He was Governor of the North-West Frontier Province, from 1946 to just before the Partition of India in 1947. Subject to accusations that he was too close to the Muslim League, he encountered opposition from Congress Party politicians, and was replaced in mid-1947 by Rob Lockhart as governor.
Son of the architect William Douglas Caroe, and Grace Desborough Rendall, he was educated at Winchester College and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he read classics. He served in the army in the Punjab in World War I, and joined the Indian Civil Service in 1919.
He subsequently held a number of positions in the Indian Political Service, where he was influential in foreign policy, and an active administrator in North-West Frontier Province.
After returning from India in 1947, he wrote extensively. His strategic ideas proved influential:
|“||At about this time there were those in Washington, looking for ways to secure the oil resources and practice containment in the middle east. The formulations of Sir Olaf Caroe attracted attention and soon found favour in official circles. His article in the March 1949 number of Round Table and his 1951 book, Wells of Power, led to invitations from the state and defence departments to visit Washington.||”|
- Wells of Power. London: Macmillan. 1951.
- Soviet Empire: The Turks of Central Asia and Stalinism. 1953.
- Reprinted with an additional Introduction. London: Macmillan. 1967.
- The Pathans 550 B.C.-A.D. 1957. Macmillan and Company, London 1958
- From Nile to Indus: Economics and Security in the Middle East. 1960.
- "The Geography and Ethnics of India's Northern Frontiers". The Geographical Journal. 126 (3). 1960.
- Peter John Brobst, The Future of the Great Game: Sir Olaf Caroe, India's Independence, and the Defense of Asia (University of Akron Press, 2005)
- Facts are sacred, chapter18: Mountbatten Gets to Work by Khan Abdul Wali Khan - Awami National Party
- The force Badshah Khan built: Review by Parshotam Mehra - Tribune India
- "Personal recollections of Sir Olaf Caroe". Archives Hub. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Brobst, p. xvi.
- The Making of US Foreign Policy for South Asia (PDF), Lloyd I. Rudolph and Susanne Hoeber Rudolph.
Ronald Evelyn Leslie Wingate
|Chief Commissioner of Balochistan
Arthur Edward Broadbent Parsons
Sir George Cunningham
|Governor of the North-West Frontier Province
Sir Robert Lockhart