Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship


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We are not only each other's largest investors in each of our countries, one to the other, but the fact is that every day almost one million people go to work in the United States for British companies that are in the United States, just as more than one million people go to work here in Great Britain for U. So we are enormously tied together, obviously. And we are committed to making both the U.

The Special Relationship has often depended on the personal relations between British prime ministers and U. The first example was the close relationship between Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt, who were in fact distantly related. President Woodrow Wilson and Prime Minister David Lloyd George in Paris had been the only previous leaders of the two nations to meet face-to-face, [48] but had enjoyed nothing that could be described as a "special relationship", although Lloyd George's wartime Foreign Secretary , Arthur Balfour , got on well with Wilson during his time in the US and helped convince the previously skeptical president to enter World War I.

Churchill spent much time and effort cultivating the relationship, which paid dividends for the war effort. Two great architects of the Special Relationship on a practical level were Field Marshal Sir John Dill and General George Marshall , whose excellent personal relations and senior positions Roosevelt was especially close to Marshall , oiled the wheels of the alliance considerably. Major links were created during the war, such as the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Britain, previously somewhat the senior partner, had found herself the junior beginning in The diplomatic policy was thus two-pronged, encompassing strong personal support and equally forthright military and political aid. These two have always operated in tandem; that is to say, the best personal relationships between British prime ministers and American presidents have always been those based around shared goals.

For example, Harold Wilson 's government would not commit troops to Vietnam , and Wilson and Lyndon Johnson did not get on especially well. Nadirs have included Dwight D. Eisenhower 's opposition to U. Before Churchill's premiership, President Roosevelt had secretively been in frequent correspondence with him.

In these private communications, the two had been discussing ways in which the US might support Britain in their war effort. This was a key reason for Roosevelt's decision to break from tradition and seek a third term.

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Roosevelt desired to be President when the US would finally be drawn into entering the conflict. In November , upon Roosevelt's victory in the presidential election, Churchill sent him a congratulatory letter,. I prayed for your success…we are entering a somber phase of what must inevitably be a protracted and broadening war. Having promised the American public to avoid entering any foreign war, Roosevelt went as far as public opinion allowed in providing financial and military aid to Britain, France and China. In a December talk, dubbed the Arsenal of Democracy Speech , Roosevelt declared, "This is not a fireside chat on war.

It is a talk about national security". He went on to declare the importance of American support of Britain's war effort, framing it as a matter of national security for the U. As the American public opposed involvement in the conflict, Roosevelt sought to emphasize that it was critical to assist the British in order to prevent the conflict from reaching American shores.

He aimed to paint the British war effort as beneficial to the US by arguing that they would contain the Nazi threat from spreading across the Atlantic.

If Great Britain goes down, the Axis powers will be in a position to bring enormous military and naval resources against this hemisphere We are the Arsenal of Democracy. Our national policy is to keep war away from this country. Roosevelt and Churchill had a relative fondness of one another. They connected on their shared passions for tobacco and liquors , and their mutual interest in history and battleships. One anecdote that has been told to illustrate the intimacy of Churchill and Roosevelt's bond alleges that once, while hosting Churchill at the White House , Roosevelt stopped by the bedroom in which the Prime Minister was staying to converse with him.

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Churchill answered his door in a state of nudity, remarking, "You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide from you. Between and , Roosevelt and Churchill exchanged an estimated letters and telegrams and met with one another 11 times. Roosevelt died in April , shortly into his fourth term in office, and was succeeded by his vice president, Harry Truman. Churchill and Truman likewise developed a strong relationship with one another. While he was saddened by the death of Roosevelt, Churchill was a strong supporter of Truman in his early presidency, calling him, "the type of leader the world needs when it needs him most.

Four months into Truman's presidency, Churchill's party was handed a surprise defeat at the polls, and Clement Attlee became Prime Minister. The deputy in Churchill's wartime coalition government, Attlee had been in the US at the time of Roosevelt's death, and thus had met with Truman immediately after he took office. The two of them had come to like one another.

