Internal Political Situation: Kuwait p.19

FO 371/148911 1960

with plenty of overtime has proved a favourite. In their
constant endeavour to raise the number of Kuwaitis on their
payroll the Kuwait Oil Company have reserved all such jobs for
indisputable certified Kuwaitis.
5. By the end of 1958 the Pan Arab euphoria produced by the
anti-imperialist successes of President Nasser had spread to
Kuwait. In Kuwait as elsewhere in Arab lands, Arab unity became
the cry. But Nasser failed to advance further; the spectacle

across the Iraqi border of what misery revolutions, Nasserist or

leftist, may bring to the ordinary citizen, gave Kuwait opinion
pause and allowed its natural xenophobia to reassert itself.
Since the day in February 1959 when the Ruling family's reaction
to some subversive speechifying at the Secondary School closed
the clubs and the press and in the person of Jasim Qatami gave
a thick ear to the Reformist movement in Kuwait the swing to the
right has continued steadily.
6. The march of reaction has been signposted by the steady
stream of legislation which has issued through the latter half
of 1959 and 1960. The Kuwaiti Nationality Law initiated the trend.

Though scarcely a liberal document when first promulgated in
December 1959, it was not outrageously reactionary. Presumably
this result was due partly to the hangover from the Pan Arab
euphoria of 1958 and partly to the fact that it was necessarily
drafted by a foreigner. Whatever the reason, senior merchants
sounded the alarm and lost no time in getting to work on the
Ruler. The result was a law which made it almost impossible for
an Arab foreigner, let alone a non-Arab, to acquire Kuwaiti
citizenship. It also laid down that having per impossibile
acquired it he should remain without political rights for a
further 10 years.