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'File A/5 Pearl fisheries of Persian Gulf' [‎20r] (39/62)

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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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No. 3223, dated Bushire, the 4th (received 13th) December 1910 (Confidential).
From—L ieutenant -C olonel P. Z. Cox, C.S.L, C .I.E., 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. 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. ,
To —The Secretary to the Government of India in the Foreign Department.
I have the honour to invite reference to the Bahrain Trade Report for
1909-1910 in which, when on the subject of the pearl trade, Captain Mackenzie
refers to Mr. Rosenthal's apparently successful enterprise in pearl-buying on
the spot and regrets that no British Firm has entered the lists.
2. I first thought of addressing the Commercial Intelligence Branch of the
Board of Trade in the latter connection, but in view of the past record on this
subject, it would seem better for any suggestion in the direction above
mentioned to go through the Government of India.
3. I cannot say I altogether welcome the advent of these European
experts in the local market as the development is one which will not only
tend in itself to disturb the time-honoured usages of the industry, but the
Europeans who come and find they can buy successfully will inevitably be
tempted by the experience gained, to make a further advance and own their
own boats, or will attempt to get concessions, and become a source of difficulty
to us; but as it is presumably impossible to prevent the Agents of Foreign
Firms from summering in the Gulf in order to buy pearls on the spot, it would
seem important for us to find some well-qualified British Firms prepared to
enter into competition with them.
4. But pearling is a highly specialised branch of Commerce for which the
possession of really expert knowledge, plenty of capital, courage and a free
hand is essential, and these qualifications none of our old-established trading
firms in the Gulf sufficiently possess. I therefore suggest that it would be
well if the Board of Trade could be authorised to sound such Firms as Messrs.
Streeter of Bond Street (who have before taken an interest in the local trade)
with a view to their entering the lists.
/ In doing so, however, I would respectfully recall the Government of
India's despatch No. 62 (Secret-External), dated 2nd June 1890, to His
Majesty's Secretary of State, and connected correspondence.
S. G. P. L—1977 P. D.—19-12.10—44.

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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' [‎20r] (39/62), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/3, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023484199.0x000028> [accessed 17 February 2020]

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