SCPC Research Guide: The Middle East

Editor’s note: Our student assistants have been working on compiling lists of collections with material pertaining to various historical research topics.  This entry is the second of a series of such lists.  Please also see our Research Guides page for other topics!

Below are SCPC collections with significant files on the Middle East. If you know of relevant material in a collection we overlooked, please let us know. List compiled in November 2010.

John C. West (1922-2004) was appointed Ambassador to Saudi Arabia by President Jimmy Carter in 1977. Although he was the first political appointee to the post, West had established some relationships in the Middle East, specifically Kuwait, as Governor. The Saudis were pleased with West as ambassador, and he served four years at the post. The Public Papers series of West’s collection has 2 feet of material on his appointment to Saudi Arabia, consisting mostly of correspondence with Carter and other American officials, King Khalid, and Crown Prince Fahd. It also includes memos and records concerning the Arab-Israeli Conflict and OPEC.  The Personal Papers series has several folders of correspondence with government officials, businessmen, and friends in the Middle East, primarily after West’s service as ambassador.

During James Richards’ (1894-1979) Congressional career, he served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chairing it from 1951 to 1953.  Upon retiring in 1956, Richards became Special Assistant to President Dwight Eisenhower for the Middle East and served until January 1958.  During this time, he traveled to many countries including Israel, Iraq, Lebanon, Morocco, Libya, and Turkey. This collection includes correspondence, research material, photographs, and clippings, much of it on foreign affairs issues, including the Middle East.

While in the United States Senate, Fritz Hollings (b. 1922) was continuously involved in foreign affairs matters.  For each session of Congress in the collection, there are folders on the Middle East, Israel, Egypt, and/or Saudi Arabia, just to name a few.  There is also information on the Iran-Contra affair and Desert Storm.

Floyd Spence (1928-2001) served on the Armed Services Committee for virtually all of his thirty-year tenure in the House.  His collection includes extensive files on military and foreign affairs, particularly regarding the United States’ global military policy and involvement.  Highlights include folders on such issues as weapons of mass destruction, Desert Storm, the Iran hostage crisis of 1979-1981, and Israel.

~Contributed by Virginia W. Blake

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