By W. Taylor Fain (auth.)
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Extra resources for American Ascendance and British Retreat in the Persian Gulf Region
The United States sympathized with the aspirations of the nationalists; genuine anti-imperialism informed American policy. American officials believed Britain’s imperial presence in the Middle East was to blame for the economic underdevelopment of the Gulf and a possible source of political instability in the region. S. and British interests in the region. The best course for Western policy, officials in Washington believed, was to cultivate the nationalist movement and move it into channels consistent with Western interests.
Anglo-American Tensions in the Middle East and Elsewhere During the early 1950s, British policymakers felt extremely insecure about the strength of their position in the Middle East and Persian Gulf. The United States had replaced Britain as the principal patron and most important Western ally of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia during 1944 and 1945, while the Iranian crisis of 1951–1953 deprived Britain of its monopoly over the petroleum resources of that nation. Just as importantly, since 1945, British officials had been engaged in tortuous negotiations with Egypt over the disposition of the British military complex within the Suez Canal Zone.
78 The British war plan Sandown, circulated in July 1948, again contemplated the matter of Egyptian and Persian Gulf defense. The plan assumed that American military assistance would be forthcoming and gave precedence to defending Egypt and its key air facilities, but envisioned a series of concentric rings of defense that protected the entire Middle East. The so-called Outer Ring of British defense ran along the “mountain passes leading into southern Turkey and western and southern Persia as far as Bandar Abbas” near the Strait of Hormuz, thus defending the Gulf oil fields.