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Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981

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Sources from The National Archives, UK

From invasions and civil wars to revolutions and revolts, explore a rich period of Middle Eastern history through complete runs of British Government Foreign Office files.

“Essential for anyone interested in learning about any aspect of the history of the Middle East during the 1970s. Students and researchers alike will find it invaluable, because it provides a unique online portal from which to view the events of these years. With a few clicks on a computer one can access hundreds of thousands of pages of records from the Foreign Office, the Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Defence. Short of a trip to The National Archives, Kew there is simply no other place where one can find the same breadth and depth of historical records." - Michael Gasper, Occidental College

The Middle East in the 1970s was characterised by its conflicts, with a cast of political figures whose influence can still be felt today. Featuring complete runs of Foreign Office file classes, Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 provides an expansive view of key events and their global political impact.

An invaluable tool for understanding the modern Middle East, students and researchers can use these detailed documents to explore historical relationships between Middle East nations and superpowers. Users will discover how the Cold War impacted on regional politics, study policies dictating the international arms trade, and observe how the newly gained oil wealth in the Persian Gulf changed the oil market forever.

With many documents created by diplomats and civil servants working in the regions’ most politically sensitive regions, users can delve into the resources’ in-depth analyses, annual reviews and diplomatic correspondence to examine key conflicts, such as the Arab-Israel and Iran-Iraq wars, as well as civil conflicts in Lebanon, Iran, Cyprus and Yemen.

The following Foreign and Commonwealth Office file classes are included in their entirety:

  • FCO 8/1552-4276, The Arabian and Middle East Department
  • FCO 9/1353-3353, The Southern European Department
  • FCO 17/1374-1798, The Eastern Department
  • FCO 39/768-1282, The North and East African Department
  • FCO 67/427-808, The Commodities and Oil Department
  • FCO 93/4-2658, The Near East and North Africa Department

Selections from the Prime Minister’s Office files (PREM) and Defence Intelligence files (DEFE) are also included.

Published in three sections:

  • 1971-1974: The 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Oil Crisis
  • 1975-1978: The Lebanese Civil War and the Camp David Accords

  • 1979-1981: The Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 is an Archives Direct collection and is cross-searchable with other collections within the Archives Direct portal, including Confidential Print: Middle East, 1839-1969.