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Oil and Empire pp 117-136 | Cite as

The War, 1914–18

  • Marian Kent

Abstract

Though the outbreak of war meant that the quest for the Mesopotamian oil concession had temporarily to be abandoned, Middle East oil concessions still remained an important British Government preoccupation. War brought home forcibly to the Government its almost complete dependence on foreign oil supplies and obliged it to develop a policy and an organisation for ensuring that oil supplies were adequate, both for its wartime activities and for afterwards. Further, Middle East oil also became involved in questions of military strategy and post-war territorial ambitions. The wartime interdependence of strategy and supply thus meant that Middle East oil concessions played an important part in the evolution of British Government oil policy.

Keywords

British Company Military Strategy British Control British Interest Royal Dutch Company 
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Notes

  1. 13.
    ‘The War. Alexandretta and Mesopotamia’ (secret), 17 Mar 1915, Committee of Imperial Defence (CID) paper no. G13, Cab. 24/1.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    ‘Remarks on the Importance of Alexandretta as a Future Base’ (secret), 15 Mar 1915, by Jackson, CID paper no. G15, Cab. 24/1Google Scholar
  3. ‘The War: Alexandretta and Mesopotamia’ (secret), 16 Mar 1915, by Kitchener, CID paper no. G12, Cab. 24/1. An article by Yukka Nevakivi (‘Lord Kitchener and the Partition of the Ottoman Empire 1915–1916’, in Studies in International History) examines some aspects of the question, as does the same author’s Britain, France, and the Arab Middle East.Google Scholar
  4. 38.
    ‘The War with Turkey’, IO Political Department memorandum, 25 May 1916, Cab. 42/16; and ‘Germany, Turkey, England and Arabia’, 31 Oct 1916, Asquith MSS., 130/223–8. The works Hirtzel discussed were Dr Rohrbach’s article in Deutsche Politik, 11 Feb 1916; Professor H. Delbrück’s article in Preussische Jahrbiicher, May 1916; an article by Professor Gerhard Schott of Hamburg, ‘The Persian Gulf and the Commercial Policy of the Central Powers’; and Dr Franz Stuhlmann’s recently published work, The Fight for Arabia between Turkey and England. Holderness did not however, agree with all Hirtzel’s conclusions; see ‘The War with Turkey. Note by the Under-Secretary of State, India Office’, 13 June 1916, Cab. 42/16.Google Scholar
  5. H. Delbrück’s article in Preussische Jahrbiicher, May 1916; an article by Professor Gerhard Schott of Hamburg, ‘The Persian Gulf and the Commercial Policy of the Central Powers’; and Dr Franz Stuhlmann’s recently published work, The Fight for Arabia between Turkey and England. Holderness did not however, agree with all Hirtzel’s conclusions; see ‘The War with Turkey. Note by the Under-Secretary of State, India Office’, 13 June 1916, Cab. 42/16.Google Scholar
  6. 52.
    Henriques, Marcus Samuel, pp. 390–1, 483–6 and 533–4. Until 1907 Shell was still an independent, purely British company.Google Scholar
  7. 77.
    ‘The Need for a Permanent Petroleum Department. Petroleum Executive Memorandum for the Cabinet’, by Walter Long, 27 Feb 1919, FO 368/2255, file 87990, S 347, Appendix H, or Cab. 24/76, GT 6930. Accompanying letter to the Prime Minister, 5 June 1919, Lloyd George MSS., F/33/2/50. See also the History of the Ministry of Munitions, vii, p. 147; Cab. 24/6, GT 51; FO 368/1864, nos. 43920 48439 and 244699; FO 370/287, no. L 7970; and FO 370/301, no. L 395. Long’s memorandum incorrectly dates the existence of the Petroleum Executive from April; the History of the Ministry of Munitions and the PIPCo report (see note 80 below) date it from December 1917. The only other account of it is a brief one in the official civil history of World War II: D. J. Payton-Smith, Oil. A Study of War-time Policy and Administration, p. 40.Google Scholar
  8. 83.
    ‘Memorandum by Mr C. Greenway on the National Oil Policy’, 19 Sep 1918, PIPCo report, appendix G, p. 144.Google Scholar
  9. 85.
    Memorandum by John T. Cargill, 8 Oct 1918, read to the committee the same day (PIPCo report, pp. 136–8). Further detail on Cargill is in Appendix VII below.Google Scholar

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© Marian Kent 1976

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  • Marian Kent

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