1950-1959 | Bahrain

Cabinet ‘mad keen to land British troops somewhere’

Selwyn Lloyd – his Rolls Royce stoned in Bahrain –
National Archeif NL – Wikimedia.

5 March 1956

On 5 March 1956, ministers were briefed at number 10 on gloomy assessments of the British position in the Middle East and Cyprus.  They were particularly outraged over the stoning of a convoy of cars in Bahrain conveying Britain’s Foreign Secretary, from the airport. His black Rolls Royce had been confronted by an angry crowd chanting ‘Go home’ and ‘down with the imperialists,’ until his driver finally managed to find a way through the protesters, who were subsequently dispersed by local police using their rifle buts.1 Evelyn Shuckburgh, the Under Secretary at the Foreign Office, who attended the Cabinet meeting, recalled that ‘the ministers – led by the PM (Anthony Eden) – were mad keen to land British troops somewhere, to show that we are still alive and kicking; and they thought Bahrain a good place because of the recent stoning of Selwyn Lloyd.’2 


  1. ‘Rioters Hold Up British Minister,’ The Coventry Evening Telegraph, 3 March 1956, p. 14, ‘Selwyn Lloyd held up by Bahrain mob,’ The Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 3 March 1956, p. 2 and Hamad Ebrahim Abdullah, ‘Sir Charles Belgrave and the Rise and Fall of Bahrain’s National Union Committee, January 1953 to April 1957’, PhD thesis, The University of East Anglia, accessed online at url https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/61483/1/Hamad_E__Abdulla_PhD_Thesis_2016.pdf
  2. Evelyn Shuckburgh, Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-1956, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, 1986, p. 344.

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