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File 1508/1905 Pt 1 'Bahrain: situation; disurbances (1904-1905); Sheikh Ali's surrender; Question of Administration Reforms (Customs etc)' [‎39v] (83/531)

The record is made up of 1 volume (260 folios). It was created in Nov 1904-Aug 1914. 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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to continue to expose our proposals to rejection without reason. I feel in fact
that we have reached a point at which we must either elect to drop the
question altogether during Sheikh Esa’s lifetime or put the requisite measures
through without consulting him further. The record leads me to think that
it is the former course which Government will prefer to take, if the political
outlook is held to admit of it.
5. I would ask reference here to the passage in the summary of my interview
with Sheikh Esa, in which I asked him if it would not be better for him to con
form to our advice with a good grace rather than oblige Government to take
measures without consulting him. He replied to this quite casually without
exhibitins: the least surprise or concern, and it is my opinion, which I think
Captain Prideaux shares, that this stubborn refusal to accept our advice is in a
great measure due to a desire to play to the gallery, and to save his amour
propre. It is the same sentiment which has made him pretend outwardly to
be intensely injured by Sheikh Ali’s banishment, though he is no doubt very
glad at heart to be spared his troublesome company.
Sheikh Esa knows that we can assume control when "we choose and probably
expects us to do so, and when once this is done in a way which will enable
him to satisfy his ignorant entourage that it was beyond his power to prevent
it, IJb^lieva„M will soon settle down quietly to the inevitable and will be
thankful to us in the sequel for having carried out the measure.
I venture to recommend therefore that the Government of India take
over the Customs as early as can be conveniently arranged.
6. In expressing this view I should not omit to allude briefly to the fol
lowing attendant considerations:—
(i) Any salient measure which we take in the Gulf region now-a-davs
is sure to evoke hostile criticism from unfriendly quarters. It
goes without saying that the course now proposed will prove no
exception ; but the longer we delay the more criticism we are
likely to have to face and there is surely no reason why such a
consideration should deter us from a fixed purpose.
(ii) Secondly, our action at Bahrein will no doubt have an influence
one way or the other, on the parallel question which is pending
at Maskat. I am personally inclined to think that the effect
will be favourable and useful to us and will tend to dispose the
Sultan to accept the inevitable either at once, or a little later
when he sees the favourable financial results of the change at
Bahrein. This however is a problem in regard to which I
would prefer that the Government of India should be influenced
by Major Grey’s views rather than my own as he is the officer
who has immediately to deal with the Sultan in regard to the
Maskat question. For the rest, apart from broad consiterations of
international policy lying beyond ray horizon, it appears to my
humble judgment not only convenient but necessary that we
should take some early step of a kind which will, within the
limits prescribed by the policy of His Majesty’s Government
publicly strengthen and affirm our authority over Bahrein. At
\ The present moment as the Government of India are aware the
Persian Foreign Office, tutored no doubt bv the Russian Legation
and encouraged by the Article in the “ Hablel Matin ” of the 27th
of March 1905, is energetically attempting to revive the nl/t
assertion of Persian rights over Bahrein. Again, Foreign
European Merchants continue from time to time to discuss their
claims to ex-territoriality and Consular intervention in regard to
their affairs. The assumption of the Bahrein Custorr s will in all
probability put a stop to such indications, whereas there can be
little doubt that if we do not nip them in 4he bud they will
gather force as time goes on. J
7. As to the financial aspect of the question, I solicit reference to mv
predecessors letter No. 38, dated 18th Februarv 1904, of which little modi
Uon is needed to bring the information contained in it up to date. luulIJca -

About this item


The volume contains correspondence relating to disturbances in Bahrain and the consequent discussion over administrative changes. The correspondence is mostly between 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 Foreign Office, and the Government of India. Further correspondence, included as enclosures, is from the following:

The disturbances centred around attacks on a German man and several Persians by Shaikh Isa's nephew, Ali bin Ahmed, and his followers in late 1904. The papers within the volume cover several matters related to these attacks:

  • the investigation into the details of the attacks;
  • the discussion over what to do about Ali bin Ahmed and his eventual exile;
  • British naval operations to enforce order;
  • Turkish claims that Shaikh Isa believes himself to be a Turkish subject;
  • the discussion over increased administrative intervention in Bahrain, specifically control of customs.
Extent and format
1 volume (260 folios)

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

The subject 1508 (Bahrain) consists of three volumes, IOR/L/PS/10/81-83. The volumes are divided into five parts, with parts 1 and 2 comprising one volume each, and parts 3, 4, and 5 comprising the third volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the inside front cover with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 262; 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.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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File 1508/1905 Pt 1 'Bahrain: situation; disurbances (1904-1905); Sheikh Ali's surrender; Question of Administration Reforms (Customs etc)' [‎39v] (83/531), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/81, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 4 July 2020]

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