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Coll 6/67(3) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎107r] (220/830)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (411 folios). It was created in 7 Feb 1935-20 Dec 1935. 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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EASTERN (Arabia).
October 23, 1935.
Section 1.
[E 6087/77/91]
Sir Samuel Hoare to Sir A. Ryan (on leave).
11 ’ tttq tv/To- f ’ n Foreign Office, October 23 1935
iilfe Majesty s Government are anxious to take advantage of voAr forth
coming visit to King Abdul Aziz at Riyadh to resume, and if possible ^to advance
the negotiations which have been proceeding for a settlement^of the eastern and
on h-eastern yundar^s of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, it L probaWe
that King Abdul Aziz himself will raise this question with you at an early staee
as I understand that it is one on which he feels strongly; and it is in fact the
“tte'pfTenTlir 01 ’ qUeStl ° n ^ ^ betW6en this -d Saudi A^alm
in f l 2° U Y ill / eC0l 1 lecfc that after His Majesty’s Government had decided not
to take their stand, so long as negotiations were proceeding, on a rigid adherence
to the legal basis provided by the frontier laid down in this region by the Anglo-
ui nsh agreements of 1913-14, you were instructed, in November 1934 to oner
Wlth the ,^ audl Government for an agreed settlement of this’quest mu
nrSt T ? a Q t0 , Ob n ain an exaGt statement of King Abdul
iz s teiritorial claims The Saudi Government’s response to your enquirv
JT Aorlnlt wh S r era m ° nth f but they 2 ventuall y krnished you, on the
tntiAikf ’ rt a m ® m y andum putting forward a claim to a vast area in
hvfTr- 1 k Arabla ’ wblcb was asserted to correspond to the areas frequented
by certain tribes owing allegiance to King Abdul Aziz. You were already aware
from the previous consideration which His Majesty’s Government had given to
he matter that they were unable to entertain sued extensive demands lid you
therefore proceeded immediately to the next stage contemplated in your instruc
tions and offered to Saudi Arabia a small strip of territory—the so-called “ green
line concession immediately to the east of the 1913-14 boundarv The
subsequent departure of the Deputy Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs from
Jedda rendered an immediate continuance of negotiations impossible, but the
discussions were resumed with Fuad Bey Hamza himself during his visit to
London last summer. ^
3. Despite the offer which was then made by His Majesty’s Government
ot a further territorial concession (bounded by the so-called “ brown line ”) it
un qitunately proved impossible to reconcile the divergency between the point
of view of His Majesty’s Government (as then agreed upon between all the various
departments of His Majesty’s Government concerned) and that of King Abdul
Aziz; and, on Fuad Bey’s departure towards the end of July, the discussions
closed m what appeared to be a complete deadlock.
4. It was explained to the Saudi Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs
during the course of these discussions that His Majesty’s Government were
prepared, with a view to reaching an amicable settlement, to make limited
concessions, to the east of the 1913-14 boundary, of territory which, like that
compi ised in the areas already offered to the King, could be shown to be
predominantly utilised by tribes or settlements recognising his sovereignty. His
Majesty s Government considered, however, that no satisfactory or durable
frontier could be constructed on a purely tribal basis, in view of the shiftino'
allegiance of the nomad tribes and of their wide and overlapping migrations,
tribal considerations were valuable where it could be shown that an area was
predominantly or exclusively frequented by a certain tribe with an exclusive
political allegiance, but historical, geographical and strategic considerations
would also have to be taken into account. The object of His Majesty’s Govern
ment was not to establish a rigid frontier in the European sense, but to work out
a boundary as equitable as could be attained from all points of view which
would remove sources of uncertainty and friction by definino- the territorial
8167 [12260] " * R

About this item


This volume primarily concerns British policy regarding the south-eastern boundaries of Saudi Arabia, specifically those bordering Qatar, the Trucial Shaikhdoms, Muscat, the Hadramaut and the Aden Protectorate.

It includes interdepartmental discussion regarding the approach that the British Government should take in reaching a settlement with King Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] over the demarcation of the boundaries.

References are made to various existing and proposed lines, including the 'blue line' and the 'violet line' – boundary lines that formed part of the Anglo-Ottoman Conventions, concluded in 1913 and 1914 respectively, a 'green line' and a 'brown line', which represent more recent territorial concessions proposed by the British to Ibn Saud, and a 'red line', which is referred to as the Saudi Government's claim for its country's south-eastern boundary.

The volume features the following principal correspondents: 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. (Lieutenant-Colonel 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. , Bahrain (Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Gordon Loch); His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan); the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Samuel Hoare); the Acting Chief Commissioner, Aden (Lieutenant-Colonel Morice Challoner Lake); officials of the Colonial Office, 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. , the Government of India's Foreign and Political Department.

The correspondence includes discussion of the following:

  • The extent of territory that the British should be prepared to include in any concession made to Ibn Saud.
  • The abandonment of the idea of a proposed 'desert zone'.
  • The future of the Treaty of Jedda of 1927.
  • Meetings held at the Foreign Office with Fuad Bey Hamza, Deputy Saudi Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Hafiz Wahba, Saudi Arabian Minister in London, during June and July 1935.
  • The eastern boundary of the Aden Protectorate.
  • The possibility of the British Government employing Bertram Thomas to carry out enquiries and investigations regarding the question of Saudi Arabia's south-eastern frontiers.
  • Wells and territories of the Al Murra [Āl Murrah] tribe.
  • Preparations for Sir Andrew Ryan's forthcoming visit to Riyadh for negotiations with Ibn Saud.
  • Abu Dhabi's claim to Khor-al-Odeid [Khawr al ‘Udayd].
  • Details of a British aerial reconnaissance of the Qatar Peninsula, which took place on 11 October 1935.

In addition to correspondence the volume includes the following: copies of the minutes of meetings of the Committee of Imperial Defence's Standing Ministerial and Official Sub-Committee for Questions Concerning the Middle East, dated 15 April 1935 and 24 September 1935 respectively; photographs of the Qatar Peninsula, taken during the aforementioned aerial reconnaissance; a map showing the route of the aerial reconnaissance.

The volume includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the volume by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence (folio 4).

Extent and format
1 volume (411 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 411; 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. The foliation sequence does not include the front and back covers.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/67(3) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎107r] (220/830), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2136, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 February 2020]

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