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Strategies of Decolonization: Economic Sovereignty and National Security in Libyan–US Relations, 1949–1971

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 June 2021

Christopher R. W. Dietrich*
Affiliation:
History Department, Fordham University, Bronx, New York, 10458, USA
*
Corresponding author. E-mail: cdietrich2@fordham.edu

Abstract

This article examines Libyan–US relations through the historical lenses of decolonization, international law, the Cold War, and the international political economy. The Libyan government exercised its newfound sovereignty in the postwar era through the negotiation of ‘base rights’ for the US government and ‘oil rights’ for corporations owned by US nationals. They did so in conjunction with other petrostates and through international organizations such as the United Nations, the Arab League, and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. Libyan leaders’ strategy of using sovereignty to promote corporate competition relied on connections with similarly situated nations, and it was through global circuits of knowledge that they pressed the outer limits of economic sovereignty. At the same time, the US government consistently accommodated Libyan policies through Cold War arguments that linked the alliance with Libya to US national security. Those deep foundations of sovereignty and security created the conditions for the transformation of the global oil industry after Libya’s 1969 revolution.

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Article
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Chris Dietrich is Associate Professor of History at Fordham University. Thank you to Heidi Tworek and the two peer reviewers for their close read and helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

References

1 Memorandum of a Conversation, March 15, 1957, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1955–1957, Volume XVIII, Africa (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1989), document 166 (hereafter FRUS, Volume: document number); Report by the Vice President, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 19. On the Eisenhower Doctrine: Salim Yaqub, Containing Arab Nationalism: The Eisenhower Doctrine in the Middle East (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004); Nathan Citino, From Arab Nationalism to OPEC: Eisenhower, King Saud, and the Making of U.S.-Saudi Relations, rev. ed. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010).

2 Memorandum of Discussion, May 2, 1957, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 170.

3 Mustafa Ahmed Ben-Halim, Libya: The Years of Hope, trans. Leslie McCloughlin (London, 1994), 180–81.

4 Vanessa Ogle, ‘Funk Money: The End of Empires, The Expansion of Tax Havens, and Decolonization as an Economic and Financial Event,’ Past and Present 249, no. 1 (2020): 213–49; Christopher J. Lee, ‘Sovereignty between Empire and Nation-State,’ in Contemporary Archipelagic Thinking: Toward New Comparative Methodologies and Disciplinary Formations, edited by Michelle Stephens and Yolanda Martinez-San Miguel (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2020): 327–36; Cyrus Schayegh and Yoav Di-Capua, ‘Why Decolonization?’ International Journal of Middle East Studies 52, no. 1 (2020): 137–45.

5 For example: Massimiliano Trentin, ‘Modernization as State-Building: The Two Germanys in Syria, 1963–1972,’ Diplomatic History 33, no. 3 (2009): 487–505; Tanya Harmer, Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

6 Seyla Benhabib, ‘Claiming Rights across Borders: International Human Rights and Democratic Sovereignty,’ American Political Science Review 103, no. 4 (2009): 691–704. This essay thus follows Rüdiger Graf’s enjoinder to understand sovereignty not only ‘as an attribute that a state may or may not have, but as a claim that may be asserted, questioned, attacked, and defended.’ See: Oil and Sovereignty: Petro-Knowledge and Energy Policy in the United States (New York: Berghahn, 2018), 7.

7 For a parallel argument: Isabel V. Hull, A Scrap of Paper: Breaking and Making International Law during the Great War (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014).

8 Cindy Ewing, ‘The Colombo Powers: Crafting Diplomacy in the Third World and Launching Afro-Asia at Bandung,’ Cold War History 19, no. 1 (2019): 1–19; Carolien Stolte, ‘‘The People’s Bandung’: Local Anti-Imperialists on an Afro-Asian Stage,’ Journal of World History 30, no. 1 (2019): 125–56.

9 Umut Özsu, ‘Hydrocarbon Humanitarianism: Ibrahim Shihata, ‘Oil Aid,’ and Resource Sovereignty,’ Journal of the History of International Law 23, no. 2 (2021).

10 Christy Thornton, Revolution in Development: Mexico and the Governance of the Global Economy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2021); Adom Getachew, Worldmaking after Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2019); Jeffrey James Byrne, Mecca of Revolution: Algeria, Decolonization, and the Third World Order (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016); Alden Young, Transforming Sudan: Decolonization, Economic Development, and State Formation (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018).

