A Foregone Conclusion? The United States, Britain and the Trident missile agreements, 1977 – 1982

Doyle, Suzanne (2015) A Foregone Conclusion? The United States, Britain and the Trident missile agreements, 1977 – 1982. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

[thumbnail of Doyle.Corrected.Thesis.FINAL_X.pdf]
Download (6MB) | Preview


Only recently have declassified government documents on the United States
sale of Trident nuclear missiles to the United Kingdom become available. As
such, the Trident agreements of 1980 and 1982 have received little scholarly
attention. This thesis provides the first focused study of the negotiations on
the supply of Trident C4 and D5 missiles. It does this by drawing upon material
from the British National Archives, the Jimmy Carter Library and the Ronald
Reagan Library.
Specifically, the research focuses on the ways in which the interests of
the United States influenced the Trident negotiations and British decisionmaking
on the successor to Polaris. This approach eschews the Anglo-centric
framework that dominates research on the US-UK nuclear relationship. This
US-centred approach demonstrates the contingency of the Trident
negotiations. Both the Reagan and Carter administrations were hard-headed
in their discussions with the British over the supply of Trident, and only
consented to do so when it suited Washington. Furthermore, both
administrations drove a hard bargain over the terms of sale, and sought to
derive the greatest possible benefit from the deal. US geostrategic interests,
economic realities and domestic politics influenced the actions of White House
officials throughout. The sale of Trident only brought modest benefits. As such,
both US administrations viewed it as helpful to assist the British when it
coalesced with their overall interests. However, if a Polaris replacement
clashed with the priorities of the administration, they disregarded British
interests. As such, the Trident agreements were not a ‘foregone conclusion’
due to the logic of Cold War ‘deterrence’, or long-standing US-UK nuclear cooperation,
but negotiations heavily influenced by the context of the time. As
such, the study reveals the ways in which the broader political concerns of the
United States interacted with the US-UK nuclear relationship and nuclear

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies
Depositing User: Users 2259 not found.
Date Deposited: 05 May 2016 10:49
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2018 00:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/58582

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item