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‘Memorandum respecting the frontier between Mohammerah and Turkey.’ [‎1v] (2/82)

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The record is made up of 1 file (41 folios, 5 maps). It was created in 3 Apr 1912. It was written in English and French. 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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of the following despatch to His Majesty's
Ambassador at Constantinople;—
In the Mohammerah district His Majesty's Govern- To Sir N. O'Oonor,
ment are not prepared to recognise any other frontier February 25
than that laid down by the mediating commissioners in 1908.
1850, as indicated in red on the accompanying sketch
map. . , . Any disturbance of the status quo at Moham
merah would affect British interests, and might not
improbably lead to the active intervention of His
Majesty's Government, who have given the sheikh
certain assurances in regard to his territory. . . .
In the event, no Turkish encroachments
actually took place on the Mohammerah frontier,
and Sir N. O'Conor accordingly had no occasion
to make representations to the Sublime Porte.
The subject, however, gave rise to some
correspondence—more or less, at the time, of
an academical character—as to the proper
boundary between Turkey and Mohammerah ;
and now, owing to the proposal to submit the
whole frontier dispute to The Hague Tribunal,
the question has acquired immediate interest.
The correspondence in question, which was
between the Foreign Office and British officers
in Persia, and took place from 1909 to 1910, was
essentially as follows :—
Lieutenant Wilson, adverting to the above Sir G. Barclay
despatch to Sir N. O'Conor, pointed out that the geptemberO^'l909.'
boundary recommended by the Anglo-Russian
mediating commissioners in 1850 differed, con
siderably to the disadvantage of the Sheikh of
Mohammerah, from the frontier locally recog
nised by the Mohammerah and Bussorah
authorities ; and he urged, principally on
grounds of local expediency, that His Majesty's
Government should disregard the line of 1850,
and simply take their stand on a subsequent
declaration made by Great Britain and Russia to
the Turkish and Persian Governments, that the
whole boundary between Turkey and Persia
was to be found within the limits of the
frontier zone, as indicated on the so-called
t( identic " Anglo-Russian map, which was com
municated to Turkey and Persia respectively in
18^9 and 1870.* He represented that this
* Both the line of 1850 (which is confined to the
Mohammerah district aud does not extend to the whole
frontier) and the frontier as locally recognised at Mohammerah
are within the frontier zone as indicated on the "identic"
map. The frontier zone comprises a region 20 to 50 miles
in width, the whole length of the frontier from Mount Ararat
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. .

About this item


The memorandum concerns the border between Mohammerah [Khorramshahr] and Turkey, and was prepared by Alwyn Parker of the Foreign Office. There are a number of labels at the top of the first page: ‘Persia’, ‘Confidential’ and ‘Section 10’. The memorandum sections are as follows:

  • Part I. A preface (folios 1-5), introducing the points at issue, with two maps, the first being a sketch map of the Mohammerah district, with the proposed Turkish, Persian and mediating commissioner’s lines indicated (folio 2), and a map compiled from plane table surveys by Lieutenant Arnold Talbot Wilson in 1909, with the frontier as defined by the mediating commissioners in 1850 (folio 4);
  • Part II. An historical summary (folios 6-19) of British Government correspondence relating to the border dispute, with the chief focus being on correspondence exchanged during the period 1843-52, around the time of the Treaty of Erzeroum (c.1848). This part contains two copies of a map, a facsimile of a diagram of the disputed area, the original of which was enclosed by Colonel Williams in his despatch of 4 February 1850, indicating Turkish and Persian claims and the mediating commissioner’s proposal (folios 15, 19);
  • Part III. Conclusion (folios 20-28), with a further map (folio 23), an exact copy of that found on folio 4.

The appendices that follow are:

  • A: British assurances given to the Shaikh of Mohammerah, 1899 and 1902-10;
  • B. Protocol of December 1911 (in French) for the proposal settlement of the Turco-Persian frontier question;
  • C. An extract from Sir Austen Henry Layard’s Early Adventures in Persia, Susiana, and Babylonia , published in 1887. The extract is from volume 2, pp 431-439;
  • D. Rough notes made by General William Monteith when in Persia, on the frontier of Turkey and Persia, as communicated to the Foreign Office in 1843;
  • E. Observations by Sir Henry Rawlinson on a Persian memorandum relative to the situation of the cities of Mohammerah and Fellahiah [Fallāḥīyah], 1844;
  • F. Text of the Treaty of Erzeroum, 31 May 1847, in English and French translation;
  • G. Copy of a despatch from Sir Stratford Canning, the British Ambassador to Istanbul, to Lord Palmerston, Foreign Secretary, dated 30 May 1850;
  • H. Copy of a despatch from Lord Palmerston to Lord Broomfield, dated 12 July 1850.
Extent and format
1 file (41 folios, 5 maps)

The memorandum is arranged into three parts, labelled I, II and III, which are followed by eight lettered appendices, A-H. Historic correspondence referred to in the memorandum is referenced in the inside page margin.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The foliation sequence commences at the first folio and terminates at 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 contains an original typed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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‘Memorandum respecting the frontier between Mohammerah and Turkey.’ [‎1v] (2/82), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B380, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2020]

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