11 Martha Nussbaum, ‘Political Liberalism and Global Justice,’ Journal of Global Ethics 11, no. 1 (2015): 68–79; Nicholas Cullather, ‘Development? It’s History,’ Diplomatic History 24, no. 4 (2000): 641–53; David C. Engerman, ‘The Second World’s Third World,’ Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 12, no. 1 (2011): 183–211.

12 Anthony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007); Meredith Terretta, ‘Anti-Colonial Lawyering, Postwar Human Rights, and Decolonization across Imperial Boundaries in Africa,’ Canadian Journal of History 52, no. 3 (2017): 448–78.

13 Matthew Huber, Lifebolood: Oil, Freedom, and the Forces of Capital (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2013); Charles S. Maier, In Search of Stability: Explorations in Historical Political Economy (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 121–52.

14 For US attitudes: Thomas Meaney, ‘Frantz Fanon and the CIA Man,’ The American Historical Review 124, no. 3 (June 2019): 983–95; Robert B. Rakove, Kennedy, Johnson, and the Nonaligned World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012). As Cold War historians note, many nations were able to navigate the superpower conflict, albeit with different levels of agility and success. For example: Renata Keller, Mexico’s Cold War: Cuba, the United States, and the Legacy of the Mexican Revolution (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015); Elidor Mëhili, From Stalin to Mao: Albania and the Socialist World (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2017); Elisabeth Leake, Defiant Border: The Afghan-Pakistan Borderlands in the Era of Decolonization, 1936–65 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017).

15 This aspect of US-led collective security emphasizes different international institutions from those commonly studied by scholars after the end of the Cold War. See: Anne Orford, ‘Locating the International: Military and Monetary Interventions after the Cold War,’ Harvard International Law Journal 38, no. 2 (Spring 1997); Patrick Sharma, Robert McNamara’s Other War: The World Bank and International Development (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017); Adom Getachew, ‘The Limits of Sovereignty as Responsibility,’ Constellations 26 (2019): 225–40. Of course, if the United States became a force for opportunity in this instance, the case was often otherwise.

16 Report by the Vice President, April 5, 1957, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 19.

17 The Minister in Libya, January 6, 1953, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 276; Four Powers Commission, Report, cited in Pelt, Libyan Independence and the United Nations: A Case of Planned Decolonization (New Haven, 1970), 69; Pelt, Libyan Independence, 29–30. On Italian rule: Ruth Ben-Ghiat and Mia Fuller, eds., Italian Colonialism (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005); Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonization, and Resistance, 1830–1932 (Albany: SUNY Press, 1994). In the province of Cyrenaica, Italian rulers deported over 100,000 people to concentration camps: Nicola Labanca, ‘Italian Colonial Internment,’ in Ben-Ghiat and Fuller, eds., Italian Colonialism, 27–36.

18 United Nations, Official Records of the Third Session of the General Assembly, Part II, First Committee, Summary Records of Meetings, April 5 to May 13, 1949, 130–1. Broadly, see: Eva-Maria Muschik, Building States: The United Nations, Development, and Decolonization, 1945–1965 (New York: Columbia University Press, forthcoming).

19 United Nations, Official Records of the Third Session of the General Assembly, Part II, First Committee, Summary Records of Meetings, April 5 to May 13, 1949, 135–40.

20 United Nations, Official Records of the Third Session of the General Assembly, Part II, First Committee, Summary Records of Meetings, April 5 to May 13, 1949, 132–4. See also: Scott L. Bills, The Libyan Arena: The United States, Britain, and the Council of Foreign Ministers, 1945–48 (Kent, 1995); Benjamin Rivlin, The United States and the Italian Colonies (New York, 1950).

21 United Nations, Official Records of the Fourth Session of the General Assembly, General Committee, Summary Records of Meetings, September 21 to October 28, 1949, 60–62.

