Britain was worried that Iraq might attack Kuwait 30 years ago and drew up plans to dislodge Iraqi troops from the territory, according to newly released government papers.
Documents disclosed Tuesday under a 30-year secrecy rule showed that a military committee was asked to consider an operation to drive out Iraqi troops if they invaded Kuwait.
Kuwait was then controlled by the British, but a coup had overthrown a pro-British regime in Baghdad.
Kuwait, which became independent in June, 1961, faced an early threat of invasion by Iraq, and Britain quickly sent in troops to deter the Iraqis. A contingency plan had been drawn up earlier to evacuate 200 Britons and other foreign nationals from Iraq.
Britain's Foreign Office felt it might be safer politically to let Iraq take Kuwait, and then recapture it, rather than try to stop the Iraqis from moving in, the papers show.