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Coll 6/67(4) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎104v] (208/843)

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The record is made up of 1 file (420 folios). It was created in 12 Nov 1935-27 Sep 1937. 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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is only a part of the Jahal Dukhan, which is slightly higher than the adjacent
crest, th is difference in our premises will never be settled by looking at maps in
Jedda, and I feel that, if the argument is to be pursued profitably, responsible
representatives of the two sides will have to visit the spot together and to come to
an agreement about the physical features.
5. I have, however, suggested in my telegram No. 24, dated the 25th March,
that it is not desirable to try to force a settlement on the frontier question at the
present moment. If what seemed to be the overwhelming evidence obtained by
Mr. Rendel had convinced Ibn Sand it would have been an excellent thing, but
the note which forms the second enclosure to my despatch No. 46, dated the
2/th March, shows clearly that he is not convinced, and that the frontier on the
east remains a very sore point with him. Given this feeling, and the difference
of opinion about the physical features in the Jabal Naksh, I feel that to continue
to urge Ibn baud at present to accept our point of view would be useless, and
would go far to counteract the good effect of the conversations which took place
dm ing Mr. Rendel s visit. In any case, I think that no decision to continue to
pi ess for the frontier we want should be taken until you have had an opportunity
to consider the matter in the light of the recent conversations, and I have
recommended this in my above-mentioned telegram No. 24. In the meanwhile. I
have sent replies to the two communications on this and kindred subjects which
oimed the enclosures to my despatch ^\o. 46, but 1 have foreborne to press our
claim. Copies of these replied are enclosed. In one I acknowledge receipt of
Ibn baud s complaint against being hemmed in by His Majesty’s Government on
the east, in the other I transmit to the Saudi Government the information about
the position of Sufuk which has been received in Bahrein telegrams Nos. 64
ami 65, dated the 23rd and 24th March, and give my opinion that there is some
serious discrepancy between the Saudi information and our own as to the physical
features m the Jabal Naksh region.
a t ^ at as we have made up our minds about Jabal Naksh
and Khor-al-Odeid, Ibn baud has nothing to gain by delay, while we stand to
Jose in that a cause of friction is left which might lead to trouble at a time of
Vi? 81 !', i ( 0 l l 0t i t u ink i that either these arguments is completely sound.
n Saud may feel that he cannot hope to obtain either of the two coveted areas,
ut that is not the same as signing the places away in writing and thus belittling
himself in the eyes of the Arab world. As to the danger likely to result from an
undetermined frontier, I suggest that the fear of such a danger can be
exaggeiated^ If there should ever be war in which His Majesty’s Government
and Saudi Arabia were on opposite sides, it is not a description of the frontiers
on paper that would prevent Ibn Saud from trying to advance to the shores of
the 1 ersian Gulf at various points, while if Ibn Saud were on our side or neutral
he would not disturb the statics quo. Everything now suggests that he realises
that his interests and those of His Majesty’s Government are hound up wi h each
? k nu r We f a '' e unable t0 g ive him all that he asks for we should at least
ink, refrain from pressing him to make an admission that we can do without
7. In order that our claim may not go by default, we might surest that a
joint commission should visit the Jahal Naksh-Araik area and examine the
physical features on the spot. It is beginning to he a little late in theTar for
such a task, and we might suggest the end of the year as a suitable time Then
I would urge that we should examine carefully the possibility of giving Ibn Saud
a roya ty on any oil that may be struck in or near Jabal Naksh on the pretext that
the oil-bearing strata must run partly under his territory. In my despatch
No. 38 E. dated the 11th March, 1937, on the finances of Saudi Arabia I stressed
the poverty of this country and the strain that will be placed upon Ibn Saud if
the search for oil and minerals in his territory continues to be unsuccessful and
oil should be discovered as it has been at Bahrein, in the territory of some minor
Hds rlk should be'done 7 g 0811 reasonabl y done to reduce
8 From correspondence going back to 1904, of which copies have been
retened fiom Bushire it is clear that the Government of India have alwavs
regarded Khor-al-Odeid as belonging to Abu Dhabi. On the other hand, it seems
equally clear that the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi never exercised any authority there
en, and Ibn baud claims that it is he who exercises authority there now though
it seems that the population is very scanty, if, indeed, the area contains anv
inhabitants at all. But even if it were possible to induce the Sheikh of Abu

About this item


This file primarily concerns British policy regarding the eastern and south-eastern boundaries of Saudi Arabia, specifically those bordering Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Muscat (i.e. the Sultanate of Muscat and Oman).

Much of the correspondence relates to British concerns that the boundaries should be demarcated prior to the commencement of any oil prospecting in the area. The file's principal correspondents are the following: His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, succeeded by Sir Reader William Bullard); 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); 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. , Muscat (Major Ralph Ponsonby Watts); the Secretary of State for the Colonies; the Secretary of State for India; the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; officials of the Foreign Office, the Colonial 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. , and the Admiralty.

Matters discussed in the correspondence include the following:

  • Whether the British should press King Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] for a settlement of the outstanding questions relating to the aforementioned boundaries.
  • Sir Andrew Ryan's meeting with Ibn Saud and the Deputy Minister for Saudi Foreign Affairs, Fuad Bey Hamza, in Riyadh, in November 1935.
  • The disputed territories of Jebel Naksh [Khashm an Nakhsh, Qatar] and Khor-al-Odeid [Khawr al ‘Udayd].
  • Whether or not a territorial agreement between Ibn Saud and Qatar was concluded prior to the Anglo-Qatar Treaty of 1916.
  • The intentions of Petroleum Concessions Limited regarding the development of its oil concession in Qatar.
  • The line proposed by the British for the boundary between Saudi Arabia and the Aden Protectorate.
  • The Kuwait blockade.
  • Leading personalities in Oman.
  • Details of Harry St John Bridger Philby's expedition to Shabwa [Shabwah, Yemen].
  • Four meetings held between Sir Reader Bullard, George Rendel (Head of the Foreign Office's Eastern Department), and Ibn Saud, in Jedda, 20-22 March 1937.

Also included are the following:

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 (folio 2).

Extent and format
1 file (420 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 421; 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. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/67(4) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎104v] (208/843), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2137, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 26 January 2020]

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