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Disagreement in the Middle and Far East

The Korean War

During the early 1950s Anglo-American relations over the Middle and Far East were strong. In June 1950 the Korean War broke out and Britain, under Clement Attlee, provided substantial military support to the US.  In 1951 meetings in Washington and Ottawa aligned objectives for the British and American defence policy. During the 1950s Britain received substantial defence aid under the American Military Defence Assistance Act. However, the ANZUS Treaty was perceived by Britain as undermining Commonwealth relations.

The Suez Crisis

The 1956 Suez Crisis brought Anglo-American relations to a low point when Dwight D. Eisenhower opposed the Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of Egypt. American diplomatic and financial pressure helped to bring about the end of the Suez operation and the end of Anthony Eden's leadership. To make matters worse, Britain was unsupportive of aggressive American policies in Indochina (modern Vietnam). In 1958 a degree of operational co-operation was restored. Following the British retreat during the Suez Crisis, Eisenhower declared America's interest to defend Middle-Eastern states against communism. Jordan and Lebanon appealed for assistance when a coup in Iraq threatened to spill over the borders. In parallel with US landings in Lebanon, British paratroops landed in Jordan.

The Vietnam War

In the 1960s Anglo-American co-operation in the Middle and Far East come under considerable strain. No British troops were committed to the Vietnam War and Britain only gave limited diplomatic support. In 1966 Britain considered a change in defence spending. However, in the financial crisis of 1967, the Wilson government withdrew from defence commitments 'East of Suez'. Britain became less important for American strategy in the Middle and Far East.