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File 345/1908 Pt 1 'Mohammerah: situation. British assurances to Sheikh.' [‎73v] (151/416)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (203 folios). It was created in 1904-1910. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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Tnelosure 1 in No. 1.
Memorandum by Major Cox on Assurances desired by the Sheikh of Mohammerah, ^
BEFORE I left the Gulf for England Sheikh Khazal begged me to lay his circum
stances and aspirations before His Majesty’s Minister and Government, and after my
arrival in England he sent me a telegram which was intended to remind me on the
We have, of course, given the sheikh a generous amount of sympathetic support of
late, and have considerably strengthened the assurances previously given to him. He
is still, however, nervous for the future on certain points, and anxious for further signs,
and I am inclined to think that when the nature of his apprehensions, and the facts at
the back of them are examined, His Majesty’s Government may find it possible to
satisfy him without any practical increase in the weight of the obligations wdiich they
have already accepted in regard to him,
In spite of what we have hitherto given him in the way of assurances—
1. He is always in fear that his nephew Hanzal, a man of about 40, whose loyalty
is doubtful, and who was recently suspected and accused of being implies ted m a plot
against his (Sheikh Khazai’s) life, may seize some favourable opportunity to affect his
own or his son’s assassination and usurp the sheikhdom.
It is to provide against this or a similar contingency, and in order that Hanzal
may know that it is useless his aspiring to the succession that the sheikh asks that the
words “ heirs and successors ” be amended to “ male descendents,” &c. (vide my letter of
the 16th May 1909.) Sheikh Khazal quite realises that we could only support a
descendent so long as the said descendent continued to act up to his obligations to us
generally, and was acceptable to his tribesmen ; and, as regards the latter, he says he
would be prepared, if we wish it, to obtain the signification of the assent of the elders
to the succession of his children.
If the assurances were worded somewhat as follows : “ Male descendents provided
that they continued to satisfy their obligations to His Majesty’s Government and are
acceptable to their tribesmen ; ” it would please Sheikh Khazal greatly, and I do not
see that by doing so we should in practice be further committed to any serious extent
than we are now.
It is obvious, and this the sheikh well understands, that if he or one of his
descendents proved an unsatisfactory ruler, or failed to act up to his obligations to us,
he would be considered to have forfeited the right to our support.
2. Sheikh Khazal still fears that some day, either as a complement to Russian
action in the north or as a result of the existence of continued chaos in the country, we
may be obliged to intervene in Southern Persia and perhaps find it convenient to take
over Mohammerah.
From thisj apprehension results his desire that our assurances should be recorded
as holding good for a specific period.
Here again it seems to me that it would be possible to find a form of
words which would satisfy him without inconveniently committing us, e.g., would
“ male descendents to the third generation, provided that,” &c., be out of the question ?
It is always our policy with these Arab rulers, e.g., Bahrein, Koweit, trucial chiefs, to
guide them and control their external relations but leave them independent in regard to
their internal politics.
3. Apart from his position as Sheikh of Mohammerah and district and the property
which he enjoys as such, Sheikh Khazal is apprehensive for the future safety of his
person and of the property and income which he possesses and enjoys as a private
In this position he may be compared to the Zil-es-Sultan, to whom on certain
conditions and in view of certain facts we have given a great deal of help in the
direction of safeguarding his person and private property.
One of the grounds on which we do so (or did so) is because the Zil enjoys a
British decoration, and I think that the bestowal of a British decoration would be
a convenient way of showing support to the Sheikh of Mohammerah. It would
certainly please the Sheikh. The Sultan of Muscat has a G.C.I.E. May I suggest a
K.C.I.E, for Mohammerah ?
4. Sheikh Khazal thinks it possible that we may be driven to assume control of the
customs of the south, including his.
In that contingency, however, he hopes that we will leave him in immediate

About this item


The correspondence discusses the situation regarding British assurances to the Sheikh of Mohammerah. The volume includes a description of the Sheikh's perception that, despite his good behaviour towards the British he has not been afforded the support provided to other Arab sheikhs in the Gulf as in Kuwait or Bahrain. Letters include an account of the explanation given to the Sheikh of Mohammerah that Britain recognized Bahrain and Kuwait as independent, in de jure as well as de facto terms; in contrast the British recognized the Shah's sovereignty over Mohammerah.

The correspondence discusses the practicalities of a customs arrangement between the Shah and the Sheikh of Mohammerah mediated by the British. Letters consider the circumstances under which Britain could intervene militarily to protect its interests in the Karun Valley in the event of disorder arising following interference by the Shah.

The correspondence discusses the scope and form of words of the assurance to be given to the Sheikh of Mohammerah and his male descendants, in the event of disorder following from a change in the Persian regime, be it of a royalist, nationalist, or constitutional nature as well as disputes with Bakhtiari khans.

Correspondents include: Shaikh Khazal Khan, Sardar Leader of a tribe or a polity; also refers to a military rank or title given to a commander of an army or division. -i-Afra, the Shaikh of Mohammerah; The Confidential Agent of the Shaikh of Mohammerah; Major Percy Zachariah Cox, Her Majesty's Consul at Bushire; Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Acting Consul of Mohammerah.

Each part includes a divider which gives the subject and part numbers, year the subject file was opened, subject heading, and list of correspondence references contained in that part by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence.

Extent and format
1 volume (203 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the volume. The subject 345 (Mohammerah) consists of two volumes, IOR/L/PS/10/132-133. The volumes are divided into two parts, with each part comprising one volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 203; these numbers are written in pencil and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.The foliation sequence does not include the front and back covers, nor does it include the one leading flyleaf.

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English in Latin script
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File 345/1908 Pt 1 'Mohammerah: situation. British assurances to Sheikh.' [‎73v] (151/416), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/132, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 July 2024]

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