Evoking Reagan and Thatcher, May hails new UK-U.S. 'special relationship'

During their coinciding tenure as heads of government, they only met on three occasions. The two did not maintain regular correspondence. Their working relationship with each other, nonetheless, remained sturdy.

New audio reveals Reagan apology to Thatcher

When Attlee assumed the position of Prime Minister, negotiations had not yet been completed at the Potsdam Conference, which had begun on 17 July. Attlee took Churchill's place at the conference once he was named Prime Minister on 26 July. Therefore, Attlee's first sixteen days as Prime Minister were spent handling negotiations at the conference. Churchill became Prime Minister again in October He had maintained his relationship with Truman during his six-year stint as Leader of the Opposition. In , on invitation from Truman, Churchill visited the U.

The speech, which would be remembered as the "Iron Curtain" speech , affected greater public attention to the schism that had developed between the Soviet Union and the rest of the Allied Powers. During this trip, Churchill lost a significant amount of cash in a poker game with Harry Truman and his advisors. Churchill and Eden visited Washington in January At the time, Truman's administration was supporting plans for a European Defence Community in hopes that it would allow West Germany to undergo rearmament, consequentially enabling the U.

Churchill opposed the EDC, feeling that it could not work. This had no appeal for Truman. Truman expected the British to assist the Americans in their fight against communist forces in Korea , but felt that supporting the British in the Middle East would be assisting them in their imperialist efforts, which would do nothing to thwart communism.

Dwight D.

Evoking Reagan and Thatcher, May hails new UK-U.S. 'special relationship'

Eisenhower and Churchill were both familiar with one another, as they had both been significant leaders of the Allied effort during World War II. Eden in made a secret agreement with France and Israel to seize control of the canal.

Eisenhower had repeatedly warned Eden that the US would not accept British military intervention. When the invasion came anyway, the US denounced it at the United Nations , and used financial power to force the British to completely withdraw. Britain lost its prestige and its powerful role in Mid-Eastern affairs, to be replaced by the Americans. Eden, in poor health, was forced to retire.

Evoking Reagan and Thatcher, May hails new UK-U.S. 'special relationship' - Reuters

Once he took office, Macmillan worked to undo the strain that the Special Relationship had incurred in the preceding years. Kennedy was an anglophile. British intelligence assisted the US in assessing the Cuban missile crisis. The Special Relationship was perhaps tested the most severely by the Skybolt crisis of , when Kennedy cancelled a joint project without consultation.

Skybolt was a nuclear air-to-ground missile that could penetrate Soviet airspace and would extend the life of Britain's deterrent, which consisted only of free-falling hydrogen bombs. London saw cancellation as a reduction in the British nuclear deterrent. The crisis was resolved during a series of compromises that led to the Royal Navy purchasing the American UGM Polaris missile and construction of the Resolution-class submarines to launch them. Acheson said:. Great Britain has lost an empire and has not yet found a role.

The attempt to play a separate power role—that is, a role apart from Europe, a role based on a 'Special Relationship' with the United States, a role based on being the head of a ' Commonwealth ' which has no political structure, or unity, or strength and enjoys a fragile and precarious economic relationship—this role is about played out. In so far as he appeared to denigrate the resolution and will of Britain and the British people, Mr.

Acheson has fallen into an error which has been made by quite a lot of people in the course of the last four hundred years, including Philip of Spain , Louis XIV , Napoleon , the Kaiser and Hitler. He also seems to misunderstand the role of the Commonwealth in world affairs.

In so far as he referred to Britain's attempt to play a separate power role as about to be played out, this would be acceptable if he had extended this concept to the US and to every other nation in the Free World. This is the doctrine of interdependence, which must be applied in the world today, if Peace and Prosperity are to be assured. I do not know whether Mr. Acheson would accept the logical sequence of his own argument.

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan: A Very Political Special Relationship

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