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Books about the final years of the British Empire in any given overseas dependency frequently begin with an anecdote about withdrawal: a prime minister announcing Britain’s projected departure; a flag being lowered and another one raised; a British ship leaving a foreign port forever. The trouble with the use of such images — powerful though they may be — is that they often reflect a tendency to concentrate exclusively on the reasons for British retreat, with the result that what emerges is a somewhat retrospective view of the last years of the British Empire. This book takes a different approach in its analysis of Britain’s policy in the Persian Gulf from 1961 to 1968.1 Instead of discussing the reasons for the eventual withdrawal from the region, it examines how Britain conducted its relations with the Gulf States while its presence in the area was still intact. Its content is focused on the political strategies that were designed to protect Britain’s substantial economic, political, and strategic interests in the Persian Gulf during the period between the independence of Kuwait in 1961 and the decision by the Wilson Government in January 1968 to relinquish Britain’s special position in the area as part of the general retreat from East of Suez.
KeywordsProtected State National Archive Political Strategy General Retreat Eventual Withdrawal
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- 6.See James Onley, ‘Britain’s Informal Empire in the Gulf, 1820–1971’, Journal of Social Affairs, Vol. 22, No. 87, Fall 2005, pp. 29–45Google Scholar
- 13.Galpern examines the roles that oil and sterling played for the British Government in the formulation of its policies in the Middle East: see Steven G. Galpern, Money, Oil and Empire in the Middle East: Sterling and Postwar Imperialism, 1944–1971, Cambridge University Press/Cambridge 2009. Ashton and Petersen both analyse Britain’s policy in the region in the context of the Anglo-American relationship: see Nigel J. Ashton, Kennedy, Macmillan and the Cold War. The Irony of Interdependence, Palgrave Macmillan/Basingstoke 2002; and Tore T. Petersen, The Decline of the Anglo-American Middle East, 1961–1969: A Willing Retreat, Sussex Academic Press/Brighton 2006. Mawby and Jones describe in their books Britain’s involvement in Aden and the Yemen: see Spencer Mawby, British Policy in Aden and the Protectorates 1955–67, Routledge/London 2005, pp. 75–81;also Clive Jones, ‘“Among Ministers, Mavericks and Mandarins”: Britain, Covert Action and the Yemen Civil War, 1962–64’, Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 40, No. 1, 2004, pp. 99–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rosemarie Said Zahlan, ‘Shades of the Past: The Iraq-Kuwait Dispute, 1961’, Journal of Social Affairs, Vol. 22, No. 87, 2005, pp. 47–80.Google Scholar
- 19.Jeffrey Pickering, Britain’s Withdrawal from East of Suez. The Politics of Retrenchment, St Martin’s Press/Basingstoke 1998; also Shohei Sato, ‘Britain’s Decision to Withdraw from the Persian Gulf, 1964–68: A Pattern and A Puzzle’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, Vol. 37, No. 1, 2009, pp. 99–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar