Friendly Fire : Nuclear Politics and the Collapse of ANZUS 1984-1987

Author(s): Gerald Hensley

NZ History/Society

An insider account of New Zealand’s anti-nuclear policy and the unravelling of the ANZUS alliance. In 1984, the newly elected Labour Government’s anti-nuclear policy collided with a United States foreign policy based on nuclear deterrence. After three years of ship visits denied, angry meetings, fraught diplomacy and press conferences, the stand-off led to the unravelling of the ANZUS military alliance, established in 1951. Based on previously classified government records in New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom, interviews with key protagonists from throughout the world, and the author’s own involvement in events, Friendly Fire tells the inside story of the dramatic confrontation. We hear what Bob Hawke and George Schultz really thought of David Lange; we see the internal machinations within the Labour Party as Geoffrey Palmer wrestled with what to do about the USS Buchanan’s proposed visit while David Lange was stuck in the middle of the Pacific on an old boat; and we see the complex play of cultural loyalties, strategic objectives, and personal relationships that led from policy differences to confrontation to collapse. This is the definitive account of a key turning point in New Zealand history – a dramatic story of powerful personalities arguing key questions on the world stage.


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"These reflections in tranquility on a fascinating life well spent make marvelous reading. Gerald Hensley is a scholar and a gentleman as well as one of the ablest civil servants of his generation."--Margaret Clark, Political Science, on Final Approaches "I would strongly recommend it be found on the bookshelves of those who pursue an understanding of New Zealand's modern history. Mr. Hensley has written a superior book on his life as a career diplomat and civil servant. But this is no boring tome. Rather, it is an account of an interesting tapestry of life by an extraordinary man." --Col (Ret'd) Raymond J Seymour, Army News, on Final Approaches "Hensley, a superb writer, is wise enough to know that such a volume needs to be m ore than an academic and chronological account. So, he illustrates it with a vivid array of anecdotes and incidents--some of which are news revelations in themselves." --Richard Long, Dominion Post, on Final Approaches "It is aptly called a memoir and will be recognized as a classical example of the genre. It is wry, reflective, not once giving the sense of having scores to settle, amusing, offering insights into the prime ministers for whom he worked, done with an eye for the absurd, and filled with anecdotes that are told economically." --Stuart McMillan, NBR, on Final Approaches "[Hensley's] account of events in 1984-1985 is an important contribution to the understanding of what was perhaps this country's most serious foreign policy crisis and certainly its longest (as is his recollection of the Rainbow Warrior bombing and its aftermath)." --John Armstrong, NZ Herald, on Final Approaches "This is a superb memoir, written by a loyal New Zealander born and bred in the Garden City, who has done conspicuous service to his nation as a diplomat and senior public servant across the years 1958 to 1999 in many diverse roles. This is a splendid, at times deadpan, yet very compelling memoir. It is bound to intrigue and inform anyone interested in the shaping of New Zealand foreign policy in the later years of the 20th century." --Bruce Harding, the Press, on Final Approaches "Wonderful read . . . for anyone who's been through the Muldoon Lange period it's just chock full of anecdotes." --Richard Long, Agenda TV, on Final Approaches "One of the most significant memoirs written by a New Zealander and one of the most enjoyable and witty books I have read in some time." --Barry Gustafson, NZ Books, on Final Approaches

Gerald Hensley served as a diplomat for twenty years before becoming head of the Prime Minister’s Department under Robert Muldoon and David Lange and then Secretary of Defence from 1991–1999. He is a historian and author of Final Approaches: A Memoir (Auckland University Press, 2006) and Beyond the Battlefield: New Zealand and its Allies, 1939–45 (Penguin, 2009), a finalist in the New Zealand Post Book Awards.

General Fields

  • : 9781869407414
  • : Auckland University Press
  • : Auckland University Press
  • : May 2013
  • : New Zealand
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Gerald Hensley
  • : Paperback
  • : 1st Edition
  • : English
  • : 327.93073
  • : 318
  • : Black & white photographs