you find it impossible to act jointly
with us in this matter, we should be faced with the necessity urgently
to consider the question of taking appropriate steps unilaterally.’84 For
Kissinger, it was a clear ultimatum. You only had to read it, Haig recalled,
to know that we had ‘World War III in the making’.85
   It was an extraordinary moment in Washington. As Kissinger faced
up to what he saw as one of America’s most acute crises, the presi-
dent, battered by Watergate, was in bed asleep – probably having drunk
too much – and it was decided to leave him undisturbed. With Nixon
out of it, it fell to the unelected czar of US foreign policy to lead
                                                  The Middle East Crisis   185

Washington’s response. Kissinger called an emergency meeting of key
officials at 10.30 p.m. Over the next three hours, he met in the White
House Situation room with his new deputy, Brent Scowcroft, Defence
Secretary James Schlesinger, Haig, who was now White House chief of
staff, CIA Director William Colby and Joint Chief of Staff Chairman
Thomas Moorer. On the basis of recent intelligence reports, it seemed
to Kissinger and his team that the Soviets were ready to act. Soviet
transport aircraft used in the Arab airlift had been diverted to staging
bases of seven airborne divisions in the Soviet Union, which – by their
interpretation – suggested that they were preparing to send forces into
the battlefield.86 ‘In our perception’, Kissinger contends, ‘it was a clear
emergency and it fell to us to act as custodians of Western security.’87
   At Kissinger’s suggestion, it was decided to raise the alert of US forces
around the world to indicate America’s readiness – and willingness –
to act. At 11.41 p.m., before any word was sent to the Soviets, Moorer
ordered US military commands to upgrade to DefCon III, which was the
highest state of alert during peacetime. To reinforce the move, the 82nd
Airborne division was also placed on alert and aircraft carriers were sent
towards the Eastern Mediterranean. Détente, it seemed, was fast moving
towards confrontation.
   In the end, though, despite – or, as some would argue, because of –
the grave implications of US posturing, a standoff was averted. In an
apparent back down, Brezhnev now agreed to send a joint group of
observers, rather than armed forces, to the Middle East. Later that day,
the Pentagon announced that the alert would end at midnight, quickly
dispelling the spectre of a US–Soviet confrontation. Moreover, over the
next two days a new ceasefire finally took hold and the Arab–Israeli war
was brought to a formal conclusion on 28 October. With no clear win-
ner, it had been an immensely costly and deeply scarring battle for both
sides. It was these conditions, though, that opened up the best chance
for negotiations and, ultimately, peace.
   Ever since the dramatic finale to the conflict, there has been a polar-
ising debate within and outside the United States over the wisdom and
consequences of the alert. Unsurprisingly, Nixon and Kissinger offered
the most vigorous defence. On the day of the alert itself, Kissinger con-
fidently assured the press that ‘it will be seen that the President had
no other choice as a national leader.’88 The following day, Nixon made
his own public statement in which, despite having played no role, he
likened the whole episode to the Cuban missile crisis. Once again, when
it came to the crunch, the United States, he maintained, had held its
nerve against the Soviets and prevailed. In the end, Kissinger argues,
186 Allies Apart

the threat of force had been essential to preventing a confrontation.
‘The Soviets’, he concluded, ‘subsided as soon as we showed our teeth.’89
Somewhat paradoxically, both men also claimed a victory for détente.
At his press conference, Nixon attributed the peaceful resolution of
the crisis to his good relationship with Brezhnev: ‘without détente, we
might have had a major conflict in the Middle East. With détente, we
avoided it.’90
   Overall, though, commentators and historians have subsequently
taken a much more critical view. The central charge is that the decision
was based on a fundamental misreading of Soviet intentions. On the
basis of extensive interviews with Soviet officials, Lebow and Stein
conclude that neither Brezhnev nor his closest advisers ever seriously
considered unilateral intervention. According to Gromyko, the final line
of the message – which he drafted – was added by Brezhnev at the last
minute out of frustration with what he correctly saw as Kissinger’s collu-
sion with the Israelis.91 Even if Kissinger had genuinely believed that the
Soviets were preparing to move, it is argued that the alert was an inap-
propriate response and dangerously provocative: it was implemented
before the Soviets were sent any reply to Brezhnev’s original message;
and, moreover, there was scant consideration given to what the United
States would do next if Moscow did not back down.
   Others allege that the alert had little to do with concerns over the
Soviet threat, whether apparent or real. Writing in The New York Times,
the historian John Plumb suggested that the alert belonged to the ‘vener-
able tradition of absolutist monarchs’ who used foreign affairs to distract
attention from problems at home.92 Officials across the world joined in
the speculation. Unsurprisingly, Jobert was the most vocal in making
the connection. The Washington Post reported that the Australian prime
minister, Gough Whitlam, admitted that he too believed that Nixon had
called the alert for ‘domestic political consumption’.93
   In the light of US documents, it seems that the reality lies somewhere
in between these contending claims. While on the one hand it is clear
that the domestic context and a misreading of Soviet actions impacted
decision-making in Washington, on the other hand, it appears that the
alert was directed against Moscow. At the same time, though, it was
intended to be much more discreet. Although, in retrospect, it seems
clear that Brezhnev’s threat to act unilaterally was a bluff, Kissinger
maintains, with some candour, that there could be no certainty of this
in Washington at the time. As the alert was relaxed, he made clear to
Haig the anxieties that had motivated it: ‘We came as close to Soviet
military intervention as we can get.’94 When Brezhnev retreated from
                                                   The Middle East Crisis   187

his ultimatum, it was viewed by Kissinger first and foremost as a victory
over Moscow rather than a domestic hit: ‘We have won’, he crowed
to Haig.95 Summarising the whole episode, he concluded, ‘They [the
Soviets] played chicken with us and they lost.’96
   Yet, despite feeling privately triumphant, Kissinger was concerned
that the alert had been overplayed in public. While he had intended to
send a clear signal to the Soviets, he had not wanted to publicly humili-
ate them. Following Nixon’s press conference in which he had compared
the whole episode to the Cuban missile crisis, Kissinger was disconso-
late. ‘That crazy bastard really made a mess with the Russians’, he fumed
to Haig. Kissinger agreed that it had been the worst crisis since Cuba,
‘but why rub their faces in it’, he protested. The president’s remarks
were a potential disaster, he concluded: ‘They [the Soviets] cannot stand
public humiliation.’97
   Kissinger was right. Whatever the exact motives of the alert, it did last-
ing damage to relations with Moscow. Although Brezhnev was also keen
to play up détente, in private he was deeply angered by the alert. In a let-
ter to Nixon, he complained bitterly that it had undermined their trust
and produced a ‘credibility crisis’ in their relationship. Over the next
few days, in an attempt to repair relations, Nixon and Kissinger privately
admitted to the Soviets that the alert had been a mistake. ‘Please inform
the General Secretary’, Nixon instructed Dobrynin, ‘that as long as I live
and hold the office of president I will never allow a real confronta-
tion with the Soviet Union.’ Despite Nixon and Kissinger’s attempts to
soften the Soviets, Dobrynin maintains that the episode ‘definitely dam-
aged the trust between the leadership of both countries’.98 According to
Lebow and Stein, it marked the ‘beginning of the end of détente’.99
   The alert also resulted in a major fall out across the Atlantic. Accord-
ing to Dickie it caused the ‘worst twenty-four hours in many years’ for
the alliance.100 The main issue from Europe’s perspective was the lack of
consultation. Despite the fact that the alert included American strategic
forces stationed in Europe, the allies were only notified ten hours after
it had come into effect. This fell far short of the official NATO guide-
lines that stipulated that any such action should, if possible, be ‘closely
coordinated’ with other members of the alliance.101 When Rumsfeld met
with the allies the following day to brief them on the measures, he found
them highly charged. ‘Will the US in time of crisis seek a closer consul-
tation with the Soviet Union than its allies?’, de Rose sniped. In view
of the most recent events, he questioned whether it made any sense
to seek to work towards an Atlantic Declaration that emphasised the
value of consultations. The Belgian and Italian representatives followed
188 Allies Apart

suit. De Staerck underlined the feeling that the United States had abro-
gated its responsibilities to the alliance: ‘if there is a question of military
action being taken by one ally which might have consequences on all
of the others, there is not only a duty, but a legal and moral obligation
to consult.’102
   For many in Europe, the experience pointed to one conclusion:
against the backdrop of a dysfunctional Atlantic Alliance and an over-
bearing and volatile superpower relationship, the members of the EC
would have to concert their own views and efforts more closely.103
France led calls to make their feelings collectively known to the United
States. On 26 October, at Pompidou’s suggestion, the Nine suspended all
work on the Atlantic Declaration in protest at the US conduct.
   For his part, Kissinger felt that the Europeans’ reaction simply demon-
strated their joint weakness and disloyalty. In his mind, the lack of
consultation should not have been the issue. Given the pace of events,
he argued that it would have been impossible to consult all of the allies
without totally undermining the US ability to effectively respond to
the Soviet challenge. His overriding point, though, was that the alert
had served the interests of Western security. The Europeans, he insisted,
‘should have been relieved at our action’. The fact that not only did they
fail to endorse the alert but had openly criticised it came as a bitter pill.
‘I think that the behaviour of our European allies puts our alliance in
jeopardy’, he warned Cromer.104 Kissinger was not alone. Allied conduct
was subjected to close scrutiny in the press. The Washington Star captured
widely held sentiments: ‘When it appeared that the US and Soviet Union
were going eyeball-to-eyeball again, leaders of most NATO countries
struck timid “we’re not in that mess” postures.’105
   Once again, Kissinger felt most let down by his closest ally. For him,
Britain had been a special case. It was the only ally to be informed
about the alert before the Soviets. Shortly after 1.00 a.m. – ten hours
before the other allies were contacted – Kissinger called Cromer to give
news of the Soviet ultimatum and outline the US response.106 ‘It was’,
Kissinger reflected, ‘a classic example of the special relationship.’107
Despite difficulties with the prime minister and divergences over the
Middle East, he explained, ‘we shared our information with the British
as a matter of course.’108 To his dismay, though, even after such special
treatment, Britain still refused to endorse the alert and joined the
Europeans in criticising it. Once again, under Heath, Britain had failed
to reciprocate America’s gestures of specialness. Christopher Hill and
Christopher Lord even claim that Heath’s attitude brought to a head
an incipient rift with Home over relations with Washington. While the
                                                   The Middle East Crisis   189

prime minister was openly critical of the Americans, Home is said to
have been anxious to contain British displeasure.109
   However, in the light of recently released documents, it is evident
that, at the time, Britain’s view of events surrounding the alert was quite
different to the one painted years later. As will be shown, there was
neither a feeling that the United States had placed any real import on
consultations with London, nor the sense that the alert had driven rela-
tions with Washington to an ‘all-time low’, as Hill and Lord suggest.110
Instead, there was a fairly sober assessment of US conduct and the
impact of the alert. All in all, there was some appreciation of the fact
that Britain had been given special treatment, but there was also suspi-
cion as to why. Ultimately, British officials widely shared many of their
European partners’ concerns.
   The first question that can be asked is whether Kissinger’s approach to
Cromer really constituted a genuine case of the ‘special relationship’ or
was inspired by another agenda. If Kissinger’s own definition – ‘a pattern
of consultation so matter-of-factly intimate’111 – is taken as the measure,
then it is clear that his contacts with the British fell far short. Although
Kissinger called Cromer before he contacted the Soviets, it was, never-
theless, still after the alert came into effect – Britain was given no chance
to influence it. In short, Kissinger was not looking for the British ambas-
sador’s opinion but his acquiescence. The point, then, was that Kissinger
was not acting out of deference to the ‘special relationship’, but with a
firm purpose in mind. What he wanted from Britain, he stressed, was
‘very strong support’.112
   As it happened, though, there was a crucial breakdown in commu-
nications in London which meant that Cromer’s message conveying
details of the alert did not reach Downing Street or the Foreign Office
until after Parliament had met later that day.113 Consequently, when
Home appeared before the House of Commons his only knowledge was
from the press. Facing a volley of probing questions and sharp criti-
cisms of the US move, he could do little more than express his own
concern. Having condemned the alert for being an over-reaction and
danger to world peace, James Callaghan, the shadow foreign secretary,
asked whether the government had been consulted about the status of
the US Air Force operating in Britain.114 Unaware of Cromer’s message,
Home had to admit that he could not answer this basic question. Sev-
eral MPs then challenged the entire basis of the alert. Labour MP Eric
Heffer claimed to speak for many when he speculated that the Soviet
proposal was ‘mythical’ and that US policy had ‘much more to do with
President Nixon’s internal difficulties’ than with the situation in the
190 Allies Apart

Middle East.115 Even in the face of such a brazen attack, Home failed
to defend the president let alone the alert. All he could do was join in
the hope that the Soviet threat was spurious and wait for more infor-
mation from Washington. It was hardly the performance Kissinger was
looking for.
  When Home finally received Cromer’s message, however, he was
clearly impressed by news of the Soviet ultimatum and took a much
tougher view than he had earlier. He wanted Kissinger to know,
he replied, that he took Brezhnev’s statement seriously. If Brezhnev
believed that an Arab humiliation was imminent, Home reasoned, then
he might feel obliged to intervene unilaterally to save the Egyptians as
well as his own prestige and that of the Soviet Union.116
  For Kissinger, though, it was too late – the damage had already been
done, or, at least, the moment had been lost. He called Cromer the fol-
lowing day to make clear his displeasure. ‘The Europeans’, he warned,
‘have to face the fact that the President is fed up.’117 A few days later both
Kissinger and, apparently, Nixon were even more pained to read reports
in The New York Times that Heath had pointedly refused to endorse
the alert. ‘We kept you better informed than any other government’,
Kissinger observed. ‘The painful fact’, he groused, ‘is that not one of the
European allies said anything in support.’118
  To some extent, as Cromer protested, Kissinger’s remarks were unfair,
since a number of British officials had defended the alert. While his
colleagues on the North Atlantic Council had been uniformly criti-
cal, especially about the lack of consultation, the British representative,
Edward Peck, had expressed sympathy for America’s predicament. Hav-
ing once been in an analogous position, he conceded, Britain could
well appreciate the need for secrecy to get results. Under certain cir-
cumstances he argued, there simply had to be ‘one hand on the driving
wheel – not fifteen’.119
  On the whole, though, British views were much less understanding.
The real reason that London failed to give the alert its full backing
was not the delay in communications but the feeling, on reflection,
that it had been an overreaction and damaging to the alliance. To be
sure, Heath was one of its most ardent critics. In a minute to his
private secretary for overseas affairs, Lord Bridges, he recorded his bewil-
derment at how any initiative by the Soviets, whether apparent or
real, warranted such an extreme measure. His main concern, though,
was that it had done ‘immense harm’ both in Britain and worldwide.
Within his constituency he had encountered considerable alarm at the
fact that the Americans would have been able to make use of their
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   191

forces in Britain without consultation or considering British interests.120
Given these deep misgivings, he asked for a detailed report on the
whole affair. On the two key questions – whether the United States
had any justification for raising the alert and, if so, whether it was
appropriate – the assessment staff at the Cabinet Office were doubt-
ful. Although it seemed that there had been some legitimate grounds
for concern and the possibility that the Soviets were ready to inter-
vene could not be discounted, Brezhnev’s ultimatum was judged too
vague to assume that intervention was his next move. The authors
concluded somewhat euphemistically that ‘we are inclined to see that
the US response was higher than necessary to achieve the desired
   On the issue of consultation, it was widely felt that Britain and, in
particular, the other NATO allies had been badly let down by the White
House. The episode compared unfavourably to the Cuban missile cri-
sis when Kennedy had at least sent special envoys to all the major
European capitals to explain US policy. By comparison, Rumsfeld’s brief-
ing to the North Atlantic Council seemed perfunctory. When it came
to the US performance vis-à-vis its allies, Cromer judged it ‘lamentable’.
‘When all is said’, the ambassador concluded, ‘American suspicion, arro-
gance, bad temper and unwillingness to use the admittedly cumbrous
US diplomatic machine to inform and consult their allies, are wholly
deplorable.’122 The main problem, then, as concluded in The New York
Times, was that it had been a ‘one-man show’. Under Kissinger, the State
Department’s facilities, which could have been deployed to keep allied
governments better informed, were left dormant.123 One Washington
observer asked why the president could not have telephoned his main
allies as the alert was implemented, which would have enabled them
to tell their parliaments that they knew exactly what he was doing and
why.124 One answer was that the president was out of it.
   In some ways, though, the question of whether the allies should
have been given a few extra hours notice is a moot point, since this
would not have amounted to what they felt was their due – genuine
consultation. Moreover, allied criticisms went beyond the issue of con-
sultation, portraying the alert as a dangerous over-reaction. In the
event, then, consultation would have probably led to confrontation
within the alliance. Despite later conceding that it was a mistake not
to give the allies more notice, at the time Kissinger made plain his views
on the value of consultation to Cromer: ‘We could have consulted to the
devil and back with the Europeans and they would have not changed
one iota.’125
192 Allies Apart

   For many in Europe, the alert and spectre of confrontation that it
raised starkly demonstrated that the United States and Soviet Union
could not be left to settle world crises alone. With the superpower
condominium dangerously oscillating between cooperation and con-
frontation, it was essential for the EC to have a greater influence.
On 31 October, Pompidou sent letters to the heads of government of
the other members of the Community arguing that recent events had
proved the need for them to take a greater international role. The Nine,
he insisted, must demonstrate their capacity to contribute to the solu-
tion of world problems.126 He found a receptive audience in London. The
Daily Mail announced that the alert had shattered British illusions about
the alliance: ‘Europe must now stand on its own feet’, it declared.127 For
his part, Home was convinced that, in the aftermath of what Nixon
had dubbed the greatest world crisis since Cuba, the members of the
EC would have to issue some form of joint statement.128 ‘Europe’, he
protested, ‘is too large and its vital interests too closely involved for it to
be silent while great events take place over their heads.’129


On 5 November the foreign ministers of the Nine met in Brussels,
along with five Arab observers, to discuss the Middle East. The following
day, under French and British leadership, they issued a joint declara-
tion which called for an immediate return to the 22 October lines,
Israel’s withdrawal to its 1967 borders and the recognition of the ‘legit-
imate rights of Palestinians’. Not only did it represent the enlarged EC’s
first official statement on an important foreign policy issue, but it also
marked a hardening of its position on the Middle East and the beginning
of European-Arab dialogue.
   Those who had played a leading role in drafting the declaration pre-
sented it as a major achievement – not so much in terms of advancing
the prospects of peace but as a sign of progress towards European unity.
Home welcomed it as a ‘new step in the process leading to a common
attitude on the part of Europe towards major international problems
and thus to a common foreign policy’, while Jobert proclaimed that it
‘could make up for Europe’s absence from the international scene.’130
   Others, however, were not convinced. A considerable section of the
European press interpreted it as a humiliating surrender to Arab black-
mail and an abandonment of Israel.131 Unsurprisingly, the harshest
denouncements came from the other side of the Atlantic. For Kissinger,
the statement amounted to a ‘wholesale endorsement of the Arab
                                                 The Middle East Crisis   193

position’ and complete abdication of responsibility.132 Moreover, it
threatened to upstage his own efforts at crafting peace. Just as the EC
issued its own statement favouring the Arab interpretation of Resolution
242, Kissinger was in Cairo attempting to implement a more incremen-
tal settlement. With Europe’s position now publicised, it became hard
for Sadat to accept anything less. Kissinger was furious with his allies,
reportedly blasting, ‘They can go to hell as far as I am concerned.’133
   Overall, the EC’s declaration was viewed by the White House as
the final act of a performance which had been weak, craven and
self-absorbed throughout. In a withering critique, Schlesinger advised
Cromer that it had simply underscored Europe’s weakness.134 Kissinger’s
chief aide on European affairs, Sonnenfeldt, was even more scathing.
‘For people who screamed like stuck pigs when you referred to their
“regional interests” ’, he jibed, ‘they could hardly have given a better
demonstration of the narrowness of their interests . . . than in the past
two weeks.’135 For Kissinger, the most depressing aspect of their perfor-
mance was what it indicated about the direction of European unity and
the state of the Atlantic Alliance. Having set out at the beginning of
the year to recast the Atlantic framework, events in the Middle East
seemed to confirm the Community’s determination to forge its iden-
tity on an ‘anti-American basis’.136 All in all, he lamented, it was a ‘sad
chapter in the history of Europe’.137 As the disagreements of the past
weeks became public, many commentators began to write the alliance’s
obituary. Irving Kristol’s headline captured the mood: ‘NATO: The end
of an era’.138
   From Kissinger’s perspective, in many ways the main offenders had
been the British. In a thinly veiled snipe, Kissinger recalled that, ‘It is
a root fact of the situation that the countries that were most con-
sulted proved among the most difficult in their cooperation.’139 The
basic point, as Schlesinger protested to his British counterpart, was
that Britain’s recent conduct in the Middle East had proved its deter-
mination to act as a ‘good European’ rather than in the interests of
the Atlantic Alliance. To this end, he remonstrated, London seemed to
be working in ‘close collusion’ with the French towards some sort of
‘decayed Gaullism’.140 In a long melancholic discussion with Cromer,
Kissinger got to the heart of the matter: ‘while Britain’s entry into
Europe should have raised Europe to the level of Britain, it had in
fact reduced Britain to the level of Europe.’141 In a familiar refrain, he
claimed that the British had never been treated as just another ally,
but now under the strain of recent events the ‘special relationship was
194 Allies Apart

