Oil Diplomacy in the Twentieth Century by Fiona Venn

By Fiona Venn

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Sample text

Sinee the evolution of oil poliey eannot be separated from the events ofthe war and its immediate aftermath let us now first examine the faetors motivating the oil strategy of the main powers before proeeeding in the next ehapter to examine the major effeets, in partieular the Anglo-Ameriean oil war of the interwar period. All the Great Powers were now weIl aware of the eritieal role that petroleum played, in both modern warfare and, inereasingly, the modern eeonomy. While Great Britain and the United States were to be the most involved in the often bitter oil diplomaey of the interwar period, other governments also sought to seeure their position.

Here, of course, France had to contend with the rival ambitions of the British, and it was only by virtue of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which had promised Mosul to France, that she was able to secure a stake in Middle Eastern oil. The British government felt strongly that Mosul should be incorporated into the anticipated Mesopotami an state, not least because of the oil reserves it was known to 42 OlL DIPLOMACY IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY contain. France in effect decided that it would be a good strategy to trade political control over Mosul for a share in the commercial control of Mesopotamian oil.

However, other companies (induding American) participated in the Romani an oilfields, and thus Romanian oil met only a small part of French petroleum needs. 19 French hopes of guaranteed control over prolific oil reserves were more likely to be met in the Middle East. Here, of course, France had to contend with the rival ambitions of the British, and it was only by virtue of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which had promised Mosul to France, that she was able to secure a stake in Middle Eastern oil.

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