Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981

Sources from The National Archives, UK

From invasions and civil wars to revolutions and revolts, explore a rich period of Middle Eastern history.

The Middle East in the 1970s was characterised by its conflicts, with a cast of political figures whose influence can still be felt today. Providing an invaluable resource for researchers and students seeking to understand the modern Middle East, this collection contains complete runs of Foreign Office files, providing an expansive view of key events and their global political impact.

Users can explore the Arab-Israeli War, Henry Kissinger’s ‘shuttle diplomacy’ and the historic Camp David Accords that followed. The resource also examines internal conflicts, such as the uprising in Dhofar, the military coup in Cyprus, the Lebanese Civil War and the Iranian Revolution. Energy concerns dominate this resource, with reports on the oil policies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, and how price hikes, embargoes and industrial strikes affected the G8’s energy supply and economy. Additionally, users will be able to scrutinise policies on international arms sales.

Annual reviews detail internal affairs, external political relationships and offer important economic analysis giving researchers a unique and detailed history of the region across the 1970s.

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East, 1971-1981 is part of Archives Direct, a cross-searchable multi-product platform, sourced from The National Archives, UK.

Key Data


  • 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

Period Covered

  • 1971-1981


  • The 1973 Arab-Israeli War, Henry Kissinger’s ‘shuttle diplomacy’ and the Camp David Accords
  • Withdrawal of British forces from the Persian Gulf and formation of the UAE
  • Activities of the PLO and Yasser Arafat
  • Oil embargoes imposed by OPEC and the global oil crisis
  • Perspectives on the region’s role in the Cold War conflict
  • The Lebanese Civil War
  • The Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis at the United States embassy
  • The Iran-Iraq War
  • Economic analyses of major oil producers and their individual policies

Source Archive

  • The National Archives, UK

Material Types

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

  • Correspondence
  • Annual reports
  • Dispatches
  • Personality profiles
  • Political summaries
  • Maps
  • Minutes of ministerial meetings
  • Printed leaflets, extracts from books, booklets etc.
  • Economic summaries

Editorial Board

  • John Chalcraft, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Michael Gasper, Occidental College
  • Laila Parsons, McGill University
  • Marlis J. Saleh, University of Chicago Library


  • British withdrawal from Middle East
  • Palestine
  • Israel
  • Political Science
  • Civil Wars
  • Coups
  • Economics

Key Features

  • Formally classified British government documents
  • Full-text searchable
  • Map Gallery
  • Pre-populated searches for key people, places and topics
  • Links to external websites with further information about the history of the Middle East
  • Essay from Michael Gasper, Occidental College
  • Personality profiles on key figures such as Colonel Qaddafi, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein
  • Available within the cross-searchable Archives Direct platform


It is a very unique primary resource tool that will be especially useful for serious scholars and teachers

Foreign Office Files for the Middle East 1971-1974 brings together files from the UK Foreign Office, Prime Minister's Office, and the Ministry of Defence and makes them available ......

The functionality of the interface is od tn par with other digitized document archives, and the collection can easily be browsed and searched

Visited Sep'16 - This first module-focused on the Arab-Israeli war and the early 1970s, to be supplemented by two additional modules covering the Lebanese Civil War, Camp David ......