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'File A/5 Pearl fisheries of Persian Gulf' [‎10r] (19/62)

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The record is made up of 1 file (31 folios). It was created in 10 Mar 1904-19 Jun 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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* the mainland of the provinces of Zeh, Tavoy, Mergui, and Tenasserira,
<c and of tlie islands appertaining thereto, including the Mergui
u Archipelngo; as also over all bays, gulfs, and estuaries inter fauces
44 terrce, whether of such mainland or islands, but no further." While
adoptinir the opinion as correct, the Law Officers of the Crown add,
with reference to the Australian and Ceylon fisheries : " The Australian
44 Pearl Fishery Acts are limited in their operation to British subjects,
il and we assume that, in the case of the peirl fisheries in the Mergui
" Archipelago, there lias not been, as in the case of the Ceylon fisheries,
" an immemorial claim to the pearl-oyster fishery beyond the usual
" territorial waters asserted by successive rulers and acquiesced in."
{See Revenue, Statistics, and Commerce Papers, 1893, December.) This
opinion, it is to be observed, was given after the publication of the
award in the B^hring Sea Arbitration, which took pla'je in August of
the s une year. In that arbin ation a claim similar to that susr'jrcsted in
i ■ o '
the sixth paragraph of the? Despatch was put forward on behalf of the
United States ; it was met bv strong arguments on behalf of the British
7 • O O
Government, {see Chapter V1IT. of British Case and Argument, p. 36),
and was negatived by the award. With regard to the Ceylon precedent,
which among others was relied on by the United States in support of
their claim to a right of some sort extending beyond the three-mile
limit, it is pointed out in the argument that tiiese fisheries " have been
44 treated from time immemorial by the successive rulers of the Island
44 as subjects of property and jurisdiction, and have been so regarded
44 with the acquiescence of all other nations." The Ceylon case thus
stated is. in fact, one which illustr.ites the proposition that a portion of
the high sea may be appropriated by dint of actual occupation in the
same way as land may be so occupied. If a similar assertion of owner
ship and acquiescence could be proved with regard to the fisheries in 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. outside the three-mile limit, I think those fisheries would
be taken to be included within the territory of the State to which they
are contiguous. Otherwise, the three-mile limit must prevail, for that
is the rule which a State is supposed to adopt in the absence of express
notice that a larger extent; is claimed (see Hall on International Law,
p. 154).
In order to apply the above principles to the cise of any particular
fishing ground (for I presume there are distinct fishing grounds), it may
be necessary to institute a more detailed inquiry than has already been
made, so that it may be decided whether in that particular case it is
expedient to assert a claim by right of occupation larger than that
which the ordinary rule would justify.
H. H. Shephard.
Enclosure No. 2.
Foreign Office to 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. .
Foreign Office,
Sir, 16th July 1904.
I have laid before the Marquess of Lansdowne your letter of
the 30th June, on the subject of the policy to be pursued in order to
prevent any interference by foreign enterprise with the rights enjoyed
by the tribes under British protection in the pearl fisheries on the
Arabian coast 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. .
^ Lord Lansdowne concurs in the proposal of the Secretary of State for
India to refer the matter to the Law Officers of the Crown, and he would
be glad eventually to see the draft of the case which Mr. Brodrick
proposes to lay before them.
S. 5. B

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Content

The contents of the file relate to the British Government’s concerns over growing British and international interest in the Gulf’s pearling industry, hitherto almost exclusively exploited by the region’s indigenous inhabitants.

1) The first half of the file (folios 2-13) comprises copies of Government of India correspondence published in 1904 and 1905, which discuss Britain’s historic role in the Gulf in relation to the pearling industry. Themes covered include: Britain’s duty to protect the pearl banks for the benefit of the Arab pearl divers, acknowledgement of growing national and international interest in the pearl banks, the extent of territorial waters, and the likely result of any legal challenges to Britain’s refusal to allow foreign interests the opportunity to exploit the Gulf’s pearl banks.

2) Correspondence relating to an enquiry by a German businessman, concerning the pearl trade in the Gulf (folios 15-17).

3) Printed copies of correspondence (folios 20-23) from 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. Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. (Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Cox) and the Bahrain 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. (Captain Charles Mackenzie), dated 1910, concerning the increasing trade in oyster shells in the Gulf, used for the production of mother of pearl. A drop in the numbers of oysters being fished is attributed to the mother of pearl industry. A German firm based in Bahrain, Wonckhaus & Co., is identified as a key exporter of oyster shells at Bahrain.

4) A letter (folio 27) intercepted by the Political Agency An office of the British Government and, earlier, of the East India Company. in Bahrain, from the Secretary of the Wolverine Motor Works, U.S.A., to Robert Wonckhaus & Co., dated 3 February 1915. The letter and accompanying leaflet (folios 28-29) relates to Wolverine Motor Works’ new combined compressor and propelling motor, designed specifically for use in the pearl fishing industry.

5) A typewritten extract from the Times of India Illustrated , dated 19 [month missing, presumed June] 1918 (folio 30) reporting on rumours that German financiers are buying up all the pearls available in Britain and France.

Extent and format
1 file (31 folios)
Arrangement

The contents of the file have been arranged in approximate chronological order, running from the earliest items at the front of the file to the latest at the end.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The file is foliated from its front cover to inside back cover, using circled pencil numbers in the top-right corner of each recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. . There is an additional pagination system running throughout the file.

Folio 29 is a fold-out.

There is minor insect damage to papers throughout the file.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'File A/5 Pearl fisheries of Persian Gulf' [‎10r] (19/62), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/3, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023484199.0x000014> [accessed 21 February 2020]

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