22 United Nations, Official Records of the General Assembly, Part II, Plenary Meetings, 5 April to 18 May 1949, 603–6; UN General Assembly, Official Records, Fourth Session, November 19, 1949, 268; United Nations, Official Records of the Third Session of the General Assembly, Part II, First Committee, Summary Records of Meetings, April 5 to May 13, 1949, 154. On Saint-Lot and the influence of Ali-Nourridine Unayzi and Syrian representative Rafik Asha: Pelt, Libyan Independence, 84. On US coverage of the negotiations: Carol Anderson, ‘Rethinking Radicalism: African Americans and the Liberation Struggles in Somalia, Libya, and Eritrea, 1945–1949,’ Journal of the Historical Society 11, no. 4 (2011): 417–8. On Unayzi, who later joined Shennib in Libya’s first cabinet: Anna Baldinetti, The Origins of the Libyan Nation: Colonial Legacy, Exile, and the Emergence of a New Nation-State (London: Routledge, 2014), 15.

23 Pelt, Libyan Independence, 27, 40–59, 112–113, 486. See also: Ismail Raghib Khalidi, Constitutional Development in Libya, foreword by A. Pelt (Beirut, 1956).

24 Villard, Libya: The New Arab Kingdom of North Africa (New York, 1956), 58. On modernization: Nathan J. Citino, Envisioning the Arab Future: Modernization in U.S. Arab Relations, 1945–1967 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017). On the overlap between US views of civilization, development, and national security: Osamah F. Khalil, America’s Dream Palace: Middle East Expertise and the Rise and Fall of the National Security State (Cambridge, MA, 2016); Karine Walther, Sacred Interests: The United States and the Islamic World, 1821–1921 (Chapel Hill, 2015). US diplomats often connected modernization with earlier forms of ‘colonial development’, even the reviled Fascist version. Villard criticized Italian rule but praised ‘industrious’ Sicilian peasants who waged valiant ‘battle against the encroachments of the deserts’ with ‘acres of olive trees, of almonds, dates, lemons, oranges, and grapefruit’ (Villard, Libya, 62).

25 Gretchen Heefner, ‘A Slice of their Sovereignty’: Negotiating the U.S. Empire of Bases, Wheelus Field, Libya, 1950–1954,’ Diplomatic History 41, no. 1 (January 2017): 57.

26 Ronald Bruce St. John, Libya and the United States: Two Centuries of Strife (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002), 58–9; Christopher R. W. Dietrich, Oil Revolution: Anticolonial Elites, Sovereign Rights, and the Economic Culture of Decolonization (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2017), 213–21; The Minister in Libya, March 10, 1952, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 260.

27 Pelt, Libyan Independence, 487; NSC Report, June 29, 1957, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 173; Elisabetta Bini, ‘From Colony to Oil Producer: U.S. Oil Companies and the Reshaping of Labor Relations in Libya during the Cold War,’ Labor History 60, no. 1 (2019): 47. One US response was to establish a scholarship program.

28 The Minister in Libya, January 21, 1953, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 278; The Minister in Libya, June 12, 1954, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 295.

29 The Secretary of State, June 3, 1953, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 280; The Secretary of State, July 20, 1954, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 296; Letter from the Ambassador, March 11, 1955, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 147. On the Cold War, the Global South, and US strategy: Odd Arne Westad, The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005); John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy during the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005); Paul Thomas Chamberlin, The Cold War’s Killing Fields: Rethinking the Long Peace (New York: HarperCollins, 2018). On Dulles at the United Nations, see: Richard Immerman, John Foster Dulles: Piety, Pragmatism, and Power in U.S. Foreign Policy (Boston: Rowman & Littlefield, 1998), 25–27.

30 Ronald Bruce St. John, Libya: Continuity and Change, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2015), 40–1; Dispatch from the Embassy, November 30, 1955, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 149; Memorandum from the UN Representative, March 5, 1956, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 155. See also: Richard John Worrall, ‘The Strategic Limitations of a Middle East Client State by the Mid-1950s: Britain, Libya and the Suez Crisis,’ Journal of Strategic Studies 30, no. 2 (2007): 309–47.

31 Letter from the Acting Secretary, November 12, 1955, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 148; Letter from the Deputy Undersecretary, March 13, 1956, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 156.

32 Letter from Prime Minister, April 20, 1956, FRUS 1955–1957, XVIII, Africa: 159; U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants, Statistical Annex I (Washington, D.C, 2013), 12.

