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File 345/1908 Pt 1 'Mohammerah: situation. British assurances to Sheikh.' [‎150v] (305/416)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (203 folios). It was created in 1904-1910. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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The Bakhtiaris intimate that, prompted by the common sentiments of self-
preservation, they contemplate allying themselves with the Sheikh of Moham-
merah, and in the hope of thus maintaining a position of semi or practical inde
pendence they are anxious to enter into a secret understanding with the British
I do not feel that I can safely or usefully offer much comment upon their re-
spective representations, as in such a question my field of vision is too confined .
to allow me to see the matter in the right perspective. I can only say as a local
officer that it seems to me that having by the terms of our convention with Russia
left the region affected, in the neutral zone and exposed to German enterprise, it
is of the utmost importance to our interests to counteract the advantages of that
circumstance as far as possible and without delay, by strengthening our hold as
much as we can upon the Chiefs of South Western Persia before the opportunity
to do so passes out of our control.
As far as the Sheikh of Mohammerah is concerned, I believe him to be
primarily quite sincere in his protestations that his interests and hopes are centred
in us. "Nevertheless he is mainly prompted by the dictates of self-preservation
and should there be failure on our part to dispel his apprehensions, it is as well to
remember that he is likely to be greatly influenced by his astute henchman and
relative Haji Rais-ut-Tujjar, who is possessed by no feelings of tradition or senti
ment or by any considerations other than those of personal agrandisement and
present profit, and would, I doubt not, as lief pursue his schemes through German
auspices as ours, if the former w r ere made sufficiently attractive to him and ours
were too lukewarm.
Whether the aspirations of the Sheikh and the Khans can be entertained to
any degree or not, I feel sure that the problem of which they are factors will have
the early and interested consideration of Government.
A duplicate of this letter is being forwarded to His Majesty’s Chargd
d’Affaires, Tehran, under my office No. 44—943 of to-day’s date.
Note regarding an interview which took place between the Sheikh
Khazal of Moharnmerah and the Officiating 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 The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. .
Dated Jth January igoS.
At my last visit to Mohammerah on the 16th December 1907, in connection
with the delivery to the bheikh of the Humaidi pirates, Sheikh Khazal who in
the course of our discussion regarding the punishment of the outlaws, had inci
dentally shown that he had heard of our recent agreement with Sheikh Mubarek,
informed me as I was leaving that he had urgent grounds for wishing to discuss
his affairs generally with me and begged me to pay him a leisurely visit at an
early date for the purpose. I did so on 7th January, and having gone there for
this express purpose, 1 took such previous papers as were necessary with me.
Mr. McDouall was present with me. Sheikh Khazal having in the first instance
led me to think that he needed more definite support or assurances from us,
I read him out the purport of Sir Arthur Hardinge’s letters of December 7th,
1902 and December 24th, 1903 and then enquired what fuither he needed.
Sheikh Khazal replied that the assurances just referred to w r ere all right so far as
they went and at the epoch at which they w 7 ere given but that the outlook had
much changed and developed since 1903 and that he could not but regard the
near future with the greatest apprehension. It was the advent of the “ Majlis ”
and the so-called constitutional government which had changed the aspect of the
future so much. One of two things must soon happen, either the Shah or the
Majlis must be eliminated. If the probability was that the Shah would be able
to suppress the Majlis, as there was no doubt he would like to do, and if there
was to be a return to absolute Government, then he would not feel so apprehen
sive, for he was fortified by the assurance which we had given him to afford him
our good offices and support with the Central Government, and, as long as he
remained faithful to the Shah and followed our advice, to protect him against
attack by water under any pretext. But it now appeared to him and his

About this item


The correspondence discusses the situation regarding British assurances to the Sheikh of Mohammerah. The volume includes a description of the Sheikh's perception that, despite his good behaviour towards the British he has not been afforded the support provided to other Arab sheikhs in the Gulf as in Kuwait or Bahrain. Letters include an account of the explanation given to the Sheikh of Mohammerah that Britain recognized Bahrain and Kuwait as independent, in de jure as well as de facto terms; in contrast the British recognized the Shah's sovereignty over Mohammerah.

The correspondence discusses the practicalities of a customs arrangement between the Shah and the Sheikh of Mohammerah mediated by the British. Letters consider the circumstances under which Britain could intervene militarily to protect its interests in the Karun Valley in the event of disorder arising following interference by the Shah.

The correspondence discusses the scope and form of words of the assurance to be given to the Sheikh of Mohammerah and his male descendants, in the event of disorder following from a change in the Persian regime, be it of a royalist, nationalist, or constitutional nature as well as disputes with Bakhtiari khans.

Correspondents include: Shaikh Khazal Khan, Sardar Leader of a tribe or a polity; also refers to a military rank or title given to a commander of an army or division. -i-Afra, the Shaikh of Mohammerah; The Confidential Agent of the Shaikh of Mohammerah; Major Percy Zachariah Cox, Her Majesty's Consul at Bushire; Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; Acting Consul of Mohammerah.

Each part includes a divider which gives the subject and part numbers, year the subject file was opened, subject heading, and list of correspondence references contained in that part by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence.

Extent and format
1 volume (203 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the volume. The subject 345 (Mohammerah) consists of two volumes, IOR/L/PS/10/132-133. The volumes are divided into two parts, with each part comprising one volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 203; 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.The foliation sequence does not include the front and back covers, nor does it include the one leading flyleaf.

Written in
English in Latin script
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File 345/1908 Pt 1 'Mohammerah: situation. British assurances to Sheikh.' [‎150v] (305/416), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/132, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 June 2024]

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