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'File 61/14 VII (D 51) Relations between Nejd and Iraq' [‎6v] (27/416)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (205 folios). It was created in 20 Jul 1928-31 Dec 1928. 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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tm either side of the border, that he consented
•to accept the frontier and ratify the Convention.
9. I took the line that His Majesty's Govern
ment did not accept, and could not admit, his
interpretation of Article 3 of the Uqair Protocol;
that they regarded the distance of Busaiya from
the frontier to be such that it could not reasonably
be held to lie '' in the vicinity of the frontier'';
and that they were bound to uphold the principle
that the Iraq Government, as well as the Najd
Government, were at liberty to take such ad
ministrative measures within their own territory
as seemed to them necessary for the better super
vision of the desert. Throughout the conversa
tions, I abstained from embarking too far upon
a discussion of the merits or demerits of the posts
at Busaiya and elsewhere. I preferred to take
my stand on the unassailable ground of a fixed
principle, namejy that, in the absence of any spe
cific undertaking to the contrary, the sovereign
right of each Government to take such internal
measures as it thought necessary was one which
His Majesty's Government were determined to
10. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that
not only was Ib'n Sa'ud unwilling on grounds
of general policy to give way on the question of
the posts, but also that he was precluded from
doing so by the attitude of his people. I used
every means of persuasion and pressure at my
disposal, and when these failed I decided to
recommend, as an alternative to rupture, that the
negotiations be suspended. The advent of the
pilgrimage celebrations which were requiring the
King's presence at Mecca for over a month made
it necessary to bring our conversations to a close
in any case. Ibn Sa'ud accepted my suggestion,
and he also agreed to a formal exchange of letters
(see Annexure* 4) in which a peaceful modus
vivendi was laid down between Iraq and Najd
for the duration of the period of suspension. He
insisted, however, on one stipulation, namley, that
in view of the fact that he had to return to Najd
by the middle of August, and that he was pledged
to communicate the result of his negotiations to
his people on his return, our conversations would
have to be resumed or definitely broken off by that
11. Before a decision can be reached as to
whether or not conversations should be resumed,
due consideration should be given to the three
points put forward by Ibn Sa'ud as a basis for
a settlement. The first relates to the posts them
selves. To the last, Ibn Sa'ud maintained that
the demolition of the posts at Busaiya Salman,
and Shabaika, and the withdrawal of their gar
risons were a sine qua non for the restoration of
peace on the border. He argued that the habits
and the mentality of the nomad tribes were such
that the erection of a post at a water-point in
the desert, even if built for peaceful purposes,
was equivalent in their minds to a denial, or at
any rate a serious restriction of access to the
water He gave me to understand in the most
friendly but explicit terms that, if the posts were
maintained, he would have to decline all res
ponsibility for the maintenance of peace. His
tone was never offensive or minatory, but was
consistently firm. He kept repeating that it was
precisely the question Of desert fortifications
which 'had dictated his refusal to ratify the
Muhammara Convention, until Sir Percy Cox
had offered him a guarantee against the construc
tion of posts in the desert. Pie stated on more
than one occasion that if doubt were cast on the
validity of his interpretation of Article 3 of the
Protocol of Uqair, he would beg His Majesty's
Government to search among their records of
what took place at the Conference of Uqair, in
order to verify the accuracy of his contention.
He declared that he, for his part, was prepared
to offer his records for inspection.
12. The second relates to the incursions into
Najd of cars and aeroplanes from Iraq. The
King contended that the mere crossing of the
frontier by forces from Iraq was a breach of hia
sovereignty as recognised in the Treaty of Jedda,
and a violation of Article 6 of the Bahra Agree
ment [F. No. 149 (4)-N. of 1926].* He argued
that the action of the cars and aeroplanes had so
inflamed his people that even those whom he had
detailed to punish the authors of the attack on
Busaiya had turned on him and loudly demanded
reprisals. It was then and only then that a
movement began which led to the concentration
of some 60,000 men from all tribes, even the most
law-abiding, for .a retaliatory attack on Iraq,
which only with the greatest trouble he had suc
ceeded in preventing. He demanded an explicit
assurance in writing from His Majesty's Gov
ernment to the effect that Article 6 included
Imperial as well as Iraqi forces.
13. The third relates to the question of ths-
suri-ender of fugitives from justice. Ibn Sa'ud
holds that discipline cannot be effectively en
forced in the open desert so long as culprits are
at liberty to cross the frontier and take refuge in
an adjoining territory where his forces are pre
cluded (by Article 6 of the Bahra Agreement)
[F. No. 149 (4)-N. of 1926] from pursuing their.
He had always felt, and now more than ever, that
it was essential for the proper enforcement of dis
cipline that the Governments of Iraq and Najd
should mutually undertake to surrender fugitives
from justice, and he pressed that an agreement
to that effect should be the condition of any
14. I am unable to tell with any certainty to
what extent Ibn Sa'ud's account of the origin of
Article 3 tallies with the facts. His version of
what had taken place at Uqair was detailed and
circumstantial, and left me with the impression
that he may have genuinely understood the pro
visions of Article 3 to entail a wider application
than is warranted by the facts. On the other
hand it may be that his version is only in part
correct, and that, being made wise by recent
events on the frontier, he has amplified it in an
endeavour to strengthen his case before His
Majesty's Government and his position towards
his own people.
15. On one point, however, Ibn Sa'ud appears
to have some justification for his somewhat sweep
ing interpretation of the phrase '' in the vicinity
of the frontier ". In the Arabic text, the cor
responding phrase is ala atraf al-hudud, and I
am informed on reliable authority that this
Arabic expression is capable of a wider applica-
tion than its English counterpart. Ala atraf
* *Not received.
common froatier in the 0f Iraq and ma y not cross the
t ©Senders except with the comment of both Governments