33 Villard, Libya, 59, 67–68; The Chargé in Libya, July 29, 1954, FRUS 1952–1954, XI, Part 1, Africa and South Asia: 298; Herbert Hoover, Jr., ‘Petroleum and Our National Security,’ Bulletin of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists 41, no. 7 (July 1957): 1416–7. Conorada received a choice concession in 1955, beginning what journalist John K. Cooley described as ‘an orgy of corruption’ that tied together Ben Halim’s family, prominent Libyans, and US companies such as Conorada, Brown and Root, and Bechtel (‘The Libyan Menace,’ Foreign Policy 42 (Spring 1981): 74–93). On Suez and strategic lessons: Diane Kunz, The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis (Chapel Hill, 1991), 180–2. On Libyan production: Judith Gurney, Libya: The Political Economy of Oil (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

34 ‘Recommendations of the Oil Experts Committee,’ November 1955, OPEC: Origins and Strategy, I: 144–5; Arab League, Secretariat-General, Permanent Petroleum Bureau, ‘Report of the Commission of the Arab Oil Experts,’ April 1957, OPEC: Origins and Strategy, I: 178–83; Simon Siksek, ‘Oil Concessions – An Arab View,’ Middle East Forum (July 1960): 36–8. On this era’s oil history: Giuliano Garavini, The Rise and Fall of OPEC in the Twentieth Century (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019), 53–87.

35 Committee of Petroleum Economics and Legislation, Minutes of the First Session, Papers of the First Arab Petroleum Congress (PFAPC), No. 39; Farouk Muhamed El-Bakkary, ‘A Treatise (Submitted to the Conference) on The Legal, Economic and Political Effects resulting from The Principle of the State Ownership of the Mineral Wealth in its Territory,’ PFAPC; Anis Qasem, ‘Petroleum Legislation in Libya,’ PFAPC, Appendix 15; Ben-Halim, Libya: The Years of Hope, 187. On natural resources in constitutions: Nico Schrijver, Sovereignty over Natural Resources: Balancing Rights and Duties (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 66–70.

36 Petroleum Commission, Petroleum Development in Libya: 1954 through 1958 (Tripoli, 1958), 4; Petroleum Commission, Petroleum Development in Libya, 1954 through mid-1960 (Tripoli, 1961), 7; Hersch Lauterpacht, ‘Codification and Development of International Law,’ American Journal of International Law 49 (1955): 16–43. For the international legal debate: Kenneth Rodman, Sanctity vs. Sovereignty: The United States and the Nationalization of Natural Resource Investments (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).

37 Frank Waddams, The Libyan Oil Industry (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980), 61–66. For a sharp analysis using German archives: Nicholas Robert Ostrum, ‘The Black Chimera: West Germany and the Scramble for Arab Oil, 1957–1974,’ Ph.D. dissertation, Stony Brook University, 2017, 73–79.

38 Abdul Amir Q. Kubbah, Libya: Its Oil Industry and Economic System (Baghdad, 1965), 78–97; Petroleum Commission, Petroleum Development in Libya: 1954 through mid 1961 (Tripoli, 1961), 8; Ostrum, ‘Black Chimera,’ 195–6. For the key events in the founding of OPEC: Garavini, The Rise and Fall of OPEC, 88–134; Anna Rubino, The Queen of the Oil Club, 165–98.

39 Abdullah el Hammoud el Tariki, ‘Nationalization of the Arab Petroleum Is a National Necessity,’ Arab League, Papers of the Fifth Arab Petroleum Congress.

40 H. D. Malaviya, Report on Problems of Economic Development of Afro-Asian Countries (Cairo: Dar el Hana Press, 1960), 1–2, 12–15, 70–80. For a recent analysis of Iraq’s place in this constellation, see: Brandon Wolfe-Hunnicutt, The Paranoid Style in American Diplomacy: Oil and Arab Nationalism In Iraq (Palo Alto, 2021).

41 Bureau of Petroleum Affairs, Petroleum Development in Libya, 1954–1964 (Tripoli, 1965); William D. O’Brien, ‘Libya’s Revenue from Petroleum,’ Paper for Esso Seminar Series at Libyan University, February 22, 1968, Record Group 59, Central Foreign Policy Files 1967–1969, Box 1365, National Archives and Records Administration (hereafter, RG 59, CFP, NARA).

