Middle East (general): Declassified

UK files/articles on the Middle East show, among other things, UK support to Gulf elites, the importance of controlling oil and keeping the region divided, and plans to use nuclear weapons to deny Soviet control of oil.


Defence Intelligence paper, ‘Presentation to Sir William Luce on the Gulf’, August 1970 (click here)

Foreign Office, UK support to Gulf rulers, 1969

Michael Stewart, Foreign Secretary to Defence Secretary, 21 March 1969 (click here)

Denis Allen, Permanent Under Secretary, FCO, to all heads of post, 16 August 1968 (click here)

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

Cabinet Office, ‘British overseas obligations’, 1958

R.Clarke, Treasury, to Sir Leslie Rowan, 1956 (click here)

US/British plans to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East (National Security Archive, 23 June 2016)


Mark Curtis, Britain and the Gulf Elites (Extract from Web of Deceit, 2003)

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

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

‘U.S., Britain Developed Plans to Disable or Destroy Middle Eastern Oil Facilities from Late 1940s to Early 1960s in Event of a Soviet Invasion’ (National Security Archive, 23 June 2016)

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

‘Secret files: British government courting Arab tyrants, fossil fuel interests’ (Nafeez Ahmed, medium.com, 18 September 2015)

‘GCHQ documents raise fresh questions over UK complicity in US drone strikes’ (Guardian, 25 June 2015)

‘Documents on 2012 Drone Strike Detail How Terrorists Are Targeted’ (New York Times, 24 June 2015)

‘Britain says US planned to seize oil in ’73 crisis’ (New York Times, 2 January 2014)

‘How Benn encouraged sale of nuclear reactors to the Middle East’ (Guardian, 28 December 2007)