British policy towards socialist countries in the 1970s : trade as a cornerstone of détente
Title: British policy towards socialist countries in the 1970s : trade as a cornerstone of détente
Author: ROMANO, Angela
Citation: John FISCHER, Effie PEDALIU and Richard SMITH (eds), The Foreign office, commerce and foreign policy in the twentieth Century, London : Palgrave, 2016, pp. 465-485
ISBN: 9781137465801; 9781137465818
This chapter assesses the relationship between Commerce and Foreign Office with regard to UK policy towards socialist countries in the long 1970s. The decade was characterized by the deepening of contacts, exchanges and mutual obligations between West European capitalist countries and East European Socialist states, a process known as détente. This new pattern lasted well into the 1980s, despite renewed superpower confrontation. The chapter first explores the role assigned to trade in the UK policy towards the Socialist bloc countries; it then assesses what the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) could do to promote British firms’ interests, and takes into consideration the views expressed by the latter at the time. In its conclusions, the chapter highlights the main driving forces in the relationship between commerce and the FCO in this area and It argues that the juncture described above created a perfect match between the interests of British business and the FCO’s aims: business inevitably required government assistance and backing when trading with Socialist countries and the Foreign Office saw trade as a valid means to nourish relations with the East and promote détente.
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