This thesis analyses the development of Western relations with the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) and the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) from 1956 to 1976. It concludes that nationalist attitudes were influenced by eleven factors, of which only one--perception of Western policies--was consistently present in every time period. Even when a movement was becoming increasingly hostile to the West due to other factors, perception of a friendly Western attitude was capable of producing a positive nationalist response. Although seven factors shaped Western policies, in general governments reacted in accord with the impact of nationalist policies on interests deemed important. For cold war-focussed countries, a movement's policies were only examined to determine their influence on that international competition. Because both nationalist groups had ties with the socialist world, and because Portugal threatened to deny Western access to the Azores base if the West courted the nationalists, cold war-focussed states such as the United States avoided co-optation initiatives. Those states with wider ties to the area tended to evaluate the impact of the whole spectrum of nationalist policies on regional interests when determining strategies. Countries with broad ties to the region, such as Britain, were capable of overlooking a movement's socialist alliances and adopting co-optation policies if the group was deemed willing and able to further the Western state's interests in the region. The thesis also concludes that co-optation policies would have better protected Western interests than the coercion or neglect strategies so often selected and that such an approach would have produced stronger results in FRELIMO than in the MPLA. However, due to the interplay of other factors, even if subjected to consistently positive Western policies neither movement would have become a close Western ally.