By John Baylis
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Additional info for Anglo-American Defence Relations 1939–1980: The Special Relationship
Even here, however, there were similar problems to other areas of the wartime relationship especially in the early days of development. The great predominance of the United States in nuclear research and development once the American project got under way and the suspicion of Britain's post-war intentions caused difficulties which for a time led to a breakdown of Anglo-American cooperation. The first steps towards collaboration in the atomic energy field were taken in the autumn of 1940 when Professor Cockcroft accompanied Sir Henry Tizard to the United States and, as already mentioned, 'the scientific 16 Anglo-American Defence Relations 1939-1980 secrets of the two countries were freely exchanged'.
Not surprisingly this breakdown in collaboration produced important strains in Anglo-American relations which continued until July. 18 Anglo-American Defence Relations 1939-1980 Some progress towards improving the situation was made during the visit to Britain by Dr Bush and Mr Stimson, the US Secretary of War, in mid-July. In discussions it was revealed that one of the constraints in the United States on collaboration with Britain was a suspicion in Congress of Britain's post-war motives, especially in the commercial atomic energy field.
The concern to protect Britain's own interest in this new and vital field was expressed by Lord Cherwell in a minute to Churchill at the end of August 1941. 103 In the debate about where the first separation process plant should be built, Cherwell felt strongly that if possible it should be erected in Britain. In his words: However much I may trust my neighbour, and depend on him, I am very much averse to putting myself completely at his mercy and would therefore not press the Americans to undertake this work: I would just continue exchanging information and get into production over here without raising the question of whether they should do it or not.