This article assesses the importance of economic factors for the development of British Middle Eastern policy during the 1967 Arab-Israeli crisis, based on newly declassified government documents. Policy shifted from threatening unilateral action against Nasser to multilateralism and neutraliry shortly before the June war. Economic considerations will be put in the context of anti-interventionist voices in the cabinet, in the defence establishment and within US policy. The article concludes that important reasons for the shift were economic, namely threats of an oil embargo, reserve withdrawals, and Suez Canal closure at a time of fiscal difficulties in Britain. In addition, an ideological shift in cabinet from ‘imperial hangover’ to anti-interventionism underlay the policy change.
- SPS Centre for the Study of Poverty and Social Justice