January 1, 2004
The Washington Post

U.S. Mulled Seizing Oil Fields In '73

British Memo Cites Notion of Sending Airborne to Mideast

by Glenn Frankel

LONDON, Dec. 31 -- The United States gave serious consideration to sending airborne troops to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi during the 1973 Arab oil embargo, according to a top-secret British intelligence memorandum released Wednesday night.

The document, titled "Middle East -- Possible Use of Force by the United States," says that if there were deteriorating conditions such as a breakdown of the cease-fire between Arab and Israeli forces following the October 1973 Middle East war or an intensification of the embargo, "we believe the American preference would be for a rapid operation conducted by themselves" to seize the oil fields.

It cites a warning from Defense Secretary James R. Schlesinger to the British ambassador in Washington, Lord Cromer, that the United States would not tolerate threats from "under-developed, under-populated" countries . . .


Eric Margolis, "Did the U.S. Go to War for Oil?," The Wisdom Fund, April 27, 2001

Eric Margolis, "The Lust for Blood and Oil," The Wisdom Fund, March 10, 2002

Enver Masud, "A Clash Between Justice and Greed Not Islam and the West ," The Wisdom Fund, September 5, 2002

Robert Dreyfuss, "The Thirty-Year Itch," Mother Jones, March 1, 2003

Edward Said, "A Window on the World," Guardian, August 2, 2003

back button