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‘Prevention of the slave trade in the Persian Gulf: question of increased facilities for passing under the British flag.’ [‎2r] (3/4)

The record is made up of 2 folios. It was created in 25 Jan 1899-10 Oct 1899. 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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naturalization or protection made in the past, and which he has already
# t fi ■ t it, t? u r. 11 • j acqu esced* in. On the occasion I
i think the French Consul has raised u n Z. n i x - l xi -r» i.
this very point. liave referred to aboye, the Porte
made its (new law 'prospective only,
and stress was laid on this circumstance in defending it. We, too,
might find a difficulty in objecting to grants of flags made in the past as
evasions of the Brussels Act, if we have for any time allowed them to pass
unchallenged. The truth is we ought to have tackled this matter years ago.
D. F.-P.
Minute by Sir A. Wilson.
I am sorry to find that these papers have been overlooked by me.
The Merchant Shipping Act appears to me to prohibit the use of the
British flag in the case of any ship owned wholly or in. part by persons who
are not British subjects. I do not see, therefore, how anybody can lawfully
sanction the use of the flag by such ships.
A. Wilson.
4th August 1899.
Minute by Sir D. EitzPatrick (No. 2).
I am glad to have seen these fresh papers (the Law Officers' opinion of the
4th August we had already considered—Pol. 2345/99), but I don't think they
help us much in our present difficulty.
The main point in the memorandum from the Solicitor to the Board of
Trade, dated 12th Eebruary 1898, is, I confess, new to me, though I had for
many years of my life to grovel among the details of the Merchant Shipping
Acts; and I imagine I see certain difficulties about it, but I daresay they
could be cleared up, for Mr. M^frtm is, of course, a master of his subject. At
all events, it seems to me unnecessary to discuss the matter in this con
nection, for, assuming that Mr. Murtm is right in holding that the Merchant
Shipping Act compels every British subject owning a ship to register it as a
British ship and sail it under the British flag, and in considering, as he
evidently does, that there is no objection from the point of view of inter
national law to such an enactment, this would help us only as suggesting
that we might get the Sultan of Muscat to pass a similar law for his
subjects, and even if we might hope to succeed in getting him to do that in
his present frame of mind, I gather from the opening of M. Cambon's letter
of 22nd August 1899 that it is a thing the Foreign Office would not think it
right to attempt. As to what ought to be done I can only repeat what I
said before, viz., that if we really mean to tackle the French over this business
of giving their flag to Suri dhows, the first thing for us to do is to find out
under what French law the French officials are supposed to act in giving the
flags ; and I should fancy the best way to do that, if the Foreign Office don't
like to ask the question officially, would be to get the avocat to our
Embassy at Paris to find out. One never can be sure of getting hold of a
thing of this sort by poking about in a library. Then, having found the
French law under which the French officials profess to act, or may be
supposed to act, we would next consider whether, as the Law Officers* opinion
seems to suggest, we might object to that law from the point of view of
international law. If we found we could not, then we would see whether
the French could proceed under it in the face of Clause 1 of Article XXXII.
of the Brussels Act, but see as to this the observations at the end of the
Foreign Office letter of 20th December 1898. (Pol. 2488/98), which I confess
I do not understand.

About this item


Printed correspondence relating to the prevention of the slave trade 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. , with particular reference to the persistence of the slave trade at Muscat under the French flag, and proposals for increasing facilities for vessels to sail under the British flag.

The correspondence comprises brief notes written by Sir Arthur Godley, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for India, dated 25 January 1899 (folio 1) and Sir Alexander Wilson (Chairman of the Mercantile Bank in India), dated 4 August 1899 (folio 2), and two more extensive sets of minutes, written by Sir Dennis Fitzpatrick of the Council of India, dated 25 April 1899 and 10 October 1899 respectively (folios 1 and 2). Fitzpatrick’s minutes chiefly relate to the legal aspect of increasing facilities for passing under the British flag, in reference to the 1890 Brussels Conference Act.

Typographic errors in the correspondence (Mr Murton for Mr Martin) have been corrected with red ink.

Extent and format
2 folios

The printed correspondence is arranged in chronological order, with the earliest piece first.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence begins on the first folio and ends on the last folio; 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 booklet also contains an original typed pagination sequence; p.4 is mistakenly printed p.3.

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English in Latin script
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‘Prevention of the slave trade in the Persian Gulf: question of increased facilities for passing under the British flag.’ [‎2r] (3/4), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B125, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 9 December 2019]

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