The thin end of the wedge: the British Foreign Office, the West Indies and avoiding the Destroyers-Bases Deal, 1938–1940

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Abstract

The Destroyer-Bases Deal of September 1940 was a milestone in establishing the special Anglo-American wartime relationship. This article argues that the Deal is best understood in the wider context of British policy towards the West Indies that developed in response to several initiatives from the United States that predated the Deal. Beginning in 1938, the British Foreign Office embarked on a proactive strategy of using the West Indian colonies as bargaining counters in an effort to win American friendship but also to avoid, or at least control, creeping American influence over their far-flung possessions. This perspective better explains the policy context of the Destroyer-Bases Deal and confirms that this landmark bargain signalled not only a turning point in the war but also of British attitudes towards its Empire in the face of mounting American power.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-248
JournalJournal of Transatlantic Studies
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013

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