   Back in London, there was little sympathy for Kissinger’s complaints.
‘In our view’, Home retorted, ‘these criticisms are completely unjusti-
fied, take no account of British interests, and are very damaging to the
alliance.’143 From the Foreign Office’s perspective, the basic problem was
that Kissinger had missed the point of British policy. As shown, through-
out the conflict, the government’s first priority was not to prove itself
a good European but to protect its vital energy needs. To this end, it
had been anxious to appear sympathetic to the Arab cause and was
prepared to disassociate from Washington. Moreover, in British eyes,
it had been the White House’s policy-making which had been misdi-
rected. Not only had it been based on a faulty reading of events, but it
had also been obstructive and dangerous, both in terms of the regional
crisis and Britain’s own interests. From the outset, the ‘basic trouble’,
Home reflected, was the fact that the United States did not know how
far to ‘turn the screw on Israel’.144 It was, after all, Israeli intransigence
that was believed to have made an Arab attack inevitable in the first
place. Once the war had begun, the major problem came when it was
viewed by the White House as an ‘East-West blow-up’. ‘That’, Cromer
concluded, ‘is where it went wrong.’145 Beyond these essential differ-
ences, British officials also shared European frustrations at the lack of
consultation. ‘It is a mistake’, Home told Cromer, ‘for the Americans to
invoke the support of their allies in a conflict outside the North Atlantic
Treaty area without consultation about the purpose of their policy.’146
   In a long and frank letter to Kissinger, the foreign secretary attempted
to set out the basic issues that had divided their governments. ‘I do not
think you would feel us to be of much value as a friend and ally’, he
explained, ‘if we support American policy blindly, even when we think
it wrong.’147 While highlighting the main differences and stressing the
need for consultation in the future, Home was keen to dispel what he felt
was Kissinger’s tragic view of events. The key point was that recent dif-
ficulties had reflected differences on specific issues not a determination
on Britain’s part to prove itself in Europe.
   However, Home’s assurances could not disguise the fact that the Mid-
dle East crisis had brought to a head questions about Britain’s relations
with the United States and the EC. Once again, a major lesson of the past
weeks had been that in a world of hulking superpowers and at a time
when Washington’s policy-making gave so much cause for concern,
Britain would have to work more closely with its partners in Europe.
It was a sentiment shared across the Community, spurring the com-
pletion of its declaration on European identity in December. Though
a fairly bland document, it reflected concerns growing out of the recent
                                                   The Middle East Crisis   195

crisis: ‘International developments and the growing concentration of
power and responsibility in the hands of a very small number of great
powers’, it stated, ‘mean that Europe must unite and speak increasingly
with a single voice if it wants to make itself heard and play its proper role
in the world.’148 In the end, then, it was what became dubbed ‘Kissinger’s
war’ that gave a decisive push to the very thing that concerned him
most – a united Europe defined independently from, if not against, the
United States.149

By the beginning of 1974 – Heath’s and Nixon’s last year in office –
things began to look brighter for transatlantic relations after the diffi-
culties of previous months. The gloomy predictions about the end of
NATO and the collapse of the ‘special relationship’ seemed wildly exag-
gerated as the Atlantic Alliance appeared to find a new footing. After
a period of renewal, it was European unity that suddenly faltered and
lost direction. Moreover, Britain appeared to re-find its role as transat-
lantic bridge builder and advocate of American policy in Europe. After
the strains of 1973, Kissinger recalls how 1974 ushered in one of the best
periods in Atlantic cooperation for decades.1
   Following the slow and painful demise of the Year of Europe and fall
out over the Middle East crisis, relations were given the first nudge for-
ward by Home when he suggested at a NATO meeting on 10 December
1973 that its members should use their forthcoming twenty-fifth
anniversary to restate old truths. Six months later, on 26 June, the heads
of the NATO governments signed the Ottawa Declaration which reaf-
firmed their common defence and destiny.2 Although not the dramatic
display Kissinger had been looking for, it helped to draw a line under
his own abortive effort.
   The real spur to renewed Atlantic cooperation, however, came with
the deepening energy crisis. Despite the opening of Middle East peace
talks in Geneva, the Arabs kept up their embargo. Facing a united
front of oil producers, the White House led calls for a joint consumer
response. On 12 December, addressing the Pilgrims Society of Great
Britain, Kissinger proposed that Europe, Canada and Japan join the
United States in establishing an Energy Action Group which would
devise a programme for collaboration in all areas of the energy problem.
It was left to the Europeans to decide whether they would participate

                                                          Conclusion   197

as a Community or independently – the important point, he stressed,
was for a common enterprise.3 The following month Nixon issued invi-
tations to the developed oil-consuming nations to attend a conference
of foreign ministers in Washington to decide on a plan of action.
   The proposals left Europe – particularly France and Britain – divided.
The French objected to Washington’s initiative, arguing that it ‘would
look like a front of rich consumers preparing for confrontation’.4
Instead, Paris maintained that the best way forward was through mea-
sures designed to promote consumer-producer cooperation under exist-
ing international bodies such as the OECD and UN. At their heart,
French procedural objections derived from their instinctive aversion to
any form of an institutionalised transatlantic relationship sponsored by
the United States. Europe, Jobert maintained, should be free to take
its own course. While sympathetic to French concerns, the overriding
imperative for Britain, as Keith Hamilton concludes, was the prevail-
ing ‘economic realties’ of the situation.5 The decisive moment came on
23 December when the Arab members of OPEC announced a further
increase in the price of oil from $5.10 to $11.65 per barrel, effectively
quadrupling its cost from before the Middle East war. As Home observed,
the new prices did not just constitute a threat to balance of payments
of individual oil-importing countries, but cast in doubt the entire world
   For Britain, the situation was compounded by difficulties at home.
Since the end of October, the government had once again become
embroiled in a battle with the miners, as they demanded further wage
increases, announced an overtime ban and threatened to strike. With
the oil embargo strengthening their position and tying the govern-
ment’s hand, Heath was forced into desperate measures, announcing
a state of emergency and then a three-day week to save fuel.6 As the
domestic crisis deepened, the Foreign Office concluded that only the
United States could help solve it.7 ‘Given the importance of engaging
US cooperation’, Home counselled, it was essential to avoid administer-
ing a ‘collective snub’ to the White House.8 Despite initial resistance,
Jobert was finally persuaded at an EC Council meeting on 15 January
that the Community should accept Nixon’s invitation on the under-
standing that all members and the Commission would be represented
at the conference.9
   But the façade of unity did not last long. When Kissinger opened
the Washington Energy Conference on 11 February with proposals for
a coordinating group to carry out consultations and a further foreign
ministers conference, Jobert immediately objected, opposing the idea
198 Allies Apart

of a follow-up meeting and all forms of consumer cooperation. Given
the bigger issues, Britain felt that France’s procedural objections were
petty and self-serving. ‘On the merits of the case’, Home concluded,
‘the Americans are right and the French are wrong.’10 The following
day, along with the other seven members of the EC, the foreign secre-
tary gave his full support to an American text which set out the process
of continued consultations.11 The French were left feeling isolated and
betrayed – European unity, it seemed, was in pieces.
   Kissinger could take much satisfaction from the turn of events.
Following the failure of his Year of Europe, it now seemed that
the Europeans were ready to curb their quest for unity and follow
Washington’s lead. With Europe divided and Britain so supportive, the
Atlantic Alliance appeared to be back on track.
   However, most commentators maintain that the real improvement in
Anglo-American relations only came with the change of leadership in
Britain. Facing confrontation with the miners, Heath called an election
on 7 February, campaigning on the platform ‘Who Governs Britain?’
Against all expectations, three weeks later he was narrowly defeated.
With the fall of Heath, so it is argued, came to an end a distinct period in
which Britain had flirted with a European destiny. The new Labour gov-
ernment, led by Wilson, reverted to old ways. Signalling the country’s
growing divisions and disenchantment over Europe, Wilson confirmed
his intention to renegotiate Britain’s terms of membership. Most impor-
tantly, though, he set out to repair relations with the United States
which were said to have been so badly damaged under Heath.12 The new
foreign secretary, James Callaghan, who presented himself as a staunch
Atlanticist, took the lead, instructing the Foreign Office to mend the
links that had been broken under his predecessor.13 ‘I must empha-
sise’, Callaghan declared to Parliament in his first speech in his new
role, ‘that we repudiate the view that Europe will emerge only out of a
process of struggle against America.’14 The apparent change was felt by
Kissinger who, summing up his first meetings in London with Wilson
and Callaghan, noted that the ‘attitude here has greatly improved with
the new government.’15
   The view that with Heath out of office, Anglo-American relations were
suddenly rekindled reflects the case first presented by Kissinger – that
Heath was the problem all along. It was Heath who had come to office
indifferent to the American connection and determined to take Britain
into Europe. It was Heath who had been prepared to downgrade rela-
tions with Washington and break old ties. It was Heath who had led
calls for Europe to unite in response to the Year of Europe, effectively
                                                           Conclusion   199

ending confidential bilateral relations. And, it was Heath who had been
anxious to avoid separating from the French and was prepared to dis-
associate from the United States during the Middle East war. In sum, it
was Heath who had ended the ‘special relationship’.
   That was Kissinger’s story. As has been argued throughout this book,
this Heath-centric view, which has come to dominate subsequent
accounts, is both exaggerated and misleading. As shown in Chapter 1,
in many ways it was based on a distorted understanding of Heath’s
Europeanism and Britain’s relationship with the EC – the dichotomy
of Heath as the lone dreamer in a land of sceptics is a false one. Heath’s
views on Europe were not innate or ideological, but evolved with the
times and events. Most of all, they reflected his calculations on how
best to promote British interests. In this sense, Heath was consistent
with his predecessors not distinct from them. In making their case for
Europe, Macmillan, Wilson and Heath all argued that membership was
the way to renewed greatness and a world role for Britain. It was the
same logic that had inspired appeals to the ‘special relationship’. Accord-
ingly, when Britain could no longer claim special status or influence in
Washington, Europe was presented as the alternative. Heath had long
been convinced by this argument. However, far from dictating a split
with the United States, it was seen as the key to the revival of relations
across the Atlantic.
   As discussed, this had been the exact argument made by succes-
sive administrations in Washington. When principle became reality,
however, there was a notable shift in attitude. Within a year, official
support for integration had turned into caution, even hostility. In part,
this reflected long-held concerns – brought to a head by British
membership – that the EC would grow into a gigantic protectionist
economic bloc. However, the new scepticism was compounded by the
particular priorities and prejudices of the Nixon administration. Both
the president and his national security adviser were concerned that
European unity could undermine the Atlantic Alliance – led by the
United States – and their bilateral dealings with members of the EC.
In short, just as the Community was undergoing a new surge of growth,
it faced in Washington an administration particularly hostile to its aims.
To some degree, Nixon and Kissinger’s disappointment with British
behaviour reflected the unrealistic expectations and contradictions that
had characterised the US position all along. Past experience proved that
Britain had no hope of entry as the protector of American interests.
On both sides of the Atlantic, it was recognised that appearances would
have to change.
200 Allies Apart

   Contrary to consensus, then, Heath’s Europeanism did not neces-
sarily determine a rift with the United States. As subsequent chapters
showed, the main problem, from the British perspective, was the nature
of policy-making in Washington. The extent of Nixon and Kissinger’s
centralisation, secrecy and deception – the ‘Imperial Presidency’ – have
become infamous. Even Dobrynin, who had served as ambassador in
Washington during every previous Cold War administration, concluded
that his backchannel with Kissinger turned out to be unprecedented
both in his experience and, he mused, in the annals of history.16 Nixon
and Kissinger would later justify their extreme methods on the grounds
of policy. The bureaucracy, they argued, was prone to leaks and too
parochially minded to understand the intricate web of links and levers
on which their strategy of containment – détente – depended. A num-
ber of commentators have since conceded that Nixon and Kissinger’s
biggest achievement – the opening to China – would have been impos-
sible without secrecy. That much is arguable; what is clear, though, is
that their methods were as much a matter of politics and personality as
diplomatic necessity. With one eye to the short-term needs of re-election
and another to securing their future reputations as great men of his-
tory, they considered surprise, drama and, above all, the appearance of
control to be essential.
   While the effect of all this on the State Department has become well
known, the impact on America’s allies, especially Britain, has been less
well understood. As America’s main ally, it had grown accustomed to
close consultations – just the kind that Nixon had promised to renew
and Kissinger was so keen to celebrate. However, in the event, their
words rang hollow. As shown, the second half of 1971 was a partic-
ularly bad time for the British. Behind the government’s public face,
Nixon’s summer shocks caused grave distress and concern – distress at
being uninformed and even misled over policy, and concern that future
surprises were in store, especially when the United States was engaged
in exclusive arms talks with the Soviet Union. Although Nixon set out
to rebuild bridges at Bermuda, relations took a further knock when war
broke out in South Asia. As the two governments tilted in opposite direc-
tions and became divided at the UN, Kissinger sensed the influence
of Heath’s Europeanism, while the British were sceptical of the White
House’s geopolitical reasoning, which they believed artificially trans-
posed its own superpower rivalry onto the region – what made Kissinger,
in Hanhimäki’s estimation, ‘the flawed architect’.17
   By the end of 1971, at a governmental level, Anglo-American relations
were in bad shape. While not terminal, the effect of recent events had
                                                            Conclusion   201

been cumulative. As the White House took charge in Washington, it was
widely felt in London that the old intimacy had been lost: communica-
tions with the State Department had proved unreliable, the government
was kept in the dark on key initiatives and Kissinger’s efforts to become a
‘modern Metternich’ were viewed with trepidation. In short, the ‘special
relationship’ was becoming one more casualty of the ‘Imperial Pres-
idency’. Against this background, the case for Europe took on a new
urgency. Just as Nigel Ashton argues that the collapse of the Paris sum-
mit in 1960 was a turning point for Macmillan, so it can be argued that
the events of 1971 marked something of a watershed for Heath.18 As he
made clear to Parliament at the beginning of 1972, recent developments
had proven to him that European unity was no longer desirable but
essential. What is more, officials across the government – including the
foreign secretary – and in Europe were drawing the same conclusion.
In short, Nixon and Kissinger were providing a spur to the very thing
they feared.
   In many respects, the White House’s efforts to forestall this trend came
too late and were pursued in a way that fuelled European frustrations.
As the president became embroiled in Watergate, the Year of Europe
bore all the hallmarks of Kissinger’s own diplomacy – a grand vision
announced without proper consultation. When the initiative immedi-
ately fell into difficulties, Kissinger’s attempts at a rescue through secret
bilateral diplomacy only fed European suspicions, pushing them closer
together. It was against this growing uncertainty over the White House’s
intentions that the Foreign Office viewed Kissinger’s approach over the
Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement. While Kissinger presented it as
a classic example of the ‘special relationship’, having employed his var-
ious backchannels to London, the British were suspicious that he had
a more divisive intent and concerned at being exposed in Europe as
Washington’s henchman.
   It was in the Middle East that all of the transatlantic doubts and dif-
ferences seemed to come to a head. From Kissinger’s perspective, the
Europeans simply abandoned their obligations to global security and
the Western Alliance in pursuit of their own narrow interests and unity.
While not the worst offender, Britain’s behaviour had been most dis-
appointing. For the Europeans, US conduct – which, more than ever,
was determined by Kissinger – was misguided, overlooked their vital
energy needs and dangerously turned the region into another arena
of superpower confrontation. Once again, the White House’s record on
consultation was judged lamentable. Even in Britain, Kissinger’s efforts
seemed more perfunctory than real. Overall, events in the Middle East
202 Allies Apart

had further demonstrated to the Europeans that, at a time when global
events were dominated by the superpowers, they would have to act in
concert to retain any influence.
   By the end of 1973, then, the Atlantic Alliance and Anglo-American
relationship seemed in a perilous state – even beyond repair. From
Kissinger’s perspective, as the EC, with Britain now playing a leading
role, appeared intent on forging its own identity independently from –
even in confrontation to – the United States, NATO and the ‘special
relationship’ were doomed. However, despite their own doubts and frus-
trations, the British did not share Kissinger’s terminal view. The basic
point was that his central premise – that British policy under Heath
was fixed on a predetermined European course and Europe was intent
on defining itself against the United States – was faulty. Although the
Heath government at times felt pushed by the Americans and pulled by
the French, it was nevertheless committed to the Atlantic Alliance and
partnership with the United States. Even on the most divisive issue –
Vietnam – Heath had remained consistently supportive. Speaking about
the direction of the Nine, Home publicly assured Kissinger on 12 Decem-
ber that ‘We are not a Third Force.’ ‘We are’, he insisted, ‘a second force
at your side.’19 Sometimes, though, in a world overshadowed by the
superpowers, as they oscillated between condominium and confronta-
tion, the line between a united Europe and Europe as a ‘third force’ could
be hard to distinguish.
   So what is the broader significance of all this? Where do the Heath–
Nixon years fit into the overall story of Anglo-American relations and
what patterns can be discerned or conclusions drawn? The first point
that can be made is that, at an intergovernmental level, the period
marked a low-point for the alliance – but, as explained, not in the way
previously understood. Yet, in certain key respects, to talk of the Heath–
Nixon years as the nadir of the Anglo-American alliance or end of the
‘special relationship’ misses the point. Indeed, although not the focus
of this book, there is a case to be made that, while the governments
drifted apart diplomatically, the two societies and cultures had become
more mixed up than ever through the expansion of transatlantic busi-
ness, tourism and television.20 And, more fundamentally, it could be
argued that this study, as a diplomatic history, while capturing the ebb
and flow of relations at the top, has overlooked the underlying current
or bedrock of the Anglo-American alliance – the shared commitment
to political and economic liberalism – which remained largely unaf-
fected by the particular personalities and events of the Heath–Nixon
years.21 Ultimately, it is at this level that interests and commitments
                                                            Conclusion   203

