Editor: A. Burdett
Author:N/A ISBN: (10) 1840970154 Published: 2003 Paper: Printed on acid free paper Binding: Library binding with gilt finish. Front cover carries the Kuwaiti crest. See sample pages:
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This publication provides facsimile copies of the key documents relating to the development of the State of Kuwait from 1966–1971. It is important both as an extension to an existing Archive Editions collection on Kuwait which begins in 1899 and ends in 1965, and in its own right as these years contain policy decisions which identify Kuwait as a pioneer in the redistribution of wealth. Kuwait pursued redistribution internally through public works and benefits but also internationally through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, one of its great beneficiaries in the late 1960s being Iraq. This pro-Arab stance led it into direct support for the Palestinian cause and financial support for the countries directly engaged in the 1967 war against Israel.
This publication continues coverage of events published in the two previous sets in this series: Records of Kuwait 1899–1961, and Records of Kuwait 1961-1965. The documentation in the early set, 1899–1961, illustrates the development of the modern Kuwaiti state and attests to the relative importance of Kuwait long before the discovery of its immense oil reserves. The later periods 1961–1965 and 1966–1971 offer a different kind of research structure. To cover five or six years in 4000 pages indicates that the level of detail included is great and in fact what is offered here is a virtually complete record of all available official British documentation.
Some gaps in the reportage of events arise and do so for two reasons. Firstly, certain papers, and in some cases entire files, have been retained by the Foreign Office due to their sensitive nature and were therefore unavailable for inclusion. Secondly, by 1971, following Britain’s withdrawal from the Gulf and cessation of direct involvement in defence of the region, the nature of the documentation generated by the British Government has begun to change: trade and business interests become increasingly important. Local and regional issues, personalities and the affairs of the ruling family are still very much live issues but Britain is less involved and this is reflected in the reporting.
The period under review witnessed major changes in the Gulf, in particular the proposed unification of the Emirates with or without Bahrain, Qatar and possibly Kuwait. Kuwait herself had already survived changes to her political status, in 1961 becoming a sovereign and independent country, and in 1962 forming the Constituent Assembly.
In certain economic respects Kuwait was in advance of her neighbours and attempted to redistribute some oil wealth to neighbouring states, especially to the Emirates, through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Oil policy, renegotiation of terms with the Kuwait Oil Company and resultant territorial disputes are a continuous topic. Growing concerns about both external and internal subversive threats are in evidence, and not surprisingly there were detailed plans for major arms purchases from the UK. The end of Britain’s direct role in the external relations of the other Gulf states was also a major pre-occupation for Kuwait and this concern features extensively in the records.
These three titles combine to create a large collection which offers historical evidence for the political, economic and social evolution of Kuwait. Such evidence improves our understanding of the modern political position of Kuwait. It includes, for example, examination of frontier negotiations and questions of sovereignty; constitutional, military and defence developments.