RESUMÉThe period 1966-1971 witnessed important changes in the history of the United Arab Emirates. As Great Britain moved to extricate itself from a sustained presence of 150 years’ duration, through which it had been responsible for the various emirates’ external affairs, numerous controls were gradually transferred. The theory that the city states could resist regional absorption only if they banded together had become a platform of the British withdrawal policy. As the plans for the British withdrawal from the Gulf and intensive and detailed negotiations for unification proceed there tends to be less reportage on more local matters, such as education and development projects. In the face of a great deal of material pertaining to British and other Arab States´ interest in the Emirates this collection concentrates on the central development of the Emirates infrastructure and government including extensive coverage of the process of achieving a union of the separate emirates.
From the Introduction by A. Burdett ... 1966 had marked the end of an era: the ruler of Abu Dhabi for 40 years, Shaikh Shakhbut, was removed from power in August in a bloodless coup led by his brother, Shaikh Zaid, with British moral support. As Shaikh Zaid became established, rivalries with Shaikh Rashid of Dubai became more evident. Problems arose because of Abu Dhabi’s growing oil-derived wealth: neighbouring tribes began leaving other principalities, in favour of Abu Dhabi, causing serious concerns among other rulers... In 1969 there was a significant slowdown in the progress towards union as the expectation of a change in government in Great Britain raised the possibility of a reversal of the withdrawal policy... An assassination attempt against the ruler of Fujairah had underlined the increased threat of subversion, and the lack of any existing infrastructure to deal with such problems prompted various proposals and measures to create Police Forces and raised the question of internal security in general. The British government re-assessed the situation through special envoy William Luce, who held a series of meetings with the Gulf rulers, and with powerful neighbouring states. His conclusion which was put to cabinet, was that defence arrangements could not be prolonged, nor could British withdrawal be postponed. Early in 1971, letters were written to each ruler stressing the necessity of resolving the situation. Bahrain and Qatar, as expected, officially withdrew in April and although the union of nine states had ceased to be a possibility, an agreement on the union of the six states of Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Sharjah, and Umm-al-Qawain was reached in November 1971. The treaties with Britain were terminated on 1 December, and on 2 December 1971 the United Arab Emirates came into being. On the 10 February 1972, Shaikh Saqr bin Mohammad Al-Qasimi of Ras-al-Khaimah also signed the agreement bringing the membership of the United Arab Emirates to seven.
The three Records of the Emirates titles combine to create a large collection which provides facsimile copies of the key documents reflecting the developments of the United Arab Emirates from 1820 to modern times. The collections offer historical evidence for the political, economic and social evolution of the seven Emirates. Up to 1947 material is drawn extensively from the India Office Collection of the British Library. After 1947 archival material on the Emirates is drawn largely from the Public Records Office in London, in particular its Embassy and Consular archives and its Foreign Office archives. These documents continue the economic story through oil concession negotiations; prospecting rights and surveys and the first oil strike in Abu Dhabi in 1958. They include internal and external frontier negotiations and questions of island sovereignty, constitutional and military developments; the Trucial States Council and the Trucial Oman Levies, municipal development, banking, medicine, and air travel all up to 1965. In the years up to 1966–1971 the new subject of the unification of the Emirates arises and the process is covered in detail. At publication of this title several file groups, especially for 1971, have been retained by the FCO, particularly those pertaining to territorial issues and disputes, and so are not included.
Details from the subject coverage:
Inter-Emirate business, in particular the negotiations towards forming, and the formulation of, the Union of the Arab Emirates
Petroleum exploration and concessions
Boundary disputes relevant to oil exploration and concessions
Relations within the ruling families, relations between the ruling families and the tribes and the resulting power struggles
Foreign relations, especially with Bahrain and Qatar
Foreign relations with Oman, Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf States and with the West, particularly Great Britain, Germany and the United States of America
Detailed coverage of the individual Emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras-al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm-al-Qawain, including:
financial development and budgetary analysis and statistics
development of infrastructure: contracts and expansion plans
tribal unrest and migration between emirates
development of internal and external defence and military strategies post-1971