Saudi Arabia: Declassified

These files on Saudi Arabia highlight arms deals with the UK, its policy of keeping the House of Saud in power, the UK’s role in the creation of the country and a covert role in a palace coup, among other things


Saudi Arabia, 1963-75 (Mark Curtis files from the National Archives)

Foreign Office, Memorandum of Understanding with Saudi Arabia, 7 May 1973

Foreign Office, ‘Leggy blonde’ for Saudi official, 1973

Foreign Office, Britain and Saudi Arabia, 1969/1971

Joint Intelligence Committee, The rulers of the Arabian Peninsula, 1958


Post-World War One

Mark Curtis, How Britain Carved Up the Middle East and Helped Create Saudi Arabia (Extract from Secret Affairs, 2012)


Mark Curtis, Britain, the Saudi Islamic Mission and the Palace Coup of 1964 (Extract from Secret Affairs, 2012)


Mark Curtis, How the UK became a Saudi client state after 1973 (Extract from Secret Affairs, 2012)


‘Thatcher’s secret arms deal talks with Saudi Arabia exposed in declassified documents’ (RT, 24 August 2016)

‘Declassified papers reveal real reason for Thatcher’s dash to Riyadh’ (Guardian, 24 August 2016)

‘Margaret Thatcher held secret Saudi arms talks, archives show’ (BBC, 24 August 2016)

‘Declassified government files show how Margaret Thatcher negotiated Saudi arms deal’ (Sunday Post, 24 August 2016)

‘Margaret Thatcher’s lobbying of Saudi royals over arms deal revealed’ (Guardian, 16 July 2015)

‘Margaret Thatcher “very oily to kings”, says note in newly released FCO file’ (Guardian, 3 July 2015)

‘Kew’s al-Yamamah files’ (Guardian, 7 June 2007)


What has Wikileaks revealed about the Blair and Brown governments‘ (Defend Wikileaks, 2019)

What has Wikileaks revealed about David Cameron and the Conservatives?‘ (Defend Wikileaks, 2019)

‘The Top-Secret Cold War Plan to Keep Soviet Hands Off Middle Eastern Oil’ (Politico, 23 June 2016)

‘Britain Considered Nuking Middle East Oil Fields if USSR Invaded, Documents Show’ (National Security Archive, 23 June 2016)

‘UK training Saudi police in CSI techniques that risk torture’ (Reprieve, 7 June 2016)

‘UK and Saudi Arabia “in secret deal” over human rights council place’ (Guardian, 29 September 2015)

‘Saudis warned UK of London attacks’ (Guardian, 7 August 2005)

‘British feared US invasion of Saudi Arabia’ (Telegraph, 1 January 2004)