By Helene von Bismarck
An in-depth research of significant Britain's coverage within the oil-rich Persian Gulf quarter over the last years of British imperialism within the sector, overlaying the interval from the independence of Kuwait to the choice of the Wilson executive to withdraw from the Gulf.
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Extra info for British Policy in the Persian Gulf, 1961–1968: Conceptions of Informal Empire
Since none of the Gulf States was a formal colony, the deployment of British troops to the area depended on the goodwill of local leaders and Britain’s privileged political position in the Gulf States. Political inﬂuence, on the other hand, could only be maintained if the local rulers remained conﬁdent that Britain was not only willing but also militarily able to defend them against foreign aggression. As a result, it had to be the British Government’s aim to preserve the conﬁdence and trust of all the local rulers by maintaining its military presence in the entire area.
128 Throughout the 1960s, OPEC’s ability of to inﬂuence the international oil industry remained very limited. Its biggest success was to prevent a further cut in the posted prices for Middle Eastern oil, since the international oil companies became more cautious about taking unilateral steps without consulting the producing countries. However, the notion of pro-rationing was dropped soon after the Baghdad conference. 2 The Foreign Ofﬁce took the occasion of his appointment to Bahrain to re-examine Britain’s policy aims in the Persian Gulf, focusing particularly on the question of whether the relationship between the British Government and the rulers of the Gulf States, along with Britain’s military presence, continued to be the best means of protecting British interests in the region.
The beneﬁt of this system was that it allayed the rulers’ suspicions that the companies were taking advantage of them by quoting different prices for different purposes. In practice, however, the actual sale of the oil was frequently made at less than the posted price since the companies were trying to undercut each other. 121 In the decades following the Second World War, oil evolved into the world’s leading source of energy. 122 In the 1950s alone, global oil consumption had almost doubled, but this did not mean that the supply-and-demand situation facing the international oil industry during the 1960s was satisfactory.
British Policy in the Persian Gulf, 1961–1968: Conceptions of Informal Empire by Helene von Bismarck