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Coll 30/86(3) 'PERSIA. Relations with Iraq: Shatt-el-Arab. Establishment of an International Conservancy Board.' [‎16r] (38/674)

The record is made up of 1 file, in 2 parts (329 folios). It was created in 14 Apr 1937-5 Mar 1946. 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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^•ide Memo ire.
His Majesty’s G-overnment have lately been considering
the question of navigation in the Shatt el Arab with particular
reference to their vital tanker traffic to and from Abadan.
This traffic is of the greatest importance to the Pjprosecution
of the Par Pastern war. It is already extremely heavy and
will grow heavier, not only while the operations in the Par East
endure, but subsequently as well. Although His Majesty’s
Government are in no way dissatisfied with the results achieved
by the present administration of the Shatt, they feel that for
the future a more effective provision should be made for the
conservancy and for the free and safe navigation of the Shatt
from a point belov/ Basra to the southern and of the Hooka
channel and the Persian waters off Abadan.
2. It will be remembered that before the war negotiations
were undertaken for the conclusion of a Tripartite convention
for the control of the Shatt, to which ^raq, Persia and Great
Britain were to be the parties. These negotiations had led to
no concrete result when on the outbreak of war, it was
decided to abandon them. His Majesty’s Government are now
considering the ^possibility of reopening negotiations for an
agreement safeguarding on a long-term basis and under expert
technical direction and control, the strategic and commercial
interests of the three Powers in the conservancy and
navigation of the waterway.
3. In theprevious negotiations, the attitude of the then
Persian Government was unhappily a stumbling block. It is
hoped that, in view of the changed circumstances, the Persian
Government will now adopt a more cooperative line. In the
light, however, of the objections which they raised previously
it is felt that the first approach should be made to them.
His Majesty’s Ambassador in Tehran will act accordingly in
due course.
4. If the Persian Government show themselves ready to
enter into negotiations for a Triparite convention, it is
hoped that the Iraqi Government will also be prepared to
negotiate on the basis proposed. It is not suggested that
any negotitations should be undertaken between the Iraqi
Government and His Majesty’s Government until the views of the
Persian Government are known. His Majesty’s Government
have, however, desired to inform the Iraqi Government of
their intentions, holding that, since the navigation of the
Shatt is a matter of import both to Iraq and to Britain
it should be the subject of the free and frank consultation
envisaged in Article 1 of the ^nglo-Iraqi Treaty of Alliance.

About this item


The file concerns the possibility of establishing an international Conservancy Board for the Shatt-el-Arab (also referred to as the Shatt-al-Arab) between the governments of Iraq, Iran (also referred to as Persia), and the United Kingdom.

The board was intended to ensure the efficient maintenance and navigation of the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. The United Kingdom was involved because of the close interests of British shipping in the conservancy of the Shatt-al-Arab.

The papers cover: Perso-Iraqi frontier negotiations; drafts, signing (July 1937), and ratification (June 1938) of the Perso-Iraqi Frontier Treaty; Turkish approval of the frontier negotiations; the signing of the four power non-aggression pact between Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Afghanistan (the Saad-Abad [Saadabad] Pact), 1937; Abadan anchorage; Foreign Office memoranda and minutes of meetings concerning a convention for the conservancy of the Shatt-al-Arab; the question of British participation in the convention; lighting and buoying; the involvement of Sir John Ward [serving with the Iraqi Government] in the discussions; the opposition of the Iranian Government to British involvement; the involvement of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC); the Port of Basra (including Foreign Office memorandum, folios 77-83); the Rooka Channel; and renewed discussion of the issue in 1945, including the importance of the Shatt-al-Arab for tanker traffic to supply Britain's war needs in the Far East.

The main correspondents are the Foreign Office, the British Ambassador to Iraq, and HM Minister, Tehran.

The French language content of the file consists of approximately twenty folios of diplomatic correspondence and treaties.

There are no papers in the file dated 1941-44.

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, in 2 parts (329 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: this file consists of two physical parts. The foliation sequence commences at the first folio of part one (ff 1-169) and terminates at the last folio of part two (ff 170-329); 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. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel; these numbers are printed, but are not circled. A previous foliation sequence, which is circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out. The front and back conservation covers (parts one and two), have not been foliated.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 30/86(3) 'PERSIA. Relations with Iraq: Shatt-el-Arab. Establishment of an International Conservancy Board.' [‎16r] (38/674), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/3804, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 October 2019]

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