coincide, making the relationship so close and important. Above all, it
is this shared commitment that explains why the two countries have
joined together at times of war, whether during the World Wars or more
recently in Iraq and Afghanistan and why the intelligence, nuclear and
diplomatic communities – the ‘specialités’ of the relationship – are so
entwined.22 It explains why, despite efforts to deride or dismiss it, the
‘special relationship’ has been recently dubbed the ‘Lazarus of interna-
tional relations’.23 It also helps to explain why the early 1970s were filled
with such high hopes and bitter disappointments.
   Yet, although limited in time and scope, this study has highlighted a
number of important themes which help to understand the nature of
Anglo-American relations more generally. At its most basic, analysis of
the Heath–Nixon years, for all the attention on the people in charge
at Number 10 and the White House, demonstrates that the shape and
course of relations between London and Washington were determined
overwhelmingly by the prevailing patterns of power, both nationally
and globally. In short, with the early 1970s marked by the continued
decline of Britain and waning pre-eminence of the United States, it was
inevitable that the transatlantic alliance would lose its importance and
vigour, as the Heath government moved towards Europe and the Nixon
administration engaged with the communist superpowers.
   However, notwithstanding the significance of this point, this study
has also revealed the extent to which how diplomacy was conducted
had a profound effect on Anglo-American relations and, crucially,
perceptions of the relationship. While the Heath government sympa-
thised with the overall aims of the White House, the lack of genuine
consultation – even information – severely undermined its faith in rela-
tions with Washington. Even Cromer, who of all British officials had
the closest working relationship with Kissinger and his team, during his
last weeks in post, reflected on the difficulties that the lack of advance
consultation had caused, concluding that it had been the Nixon admin-
istration’s ‘biggest blunder’.24 Feeling neglected, powerless and bullied,
the Europeans inevitably pulled together. For Nixon and Kissinger, their
lack of consultation, determined part by necessity and a lot by person-
ality, meant that their policies, both at home and abroad, badly lacked
consensus. The Anglo-American relationship and Atlantic Alliance could
not rely on high rhetoric and debriefings alone.
   Furthermore, in contrast to what is generally considered to be the
prevailing pull across the Atlantic, Allies Apart has highlighted how the
notion of the ‘special relationship’ was not an exclusively British con-
struct but was also propagated by the White House. While Heath was
204 Allies Apart

anxious to drop the term, at times, Nixon and Kissinger appeared wed-
ded to it – both seemingly beguiled by the experiences and mythology
of the Second World War. However, in reality, the kind of consultative
relationship that they promised never materialised. Instead, they looked
to the ‘special relationship’ as a means of building the appearance of
international support and legitimacy for their own policies and, it was
speculated, to draw Britain away from Europe. In this respect, it had
become something of an American tool of diplomacy, and the British
had learned to be wary of it.
   Finally, on a historiographical note, this analysis of the Heath–Nixon
years points to the limitations and pitfalls of relying on histories writ-
ten by those involved at the time. While illuminating, memoirs are
notoriously, and understandably, parochial and self-serving; however,
when they present a detailed and determined version of events they
can have a huge impact on our understanding of history – especially
when they represent the first draft and are written by a central partici-
pant. In this respect, one figure, above all, left a massive imprint on the
history of American foreign policy in the 1970s, first as a policy-maker
and then as a writer – Henry Kissinger. In terms of Anglo-American rela-
tions, despite crafting his reputation as an arch-realist, Kissinger emerges
from his memoirs as a convinced believer in the ‘special relationship’ as
a uniquely intimate bond and pattern of consultation. What is strik-
ing here, then, is how, from the British perspective, his performance in
office fell so short of the standards he would set years later.

 1. J Dickie, ‘Special’ No More – Anglo American Relations: Rhetoric and Reality
    (London, 1994), p. 133; see also, for example, D Dimbleby and D Reynolds,
    An Ocean Apart (London, 1988), pp. 261–6; A Dobson, Anglo-American Rela-
    tions in the Twentieth Century (New York, 1995), p. 124; J Dumbrell, A Special
    Relationship: Anglo-American Relations in the Cold War and After (London,
    2001), p. 73; C Hill and C Lord, ‘The Foreign Policy of the Heath Govern-
    ment’, in S Ball and A Seldon (eds), The Heath Government: A Reappraisal
    (London, 1996), p. 305; Dobson, Anglo-American Relations in the Twentieth
    Century, p. 124.
 2. J Campbell, Edward Heath: A Biography (London, 1993), p. 336.
 3. Haldeman Diaries: 19 June 1970, Box 41, Haldeman Papers, WHSF, NPMP,
    NA; H Kissinger, Years of Renewal (London, 1999), p. 602.
 4. The term ‘three-pronged misbehaviour’ comes from J Dumbrell, Anglo-
    American Relations, 1969–70: Nixon, Wilson and Heath (Unpublished confer-
    ence paper, 2002), p. 1.
 5. Ian McChirney to Peter Moon, 25 September 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
 6. See, for example, letter from the British Ambassador, John Freeman to Robert
    Armstrong, 8 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
 7. Record of meeting: Heath, Nixon, et al., 3 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA;
    P Zeigler, Edward Heath: The Authorised Biography (London, 2010), p. 375.
 8. Record of meeting: Heath, Nixon et al., 3 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
 9. Letter: Nixon to Heath, 7 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
10. Letter: Kissinger to Heath, 10 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
11. Record of meeting: 17 December 1970, quoted in R Roy, ‘The Politics
    of Planes and Engines: Anglo-American Relations During the Rolls Royce-
    Lockheed Crisis, 1970–71’, in M Schultz and T Schwartz (eds), The Strained
    Alliance: US-European Relations from Nixon to Carter (Cambridge, 2010), p. 185.
12. E Heath, The Course of My Life: My Autobiography (London, 1998), p. 473.
13. Interview given by Heath to CBS Television, ‘Meet the Nation’, Washington,
    20 December 1970, in D Watt and J Mayall (eds), Current British Foreign Policy:
    Documents, Statements and Speeches, 1970 (London, 1971), p. 762.
14. Hill and Lord, ‘The Foreign Policy of the Heath Government’, p. 305;
    Dobson, Anglo-American Relations, p. 124.
15. R Seitz, Over Here (London, 1998), pp. 316–17.
16. D Watt, Succeeding John Bull: America in Britain’s Place, 1900–1975
    (Cambridge, 1984).
17. J Young, The Labour Governments, 1964–70, Volume 2: International Policy
    (Manchester, 2003), p. 20.
18. D Reynolds, ‘A “Special Relationship”: America, Britain and the International
    Order since the Second World War’ International Affairs, 62, 1 (1985), p. 2.

206 Notes

19. Quoted in A Sampson, Macmillan (Harmondsworth, 1967), pp. 65–6.
20. Dickie, ‘Special’ No More; A Danchev, On Specialness: Essays in Anglo-American
    Relations (Basingstoke, 1998), p. 157.
21. D Brinkley, ‘Dean Acheson and the ‘Special Relationship’: The West Point
    Speech of December 1962’ Historical Journal, 33, 3 (1990), p. 601.
22. S Dockrill, Britain’s Retreat from East of Suez: The Choice between Europe and the
    World? (Basingstoke, 2002), p. 198.
23. Ibid.
24. J Ellison, The United States, Britain and the Transatlantic Crisis: Rising to the
    Gaullist Challenge (Basingstoke, 2007), p. 183.
25. Ellison, The United States, Britain and the Transatlantic Crisis, p. 174; J Colman,
    A ‘Special Relationship’? Harold Wilson, Lyndon B. Johnson and Anglo-American
    Relations ‘at the Summit’, 1964–68 (Manchester, 2004), p. 169.
26. Ibid., p. 170.
27. For the defensive aspect see: M Kandiah and G Staerck, ‘ “Reliable Allies”:
    Anglo-American Relations’, in W Kaiser and G Staerck (eds), British For-
    eign Policy, 1955–64 (London, 2000), p. 159; J Baylis, Anglo-American Defence
    Relations, 1939–1984: The Special Relationship (Manchester, 1997).
28. H Kissinger, White House Years (Boston, 1979), p. 90.
29. Ibid., p. 934.
30. H Kissinger, White House Years, p. 932.
31. H Kissinger, Years of Renewal (London, 1999), p. 603.
32. Campbell, Edward Heath, p. 274.
33. Dumbrell, A Special Relationship, p. 75; H Kissinger, Years of Upheaval,
    (London, 1982), p. 141; A Horne, Kissinger’s Year: 1973 (London, 2009),
    p. 111.
34. Ibid., p. 192.
35. Heath, Course of My Life, photo commentary.
36. H Young, This Blessed Plot: Britain and Europe from Churchill to Blair (London,
    1998), p. 216.
37. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 141.
38. Kissinger, Years of Renewal, p. 603.
39. Dickie, ‘Special’ No More, pp. 144–5; Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 472.
40. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 141.
41. See, for example, see: C Bartlett, ‘The Special Relationship’: A Political History of
    Anglo-American Relations since 1945 (London, 1992), pp. 129–30; Campbell,
    Edward Heath, p. 341; Dickie, ‘Special’ No More, pp. 144–5; Dobson, Anglo-
    American Relations in the Twentieth Century, pp. 139–40; Dumbrell, A Special
    Relationship, p. 75; P Riddell, Hug Them Close: Blair, Clinton, Bush and the
    ‘Special Relationship’ (London, 2003), pp. 43–5; D Sanders, Losing and Empire
    Finding a Role: British Foreign Policy since 1945 (Basingstoke, 1990), p. 177;
    most recently, Horne, Kissinger’s Year, p. 111.
42. R Ovendale, Anglo-American Relations in the Twentieth Century (Basingstoke,
    1998), pp. 136–7.
43. Zeigler, Edward Heath, pp. 374–84; Horne, Kissinger’s Year, p. 111.
44. M White, ‘Special relationship? Good and bad times’,,
    3 March, 2009.
45. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 937.
46. Kissinger, Years of Renewal, p. 603.
                                                                        Notes   207

47. C Hynes, The Year that Never Was: Heath, the Nixon Administration and the Year
    of Europe (Dublin 2009), p. 241.
48. H Kissinger, A World Restored: Metternich, Castlereagh and the Problems of Peace
    (London, 2000), pp. 326–7.
49. See W Bundy, A Tangled Web: The Making of Foreign Policy in the Nixon Presi-
    dency (New York, 1998), pp. 52–5; W Isaacson, Kissinger: A Biography (London,
    1992), pp. 151–6; W Burr (ed.), The Kissinger Transcripts: The Top Secret Talks
    with Beijing and Moscow (New York, 1999), p. 8; R Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger:
    Partners in Powers (New York, 2007), pp. 84–5.
50. Kissinger, A World Restored, pp. 326–7.
51. The phrase ‘odd couple’ comes from J Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered (New York,
    1994), p. 149.
52. J Gaddis, ‘Rescuing Choice from Circumstance: The Statecraft of Henry
    Kissinger’, in G Craig and F Loewenheim (eds), The Diplomats, 1939–79
    (Princeton,1994), pp. 564–592.

1   Joining Europe
  1. The term European Community actually refers to three separate commu-
     nities: the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC); the European
     Atomic Energy Community (Euratom); and, the European Economic Com-
     munity (EEC). While remaining legally separate entities, their institutions
     were merged in 1967; since then it has become common to speak of the
     European Community (EC) in the singular.
  2. D Reynolds, Britannia Overruled: British Policy and World Power in the
     Twentieth Century (London, 2000), p. 224.
  3. Ellison, The United States, Britain and the Transatlantic Crisis, p. 11.
  4. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 965.
  5. Ibid., p. 937.
  6. Ibid., p. 964.
  7. Watt, Succeeding John Bull, p. 7.
  8. Campbell, Edward Heath, p. 335.
  9. Ibid., p. 341.
 10. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 948.
 11. C Booker and R North, The Great Deception: Can the European Union Survive?
     (London, 2005), pp. 167, 586.
 12. See N Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War: The Irony of Inter-
     dependence (London, 2002), p. 127; Young, The Labour Governments, p. 4;
     S George, An Awkward Partner: Britain in the European Community (Oxford,
     1998), p. 35.
 13. George, An Awkward Partner, p. 39.
 14. Ibid., p. 49.
 15. D Gowland and A Turner, Reluctant Europeans: Britain and European Integra-
     tion, 1945–1998 (London, 2000), p. 168.
 16. J Young, ‘The Heath Government and British Entry into the European Com-
     munity’, in S Ball and A Seldon (eds), The Heath Government, 1970–1974:
     A Reappraisal (London, 1996), p. 283.
 17. Campbell, Edward Heath, pp. 3–4.
208 Notes

 18.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 14.
 19.   Young, This Blessed Plot, p. 219.
 20.   Campbell, Edward Heath, pp. 112–3.
 21.   D Hurd, An End to Promises: A Sketch of Government, 1970–74 (London,
       1979), p. 64; Young, This Blessed Plot, p. 233.
 22.   Heath, Dinner speech, Heath–Pompidou summit, 20 May 1971, PREM
       15/371, TNA.
 23.   Young, This Blessed Plot, p. 216.
 24.   E Heath, Travels (London, 1977), p. 115.
 25.   Heath, 26 June 1950, Hansard.
 26.   George, An Awkward Partner; Gowland and Turner, Reluctant Europeans.
 27.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 146; J Young, Britain and European Unity,
       1945–1992 (Basingstoke, 1993), pp.14–17.
 28.   For an overview of European integration which emphasises national inter-
       ests above any transnational ideal, see A Milward, The European Rescue of the
       Nation-State (London, 2000).
 29.   Booker and North, The Great Deception, p. 75.
 30.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 122.
 31.   G Lundestad, The United States and Western Europe since 1945: From ‘Empire’
       by Invitation to Transatlantic Drift (Oxford, 2003), p. 97.
 32.   Young, Britain and European Unity, p. 23.
 33.   H Macmillan, At the End of the Day, 1961–63 (London, 1973), p. 5.
 34.   Campbell, Edward Heath, pp. 121–2.
 35.   D Urwin, The Community of Europe: A History of European Integration since
       1945 (London, 1995), p. 117.
 36.   For a recent exposition of this argument, see T Judt, Postwar: A History of
       Europe since 1945 (New York, 2005), p. 299; Lundestad, The United States and
       Western Europe since 1945, p. 11.
 37.   K Younger, ‘Britain in Europe: The Impact on Foreign Policy’, International
       Affairs, 48 (October, 1972), p. 580.
 38.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 178.
 39.   Ziegler, Edward Heath, p. 103.
 40.   N P Ludlow, Dealing with Britain: The Six and the First UK Application to the
       EEC (Cambridge, 1997), pp. 34–5.
41.    Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War, pp. 131–2.
42.    Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 340.
43.    Ludlow, Dealing with Britain, p. 74.
44.    Macmillan, At the End of the Day, p. 374.
45.    A Roth, Heath and the Heathmen (London, 1972), pp.154–5.
46.    Young, The Labour Governments, p. 20.
47.    H Brandon, Special Relationships: A Foreign Correspondent’s Memoirs from
       Roosevelt to Reagan (London, 1989), p. 210.
48.    Ellison, The United States, Britain and the Transatlantic Crisis, pp. 126–7.
49.    B Pimlott, Harold Wilson (London, 1993), p. 384.
50.    R Crossman, The Diaries of a Cabinet Minister, Volume II (London, 1976),
       p. 31.
51.    G Brown, In My Way (London, 1971), p. 207.
52.    E Heath, Old World, New Horizons: Britain, the Common Market and the
       Atlantic Alliance (London, 1970), pp. 35, 57.
                                                                      Notes   209

53. See E Heath, ‘Realism in British Foreign Policy’, in Foreign Affairs (October,
54. Heath, Old World, New Horizons, p. 73.
55. Ibid., pp. 74–5.
56. Heath, ‘Realism in British Foreign Policy’, p. 42.
57. P Lynch, ‘The Conservatives and the Wilson Application’, in O Daddow
    (ed.), Harold Wilson and European Integration: Britain’s Second Application to
    Join the EEC (London, 2003).
58. ‘The Consequences of UK Exclusion from the EEC’, 21 December 1967,
    quoted in H Parr, Britain’s Policy towards the European Community: Harold
    Wilson and Britain’s World Role, 1964–1967 (Oxon, 2006), p. 178.
59. FCO Planning Committee paper from P Craddock, 14 November, 1969,
    FCO 7/1427, TNA; Draft paper: ‘Anglo-US Relations’ prepared by embassy
    and planning staff in Washington, 17 January 1969, FCO 32/376, TNA.
60. Draft paper on ‘Anglo-US Relations’ prepared by embassy and planning staff
    in Washington, 17 January 1969, FCO 32/376, TNA.
61. A Campbell, ‘Anglo-French Relations a Decade Ago: A New Reassessment’,
    International Affairs, 58, 2 (1982), p. 247.
62. Telegram: Soames to Home, 9 June 1971, PREM 15/372, TNA.
63. U Kitzinger, Diplomacy and Persuasion: How Britain Joined the Common Market
    (London, 1973), p. 69.
64. See, for example, Roy Hattersley speech to Parliament, 28 October 1971,
65. Memo, June 1970, quoted in G Niedhart, ‘Anglo-American Relations in
    the Era of Détente and the Challenge of Ostpolitik’, in U Lehmkuhl and
    G Schmidt (eds), From Enmity to Friendship. Anglo-American Relations in the
    19th and 20th Century (Augsburg, 2005), p. 115.
66. Young, This Blessed Plot, p. 223.
67. Heath, ‘Realism in British Foreign Policy’, p. 40.
68. The Conservative Manifesto, in D Gowland and A Turner (eds), Britain
    and European Integration 1945–1998: A Documentary History (London, 2000),
    pp. 132–3; Campbell, Edward Heath, p. 336.
69. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 934.
70. D Hannay (ed.), Britain’s Entry into the European Community: Report by Sir Con
    O’Neil on the Negotiations of 1970–1972 (London, 2000), p. 355.
71. Government White Paper: ‘The United Kingdom and the European Com-
    munities’, July 1971, p. 8; Young, ‘The Heath Government and British Entry
    into the European Community’, p. 274.
72. George, An Awkward Partner, p. 50; Young, ‘The Heath Government and
    British Entry into the European Community’, 274.
73. Young, ‘The Heath Government and British Entry into the European
    Community’, p. 278.
74. D Hannay (ed.), Forward to Britain’s Entry into the European Community,
    p. 355.
75. Lord Crowther, House of Lords, 27 July 1971, quoted in Hannay, Britain’s
    Entry into the European Community, p. 355.
76. Hannay, Forward to Britain’s Entry into the European Community, p. xi.
77. The New York Times, 16 June 1970.
78. Heath, 21 July 1971, Hansard.
210 Notes

