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Complete classes from the CAB & PREM series in the Public Record Office
Series Two: CAB 50 & CAB 51 - The Papers of the Committee of Imperial Defence - Papers of the Oil Board, 1925-1939, and Middle East Questions, 1930-1939

This series of Cabinet Papers provides all the minutes and memoranda of the Committee of Imperial Defence’s Oil Board (CAB 50) and the Standing Ministerial and Official Sub-Committee for Questions concerning the Middle East (CAB 51) for the years 1925-1939. 

The difficulties of the Middle East situation remain as the most important unresolved international issue of the twenty-first century.  Oil, Palestine and the strategic power balance in the region continue to be fundamental concerns – the papers covering the 1920’s and 1930’s are still very relevant today.

  • The scramble for oil rights (involving American, British, Dutch and French companies amongst others), the Arab Revolt in Palestine, reactions against British support for a Jewish homeland, and ever increasing demands for greater autonomy throughout the region, are all dominant themes within these files.
  • There are sub-committee papers on Oil Requirements in War time, Tankers, Aviation Spirit and Petroleum Reserves.
  • Detailed memoranda look at Anglo-Persian Relations, the Persian Gulf, Syria, the Kuwait Oil Concession, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia, the Yemen and the Aden Protectorate.

These documents reveal the high priority which the British Government placed upon maintaining an uninterrupted flow of oil and the lengths to which they were prepared to go to guarantee this.

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