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‘Memorandum respecting the frontier between Mohammerah and Turkey.’ [‎34r] (67/82)

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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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Observations by Major [afterwards Sir Henry) Rawlinson on a Persian Memorandum
Relative to the Situation oj the Cities of Mohammerah and Feitahiah.
[Enclosed in Sir Stratford Canning's despatch No. 155 of the 18th July, 1844.]
Persian Memorandum.*
From the point of confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates
at Korna, the river flows in a general direction of south
east to Bussorah; it is subject to few windings, and the
distance has been fixed by survey at 38 miles.
If the title of Ears is here used in its general application
to the province of that name the description is altogether
incorrect, not a single rivulet that rises within the frontiers
of the said province finding its way to the Shat-el-Arab.
The expression may, however, have a general reference to
the Persian territory; and even then, the assertion that all
rivers rising within that territory disembogue, like the
Karun, into the Shatt-el-Arab, will require to be greatly
modified—the fact is that the Kai-un itself does not dis
embogue into the Shatt-el-Arab, the main body of the river
finds its way by a separate channel (the Bamishere) to the
sea, and is merely connected with the Shat-el-Arab by the
artificial cut of the Hafar, on the right bank of which is
situated the town of Mohammerah. Independently of this
Hafar canal there is only one other stream which joins the
Shatt. el-Arab between Korna and the sea and ttiat is the
Soweib, which carries off the superfluous waters of the great
Ibur of Howeizeh, a huge marshy lake, in which the river
Choaspes or Kerkha and the minor streams of the Tib and
Dowairej exhaust themselves, and which is also fed from
the Tigris through the channel of the Had.
There is much confusion in this description. The Bakh-
tiari rivers descending to the south-west from the culmina
ting ridges of Aosteran Koh, Miyaneh Koh, Zardeh Koh,
and Mungusht fall into three distinct channels. The Dizful
river to the west, the Karun in the centre, and the Tab or
Jerrahi to the east. The waters of the Eeili mountains on
the contrary flow on the one side into the Kerkha and form
on the other side the petty streams of the Gangir, the Abi-
Jestan, the Teb, and the Dowairij, which are lost in the
marshy plains of Settacene. The streams of Koh Griluyeh
unite and fall into the sea at Hindiyan. The river of
Shuster is the Kerkha itself, and that of Bizful joins the
former at Bandi-Kir, while the river of Bebahan, or which
flows near Bebahan, is the main stream of the Tab or
Jerralii. The general direction of these streams is south
west, and the only channels by which any part of their
waters join the Shatt-el-Arab are the Soweib and Hafar.
It is begging the question altogether to lay it down as an
axiom that the Shal t-el-Arab is the boundary between Persia
and Turkey. Sultan Murad's treaty expressly names
Bussorah as the Turkish limit, and under this head includes
of course the acknowledged dependencies of the city which
have always been the lands on either side of the Shatt-el-
Arab watered by that river. The claim of Persia to Mo
hammerah consists in the latter city being on the ITafar,
which is now a continuation of the Karun, and not on the
Shatt-el-Arab, but until the present year Persia has never
received Maliyat or revenue from Mohommerah.
The measured distance between Bussorah and Mohammerah
by the river, which has few sinuosities, is 25 miles, and a
MOHAMMERAH is situated to the east of the
Shatt-el-Arab, which is formed by the junction of
the Tigris and Euphrates at a village named
Korna, distant 10 farsangs from Bussorah.
All the rivers, great as well as small, on the
confines of Fars, flow into the Shatt-el-Arab, which
continues its course till it disembogues into 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. . The Karun is one of the streams
which thus unites with the Shatt el-Arab, the
latter river passing Bussorah and forming, on the
west, the boundary of Nejd and Arabistan.
The right of Turkey to the ports which are
situated on the western bank of the river is not
contested, but those to the east of the Shatt-el-
Arab, which forms the boundary of Fars, depend
upon that province.
All the rivers, great as well as small, which rise
upon the borders of Fars, traverse the territory of
the Bakhtiaris, of the Fili Lurs, of Karoua (?), of
Koh Giluyeh, of Shuster, of Dizful, and of Beba
han, and flowing towards the east ("vers rorient")
disembogue into the Shatt-el-Arab and thence into
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. , the western shore of which is
formed by Arabistan and Nejd. The Gulf and
the above-mentioned river divide the two conti
nents, and Mohammerah becomes in consequence a
part of the territory of Fars, to which province
accordingly it has always paid its revenue. The
distance between the latter city and Bussorah is
4 farsangs by land, by water the interval may be
traversed in an hour. The port of Mohammerah is
situated on the banks of the Karun, a river which
in its descent from Shuster becomes first a con-
* Communicated to the Foreign Office by Colonel Sheil, Iler Majesty's Minister at Tehran, in his despatch
No. 41, April 16, 1844.
[2440 c—10] Q

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.’ [‎34r] (67/82), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/B380, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 February 2020]

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