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'Persia' [‎46r] (91/156)

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The record is made up of 1 file (78 folios). It was created in 1 Dec 1879. 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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as an independent Power, should studiously fulfil
in all respects her treaty engagements with each,
and so ensure the continuance of the friendship
which both Powers, even for their own interests,
should desire to maintain with her. Count
de Erunnow ^pressed satisfaction.”
The subject did not, however, drop. The
Russian Governor of the Trans-Caspian district,
General Lomakin, issued a circular which claimed
authority over tribes and territory between the
Attrek and Gurgan rivers, which were unquestion-
ably Persian. This drew forth a remonstrance
from Her Majesty’s Government, the record of
which is interesting, as showing the attempts made
by the Russian authorities to explain away the
understanding of 1834-38. According to M. West-
mann’s views, the question was one between
Persia and Russia alone, and that in such question,
even though ex hypothesi it might affect the in
tegrity of Persia, there was no room for a third
party to interfere :—
“ In fulfilment of your Lordship’s instructions,”
wrote Lord A. Loftus,* “ I had the honour of an
interview yesterday with M. Westmann, the Acting
Minister for Foreign Affairs in the absence of
Prince Gortsehakoff, when I read to him your
Lordship’s Despatch, as also the Despatch from the
Government of India which was enclosed therein.
“ On terminating their perusal, M. Westmann
stated that the incident of General Liamakin’s
circular, to which your Lordship had referred, had
been a mal entendu which had given rise to a
correspondence between the Imperial and Persian
Governments, and that the explanations given by
the Imperial Government had been perfectly satis
factory to the Persian Government. His Excellency
admitted that General Lomakin, in lieu of naming
the tribes to which he referred by their proper
appellation, had generalised them in the terms he
used, and he observed that the tribes referred to
were in the habit of repairing for a portion of the
year into Russian territory.
“ The whole circumstances, His Excellency said,
had been misrepresented, consequent on an incorrect
translation from the original Tartar text of General
Lomakin’s circular, but this misrepresentation had
been happily and satisfactorily rectified with the
Persian Government.
“ Having made this statement with regard to the
incident referred to, His Excellency then stated
that he must express his surprise that an explana
tion should have been asked for by Her Majesty’s
Government of an incident of so little importance
in itself, and which solely concerned Russia and
Persia. It was not customary, His Excellency
observed, to interfere in the international relations
between two independent States, and he could not
comprehend in what way the incident referred to
could affect Great Britain.
“ I replied to His Excellency that he must not
3338. z

About this item


The memorandum is divided into the following chapter headings:

  • 'General Status of Persia', ff 2r-12;
  • 'Persia and Herat', ff 12v-24r;
  • 'Persia and Seistan [Sīstān]', ff 24r-31v;
  • 'Persia and Kohuk', ff 31v-35;
  • 'Persia and the Navigation of the Karun [Kārūn] River', ff 35v-39r;
  • 'Persia and her integrity', ff 39r-47;
  • 'Persia and Merv', ff 47v-52v;
  • 'Continuation of General Status of Persia', ff 52v-61;
  • 'Appendices', ff 63-78.

'General Status of Persia' provides a geographic description of the Kingdom including details of its boundaries, rivers, and transportation links. It also includes an outline of its demography, and its revenue by province. Military matters are also covered in this section; this includes an in-depth look at the Persian army — its pay and composition — and a look at the employment of British officers in Persia. This section concludes with a narrative of Persia's modern history from the sixteenth century.

'Persia and Herat' describes the extent to which the province's boundaries can be defined, and provides a brief description of each district within; Ghorian, Sabzawar, Farah, Bakwa, Kurak, and Obeh. It also includes a description of the town of Herat, and information on the province's demography and climate. The section also provides detailed coverage of the tribes in the region. The development of British policy towards Herat is explained through the use of select correspondence. This includes the relative merits for Britain in either maintaining Herat's independence, or supporting Afghan or Persian rule; extensive reference is made to the Treaty of Paris (1857).

'Persia and Seistan' also provides a geographic description of the province, along with information on its administrative divisions, climate, and transportation links. Its main purpose however is to outline the development of British attitudes concerning the governance of this province; should it be overseen by Afghanistan or Persia? To provide context, it covers the historical basis for the two competing claims. It concludes by describing the British arbitration of the matter in 1871-72 by General Frederick John Goldsmid, and its outcome; summaries of the statements provided by the Afghan and Persian sides are included.

'Persia and Kohuk' explains how Persia has disputed the award of this province to Khelat by General Goldsmid in 1871, and British reluctance to amend the award in favour of Persia.

'Persia and the Navigation of the Karun River' outlines British efforts to open up the Karun River for steam navigation. It explains that Russian success in improving transportation infrastructure in the north of Persia — in contrast to British failure in the south — is seen to be putting British trade at a disadvantage; the Karun River is seen as having the best potential for resolving this. The prospects for the construction of a railway in southern Persia are also briefly examined.

'Persia and her integrity' details the development of a diplomatic understanding from 1834 between Britain and Russia, in which both powers established their mutual interest in the maintenance of the territorial integrity of Persia. It chiefly concerns British suspicions that Russian activities in central Asia do not match their professed intentions towards Persia (i.e. British fears that Russia is encroaching on central Asia).

'Persia and Merv', in addition to providing an overview of the region's history and ancient settlements, considers what the British consider to be the encroachment of Russia on Persia's northern borders; the British consider any potential Russian occupation of Merv to be a threat, and it is explained that Persian control is preferred.

'Continuation of General Status of Persia' concentrates on British concerns over increases in Russian influence at the Persian Court in Tehran; the British fear Persia becoming a vassal of Russia and facilitating Russian expansion towards Afghanistan. It therefore discusses the extent to which Britain should take advantage of Persian overtures to establish friendly relations with that power in order to prevent this scenario. It also briefly discusses Persian designs on Bahrain, and the desirability — for Britain — in maintaining its status as an independent state, in addition to emphasizing the need to maintain Britain's protectorate role 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. . Topics also included in this section, but covered in less detail include: the conference of consular powers on the 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. ; the development of telegraph lines in Persia; and negotiations respecting the demarcation of the Persian-Turkish border.

The memorandum is signed by Owen Tudor Burne of 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. .

The appendix at the back is divided eight sections as follows:

  • I. 'Employment of British Officers with the Persian Army', f 63;
  • II. A selection of memoranda (dated 20 July-24 December 1868) concerning the need to strengthen British influence over Persia, and the means available to achieve it, ff 63v-64;
  • III. A selection of memoranda (dated 10-30 October 1868) on the possibility of employing British officers with the Persian Army, f 65;
  • IV. 'The Policy of Great Britain towards Persia, ff 66-69;
  • V. Instructions given to Major-General Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlingson as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the Court of Persia, dated 4 August 1859, ff 68-69;
  • VI. 'Outline Sketch by Colonel Burne of the Shah of Persia's Visit to England, 1873, ff 69-72;
  • VII. 'Note by Colonel Burne on the Persian Army, 20th December 1871', ff 72-73;
  • VIII. 'Abstract of Events in Persia, Afghanistan, &c. from 1722 to the present period', ff 73v-78.
Extent and format
1 file (78 folios)

The file is arranged into eight chapters — outlined in a table of contents on f 1 — with an appendix at the end.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 1A and terminates at f 78, as it is part of a larger physical volume; these numbers are written in pencil, 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 file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'Persia' [‎46r] (91/156), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/C28, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 October 2019]

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