Libya and Britain: a study of the history of British-Libyan relations 1969-1979
This thesis examines relations between Libya and the United Kingdom after 1969 when a new government came to power in Tripoli which seemed to pose a direct threat to a number of key British interests. The thesis is grounded on a careful reading of secondary literature which has been integrated into newly available official documents available in the National Archive. The main claim to originality is in the light these documents throw on our understanding of that relationship. The thesis uses a case study approach which examines specific themes in UK-Libya relations which include arguments over arms sales, the oil economy and the role of oil companies, and relations over the Irish question and the problematic Libyan supply of weapons and support to the IRA in the 1970s. It inevitably touches on relations between both governments and the United States, but that is not a main focus of the study. These areas have been chosen for study because they represent the most significant areas of bargaining and conflict between Libya and the UK in the time period, according to both the secondary literature and press debate at the time and the newly available documentation. The author has been aware of the limitations of using the National Archives, especially where material has newly arrived for view. These include the scope of official ‘weeding’ before documents are made available to conserve space and to avoid repetition, but also to exclude sensitive material relating to intelligence and cognate aspects of relations with other governments. These limitations qualify, but do not undermine, the conclusions drawn.
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