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Coll 6/67(3) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎109v] (225/830)

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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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17. Your detailed comments on the proposed line, which you may make at
whatever stage seems to you most appropriate, should be based on the^followina
considerations : You should make what capital you can out of the small further
concession which the new line offers at its northern end, in that it lies
considerably east of the so-called c ‘ green line ’ ’ which you were instructed to
offer to the Saudi Government last April. You should emphasise that, as a result ^
of their further thorough study of the matter, His Majesty’s Government are
now prepared fully to admit the Saudi claim to the wells at Banaiyan, to which
Fuad Bey attached such particular importance last summer. You should also lay
stress on the fact that the sector of the line defined in sub-paragraph (6) of the
preceding paragraph represents a genuine attempt to meet the Saudi claim while
respecting the territory of the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi. You will then do your best
to make it clear, while not letting it be thought that the line is drawn on a purely
tribal basis, that the line now proposed leaves within Saudi iirabia the whole of
the Murra c ‘ dira ’ ’ according to the latest information in the possession of His
Majesty’s Government (see paragraph 14 above). Moreover, in carrying the
boundary as far east as they are now doing, His Majesty’s Government will be
recognising the authority of King Abdul Aziz as extending beyond the “dira”
of the Murra tribe into the southern part of that of the Manasir, who are a tribe
predominantly based on territory under the sovereignty of Abu Dhabi. You may
then point out that the southern section of the proposed line, described in
sub-paragraph (d) of the preceding paragraph, leaves not only the whole of the
Murra “dira” in this region within Saudi territory, but also the important
wells at Shanna, although these are used by tribes from the Aden Protectorate
almost as much as by the Ahl Murra. In conclusion, it will be well for you to
explain that, although the proposed boundary, like that proposed by King Abdul
Aziz himself, is in its eastern and southern sections necessarily artificial, and
based mainly on geographical co-ordinates, His Majesty’s Government are
satisfied that it represents a fair and reasonable division between the various
suzerainties concerned.
18. Lastly, you should make every endeavour to ensure that in any settle
ment eventually reached all tribes are left free to use their normal wells and
grazing grounds on whichever side of the line they may be situated.
19. Basing yourself on the broad lines of the instructions contained in the
preceding paragraphs, I request that you will make every effort to secure the
acceptance in principle by King Abdul Aziz of the new boundary proposed by
His Majesty s Government. In the event of agreement being reached, they are
still inclined to favour the procedure suggested in paragraph 8 of Sir J. Simon’s
telegiam JNo. 70 of the 1st May, namely, the incorporation of the new line in a
single comprehensive instrument in which the frontier would be defined as being
between Saudi Arabia on the one hand and Qatar, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and the
_ den 1 rotectorate on the other. This point is, however, premature at the present
ime, as is also the question of the possible final demarcation of the frontier in
the vicinity of the Qatar peninsula.
I am, &c.

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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.' [‎109v] (225/830), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2136, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 16 December 2019]

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