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'File 10/3 III Qatar Oil Concession' [‎152r] (325/470)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (223 folios). It was created in 27 Jan 1934-24 Mar 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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1®' The decision to regard it as a politica would, so far as can be
judged, be likely to mean little more than the acceptance of the position
to -day. As will be seen from paragraphs 16 to 18 below, the area/save for the
Barr -al -Qarah district is largely desert, peopled by nomadic tribes yielding uncertain
allegiance to Ibn Sand, and it appears to differ little in general conditions from the
Rub-al-Khah fnrther sontn. Admittedly the absence of a limitrophe rnler who conld
be made responsible for the activities of his subjects, may make it more difficult to
secure the southern border of Qatar against nomadic Bedouins. But the difficulties
involved may be less than they appear. The difficulties of any alternative to
regarding the tract as of indeterminate ownership are great, and at any rate as a
provisional policy there would appear to be much to be said for treating this area as
indeterminate m ownership and avoiding, if possible, raising the thorny (Questions
of its boundaries to the west and of political control within it with Ibn Saud,
N ature and P olitical C onditions of the I ndeterminate A rea.
16. Before reaching a conclusion it may be well to place on record such scanty
information as is available about the nature and the political conditions of the
from the coastal district known as the Barr-al-Qarah,
paragraph 18 below, the bulk of it appears to belong
.orimfvr dfRnrihps ns an area "possessing only a few
indeterminate area. Apart
which is further discussed in ^ o x
to the Jafurah desert, which Lonmer describes as cm_c4 ujuij ' a xcw
wells of very bitter water, a little scanty grazing, with a surface of red and burning-
sand," in which living conditions are extremely difficult and which is frequented
" to any considerable extent" only by "the hardy A1 Morrah, and even they avoid
entering it unless in winter or in search of a refuge from more powerful enemies "
(c/. Appendix, section I (vi)). Since the date of Lorimer's Gazetteer, Mr. Bertram
Thomas, on his recent crossing of the Rub-al-Khali, has passed through this area
from south to north, travelling from the well of Banaiyan near Latitude 23° 11' 40'' via
Haluwain, Nakhala, and the western extremity of a salt lake lying immediately west
of the Khor-al-'Odeid, across the pre-war Qatar frontier to Dohah. His account is of
importance because it makes it clear that such local control as is exercised is
exercised solely by nomad Bedouin tribes (and principally the A1 Murra, who are a
tribe dwelling in the sands, whose influence extends well down into the Rub-al-Khali).
Secondly, even though he travelled with a "rabia," or guarantor, from the A1 Murra
tribe, the journey was rendered extremely dangerous by the risk of an attack on the
party by Ikhwan fanatics, who roam apparently at large, over the whole area.
Thirdly, the sites of Salwa, Iskak (? = Sakak) and Mabak, the first two of which lie on,
and the third slightly south of, the pre-war boundary of Qatar, were at the time of
his journey in the hands of the Ikhwan, with the result that he could not visit them.
17. On the question of political conditions Mr. Thomas throughout his journey
(the route of which lay well to the east of the blue line of the Anglo-Turkish
Convention) from the centre of the Kub-al-Khali northwaids to the Bersian Gulf
refers to the established influence of Ibn Saud and its beneficent lesults, and
remarks: "To-day peace, the peace of Bin Sauo, prevails thioughout the sands.
The influence of the Ruler of Central Arabia, wielded through his able Viceroy at
Hofuf, Ibn Jiluwi, compels peace between all these old enemies, not through direct
control, for there is and can be none, but through the immense personal prestige of
Abdul Aziz himself. A belief in his strength and star has swept across the sands.
Not love, but awe, serves this wise providence that so directs affaiis. ... . us, t e
sand tribes proper are in some degree leagued with Bin Saud. Ihey pay to him a
nominal tribute and by that act are ensured mutual protection one lom le o er.
In theory the tribute is an annual levy of one dollar on each came . n piac ice, le
Rashid have no money, and in any event they escape proper paymen \ reason^ o
their remoteness. They do, however, send a camel from year to year as occasion
offers in token of submission. When, however, rams fall m the northern sands and
they migrate thither, the tax-gatherers' demands must be met and a few camels are
sold for the purpose. Light as is the bond, the tribes gium ) e a i . . • • p. ji
swear that the existing peace shall last only as long as t e presen regim v .
Let Riyadh or Hofuf be thought to have lost its power, and ra,< l m R ^ -f"
immediately, and blood will flow again. . . . Mr. s , r '[o-irah
compared with those of Mr. Philby (who m 1932 travelled through ^e Rur-a -Q
area and thence south-west to the Jabrin oasis) reproduced m section
Appendix to this Note.
Lor. II, 892-
216-7, 281.
A rabia
p. 245,
pp. 271-2.
A 2

About this item


The volume contains correspondence between 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 Bushire, 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. in Bahrain and the Secretary of State for India, on the Qatar oil concession, on the Southern boundary of Qatar and on the role of Ibn Saud in the negotiation.

The volume includes:

There is an index at the end of the volume ( folios 211-216).

Extent and format
1 volume (223 folios)

The papers in this file are arranged in chronological order. There is an index at the end of the volume, on folios 211-216. The index is arranged chronologically and refers to documents within the volume; it gives brief description of the correspondence with a reference number, which refers back to that correspondence in the volume.

Physical characteristics

The foliation is on top right-hand corner, starting on the first page of writing and finishing on the back cover. The numbering is in pencil, enclosed by a circle and starts with 1, then 115, 116A, 116B, 116C, then carries on until 221, which is the last number given. There is a second pagination on the top right corner, uncircled, starting on folio 22 (numbered 21) to folio 100 (numbered 99) and then from folio 116a (numbered 113) until folio 210 (numbered 207).

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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'File 10/3 III Qatar Oil Concession' [‎152r] (325/470), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/412, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 25 February 2020]

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