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The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit [Kuwait] and Mohammerah. Scope of undertakings given by HM Government in 1914. Case for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown and Opinion thereon T W H Inskip and F B Merriman, Law Officers' Department, 29 Mar 1933. inc The date gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah. Historical summary [undated] [‎3v] (6/70)

The record is made up of 1 file (35 folios). It was created in 29 Mar 1933. 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.

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to a bargain involving relief from taxation claims that he has pei
formed all that he has promised to do, may perhaps be regarded as
of general application.
12. In the present case there can be little doubt that the
Istihlak is a " tax " strictly so called; and the question thereroie
appears to be whether on their true construction and having regard
to the circumstances in which and the persons to whom they were
given the undertakings given to the Sheikhs extend to taxation not
levied on the gardens themselves as such but on their produce. Do
they, for example, extend only to taxes creating a liability which
arises from the simple fact of occupation or ownership ot land, or
do they include also a tax creating liability which only arises if the
landowner chooses to export or sell some part of the produce of that
land, and then payable not by the landowner as such, but by the
seller or exporter.
13. It is important to examine the actual language used in the
undertakings given to the two Sheikhs. When the drafts were under
consideration in 1914 the wording approved for both letters v/as
" The date gardens which you now possess .... shall remain in
the full possession of you and your heirs and be immune from
taxation ". An authenticated copy of the actual Arabic letter
received by the Sheikh of Koweit has been obtained. The words in
this which correspond to " immune from taxation in the English
draft are Arabic words which are literally translated " without
there being upon them anything in the nature of taxes or imposts ' .
Evidently Colonel Knox, the writer of the Arabic letter, used two
more or less synonymous Arabic words to give the sense of taxation
quite generally and comprehensively. (There is no reason to suppose
that the Arabic of the letter sent to the Sheikh of Mohammerah is
not the same as that of the letter sent to the Sheikh of Koweit in
the particular, but as copy of it is not available here, the copy sent
herewith follows the original English draft). It will thus be seen
that the pledge in regard to taxation is quite general and not ex
pressed as limited to particular kinds of taxes. At the same time
it seems clear that this exemption is not a personal exemption
simpliciter in the sense that it implies that the Sheikh is entitled
to reside in the gardens and claim to be exempt from all taxation
of every kind which may be imposed on persons resident in Iraq;
it is quite definitely linked up with the possession of the gardens and
it seems reasonable therefore to limit it to taxation the liability to
which is closely connected with the gardens themselves.
14. It is necessary to consider very closely the exact nature of
the tax recently imposed. It may be regarded on the one hand as
merely a trader's tax in the sense that it is primarily a tax on
produce sold or exported; or on the other it may be regarded as
merely a variant of the earlier form of tax based on the value of the
land under cultivation and therefore as bearing a very close re
semblance to that tax.
15. Admittedly the earlier form of tax fell within the terms
of the undertaking and the question is therefore whether in all the
circumstances the present tax can be regarded as so far divorced
from the land itself as to bring it outside the terms used by the
Kesident in his letter. As has been explained above, the new tax
is not levied on the landowner as such and may indeed not be paid
by the Landowner himself at all except in so far as he mav by
reason of its existence have to accept a lesser price for his produce.
It is therefore a tax on produce, but not on the produce as such
of any particular garden or plantation; nor does the produce
attract the tax until it has been severed and has been sold or ex
ported. But since neither of the Sheikhs is resident in Iraq, the
whole of the produce of their gardens (other than that consumed by

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Content

This file contains a British Government report (folios 1-19) regarding promises made by the British in 1914 to the rulers of Kuwait and Mohammerah concerning their ownership of date gardens in Iraq.

The report contains a description of the situation and the legal opinion of T W H Inskip and F B Merriman, Law Officers of the Crown. The report includes an appendix containing copies of a number of relevant memorandums and letters.

The file also contains an undated report (folios 20-35) entitled 'The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah' that provides a detailed historical summary of the case.

Extent and format
1 file (35 folios)
Arrangement

The file is divided into two sections; the 'Scope of undertakings given by HM Government in 1914' and a 'Historical Summary'.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the first folio of the former and terminates at the last folio of the latter; 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: Each section of the file also contains an original and distinct pagination sequence.

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English in Latin script
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The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit [Kuwait] and Mohammerah. Scope of undertakings given by HM Government in 1914. Case for the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown and Opinion thereon T W H Inskip and F B Merriman, Law Officers' Department, 29 Mar 1933. inc The date gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah. Historical summary [undated] [‎3v] (6/70), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B468, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023252882.0x000007> [accessed 20 May 2019]

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