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File 3877/1912 Pt 4 ‘Turkey in Asia: oil concessions’ [‎43r] (27/176)

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The record is made up of 1 part (87 folios). It was created in 22 Apr 1914-15 Sep 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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■■8' ■I'M*'
[This Document is the Property of His Britaanic Majesty’s Govenunent]
to our letters to you of the 23rd June and 1 st July. We regret that we have had to
proceedings were pending with reference to the claims of the D’Arcy group.
In addition to the decision of the Council of State of the 4th June, a copy of which
we sent you, you are perhaps unaware that there have been earlier decisions dealing
with the same subject. We have received particulars of one dated 26 Mouharrem 331
( 6 th January, 1913), being a decision of the Council of State which received the
sanction of the Sublime Porte and was transmitted to the Ministry of Mines, and
had in consequence the force of a final judgment.
This decision was given in favour of Mr. Silley and his associates, and declares
among other things that the firmans on which you rely were ultra vires.
We have also before us particulars of another decision of the Council of State,
given apparently in November 1912, in which the firmans were repeatedly alluded to
as being ult 7 'a vires, on the ground, among other things, that
La formahte accomplie pour accorder a la Liste Civile la concession relative au
vilayet de Bagdad est nulle et non avenue, vu qu’ii est aussi contraire au Keglement
des Mines qu’aux principes generaux du droit.”
We must therefore again repeat that the concessions of the oil deposits in Mosoul
and Bao-dad to the Civil List, subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Finance,
were not and are not valid and in force, the firmans on which you rely for their
validity having been declared ultra vires. _ ^ .
With reference to the analogy between the position of the Turkish Petroleum
Company and Mr. Silley’s group, we must repeat what we stated in our letter of the
i of Tn 1 - J Thp Turkish Petroleum Company is a company incorporated under English
. [July 29.]
Section 1.
No. 1 .
Messrs. Treherne, Higgins, and Co. to Foreign Office.—(Received July 29.)
Sir, 7, Bloomsbury Square, London, July 28, 1914.
OIL concessions in Mesopotamia : Mr. R. H. Silley.
We beg to acknowledge receipt of your letter of the 18th instant, written in reply
to our letters to you of the 23rd June and 1 st July. We regret that, we have had to
wait a month for a reply to our letter of the 23rd June, as the delay may seriously
prejudice our client's position, especially in view of the negotiations which are proceeding
between the Foreign Office and the Turkish authorities with reference to the concessions
in dispute.
As you are silent as to the last paragraph in our letter of the 1 st July, dealing
with certain unworthy aspersions which have been made against Mr. Silley and those
associated with him, we presume that you have no definite evidence in support of them
to bring forward.
We must point out that Mr. Silleys claim to the support of his Government does
not depend on the date when he acquired an interest in the concessions in question or
whether this interest was acquired after the date on which the Ministry of Mines
refused to issue licences or before, seeing that the refusal of the Ministry of Mines to
issue the licences was in consequence of the fact that the British Government was
putting pressure on them to refuse, and because various somewhat complicated legal

About this item


Correspondence and papers relating to claims for exploratory oil licenses in Ottoman Turkey (including the vilayets of Baghdad, Mosul and Basra in Mesopotamia [Iraq], and Syria and Nejd). Principal correspondents include: the solicitors Treherne, Higgins and Company, who represent the oil explorer Roland H Silley; representatives of the Central Mining and Investment Corporation Limited (L Reynolds; Louis Julius Reyersbach); Foreign Office (FO) officials (Sir Eyre Alexander Barby Wichart Crowe; Sir Louis Du Pan Mallet).

  • correspondence concerning Silley’s claims (competing with those made by the D’Arcy Group and Anglo-Persian Oil Company) over mining rights in the Mesopotamian vilayets of Mosul and Baghdad, an historical précis of which can be found in a letter dated 14 May 1914 from Treherne, Higgins & Company to the Foreign Office (ff 111-112);
  • correspondence concerning Silley’s attempts to secure oil licenses in Nejd, Silley’s efforts to contact the prospective Vali of Nejd, Bin Saud (‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd), and discussion amongst FO officials over the prospects of the Turkish Petroleum Company (in large part financed by Deutsche Bank and the Dutch Anglo-Saxon Oil Company) having a presence in Arabia 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. ;
  • a note, written by Sulaiman Nassif, enclosed with a letter dated 27 April 1914, on petroleum prospecting concession licenses in Syria (f 105).
Extent and format
1 part (87 folios)

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

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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File 3877/1912 Pt 4 ‘Turkey in Asia: oil concessions’ [‎43r] (27/176), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/302/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 23 January 2020]

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