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Coll 5/20 ‘Air Route to India – Arab Coast Secn: Negotiations with Trucial Sheikhs’ [‎84r] (178/1290)

The record is made up of 1 file (636 folios). It was created in 17 Feb 1932-6 May 1940. It was written in English, Arabic 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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PZ •903/1935.
FROM The Senior Naval officer, 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. Division
H.M.S. "I’RIAD" at Basrah.
BATED 17th October 1%2. No.226/587.
TO The Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station.
x x
SHARJAH AND CIVIL AIR ROUTE.
15 . The first westbound Imperial Airways machine
"Hanno" arrived at Sharjah from Gwadar at about 1600 on 5 th
October. She had four passengers, but was loaded to full
capacity with cargo and spare parts. Her arrival caused but
little excitement, but after she was safely berthed in the
barbed wire enclosure, the Sheikh and a crowd of people from
the town came to admire her. Captain Horsey, pilot of the
machine, reported that he had had an excellent trip and had no
difficulty at all in landing. The arrangements for berthing
the machine and refuelling worked smoothly, and the station
guards seem to know what is required of them.
14* The sheikh of Sharjah has complained that he
is losing money on account of the fact that work on the rest
house is proceeding so slowly. H$i/ complaint was referred
to 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. . Apparently work is held up
because cement is not available. Certain temporary buildings
have been completed or are nearing completion but the rest
house itself has not been started. The foundations have
been dug out and cemented and adequate deferc e posts have
been erected, besides barbed wire enclosures for aircraft and
rest house.
15* The passengers are being housed for the
present in tents, which are well furnished and are comfortable.
Mr. White of Shaibsh aerodrome is in temporary charge of the
company T s ill erests and no one could complain of the
arrangements made by him under the circumstances.
16. The wireless installation is in full working
order. Captain Mackay does not anticipate that the Rest
House can be completed under six months.
17 . On 6th October, rT Hanno ? ’ proceeded on her
voyage and landed at Manama h, the aerodrome at Bahrain, where
she sank two feet into the ground. Apparently there is a
layer of soft stratum under a thin hard surface. Six hours
were spent in trying to take off. . Finally it was possible to
move her to a hard patch of road near by where she remained for
the night. She took off, light, from this position, and flew
to Muharraq, where passengers and cargo were re-embarked. She
then proceeded on her voyage.
18. The East bound aircraft n Hannibal n was diverted
to land at Muharraq. She proceeded after refuelling to
Sharjah and arrived there on Jth October. Air Commodore
C.L. Courtney, Acting Air Officer Commanding in 7 Iraq, took
passage in her to inspect the arrangements at Sharjah.

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Content

The file is largely made up of correspondence, with occasional internal 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. notes, and records of inter-departmental meetings. The subject matter is the establishment of an aerodrome on the Trucial Coast The historic term used by the British to refer to the Gulf coast of Trucial Oman, now called United Arab Emirates. to facilitate the transfer of Imperial Airways' Europe-India route from Southern Persia to the Arabian Coast. There is some material related to the selection of a suitable site. However, much of the file is concerned with negotiations with Shaikh Sultan bin Saqar, Ruler of Sharjah; Sharjah was selected by British officials as the most promising site for a landing ground. The file therefore contains a number of reports on the political situation at Sharjah, the progress of negotiations, and discussion over terms and conditions. A copy of the final agreement can be found on folios 225-228.

The agreement with the Shaikh of Sharjah provided for the construction of a rest house to be owned by the Shaikh but rented by Imperial Airways. The file therefore includes discussion relating to arrangements for the financing and construction of the rest house. There is also a detailed consideration of the measures needed to ensure its security, and measures to be taken by British forces in the event of an attack on the facility: see folios 18-27 for a copy of the Sharjah Defence Scheme .

The file also contains discussion between British officials over their response to the following two proposals submitted by the Government of the Netherlands: a proposal for Anglo-Dutch-French co-operative partnership in approaching civil aviation matters linking Europe and the Far East, with a particular view to negotiations with Persia; and a request for access to the Arab Coast air route.

In addition to the immediate response to the Netherlands Government, the file includes discussion related to how British policy over the Trucial Coast The historic term used by the British to refer to the Gulf coast of Trucial Oman, now called United Arab Emirates. should develop in response to developments in civil aviation.

Also contained within the file are a number of papers circulated by the Committee of Imperial Defence's Standing Official Sub-committee for Questions Concerning the Middle East. These papers relate to a proposal from Imperial Airways to use landplanes along the Arabian Coast route instead of flying boats; the file contains extensive technical comparisons between the ‘Hannibal’ four engine landplane (the Handley Page H.P.42) and three engine ‘Calcutta’ flying boat (the Short S.8).

There is a limited amount of discussion, towards to front of the correspondence, over the state of British negotiations with Persia. However, this is not the focus of the file.

A couple of letters from the Government of the Netherlands are in French (see folios 296-301) and the final agreement with the Shaikh of Sharjah (folios 225-228) is in both English and Arabic. The vast majority of the file is in English.

The main correspondents are as follows: 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. (Hugh Vincent Biscoe, and later Trenchard Craven William Fowle), 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 (Harold Richard Patrick Dickson), and the Senior Naval Officer 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. . It also includes correspondence with officials of the following governmental departments: the Admiralty, the Air Ministry, the Foreign Office, 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. , and the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India.

Most of the material in the file covers the period 1932 to 1935. Only a single letter, dated 31 March 1940, falls outside this range.

The file includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence.

Extent and format
1 file (636 folios)
Arrangement

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 637; 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, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

The foliation sequence does not include the front and back covers, nor does it include the two leading and ending flyleaves.

Written in
English, Arabic and French in Latin and Arabic script
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Coll 5/20 ‘Air Route to India – Arab Coast Secn: Negotiations with Trucial Sheikhs’ [‎84r] (178/1290), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/1966, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100044823448.0x0000b3> [accessed 24 October 2019]

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