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'Relations between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Sheikh of Koweit' [‎7r] (13/20)

The record is made up of 1 file (10 folios). It was created in 1934. 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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13
[E 7141/16/91]
2.— 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 .—{Received November 22.)
§i r 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. , November 21, 1933.
I AM directed by the Secretary of State for India to transmit to you, for
the information of the Secretary of State for loreign Affairs, copy of a letter
from the 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. respecting relations with Koweit.
I am, &c.
S. F. STEWART.
Enclosure in 2.
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. , 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 Secretary of State for India.
(Confidential.) .
^j r Bushire, October 2o, 1933.
I HAVE the honour to refer to your letter dated the 13th October, 1933,
enclosing a copy of the record of an interdepartmental meeting held at the 1 oreign
Office on the 5th instant, note by Sir Andrew Ryan on Ibn Saud s attitude
towards Koweit, and 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. provisional note, dated the 11th October, 1933,
on the obligations of His Majesty's Government towards the Sheikh of Koweit. 1
discussed the matter with the 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, when I passed through
there recently on my way to Bushire.
2. One of the two'questions (the other is dealt with below in paragraphs /
and 8) discussed at the meeting was, briefly, whether, with a view to maintaining
our control over Koweit, which was undoubtedly fast increasing in importance as
a political and strategical centre in the Middle East, (a) it was advisable to
declare a British protectorate over that sheikhdom, or (b) whether sufficient
control could not be obtained over it by adopting a policy of tightening up our
control over the sheikh as opportunity offered by filling in the gaps which at
present existed in our agreements with him.
3. As will be seen from the record, prima facie, I favoured (b) rather than
{a), and further reflection and my discussion with Colonel Dickson, who agrees
with me, has confirmed me in that opinion. The objections to {a) are that, in
our {i.e.. Colonel Dickson and my) opinion, a protectorate would most probably
meet with considerable opposition from the sheikh, who, while valuing his
British connexion, values equally highly his independence in the eyes of his fellow
Arab rulers, and the outside world in general. The declaration of such a
protectorate would likewise alarm the other sheikhs on the Arab coast of the Gulf.
It might also involve His Majesty's Government in a measure of interference in
the iiiternal affairs of Koweit' which can at present be avoided. The question of
slavery in Koweit, for example, as part of the slavery question in the (juli
generally, will doubtless be raised in. the tuture b\ the lecently established
Permanent Slavery Committee of the League of Nations, and as we have no
slave agreement with the ruler, such as exists with the other Arab rulers by
which the local 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. can manumit slaves, the Koweit aspect of this
problem offers special difficulties. So long as Koweit remains "independent,"
His Majesty's Government s responsibility in the matter is presumably limited
to representations and persuasions to the sheikh. In the event, however, of a
British protectorate being declared over the sheikhdom. His Majesty's Govern
ment might possibly be committed to more drastic action. Finally, it is not
improbable, though this is a matter outside my sphere, that the declaration of a
Koweit protectorate might lead to somewhat awkward accusations from other
Governments of "land grabbing" and the like, with which we have been
familiar enough in the past with regard to other areas.
4. An examination of the alternative policy {b) shows that, unsatisfactory
as our present treaty relationship with the sheikh may be (as was pointed out at
the meeting), we have a certain control over the ruler (see 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. note—
Obligations of His Majesty's Government towards the Sheikh of Koweit), and
where our agreements show gaps, these can, to a large extent, be filled up. Thus,
control of aviation through Koweit, whether military or civil, would be in the
hands of His Majesty's Government under the proposed air agreement {vide

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Content

This secret memorandum, printed by the Foreign Office, contains a record of a meeting held at the Foreign Office on 5 October 1933 to discuss relations between Great Britain and the Sheikh of Koweit [Kuwait], Aḥmad bin Jābir Āl Ṣabāḥ, particularly in regards to Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān Āl Sa‘ūd]. The following were present at the meeting: Mr George William Rendel (Chair), Eastern Department of the Foreign Office; Mr K R Johnston, Foreign Office; Sir Andrew Ryan, His Majesty's Minister at Jeddah; Lieutenant-Colonel Trenchard Craven William Fowle, 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. ; and Mr John Gilbert Laithwaite, 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. .

The memorandum also includes three appendices:

  • 'Appendix A. Note by Sir Andrew Ryan. Ibn Saud's attitude towards Kowait', dated 16 August 1933 (folios 3v-4r);
  • 'Appendix B. Provisional Note. Obligations of His Majesty's Government towards the Sheikh of Koweit', 11 October 1933, by Sir John Gilbert Laithwaite (folios 4-6), which includes sections entitled 'A. Nature of the undertakings given', 'B. Constitution of the undertakings given to the Sheikh', and 'Conclusion', with references to various correspondence in the right hand margin;
  • 'Appendix C. Supplementary Note. Question of Liability for the Protection of Koweit against Aggression from Outside. 1928-1929', by Sir John Gilbert Laithwaite, dated 6 February, 1934 (folio 6).

There are also a number of enclosures which include correspondence between folios 6 and 10.

Extent and format
1 file (10 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the front cover, and terminates at the inside back cover; 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: The volume also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Relations between His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom and the Sheikh of Koweit' [‎7r] (13/20), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B431, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023493289.0x00000e> [accessed 14 October 2019]

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