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'Memorandum on Persian Railways' [‎105v] (22/84)

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The record is made up of 1 file (42 folios). It was created in 20 Jun 1911. 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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18
Lord Curzon went on to explain that, what
Russia really desired, was not a commercial rail
way, but one “ built exclusively by Russian capital,
“ managed and officered entirely by Russian agents,
“ constructed not for commercial but for political
“ and strategical objects, and terminating in a
“ Russian, as distinct from a Persian, port, that
“ would presently be converted not merely into a
“ coaling station, but into a fortified naval base on
“ the Indian Ocean.” The remainder of the minute
dwelt on the serious commercial, political, and
strategical consequences that would follow from
the establishment of Russia in such a commanding
position. British trade would be extinguished, and
the possession of Seistan which would be conferred
by a Russian railway would enable Russia to
menace the entire western flank of Afghanistan,
and exercise on the tribes of Baluchistan and
Mekran a disturbing and anti-British influence.
There would be similar objections to a Russian
“ political ” railway terminating at any port of 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. , whether Mohammerah, Bushire,
Bunder Abbas, or Charbar. (Paragraphs \ 2 to end
of the minute are printed as Appendix 11.)
The discussion of policy closed with the com
munication to the Shah of Lord Lansdowne’s
Despatch No. 2, dated the 6 th January 1902, to
the British Minister at Tehran, from which the
following is an extract : —
“ As regards railways, 1 may remind you that
“ in March 1889 the late Shah of Persia gave a
“ distinct promise in writing that Great Britain
“ should have priority in the construction of a
“ southern railway to Tehran ; that if concessions
“ for railways were given to others in the north a
“ similar concession should be granted to an
“ English Company in the south; and that no
“ southern railway concession should be granted
“ to any foreign Company without consultation
“ with the British Government. This pledge was
“ brought to the notice of the present Shah in April
“ 1900,and was acknowledged by His Majesty to be
“ of continued and binding validity.
“ As regards Seistan, I have quite recently, in
“ my Despatch of the 9th July 1901, directed you
“ to call the attention of the Persian Government
to the interest which this district has for Great
“ Britain on account of its proximity to India and
“ its position on an important trade route between
“ India and Persia, and to state that we regard it
“ as of the utmost importance that it should remain
“ free from the intrusion of foreign authority in any
“ shape.”
Lord Lansdowne's Despatch No. 2, 6th
January 1902.
(P. 6.)
Pol. 1732/02.
* paragraph 16.
19. In the following year, on the 5th May, Lord
Lansdowne made in the I louse of Lords the decla
rationthat “ we should regard the establishment of
“ a naval base, or of a fortified port, in the Persian
“ Gulf by any other Power as a very grave menace
“ to British interests, and we should certainly resist
“ it with all the means at our disposal.” lie added
Lord Lansdowne’s Declaration of
5th May 1903.
* Parliamentary Debates, Fourth
Sexies, Vol. 121, pp. 1348 and 1350.

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Content

The memorandum outlines the development of proposals for railways in Persia between 1872 and 1911. This includes discussion of the potential advantages/disadvantages (both commercial and political) for the British in the construction of railways in Southern Persia, and the potential threat posed by the expansion of Russian railways in Northern Persia towards British India, Afghanistan, and 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. . Proposals for various schemes are included, from those limited to internal routes within Persia, to schemes designed to link the rail networks of India and Russia via a Trans-Persian link. Consideration is also given to British and Russian efforts to maintain their spheres of influence in Persia, and their joint desire to resist any encroachment by Germany.

The memorandum is signed by John Edward Ferard, 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 (folios 123-132) contains supporting extracts from various papers (aide-mémoires, correspondence, memoranda, minutes, and published writings). This includes the following:

  • an extract from a minute by George Nathaniel Curzon, Viceroy of India, dated 4 September 1899, respecting the importance of Seistan [Sīstān] to the maintenance of British influence in Southern Persia (ff 123-124);
  • an extract from a minute by the Viceroy of India, dated 28 October 1901, respecting the potential threat of increasing Russian influence in Persia to Britain's strategic and commercial interests 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. (ff 124-125v);
  • an extract from the Anglo-Persian Agreement (31 August 1907) respecting Persia (ff 125v-126);
  • various communications between British, Persian, and Russian authorities on the topic of railway construction in Persia (ff 126-130);
  • extracts from various published sources on the subject of railways in Persia (ff 130-132).

An index to the memorandum can be found on folios 134-136. Some extracts in the main body of the memorandum, and some papers included in the appendix are in French.

Extent and format
1 file (42 folios)
Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at f 95, and terminates at f 136, 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 and French in Latin script
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'Memorandum on Persian Railways' [‎105v] (22/84), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/18/C122, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100027916873.0x000017> [accessed 14 December 2019]

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