Government documents from the British National Archives, currently within the public domain, have revealed that Britain’s preferred policy in 1974 was the total withdrawal from its two Sovereign Base Areas in Cyprus. However, the United States – in particular controversial US Secretary of State Dr Henry Kissinger – attached such importance to Britain’s continued military presence in Cyprus, that British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan opted not to pursue Britain’s preferred policy, exemplifying the extent to which Whitehall, despite Britain’s growing financial difficulties, would allow British defence policy to be dictated and subjected to pressures from across the Atlantic.
This article looks at the history of the British Sovereign Base Areas from 1960 until 1978, their significance to the respective British governments and how American foreign and defence policy affected British decision-making vis-à-vis its geopolitically vital military presence in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Sovereign Base Areas, Britain, America, Cyprus, Kissinger
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