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File 345/1908 Pt 1 'Mohammerah: situation. British assurances to Sheikh.' [‎155v] (315/416)

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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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ment of
letter of
10 , 1898 .
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.
to Foreign
October 19,
1898 .
ment of
letter of
March 31, i
1904 .
Mr. Brod-
of June 24 ,
1908 .
ment of
letter of
21 , 1907 .
for the first time as an importer of arms into Muscat, though it is believed that rifles
of Belgian manufacture have for many years past been imported in considerable
In 1897 the Government of India determined to make an effort to check the
arms traffic at Muscat, and, accordingly, in January 1898 joint representations were
made to the Sultan by the British and Persian Governments, urging him to
co-operate in the suppression of the traffic. His Highness fell in with the sus^estion
'and on the 13th January of that year issued ( 1 ) a Notification warning his subjects
that the importation of arms and ammunition into India and Persia was illegal; and
( 2 ) a Proclamation authorizing British and Persian vessels of war to search, within
Muscat territorial waters, vessels carrying the British, Persian, or Muscat flag, as well
as Muscat vessels in Indian and Persian waters, and to confiscate arms and ammuni
tion intended for Indian and Persian ports.
The right of search does not extend to the vessels of other nations, and, as has
been stated above, the terms of his Commercial Treaties render it impossible for the
Sultan, without the consent of the Treaty Powers, to impose any general restriction on
the import of arms into Muscat.
In the same year, 1898, with a view to imposing a further check on the arms
traffic in Oman, rules were issued requiring all British subjects possessing arms within
the Sultan’s territory to register the same at the British Consulate. It may be
doubted, however, whether this measure has done more than throw the trade to an
increasing extent into foreign hands. In the same way it seems not unlikely that
the action recently taken by the British India Steam Navigation Company to check
the smuggling of arms in small quantities by the Company’s steamers in the Gulf
may only result in diverting traffic of this kind to vessels which are not placed under
such restrictions.*
It may be added that the import of arms at Gwadur, the Sultan of Muscat’s
dependency on the Mekran coast, was prohibited by a Proclamation issued by His
Highness on the 3rd March, 1891.
In March 1901, the Government of India proposed that the terms of the Muscat
Proclamation of 1898 should be extended so as to cover the export of arms to Turkish
ports, and to the territories of the Sheikhs of Bahrein and Koweit, and of the Trucial
Chiefs, as well as to <£ Indian and Persian” ports, which already fell within the
scope of the Proclamation. This proposal was not carried into effect, it being at the
time held undesirable, in view of the Sheikh’s position in regard to the warfare in
iCentral Arabia,- to impose any fresh restrictions on the importation of arms at
fKoweit. The necessary arrangements with Turkey also presented some difficulty.
The Government of India have also from time to time recommended—
( 1 .) That the French Government should be approached with a view to their
being induced to agree to the total prohibition of the arms traffic at Muscat; and
( 2 .) That the Porte should be asked to agree to our patrolling the Turkish littoral
against arms smugglers, or at least to declare the illegality of the traffic.
Neither of these suggestions has hitherto borne fruit. The question was passed
in review by the Government of India as recently as February 1907, and the
conclusion at which they arrived, after a careful and detailed examination of the case,
was that the aims traffic would continue to flourish and increase until an Agreement
with France was arrived at, and a complete prohibition was enforced against the
importation of arms and ammunition into the territories of the Sultan of Muscat.
The whole question will come up for discussion at the forthcoming International
Conference at Brussels.
Tnder the Brussels Act of 1890 for regulating the traffic in arms, any one of the
Signatory Powers that has occasion to authorize such traffic in territories of its own
lying within the region affected by the provisions of the Act, is required to establish
a “public warehouse,” under the control of its local Administration, in which all
imported arms must be deposited, and from which they mav not be withdrawn
without the previous authorization of the Administration.
There seems no hope of obtaining the consent of France, and the other Powers
having Treaty relations with Muscat, to the Sultan’s prohibiting, proprio motv, the
import of arms into his dominions. The only remedv for the present evil would
* See below, under Koweit.

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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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File 345/1908 Pt 1 'Mohammerah: situation. British assurances to Sheikh.' [‎155v] (315/416), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/132, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 July 2024]

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