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Coll 28/51 ‘Persia. Relations with H.M.G. Treaty negotiations: Article regarding private claims.’ [‎29r] (57/357)

The record is made up of 1 file (176 folios). It was created in 13 Apr 1932-28 Dec 1936. 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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40. In paragraph 19 of his despatch No. 69 of the 18th February, 1933,
Sir R. Hoare says that it is worthy of note, since many claims are expressed in
krans (normally 50 to the £), that the kran has depreciated considerably during
the last twenty years, and that unless payment is made in the kran-sterling rate
prevailing at the time considerable losses will result. This is no doubt the case,
but, though in a few cases the equivalent of krans is mentioned, in most instances
it is not, and it would be a difficult matter to translate into sterling the ever
fluctuating kran, in claims which range over many years and many vicissitudes
in Persian affairs. In that paragraph he assesses the approximate grand total
of all the claims at the present rate of exchange at between £650,000 and
£700,000, which seems to represent fairly closely the equivalents of 50 krans and
some 15 rupees to the present £ sterling. The great majority of claims of all
classes are expressed in krans—sometimes tomans (equal to 10 krans), though
some claimants have preferred to state their claims in sterling, some (Indian) in
rupees and one (with American connexions) in dollars. All these currencies seem
to have suffered depreciation of late, though in unequal degrees. This question
of depreciated currencies is seemingly one that might give rise to considerable
argument before a tribunal if the claims were to be argued there. A good many
of the claims preferred by His Majesty’s Government or the Government of India
are for sterling amounts or rupees. The point is perhaps one that has come up
for decision in the case of former international tribunals on the subject of
claims( 2 ); but it would seem unfair, on the one hand, if claimants should be
awarded what may be but a fraction of their original losses, or, on the other, that
if they originally claimed in a currency now less depreciated they should have a
fortuitous advantage over those who did not.
41. At the same time inspection of the amounts claimed by the various
claimants leaves the impression that these are often based on a generous estimate
of the losses incurred. So far as regards firms formerly trading in Persia, of
which there are a large number among the claimants, it seems probable that in
view of the hazards to which their merchandise was exposed when in transit
through a semi-barbarous country, it could only be by placing a high price upon
their goods that they could continue to carry on a profitable business. Firms like
Zieglers, of Manchester, appear to have sustained huge losses (amounting in their
case to about £50,000), from robberies, often repeated, but nevertheless were
seemingly able to carry on a profitable business, yielding good results. Individual
claims of all classes seem to show a like tendency to estimate losses at a high
figure, sometimes held in check by our Legation or by the British consulate dealing
with the claim. Interest again on the amount claimed is usually estimated at a
high rate; 12 per cent, interest is not infrequently asked, leading to claims of
which the most notable instance is that of Mr. Haycock (Isfahan Claim No. 1 ,
category (a )), where the total amount claimed is more than five times the original
debt. Yet there appears to be no actual rule concerning the addition of interest
as regards claims for losses made by one nation against another; in the absence
of any treaty provision governing the matter the question of interest seems to
rest entirely with the tribunal before which the claims may be brought.
Insurance Companies.
42. In paragraph 17 of his despatch (No. 69) of the 18th February, 1933,
Sir R. Hoare says that the question of payments by insurance companies is of
importance in regard to all the claims; that he has no information whether any.
and if so how many, claims were met in this way; and that he concludes that in
such cases the claim should be regarded as having been transferred from the
original claimant to the insurance company. This is no doubt the case—at any
rate if the insurance company was British—and in former correspondence with
our Legation in 1923 (and previously), we have laid stress on the fact that if a
claimant was insured against loss in this way, it in no way lessened the claim.
The documents furnished do not, however, throw very much light on insurance
companies’ or underwriters’ claims, though it seems to have been a somewhat
ordinary practice for British firms trading in Persia to insure their goods against
losses, where they could find an insurance company willing to accept the risk.
( 2 ) The United States Government hold that in the absence of a stipulation to the contrary
it is the custom to pay obligations established in foreign currency at the rate of exchange current
at the date of payment (see case of Lieut.-Colonel Liddell’s claim against United States (1922-25).

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Correspondence and other papers relating to the drafting of an article for the Anglo-Persian Treaty, concerning private claims made against the British and Persian Governments. The correspondence concerns: the exclusion from the article of British Indian claims; an agreement by both parties to not pursue certain claims arising from the ‘exceptional circumstances obtaining during the [First] world war’ (f 155); general treaty instructions from 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. , sent to the British Legation in Tehran; details of an historic claim for approximately £900,000, made against the British Government by a Persian subject named Socrates Atychides, whose ship, the Kara Deniz , was detained and declared as prize at Bombay [Mumbai] in 1914; a printed copy of a general review of British claims against Persia, prepared by Hugh Ritchie, formerly of the Foreign Office. Ritchie’s review includes indexes to supplementary volumes (not included in the file) entitled Persia (Legation Claims) , Persia: Consulate Claims (Peace-Time), and Persia: Consulate Claims (War-Time) (ff 22-51). The indexes are lists of British claimants.

Principal correspondents in the file include: John Charles Walton and John Gilbert Laithwaite of 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. ; George William Rendel and Christopher Frederick Ashton Warner of the Foreign Office; W R L Trickett of HM’s Treasury.

The file contains a single paragraph of French text: a draft of the claims article submitted by the Government of Persia (f 168).

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 (176 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 178; 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. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Coll 28/51 ‘Persia. Relations with H.M.G. Treaty negotiations: Article regarding private claims.’ [‎29r] (57/357), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/3456, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 27 January 2020]

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