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'File 82/27 III (F 84) APOC: Qatar Oil' [‎79r] (155/638)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (319 folios). It was created in 22 Feb 1934-30 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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15. The decision to regard it as a political no-man s land would, so far as can be
judged, be likely to mean little more than the acceptance of the de facto 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 Saud, and it appears to differ little in general conditions from the
Rub -al-Khali further south. Admittedly the absence of a limitrophe ruler who could
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. r l he 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 in ownership and avoiding, if possible, raising the thorny questions
of its boundaries to the west and of political control within it with Ibn Saud,
, e xt#
Nature and Political Conditions of the Indeterminate Area.
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
indeterminate area. Apart from the coastal district known as the Barr-al-Qarah,
which is further discussed in paragraph 18 below, the bulk of it appears to belong
to the Jafurah desert, which Lorimer describes as an area " possessing only a few
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"
(cf. 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 Rub-al-Khali northwards to 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.
refers to the established influence of Ibn Saud and its beneficent results, and
remarks: " To-day peace, the peace of Bin Saud, prevails throughout 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 affairs. . . . Thus, the
sand tribes proper are in some degree leagued with Bin Saud. They pay to him a
nominal tribute and by that act are ensured mutual protection one from the^ other.
In theory the tribute is an annual levy of one dollar on each camel. In practice, the
Rashid have no money, and in any event they escape proper payment by reason^ of
their remoteness. They do, however, send a camel from year to year as occasion
offers in token of submission. When, however, rains fall in 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 grumble at it. . . . They all
swear that the existing peace shall last only as long as the present regime of Riyadh,
Let Riyadh or Hofuf be thought to have lost its power, and raiding will be resumed
immediately, and blood will flow again. ..." Mr. Thomas's remarks may be
compared with those of Mr. Philby (who in 1932 travelled through the Barr-al-Qarah
area and thence south-west to the Jabrin oasis) reproduced in section III of the
Appendix to this Note.
2560 A 2
Lor. II, 892-
216-7, 281.
p. 245,
pp. 271-2.
if 1

About this item


The volume contains correspondence and notes of meetings between 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. at Bahrain and 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. at Bushire, the 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. in London and ‘Abdullāh bin Jāsim Āl Thānī, Shaikh of Qatar, the Foreign Office, the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) and H.M.'s Ministry at Jedda in regard to the southern borders of Qatar, the Qatar oil concession and the relations of the Shaikhdom with the King of Saudi Arabia, ‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd (Ibn Sa‘ūd). There are documents in Arabic, mainly letters to and from the Sheikh of Qatar. Some of the documents in the volume are marked as confidential.

Extent and format
1 volume (319 folios)

The documents in the volume are arranged in chronological order. There are notes at the end of the volume (folios 305-311). The notes refer to documents within the volume; they give a brief description of the correspondence with a reference number in blue or red crayon or ink, which refers back to that correspondence in the volume.

Physical characteristics

The main foliation is in pencil in circled numbers, in the top right of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. of each folio. The numbering starts starts on the first folio of writing with 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D; and runs through to 312, which is the last number given on the last folio of the volume. There is a blank page at the beginning and three at the end of the volume.There is also another sequence, which is incomplete, written in pencil, in the top right corner, starting with 39 on folio 37 and ending with 299 on folio 312.

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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'File 82/27 III (F 84) APOC: Qatar Oil' [‎79r] (155/638), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/628, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 October 2019]

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