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Coll 6/67(3) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎373r] (752/830)

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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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f? Pi ,K 0rid ° n ’ f but j Which ’ exce P t as regards the question of the
considered separate^’ S t0 tUm ° n P articula r matters, which had been
Hiffei°ntlv FUa wi?rA™! lmat{ ; d T that , he W0 " 1 n d . P refer t0 P ut *6 last point rather
difie y. His Government, I understood him to say, would approach particular
questions with reference to their bearing on the position in regard to the Treaty
of Jedda. I invited him to develop this, but something turned us aside and we
did not pursue the subject.
-n t ^ le S uest * on eastern and south-eastern frontiers, Fuad
Bey asked what form the settlement of it would take. What would be the
position of the rulers affected? Would they have any part in the discussion?
He assured me on behalf of the King that His Majesty had no desire to intervene
m any relations between His Majesty’s Government and the rulers, but the Kino-
had to considei the effect on Arab and Moslem opinion, if he did anything which
might be thought to place the rulers in a condition of inferiority, which, as a
result of some elucidation, I took to mean that the King was afraid of appearing
to let his fellow-Arab rulers down by disregarding their position as such and (to
quote a word actually used by Fuad Bey) “ selling ” them to Great Britain. He
referred to the participation of Iraqi delegates in the settlement of the Nejd-Iraq
frontier question, while Iraq was still under a British mandate.
12 . I said that His Majesty’s Government had never approached the present
subject otherwise than as a question of determining as between themselves and
Ibn Saud the boundary between his territory and an area beyond it, in which they
and the local rulers were alone concerned. The real trouble was, I suggested,
that the King was unwilling to admit openly the position of His Majesty’s
Government in regard to the area under discussion. That position, however,
rested on a long historical evolution and a system of treaties by which the rulers
themselves had placed themselves, so far as foreign affairs were concerned, in the
hands of His Majesty’s Government. If Fuad Bey spoke of Arab brethren, I
could retort by speaking of our Arab children.
13. Fuad Bey admitted the substantial truth of what I said. He suggested
that the Arab and Moslem opinion which the King had in mind was very ill-
informed. He suggested that some means should be found to make the position
clear, e.g., by having the rulers represented in any negotiation, by experts, for
instance, or obtaining from them some affirmation of the fact that they wished
to be represented by His Majesty’s Government.
14. I said that I myself could see what was in the King’s mind, but
intimated that His Majesty’s Government would have the greatest difficulty in
proceeding on any theory other than that which I had described (see the first
sentence of the last paragraph but one). I said that I must reflect and consult
His Majesty’s Government. I intimated that, if in the circumstances he
preferred to postpone an answer to my second question of the 21st January
regarding Ibn Baud’s desiderata, I should not press it at the moment. He said
he would prefer to wait. .
15. I am recording separately a short passage m the conversation relative
to the Transjordan frontier. It did not bear on the essential features of that
question, and I did not wish to advert to them without further instructions from
His Majesty’s Government. . ,.
16. Fuad Bey gave me a definite message from the King, reaffirming his
friendly dispositions and his sincere desire for a settlement of all questions
between him and His Majesty’s Government, no matter how they were
approached. I said that I welcomed this assurance and echoed it, saying that, in
doins- so T could sneak for His Majesty’s Government as well as for myself.
17. ’ Finally, I told Fuad Bey that I had just received instructions (Foreign
Office telegram No 23 of the 6 th February) which would enable me to state the
views of His Majesty’s Government in regard to the Koweit business. I wished,
however to look up certain previous papers before making the communication.
Tfosd Bov was intcrsnersed with digressions and trivialities, which I need not
reproduce Othei’wise this is as accurate a record as I can make of the mam
course of the conversation. We agreed to postpone any further discussion until
Fuad Bey’s next visit to Jedda.
February 7, 1935.

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.' [‎373r] (752/830), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2136, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 November 2019]

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