'CONFIDENTIAL 86/13-II VOL. D.177. KUWAIT NEUTRAL ZONE' [32v] (69/538)
The record is made up of 1 volume (265 folios). It was created in 12 Nov 1938-23 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.
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The volume comprises correspondence between 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. 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. (Trenchard C Fowle, Charles G Prior); the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Kuwait (Gerald S de Gaury, Arnold C Galloway, Tom Hickinbotham); 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. (John P Gibson, Roland T Peel); the Foreign Office (Lacy Baggallay, Charles W Baxter); His Majesty’s Minister in Jedda [Jiddah] (Sir Reader Bullard); Petroleum Concessions Limited (John Skliros, Stephen Hemsley Longrigg, Frank Holmes); the Shaikh of Kuwait (Shaikh Aḥmad al-Jābir Āl Ṣabāḥ) and the Arabian Americian Oil Company (ARAMCO, formerly the Standard Oil Company of California (SOCAL) and the Californian American Standard Oil Company (CASOC)).
The correspondence centres on interest in a possible oil concession for the Kuwait-Saudi neutral zone and in particular the Shaikh of Kuwait’s share of the concession, which had yet to be awarded, and the Saudi Government’s share which was taken up by ARAMCO in July 1939.
The early correspondence relates to World War II during which both the Eastern Gulf Oil Company and Petroleum Concessions Limited (PCL) express interest in the Shaikh of Kuwait’s share, but to which the Shaikh consistently responds that he is not interested in discussing the question as he hopes that he may be able to regain control of the whole of the zone should the King of Saudi Arabia, Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd], pass away. This situation continues until 1946 when the Shaikh decides to begin considering offers for a neutral zone concession and invites various companies including Petroleum Concessions Limited, the Eastern Gulf Oil Company, ARAMCO and the Burmah Oil Company to compete for the concession.
Other matters discussed in the volume include:
- a proposed visit by Harold and Violet Dickson to Ibn Saud December 1938 which was eventually cancelled;
- a report from His Majesty’s Minister at Jedda regarding discussions held between Stephen Hemsley Longrigg of Petroleum Concessions Limited and the Minister of Finance to the Saudi Arabian Government regarding concessions for the unalloted areas of Saudi Arabia, after which PCL concluded they were not prepared to bid for owing to the preference rights given by the Government to the Californian Arabian Standard Oil Company;
- a visit paid by Shaikh Yusuf Yasin [Yūsuf Yāsīn] of the Saudi Arabian Government to Sir Reader Bullard, His Majesty’s Minister at Jedda regarding a possible oil concession for the Kuwait-Saudi neutral zone in which the Saudi Arabian Government’s growing need for money was noted along with concerns that the Saudi Government seemed to think British and American Oil interests were conspiring against them to keep offers low.
- confirmation that the Californian Arabian Standard Oil Company (CASOC) had taken up their right to a concession for all unalloted areas of Saudi Arabia, including the Saudi Arabian share of the neutral zone. The concession agreement was ratified in July 1939 and published in the Umm-al-Qura newspaper.
- a report of a visit made by Colonel Harold Richard Patrick Dickson of the Kuwait Oil Company to Abraq al Kabrit [Abraq al Kibrīt] to see CASOC’s drilling operations and obtain water samples.
- Correspondence between Major Frank Holmes, Adviser to the Shaikh of Kuwait on Oil Matters and the Shaikh of Kuwait in which oil in the neutral zone is discussed along with possible arrangements for transit oil from Basra to pass through Kuwait and the likely financial benefits to the Shaikh of such an arrangement.
- discussion between the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Bahrain and 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. regarding the outstanding Saudi Arabia boundary questions and the appropriate time to address the issues. The boundary questions being discussed included the Kuwait Neutral Zone; Jebel Naksh [Nakhsh] and Khor-el-Odeid [Khawr al ‘Udayd] which Saudi Arabia had made claims to but which the British Government considered to belong to Qatar and Abu Dhabi respecitively; and the boundaries between Trucial Coast The historic term used by the British to refer to the Gulf coast of Trucial Oman, now called United Arab Emirates. States, Muscat and Saudi Arabia and how best to draw boundary lines between them, including Saudi Arabian claims to the Baraimi [Al Buraymī] Oasis, and the British Government’s opinion that any boundary settlement needed to ensure the Baraimi Oasis remained part of Abu Dhabi territory.
- rumours of an intended meeting between Ibn Saud and the Shaikh of Kuwait at Gaisun [Al Qayşūmah]; and further reports that the Shaikh of Kuwait, Shaikh Abdullah bin Isa Al Khalifah [ʻAbd Allāh bin ‘Īsá Āl Khalīfah] [(brother of the Shaikh of Bahrain) and Mohammad Tabriz bin Abdul Aziz bin Saud [Muḥammad bin ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz Āl Sa‘ūd] (a son of Ibn Saud) had all been in the Gaisun area and had corresponded but that Ibn Saud had not travelled there.
- a request by the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) to undertake a hydrographic survey of the coast of the neutral zone in order to locate a harbour site suitable for unloading heavy equipment for the trans-Arabian pipeline, and the granting of permission by both the Saudi Arabian Government and the Shaikh of Kuwait for the work to be undertaken.
A series of file notes which were maintained as a record of the correspondence in the volume can be found at folios 244-263.
- Extent and format
- 1 volume (265 folios)
The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the front to the rear of the file.
- Physical characteristics
Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 267; 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. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 3-243; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and are located in the same position as the main sequence. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.
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- English in Latin script View the complete information for this record
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