Courtesy Reuters

Oil for Peace or War

TOWARDS the end of the recent war, the American government and people became greatly alarmed over the inadequacy of their future oil supply. Vigorous and startling measures were taken for the purpose of assuring full access to and development of foreign supplies--especially those in the Middle East. This was the stimulus for an earlier attempt of mine to formulate the main elements of a national oil policy.[i] Every element and aspect of the problem has changed in the interval, necessitating another close look at the problems of policy in front of us in this entangled field.

When the first essay was written, our experience was again proving how great a volume of oil was needed to fight a war, and how vital a factor it was in victory or defeat. We were worried over the chance that the oil reserves within the United States were about to dwindle while the demands upon them would increase. Important changes in the international situation were forecast. The balance of power between nations was about to become distinctly different than before the war. The spirit of nationalism and the wish for independence among many dependent countries and peoples were becoming stronger. The political control of parts of the world in which huge oil deposits were located (especially in the Middle East and Far East) was about to be freshly decided. Along with these impending changes there was a high expectation that the future relations between the large victorious Powers would be amiable and that they would be jointly directing a system for the maintenance of peace.

The situation concerning oil and oil reserves has since become easier. But in contrast the political and military prospects that must be taken into account when formulating and directing official policies having to do with oil now appear more grim. The United States, along with many other nations, is engaged in a harsh and crucial struggle against the group of countries with Communist attachments, led by the Soviet Union

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