About this item


The volume consists of letters, telegrams, and reports relating to affairs between the British Mandate of Iraq and the Kingdom of Najd. The majority of the correspondence is between Leo Amery, Secretary of State for the Colonies, Austen Chamberlain, Foreign Secretary (both in London), Henry Dobbs, High Commissioner in Iraq, Lionel Haworth, 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 Bushire, Cyril Barrett, 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. in Bahrain, James More, 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. in Kuwait, Ibn Sa'ud, King of Hejaz-Najd and its Dependencies, John Glubb, Administrative Inspector in Iraq, Gerald De Gaury, Special Service Officer in Kuwait, and the Government of India.

The volume covers the period of unrest after a revolt by the Ikhwan during which there was a perceived threat of attacks against Iraq and Kuwait. The causes of and solutions to the crisis are suggested and debated amongst the different offices and departments of the British Government. Subjects raised are:

  • intelligence of tribal movements and activities, particularly those of the Ikhwan tribes of Mutair, 'Ajman, and 'Utaibah, and the threat and occurrence of cross-border raids, all gathered from reports by John Glubb, as well as local rumour and reports;
  • issues concerning the defence of Kuwait (naval protection, air reconnaissance and bombing, a land force);
  • the friction between civil and military authorities;
  • the second meeting (August 1929) between Gilbert Clayton and Ibn Sa'ud to try and reach an agreement;
  • the thoughts, motivations, and capabilities of Ibn Sa'ud;
  • a second meeting between Ibn Sa'ud and Ikhwan leaders in Riyadh to try and resolve the crisis;
  • the idea of a blockade of Hasa ports to force the Najdi tribes into submission.

Other subjects included are:

  • the sale of arms to Kuwait;
  • Sa'id al-'Aiyash, a Damascus journalist who plans to travel to Riyadh.
Extent and format
1 volume (205 folios)

The volume is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

This volume comes in two parts: the first part is a bound volume; the second part is a small file.

Foliation: The sequence starts on the volume's title page and continues through to the inside back cover. It resumes on the front cover of the file and continues through to the inside back cover. The numbering is written in pencil, circled, and positioned in the top right corner of each folio. There are the following anomalies: 1A-1C; 114A; 182A-182D; and 191A. There is a second, incomplete sequence that is also written in pencil in the same place, but is uncircled.

Condition: folio 150 bottom right corner torn away, obscuring some text.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'File 61/14 VII (D 51) Relations between Nejd and Iraq' [‎6v] (27/416), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/583, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 November 2019]

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