The Preferential Relationship 1957–1962

  • John Baylis


Despite the trauma of the Suez crisis, both Britain and the United States moved very quickly in the latter part of the 1950s to repair the alliance. A realization of the harmful effects of the clash over Suez together with a deterioration in the relations with the Soviet Union helped to bring the allies closer together again.1 Significantly the symbols of the renewed determination to work together were particularly evident in the defence field. The progress made in 1954 and 1955 in the atomic energy field was maintained and in 1958 the McMahon Act was finally repealed, returning Britain to the kind of wide-ranging collaboration with the United States which she had enjoyed during the war and which she had worked so hard to re-establish after 1946. After the earlier problems, atomic energy was now not only in line with the other aspects of the alliance but provided the most important manifestation of the return to a close partnership.


Prime Minister Preferential Relationship Nuclear Weapon British Government Ballistic Missile 


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  1. 2.
    H. Macmillan, Riding the Storm ( London: Macmillan, 1971 ), p. 176.Google Scholar
  2. 7.
    D.D. Eisenhower, Waging Peace ( New York: Doubleday, 1965 ), p. 124.Google Scholar
  3. 26.
    See L.W. Martin, ‘The market for strategic ideas in Britain: TheSandys era’ American Political Science Review, Vol. 56, March 1962.Google Scholar
  4. 27.
    J.C. Gamett, ‘British Strategic Thought’, in J. Baylis (ed.), British Defence Policy in a Changing World ( London: Croom Helm, 1977 ), pp. 162–4.Google Scholar
  5. 28.
    See A.J.R. Groom, British Thinking about Nuclear Weapons ( London: Frances Pinter, 1974 ).Google Scholar
  6. 29.
    See R. Ovendale, ‘The English-Speaking Alliance: the Anglo-American Special Relationship’, Interstate No.2, 1975–6. p.22.Google Scholar
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    T.C. Sorensen, Kennedy (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), pp.564–5. pp. 564–5.Google Scholar
  8. 58.
    H. Brandon, ‘Skybolt: The full inside story of how a missile nearly split the West’, The Sunday Times, 8 December 1963.Google Scholar
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    H. Macmillan, At the End of the Day ( London: Macmillan, 1973 ), p. 357.Google Scholar

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© John Baylis 1981

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  • John Baylis

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