 79.   Heath, Old World, New Horizons, p. 3.
 80.   W Neild-Heath, 19 June 1970, PREM 15/62, TNA.
 81.   Record of meeting: Heath and Pompidou, 20 May 1971, PREM 15/372, TNA.
 82.   Home, 14 October 1971, Conservative Party Conference, NPMP, NA.
 83.   Home, 21 July 1971, Hansard.
 84.   FCO Study: Johny to Moon, 8 March 1971, PREM 15/368, TNA.
 85.   Government White Paper: ‘The United Kingdom and the European Com-
       munities’, July 1971, p. 7.
 86.   Minute: W Nield to Armstrong, 13 May 1971, PREM 15/372, TNA.
 87.   Home, 21 July 1971, Hansard.
 88.   Government White Paper: ‘The United Kingdom and the European Com-
       munities’, July 1971, p. 17.
 89.   Heath, Old World, New Horizons, p. 4.
 90.   Ibid.
 91.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 470.
 92.   Speech by Home to Parliament, 6 July 1970, Current Documents on British
       Foreign Policy, 1970.
 93.   Record of Cabinet meeting, 30 September 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
 94.   Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 15 December 1970, VIP visits, Box 942, NSC,
       NPMP, NA.
 95.   Kitzinger, Diplomacy and Persuasion, p. 107.
 96.   FCO Brief on NATO and Burden Sharing, 2 October 1970, PREM
       15/714, TNA.
 97.   Lundestad, The United States and Europe since 1945, p. 169.
 98.   Heath, ‘Realism in British Foreign Policy’, p. 46.
 99.   Record of meeting: Heath and Pompidou, 20 May 1971, PREM 15/372, TNA.
100.   Heath, 28 October 1971, Hansard.
101.   W Neild to Heath, 19 June 1970, PREM 15/62, TNA.
102.   The Economist, 6 November 1971, HAK Office Files, Rodman, Box 15,
       NPMP, NA.
103.   Speech by Home to Parliament, 6 July 1970, Current Documents on British
       Foreign Policy, 1970.
104.   Home, 14 October 1971, Conservative Party Conference, HAK Office Files,
       Rodman, Box 15, NPMP, NA.
105.   Record of meeting: Heath and Pompidou, 20 May 1971, PREM 15/372, TNA.
106.   FCO Planning Staff Paper, 8 March 1971, PREM 15/368, TNA.
107.   FCO Report on ‘Future Relations with the United States’, 5 November 1971,
       PREM 15/714, TNA.
108.   Home, 21 July 1971, Hansard.
109.   Heath, Old World, New Horizons, p. 67.
110.   Speech by Heath, Wilton Park, Sussex, 21 June 1971, in Current British
       Foreign Policy, 1971.
111.   Record of meeting: Heath and Pompidou, 20–21 May 1971, PREM
       15/372, TNA.
112.   Ibid.
113.   FCO Study: Johny to Moon, 8 March 1971, PREM 15/62, TNA.
114.   Heath, Old World, New Horizons, p. 6.
115.   Campbell, ‘Anglo-French Relations a Decade Ago: A New Reassessment’,
       p. 425.
                                                                       Notes   211

116. Minute: Unnamed and undated, ‘The EEC Negotiations – Strategic Review’,
     c20 July 1971, PREM 15/62, TNA.
117. Letter: Soames to Greenhill, 21 April 1971, PREM 15/62, TNA.
118. Draft paper on ‘Anglo-US Relations’ prepared by embassy and planning staff
     in Washington, 17 January 1969, FCO 32/376, TNA.
119. Douglas-Home to Heath, ‘Visit to Paris’, 7 May 1971, PREM 15/364, TNA;
     quoted in E Iwan, Anglo-American Relations and the Heath Application to the
     European Community: A Study of American Influence on British Policies towards
     Europe from 1970–72 (unpublished Master’s thesis, LSE, 2010), p. 16.
120. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 364.
121. Dumbrell, A Special Relationship, p. 182.
122. Young, The Labour Governments, p. 21.
123. Heath, Old World, New Horizons, pp. 67–8.
124. Ziegler, Edward Heath, p. 374.
125. N Rossbach, Heath, Nixon and the Rebirth of the Special Relationship: Britain,
     the US and the EC, 1969–74 (Basingstoke, 2009).
126. Rossbach, Heath, Nixon and the Rebirth of the Special Relationship,
     pp. 87–90.
127. See A Spelling, ‘Lord Cromer’, in M Hopkins, S Kelly and J Young (eds), The
     Washington Embassy: Ambassadors to the United States, 1939–77 (Basingstoke,
     2009), pp. 189–91.
128. Home to Cromer, 5 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
129. FCO steering brief, 1 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
130. Minute: Overton, 21 July 1971, FCO 82/61, TNA.
131. FCO to Moon, 5 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
132. Telcon: Kissinger and Nixon, 9 August 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 21,
     NPMP, NA.
133. Nixon’s ‘First Annual Report to Congress on United States Foreign Policy’,
     February 1970, Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States (here-
     after PPPUS),; NSSM 79, Enlargement of the
     EC: Implications for the US and Policy Options, NPMP, NA.
134. Freeman to Michael Stewart, 26 June 1969, FCO 7/1427, TNA.
135. Freeman to Stewart, 26 June 1969, FCO 7/1427, TNA.
136. Memcon: Nixon, Pomidou, et al., 24/26 Feb 1970, Pres/HAK Memcons,
     Box 1024, NSC, NPMP, NA.
137. Memos for the President beginning December 1971, POF, Box 87, NSC,
     NPMP, NA.
138. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 418.
139. Kissinger, ‘Central Issues of American Foreign Policy’, Foreign Relations of
     the United States (hereafter FRUS), 1969–76, Volume I, Foundations of Foreign
     Policy (Washington, DC, 2003), Doc 4.
140. G Lundestad, ‘Empire’ by Integration: The United States and European Integra-
     tion, 1945–1997 (Oxford, 1998), p. 20.
141. State Department Study Paper, undated (c. December 1969), NSSM 79, UK
     Accession to the EC, NPMP, NA.
142. Kissinger, ‘Central Issues of American Foreign Policy’, FRUS, 1969–76, Vol. I,
     Doc 4.
143. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, pp. 143–8; White House Years, pp. 81,
     389, 409.
212 Notes

144. State Department Study Paper, undated (c. December 1969), NSSM 79, UK
     Accession to the EC, NPMP, NA.
145. Record of meeting: Heath, Nixon, et al., Bermuda, 20 December 1971,
     WHSF, POF, Memo for the President, Beginning December 1971, Box 87,
     NPMP, NA.
146. ‘Enlargement of the EC: Implications for the US and Policy Options’, Box
     H-164, NSSM 79, NA.
147. See, for example, record of meeting, Heath, Nixon, et al., Bermuda,
     20 December 1971, WHSF, POF, Memo for the President, Beginning
     December 1971, Box 87, NPMP, NA.
148. Letter: Nixon to Heath, 6 July 1973, NSC Subject Files, Box 322, NPMP, NA.
149. Nixon’s ‘Second Annual Report to Congress on United States Foreign
     Policy’, 25 February 1971, PPPUS (italics my own).
150. Nixon’s ‘Second Annual Report to Congress on United States Foreign
     Policy’, 25 February 1971, PPPUS.
151. Letter: Cromer to Tickell 21 Oct 1971, PREM 15/361, TNA.
152. Lundestad, ‘Empire’ By Invitation, p. 91.
153. C Hiepel, ‘The Hague Summit of the European Community, Britain’s Entry,
     and the New Atlantic Partnership, 1969–1970’, in M Schultz and T Schwartz
     (eds), The Strained Alliance (Cambridge, 2009), p. 121.
154. D Reynolds, One World Divisible: A Global History Since 1945 (New York,
     2000), p. 405.
155. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 426.
156. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 30 June 1970, RE: Guidelines for US policy
     towards expansion of the EC, NSDM 68, US Policy towards Euro, H-217,
     NPMP, NA.
157. Nixon’s annotation on Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 13 November 1970, NSC
     Subject Files, European Common Market, Box 322, NPMP, NA.
158. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 426.
159. Memo: Bergsten to Kissinger, 8 October 1970, H-217, NPMP, NA.
160. Ibid.
161. Record of conversation: Rippon, Peterson, et al., 8 March 1971, PREM
     15/62, TNA.
162. Ibid.
163. Kissinger, White House Years, pp. 937, 425.
164. Record of conversation: Rippon, Peterson, et al., 8 March 1971, PREM
     15/62, TNA.
165. R Schaetzel, The Unhinged Alliance: America and the European Community
     (New York, 1975), p. 53.
166. Quoted in M Schultz and T Schwartz (eds), The Strained Alliance: US-European
     Relations from Nixon to Carter (Cambridge, 2010), p. 362.
167. H Kissinger, A Troubled Partnership: A Re-Appraisal of the Atlantic Alliance
     (New York, 1965), p. 39; see also J Hanhimäki, ‘Searching for a Balance: the
     American Perspective’, in N P Ludlow (ed.), European Integration and the Cold
     War, p. 152.
168. Kissinger, A Troubled Partnership, p. 78.
169. Memo: Kissinger to Under-Secretary of State, 7 November 1969, NSSM 79,
     NPMP, NA.
170. Telcon: Kissinger and Nixon, 12 October 1971, HAK Telcons, NPMP, NA.
                                                                       Notes   213

171. J Harper, American Visions of Europe: Franklin D. Roosevelt, George F. Kennan,
     and Dean G. Acheson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996),
     p. 339.
172. Schaetzel, The Unhinged Alliance, p. 78.
173. Young, Britain and European Unity, 1945–1992, p. 174.
174. George, An Awkward Partner, p. 14.
175. Campbell, Edward Heath, p. 351.
176. Heath, 16 October 1971, Conservative Party Conference, HAK Office Files,
     Rodman, Box 15, NPMP, NA.

2 The Nixon Shocks: The Opening to China
and New Economic Policy
  1. Nixon’s announcement on television of his planned visit to Peking, 15 July
     1971, PPPUS.
  2. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 17 July 1971, NSC Presidential Trip Files,
     Reaction to China, Box 499, NPMP, NA.
  3. R Nixon, The Memoirs of Richard Nixon (New York, 1978), p. 544.
  4. The Washington Post, 16 July 1971.
  5. Nixon’s address, ‘The Challenge of Peace’, 16 August 1971, PPPUS.
  6. Quoted in R Reeves, President Nixon: Alone in the White House (New York,
     2001), p. 364.
  7. FCO Steering Brief, 25 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
  8. J Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect: Henry Kissinger and American Foreign
     Policy (Oxford, 2004), p. 152; Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 300.
  9. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 196.
 10. M MacMillan, Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao (London, 2007), p. 1.
 11. Cromer to FCO, 26 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
 12. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 766.
 13. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 146.
 14. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 16 July 1971, NSC Presidential Trip Files,
     Reaction to China, Box 499, NPMP, NA.
 15. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 17 July 1971, NSC Presidential Trip Files, Reac-
     tion to China, Box 499, NPMP, NA; Saturday Report, President’s Acceptance
     of Invitation to Peking, NSC Presidential Trip Files, Reaction to China,
     Box 499, NPMP, NA.
 16. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 554; Interview with William Rusher, in D Strober and
     S Strober, The Nixon Presidency: An Oral History of an Era (Washington, DC,
     2003), p. 132.
 17. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, ‘World-Wide Reaction to Your China Initia-
     tive’, undated, NSC Presidential Trip Files, Reaction to China, Box 499,
     NPMP, NA.
 18. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 485.
 19. R Boardman, Britain and the People’s Republic of China, 1949–1974 (London,
     1976), p. 165.
 20. Draft minute: Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
 21. This argument is based on a chapter I wrote for my MPhil thesis, ‘Heath,
     Nixon and the Anglo-American Relationship’ (Cambridge, 2003); since
214 Notes

      then, the same point has been made by Keith Hamilton in his article,
      ‘A “Week that Changed the World”: Britain and Nixon’s China Visit of
      21–28 February 1972’, in Diplomacy and Statecraft, 15, 1 (2004), which is
      based on the same TNA material that I used.
22.   Dickie, Special No More, p. 154.
23.   FCO steering brief, 25 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
24.   Record of meeting: Heath, Nixon, et al., 3 October 1970, PREM
      15/714, TNA.
25.   MacMillan, Seize the Hour, p. 280.
26.   See, V Kaufman, Confronting Communism: US and British Policies towards
      China (Missouri, 2001); V Kaufman, ‘ “Chirep”: The Anglo-American Dis-
      pute over Chinese Representation in the United Nations, 1950–71’, English
      Historical Review, 115 (April, 2000); R Ovendale, ‘Britain, the United States
      and the Recognition of Communist China’, The Historical Journal, 26, 1
27.   Kaufman, ‘ “Chirep”: The Anglo-American Dispute over Chinese Represen-
      tation in the United Nations, 1950–71’.
28.   Ibid., p. 374.
29.   R Nixon, ‘Asia After Viet Nam’, Foreign Affairs, 46 (October, 1967), p. 121.
30.   Memo: Nixon to Kissinger, 1 February 1969, in W Burr (ed.), Sino-American
      Rapprochement and the Cold War, 1969–1972: Declassified Documents, Part I,
      Doc. 1.
31.   Y Kuisong, ‘The Sino-Soviet Border Clash of 1969: From Zhenbao Island to
      Sino-American Rapprochement’, in Cold War History, 1 (August, 2000), p. 46.
32.   Airgram: Stoessel to Rogers, 24 January and 21 February 1970, NSC Files for
      the President, China Materials, Box 1031, NPMP, NA.
33.   C Jian, Mao’s China and the Cold War (Chapel Hill, 2001), pp. 260–1.
34.   Message from Zhou Enlai to Hilaly, 21 April 1971, delivered to Kissinger
      on 27 April 1971, NSC Files for the President, China Materials, Box 1031,
      NPMP, NA.
35.   Nixon, Memoirs, p. 552.
36.   Reeves, President Nixon, p. 344.
37.   Message from Kissinger to Haig, 11 July 1971, NSC Files for the President,
      China Materials, Box 1031, NPMP, NA.
38.   For detailed accounts of the Sino-American rapprochement, see: W Cohen,
      America’s Response to China (New York, 1990); R Garson, The United States
      and China Since 1949: A Troubled Affair (New Jersey, 1994); R Garthoff,
      Détente and Confrontation (Washington, 1985); Kissinger, White House Years;
      J Pollock, ‘The Opening to America’, in Cambridge Modern History of China
      (Cambridge, 1991). For more recent accounts that make use of National
      Archive documents, see: MacMillan, Seize the Hour; Hanhimäki, The Flawed
      Architect; Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger; W Burr, ‘Sino-American Relations,
      1969: The Sino-Soviet Border War and Steps towards Rapprochement’, in
      Cold War History, 1 (April 2001). From the China side, see: Jian, Mao’s China;
      Kuisong, ‘The Sino-Soviet Border Clash of 1969’.
39.   Kaufman, Confronting Communism, pp. 216–7.
40.   Reeves, President Nixon, p. 344.
41.   Message from Kissinger to Haig, 11 July 1971, NSC Files for the President,
      China Materials, Box 1031, NPMP, NA.
                                                                     Notes   215

42. See Y Komine, Secrecy in US Foreign Policy: Nixon, Kissinger and the
    Rapprochement with China (Ashgate, 2008), p. 186.
43. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 550; Kissinger, White House Years, p. 189.
44. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 550.
45. Interview with Vernon Walters, in Strober and Strober, The Nixon Presidency,
    p. 131.
46. Message from Kissinger to Haig, 11 July 1971, NSC Files for the President,
    China Materials, Box 1031, NPMP, NA.
47. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, pp. 55–6.
48. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 764.
49. Ibid., p. 189.
50. H Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House (New York,
51. D Reynolds, Summits: Six Meetings that Shaped the Twentieth Century
    (London, 2007), p. 223.
52. Kissinger, ‘Central Issues of American Foreign Policy, FRUS, 1969–76, Vol. I,
    Doc. 4, p. 588.
53. J Suri, Henry Kissinger and the American Century (Cambridge, MA, 2003),
    p. 183.
54. J Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (New York, 2005), p. 172.
55. MacMillan, Seize the Hour, p. 159.
56. Message from Zhou Enlai to Hilaly, 21 April 1971, delivered to Kissinger
    on 27 April 1971, NSC Files for the President, China Materials, Box 1031,
    NPMP, NA.
57. Reynolds, Summits, p. 221.
58. See, for example, Message to PRC, 15 June 1970; Message from Nixon to
    Zhou, via Hilaly, 10 May 1971; Message from Nixon to Zhou, given to Hilaly
    on 4 June 1971, NSC Files for the President, China Materials, Box 1031,
    NPMP, NA.
59. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 117.
60. Suri, Henry Kissinger, p. 183.
61. H Kissinger, Diplomacy (New York, 1994), p. 729.
62. Green interview, in Strober and Strober, The Nixon Presidency, p. 94.
63. Burr, ‘Sino-American Relations, 1969’, p. 101.
64. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 189.
65. Komine, Secrecy in US Foreign Policy, p. 244.
66. Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, 29 June 1971, p. 309.
67. Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 268.
68. Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, 17 December 1970, p. 221.
69. Ibid., 30 March 1971, p. 263.
70. Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 28.
71. Haldelman, Haldeman Diaries.
72. Telegram: Annenberg to Rogers, NSC Presidential Trip Files, Reaction to
    China, Box 499, NPMP, NA.
73. Telegram: Annenberg to Rogers, 8 December 1971, WHSF-WHCF, Subject
    Files, Oversize Attachments, Box 9, NPMP, NA.
74. Draft minute: Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
75. Home to Cromer, 12 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
76. Minute: Tomlinson, 2 March 1972, FCO 21/983, TNA.
216 Notes

 77.   Boardman, Britain and the People’s Republic of China, p. 144.
 78.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 643.
 79.   McClauney to Moon, 2 December 1970, PREM 15/196, TNA.
 80.   Home to Rodgers, 20 November 1970, PREM 15/196, TNA.
 81.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 494.
 82.   Tomlinson to Wilford, 14 May 1971, FCO 21/824, TNA.
 83.   McClauney to Moon, 2 December 1970, PREM 15/196, TNA.
 84.   Ibid.
 85.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 494.
 86.   Home to Rodgers, 20 November 1970, PREM 15/196, TNA.
 87.   Memo: Home, 7 May 1971, CAB 148/116, TNA; Hamilton, ‘A “Week that
       Changed the World” ’, p. 119.
 88.   Minute: Morgan to Tomlinson, 21 July 1971, FCO 82/71, TNA.
 89.   24 April 1971, PREM 15/1148, TNA; PZ 391.
 90.   Minute: Morgan to Wilford, Tomlinson and Logan, 6 April 1971, FCO
       21/987, TNA.
 91.   FCO steering brief, 27 May 1971, FCO 82/60, TNA.
 92.   Cromer to FCO, 28 April 1971, FCO 21/824, TNA.
 93.   Wilford to Millard, 4 May 1971, FCO 21/824, TNA.
 94.   Ibid.
 95.   Ibid.
 96.   FCO steering brief, 27 May 1971, FCO 82/60, TNA.
 97.   Ibid.
 98.   Rogers to Home, 17 June 1971, CAB 133/408, TNA.
 99.   Home to Rogers, 17 June 1971, CAB 133/408, TNA.
100.   Note of meeting between Burke Trend and Kissinger, 24 June 1971, CAB
       133/408, TNA.
101.   Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 494.
102.   Telegram: Denson, 10 July 1971, FCO 82/71, TNA.
103.   Graham to Moon, 16 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
104.   Minute: D Logen, undated, FCO 82/71, TNA.
105.   Morgan to Tomlinson, 19 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
106.   Home to Cromer, 20 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
107.   Cromer to FCO, 23 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
108.   Ibid.
109.   MacMillan, Seize the Hour, p. 288.
110.   The New York Times, 13 February 1972.
111.   Draft minute: Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
112.   Ibid.
113.   Home to Cromer, 12 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
114.   Guardian, 12 December 1971.
115.   Graham to Moon, 16 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
116.   Cromer to FCO, 26 July 1971, FCO 21/826, TNA.
117.   FCO steering brief, 25 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
118.   Minute: Greenhill, 15 September 1971, FCO 82/61, TNA.
119.   The New York Times, 13 February 1971.
120.   Tebbit to Wilford, 22 February 1971, FCO 21/983, TNA.
121.   Wilford to Tebbit, 1 March 1971, FCO 21/983, TNA.
122.   MacMillan, Seize the Hour, p. 280.
                                                                          Notes   217

