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Reagan and Thatcher's Special Relationship$
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Sally-Ann Treharne

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748686063

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748686063.001.0001

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Vested Interests: US Involvement in the Anglo-Guatemalan Dispute

Vested Interests: US Involvement in the Anglo-Guatemalan Dispute

(p.145) 4 Vested Interests: US Involvement in the Anglo-Guatemalan Dispute
Reagan and Thatcher's Special Relationship

Sally-Ann Treharne

Edinburgh University Press

The question of Belizean independence was an important issue for both the Reagan and Thatcher governments in the early 1980s. For the UK, Belizean independence represented an opportunity to reduce its financial obligations in maintaining a former British colony. It also afforded the UK an opportunity to secure a Belizean commitment to the British Commonwealth. The US saw Belizean independence as a means to counter Soviet expansion in the region and as a bulwark against the possible expansion of leftist guerrilla activity from neighbouring Honduras. This was particularly important to the Reagan administration given the perceived communist threat in the region from Cuba, Nicaragua and El Salvador.1 A democratic Belize would provide the US with a valuable political and ideological ally given its strategic location bordered on two sides by both Honduras and Guatemala. The US also hoped that involvement in the Belizean issue would help it to establish closer ties with Guatemala. Improved US– Guatemalan relations would allow the US to explore the possibilities of renewed US–Guatemalan military trade and, to a lesser extent, the construction of a US naval base in Guatemala.

Keywords:   Territory, Consultation, US strategic interests, UK views, The Heads of Agreement, Belizean independence, Ríos Montt, British garrison

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