U.S.-UK Nuclear Cooperation After 50 Years
July 8, 2008
As Britain and the United States commemorate five decades of the special nuclear relationship embodied in the 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement (MDA), two leading research institutes—one on either side of the Atlantic—have collaborated to examine that history. The Center for Strategic and International Studies, in Washington, D.C., and the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, London, enlisted senior officials, scientists, academics, and members of industry who have been involved in the implementation of the MDA over the years. The contributors were asked to recount how the U.S.-UK nuclear relationship flourished despite such obstacles as the halt in the scientific cooperation that had spurred the Manhattan Project; the Suez crisis; and sharp disagreements over scientific, political, and technical issues. They were also asked to look to the future of this unparalleled transatlantic relationship. Abstracts from 36 oral histories (taken with, among others, Des Browne, UK secretary of state for defence; James Schlesinger, former U.S. secretary of energy; and Harold Brown, former U.S. secretary of defense) add to the historical dimension of this work. The resulting collection of histories, analyses, and anecdotes provides valuable reading for an understanding of how the two nations were drawn together by a common threat during a turbulent era, as well as how they will face future challenges in a radically changed security environment.
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