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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] [‎4r] (7/70)

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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5
the resident cultivators) does in fact attract the tax in the process of
being sent to their places of residence for the consumption of their
families and retainers.
16. Two views of the matter may it is thought conceivably
be taken : (1) that the undertaking ought to be beneficially con
strued in the light of the practical effect of the new tax; and that
as the Sheikhs are necessarily resident elsewhere than in Iraq, and
since the produce of their gardens will with only trifling exceptions,
always and necessarily attract the tax, because the produce is always
and necessarily exported from Iraq for their consumption, the tax
in their case is in fact a tax upon the produce of their gardens and
therefore within the undertakings; and (2) that the undertakings
are limited to taxes levied on the land itself and upon the owner
ship or occupation of the land, and the Istihlak tax is not a tax
on land but on produce as such, divorced from the ownership or
occupation of land, and therefore not within the terms of either
undertaking.
17. To turn now to the second question which affects only the
gardens in the possession of the Sheikh of Koweit. Tt appears that
certain legal proceedings have been instituted against him in the
Iraqi Courts at the suit of private persons claiming to be entitled
to part of the gardens in his possession. In one such case the Court
of Cassation at Baghdad has decided on appeal in favour of the
plaintiff; and further proceedings of a similar nature are pending.
It is therefore necessary to consider whether the pledge given to the
Sheikh in 1914 imposes on His Majesty's Government any obligation
in respect of such portions of the gardens in his physical possession
in 1914 as the Iraqi Courts may decide are not the Sheikh's property.
It is clearly beyond the power of His Majesty's Government to
maintain the Sheikh in physical possession of property in Iraq
which may be declared by the Iraqi Courts not to belong to him, and
any liability must therefore be for payment of compensation.
18. The answer to this question would seem to depend on
whether the undertaking given in 1914 ought, on its true construc
tion, to be regarded as applying to a given area of land of which the
Sheikh was at that time in physical possession or whether it relates
only to such portions of that area as legally belong to him; in other
words, has the pledge that certain gardens " shall remain in his
possession " any application to property of which the Sheikh is^
dispossessed by the ordinary process of law, and as the result of sl
judgment in the Iraqi Courts? It is thought that the circum
stances in which the pledge was given must be taken into account.
19. The general historv of the case is contained in the accom
panying Memorandum by tlie Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. , Koweit, document
No. 4 in the appendix, p. 16. The essential points are, firstly,
that from 1899 onwards His Majesty's Government were anxious
to establish their political position in Koweit in the face of
claims by the Turks that the Sheikh was an Ottoman subject; that
with this end in view H.M.G. entered into secret engagements with
the Sheikh; that in the years 1907 and following the Sheikh made
certain large purchases of land in the then vilayet of Basra; that
the Turkish authorities, apparently with a view to bringing pressure
to bear on the Sheikh, refused to allow him to arrange for the
necessary appearance before the Tapu department, with a view
to declanng the validity of the sale, as was required by law, or
to allow him to take possession, unless he registered himself as a
Turkish national; that consequent on an appeal by the Sheikh to
H.M.G. he was instructed not to take out Turkish nationality
papers, but to have the stamped deeds secretly registered in the
British Consulate at Basra; and that general discussions over thi&
and other points affecting the status of Koweit proceeded between
18786

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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] [‎4r] (7/70), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B468, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023252882.0x000008> [accessed 9 December 2019]

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