Sale of military equipment from UK to Middle East

FCO 8/2405 1975 Jan 01 - 1975 Dec 31

This file concerns the sale of military equipment to the Middle East. It contains correspondence and memoranda relating to:

  • The Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s proposed meeting with Sir Kenneth Keith during his tour of defence industry factories in western England, including briefs which mention: the UK’s opportunities for arms exports to the Middle East, and the extent to which these were being hampered by political constraints; the current negotiation with the Chinese on Spey engines; prospects for British Jaguar aircraft exports; and potential sales to Israel
  • The Messerschmitt-Bölkow-Blohm GmbH’s (MBB) proposal for an autonomous aircraft industry in the United Arab Republic
  • The Assistant Under-Secretary R Anderson’s meeting with Kamel Adham and Dr Marawan in London on 20 September 1975, including reference to: the proposed manufacture of the French Mirage F1 aircraft in Egypt; the possibility of a deal with the British Aircraft Corporation (BAC) and manufacture of Swingfire anti-tank missiles in Egypt; the Egyptian Air Force’s wish to buy 200 Hawk aircraft; the Egyptian Navy’s choice between French and British patrol boats
  • Egyptian and Saudi Arabian reaction to US plans to supply Israel with F16 aircraft and Pershing missiles
  • Proposals for a Rolls-Royce Limited presentation to a group of British officials, on their plans for developing sales in the Middle East and Australia; and background material on Rolls Royce's marketing in the Middle East for their discussions with HMG
  • German press speculation on a possible relaxation of restrictions on arms exports; a cutting from Kayhan, and a Der Spiegel article entitled, ‘Why don’t Germans supply any tanks?’
  • The Council of Ministers banning commissions on arms sales
  • A Jaguar aircraft demonstration tour in the Middle East, including itineraries, arrangements and discussions regarding HMG’s reservations about Jaguar demonstrations taking place in Kuwait, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, due to its concern over reassignment to Egypt
  • A proposed expansion of the BAC’s business with the Royal Saudi Air Force
  • Iraq’s tendency to put in bids and then drop them after they have been accepted; and Iraq’s desire to reduce its dependence on the Soviet Union
  • A proposed tour of British Bulldog aircraft in the Middle East
  • A draft statement on HMG’s policy on arms sales to the Middle East
  • The prospects for increasing the sales of military aircraft overseas
  • Ministerial decisions on military transactions with Arab countries
  • Problems with training Iraq Air Force pilots in the UK
  • HMG’s refusal to export nickel powder to Israel and the Arab countries
  • Letters exchanged between the UK Secretary of State for Defence Roy Mason and Eric Varley MP, regarding the consequences arising from a delay in the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill
  • The Qatari Commander-in-Chief Major General Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani and the Saudi Minister of Defence Prince Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud’s visit to Cairo to attend a meeting with the Arab Organisation for Military Industries on 17 August 1975
  • A list of senior members of overseas delegations who hope to attend a Royal Navy Equipment Exhibition between 15 and 19 September 1975
  • An opening statement by the US Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs Joseph Sisco on 10 June 1975, regarding US military sales to the Gulf