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Coll 30/86(2) 'Persia. Relations with Iraq. Shatt-el-Arab: Internationalisation of, and establishment of a Conservancy Board.' [‎37r] (84/944)

The record is made up of 1 volume (468 folios). It was created in 23 Dec 1935-22 Apr 1937. It was written in English and French. 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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territorial waters, although some of it might lie
in the open sea.» But it seemed desirable never
theless to try and obtain a definite acceptance from
Persia. In any case conclusion 2(a) was covered
for the time 'being.
The second suggested condition (2(h;) had
been that an arrangement should be made whereby the right
of passage through the waters of the Shatt-el Arab should
be granted in perpetuity both in peace and war to the
vessels of war and merchant vessels of all nations at
peace with Persia or Iraq, as the case might he, or in
the last resort to war ana merchant vessels belonging to
Persia ana Iraq, ana their allies alone. The Persian
Government haa suggested ilie gi ant ox a x ight of fiee
passage to Persian ana Iraqi vessels only, out it
appeared that the Iraqi Government intended to propose
the inclusion of vessels belonging to their allies.
This was possibly a solution which His Majesty’s
Government coulu. adopt in the last resort, tnough it was
clearly far less desirable than a universal dedication
on the lines suggested in the Foreign Oilice memorandum.
A recent letter from His Majesty’s Ambassador at
Baghdad suggested that he had derived the impression
from the memorandum that the warships of Iraq and
Persia could oe granted reciprocal rights of passage
by a bilateral treaty between those two Powers,
ana that it was only for the sake of the warsnips of
other countries, including the allies of either Power,
that a universal dedication was required. Tins of
+ q rqc-p. it was extremely doubtful
course was not tne ca^o. ^ u

About this item


The file concerns negotiations over a convention to establish a 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 convention had two main objects: (1) to provide for the conservancy of the Shatt-al-Arab (i.e. its maintenance as a navigable waterway adequate to the needs of international shipping); (2) to control the navigation of the Shatt-al-Arab (i.e. to provide all shipping using the waterway with a uniform system of control, administration, and discipline in all matters necessary for safe and efficient shipping). The board was to consist of Iraq and Iran as the two riparian countries concerned, and the United Kingdom as the state owning over 90 per cent of the shipping using the river.

The papers cover: Perso-Iraqi negotiations; the question of British participation in the convention; the views of the Shah of Iran; negotiations over the frontier between Iraq and Iran; dredging dues; the navigation of the river; Persian violations of Iraqi territory; the anchorage at Abadan; draft agreements on the frontier between Iraq and Iran; the Persian refusal to allow Iraq any say over the waters (the Karun) that flowed into the Shatt-al-Arab (e.g. folios 262-264); the interests of the Government of Turkey in the issue; the view of the Foreign Office that a single authority was required in order to achieve unified control over the whole waterway system (folios 245-246); quarantine and police posts; and the Port of Basra (budget estimates, and dues and charges).

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 ten folios of diplomatic correspondence and treaty drafts.

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 volume (468 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the first folio with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 464; 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 front and back covers, along with the two leading and two ending flyleaves have not been foliated. A previous foliation sequence, which is present between ff 291-464 and is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Coll 30/86(2) 'Persia. Relations with Iraq. Shatt-el-Arab: Internationalisation of, and establishment of a Conservancy Board.' [‎37r] (84/944), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/3803, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 26 February 2020]

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