US Planned to Seize Mid East Oil Fields in '73 As 'Last Resort'

Declassified British memorandum said the United States considered launching airborne troops to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, but only as a "last resort."

Published: 03-Jan-2004

LONDON, Jan. 1 -- The United States government seriously contemplated using military force to seize oil fields in the Middle East during the Arab oil embargo 30 years ago, according to a declassified British government document made public on Thursday.

The top-secret document says that President Richard M. Nixon was prepared to act more aggressively than previously thought to secure America's oil supply if the embargo, imposed by Arab nations in retaliation for America's support for Israel in the 1973 Middle East war, did not end. In fact, the embargo was lifted in March 1974.

The declassified British memorandum said the United States considered launching airborne troops to seize oil fields in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, but only as a "last resort."

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