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Extra resources for Anglo-American Relations and Cold War Oil: Crisis in Iran
What changed was State Department reaction to his warnings. In 1950, the NEA Bureau concluded that access to the Persian Gulf was a historic Soviet objective and, were it accomplished, the USSR would acquire advance bases for military and subversive activities that were hundreds of miles nearer potential US-UK lines of defence in the Middle East. The will of Middle Eastern countries to resist Soviet aggression would be gravely damaged and Western communication and supply lines would be jeopardised, not least shipping in the Persian Gulf and continental air routes across Iran and adjacent areas.
American policymakers consequently began seeing the Middle East as an alternative theatre for Soviet ambitions and a new battleground against communism. Iran was a part of this and found itself accorded significantly increased geo-strategic importance, especially because it possessed oil, was conterminous with the Soviet Union and suffered from inherent political and economic instability, which made it vulnerable to communist subversion. IS This shift in perception about Iran's significance is demonstrated in a rapprochement between the analyses of Ambassador Wiley and of the State Department.
The military sphere was the first to experience renewed cooperation. Collaboration in chemical and biological warfare and intelligence had largely remained intact, but the new informal entente was epitomised by the acceptance in December 1946 of proposals to continue indefinitely mutual access for American and British naval vessels to one another's ports. Also, the Americans reduced restrictions on the exchange of information relating to military research and planning and Britain tacitly agreed to remain in Greece for as long as possible as a front for US aid.