123. Saturday Report, President’s acceptance of invitation to Peking, NSC Presi-
     dential Trip Files, Reaction to China, Box 499, NPMP, NA.
124. A Walter, World Power and World Money: The Role of Hegemony and Interna-
     tional Order (New York, 1993), p. 153.
125. J Spero and J Hart, The Politics of International Economic Relations (California,
     2003), p. 24; Reynolds, One World Divisible, p. 405.
126. R Barnet, The Alliance: America, Europe, Japan – Makers of the Postwar World
     (New York, 1989), p. 299.
127. State Department Paper, ‘International Economic Strategy for the 1970s’, in
     FRUS, 1969–1976, Volume III: Foreign Economic Policy, 1969–1972; Interna-
     tional Monetary Policy, 1969–1972 (Washington, DC, 2001), Doc. 56.
128. Editorial Note 164, in FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. III.
129. T Zeiler, ‘Nixon Shocks Japan, Inc’, in F Logevall and A Preston (eds),
     Nixon in the World: American Foreign Relations, 1969–1977 (Oxford, 2008),
     p. 290.
130. J Reston, The Lone Star: The Life of John Connally (New York, 1989), p. 407.
131. Reeves, President Nixon, p. 341.
132. Quoted in Reston, The Lone Star, p. 406.
133. Cromer to FCO, 4 June 1971, quoted in Hynes, The Year that Never Was,
     pp. 29–31.
134. Quoted in Hynes, The Year that Never Was, p. 29.
135. Memo: Connally to Nixon, 8 June 1971, in FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. III,
     Doc. 158.
136. Reeves, President Nixon, p. 341.
137. Ibid., p. 343.
138. Haldelman, Haldeman Diaries, 29 June 1971, pp. 309–10.
139. Editorial Note 164, in FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. III.
140. Reston, Lone Star, p. 407.
141. Editorial Note 164, in FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. III.
142. Ibid.
143. Reeves, President Nixon, p. 354.
144. Memo: Robert Hormats to Kissinger, 13 August 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976,
     Vol. III, Doc. 167.
145. Editorial Note 165, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. III.
146. Ibid.
147. Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, 13 August 1971, p. 340.
148. Editorial Note 168, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. III.
149. Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, 13 August 1971, p. 341.
150. Ibid., 14 August 1971, p. 345.
151. Ibid., p. 346.
152. Nixon’s address, ‘The Challenge of Peace’, 16 August 1971, PPPUS.
153. Telcon: Nixon and Mitchell, 9.56 p.m. 15 August 1971, White House Tapes,
     NPMP, NA.
154. Telcon: Nixon and Ford, 15 August 1971, White House Tapes, NPMP, NA.
155. Telcon: Nixon and Connally, 9.46 p.m. 15 August 1971, White House Tapes,
     NPMP, NA.
156. Reeves, President Nixon, p. 364.
157. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 954.
158. Hoff, Nixon Reconsidered, p. 140.
218 Notes

159. Telcon: Nixon and Rogers, 9.50 p.m. 15 August 1971, White House Tapes,
     NPMP, NA.
160. Memo: P Gregson to Heath, 24 August 1971, PREM 15/309, TNA.
161. Roth, Heath and the Heathmen, p. 224.
162. Draft minute, Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
163. FCO paper: ‘Future relations with the United States’, 5 November 1971,
     PREM 15/712, TNA.
164. Minute: Cromer to Home, 23 August 1971, PREM 15/309, TNA.
165. Telegram: Selby (Rome) to FCO, 17 August 1971, PREM 15/309, TNA.
166. Minute: Armstrong to Heath, 20 August 1971, PREM 15/309, TNA.
167. Note for the Record: A Neale, 23 August 1971, PREM 15/309, TNA.
168. Hannay, Britain’s Entry into the European Community, p. 345.
169. Minute: Cromer to Home, 23 August 1971, PREM 15/309, TNA.
170. Quoted in George, An Awkward Partner, p. 61.
171. Zeigler, Edward Heath, p. 379
172. Cutting from The New York Times, 22 October 1971; quoted in Rossbach,
     Heath, Nixon and the Rebirth of the Special Relationship, p. 128.
173. Memo: Haig to Kissinger, 5 November 1971, NCS Presidential Trip Files,
     Reaction to China, Box 499, NPMP, NA.
174. Press briefing on Nixon’s visits to Peking and Moscow, 28 November 1971,
     FCO 21/827, TNA.
175. The New York Times, 13 February 1972.
176. Memo: Haig to Kissinger, 5 November 1971, NCS Presidential Trip Files,
     Reaction to China, Box 499, NPMP, NA.
177. Draft minute: Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
178. Overton to Wilford, 14 September 1971, FCO 82/61, TNA.
179. Draft minute: Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
180. FCO steering brief, 25 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
181. Draft annex to FCO brief, September 1971, FCO 82/61, TNA.
182. FCO Planning Paper, ‘Future Relations with the US’, 11 November 1971,
     FCO 82/84, TNA.
183. Heath, 9 February 1972, Hansard.
184. Younger, ‘Britain in Europe: The Impact on Foreign Policy’, p. 585.
185. Barnet, The Alliance, p. 317.

3    The South Asia Crisis
    1. Memcon, ‘Plenary Session of Anglo-American Conference’, Bermuda,
       21 December 1971, POF, Box 87, NPMP, NA.
    2. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 486.
    3. P Hennessy and C Anstey, Moneybags and Brains: The Anglo-American ‘Special
       Relationship’ since 1945 (Strathclyde, 1990), p. 17.
    4. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 17 December 1971, HAK Telcons, Box 12,
       NPMP, NA.
    5. For text of the Awami League Manifesto, see R Jackson, South Asian Crisis:
       India, Pakistan, Bangladesh (London, 1975), p. 166.
    6. S Ganguly, Conflict Unending: India-Pakistan Tensions since 1945 (New York,
       2001), p. 57.
                                                                       Notes   219

 7. C Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger (London, 2001), p. 46.
 8. Ganguly, Conflict Unending, p. 60.
 9. Memorandum for Dr. Kissinger, Situation in Pakistan, March 28, 1971, NSA,∼nsarchiv/NSAEBB, Briefing Book No.79, The Tilt: The U.S.
    and the South Asian Crisis of 1971 (2002), Doc. 2.
10. G Choudry, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Major Powers: Politics of a
    Divided Subcontinent (New York, 1975), p. 204.
11. M McMahon, ‘The Danger of Geopolitical Fantasies: Nixon, Kissinger, and
    the South Asia Crisis of 1971’, in F Logevall and A Preston (eds), Nixon in
    the World (Oxford, 2008), pp. 259–60; K Aziz, Britain and Pakistan: A Study
    of British Attitude towards the East Pakistan Crisis of 1971 (Islamabad, 1974),
    p. 155.
12. Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, p. 46.
13. Telegram: Blood, 6 April 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S. and the South Asian
    Crisis of 1971, Doc. 8.
14. Hitchens, The Trial of Henry Kissinger, p. 45.
15. Heath, 27 March 1971, Hansard; Home, 29 March 1971, Hansard.
16. Memorandum for the President, April 28, 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S. and
    the South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 9.
17. Memcon: Nixon, Hilaly et al., 10 May 1971, NSC Country Files, Indo-
    Pakistani War, Box 578, NPMP, NA.
18. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 854.
19. Ibid., p. 853.
20. Ibid., p. 915.
21. Memcon: Nixon, Hilaly, et al., 10 May 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S. and the
    South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 11.
22. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 485.
23. Ibid., p. 485.
24. R McMahon, Cold War on the Periphery: The United States, India and Pakistan
    (New York, 1994), p. 229.
25. D Kux, The United States and Pakistan, 1947–2000: Disenchanted Allies
    (Washington, DC, 2001), p. 214.
26. Memcon: Meeting between Hilaly, Kissinger and Saunders, 18 June 1970,
    Pres/HAK Memcons, Box 1024, NSC, NPMP, NA.
27. Memcon: Kissinger, Farland, 7 May 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, Volume XI,
    South Asia Crisis, 1971 (Washington, DC, 2005), Doc. 42.
28. A Siniver, Nixon, Kissinger and US Foreign Policy Making: The Machinery of
    Crisis (Cambridge, 2008), p. 151.
29. Memcon: Keating, Kissinger, Saunders, 3 June 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S.
    and the South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 13.
30. Jackson, South Asia Crisis, p. 47.
31. Ibid., p. 44.
32. Ibid., p. 66.
33. See, for example, Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 298; Jackson, South
    Asia Crisis, pp. 106–23.
34. C Van Hollen, ‘The Tilt Policy Revisited: Nixon–Kissinger Geopolitics and
    South Asia’, Asian Survey 20, 4 (1980), p. 344.
35. Memcon: Nixon, Kissinger, Irwin, Moorer, et al., 11 August 1971, Indo-
    Pakistani War, Box 578, NPMP, NA.
220 Notes

36. Ibid.; Van Hollen, ‘The Tilt Policy Revisited’, p. 343.
37. Minutes: WSAG meeting, 3 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, XI,
    Doc. 218.
38. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 854.
39. Siniver, Nixon, Kissinger and US Foreign Policy Making, p. 158.
40. McMahon, ‘The Danger of Geopolitical Fantasies: Nixon, Kissinger, and the
    South Asia Crisis of 1971’, p. 261.
41. Komine, Secrecy in US Foreign Policy, p. 178.
42. McMahon, ‘The Danger of Geopolitical Fantasies’, p. 250.
43. Memorandum of NSC meeting, 16 July 1971, H-83, NPMP, NA.
44. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 848.
45. Memcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 5 November 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol.
    E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969–72, Doc. 150.
46. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 873 and Background Briefing with Henry
    Kissinger, 7 December 1971, Indo-Pakistani War, Box 572, NSCF, NPMP, NA;
    Van Hollen, ‘Tilt Policy Revisited’, p. 341; see also J Anderson, The Anderson
    Papers (New York, 1973), p. 208.
47. Memorandum of NSC meeting, 16 July 1971, H-83, NPMP, NA.
48. Van Hollen, ‘The Tilt Policy Revisited’, pp. 346–7.
49. Memorandum of NSC meeting, 16 July 1971, H-83, NPMP, NA.
50. Record of meeting: Nixon, Gandhi, et al., 4 November 1971, President’s
    Office Files, WHSF, Box 85, NPMP, NA.
51. Komine, Secrecy in US Foreign Policy, p. 192.
52. Letter: Nixon to Heath, 22 November 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
53. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries, p. 377.
54. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 885.
55. Ibid., p. 895.
56. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 4 December 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S. and
    the South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 28.
57. Ibid.
58. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 866.
59. Ibid., p. 867.
60. Ibid., p. 898.
61. Telcon, Nixon and Kissinger, 5 December 1971, quoted in McMahon, ‘The
    Danger of Geopolitical Fantasies’, p. 263.
62. Ibid., p. 886.
63. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 5 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, XI,
    Doc. 228.
64. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 527.
65. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 4 December 16 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S.
    and the South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 28.
66. M Kalb and B Kalb, Kissinger (Boston, 1974), p. 259.
67. Memo: WSAG meeting, 4 December 1971 in Jackson, South Asia Crisis,
    pp. 215–8.
68. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 4 December 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The U.S. and
    the South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 28.
69. Ibid.
70. Letter: Nixon to Brezhnev, 6 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. XI,
    Doc. 236.
                                                                     Notes   221

 71. Minutes: WSAG meeting, 6 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. XI,
     Doc. 235.
 72. Minutes: WSAG meeting, 8 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, XI, Doc. 248.
 73. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 897.
 74. Jackson, South Asia Crisis, p. 63.
 75. Aziz, Britain and Pakistan, p. 223.
 76. See, for example, Telegram, T Garvey to Foreign Office, 2 November 1971,
     FCO 47/563, TNA.
 77. Paper prepared at the South Asia Department, FCO, ‘British Policy in the
     Indian Subcontinent’, 18 December 1971, FCO 37/756, TNA.
 78. Telegram: Cromer to FCO, 5 October 1971, FCO 47/563, TNA.
 79. Record of conversation between Home and Rogers, Bermuda, 20 December
     1971, PREM 15/713, TNA.
 80. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 486.
 81. Telegram: Garvey to FCO, 5 December 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
 82. Home, 6 December 1971, Hansard.
 83. I Sutherland to K Wilford, 10 December 1971, FCO 37/756.
 84. Telegram: Sohm, 6 December 1971, NSC Indo-Pakistan, Box 571,
     NPMP, NA.
 85. Telegram: Home to UK Mission, UN, 4 December 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
 86. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 899.
 87. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 5 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, XI,
     Doc. 228.
 88. Moon to Heath, 5 December 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
 89. Letter: Heath to Nixon, 5 December 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
 90. Telegram: Crowe to FCO, 6 December 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
 91. Telegram: Crowe to FCO, 5 December 1971, PREM 15/570, TNA.
 92. K Misra, The Role of The United Nations in the Indo-Pakistani Conflict, 1971
     (New Delhi, 1973), p. 81.
 93. Ibid.
 94. Saunders to Kissinger, 9 December 1971, H-83, NPMP, NA.
 95. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 11.31 p.m. 7 December, White House Tapes,
     NPMP, NA.
 96. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 901.
 97. Background Briefing with Henry Kissinger, 7 December 1971, Indo-Pakistan
     War, Box 572, NSC, NPMP, NA.
 98. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 901.
 99. Minutes: WSAG meeting, 8 December 1971, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. XI,
     Doc. 248.
100. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 527.
101. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 903.
102. McMahon, ‘The Danger of Geopolitical Fantasies’, p. 264.
103. See editorial note 266, FRUS, 1969–1976, Vol. XI.
104. J McConnell and A Kelly, ‘Super-Power Naval Diplomacy: Lessons of the
     Indo-Pakistani Crisis 1971’, Survival, 14 (Nov/Dec 1973), p. 289.
105. Cable: Spivac (Dacca) to State Department, 10 December 1971, H-83, NPMP,
106. Jackson, South Asia Crisis, p. 143.
107. Quoted in Siniver, Nixon, Kissinger and US Foreign Policy Making, pp. 175–6.
222 Notes

108. Memorandum of conversation between Kissinger and Huang, 10 December
     1971, in Burr (ed.), The Kissinger Transcripts, pp. 48–59.
109. Komine, Secrecy in US Foreign Policy, p. 193.
110. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 906.
111. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 168.
112. Quoted in Siniver, Nixon, Kissinger and US Foreign Policy Making, p. 178.
113. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 910.
114. McMahon, ‘The Danger of Geopolitical Fantasies’, p. 265.
115. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 911.
116. Ibid., p. 909.
117. Ibid.; Nixon, Memoirs, p. 530.
118. See, for example: Van Hollen, ‘The Tilt Policy Revisited’; Anderson, The
     Anderson Papers, p. 266; Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 295; Bundy,
     Tangled Web, pp. 269–92; Kux, The United States and Pakistan, p. 206;
     Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, pp. 154–5.
119. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 182.
120. A Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War
     Presidents (New York, 1995), p. 238.
121. Isaacson, Kissinger, p. 375.
122. State Department SitRep: 14 December 1971, NSA, The Tilt: The US and the
     South Asian Crisis of 1971, Doc. 38.
123. B Blechman and S Kaplan, Force Without War (Washington, 1978), p. 200.
124. Report of Jack Anderson article, Washington Post, 21 December 1971, FCO
     37/755, TNA.
125. Van Hollen, ‘The Tilt Policy Revisited’, p. 360.
126. Letter: Elliot to Wilford, 23 December 1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
127. Tebbit to FCO, 21 December 1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
128. Anderson, The Anderson Papers, p. 208.
129. Anderson article, Washington Post, 30 December 1971, J Boyd to J Birch,
     January 1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
130. Anderson article, Washington Post, 1 January 1972, J Boyd to J Birch, January
     1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
131. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 918.
132. Ibid., p. 55.
133. M Gismondi, ‘Tragedy and Postmodernity: Kulturpessumismus in the The-
     ories of Max Weber’, E H Carr, Hans J Morgenthau, and Henry Kissinger’ in
     Diplomacy and Statecraft (September, 2004), p. 441.
134. ‘Record of Meeting at Government House, Bermuda’, 20 December, 1971,
     TNA, PREM 15/713, TNA.
135. Kissinger, World Restored, pp. 31–39.
136. Letter: A Elliott to Wilford, 14 December 1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
137. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 486.
138. Letter: D Tebitt to K Wilford, 10 December 1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
139. Paper prepared by James Cable for the South Asia Department, ‘British
     Policy on the Indian Subcontinent’, 18 December 1971, FCO 37/756, TNA.
140. Cromer to Home, 17 December 1971, PREM 15/1570, TNA.
141. Paper prepared by James Cable for the South Asia Department, ‘British
     Policy on the Indian Subcontinent’, 18 December 1971, FCO 37/756, TNA.
142. Cromer to Home, 17 December 1971, PREM 15/1570, TNA.
                                                                     Notes   223

143. Paper prepared by James Cable for the South Asia Department,
     ‘British Policy on the Indian Subcontinent’, 18 December 1971, FCO
     37/756, TNA.
144. Ibid.
145. Note of conclusions of Foreign Office meeting on India and Pakistan,
     16 December 1971, FCO 37/756, TNA.
146. Cromer to Home, 17 December 1971, PREM 15/1570, TNA.
147. Tomlinson, 14 December 1971, FCO 37/755, TNA.
148. Telcon, Bush and Kissinger, 5.05 p.m. 16 December 1971, HAK Telcons, box
     12, NPMP, NA.
149. Record of telephone conversation between Nixon and Kissinger, 5.42 p.m.,
     17 December 1971, HAK Telcons, Box 12, NPMP, NA.
150. Cromer to Home, 17 December 1971, PREM 15/1570, TNA.
151. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 879.
152. Home to Heath, December 1971, PREM 15/713, TNA.
153. Record of meeting: Heath, Nixon, et al., Bermuda, 20 December 1971, FCO
     82/183, TNA.
154. Heath to Pompidou, 29 December 1971, PREM 15/1268, TNA.

