This paper tries to describe and analyse the British interests in the third world, how they are changing and how they seem to be perceived by policy-makers.
Positions taken by the government may reflect sectional pressure rather than judgements about costs and benefits to the community as a whole. Trade policy questions are considered in this light.
Subsequent to the attack on the American embassy in Iran, another view has arisen, considering the third world a threat to the west. The latter view and the one expressed by the Brandt Commission, namely that the development of poor countries is in the interest of both the third world and developed countries, are evaluated in a UK context.
The author, therefore, locates the British interests in the developing world first, then discusses the policy-making mechanisms for translating interests into decisions, and then on an itemised basis to describe and evaluate the main components of British interests.