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‘Memorandum respecting the frontier between Mohammerah and Turkey.’ [‎13r] (25/82)

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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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Mr. Wellesley
(afterwards Lord
Cowley), No. 11,
August 4, 1846.
Sir Stratford
Canning, No. S2,
April 2, 1845.
Commissioner at Erzeroum, has graphically
described in his book "Armenia" an episode
which took place shortly after his arrival in
1842 :—
I was walking up and down on the roof of the
house watching the crowds passing in the valley below,
and looking at the great guns of the citadel, which the
soldiers were firing as a salute to the Persian Pleni
potentiary. They fired very well, and in very good
time; but I observed several officers and a number of
men ^busily employed at one gun. At length this gun
was loaded, a prodigious deal of peeping and pointing
took place out of the embrasure, and, just as I was
turning in my walk, bang went the gun and I was
covered with dust. On looking down I saw a ball
stuck in the earth : the soldiers had all disappeared from
the ramparts of the citadel, and I found they had been
taking a shot at the British Commissioner.
Here, perhaps, was a frank token of the value
set by Turkey upon the mediation of Great
Britain and Russia.
The resumption of work at Erzeroum, which
did not take place till 1846, was marked by a
similar incident of well-nigh fatal import to
further treaty negotiations : the house of Mirza
Takki, the Persian Plenipotentiary, was besieged
and pillaged by a fanatical mob of Sunnis ; an
assault was made upon his person and he was
compelled to defend himself for many hours,
Colonel Williams risking his life in the affray
while the Turkish authorities remained inactive;
and, finally, two members of the Mirza's suite
were murdered. Many months elapsed before
the Sultan was at length impelled to appease
the outraged Envoy with a peace-offering of
15,000 purses. #
In March, 1845, Sir Stratford Canning was
able to join with his Russian colleague in
recommending to the Sublime Porte a basis for
settlement, by advising the total abandonment
of claims for indemnity, and, in regard to
Mohammerah, the surrender to Persia of the
island of El Khizr (Abadan), and of so much of
the left bank of the Shatt-el-Arab as was occupied
by tribes recognised de facto as dependent
on Persia, as well as the grant to her of full
freedom of navigation on the Shatt-el-Arab up
to the point of contact of the two frontiers.
Sir S. Canning anticipated that the Turkish
[2440 c—10]

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.’ [‎13r] (25/82), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B380, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 10 December 2019]

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