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Coll 6/67(3) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎265v] (537/830)

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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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SIR ANDREW RYAN reminded Fuad Bey that this matter had been
discussed at the fourth meeting on the 5th July, when it had been agreed that
it involved points of form, rather than of substance. He had now been able to go
into the question more deeply, in consultation with the competent Department
of the Foreign Office. There were two difficulties connected with the note written
by Sir G. Clayton at the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of Jedda. That note
referred to the Arms Traffic Convention of 1925, and the reference implied
certain qualifications of the assurance contained in it. That convention was now,
however, dead, and a new agreement was in contemplation, which existed only
in draft form. There would be no new regulation, Sir A. Ryan understood,
providing for special zones, but, on the other hand, the question of possible
restrictions on the supply of arms in abnormal circumstances had attracted
increasing attention. It" would be necessary to devise a new formula more in
accordance with these developments than that embodied in the original note.
Mr. RENDER explained that the position was that it would be necessary for
His Majesty’s Government to qualify their assurance on the arms traffic in order
to bring it into line with any existing or impending international commitments
by which they might be bound, but that any such qualification would be one of
purely general application. There would be no question of discrimination
against Saudi Arabia as such.
FUAD BEY thanked Sir Andrew Ryan and Mr. Rendel for the explanations
they had given. He said that he had, however, been uneasy at hearing Mr. Rendel
at the fourth meeting on the 5th July, state that His Majesty’s Government did
not intend to treat the Saudi Government “in a less favourable way than any
other friendly country in a similar position.” He thought that the expression
“ in a similar position ” might imply discrimination.
Mr. RENDEL replied that he had been obliged to use the words quoted by
Fuad Bey on account of the provisions in the 1925 Arms Traffic Convention
establishing “ special zones ” in different parts of the world, within which the
signatory countries bound themselves to sell arms only to Governments or their
accredited agents, on account of the risk of any sale of arms to warlike and
turbulent tribal elements leading to unrest and possible revolts. He realised that
zones of this nature did imply a certain discrimination, but he pointed out that
it was essentially in the interests of the Governments of countries within the zones
that there should be a prohibition of the private import of arms and ammunition.
He understood from Sir Andrew Ryan, who had been in touch with the experts
on the suoject at the Foreign Office, that it was unlikely that any future Arms
Traffic Convention would contain provision for “ special zones.” Nevertheless,
he felt obliged to make a reservation on the point, as it was still possible that some
alternative system might eventually be adopted by which certain groups or
categories of countries should be subject to special ^regulations. He repeated,
however, that there would be no question of discrimination against Saudi Arabia
as such.
FUAD BET remarked that the Saudi Government were naturally more
anxious than anybody else that arms should not be supplied illicitly to private
individuals in their country. But they did not like any form of discrimination,
and they could only agree to safeguards such as those underlying the idea of
“ special zones ” if they were embodied in general terms applying to the world
as a whole.
After further discussion, SIR ANDREW RYAN undertook that as soon
as a copy of the new draft Arms Traffic Convention had been obtained, he would
try to work out a formula for embodying the original assurance of HisMajesty’s
Government in revised and up-to-date terms.
Mr. RENDEL concluded the meeting by enquiring, with reference to the
discussion at the fourth meeting on the 5th July, whether Fuad Bey was now in a
position to make any statement about the recent conference between the delegates
ot Saudi Arabia and Koweit to discuss the problem of their mutual economic

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.

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English in Latin script
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Coll 6/67(3) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎265v] (537/830), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2136, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 November 2019]

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