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The Macmillan government, British arms exports and Indonesia

By S.J. Ball


This article outlines the process behind Britain's 1958 decision to export Fairey Gannet aircraft to Indonesia. The decision has not previously attracted scholarly attention. The decision to export arms to Indonesia is of particular interest because of its complexity. Britain had difficult relations with the Indonesian government that led to 'Confrontation' in 1963. This relationship was further complicated by the United States' volte-face in its relations with Indonesia and the emergence of the Soviet Union as the Indonesians' major arms supplier. The article is a contribution to the literature on the Macmillan government that concentrates on a detailed technical issue rather than on grand strategy. It concludes, nevertheless, that the dictates of diplomacy rather than commerce governed decision-making. The article draws on documents detailing the role of the inter-departmental machinery for regulating arms exports based in the Ministry of Defence and those relating to the involvement of the prime minister in the decision-making process

Topics: DA
Year: 2002
DOI identifier: 10.1080/713999450
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Enlighten
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