4 Negotiating Détente: SALT and The Prevention
of Nuclear War Agreement
  1. Nixon’s inaugural address, 20 January 1969, PPPUS.
  2. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 55.
  3. For the significance of Johnson’s efforts, see H Brands, ‘Progress Unseen:
     US Arms Control Policy and the Origins of Détente, 1963–68’, Diplomatic
     History, 30 (April, 2006).
  4. Nixon’s address to Congress, 1 June 1972, PPPUS.
  5. D Holloway, The Soviet Union and the Arms Race (New Haven, 1983), p. 89;
     R Edmonds, Soviet Foreign Policy: The Brezhnev Years (Oxford, 1983), p. 7.
  6. See Holloway, The Soviet Union and the Arms Race, pp. 49, 82; Dobrynin,
     In Confidence, p. 192.
  7. Kissinger, Diplomacy, p. 713.
  8. Reynolds, One World Divisible, p. 324.
  9. Holloway, The Soviet Union and the Arms Race, pp. 43–4; Kissinger, White
     House Years, p. 197.
 10. Minute: Nixon to Haig, 20 May 1972, Box 341, NPMP, NA.
 11. Kissinger, Diplomacy, p. 714.
 12. G Smith, Doubletalk: The Story of the First Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
     (New York, 1980), p. 56.
 13. P Williams, ‘Détente and US Domestic Politics’, International Affairs, 61, 3
     (1985), p. 436.
 14. Barnet, The Alliance, p. 316.
 15. Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War, pp. 193–219; S Greenwood,
     Britain and the Cold War: Britain and the Cold War, 1945–91 (London, 2000),
     p. 170.
 16. Greenwood, Britain and the Cold War, p. 175.
 17. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 405.
224 Notes

18. B White, Britain, Détente and Changing East-West Relations (London, 1992),
    p. 170.
19. Watt and Mayall (eds), Current Documents on British Foreign Policy: 1971,
    p. 959.
20. Heath, Old World, New Horizons, p. 4.
21. Letter: Heath to Nixon, 5 July 1973, PREM 15/1933, TNA.
22. Record of meeting: Heath, Nixon, et al., 20 December 1971, FCO 82/183,
    TNA; Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 476.
23. Bundy, A Tangled Web, p. 97; Smith, Doubletalk, p. 154.
24. Memo: N Barrington, 15 May 1969, PREM 13/2569, TNA.
25. Minute: S Zuckerman to H Wilson, 25 June 1969, PREM 13/2569, TNA;
    Memo: D Healey to H Wilson, 5 November 1969, PREM 13/3131, TNA.
26. Minute: Zuckerman, 6 November 1969, PREM 13/3131, TNA.
27. Minute: S Zuckerman to H Wilson, 25 June 1969, PREM 13/2569, TNA.
28. Minute: D Healey to H Wilson, 5 November 1969, PREM 13/3131, TNA.
29. Working Party Report, 8 July 1969, PREM 13/2569, TNA.
30. Telegram: Freeman to Stewart, 18 February 1970, PREM 13/3131, TNA.
31. Letter: Nixon to Smith, 12 November 1969, NSC, SALT, Box 874, NPMP, NA.
32. Memo: Nixon to Rogers, Kissinger, Laird et al., 14 April 1969, President-
    Kissinger Memcons, Box 341, NPMP, NA.
33. Minute: A Butterfield to Kissinger, 12 April 1969, President-Kissinger
    Memcons, Box 341, NPMP, NA.
34. Memo: Nixon to Rogers, Kissinger, Laird et al., 14 April 1969, President-
    Kissinger Memcons, Box 341, NPMP, NA.
35. Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 137.
36. See for example letter from Smith to Nixon, 23 March 1970, NSC, SALT,
    Box 876, NPMP, NA.
37. Telegram: Smith to Kissinger, 16 March 1970, NSC, SALT, Box 874,
    NPMP, NA.
38. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 10 November 1969, NSC, SALT, Box 874,
    NPMP, NA.
39. Telegram: Burrows to M Stewart, 14 April 1970, PREM 13/3131, TNA.
40. Telegram: H Wilson to R Nixon, 16 April 1970, PREM 13/3131, TNA.
41. Bundy, Tangled Web, p. 94; Smith, Doubletalk, p. 170.
42. Smith, Doubletalk, p. 218.
43. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 151.
44. Bundy, Tangled Web, p. 95.
45. Telegram: Freeman to Moon, 8 July 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
46. Record of Cabinet meeting, 30 September 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
47. Trend to Heath, 14 July 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
48. Record of Cabinet meeting, 30 September 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
49. Record of meeting: 12 July 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
50. Record of meeting: 3 October 1970, PREM 15/714, TNA.
51. Department of Defence, 17 October 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
52. NSSM 123, US–UK Nuclear Relations, April 1971, NSC, NPMP, NA.
53. S Twigge, ‘Operation Hullabaloo: Henry Kissinger, British Diplomacy and
    the Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War’ Diplomatic History, 33, 4
    (2009), p. 691.
54. Telegram: Davidson to Home, 13 July 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
                                                                 Notes   225

55.   Telegram: Home to UK Delegation, 13 July 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
56.   Telegram: Home to UK Delegation, 15 July 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
57.   Minute: Zuckerman to Heath, 30 October 1970, PREM 15/289, TNA.
58.   Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 151.
59.   Bundy, A Tangled Web, p. 173.
60.   Trend to Moon, 7 May 1971, PREM 15/289, TNA.
61.   Nixon, 20 May 1971, PPPUS.
62.   The Times, 21 May 1971.
63.   Smith, Doubletalk, p. 224.
64.   Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 130.
65.   S Hersh, Kissinger: The Price of Power (London, 1983), p. 335.
66.   Smith, Doubletalk, p. 222.
67.   Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries, 19 May 1971, p. 289; Reeves, President
      Nixon, p. 326.
68.   Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 140.
69.   Hersh, Kissinger, p. 147.
70.   Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 140.
71.   Smith, Doubletalk, p. 234.
72.   Telegram: Cromer to Home, 21 May 1971, PREM 15/289, TNA.
73.   Foreign Office note: 21 May 1971, PREM, 15/289, TNA.
74.   Draft minute: Heath to Home, 6 November 1971, PREM 15/712, TNA.
75.   Smith, Doubletalk, p. 319.
76.   Telegram: Home to Cromer, 8 May 1972, PREM 15/1365, TNA.
77.   Telegram: Cromer to Home, 9 May 1972, PREM 15/1365, TNA.
78.   Telegram: Irwin, 20 May 1972, NSC SALT, Box 883, NPMP, NA; Memcon:
      Butler, Spiers, et al., 17 May 1972, RG 59, Box 2656, NA.
79.   Telegram: Cromer to Home, 22 May 1972, PREM 15/1365, TNA.
80.   D Greenburg, Nixon’s Shadow: The History of an Image (New York, 2003),
      pp. 276–7.
81.   Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 220.
82.   Ibid., p. 221.
83.   J Graham to T Bridges, 1 June 1972, PREM 15/1274, TNA.
84.   Minute: Trend to Heath, 30 June 1972, PREM 15/1365, TNA.
85.   Telegram: Nixon to Heath, 1 June 1972, PREM 15/1274, TNA.
86.   Draft message (approved): Heath to Nixon, 1 June 1972, PREM 15/1274,
87.   Kissinger, White House Years, p. 1273.
88.   Minute: Carrington to Heath, 29 November 1972, FCO 82/182, TNA.
89.   Joint US-USSR Communiqué, 24 June 1973, in R Labrie (ed.), SALT
      Handbook: Key Documents and Issues, 1972–1979 (Washington, DC, 1979),
      pp. 194–7.
90.   Agreement on Prevention of Nuclear War, 22 June 1973, in Labrie, SALT
      Handbook, pp. 184–6.
91.   US-Soviet Communique, 26 June 1973, PREM 15/1933, TNA.
92.   Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, pp. 344–5.
93.   Kissinger, press conference, 22 June 1973, FCO 41/1173, TNA.
94.   Nixon, Memoirs; Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 342.
95.   Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 274.
96.   Ibid., p. 275.
226 Notes

 97.   Ibid., p. 282.
 98.   Ibid., p. 275.
 99.   Ibid., p. 281.
100.   Ibid., p. 285.
101.   See also Twigge, ‘Operation Hullabaloo’.
102.   Ibid., pp. 278–82.
103.   Ibid., p. 282.
104.   Ibid., pp. 281–2; see also Twigge, ‘Operation Hullabaloo’, pp. 689–701.
105.   Record of conversation: 28 July 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
106.   Minute: Trend to Heath, 31 July 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
107.   Telcon: Kissinger and Trend, 29 July 1972, HAK Telcons, Box 15, NPMP, NA.
108.   Minute: Trend to Heath, 31 July 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
109.   Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 338.
110.   Record of meeting: 20 December 1971, FCO 82/183, TNA.
111.   See, for example, Cromer’s letter to Brimelow, 7 March 1973, FCO
       73/135, TNA.
112.   Minute: Trend to Heath, 31 July 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
113.   Letter: Cromer to Brimelow, 7 March 1973, FCO 73/135, TNA.
114.   Telcon: Kissinger and Trend, HAK Telcons, 19 July 1972, NPMP, NA.
115.   Brimelow’s record of conversation with Kissinger, 10 August 1972,
       PREM 15/1362, TNA.
116.   Telcon: Kissinger and Dobrynin, 31 March 1973, HAK Office Files, Country
       Files, Europe/USSR, Box 79, NPMP, NA.
117.   FCO Brief, 16 May 1973, Documents on British Policy Overseas (hereafter
       DBPO), Series III, Vol. IV, The Year of Europe: America, Europe and the Energy
       Crisis (London, 2006), Doc. 95.
118.   Letter: Cromer to Brimelow, 7 March 1973, FCO 73/135, TNA.
119.   Record of conversation: Heath, Nixon, 2 February 1973, PREM
       15/1365, TNA.
120.   Notes for Brimelow’s discussion with Kissinger, 4 August 1972, PREM
       15/1362, TNA.
121.   Record of conversation, Kissinger, Brimelow, et al., 5 March 1973, FCO
       73/135, TNA.
122.   Notes for Brimelow’s discussion with Kissinger, 4 August 1972, PREM
       15/1362, TNA.
123.   Written comment by Heath on Trend’s minute, 4 August 1972,
       PREM 15/1362, TNA.
124.   Brimelow’s record of his conversation with Kissinger, 10 August 1972, PREM
       15/1362, TNA.
125.   Heath’s written comment on Trend’s minute, 11 August 1972, PREM
       15/1362, TNA.
126.   Record of conversation: Kissinger, Brimelow, et al., 5 March 1973, FCO
       73/135, TNA.
127.   Minute: Home to Heath, 14 August 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
128.   Brimelow’s record of conversation with Kissinger, 10 August 1972, PREM
       15/1362, TNA.
129.   Minute: Trend to Heath, 9 March 1973, PREM 15/1365, TNA.
130.   Ibid.
131.   Letter: Cromer to Brimelow, 7 March 1973, FCO 73/135, TNA.
                                                                           Notes   227

132.   Minute: Home to Heath, 14 August 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
133.   Minute: Trend to Heath, 2 March 1973, PREM 15/1365, TNA.
134.   The Times, 6 September 2006.
135.   Record of conversation: Heath, Nixon, 2 February 1973, PREM
       15/1365, TNA.
136.   Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 281.
137.   Draft Declaration, 10 August 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
138.   Brimelow’s record of conversation with Kissinger, 10 August 1972, PREM
       15/1362, TNA.
139.   Minute: Home to Heath, 14 August 1972, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
140.   Record of conversation: Kissinger, Brimelow, et al., 5 March 1973, FCO
       73/135, TNA.
141.   Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 286.
142.   Telegram: Home to UK Missions, 25 June 1973, FCO 41/1173, TNA.
143.   Letter: Heath to Nixon, 5 July 1973, PREM 15/1933, TNA.
144.   FCO Brief, 16 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 95.
145.   Telcon: Kissinger-Cromer, 18 June 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 20, NPMP, NA.
146.   Kissinger Press Conference, 22 June 1973, FCO 41/1173, TNA.
147.   Written comment by John Kew, Kissinger press conference, 22 June 1973,
       FCO 41/1173, TNA.
148.   Time Magazine, 23 July 1973, quoted in Twigge, ‘Operation Hullabaloo’,
       p. 700.
149.   Record of meeting: Group of Experts, 25 July 1973, FCO 41/1174, TNA.
150.   Letter: Wiggin to Sykes, 20 September 1973, FCO 41/1174, TNA.
151.   J Suri, Power and Protest: Global Revolution and the Rise of Détente (Cambridge,
       MA, 2003), p. 215.
152.   Kissinger, White House Years, p. 30.
153.   Kissinger, World Restored, p. 326.
154.   G Soutou, ‘The Linkage between European Integration and détente: The
       Contrasting Approaches of de Gaulle and Pompidou, 1965 to 1974’, in
       N P Ludlow (ed.), European Integration and the Cold War (Oxon, 2007), p. 27.
155.   Ibid., p. 32.
156.   Kissinger, White House Years, p. 822.

5    The Year of Europe
    1. ‘The Year of Europe’, Kissinger’s Address to the Associated Press in New York,
       23 April 1973, in Kissinger, American Foreign Policy (New York, 1977).
    2. Kissinger, American Foreign Policy, p. 101.
    3. For example, see James Reston’s reaction in Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger,
       p. 474.
    4. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 177.
    5. W Cromwell, ‘Europe and the “Structure of Peace” ’, Orbis, 22 (Spring,
       1978), p. 18.
    6. Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 493.
    7. C Bell, The Diplomacy of Détente: The Kissinger Era (New York, 1977), p. 100.
    8. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 700.
    9. Ibid., p. 701.
228 Notes

 10.   Ibid., p. 189.
 11.   Ibid., p. 163.
 12.   Hynes, The Year that Never Was, p. 236.
 13.   R Schaetzel, ‘Some European Questions for Dr. Kissinger’, Foreign Policy, 12
       (November, 1973), p. 72.
 14.   W Kohl, ‘The Nixon–Kissinger Foreign Policy System and US-European
       Relations: Patterns of Policy Making’, World Politics, 28 (October, 1975),
       p. 16.
15.    See for Kissinger’s remarks to Dean Rusk, MacGeorge Bundy, Cyrus
       Vance, John McCloy et al., 28 November 1973, President/HAK Memcons,
       Box 1027, NPMP, NA.
16.    Lundestad, The United States and Western Europe since 1945, pp. 182–3;
       T Schwartz, ‘Legacies of Détente: A Three-Way Discussion’, Cold War History,
       8, 4 (2008), p. 520.
17.    Nixon, Memoirs, p. 839; Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, 23 April 1973,
       pp. 654–6.
18.    Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, p. 473.
19.    Schaetzel, ‘Some European Questions for Dr. Kissinger’, p. 73.
20.    Ibid., p. 74.
21.    Memcon: Kissinger, Dean Rusk, MacGeorge Bundy, Cyrus Vance, John
       McCloy et al., 28 November 1973, President/HAK Memcons, Box 1027,
       NPMP, NA.
22.    Kissinger, The Troubled Partnership, p. 1.
23.    See, for example, Kissinger’s remarks to the Secretary General of the OECD,
       Emile van Lennep, 27 July 1973, NSC Subject Files, European Common
       Market, Box 322, NPMP, NA.
24.    Kissinger, The Troubled Partnership.
25.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 726.
26.    Record of meeting: Trend, Kissinger, 19 April 1973, CAB 164/1233, TNA.
27.    Memcon: Nixon, Kissinger, Pompidou et al., 31 May 1973, Presidential
       Office Files, Memorandum for the President, Box 91, WHSP, NPMP, NA.
28.    Letter: Cromer to Heath, 23 April 1973, PREM 15/1362, TNA.
29.    Memcon: Nixon, Kissinger, Xavier Ortoli, 1 October 1973, NSC Subject
       Files, European Common Market, Box 322, NPMP, NA.
30.    D Urschell, ‘Foreign Affairs in the Nixon Era: Historical Witnesses Dis-
       cuss Transatlantic Relations’, Library of Congress Information Bulletin
       (July/August 2003), p. 1.
31.    Letter: Sykes to Brimelow, 22 August 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
       Doc. 203.
32.    ‘The Year of Europe’, Kissinger’s Address to the Associated Press in New York,
       23 April 1973.
33.    Kissinger, The Troubled Partnership, p. 41.
34.    Ibid., p. 247.
35.    Final communiqué of Paris summit, October 1972, quoted in Urwin, The
       Community of Europe, p. 158.
36.    Quoted in K Hamilton, ‘Britain, France, and America’s Year of Europe,
       1973’, Diplomacy and Statecraft, 17, 4 (2006), p. 86.
37.    Memo: Flanigan to Nixon, 11 October 1972, WHSF, President’s Office Files,
       Handwriting, Box 19, NPMP, NA.
                                                                     Notes   229

38. Memorandum of conversation: Nixon and his advisers, 11 September 1972,
    FRUS, 1969–76, Vol. III, Doc. 265.
39. Memo: Kissinger to Nixon, 21 February 1973, NSC Subject Files, European
    Common Market, Box 322, NPMP, NA.
40. Memo: Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger, 30 January 1973, Box H-66, NPMP, NA.
41. Quoted in Hynes, The Year that Never Was, p. 90.
42. Record of Discussion: Heath, Nixon, et al., 1 February 1973, DBPO, Series
    III, Vol. IV, Doc. 19.
43. Record of meeting: Trend, Kissinger, 19 April 1973, CAB 164/1233, TNA.
44. Record of Discussion, Nixon, Heath, et al., 2 February 1973, PREM
    15/1365, TNA.
45. Letter: Cromer to Brimelow, 7 March 1973, FCO 73/135, TNA.
46. Note by Trend, Hunt and Smith, ‘The Next Ten Years in East-West Rela-
    tions’, 12 April 1973, CAB 164/1232, TNA.
47. Letter: Cromer to Greenhill, 19 January 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 14.
48. Letter: Peck to Greenhill, 22 February 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV.
    Doc. 30.
49. Memo: Nixon to Kissinger, 10 March 1973, Memorandum from the Presi-
    dent, WHSF, Box 4, NPMP, NA.
50. See S Ambrose, Nixon, Volume Three: Ruin to Recovery (New York, 1991),
    p. 158; Haldeman, Haldeman Diaries, March–April 1973, pp. 591–656.
51. Telcon: Kissinger and Stoessel, 19 April 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 19,
    NPMP, NA.
52. Dallek, Nixon and Kissinger, pp. 473–4.
53. Record of meeting: Trend, Kissinger, 19 April 1973, CAB 164/1233, TNA.
54. Telegram: Tomkins reports official French reaction to Kissinger’s speech,
    26 April 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 75.
55. Telegram: Cromer to Brimelow, 23 April 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 71.
56. Record of meeting: Heath and Rostow, 19 June 1973, PREM 15/1542, TNA.
57. Cabinet minutes, 20 June 1973, CAB 130/671, TNA.
58. Minute: Overton to Wiggin, 21 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 97.
59. Minute: Trend to Heath, 2 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 81.
60. Telegram: Cromer to Trend, 23 April 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 71.
61. Minute: Trend to Heath, 2 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 81.
62. Cabinet minutes, 20 June 1973, CAB 130/671, TNA.
63. FCO statement, 24 April 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol IV, Doc. 77.
64. Extract from Home’s speech at Dunblane, 27 April 1973, CAB
    164/1233, TNA.
65. Hynes, The Year that Never Was, p. 129.
66. Telegram: 27 April 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol IV, Doc. 78.
67. Memorandum: Robinson to Wright, 7 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 86.
68. Telegram: UK Rep Brussels, 25 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 102.
69. Telegram: UK Rep Brussels, 26 May 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 104.
70. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 700.
71. Minute: M Butler to J Wright, 28 June 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 144.
230 Notes

 72. Minute: M Butler to J Wright, 28 June 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 144.
 73. Cabinet minutes, 20 June 1973, CAB 130/671, TNA.
 74. Minute: M Butler to J Wright, 28 June 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 144.
 75. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 171.
 76. Record of conversation at 10 Downing Street, 2 July 1973, DBPO, Series III,
     Vol. IV, Doc. 146.
 77. Letter: Greenhill to Trend, 6 July 1973, CAB 164/1233, TNA.
 78. Analysis of American Draft Declarations on Transatlantic Relations, July
     1973, PREM 15/1542, TNA.
 79. Letter: Greenhill to Trend, 6 July 1973, CAB 164/1233, TNA.
 80. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 24 July 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 169.
 81. Letter: Heath to Nixon, 26 July 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 174.
 82. Letter: Nixon to Heath, 27 July 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 178.
 83. Record of meeting: Kissinger, Trend, 30 July 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 179.
 84. Record of meeting: Kissinger, Trend, 30 July 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 179.
 85. Telcon: Kissinger and Trend, 30 July 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 21, NPMP, NA.
 86. Telcon: Kissinger and Nixon, 9 August 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 21,
     NPMP, NA.
 87. Minute: Alexander to Cable, Transcript of Home’s manuscript minute,
     28 August 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 211.
 88. Ibid.
 89. Ibid.
 90. Telegram: Text of message from Heath, 3 August 1973, DBPO, Series III,
     Vol. IV, Doc. 182.
 91. Ibid.
 92. FCO report, ‘The Year of Europe – The Impact on Transatlantic and Anglo-
     American Relations’, October 1973, PREM 15/2089, TNA.
 93. FCO paper, ‘The Identity of the Nine vis-à-vis the US’, undated, DBPO, Series
     III, Vol. IV, Doc. 193.
 94. Telegram: Text of a message from Heath, 3 August 1973, DBPO, Series III,
     Vol. IV, Doc. 182.
 95. Letter: Heath to Nixon, 4 September 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 217.
 96. Telegram: Text of EC/US Declaration of Principles, 5 September 1973, DBPO,
     Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 220.
 97. D Möckli, ‘Asserting Europe’s Distinct Identity: The EC-Nine and Kissinger’s
     “Year of Europe” ’, in M Schultz and T Schwartz (eds), The Strained Alliance
     (Cambridge, 2010), p. 207.
 98. Telegram: Andersen’s account of meeting with Kissinger, 25 Septem-
     ber 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 234; Memcon: Kissinger, Knud
     Andersen et al., 25 September 1973, President/HAK Memcons, Box 1027,
     NPMP, NA.
 99. Draft record of conversation, Home and Kissinger, 24 September 1973,
     DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 232.
100. Telegram: Home, 15 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 291.
                                                                          Notes   231

101. A Grosser, The Western Alliance: European-American Relations since 1945
     (London, 1980), p. 281.
102. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 192.
103. Memcon: Kissinger, Dean Rusk, MacGeorge Bundy, Cyrus Vance, John
     McCloy et al., 28 November 1973, President/HAK Memcons, Box 1027,
     NPMP, NA.
104. Z, ‘The Year of Europe?’, Foreign Affairs (January, 1974), p. 236.
105. Memcon: Kissinger, Dean Rusk, MacGeorge Bundy, Cyrus Vance, John
     McCloy et al., 28 November 1973, President/HAK Memcons, Box 1027,
     NPMP, NA.
106. Telcon: Kissinger and Nixon, 9 August 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 21,
     NPMP, NA.
107. Telcon: Kissinger and Schultz, 15 August 1973, HAK Telcons, Box 21,
     NPMP, NA.
108. FCO report, ‘The Year of Europe – The Impact on Transatlantic and Anglo-
     American Relations’, October 1973, PREM 15/2089, TNA.
109. FCO report, ‘The Year of Europe – The Impact on Transatlantic and Anglo-
     American Relations’, October 1973, PREM 15/2089, TNA.
110. Minute: Home to Heath, 17 October 1973, PREM 15/2089, TNA.
111. FCO report, ‘The Year of Europe – The Impact on Transatlantic and Anglo-
     American Relations’, October 1973, PREM 15/2089, TNA.
112. Ibid.
113. Record of conversation, Heath–Pompidou meeting, 21 May 1973, quoted
     in Hynes, The Year that Never Was, pp. 124–5.
114. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect.
115. FCO report, ‘The Year of Europe – The Impact on Transatlantic and Anglo-
     American Relations’, October 1973, PREM 15/2089, TNA.
116. Telegram: Ewart-Biggs to Brimelow, 20 August 1973, DBPO, Series III,
     Vol. IV, Doc. 201.
117. Möckli, ‘Asserting Europe’s Distinct Identity’, p. 220.

