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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎91v] (183/220)

The record is made up of 1 file (110 folios). It was created in 27 Aug 1893-19 Dec 1918. It was written in English and French. 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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these officials to control without the aid of force the actions of the two Amirs.
As for the Hasa, Ibn Sand would be appointed Mutasarrif of the province,
but the collection of the customs would remain in Turkish hands and lurkish
garrisons would be replaced in the ports.
Nothing" was more certain than that Ibn Saud’s appearance on the coast
must ultimately bring him into direct contact with ourselves whether we
welcomed it or sought to avoid it; and this anxiety underlay and possibly
accelerated the action of the Porte. Put at the moment Turkish fears were
groundless. We were concerned wholly with the conclusion of prolonged
negotiations with Constantinople touching interests in Mesopotamia and the
Gulf which were of vital importance, and were less inclined, if possible, than
before for Arabian adventure. We made a friendly offer of mediation which
was refused, and when, in April, 1914, the Amir met the British Agent,
Colonel Grey, outside Kuwait, he was given to understand that we had re
cently concluded a comprehensive agreement with Turkey and could hold out
to him no hope of support. Ibn Saud was thrown back on his own resources,
but these were considerable, and the secret treaty which was signed in May
by himself and the Wali of Basrah, fell short of TaPat Beg’s anticipations.
He accepted the title of Wali and Military Commandant of Najd which was
offered to himself and his descendants as long as they should remain loyal,
and engaged to fly the Turkish flag, but he was to have charge of the customs,
on behalf of the Ottoman Government, raise his own levies and provide the
garrisons for Qatif and Ojair. Deficiencies in the Najd budget were to be
met from the customs, and no revenue from any local income was to be paid
to Constantinople until such time as there was a surplus—an eventuality of
doubtful occurrence. But wdiile exercising in his own territories an authority
which was in all but the name that of an independent ruler, his correspond
ence with foreign Powers was to be conducted solely through the Porte, and
in case of war he was to come to the assistance of the Sultan.
A\ hat would have been the upshot of a treaty which so imperfectly re
flected the convictions of the contracting parties can scarcely admit of doubt.
The guiding trait of Ibn Saud’s character is what must be called a racial
rather than a national patriotisnl, but this sentiment was not likely to evoke
sympathetic consideration from the leaders of the Committee of Union and
Progress, who were blindly determined on the Ottomanization of the Arabs.
As a strict \\ ahhabi, the new \\ ali of Najd looked with abhorrence on the
loose religious principles of the Turks and was far from admitting their pre
tensions to represent and direct Islam. He had, in conversation with Cap
tain Shakespear, spoken with unexpected vehemence on this point, saying
that in his eyes the infidel was preferable to the Turk, since the latter broke
the rule he professed to follow, while the former acted in accordance with his
own law, and to the same listener he declared that he had accepted the terms
of the agreement only because he was assured privately that even the small
measure of sovereignty accorded to Turkey would never be claimed The
Kuwait treaty was put to the test by the outbreak of the European war and
found wanting.
Ihe disquieting attitude adopted by Turkey on the outbreak of war be
tween Germany and the Entente Powers produced a profound alteration in
our policy towards the Porte. It became necessary to reckon up our assets
in Arabia, and early m October Captain Shakespear, who was in England
was ordered to return to the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. and get into touch with Ibn Saud
so as to prevent if possible the outbreak of unrest in the interior, and in the
event of war with Turkey to ensure that no assistance should be rendered from
that quarter Before he could reach his destination war had been declared
A message^ had been despatched to Ibn Saud informing him of Captain
Shakespear s impending visit, recognizing his position in Najd and the Hasa
and guaranteeing him against reprisals by sea or land if he would commit
himself to enter the lists against Turkey. The Turks, on their side lost no
M r °, ac n 7 Ai ; ilrs ° f Central Arabia. Their scheme, which was
* at aS i n< i /S t OU / ald t ie cam Paign against Egypt while Ibn Sand
owar^/lt? ] f ri r Sh advan ^ e * n Mesopotamia, showed that they were as un-
a are of the f ee Jing towards them which prevailed among the Arabs as thev
vere ignorant of the conditions of the desert, where the network of tribal
end permits no man to withdraw his forces on a distant expedition without
fear of attack on his unprotected possessions. Ibn Saud, apparentlv in order 11
1 1 the task of bringing about a reconciliation. At this juncture Saivirl
Tahb was busily engaged in endeavourW +i • i ? ai y id
Shaikfli Khaz‘al and His Majesty’s Consul at AGr. " ^ J nt fmediation of
with the British Government providing for his aH 1° a bar & ain
of war with Turkey, but the terms which hp w / T to US m tlle . ev ent
as to be impossible of acceptance and he was Tl? S ° extrava S a nt
Khaz'al’s advice to him to abate them when the declarlttn of wlfleH Mm

About this item


The file contains correspondence, memoranda, maps, and other papers relating to Middle Eastern affairs and a few other miscellaneous matters. The majority of the file concerns discussions of and proposals for the post-war settlement of Near Eastern territories, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. The basis of these discussions was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Other matters covered by the papers include events in Siam [Thailand] and Burmah [Myanmar] and the colonial rivalry in the region between France and Britain, the Baghdad Railway, and relations with Ibn Saud in Arabia, including a report on the 1917-18 mission to Najd by Harry St John Philby (folios 67-98).

Folios 99-110 are six maps with accompanying notes that show the various proposed territorial settlements and spheres of influence in the Near East and one showing Britain's global colonial possessions.

Memoranda and correspondence comes from officials at the Foreign Office and 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. . Other correspondents include French and Italian government officials.

Extent and format
1 file (110 folios)

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the back.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front of the envelope with 1, and terminates at the inside back last page with 110, these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, 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.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎91v] (183/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 1 March 2024]

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