Coll 17/8(1) 'Shaikh of Koweit: Date Gardens of the Sheikh in Iraq' [460v] (925/1452)
The record is made up of 1 volume (721 folios). It was created in 17 Aug 1932-31 Jan 1934. It was written in English and Turkish. 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.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
t>o ci bargain involving relief from taxation claims that he has per
formed all that he has promised to do, may perhaps be regarded as
of general application.
12. In the present case there can be little doubt that the
Istihlak is a “ tax ” strictly so called; and the question therefore
appears to be whether on their true construction and having regard
to the circumstances in which and the persons to whom they were
given the undertakings given to the Sheikhs extend to taxation not
levied on the gardens themselves as such but on their produce. Do
they, for example, extend only to taxes creating a liability which
arises from the simple fact of occupation or ownership of land, or
do they include also a tax creating liability which only arises if the
landowner chooses to export or sell some part of the produce of that
land, and then payable not by the landowner as such, but by the
seller or exporter.
13. It is important to examine the actual language used in the
undertakings given to the two Sheikhs. When the drafts were under
consideration in 1914 the wording approved for both letters was
“ The date gardens which you now possess .... shall remain in
the full possession of you’ and your heirs and be immune from
taxation ”. An authenticated copy of the actual Arabic letter
received by the Sheikh of Koweit has been obtained. The words in
this which correspond to “ immune from taxation ” in the English
draft are Arabic words which are literally translated ‘‘ without
there being upon them anvthing in the nature of taxes or imposts .
Evidently Colonel Knox/the writer of the Arabic letter, used two
more or less synonymous Arabic words to give the sense of taxation
quite generally and comprehensively. (There is no reason to suppose
that the Arabic of the letter sent to the Sheikh of Mohammerah is
not the same as that of the letter sent to the Sheikh of Koweit in
the particular, but as copy of it is not available here, the copy sent
herewith follows the original English draft). It will thus be seen
that the pledge in regard to taxation is quite general and not ex
pressed as limited to particular kinds of taxes. At the same time
it seems clear that this exemption is not a personal exemption
simpliciter in the sense that it implies that the Sheikh is entitled
to reside in. the gardens and claim to be exempt from all taxation
of every kind which may be imposed on persons resident in Iraq;
it is quite definitely linked up with the possession of the gardens and
it seems reasonable therefore to limit it to taxation the liability to
which is closely connected with the gardens themselves.
14. It is necessary to consider very closely the exact nature of
the tax recently imposed. It may be regarded on the one hand as
merely a trader's tax in the sense that it is primarily a tax on
produce sold or exported; or on the other it may be regarded as
merely a variant of the earlier form of tax based on the value of the
land under cultivation and therefore as bearing a very close re
semblance to that tax.
15. Admittedly the earlier form of tax fell within the terms
of the undertaking and the question is therefore whether in all the
circumstances the present tax can be regarded as so far divorced
from the land itself as to bring it outside the terms used by the
Resident in his letter. As has been explained above, the new tax
is not levied on the landowner as such and may indeed not be pai
by the Landowner himself at all except in so far as he may by
reason of its existence have to accept a lesser price for his produce.
It is therefore a tax on produce, but not on the produce as sue
of any particular garden or plantation; nor does the produce
attract the tax until it has been severed and has been sold or ex
ported. But since neither of the Sheikhs is resident in Iraq, the
whole of the produce of their gardens (other than that consumed y
About this item
The volume consists of extensive correspondence, memoranda and reports regarding the Faddaghiyeh Estates of the Shaikh of Kuwait, changes made to their tax-exempt status, and lawsuits regarding their ownership.
The records provide details of the lawsuits brought against the Shaikh of Kuwait in the Iraqi courts by the heirs of the previous owners of the Bashiyeh and Faddaghiyeh properties. These rested on claims that the original sales were not correctly registered with the Tapu Department under the old Ottoman Law, as the Shaikh had refused to take out Turkish nationality papers. The file also concerns changes to the tax-exempt status of the date gardens, following the instigation of the Istihlak tax by the Government of Iraq. Questions arose as to whether the Government of Iraq was obligated to guarantee the tax-exempt status originally granted by HM Government ( HMG Her or His Majesty’s Government in London. ), and whether HMG Her or His Majesty’s Government in London. was obligated to compensate the Shaikh for loss of revenue. The correspondence on file primarily concerns attempts by British Officials to defend the Shaikh's status as owner of the date gardens, and discussions about possible compensation.
The principal correspondents and authors are: the High Commissioner for Iraq (Francis Henry Humphrys), the Colonial Office, the Foreign Office, 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. , Kuwait (Harold Richard Patrick Dickson), 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. (Hugh Vincent Biscoe), HM Ambassador to Iraq, HM Counsellor to HM Embassy, Iraq (Sir George Arthur Ogilvie-Forbes), and the Legal Secretary to the High Commissioner for Iraq (John Harry Barclay Nihill). The volume also contains translations of letters received from the Shaikh of Kuwait (Aḥmad al-Jābir Āl Ṣabāḥ), his Basra Agent (Abdul Aziz as Salim al-Badr), his lawyer (Jacob Gabriel), and the Government of Iraq.
The following reports and legal documents appear within the volume:
- Memorandum prepared by the Judicial Advisor to the High Commissioner for Iraq (G Alexander), regarding attempts made to deprive the Shaikh of Kuwait of certain of his date gardens, ff 658-679.
- Translation of judgement No. 77/930, issued on 30th December 1931 by the Court of First Instance, Basrah; and translation of decree No. 66/932 dated 9 May 1932, issued by the Court of Appeal, Baghdad, for service on the Shaikh of Kuwait, ff 634-644.
- Short histories of the Shaikh of Kuwait's Bashiyeh and Faddighiyeh gardens on the Shatt al Arab from the time of their purchase to date, written by 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. , Kuwait, ff 621-629.
- List of persons to be served with legal documents from the Court of First Instance, Basrah, f 533.
- 'The Date Gardens in Iraq of the Sheikhs of Koweit and Mohammerah. Scope of Undertakings given by HM Government in 1914. Case for the Opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown, and Opinion Thereof', ff 458-476.
- Explanatory notes with accompanying sketch map of the Faddaghiyeh Estate, ff 205-209.
- English translations of the four Tapu deeds connected with the Faddaghiyeh Estate dispute (deeds originally dated August 1915), ff 90-99.
- Copy power of attorney document, written in Turkish, issued by the TC Asliye Mahkemesi Altinci Hukuk Dairesi 6 [Turkish Republic Civil Court of First Instance, 6th Law Department] on the 15 Ramandan 1326  in favour of Ahmet Pasha Kazim Azzubair, ff 78-80.
The file continues with Collection 17/8 part 2, reference IOR/L/PS/12/2854.
The volume includes dividers which give lists of correspondence references found within the volume by year. These are placed at the end of the correspondence (folios 4-5).
- Extent and format
- 1 volume (721 folios)
The papers are arranged in rough chronological order from the rear to the front of the volume.
- Physical characteristics
Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 723; 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. Two additional foliation sequences are also present in parallel between ff 4-721, and ff 695-721; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.
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