42 Memorandum of Discussion, March 10, 1960, FRUS 1958–1960, XIII, North Africa: 338; NSC Report, March 15, 1960, FRUS 1958–1960, XIII, North Africa: 339; Editorial Note, FRUS 1958–1960, XIII, North Africa: 343.

43 Telegram from the Department of State, October 19, 1962, FRUS 1961–1963, XXI, Africa: 95; Memorandum from the Joint Chiefs of Staff, October 31, 1962, FRUS 1961–1963, XXI, Africa: 99; Memorandum to McNamara, December 1, 1962, FRUS 1961–1963, XXI, Africa: 102; Telegram from the Department of State, November 23, 1962, FRUS 1961–1963, XXI, Africa: 101; Memorandum for the President, ‘Discussions with the Libyan Government Regarding the Future of Wheelus,’ March 17, 1964, National Security File, Country File, Africa, Box 92, Folder 9, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library (hereafter, NSF, CF, LBJL); State to AmEmbassy Tripoli, June 11, 1964, NSF, CF, Box 92, Folder 8, LBJL; Baida to SecState, June 8, 1964, NSF, CF, Box 92, Folder 8, LBJL.

44 State to Amembassy Tripoli, February 3, 1967, NSF, CF, Box 93, Folder 1, LBJL; Amembassy Tripoli to State, ‘Eyes Only Secretary of Treasury Fowler,’ March 27, 1967, NSF, CF, Box 93, Folder 1, LBJL. On military modernization: Bradley Simpson, Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960–1968 (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2008).

45 Dirk Vandewalle, A History of Modern Libya, 2nd ed. (New York, 2012), 58–62; Abdul Amir Kubbah, ‘Editorial: The Ideals We Intend to Serve,’ Review of Arab Petroleum Economics 1, no. 1 (February 1965): 2; Ostrum, ‘Black Chimera,’ 199.

46 State to AmEmbassy Tripoli, January 3, 1966, NSF, CF, Box 93, Folder 1, LBJL; Amembassy Tripoli to State, ‘Libyan Oil Law,’ January 5, 1966, NSF, CF, Box 93, Folder 1, LBJL.

47 Bundy and Komer, Memorandum for the President, March 17, 1967, NSF, CF, Box 92, Folder 9, LBJL.

48 Bini, ‘From Colony to Oil Producer,’ 49–53.

49 Telegram from the Embassy, June 22, 1967, FRUS 1964–1968, XXXIV, Energy Diplomacy and Global Issues: 247; Intelligence Note, September 1, 1967, FRUS 1964–1968, XXI, Near East Region: 458. On oil apartheid: Robert Vitalis, America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2006). On the Six Day War: Guy Laron, The Six Day War: The Breaking of the Middle East (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017); Shaul Mitelpunkt, Israel and the American Mind: The Cultural Politics of U.S.-Israeli Relations, 1958–1988 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 119–176.

50 ‘The United Nations Resolution on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources,’ OPEC Bulletin, January 1967, OPEC Information Center (hereafter OIC), Vienna; Resolution No. 90, XVI Conference, June 1968, Resolutions Adopted at the Conferences of OPEC, OIC; Hasan S. Zakariya, ‘OPEC Resolution XVI.90: It’s Background and Some Analytical Comments,’ January 1969, OIC.

51 Memorandum of Conversation, June 5, 1970, FRUS, 1969–1976, XXIV, Middle East Region and Arabian Peninsula: 23; McGeorge Bundy, ‘Memorandum for the President,’ June 27, 1967, White House Central Files (hereafter, WHCF), EX CM/O, Box 6, LBJL. Occidental and supportive New England senators noted the effects of instability when they turned to the Johnson administration for an exception to US oil import law to construct a 330,000 barrel per day refinery at a Free Trade Zone in Maine. Producers in the American southwest viscerally opposed this, also on national security grounds. See: Jim Langdon to Larry Temple, August 13, 1968, WHCF, GEN TA 6/Oil, Box 22, LBJL; Dara Orenstein, Out of Stock: The Warehouse in the History of Capitalism (Chicago, 2019).

