[The British Foreign Office assesses the state of the Cold War, 1951.] Untited Typewritten Foreign Office briefing document, assessing at length, in a series of 'lessons' the situation in the USSR, Middle East and Far East, and 'Free World' response.

[UK Foreign Office; Cold War; USSR; Middle East; Far East; Special Intelligence Service [MI6]; Information Research Department]
Publication details: 
[UK Foreign Office. 1951.]
SKU: 21254

The document has no overall title, and gives no indication of its source, but it derives from a batch of Foreign Office briefing documents, including material from the Information Research Department (for whose activities, financed from the budget of the Special Intelligence Service, otherwise MI6, see The Times, 17 August 1995; and also Michael Cullis's obituary of Sir John Peck in the Independent, 20 January 1995). The latest date in the document appears to be that of 'Admiral Sherman's visit to Spain (July 16, 1951)', and the document clearly dates from that year, as there are several references to 'Mr Shinwell, the Minister of Defence', Manny Shinwell being the Labour Defence Minister, 1950-1951.. Well written and well researched, the document gives a clear overview of the Foreign Office position on the Cold War and its effect on geopolitical affairs in the immediate postwar period. The document is divided, as the very first page states, into 'lessons', sketching the state of the U.S.S.R, the Middle East and the Far East, presumably intended for those entering the British Foreign Service. The document also contains a section discussing the response of 'the free world' to Communism (starting on p.21: 'The aim of this lesson is to show the growth of collaboration between the Western Democratic States.'). Duplicated typescript. [1] + 98pp, foolscap 8vo. On 56 leaves, with first nine leaves stapled and carrying text on rectos only; later leaves loose, with text on both sides. Complete. In goodThe three parts are as follows. ONE: 'Section “A” The Soviet Attack' (pp.1-44), which begins 'The aim of this lesson is to present the essential facts about the U.S.S.R., the Russian People, and the Russian Communist Party.' Section A is subdivided into 'The Soviet Attack' (15 sections grouped under headings 'The New Russia 1917-1945', 'The World Divided', 'Russian weapons in the New War') and 'The Free World's Counter Attack' (16 sections grouped under headings 'Unity in Strength', 'Setbacks to Russia', 'Gaps in Western Defence Plans'). TWO: 'Section “B” Historical Survey of the M[iddle].E[ast].' (pp.46-80), beginning, 'In character, the Near East and its inhabitants changed little through the centuries, and then only very slowly – till recent times. […] But by 1914 new wine was being poured into these very old bottles. Cities, often built on old historic sites, were showing modern European influence – Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Basra. Railways were laid, or were being laid, from Belgrade to Baghdad, Aleppo to Medina, Cairo to the Cape. The trade of all the East flowed through the Suez Canal. Oil was discovered in Mesopotamia (Iraq), Persia (Iran) and, eventually in 1931, in Arabia. Since 1918 the Near East has become a network of motor roads, air routes, and pipe lines. And, even more important and disruptive, Western ideas, Western education, and Western concepts of nationalism have been seeping into the Near Eastern consciousness.' Section B is in 15 sections, covering the Ottoman Empire (Islamic World, Succession States), Turkey (Treaty of Lausanne, Kemalist Reformation), Arabia, 'Persia (Iran)', Egypt, the Mandates, Syria-Lebanon, Palestine, 'Trans-Jordan (Jordan)', Iraq, Arab Union. THREE: 'Section “C” Problems and Features of the Far East' (pp.82-98), beginning: 'It has been suggested that, when the history of this century is seen in perspective, the main events of the last decade will seem to be, not the war or the changes it has caused in Europe, but the happenings in Asia. In every major country of Asia there has been revolution. The class which controlled their government in 1939 are no longer in power. The non-Asiatic powers whose rule during the past century so profoundly affected Asiatic history have changed their aims and methods of operation, and their power in the continent has also undergone radical change. | The key areas of Asia are China, India, and Japan. The outside powers are the U.S.S.R., America and Great Britain; France and Holland play a lesser part.' Section C is in 9 parts, with a conclusion preceded by: 'Introduction', 'Bankruptcy', 'The impact of the West', 'Imperialism – the attitudes', 'Imperialism – exploitation', 'Post-war nationalism', 'The need for planned economy', 'The challenge of Communism'. No other copy traced.