U.S.-UK Nuclear Cooperation After 50 Years

CSIS commemorated the 50th anniversary of nuclear cooperation between the U.S. and U.K. with a volume of selected essays and oral histories.

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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CSIS US-UK Nuclear History Project Interview with:

Des Browne, UK Secretary of State for Defence
listen (mp3 download 00:50:51)

James Schlesinger, Former U.S. Secretary of Energy
listen (mp3 download 00:56:59)

Peter Carrington, Former UK Foreign Secretary
listen (mp3 download 00:38:26)

Harold Brown, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense
listen (mp3 download 00:50:26)

Michael Quinlan, Former UK Permanent Under-Secretary of State
listen (mp3 download 00:31:57)

John Foster, Former Director, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
listen (mp3 download 00:59:32)

David Owen, Former UK Foreign Secretary
listen (mp3 download 00:38:21)

Pete Nanos, Associate Director, Research and Development, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Department of Defense
listen (mp3 download 01:17:24)

George Robertson, Former UK secretary of State for Defence
listen (mp3 download 00:17:10)

Siegfried Hecker, Codirector, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University
listen (mp3 download 00:44:43)

John Harvey, Director, Policy Planning Unit National Nuclear Security Administration
listen (mp3 download 01:29:32)

Franklin Miller, Former U.S. Special Assistant to the President for Defense Policy and Arms Control
listen Part I (mp3 download 00:55:58)
listen Part II (mp3 download 01:15:40)

Glenn Mara, Principal Associate Director for Weapons Programs, Los Alamos National Laboratory
listen (mp3 download 00:41:49)

Kevin Tebbit, Former UK Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Defence and Intelligence
listen (mp3 download 00:38:29)

Linton Brooks, Former Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration
listen (mp3 download 01:33:40)

Tim Hare, Former Director, Nuclear Policy, UK Ministry of Defence
listen (mp3 download 00:36:06)

Steve Dearden, Director, Nuclear Propulsion, UK Ministry of Defence
listen (mp3 download 00:19:23)

John T. Mitchell, Rear Admiral, US Navy (retired)
listen (mp3 download 00:54:10)

Robert Joseph, Former U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security
listen (mp3 download 01:09:42)

Richard Wagner, Former U.S. Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Atomic Energy
listen (mp3 download 01:21:00)

Everet Beckner, Former Deputy Administrator for Defense programs, National Nuclear Security Administration, U.S. Department of Energy
listen (mp3 download 00:29:32)

Richard Mottram, Former UK Deputy Secretary for Defence Policy
listen (mp3 download 00:47:26)

Steve Henry, Deputy Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense
listen (mp3 download 00:48:30)

Stanley Orman, Former Deputy Director, Atomic Weapons Establishment, UK
listen (mp3 download 01:31:54)

Walter B. Slocombe, Former Principal Deputy Assistant U.S. Secretary of Defense
listen (mp3 download 01:05:15)

Robert Walmesley, Former Chief of Defence Procurement, UK Ministry of Defence
listen (mp3 download 00:46:41)

Robert Wertheim, Former Director, Special Projects Program, U.S. Navy
listen (mp3 download 00:55:30)

Kenneth Malley, Vice Admiral U.S. Navy (retired)
listen (mp3 download 00:49:09)

Robert Hill, Former Chief Naval Engineer Officer, Royal Navy
listen (mp3 download 01:20:28)

CSIS does not take specific policy positions; accordingly, all views expressed herein should be understood to be solely those of the interviewers and the interviewees.