6    The Middle East Crisis
    1. See, for example, R Lebow and J Stein, We All Lost the Cold War (Princeton,
       1994), p. 286; Judt, Postwar, pp. 453–6; C Maier, ‘ “Malaise”: The Crisis of
       Capitalism in the 1970s’, in N Ferguson, C Maier, E Manela and D Sargent
       (eds), The Shock of the Global: The 1970s in Perspective (London, 2010), p. 29.
    2. On one such occasion, Heath called the White House and asked to speak
       with Nixon to warn him about a possible intervention by Jordan. Kissinger
       explained that they would have to decline his call, since when he last talked
       to the president he was ‘loaded’. Telcon: Scowcroft and Kissinger, 7.55 p.m.,
       11 October 1973, Box 22, HAK Telcons, NPMP, NA.
    3. G Sherman, Washington Star, 9 November 1973; Bundy, A Tangled Web,
       p. 443.
    4. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 537; see also, for example, C Bell, ‘The
       October Middle East War: A Case Study in Crisis Management During
       Détente’, International Affairs, 50 (October, 1974), p. 540.
    5. The New York Times, 31 October 1973.
232 Notes

  6.   Zeigler, Edward Heath, p. 380.
  7.   Quoted in Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 403.
  8.   Ibid., p. 453.
  9.   The New York Times, 13 November 1973.
 10.   J Goldsborough, ‘France, the European Crisis and the Alliance’, Foreign
       Affairs, 52 (April, 1974), p. 541.
11.    The Washington Post, 27 October 1973; The Economist, 24 November 1973.
12.    Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War, pp. 20–21, 72–88.
13.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 711.
14.    Ibid.
15.    Telcon: Haig and Kissinger, 8.35 a.m., 6 October 1973, Box 22, HAK Telcons,
       NPMP, NA.
16.    Telcon: Dobrynin and Kissinger, 9.35 a.m., 6 October 1973, Box 22, HAK
       Telcons, NPMP, NA.
17.    Telcon: Kissinger and Cromer, 6 October 1973, quoted in Horne, Kissinger’s
       Year, p. 235.
18.    Telegram: Cromer, 6 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 249.
19.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 472.
20.    For a full text of the speech, see A Home, The Way the Wind Blows:
       An Autobiography (London, 1976), pp. 296–301.
21.    Letter: Heath to Nixon, 15 June 1973, PREM 15/1981, TNA.
22.    Bell, ‘The October Middle East War’, p. 539.
23.    I Greilsammer and J Weiler, ‘EPC and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict:
       An Israeli Perspective’, in D Allen and A Pijpers (eds), European Foreign
       Policy-Making and the Arab-Israeli Conflict (The Hague, 1984), p. 133; see
       also G Edwards, ‘National Approaches to the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Britain’,
       in D Allen and A Pijpers (eds), European Foreign Policy-Making.
24.    Minute: Parsons to Acland, 7 June 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
       Doc. 111.
25.    Minute: Home to Heath, 7 June 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 112.
26.    Letter: Heath to Nixon, 15 June 1973, PREM 15/1981, TNA.
27.    Craig to Parsons, ‘Arab/Israeli Contingency Plans’, 24 May 1973, FCO
       93/253, TNA.
28.    Minute: Hunt to Heath, 9 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 256.
29.    Minute: Parsons to Alexander, 11 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
       Doc. 259.
30.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 472.
31.    Telcon: Kissinger and Schlesinger, 1.30 p.m., 7 October 1973, Box 22, HAK
       Telcons, NPMP, NA.
32.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 481; Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold
       War, p. 187.
33.    Telegram: Home to Tel Aviv and other posts, 6 October 1973, FCO 93/254,
34.    Heath, The Course of My Life, p. 500.
35.    Dickie, ‘Special’ No More, p. 147.
36.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 491; Bundy, A Tangled Web, p. 435.
37.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 497.
38.    Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold War, p. 186.
39.    Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 481.
                                                                      Notes   233

40. H Kissinger, Crisis: The Anatomy of Two Major Foreign Policy Crises (New York,
    2003), p. 194.
41. Telcon: Kissinger and Cromer, 6.50 p.m., 12 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
    Telcons, NPMP, NA.
42. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 12 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 270.
43. Telegram: Adams to FCO, 7 October 1973, FCO 93/254, TNA.
44. Telcon: Cromer-Kissinger, 10.26 a.m., 13 October 1973, Box 22, HAK
    Telcons, NPMP, NA.
45. Telegram: Cromer to Home, 13 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 278.
46. Telegram: Adams to FCO, 13 October 1973, PREM 15/1765, TNA.
47. Minutes of meeting: Heath, Home et al., 13 October 1973, DBPO, Series III,
    Vol. IV, Doc. 280.
48. Telcon: Home and Kissinger, 3.35 p.m., 13 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
    Telcons, NPMP, NA.
49. Telcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 4.35 p.m., 13 October 1973, Box 22,
    HAK Telcons, NPMP, NA.
50. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 520.
51. Cromer to FCO, 14 October 1973, PREM 15/1565, TNA.
52. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 9.04 a.m., 14 October 1973, Box 22, HAK
    Telcons, NPMP, NA.
53. Minutes: Kissinger’s Staff Meeting, 23 October 1973, NSA,∼
    nsarchiv/NSAEBB, Electronic Briefing Book No. 98, The October War and
    US Policy (2003), Doc. 63.
54. Cabinet Memcon, 16 October 1973, CAB 128/53, TNA.
55. Telegram: Cromer to Home, 14 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
    Doc. 286.
56. Minutes of meeting: Heath, Home et al., 13 October 1973, PREM 15/1765,
57. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 508.
58. Memcon: WSAG meeting, 17 October 1973, HAK Office Files, Institutional
    Files, Box H-092, NPMP, NA.
59. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 9.04 a.m., 14 October 1973, Box 22, HAK
    Telcons, NPMP, NA.
60. Telcon: Nixon and Kissinger, 11.10 a.m., 14 October 1973, Box 22, HAK
    Telcons, NPMP, NA.
61. Telegram: Annenberg to Kissinger, 16 October 1973, Harold Saunders Files,
    Box 1174, NPMP, NA.
62. Dobson, Anglo-American Relations, p. 142; Brandon, Special Relationships,
    p. 289.
63. Z, ‘The Year of Europe?’, p. 238.
64. M Ferraro, Anglo-American Relations and the Yom Kippur War of
    1973, unpublished MPhil dissertation, (University of Cambridge, 2005),
    pp. 41–42.
65. Cabinet Memcon, 16 October 1973, CAB 128/53, TNA.
66. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 537.
67. Home, 16 October 1973, Hansard.
68. J Gorst, 16 October 1973, Hansard.
234 Notes

 69. Telegram: Heath to Nixon, 15 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 288.
 70. Telegram: Rothnie to FCO, 16 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 296.
 71. Cabinet Minutes: 18 October 1973, CAB 128/53, TNA.
 72. Telegram: Kissinger to Rumsfeld, 16 October 1973, Harold Saunders Files,
     NPMP, NA.
 73. Telegram: Rumsfeld to State Department, 16 October 1973, Box 1174,
     Harold Saunders Files, NPMP, NA.
 74. Ibid.
 75. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 17 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 303.
 76. Telegram: Cromer to Home, 18 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 306.
 77. Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold War, p. 320.
 78. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 569.
 79. Memcon: Meir and Kissinger, 22 October 1973, NSA, The October War and
     US Policy, Doc. 54.
 80. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 933.
 81. Ibid., p. 936.
 82. Ibid., p. 938.
 83. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 581.
 84. Brezhnev to Nixon, 24 October 1973, NSA, The October War and US Policy,
     Doc. 71.
 85. Strober and Strober, The Nixon Presidency: An Oral History of the Era, p. 154.
 86. F Aker, October 1973: The Arab-Israeli War (Hamden, CT, 1985),
     p. 123.
 87. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 713.
 88. Nixon, Memoirs, p. 949.
 89. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 980.
 90. Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 391.
 91. Lebow and Stein, We All Lost the Cold War, p. 237.
 92. Quoted in Barnet, The Alliance, p. 323.
 93. The Washington Post, 9 November 1973.
 94. Telcon: Haig and Kissinger, 7.19 p.m., 25 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
 95. Telcon: Haig and Kissinger, 2.35 p.m., 25 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
 96. Telcon: Haig and Kissinger, 7.19 p.m., 25 October 1973, Box 23,
     HAK Telcons, NPMP, NA.
 97. Telcon: Haig and Kissinger, 7.55 p.m., 26 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
 98. Dobrynin, In Confidence, pp. 299–301.
 99. Lebow and Stern, We All Lost the Cold War, p. 286.
100. Dickie, ‘Special’ No More, p. 147.
101. NATO Military Committee decision, 19 November 1971, PREM 15/
     1382, TNA.
102. Telegram: Rumsfeld to State Department, 26 October 1973, Box 1175,
     Harold Saunders Files, NPMP, NA.
                                                                     Notes   235

103. B Khader, ‘Europe and the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 1973–83: An Arab Perspec-
     tive’, in D Allen and A Pijpers (eds), European Foreign Policy-Making (The
     Hague, 1984), p. 165.
104. Memcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 31 October 1973, NSA, The October War
     and US Policy, Doc. 90.
105. The Washington Star, 2 November 1973.
106. Telcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 1.03 a.m., 25 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
107. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 590.
108. Ibid.
109. Hill and Lord, ‘The Foreign Policy of the Heath Government’,
     p. 301.
110. Ibid.
111. Kissinger, White House Years, p. 90.
112. Telcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 1.03 a.m., 25 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
113. The main point of breakdown seems to have been with the duty intelli-
     gence officer at the Cabinet Office who, having learned of the alert from
     GCHQ, failed to inform Number 10 or the Foreign Office. Minute: Smith to
     Bridges, 29 October 1973, PREM 15/1382, TNA.
114. J Callaghan, 25 October 1973, Hansard.
115. E Heffer, 25 October 1973, Hansard.
116. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 25 October 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 330.
117. Telcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 9.25 p.m., 26 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
118. Telcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 9.05 a.m., 31 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
119. Telegram: Rumsfeld to State Department, 26 October 1973, Box 1175,
     Harold Saunders Files, NPMP, NA.
120. Minute: Heath to Bridges, 28 October 1973, PREM 15/1382, TNA.
121. Notes by Assessment Staff, the Cabinet Office, 29 October 1973, PREM
     15/1382, TNA.
122. Letter: Cromer to Wiggin, 14 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 391.
123. The New York Times, 13 November 1973.
124. Washington Star, 9 November 1973.
125. Telcon: Cromer and Kissinger, 9.25 p.m., 26 October 1973, Box 23, HAK
     Telcons, NPMP, NA.
126. Khader, ‘Europe and the Arab-Israeli Conflict’, p. 165.
127. Quoted in the The Washington Post, 28 October 1973.
128. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 2 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 362.
129. Ibid.
130. Khader, ‘Europe and the Arab-Israeli Conflict’, pp. 165–6.
131. Greilsammer and Weiler, ‘EPC and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: An Israeli
     Perspective’, p. 134.
132. Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 635.
133. Quoted in Garthoff, Détente and Confrontation, p. 403.
236 Notes

134. Letter: Cromer to Home, 15 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 394.
135. Memo: Sonnenfeldt to Kissinger, 26 October 1973, NSC Subject Files,
     Box 322, NPMP, NA.
136. Telegram: Cromer, 24 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 421.
137. Memcon: Bipartisan leadership meeting, 27 November 1973, Pres/HAK
     Memcons, Box 1027, NPMP, NA.
138. The Wall Street Journal, 16 November 1973.
139. Telegram: Washington, 22 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 404.
140. Letter: Cromer to Home, 15 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 394.
141. Telegram: Cromer, 24 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 412.
142. Ibid.
143. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 4 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 367.
144. Letter: Home to Cromer, 21 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 399.
145. Memcon: Kissinger, Cromer, et al, 31 October 1973, NSA, The October War
     and US Policy, Doc. 90.
146. Telegram: Home to Cromer, 4 November 1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
     Doc. 367.
147. Telegram: Home to Cromer, conveying message to Kissinger, 28 November
     1973, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 421.
148. Cromwell, ‘Europe and the “Structure of Peace” ’, p. 25.
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 1.   Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, p. 934.
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 3.   For partial text of speech, see Kissinger, Years of Upheaval, pp. 896–7.
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 6.   Campbell, Edward Heath, p. 563.
 7.   Telegram: Brussels to FCO, 24 January 1974, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
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 8.   Telegram: Home to Washington, 30 January 1974, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
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 9.   Telegram: FCO to Washington, 17 January 1974, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV,
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10.   Guidance telegram: 14 February 1974, DBPO, Series III, Vol. IV, Doc. 553.
11.   Hamilton, ‘Britain, France, and America’s Year of Europe, 1973’, p. 889.
12.   Dobson, Anglo-American Relations, p. 143.
13.   Dimbleby and Reynolds, An Ocean Apart, p. 288.
14.   Callaghan, 19 March 1974, Hansard.
15.   Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, p. 351.
16.   Dobrynin, In Confidence, p. 199.
                                                                       Notes   237

17. Hanhimäki, The Flawed Architect, pp. xviii and 489.
18. Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War, pp. 131–2.
19. Hamilton, ‘Britain, France, and America’s Year of Europe, 1973’, p. 891.
20. Dimbleby and Reynolds, An Ocean Apart, p. 266.
21. D Reynolds, ‘Rethinking Anglo-American Relations’, International Affairs, 65,
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22. The term ‘specialité’ is used by Reynolds’, ‘A “Special Relationship”? America,
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23. S Marsh and J Baylis, ‘The Anglo-American “Special Relationship”: The
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24. Letter: Cromer to FCO, 2 December 1973, PREM 15/1989, TNA.

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Williams, P. ‘Détente and US Domestic Politics’, International Affairs, 61, 3 (1985).
Witness Seminar. ‘The Role of the British Embassy in Washington’, Contemporary
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  munity’, in S. Ball and A. Seldon (eds), The Heath Government: A Reappraisal
  (London, 1996).
Younger, K. ‘Britain in Europe: The Impact on Foreign Policy’, International Affairs,
  48 (October, 1972).
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Unpublished works
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  nity: A Study of American Influence on British Policies towards Europe from 1970–72,
  unpublished Master’s thesis (LSE, 2010).

ABM (Anti Ballistic Missile system),     Atlantic Alliance, 140, 167, 188, 193,
    114, 116, 120, 125                       198, 202
ABM Treaty (1972), 125                   Atlantic Charter, 9, 140–1, 152, 154
ACDA (Arms Control and                   Atlantic Community, 145
    Development Agency), 114               see also Atlantic Alliance
Acheson, Dean, 5                         Atlantic Declaration (1974), 187–8,
Adams, Philip, 177                           196
Agha Hilaly, 55, 84–5                    Awami League, 82
Afghanistan, 7, 203
Agnew, Spirog, 171, 179                  balance of payments, American, 43,
Anderson, Jack, 101–2                         70–1
Anderson, Knud, 159                      balance of payments, British, 27, 181
Anglo-American relations, 1, 78, 126,    Ball, George, 68, 77
    198, 200, 202–4                      Balniel, Lord, 179
  ‘East of Suez’, 6, 28, 41              Bangladesh, 93–4
  Heath-Nixon years, 1, 202              Barber, Anthony, 76
  Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 81, 94–6,   Barrington, Nicholas, 114
       102, 105–6                        Bergsten, Fred, 46
  Middle East, 173                       Bermuda summit (1971), 78–81, 103,
  New Economic Policy, 78                     106, 113, 200
  ‘Nixon shocks’, see New Economic       Bevin, Ernest, 24
       Policy; United States, opening    Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali, 82
       to China                          Blood, Archer, 83
  Prevention of Nuclear War              Brandt, Willy, 165, 168
       Agreement (1973), 129, 137–8      Bretton Woods system, 11, 50, 70
  US opening to China, 53, 61–2, 69,     Breznev, Leonid, 35, 99, 109, 126–8,
       78                                     176, 182, 184–7
  Year of Europe, 157, 161–3             Bridges, Lord, 190
  Yom Kippur War (1973), 157, 168,       Brimelow, Thomas, 129, 132–4, 151
       175–6, 180, 188–91, 193–4         Britain, 24, 53
  see also ‘special relationship’,         arms control talks, 111–12
       Anglo-American                      Commonwealth, 24, 84
Anglo-French nuclear cooperation,          China, 54–6, 62–7
    40–1                                   détente, 111–12, 115
Annenburg, Walter, 62, 123                 domestic crisis, 197–8
Arab-Israeli conflict, 181                  EC, see EC applications, British
  see also Yom Kippur War (1973);          empire, 6
       Middle East crisis                  Energy Action Group, 197
Arnaud, Claude, 154                        Europe, 24
Asad, Hafez, 170                           India, 92, 95
Asakai nightmare, 52                       Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 87, 92,
Ashbrook, John, 125                             94–5, 101, 106

