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'Memorandum. Regarding our future relations with Persia, with special reference to the extension and maintenance of British influence, and to the system of British Consular representation in Southern Persia.' [‎19v] (4/6)

The record is made up of 1 file (3 folios). It was created in 8 Sep 1916. 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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(4) Mohammerah (for Arabist an),
(5) Bushire (for the Gulf and hinterland affairs),
(6) a Resident or Consul in the Bakhtiari country,
each with such Vice-Consuls, or Consular Agents, under them as are neces
sitated by the circumstances of the case. And these Consulates should, I
venture to think, be held by officers of the Indian Political Department, and
the Consulates run on the lines of our Consulates at Seistan, Meshed, and
10 . i ao not propose to enter into any detailed discussion here as to
how the administration of the country may best be conducted in our
sphere of influence under the new regime. Details will naturally differ in
each province, and improvements will be effected as time goes on. But.
generally speaking, we may presume that His Majesty’s Minister will act as
the authoritative adviser to the Persian Government regarding all questions
of administration and policy in Southern Persia ; whilst the Consuls at each
main centre in our sphere of influence will similarly act as the advisers to
the Governors or Goyernors-General, very much as they do at present but
with this important difference, that their advice will now have to be followed
In this respect the situation in Egypt presents certain analogies As regards
finance, a central control will, no doubt, be exercised at Tehran by means of
some system to be agreed upon between Great Britain and Russia - and it
would seem desirable that a “Financial Adviser” (an Englishman of course)
should he appointed to each provincial capital to advise and assist the Persian
Finance Agent m his dunes. Order will be maintained by the Gendarmerie
(or military) force under British officers. But as stated abovV'i, is not
possible to discuss details of the administration here. The important point
is that out . onsuls, working m communication with His Majesty’s Minister
will m future he in a position practically to direct the working of the
administrative machinery in each province, and to see that order s
maintained, and the finances properly conducted.
16. Having submitted this simple proposal for our future svfitmn nf
Consular representation in Southern Persia 1 unukl . sy8teni oi
of wider and more general interest. Brioflv it is this Th* fV 0 a r , matter
inent may very justly claim that in view of the act tint | nf ! ian Gov f. ri1 *
officers to fill the Consulates in Southern Persia and ^ providing
Gendarmerie force • that it bears half * r ia \ ai to or S' au ise a new
in times of crisis it provhes tro m C .° 6t ° f ^ establishments ; that,
Southern Persia; and that certain^Iildian"int",' ' V 9 ' HI1Cl re P ress ai i»rchy in
commercial, are intimately bound up with thf i st, ' ate g Ic; f 1 ■ Political and
certain areas in Southern Persia ,T view ,11 T" ° f "f T' 1 a,ld of
considerations it is only ridit ami ; n H i • r 1 ieRe anc ^ ot her similar
Government should retain a voice ami -,h' mtl"" .' h, ’ e " sallle tllat the Indian
of our policy, both in general and’in detail' ' "’ rl at ' ve v 'o | ce, in the conduct
old, old problem of rivalrTlPthese at t . . b ° U ^ er ? 1 ersia - This is the
Governments, which has led in the past to l' 00 '’ ' if ? 0me aiul t,le Indian
and which is responsible at, this moment for f ' I’ 10 ! 1011 ani1 difficulty,
standing, and for couliicting policies and inst "'?• confufi ‘ ori an d misunder-
be generally agreed that il Ime svstenT n b'X '-“d , And . 1 h ' viU
or rather (to use a more suitable and le s 0 fif vi, ’ e d wherebj- this rivalry,
undefined authorities can be satisiaetofif , IIV " llous ' e ™) this clashing of
to the advantage of our ImperiaT a, d ? ,m l nated > il Wl11 be greatly
whole. ! ’ and es l>ecially of our eastern interests as a
difficulty; but^’logiranTp^ht'^fo r! y tW0 lo ^ ical solutions of the
together, I merely state them here not n ° ' u “ ces ®i* rll y or even usually run
the air for some further remarks on the eidoXX*'' 0 '™’ but IllPrel >' to cleal '
Persia,"and the pwlnXoM^mfefth^ d?e from Northern
■nent. I have referred to this question m an C °7 ° f ' lle Tlldiari Govern-
adude to it again in pursuance of my general aXurneiltT 8 * 111 ' 11 and niere,} '

About this item


This memorandum, written by Lieutenant-Colonel William Frederick Travers O'Connor, concerns the new subdivision of Persia into two spheres of influence – Russian and British – with the present neutral zone falling into the British sphere. The memorandum considers what system of Consular or other representation should be adopted in order to maintain not only law and order, but also British influence in the area.

Before discussing the issue of Consular representation, O'Connor mentions two alternative suggestions regarding the future of Southern Persia (the first being that Britain should decline to extend its influence beyond its present zone, and the second being that Southern Persia should be turned into one or more independent states), which he dismisses as lying outside the sphere of practical politics.

Assuming that the British sphere will encompass the whole of Southern Persia, O'Connor advocates the continuation of the existing post of British Minister at Tehran (located in the Russian sphere), and suggests that the Minister should be supported by Consular officers residing in the capital of each province. O'Connor suggests that Consul or Consul-General posts – to be held by officers of the Indian Political Department – should be present in the following places: Sistan [also spelled Seistan in this file] (as at present); Kerman (for the province of Kerman); Shiraz (for Fars, excluding the Gulf hinterland); Mohammerah [Khorramshahr in modern-day Iran] (for Arabistan); and Bushire (for the Gulf and for hinterland affairs).

In addition, O'Connor advocates the appointment of a Resident or Consul in the Bakhtiari country. He suggests that his proposed Consulates be run in the same way as the existing Consulates at Seistan, Meshed and Kerman.

O'Connor goes on to address the problem of the rivalry between the Home Government and the Indian Government on the subject of Southern Persia. He makes the following two proposals: either Southern Persia should be placed under direct control of the Indian Government, or it should be guaranteed that the Minister at Tehran will always be an officer from British India, who has been nominated for the post by the Indian Government.

In this memorandum, O'Connor suggests that the future arrangement of Consular representation in Southern Persia has been made complicated by the anomalous status of 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. . O'Connor argues that, in the post-war period, whilst it would still be possible to retain a Resident at Bushire, it would not need to be such an important and highly paid appointment; he appears to imply that his proposed Consul at Shiraz and Consul at Bushire would take over the Resident's responsibilities regarding inland Persia and the Gulf and its hinterland respectively.

Extent and format
1 file (3 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 18, and terminates at f 20, as it is part of a larger physical volume; 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. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

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'Memorandum. Regarding our future relations with Persia, with special reference to the extension and maintenance of British influence, and to the system of British Consular representation in Southern Persia.' [‎19v] (4/6), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/C155, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 25 February 2020]

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