Report to J. F. K.: The Skybolt Crisis in Perspective

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Overview

In March 1963, President Kennedy asked Richard E. Neustadt to investigate a troubling episode in U.S.-British relations. His confidential report—intended for a single reader, JFK himself, and classified for thirty years—is reproduced in its entirety here. The Anglo-American crisis arose out of a massive misunderstanding between the two governments. The British Prime Minister, Harold Macmillan, had been operating on the assumption that Washington would proceed with, and sell for British use, an airborne missile system named Skybolt. In its defense planning, the United Kingdom relied on Skybolt to sustain its nuclear deterrent. The Americans, however, decided to cancel the program. This decision rocked the British government and seriously strained Anglo-American relations.Upon reading Neustadt's report, Kennedy passed it to his wife, Jacqueline, remarking, "If you want to know what my life is like, read this." She had it with her in Texas five days later, when he was killed. Today the document remains fascinating for the insight it provides into American-style foreign policymaking. This volume adds to the report Kennedy's comments, a glossary, a cast of characters, and new information gleaned from recently declassified British files.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Now declassified, Report to JFK, offers a marvelous introduction to the personalities and the arcane issues involved, supplemented by Neustadt's new research in the now-opened British archives. His report is both a microstudy of the details that animate real issues in governemnt and a masterpiece of writing. . . .It also offers a very timely lesson."—Philip Zelikow. Foreign Affairs. March/April 2000.

"Neustadt has written a fascinating book for students of the presidency, national security, and bureaucratic politics."—Choice. April 2000.

"Report to JFK is a unique and brilliant study of decision-making in Washington and London. Now available more than a third of a century after it was written, it deserves to become a classic."—The Economist, July 15, 2000.

"Neustadt's report will remain a vital primary source for students of the Anglo-American 'special relationship' in nuclear weapons and a superb case study of decision making from top to bottom. . . . students of statecraft will forever remain in Professor Neustadt's debt."—Myron A. Greenberg, Naval War College Review. Autumn, 2000.

"For anyone interested in Anglo-American relations in the early 1960s, this is a gem. Detailed and well-nuanced narrative combined with a penetrating analysis make for essential and absorbing reading. Once begun, it will not easily be put down."—Alan P. Dobson, University of Dundee. The International History Review, XXIII. 3: September 2001

"Neustadt's scholarship is well known, and this book will only enhance his already exceptional reputation among serious students of the presidency. But this work goes beyond and takes pains to clarify characters and events for the more casual student of history and international politics."—Jay Avella, Capella University. Rhetoric and Public Affairs

"An excellent account of a critical issue in U.S.-U.K. relations since World War II."—Denis Healey

"Neustadt on Skybolt is a model of applied political science—a brilliant analysis filled with insight, illumination, wisdom, and irony."—Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

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