                                                                       Index   249

  Middle East, 174                          Colby, William, 185
  miners strike, 197–8                      Common Market, 18, 27, 72
  nuclear alert, 191                        Commonwealth, British, 31, 33, 38,
  nuclear deterrent, 115, 119                   84
  oil, 174, 181                             Congress, US, 12, 71, 110, 147
  Pakistan, 83–4                            Connally, John, 50, 71–3
  Prevention of Nuclear War                   Munich speech (1971), 72
       Agreement (1973), 129–30, 133,         New Economic Policy, 72–4
       135–7, 139                           Conservative Party, 1
  SALT, 115                                 Conservative Party Conference (1971),
  Soviet Union, 112                             38, 77; (1973), 177
  United States, see Anglo-American         containment, 42, 58, 110
       relations; ‘special relationship’,   Copenhagen summit (1973), 156
       Anglo-American                       Courcel, Geoffrey, 151
  Year of Europe, 9, 152, 158               Cox, Archibold, 183
  Yom Kippur War (1973), 172, 175–6,        Cromer, Rowley, 41
       180, 191, 193                          Bermuda summit (1971), 79
British Empire, 6                             Connally, 72
Brown, George, 28–9, 40                       Kissinger, 104, 131, 150, 203
Bruce, David, 6                               meetings with Kissinger, 178, 182,
Bundy, William, 118                                193
Bush, George H.W., 88, 94, 96, 105            New Economic Policy, 75–6
Butler, Michael, 124, 155                     Nixon, 203
                                              US opening to China, 67–8
Cabinet Office, 191                            US policy in the Indo-Pakistani War
Cable, James, 104–5                                (1971), 93, 104–5
Callaghan, James, 189, 198                    Prevention of Nuclear War
Cambodia, 55                                       Agreement (1973), 131–3
Canada, 196                                   Year of Europe, 146, 153
CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), 46          Yom Kippur War (1973), 172, 176–9,
Carrington, Peter, 112                             189, 191, 194
Castlereagh, Lord, 14                       Crossman, Richard, 28
Chequers                                    Crowe, Colin, 94–6
  Heath-Nixon meeting (1971), 2             CSCE (Conference on Security and
  Heath’s meeting with advisers                 Cooperation in Europe), 182
       during Yom Kippur War (1973),        Cuban missile crisis (1962), 29, 110,
       177                                      166, 169, 182, 185, 191
Chiao Kuan-Hua, 66                          Czechoslovakia, 35, 112
China, People’s Republic of (PRC),            see also Prague Spring
  Britain, 54–6, 62–7
  Important Question, 54–5, 63–4, 66        Davignon, Etinenne, 154
  Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 98, 100        Dean, Patrick, 6, 28
  split with the Soviet Union, 51, 55       decline
  US opening, 12–13, 50–2, 55–7, 200          American, 203
China, Republic of, see Taiwan                British, 27–9, 203
Churchill, Winston, 4, 8, 24, 111           De Gaulle, Charles, 8, 18–19, 35, 142
CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), 89,      Denson, John, 62, 66
    101                                     détente, 108–11, 138, 140, 165–6, 171,
City of London, 76                              185–7
250 Index

devaluation, British, 2                      Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 94, 101,
Dickie, John, 175                                 103–6
Dinitz, Simcha, 176                          Middle East, 173–4
Dobrynin, Anatoly, 100, 117, 122,            Prevention of Nuclear War
    128, 172, 178, 184, 187, 200                  Agreement (1973), 136
Douglas-Home, Alec, see Home, Alec           SALT, 122, 124–5
                                             State Department, 14
‘East of Suez’, 1, 6, 28, 41                 Year of Europe, 150, 153, 155–6,
ECSC (European Coal and Steel                     158, 162–3
     Community), 18                          Yom Kippur War (1973), 194
Eden, Anthony, 26                          France, 136, 141, 151, 154, 159, 197
EC (European Community), 26, 45            Freeman, John, 41–3, 118
  enlargement, 45, 142
  integration, 142, 148, 198               Galbraith, John, 45
  Middle East, 173, 192–3                  Galloway, William, 105
  New Economic Policy, 76                  Gandhi, Indira, 86, 96
  Yom Kippur War (1973), 192                 meeting with Nixon (1971), 89
EC applications, British                   Garthoff, Raymond, 120–1
  first, 25–7                               Garvey, Terence, 93
  second, 27–9                             GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs
  third, 31–41                                 and Trade), 70
EFTA (European Free Trade                  Germany, Federal Republic of, 24, 31,
     Association), 26                          70, 74–5
Egypt, 166, 170–1, 176, 182, 184           Godkin lectures, 29, 34, 40
Ehrlichman, John, 151                      Gorst, John, 181
Eisenhower, Dwight, 21, 27                 Goulden, John, 137
elections                                  Graham, Jan, 67
  American (1972), 13, 47, 61, 111,        Graham, John, 125
        125, 148                           Grand Design, 29, 42, 47, 146, 164
  British (1970), 1, 31; (1974), 10, 198   Great Britain, see Britain
Elliot, Anthony, 103                       Green, Marshall, 60
Energy Action Group, 196                   Greenhill, Denis, 69
energy crisis, see Home, Alec, oil         Gromyko, Andrei, 139
European Communities Bill, 79              Haig, Alexander, 77, 98–9, 184–5
ERDF (European Regional                    Hague summit (1969), 31, 45
     Development Fund), 33                 Haldeman, Harry (‘Bob’), 58, 61, 151
European identity, 158–9, 194              Heath, Edward
Evans, Vincent, 134                         Anglo-American relations, 20, 157,
Faisal, King of Saudi Arabia, 181           Bermuda summit (1971), 78, 80–1,
Farland, Joseph, 85                              103, 106, 113, 122
Five Power Defence Pact, 2–3                Brezhnev, 112
Flanigan, Peter, 148                        China, 63–4
Ford, Gerald, 74                            Cold Warrior, 2, 112
Foreign Office, 10, 14                       domestic crisis, 197–8
  China, People’s Republic, 64–5            ‘East of Suez’, 2
  domestic crisis, 197                      EC applications, 26–7, 30–37,
  EC applications, 30, 34, 40–1                  39–40, 49
                                                                    Index   251

  elections, 1, 31, 10, 198               Heath, 188–9
  Five Power Defence Pact, 2              Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 83, 92–3,
  Germany, Federal Republic of, 24             95–6, 101
  Godkin lectures, 29, 34, 40             Kissinger, 156, 162
  Home, 188                               Middle East, 173
  Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 95, 103      nuclear alert, 189–90
  Jobert, 155                             oil shocks, 197
  Kissinger, 158, 163                     Prevention of Nuclear War
  Nixon, 1–3, 8                                Agreement (1973), 132, 135
  maiden speech to Parliament, 22         relations with the US, 118
  Middle East, 2, 173–4                   Rogers, 65
  miners strike, 197–8                    SALT, 120, 123–4
  New Economic Policy, 75, 77, 78         transatlantic relations, 15, 37, 196,
  nuclear alert, 190                           202
  Pakistan, 83–4                          Year of Europe, 153, 155–6, 162
  Paris summit (1972), 77                 Yom Kippur War (1973), 177, 180–1,
  Pompidou, 22, 33–4, 36, 38–9; see            189–90, 193–4
       also Pompidou, Georges, Paris      Washington Energy Conference
       summit (1971)                           (1974), 198
  Prevention of Nuclear War               see also Douglas-Home, Alec
       Agreement (1973), 129, 132–5      Hong Kong, 54
  SALT, 119, 123, 126                    Hormats, Robert, 149
  ‘special relationship’, 8–11, 20,      Huang Hua, 98
       38–9, 40–1                        Hyland, William, 125
  South East Asia, 2
  Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia      India, 80, 86
       (1968), 112                          Indo-Pakistani War (1972), 100
  Soviet Union, 2                           Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship
  superpower bilateralism, 34, 38, 126           (1971), 87
  three-day week, 197                       Soviet Union, 86–7
  US opening to China, 53, 62, 68, 78    Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 86–7, 96,
  Vietnam, 150, 202                           169
  views on Europe, 11, 18, 21–24, 38,       see also South Asia Crisis
       49, 77, 79, 107, 159, 199, 201    Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship
  Washington visit (1970), 8, 20              (1971), 86
  Year of Europe, 141, 143, 152,         Iran, 92
       155–6, 158, 159, 165              Iraq, 7, 203
  Yom Kippur War (1973), 169, 177,       Israel, 167, 171, 176, 180, 184, 192
       180–1, 190
Heffer, Eric, 189                        Jackson, Henry (‘Scoop’), 125
Helms, Richard, 97                       Japan, 52, 70–1, 74–5, 196
Hilaly, Agha, 84                         Jenkins, Roy, 103
Hoare, Samuel, 112                       Jobert, Michel, 161, 165, 168, 186, 197
Holland, 180                             Johnson, Lyndon, 6, 21, 28, 35
Home, Alec                               Jordan, 92, 170
  China, 63–4, 66, 68
  EC application, 34–9                   Kashmir, 99–100
  European integration, 15, 192          Keating, Kenneth, 83, 85, 88
  Harrogate speech (1970), 173           Kennedy, John, 21, 45, 169, 191
252 Index

Khruschev, Nikita, 27                       Watergate, 127
Kissinger, Henry                            Wilson, 198
  Anglo-American relations, 7–10, 15,       Year of Europe, 140–2, 145, 149,
       129, 143, 157, 168–9, 188, 193,          151–2, 157–8, 160–3
       198–200, 202–4                       Yom Kippur War (1973), 171–2, 175,
  Atlantic Alliance, 193; see also The          176–9, 183–90
       Troubled Partnership (Kissinger)   Korea, 51, 54
  backchannel to Dobrynin, 91, 117,       Kuwait, 181
       122, 128, 131, 172
  Britain’s EC application, 44–6, 94,     Labour Party, 29
       161                                Laird, Melvin, 97
  Callaghan, 198                          Limited Test Ban Treaty (1968), 111
  détente, 108, 110, 165                  linkage, 91
  Energy Action Group, 196
  European integration, 47–8, 167,        Macmillan, Harold, 4–5, 21, 25, 111,
       199                                    169, 199
  opening to China, 13, 50, 56, 58–9       Anglo-American relations, 4–5, 21,
  geopolitics, 15, 102–3                        26–7
  Heath, 8–9, 20, 96, 157, 161, 198–9      EC application, first, 21, 25–7, 49
  India, 89–90                             Paris summit (1960), 27, 201
  Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 84, 88,      Maitland, Donald, 172
       90–1, 96–100, 102–6                Mansfield, Mike, 36, 147
  Israel, 171–2                           Mao Zedong, 56, 62
  meetings with Brimelow, 129, 134,       Marshall Plan, 42, 140, 146
       151, 157                           Masoud, Muhammad, 181
  meetings with Cromer, 177–8, 182,       McClauney, Ian, 63
       193                                McCord, James, 150
  meetings with Trend, 66, 129–31,        Meir, Golda, 176, 183
       151, 157                           Messina conference (1955), 24
  Middle East, 171                        Metternich, Klemens von, 14
  NATO, 167                               Middle East crisis, 165, 167, 178, 185,
  New Economic Policy, 74                     192, 201
  nuclear alert, 185–7                     see also Yom Kippur War (1973)
  Pakistan, 90–1                          Millard, George, 65
  personality, 13–14                      miners strike, 197
  policy-making, 12–16, 60–1, 104,        MIRV (Multiple Independently
       113, 136, 138, 156, 158, 162–3,        targetable Re-entry Vehicles), 114,
       169, 200–1                             116–17, 120, 125–6
  Prevention of Nuclear War               Mitchell, John, 74
       Agreement (1973), 127–8, 131,      Monnet, Jean, 148–9
       134–6                              Moon, Peter, 95
  SALT, 118, 121–2, 139                   Moorer, Thomas, 185
  Soviet Union, 147                       Moscow summit (1972), 124–6
  State Department, 89                    Mujib, Sheikh, 82, 86
  triangular diplomacy, 66, 99, 102       Mukti Bahini, 86
  The Troubled Partnership, 47, 148,
       164                                Nasser, Gamel Abdel, 170
  Washington Energy Conference            NATO (North Atlantic Treaty
       (1974), 197                            Organisation), 16, 25, 36, 112,
                                                                     Index   253

     127, 132, 142, 147, 160, 167, 180,     Year of Europe, 149, 151
     187, 193, 196, 202                     Yom Kippur War (1973), 179, 184,
New Economic Policy, 12, 50, 70, 72             186
Nixon, Richard                            Nixon Doctrine, 43, 147
  Anglo-American relations, 3, 105,       ‘Nixon shocks’, see Nixon, Richard,
       204                                    opening to China; New Economic
  Bermuda summit (1971), 79–81,               Policy
       106, 200                           North Sea oil, 174
  Breznev, 186                            NSC (National Security Council), 12,
  Britain, 106, 200, 204                      53, 121
  Britain’s EC application, 44–6, 94,     Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (1963), 111
  Connally, 72                            October War, see Yom Kippur War
  détente, 108–9                               (1973)
  election (1972), 13, 47, 61, 111, 125   OECD (Organisation for Economic
  European integration, 42–3, 48, 107,         Cooperation and Development),
       146, 150, 199                           197
  Gandhi visit, 89–90                     oil, 174
  geopolitics, 15                         oil-shocks, 166, 181, 197
  Heath, 1–3, 96                          O’Neil, Con, 25, 32, 76
  Heath’s Washington visit (1973),
                                          OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum
                                               Exporting Countries), 197
  India, 89
                                          Operation Hullabaloo, 134
  Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 83–4, 91,
                                          Operation Nickel Grass, 180
       97–100, 102–5
                                          Ormsby-Gore, David, 169
  Israel, 167
                                          Ottawa Declaration (1974), see
  Japan, 75
                                               Atlantic Declaration (1974)
  Kissinger, 12–13
                                          Overton, Hugh, 41, 78, 152
  meeting with Gandhi (1971), 89
  Moscow summit (1972), 108, 124–6
  New Economic Policy, 50, 74             Pakistan, 80, 82, 96, 101
  nuclear alert, 187                      Palliser, Michael, 154
  opening to China, 13, 50–1, 55–7,       Paris Agreement (1973), 135
       59                                 Paris summit (1960), 27, 201; (1971),
  Pakistan, 84–5, 88, 90                       22, 38–9; (1972), 77
  pentagonal world view, 43, 58           Parliament, Britain, 37, 180
  personality, 2, 13                      Parsons, Anthony, 174
  policy-making, 12–15, 53, 60–1, 69,     Prague Spring, see Czechoslovakia
       138, 200                           Peck, Edward, 150, 182, 190
  Prevention of Nuclear War               Peterson, Peter, 46–7, 71
       Agreement (1973), 127–8            Pilgrims Society of Great Britain, 196
  SALT, 91, 116, 121                      Polaris, 4, 111, 119
  ‘Saturday night massacre’, 183          Pompidou, Georges, 18, 31, 148
  ‘special relationship’,                   European integration, 192
       Anglo-American, 15, 204              meeting with Gromyko (1973), 139
  triangular diplomacy, 11                  Paris summit (1971), 22, 33–4,
  Watergate, 126, 145, 150, 164,                 36, 38
       166–7, 183–4                         Yom Kippur War (1973), 188
  Wilson, 2                               Portugal, 180
254 Index

Prevention of Nuclear War Agreement       Soviet Union
    (1973), 110, 126–8, 134–5, 137,          Arab airlift, 176, 179, 185
    201                                      arms race, 110
Puax, François, 154                          bilateralism with the United States,
                                                  34, 38, 111, 168, 182, 192
Quai d’Orsay, 151                            Middle East, 166, 172, 176
                                             naval manoeuvres, 35–6
Republican Party, 13                         Prague Spring, 35
Reuss, Henry, 73                             Prevention of Nuclear War
Richardson, Attorney General, 183                 Agreement (1973), 127
Rippon, Geoffrey, 46–7                       India, 86
Robinson, John, 154                          Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 94, 100
Rodgers, John, 63                            Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship
Rogers, William, 13, 57, 60–1, 64–5,              (1971), 86–7
    73, 118–19, 120, 123–4, 171              SALT, 117, 125
Roosevelt, Franklin, 74                      split with China, 51, 55
Rostow, Walt, 152                            Yom Kippur War (1973), 176, 184
Royle, Anthony, 64                        ‘special relationship’, Anglo-American,
Ruckleshaw, William, 183                       2–10, 15–17, 19, 51, 62, 105, 129,
Rumsfeld, Donald, 181, 187                     138, 168, 188, 193, 196, 201–4
Rusher, William, 52                       Spiers, Ronald, 124
                                          State Department, 118
Sadat, Anwar, 90, 170, 175, 177–8,           Britain, 201
     182, 184                                EC, 48
Safire, Bill, 74                              Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 87–8,
SALT (Strategic Arms Limitation                   105
     Talks), 91, 108, 114–15, 117, 121,      international economic strategy, 71
     125                                     marginalisation, 12–13, 53, 69–70,
Sato, Eisaku, 53                                  105, 118, 144
Saudi Arabia, 181                            Middle East, 169, 171
Schaetzel, Robert, 47–8, 144–5               New Economic Policy, 70
Schlesinger, James, 185, 193                 opening to China, 60
Schmitz, John, 52                            SALT, 115
Schuman Plan, 22                             Year of Europe, 144
Schuman talks, 24                         Stewart, Michael, 115
Scowcroft, Brent, 185                     Suez Canal, 175, 182
Semenov, Vladimir, 120                    Suez Crisis, 26, 180
Shultz, George, 73                        Super Antelope, 119
Sino-American rapprochement, see          Sutherland, Iain, 94
     United States, opening to China      Syria, 166, 170–1, 176
Sino-Soviet split, 51, 55
Sisco, Joseph, 91                         Taiwan, 52, 56–7, 60, 63, 85
Smith, Gerard, 114, 116–17, 120–3           see also China, Republic of
Soames, Christopher, 30, 33, 39           Task Force 74, 80, 97, 99, 101
Sohm, Earl, 94                            Tebbit, Donald, 69, 104
Solomon, Richard, 60                      Teeter, Richard, 61
Sonnenfeldt, Helmut, 128, 193             Thomson, John, 36
South Asia crisis, 81–3                   Tibet, 85
  see also Indo-Pakistani War (1971)      Tomlinson, Stanley, 62, 105
                                                                       Index   255

Trend, Burke, 66, 120, 126, 129–33,       Volcker, Paul, 72
     151, 153                             Vorontsov, Yuli, 97
triangular diplomacy, 11, 58, 66, 99,
     102                                  Walker, Peter, 181
The Troubled Partnership (Kissinger),
                                          Walters, Vernon, 57
     47, 148, 164
                                          Washington Energy Conference
Truman, Harry, 54
                                              (1974), 197
                                          Watergate, 11, 126, 145, 150, 164,
UN (United Nations), 197
                                              166–7, 183–4, 201
 Chinese representation, 63–5
 Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 93–4          Whitlam, Gough, 186
 Middle East, 170                         Wiggin, Charles, 137, 154
 Yom Kippur War (1973), 172, 182          Wilford, Michael, 65, 69
United Kingdom, see Britain               Wilson, Harold, 1, 6, 21, 198–9
United States                              Anglo-American relationship, 21,
 arms race, 114                                 28–9
 balance of payments, 43, 70–1             EC application, 21, 27–9, 40, 49
 bilateralism with the Soviet Union,       Middle East, 173–4
      34, 38, 111, 168, 182, 192           SALT, 117
 China, 54                                WSAG (Washington Special Action
 containment, 42, 58                          Group), 88, 91, 102, 179
 East Pakistan, 83
 European integration, 42                 Yahya Khan, Agha Mohammed
 Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 87, 102,        Indo-Pakistani War (1971), 82–3, 87,
      106                                        96
 Israel, 170, 194                           US opening to China, 55
 Middle East, 166, 170, 174               Year of Europe, 9, 16, 140–6, 163–5,
 opening to China, 12, 50, 55–7, 200          167–8, 198
 Prague Spring, 35                        Yom Kippur War (1973), 9, 16, 142,
 Soviet naval manoeuvres, 36                  160–1, 166, 170–1, 175–6, 179,
 troop withdrawals from Europe, 36            182, 184–5
 Year of Europe, 154, 159
                                            see also October War; Middle East
 Yom Kippur War (1973), 180
USS Enterprise, 97
                                          Younger, Kenneth, 26
 see also Task Force 74

Van Hollen, Christopher, 87, 92, 101      Zhou Enlai, 55–7, 59, 88
Vietnam War, 1, 2, 6, 29, 35–6, 43, 58,   Ziegler, Ron, 77
    71, 102, 109, 111, 117, 128, 135,     Zuckerman, Solly, 115, 120
    150, 164, 202                         Zumwalt, Elmo, 100

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