U.S., Britain Developed Plans to Disable or Destroy Middle Eastern Oil Facilities from Late 1940s to Early 1960s in Event of a Soviet Invasion

23 June 2016 — NSA

British Plans Envisioned Using Nuclear Weapons as an Option in Iran and Iraq, According to Declassified Documents

Regional Allies Were Apparently Never Informed Out of Concern for “Unfavorable” Consequences, Though Some U.S. Officials Thought Host Countries Would Approve the Plugging of Oil Wells

Secret Oil Denial Policy Lasted at Least until the Kennedy Administration

National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 552

Washington DC, June 23, 2016 – Recently discovered British documents posted today by the National Security Archive provide a new and revealing account of the CIA’s role in a top-secret plan to ravage the Middle East oil industry. As early as 1949, President Harry Truman approved methods for keeping the Soviet military from using Middle East petroleum if it ever invaded the region. This denial policy called for American and British oil companies in the Middle East to disable or destroy oil facilities and equipment, and plug the region’s oil wells.

The policy evolved during Eisenhower’s presidency and lingered at least into the Kennedy administration, as described in today’s posting.

British documents also reveal discussions about using nuclear weapons in Iran and Iraq. For a time, British military officials believed nuclear bombs were an option to destroy these facilities until a plan using ground demolitions with conventional explosives was possible.

Check out today‘s posting at the National Security Archive

 

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THE NATIONAL SECURITY ARCHIVE is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). A tax-exempt public charity, the Archive receives no U.S. government funding; its budget is supported by publication royalties and donations from foundations and individuals.

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