UK Military Advisory Team to United Arab Emirates

FCO 8/2370 1974 Jan 01 - 1974 Dec 31

This file concerns the withdrawal of the Military Advisory Team to the UAE (MAT) based in Sharjah due to cuts to the budget of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the context of wider HMG cuts to expenditure. It contains correspondence and memoranda relating to:

  • The search by HMG officials for copies of formal arrangements made for the MAT, including a copy of the Memorandum of Understanding with the former Ruler of Sharjah Sheikh Khalid Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi concerning the rental of the MAT camp
  • The proposed departure of the medical officer with the MAT prior to the withdrawal, and the question of the subsequent provision of medical services
  • The reduction of the MAT prior to its dissolution, and the question of informing the UAE authorities
  • Knowledge of the withdrawal pre-empting the public announcement of the outcome of the Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) Defence Review
  • The question of the FCO’s continued financial responsibility for the MAT, and the lack of funding provision for the year 1975-6; and the MOD’s acceptance of financial responsibility for the costs borne in the later stages of the withdrawal
  • The tenancy arrangements for the MAT camp and the question of terminating the tenancy agreements so as not to pay for another years tenancy; consideration of the effects of the matter upon HMG’s relations with Sharjah; and concerns regarding the efficient use of FCO funds
  • The renewal of leases for MAT married quarters
  • The handing over of the MAT camp as a ‘going concern’, including an itinerary of the stores of the camp and a paper outlining HMG policy concerning the disposal or transfer of assets to the Rulers of Bahrain and Sharjah
  • The diplomatic action necessary to begin the official dissolution of the MAT, and records of the conversations between the Political Resident in the Persian Gulf Sir W H T Luce in September 1971 with the Rulers of Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah concerning the establishment of the MAT
  • Timetabling for the withdrawal; concerns regarding any perceived links between the withdrawal and the Defence Review; the necessity of hastening the withdrawal due to a lack of FCO funds; and the logistical arrangements
  • The dispute between the commanding officer of the MAT Colonel Derek Carson and the Navy, Army and Air Force Institute (NAAFI) concerning the latter’s sale of duty free provisions and supplies to non-entitled personnel; and the NAAFI’s participation in the black market for liquor in the UAE
  • The training of British units in the Gulf after the MAT has closed down; and parachute training at Sharjah, with an attached copy of a reconnaissance report concerning Dubai and Sharjah
  • An extract from the 1973 White Paper on public expenditure, concerning expenditure on military assistance
  • The question of publically announcing the withdrawal, and informing the US
  • The proposed visit of a Vice Adjutant General to the MAT

This file also concerns:

  • HM Ambassador to the UAE D J McCarthy’s opposition to any reduction in HMG’s commitments in the Dhofar conflict in Oman
  • Questions concerning the dominant position of British seconded officers within the command structure of the Union Defence Force (UDF)
  • HMG’s claim for payment for additional fuel expenses incurred by the MAT during Exercise Sacristan
  • The itinerary for a visit by a military official to the MAT in Sharjah between 1 and 6 November 1974, including interviews with officers of the Abu Dhabi Defence Force within the MAT