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‘File 7/2 I Landing grounds and seaplane anchorages’ [‎195r] (400/468)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (225 folios). It was created in 17 Dec 1932-28 Apr 1934. It was written in English and Arabic. 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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Content

The letters, memoranda and other papers in the volume relate to negotiations between Arab rulers and the British Government and Royal Air Force on the installation of air facilities along the Arab coast, between Qatar and Ra’s al-Khaymah. The principal correspondents in the file are Lieutenant-Colonel Trenchard Craven 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. , Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Gordon Loch, 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. at Bahrain, and Khan Bahadur ‘Īsá bin ‘Abd al-Latif, the British Government’s Native Agent Non-British agents affiliated with the British Government. at Sharjah.

There are a number of revisions of a list detailing existing and required air facilities in the Gulf throughout the volume (folios 104-06, 134-36, 160-63, 197-98). Facilities are ranked either as vital, important or convenient. A map (folio 194) shows the geographical positions of these facilities, marking out the air route from Basra to Karachi. The facilities specifically referred to in the volume are as follows:

1. A petrol depot at Şīr Banī Yās [referred to in the volume variously as Seer Island, Yas Island], which was part of the dominions of Shaikh Shakbut bin Sultan of Abu Dhabi. The RAF set up the depot at Şīr Banī Yās without Shaikh Shakbut’s consent, leading to the Shaikh refusing permission for the facility. Guards employed by Shaikh Shakbut and funded by the RAF to watch the depot later absconded to the pearl fisheries, leaving the depot unattended (folios 9-18, 51).

2. An emergency landing strip at Abu Dhabi. Out of principle, and because the British Government had not sought his consent to install a petrol depot at Şīr Banī Yās, Shaikh Shakbut refused outright to grant permission for an emergency landing strip in his domain (folios 32, 53-54).

3. A petrol depot (or dhow) for seaplanes at Dubai creek was proposed by RAF officials in December 1932 (folio 2), initially as an alternative, but later in addition to, the existing petrol depot at Ra's al-Khaymah. Negotiations took place throughout the course of 1933 to establish agreement on certain conditions laid down by Shaikh Sa’id bin Maktum before permission to establish the depot could be granted. The conditions are listed on folios 46-47, with a formal British response on folios 72-73. Numerous iterations of the agreement follow on folios 129, 139, 145-46, and 166.

Also of interest in the volume is a report written by Loch and sent to Fowle, dated 13 June 1933 (folios 58-69), in which the Bahrain Agent offers his views on British policy with regard to the shaikhs of the Arab littoral. Loch writes that the Arab shaikhs now share a ‘spirit of refusal’ vis-à-vis British policy, and lists a number of incentives and disincentives that could be used to gain leverage with them.

Extent and format
1 volume (225 folios)
Arrangement

The contents of the volume are arranged in approximate chronological order, from the earliest items at the front of the volume, to the latest at the rear. There are office notes at the end of the file (folios 206-23), which mirror the chronological order of the file correspondence.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The volume is foliated from the front cover to the 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 earlier foliation system running through the volume, which uses uncircled pencil numbers in the top-right corner of rectos. The following foliation anomalies occur: 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d. The following folios are foldouts: 2, 20, 37-41, 93, 110, 116, 126, 129, 132, 143, 145, 158, 192, 193, 197, 198, 206.

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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‘File 7/2 I Landing grounds and seaplane anchorages’ [‎195r] (400/468), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/263, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023518692.0x000001> [accessed 12 December 2018]

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