52 Airgram A-30, Amembassy Tripoli, ‘Petroleum Regulation No. 8,’ February 10, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1365, NARA. A student of the 1955 Libyan Petroleum Law, Hangari was deeply involved in OPEC meetings in the late 1960s. See: Ibrāhīm Hanqārī, Libyan Petroleum Law 25 of 1955 (Tripoli: Kibyan Advertising & Pub. Establishment, 1966). Waddams and other Western experts also helped write Libyan oil law in the 1950s: D.B. Eicher, with J.S. Royds and J.F. Mason, ‘Part II. Libya,’ in AAPG Memoirs: Trek of the Oil Finders (1975), 1436–1445.

53 Airgram A-104, Amembassy Tripoli, ‘Memorandum of Conversation with Petroleum Minister,’ April 25, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1364, NARA.

54 NSC Interdepartmental Group for Africa, ‘Transmittal of Papers on Aircraft Sales to Libya,’ April 29, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1574, NARA; Joseph Palmer to the Under Secretary, ‘NSC/IG Decisions on Sale of Aircraft to Libya: Action Memorandum,’ May 5, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1574, NARA; Amembassy to Secstate, ‘Oil: Joint Venture Decisions by GOL,’ May 6, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1365, NARA; Airgram A-139, Amembassy Tripoli, ‘Oil Company Payments to GOL,’ June 2, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1364, NARA; Airgram A-160, Amembassy Tripoli, June 20, 1969, RG 59, CFP 1967–1969, Box 1364, NARA.

55 ME/3349/A/1, ‘Qadhafi’s Bayda Rally Speech,’ April 8, 1970, Foreign and Commonwealth Office: Commodities and Oil Department, Registered Files, Folder 432, National Archives of the United Kingdom (hereafter FCO 67/432, UKNA). A number of factors combined to make the market dry: increased US, European, and Asian consumption; energy intensive development projects in the ‘Third World’; ‘peak oil’ production in the United States; the closures of the Suez Canal and the Trans Arabian Pipeline; a tanker shortage; and the Nigerian Civil War. On Qaddafi: Douglas Little, ‘To the Shores of Tripoli: America, Qaddafi, and Libyan Revolution, 1969–1989,’ The International History Review 35, no. 1 (2013): 70–99. Maghribi, a former lawyer for Esso’s Libyan holdings, had been jailed for more than two years after organizing strikes during the 1967 war. His 1966 George Washington University Law School thesis analyzed ‘the new transnational law’ of sovereignty in Libyan oil production. See: Maghribi, ‘Petroleum Legislation in Libya,’ LL.M Thesis, George Washington University, 1966. Special thanks to Layla Maghribi for insight regarding his life.

56 ‘Price “Correction” is What it Wants’, Petroleum Intelligence Weekly 13, no. 29 (May 11, 1970): 5; AmEmbassy Tehran, ‘Shah’s Request for U.S. Assistance,’ June 15, 1970, National Security Council Files, Country Files, Box 601, Richard Nixon Library (hereafter, NSCF, CF, RNL); SecState to AmEmbassy Tehran, ‘U.S. Assistance in Increasing Iran’s Oil Offtake,’ June 27, 1970, NSCF, CF, Box 601, RNL. Notably, a similar dynamic of accommodation occurred in US relations with Iran at the same time.

57 Action Memorandum, July 28, 1970, FRUS 1969–1976, XXXVI, Energy Crisis: 51; State to Certain Diplomatic Posts, September 26, 1970, FRUS 1969–1976, XXXVI, Energy Crisis: 56; Memorandum by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, September 30, 1970, FCO 67/435, UKNA; Memorandum of Conversation, October 3, 1970, FRUS 1969–1976, XXXVI, Energy Crisis: 58; National Intelligence Estimate 36.5-71, April 30, 1971, FRUS 1969–1976, E-5, Part 2, Documents on North Africa: 74; DOS to Embassy United Kingdom, ‘Middle East Oil,’ October 14, 1970, FRUS 1969–1976, XXXVI, Energy Crisis: 59.

58 Zakariya, ‘Progressive Relinquishment under OPEC Declaratory Statement,’ Seventh Arab Petroleum Congress, Volume I: Economics (Papers), No. 30 (A-2).

