British policy towards Israel, the Arab states and the US, Foreign Office note, July 1970

Percy Cradock, Foreign and Commonwealth Office planning staff, to Sir Denis Greenhill, Permanent Under-Secretary, FCO, 24 July 1970

‘We start from the fact that our economic interests in the Arab world greatly outweigh those in Israel. It would be reasonable to expect that our policy should reflect this fact. It does not do so for a number of reasons, one of them the need for association with the United States over Middle East issues. Although out [sic] interests in the area are proportionately greater than those of the United States and although we are more vulnerable, we cannot afford to distance ourselves too far from the United States position without risk of injury to the general Anglo-US relationship. The United States, however, are identified with the Israeli position, at least in Arab eyes. Herein lies our dilemma, or one of them… As regards loss of our economic interests in Arab countries, it is impossible to point to specific current instances of loss attributable to our political posture alone. But this posture is the main reason why our economic interests in the Arab world are permanently at risk. And if we are to talk of potential trade… it is fair to argue that on the Arab side, where the economic stake is much bigger, our potential losses are much greater as a result of our attempt to take up a neutral position’.

Source: National Archives, FCO 49/305