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Coll 6/67(6) 'Boundaries of South-Eastern Arabia and Qatar: Trucial Coast Oil Concessions' [‎7r] (20/402)

The record is made up of 1 file (195 folios). It was created in 30 Jun 1940-30 Mar 1948. 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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haria » HiB
the Sheihh Of Abu dSLi le Jt, Z lwe ^ZTZ^L'S 1 ^* 8 t0
ite oecmpat,Ion by anycsie eia« S!^1?S. „* Ptooit to I^went
the ahelk of Qatar^££*ntinn **? 8 ®o v « t ^at proialsed
attaoha « his Wi?o?J if 118 f 111
i 2 rr&^ 4 Ss«fe^*s SJJSVS:
stpcoff claim to Lffifl?* ‘' or f lly » i‘Ow»ver, the Shaikh has a
pro tee t ion ^waa °gl ven ^to hte'ln tl^ 1 pro,Jii8 ® of
sssasu^j^ 4 &s i ,inK&i.*“*
thal uTL±tllH P c^iT d n ? that »tf any shall attack
1903, when ^ f naa H r ^ 8ke notl<s ® of W*» although in
b«),. ,, 0 ...vV, oi ^ 1 a^fture^ tho^: if ,. on
k.*v 0 wen ^ Hi a Majesty 9 a Oovortancn t will npat&{'± vnn et»^ 4 n^*
cme ?e % and to the Sultan of «uao ? t h^f^aedtotS?^ 11
n . . ■’ Prosiiao made to the Sultan of Muscat in 3©39 of
aJXresslcm i ag8ra ? 8i£Hl W8S aonditlonal upon the
^ed» 8 W8r i UU hajeaty’a Sover-waant
• t ° ng f.r 00118 ta^ed binding. Host of the
8 «tw««n Kla ttajeatjr' a Government and the tribe®
thJn^t^ 2£ .H a i ‘ ae , n protectorate did, it la true, extend to
.! ! ‘®„^ aoio ^? lavour end protection of Hi® Majesty's
bean bo yfartes of their territories never having
bean defined, hla wajesty’a Sovernrient are etill left with aeon*
fox* concession or compromise* ^
With the single exception of the K.hor—el-OHeld. Mis
majesty a Government sre thus free to weigh against each other the
coni lie ting o a aims of friendship with J audi Arabia, on the one
hand f o,ud of the Brit loti Oil Companies and British prestige smesug
the Arab ruler© of South-East Arabia on the other* ' fio evidence-
Is yet available about the eatent, or even the existence of
petroleum deposits in the disputed area* Oeological surveys are
now in progress cm the Trucial coast The historic term used by the British to refer to the Gulf coast of Trucial Oman, now called United Arab Emirates. and In Dhofar. Bhofar is
included in the territory claimed by the Sultan of Muscat end
recent evidence suggest© that its inhabitants do, in fact own
allegiance to him and have already been undertaken, without success,
in the coastal area of Muscat. It ia hoped that oil may be found
in the interior of Muscat, but survey parties have not yet been
able to penetrate that region* The ell eoispany has so far
refrained from exploring the febei Kskah, at His M©jeoty 9 s
Goverrirrjcnt 9 © request, in order to avoid provoking Ibn Baud* Until
the whole ax*@a has been properly surveyed, the importance of its
oil bearing possibilities ®s a factor influencing His Majesty’s
Goverjimant 9 a policy cannot be assessed*
The importance of maintaining British prestige among the
Arab rulers of bouth^last Arabia 1® determined primarily by
strategic considerations. Although the iinistry of Defence decided
in 1948 that this area was unsuitable for a major base, the coastal
areas might provide minor naval bases and airfield©, whose value
would be enhanced in time of war, particularly if the opposite side
of tdic . ersian Gulf were occupied by hostile forces* There are
already four airfields in this area, of which two, Sharjah and
Mafilrah# are important, ^diile the others ^Hiyan and Salalah, would
only be required fox* short-range purpose© and are only on e care and
maintenance basis. Two sloops of the loyal Kavy ©re permanently
on this wtatian and the Royal Havy also make use of iaslrah. His
Majesty’s Government can reasonably expect to obtain greater
coricesoiona from the Sheikha arid unit ana who now control the coastal
©re® than from a major Arab ruler like I bn Baud* On the other
Riyan is in the Aden Protectorate south of the area shown Hand/
on the sketch attached to this memorandum.

About this item


This volume concerns British policy regarding the south-eastern boundaries of Saudi Arabia, specifically its border with Qatar.

The correspondence and memoranda near the beginning of the volume discuss from a British perspective the origins and recent history of the boundary dispute, which is described as having been in abeyance since 1938; much of the later correspondence is concerned with whether the British should make renewed attempts to reach an agreement with Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] .

References are made to various existing and proposed boundary lines, the most recent of the latter is the 'Riyadh line' (the name given to the boundary proposed by the British to the Saudi Government in November 1935, referred to elsewhere as the 'final offer').

Notable correspondents include the following: 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. (Charles Geoffrey Prior, succeeded by William Rupert Hay); 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 (Reginald George Alban, Edward Birkbeck Wakefield, and Cornelius James Pelly); His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Stanley R Jordan, succeeded by Laurence Barton Grafftey-Smith); officials of 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 External Affairs Department, and the Ministry of Fuel and Power (Petroleum Division); representatives of the United States' State Department, Petroleum Development (Qatar) Limited, Petroleum Concessions Limited, and the Iraq Petroleum Company respectively.

Related matters of discussion include:

  • Ibn Saud's claims regarding the south-eastern frontiers of Saudi Arabia, particularly those relating to Jebel Nakhsh [Khashm an Nakhsh, Qatar] and Khor-el-Odeid [Khawr al ‘Udayd, Qatar].
  • Reports in 1941 of a rumour that the Shaikh of Qatar [Shaikh ‘Abdullāh bin Jāsim Āl Thānī] and Ibn Saud have reached an agreement regarding the Saudi-Qatar boundary.
  • The likelihood of oil prospecting either near or within the disputed territory, and its implications for the territorial dispute.
  • British concerns in 1947 regarding the possibility of the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco) initiating drilling operations in the seabed near to the disputed territory.
  • The precise location of proposed drillings by Petroleum Concessions Limited in the Qatar Peninsula.
  • A reported complaint in 1947 from the Shaikh of Abu Dhabi [Shaikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan] that Petroleum Development (Qatar) Limited has laid buoys in his territorial waters.
  • Whether the British should permit or impede a proposed survey in Qatar by Petroleum Concessions Limited, which is thought likely to provoke protests from Ibn Saud.

Also included are three maps depicting the eastern and south eastern parts of the Arabian Peninsula.

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 2).

Extent and format
1 file (195 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 195; 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.

Pagination: the volume also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/67(6) 'Boundaries of South-Eastern Arabia and Qatar: Trucial Coast Oil Concessions' [‎7r] (20/402), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2139, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 26 January 2020]

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