59 ‘Libyan Oil Minister Reviews Oil Policy Issues,’ Middle East Economic Survey 13, no. 31 (May 29, 1970): 5–6 (hereafter MEES); ‘From Concessions to Contracts,’ MEES 8, no. 21 (March 26, 1965): 22; ‘Panel Discussion on Proration and its Effect on Price Levels,’ Papers of the Sixth Arab Petroleum Congress, March 12, 1967, OIC. Like other oil elites, Mabruk began his professional studies in Europe or the United States in another field and gravitated to oil: Ezzedin Mabruk, Limitation of Shipowner’s Liability: A Study in English and Libyan Law (University of London, 1959).

60 ‘Address by the Minister of Petroleum and Minerals,’ January 20, 1970, FCO 67/432, UKNA; AmEmbassy Tehran, ‘Oil Situation,’ January 28, 1971, NSCF, CF, Box 602, RNL; ‘Text of Resolutions of XXI OPEC Conference,’ MEES 14: 10 (January 1, 1971), 1–2; ‘Press Release No. 7-70,’ December 28, 1970, OPEC: Official Resolutions and Press Releases, 1960–1983, OIC.

61 Dietrich, Oil Revolution, 213–21; Garavini, The Rise and Fall of OPEC, 195–200.

62 ‘Oil Pact is Hailed,’ New York Times (April 4, 1971), 4; ‘Interview given in Beirut on February 17, 1971, by OPEC’s Secretary General,’ OPEC Bulletin 2 (1971), OIC.

63 Summary of World Broadcasts, December 10, 1971, FCO 67/610, UKNA; ‘Algeria and Iraq Support BP’s Nationalization,’ Arab Oil & Gas 1: 6 (December 16, 1971); ‘Libya: The Conquest of Its Sovereignty,’ El Tricontinental 5: 57 (December 1971): 36, Reference Center for Marxist Studies, Pamphlet Collection, Box 2, Tamiment Library, New York University; Telegram 713, Tripoli to FCO, ‘BP/Libya,’ June 25, 1972, FCO 67/795, UKNA.

64 Memorandum of Conversation, June 10, 1975, FRUS 1969–76, XXXVII, Energy Crisis: 65; C. Fred Bergsten, ‘The Threat from to the Third World,’ Foreign Policy (1973): 102–24; Memorandum of Conversation, November 16, 1975, L. William Seidman Files, Box 312, GFL. For discussions of scarcity: Paul Sabin, The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and the Gamble over the Earth’s Future (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013); Roger J. Stern, ‘Oil Scarcity Ideology in US Foreign Policy, 1908–97,’ Security Studies 25, no. 2 (2016): 214–57. On the ‘Arab oil weapon’: David S. Painter, ‘Oil and Geopolitics: The Oil Crises of the 1970s and the Cold War,’ Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung 39, no. 4 (2014): 186–208; Salim Yaqub, Imperfect Strangers: Americans, Arabs, and U.S.-Middle East Relations in the 1970s (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016), 122–24, 183–94.

65 On US policy: Daniel Sargent, A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015); Hal Brands, Making the Unipolar Moment: U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of the Post-Cold War Order (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2016); Michael Franczak, ‘Human Rights and Basic Needs: Jimmy Carter’s North-South Dialogue, 1977–81,’ Cold War History 18: 4 (2018): 447–464; David Wight, Oil Money: Middle East Petrodollars and the Transformation of the U.S. Empire (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2021). On Saudi Arabia’s crucial role: Victor McFarland, Oil Powers: A History of the U.S.-Saudi Alliance (New York: Columbia University Press, 2020). On the New International Economic Order: Jennifer Bair, ‘Taking Aim at the New International Economic Order,’ in The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of a Neoliberal Thought Collective, ed. Philip Mirowski and Dieter Plehwe (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2015), 347–85. For parallels within the United States, where foreign policymakers played key roles, see: Meg Jacobs, Panic at the Pump: The Energy Crisis and the Transformation of American Politics in the 1970s (New York: Hill and Wang, 2017); Kim Phillips-Fein, Fear City: New York’s Fiscal Crisis and the Rise of Austerity Politics (New York: Metropolitan, 2017).

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Strategies of Decolonization: Economic Sovereignty and National Security in Libyan–US Relations, 1949–1971
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Strategies of Decolonization: Economic Sovereignty and National Security in Libyan–US Relations, 1949–1971
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Strategies of Decolonization: Economic Sovereignty and National Security in Libyan–US Relations, 1949–1971
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