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'Settlement of Turkey and Arabian Peninsula. Note by India Office on Foreign Office memorandum'. [‎1r] (1/4)

The record is made up of 2 folios. It was created in 30 Nov 1918. 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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Settlement of Turkey and Arabian Peninsula.
(Note by India Offtce on Foreign Office Memorandum.)
The Foreign Office Memorandum calls for remarks on three points :—
1.—The " Trueial S?/sfem."
1. First, as regards Arab countries generally, and the Arabian peninsula, too
much stress seems to he laid on what the writer calls "the trucial sj'stem," and on
the responsibility which Great Britain is to assume for the maintenance of internal
peace. The facts also are rather overstated. It is.too much to say that by this
system "the peace is effectively kept already over a considerable part oC the Arabian
peninsula " (page II), for it is only on a narrow strip of coast between Katr and Oman
that it prevails. Again, the rulers with whom we had treaties before the war were
not il nenrhj all coastal chiefs " : except in the Aden Protectorate (which is sui generis)
they were all coastal. Nor is.it the case that the rulers with whom we have made
treaties during the war "are mostly chiefs of inland tribes and oases," for we have
made no treaties with anybody but the Idrisi and Bin Saud, both of whom are
coastal chiefs (our treaty with Mavia has lapsed).
2. The fact is that the object of the trucial treaties was the suppression of
maritime piracy, and that before the war His Majesty's Government always set their
face rigidly against intervention in the interior of Arabia. They would not even
respond to Bin Sand's overtures until, by ejecting the Turks from Hasa, he, too,
became a coastal chief, and a potential danger to the peace of the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. .
The reason for this attitude is obvious : intervention was physically impossible. It
is no less so now. Our onty weapon for enforcing our will in the interior is the
blockade. But we cannot blockade the Hejaz without offending Moslems everywhere.
We cannot blockade Asir and the Yemen without constant friction with the French
and Italians. We cannot effectually blockade the Fast Coast of Arabia because the
blockade can so easily be evaded through Koweit and Mesopotamia, and evasion will
be the more easy as railway communication is improved.
3. If it is impossible for us to intervene, it is necessary to avoid treaty
engagements requiring intervention. At present it is claimed that we have none.
This point should be cleared up, for the Foreign Office Memorandum suggests (page l!^,
top) that we are pledged to Bin Saud in this respect. But this is more than doubtful.
All the treaty binds us to is (a) to recognise him as independent sovereign of certain
territories hereafter to be defined, with the implication that we will assist in defining
them; (b) to protect him against aggression by any foreign Power. It is submitted
that (a) does not oblige us to compel anyone else so to recognise him, though Ave
should doubtless use our good offices in his behalf, and refuse to recognise, e.g., the
Shereef's claim to any part of his territories as defined with our approval. As to (6),
it has been laid down from the first that " any foreign Power" does not include Arabs
(Secretary of iState to Government of India, 19th September 1016) 1 ; and in this
connection it may be noted that our obligation (undertaken in 1899) to use our good
offices in behalf of Koweit, if attacked, was held to refer to attacks by the Turks or
by tribes under Turkish control ( 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 Office, Sth April 1911).
4. And if we have at present no such engagements in the interior, neither do our
own interests call for any. The Arab tribes have always roamed the interior and
raided one another at will, and they will probably always continue to do so—" for
God hath made them so." But so long as they had not the Turk behind them they
did, and could do, us and our Arab friends little harm. With the elimination of Turkish
intrigue, these internecine wars w r ill to some extent cease, and will lose most of their
danger for us. And our concern will be limited to (i) seeing that no other foreign
Power {i.e., neither Italy nor France) takes the place of Turkey as a disturber of the
peace; (ii) controlling the traffic in arms ; (iii) providing that caravan and pilgrimage
routes are kept open—if necessary, by the payment of subsidies.
5. An extension of the " trucial system," either in the interior or on the Bed Sea
coast is therefore of very doubtful expediency. We are committed to adjudicating
10 S 8 50 12 18
1 See Appendix.

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Content

The note was written by Sir Frederic Arthur Hirtzel for the 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. , 30 Nov 1918, and consists of remarks on three points drawn out from the Foreign Office memorandum:

Mention is also given to the Baghdad Railway and the importance of ensuring that it is British controlled.

The appendix to the note contains further details on the British Government's agreement with Bin Saud, setting out the full history of events leading up to the signing of the agreement; later modifications to it; and the definition of the term 'foreign power' within the treaty.

Extent and format
2 folios
Arrangement

The file contains four copies of the note.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The sequence commences at the first folio and concludes on the last folio. It consists of pencil numbers, enclosed in a circle, located in the top right hand corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio.

Pagination: The booklet also has an original typed pagination sequence, with numbers printed at the centre of the top of each page, excepting page 1.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Settlement of Turkey and Arabian Peninsula. Note by India Office on Foreign Office memorandum'. [‎1r] (1/4), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B298, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023442615.0x000002> [accessed 19 October 2019]

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