an article o aith the necessity o conservative rule, but their objections wouldnot be put to test in practice.Overall, the Anglo-American relationship was paramount in the ormationo the Western alliance in the 1940s. Both America and Britain were powerulenough to shape events at this early Cold War period. Changes in the interna-tional and the European context in the late 1950s and the early 1960s made thespecial relationship less important internationally: Britain’s economic decline was reected in its reduced deence capabilities. Te Suez crisis o 1956 ampli-ed its inability to pursue a policy independent rom the US while the Europeanintegration process signied the re-emergence o France and the Federal Repub-lic o Germany as important actors in western Europe.
Moreover, America itsel was increasingly receptive demographically, culturally, economically and politi-cally to non-Anglo-Saxon inuences. However, the special relationship retainedits unique depth and breadth in political consultation, intelligence sharing andnuclear cooperation.
Te need, as was seen rom Washington, to manage thechallenge posed to the NAO cohesion by Charles De Gaulle’s independent policy and the imperative to ormulate a coordinated détente policy towardsMoscow undoubtedly reinvigorated the special relationship at a time that Brit-ain was losing ground rom a nancial and military perspective.
During the 1960s the initiative in Italy and Greece remained clearly inAmerican hands. Te centre-lef ormula was endorsed by Washington underthe Kennedy administration in 1962–3, and the British became more active,afer the ormation o the centre-lef coalition in Rome, with the return o theBritish Labour Party to government in 1964. In the Greek context the British were mostly observers o the political crisis o 1965–7 that eventually led to thedemise o parliamentary institutions. Te British tended to share the analysis o the Americans and the monarchy on the dangers posed or the Atlantic allianceby a prospective victory o the Centre Union. Tis stance more or less deter-mined the ormulation o a tolerant policy towards the junta which was seen asthe lesser o evils.During the coexistence o the Heath and Nixon administrations devel-opments in southern Europe were not so serious as to become a part o theAnglo-American agenda which was directly concerned with the basic questionso US relations with Britain and the European Community.
Labour’s return to power, with Harold Wilson and James Callaghan being much more Atlanticist in their orientation than Edward Heath, did not precludedierences o opinion, acute at times, as happened in the Cyprus crisis o 1974. It was evident nevertheless that Britain was again a trusted partner o Washingtonsince the undamental Atlantic orientation o British policy was not at ques-tion.
Moreover, the rise to the chancellorship o Helmut Schmidt afer WillyBrandt’s resignation in Germany and the election o Valéry Giscard d’Estaing