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'File 29/6 British Relations with Khazal, Sheikh of Khorramshahr' [‎3r] (5/28)

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The record is made up of 1 file (14 folios). It was created in 26 Nov 1946. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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4. On his accession, Sheikh Khazal lost no time in again informing His
Majesty’s Vice-Consul at Mohammerah of his friendship for the British Govern
ment and of his desire to serve them, and in November, 1898, alarmed at the
course of his discussions with the Persian Government, he expressed the wish
to be taken secretly under British protection; he did not press for a written
assurance, nor did he ask for an alliance against the Persian Government, whom
he professed to have served faithfully and whom he would continue to serve,
but he thought the British Government should not allow his influence to be
diminished by the Persian Government. Later he informed the British Resident
in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. that he apprehended an early downfall of the Persian
monarchy, followed by a general scramble and partition of the kingdom, in which
case he was anxious that his lot should be thrown in with the British Government.
Acting on instructions from the British Minister at Tehran, 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.
informed the Sheikh in May, 1899, to the following effect:—
We could not, of course, undertake to maintain the Sheikh against the
Persian Government, nor could we say that, if the latter were to break up,
we could guarantee his independence; the British Government did not con
template such an contingency; but we regarded him as the most influential
person in this part of the world and we intended as far as possible to
support him, believing that it was in the interest of the country that he
should be strong; if ever he wanted our advice we would give it; in return
we expected that he would help us in matters of trade, &c.; he could rely
upon our goodwill at all times, and upon our help whenever we could give
it without ill-faith to the Persian Government.
5. In 1902, as a result of expressed fears of Russia, the Sheikh pressed
for additional and written assurances, and His Majesty’s Minister at Tehran,
in the knowledge that a Russian consular officer was to be appointed in Arabistan
(where Russian trade was non-existent), and in view of the possibility that the
Sheikh might turn to the Russians for support, urged that something should
be done to instil into the Sheikh real confidence in the strength and resolution
of His Majesty’s Government. In the result, Sir A. Hardinge addressed a letter
to the Sheikh on the 7th December, 1902 (the text of which is reproduced as
document No. 1 in the annex), assuring him that we would protect Mohammerah
against naval attack by any foreign Power (whatever might be alleged as pretext
for such action) and, also, as long as he remained faithful to the Shah and
acted according to our advice, we should continue to give him our good offices
and support. Prior to the despatch of this letter, His Majesty’s Minister
informed the Grand Vizier orally that he had no wish to call in question the
Shah’s sovereignty over the Sheikh and his people, which His Majesty’s Govern
ment had always recognised; but His Majesty’s Government were determined
to support the Sheikh against attempts by Russian agents to intimidate him
or to insinuate that they could bring pressure to bear on him owing to the
influence which Russia exercised at Tehran. (His Majesty’s Government’s
attitude in the matter was subsequently made clear in writing to the Minister for
Foreign Affairs.)
6. In December, 1903, His Majesty’s Minister at Tehran proceeded to the
Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. to meet the Viceroy, and on his return journey was visited
by Sheikh Khazal at Mohammerah. The Sheikh then complained that the
Persian Government were not abiding by their undertakings given in the previous
year, both as regards the administration of Customs at Mohammerah and the
payment of Customs duties by himself, and that they were attempting graduallv
to pare away his authority and destroy the prestige on which it rested. He
contrasted the measure of support which he obtained from His Majesty’s Govern
ment with that accorded by them to the Sheikhs of Koweit and Bahrein, and
asked whether His Majesty’s Government would now give him a definite promise
of support in the event of the Persian Government’s repudiating the bargain
they had made with him. In the course of this conversation the Sheikh mentioned
that the Russians were quite prepared to give him promises of protection, and
Sir A. Hardinge thought it not improbable that, if we withheld our support from
him, he might enter into some secret arrangement with them. After consulta
tion with the Foreign Office and the Government of India, Sir A Hardinge
addressed a letter to the Sheikh on the 24th December, 1903, statin^ that the
latter might rest assured of the support of the British Government so lono- as
he, on his own side, observed 1 the conditions of the arrangement made with°the
Persian Government; the text of this letter is reproduced as document No 2 in
the annex. The reply of the Sheikh to this letter was given orally on his behalf
[32557] * B 2
Vol. I, pp 17H
et seq.
Conf. 10039.
Conf. 8215,
Nos. 222. 237
Ditto, No. 406.
Ditto, No. 406.
Conf. 8410,
No. 36.
Conf. 8410,
No. 111.

About this item


The file contains a Confidential Foreign Office report entitled 'British Relations with Khazal, Sheikh of Mohammerah'. The report contains a detailed history of the relationship between the British Government and Shaikh Khaz‘al bin Jābir bin Mirdāw al-Ka‘bī, the Ruler of Mohammerah (present day Khorramshahr). An annex to the report contains copies of numerous written assurances given to the Shaikh by British officials between 1902 and 1914.

Extent and format
1 file (14 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the front to the rear of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 14; 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.

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English in Latin script
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'File 29/6 British Relations with Khazal, Sheikh of Khorramshahr' [‎3r] (5/28), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/1747, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 25 June 2024]

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