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Great Britain, the United States, & the Security of the Middle East
The Formation of the Baghdad Pact

By Magnus Persson
Dec. 1998
Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN: 91-7966-523-3
368 p.
$57.50 Paper Original

Anglo-American post-Second World War relations in the Middle East includes cases of close cooperation and conflict. An example of the former was the Pentagon Talks in 1947 when an American statement pointed out the general objective of maintaining the security of the Middle East by retaining the British political, economic, and strategic position in areas supported by the United States. An example of conflict was the 1956 Suez Crisis when the United States extracted itself completely from British Policy.

The formation of the Baghdad Pact resulted primarily from postwar British and American fears of Soviet expansion into the Middle East. In Anglo-American conception, the Middle East was a crucial area because of its extensive oil deposits and its strategic geographic location with communication links for the navy and aviation lines. Further, several military bases made the area important as a staging post for military attacks against the Soviet Union.

This study addresses Anglo-American relations in connection to the formulation phase of the Baghdad Pact from 1953 to 1955. The Pact became a multilateral regional security organisation that eventually included as members Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Britain, and, although not formally as a member, but closely attached to it, the United States.

The formation of the Baghdad Pact included both cases of Anglo-American disagreement and dispute, for instance concerning their respective positions in Iraq and because of conflicting policy objectives toward the Middle East. Despite the cases of rivalry, the interests in containment of the Soviet Union made collaboration the typical characteristic of the Anglo-American relationship.

Magnus Persson is a historian at Lund University, Sweden. He is specialized in contemporary international history.

Political Science
Series: Lund Studies in International History