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'Memorandum on British Commitments (during the War) to the Gulf Chiefs' [‎143v] (2/14)

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The record is made up of 1 file (7 folios). It was created in 1918. 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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In a telegram dated the 26th September. 1914 (64214/14, No. 12), the Government
of India approved these two drafts, with the addition of a
Holv Places ill Mesopotamia* And on the 6th October, 1914 (6(.896/14 ( JNo Z,), they
informed the Resident that the issue of assurances, on the lines suggested 111 ^
previous telegram of the 6th September, 19] 4, had been approved provis.onally by
B ' S ftfiooth these telegrams the Resident was instructed not to despatch any of ^
approved documents until final instructions to that eifeot were 8el ^ t0 R j .
Accordingly, on the Ist November, 1914, when a state of war between Ureat
and Turkey had already existed for two days, he telegraphed to the Government
of India for permission (82713/14, p. 7). On the 2nd November, 1914, the <.overn-
ment informed him that permission was implied in certain previous telegrams of leirs
(p. 8), and on receipt of this authorisation he appears immediately to have U'legraphe ^
instructions for the delivery of the messages to the local residents at the coin o i 10
various chiefs (p. 17).
The assurances therefore bear date of the 3rd November, 1914.
(ii.) Assurances to the Sheikh of Mohammerah.
The Sheikh of Mohammerah's authority extends over the port oi Mohammerah (on
the Karun River near its confluence with the Shatt-al-Arab), the navigable section
of the Karun up to Ahwaz, and the Arab tribes in the neighbourhood ol the uver.
He is nominally a Persian subject, but it is many years since the G-overnmen a
Tehran has exercised effective authority over him, or indeed over the other nomina y
Persian territories (Luristan, Bakhtiari-land, Kashgai-land, &cr) that ^ border on ns
dominions. The competent administration of the Sheikh in these dominions has been
in marked contrast to the surrounding disorder.
Commercial relations between Great Britain and Mohammerah are oi old s tan cling,
and have given rise to political relations between His Majesty s Government and S iei
Khazal since the beginning of the present century.f British interests at Mohammera
were vastly increased by the concession accorded by the Persian (lovernment to
Mr. W. K. d'Arcy in 1901, and taken up by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in 1909.
The oil-fields on which the Company concentrated its activities lay north -east ot t u-
Karun, on the borders of Sheikh Khazal's country and Bakhtiari -land, ari<l the natuial
access from the sea was across Mohammerah territory. The Company made an agree
ment with the Sheikh in 1909, and laid a pipe line from the fields to Mohammerah
port. The fields proved so productive that by an agreement signed on the 20th May,
1914, His Majesty's Government acquired a predominant interest in the Company, and
greatly increased the scale of its operations. Since that date His Majesty s Govern
ment's relations with Mohammerah have been of direct importance for the supply of
oil fuel to the British Navy. _ , oi -i i i i lj-
In view of these closer relations, which began in 1909, the bheikh asked Hi^
Majesty's Government for more definite political assurances than they had previously
given him (29456/24869/14). He was particularly anxious about a dynastic guarantee,
and about the safeguarding of his position vis-d-vis the Persian Government and
foreign Powers other than Great Britain. After due consideration ot his detailed
proposals, his request was met by the following statement, which was communicated
to him in writing on the 15th October, 1910, by Sir P. Cox, the British Resident 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. , together with the insignia of a K .C .I .E. ;—
" I am authorised to inform your Excellency that, whatever change may take
place in the form of the government of Persia, whether it be Royalist or
Nationalist, His Majesty's Government will be prepared to afford you the
support necessary for obtaining a satisfactory solution in the event ot an
encroachment by the Persian Government on your jurisdiction and recognised
rights, or on your property in Persia.
" In like manner they will safeguard you to the best of their ability against
an unprovoked attack by a foreign Power, or against any encroachment by such
a Power on your said jurisdiction and recognised rights, or on your property
in Persia."
[In giving these two assurances, Colonel Cox was to add a verbal explanation
to the effect that, while His Majesty's Government were perfectly sincere in
their intentions towards the Sheikh, and had, therefore, given him these
* " After words ' Mecca aud Medina' in the Proclamation, add words ' or the Holy Places in
Mesopotamia, and instead of 4 Holy Places,' say at the end 4 said Holy Places.
f See Report, dated December 7th, 1913, by Sir P. Cox in 29456/24869/14.

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This is a printed memorandum by the Political Intelligence Department of the Foreign Office concerning British commitments during the First World War to autonomous or independent Arab rulers of 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. , including the Sultan of Maskat [Muscat], the Trucial Chiefs of Oman (that is, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Dubai, Ra's al-Khaymah, Ajman, etc.), and the Sheikhs of Katar [Qatar], Bahrein [Bahrain], Koweit [Kuwait] and Mohammerah [Muḥammarah / Khorramshahr]. The memorandum includes the following sections: 'Collective Assurances'; 'Assurances to the Sheikh of Mohammerah' [Khaz‘al bin Jābir al-Ka‘bī]; 'Assurances to the Sheikh of Koweit' [Mubārak bin Ṣabāḥ Āl Ṣabāḥ, Jābir bin Mubārak Āl Ṣabāḥ from 1915 to 1917, and Sālim bin Mubārak Āl Ṣabāḥ from 1917 onwards]; 'Treaty with the Sheikh of Katar' [‘Abdullāh bin Jāsim Āl Thānī]; and 'Relation of Commitments (during the War) to the Gulf Chiefs to British Disiderata'. References are made in the text and footnotes to various treaties and correspondences. A section of appendices (folios 148v-149v) includes the text of a treaty with the Sheikh of Qatar, dated 3 November 1916; a translation of a letter addressed by 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. to Sheikh Abdullah [‘Abdullāh bin Jāsim Āl Thānī], dated 3 November 1916; and a proclamation by Sheikh Abdullah regarding the Arms Traffic, dated 6 Moharram [Muḥarram] 1335 [3 November 1916].

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1 file (7 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation for this description commences at folio 143 and terminates at folio 149, as it is part of a larger physical volume; 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. An additional foliation sequence is also present in parallel between folios 11-158; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and can be found in the same position as the main sequence.

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'Memorandum on British Commitments (during the War) to the Gulf Chiefs' [‎143v] (2/14), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B301, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 October 2019]

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