By Helene von Bismarck
An in-depth research of serious Britain's coverage within the oil-rich Persian Gulf quarter over the last years of British imperialism within the region, protecting the interval from the independence of Kuwait to the choice of the Wilson govt to withdraw from the Gulf.
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Extra info for British Policy in the Persian Gulf, 1961–1968: Conceptions of Informal Empire
Whereas the rulers of the other Persian Gulf States had ceded full rights to the British to run their foreign affairs, the British Government carried out the sultanate’s external affairs only when requested to do so by the sultan. Legally, therefore, the sovereignty of the sultan was not impinged on, since he retained his formal right to manage the external relations of his country. Ofﬁcially, Britain only represented the sultan externally at his own request and on a case-by-case basis. During the 1960s, it was very important for the British Government to present its responsibility for Oman’s foreign relations as an exception to the rule in the Persian Gulf, and to stress publicly the independence and sovereignty of the sultanate.
11 In the despatch to Luce, Lord Home emphasized that the British Government’s strong economic interest in Kuwait’s oil not only shaped their bilateral relations but had signiﬁcant repercussions for Britain’s overall regional policy in the Persian Gulf. The British aim to protect the emirate against foreign aggression was the main reason for Britain’s military presence in the entire Persian Gulf area. The defence of the emirate was deﬁned as ‘the primary justiﬁcation’ for its bases and staging posts in Bahrain and Sharjah, and on Masirah Island in Oman,12 which existed because the British Government was unable to station troops in the emirate itself.
The offshore concession for Abu Dhabi was in the hands of the 24 British Policy in the Persian Gulf, 1961–1968 Abu Dhabi Marine Area Company, of which BP owned two thirds. 117 By virtue of their concession agreements with the local rulers, the oil companies became the legal owners of any oil found in the Persian Gulf. The revenues from oil production were then shared between the companies and the rulers of the producing states. In Kuwait, Qatar, and Bahrain, the rulers received 50 per cent of the oil companies’ proﬁts.
British Policy in the Persian Gulf, 1961–1968: Conceptions of Informal Empire by Helene von Bismarck