Effects of Defence Review on Oman

FCO 8/2475 1975 Jan 01 - 1975 Dec 31

This file concerns the question of terminating the RAF presence on the island of Masirah in Oman, in the context of a defence review which calls for British strategic commitments to be scaled down to focus on Europe. It contains correspondence relating to:

  • A draft of the Defence White Paper setting out HMG’s new defence policy, the need to reduce the economic burden of military spending, and the priority to be given to the European defence theatre
  • A draft note on non-NATO and Mediterranean withdrawals and reductions by the Defence Chiefs of Staff, detailing the withdrawal of military commitments from Singapore, Gan (the Maldives), Mauritius, and the Caribbean, mentioning the British military presence in Oman as contingent on the progress of the conflict in Dhofar; with a chart showing the expected timeframe of the world-wide withdrawals
  • Charts showing personnel reductions and defence expenditure
  • Diagrams showing the ratio of NATO to Warsaw Pact forces on the central front in Europe
  • Consultations on the defence review and planned withdrawals with the US, Germany, NATO, and host countries of British military bases including Oman
  • Proposals for Britain’s future commitments to NATO
  • The arguments for and against maintaining a short or medium term British presence at Masirah
  • US interest in the use of the facilities at Masirah, thought to be part of the Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s growing interest in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean; and the political implication in the Arab world of allowing a US military presence on the island
  • The future of the BBC relay station at Masirah