Coll 6/67(4) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [105v] (210/843)
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.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
drawn myself as a result of my observations from the air (copy attached).() I
left him a duplicate of this sketch, which showed unmistakably that the Jebei
Naksh is geographically an integral part of the Jebei Dukhan and of the Qatar
Peninsula. I pointed out that the obvious line for the frontier of the peninsula
ran across the flat sand south of the Jebei, and I developed the obvious general
arguments against establishing unnatural and unsound frontier lines.
7. Sheikh Yusuf Yasin replied that the King could legitimately claim a
great deal more than the Jebei Naksh. All the tribes in this area really owed him
allegiance. But he was, nevertheless, prepared to abandon his rights over the
greater part of the area, if the Jebei Naksh remained in his possession.
8. I answered that this might perhaps have been an argument if he were
claiming the whole of Qatar. But this was not practical politics. We had, by our
treaties, guaranteed Qatar and the Trucial Sheikhs against absorption by any
other Power, and King Ibn Saud had recognised and accepted this situation by
the Treaty of Jedda. The integrity of Qatar must, therefore, be maintained, and
we really could not reasonably be expected to accept any claim which would
involve its dismemberment. Had any concession in this area been at all possible
I could assure Sheikh Y T usuf Yasin that I should have been the first person to
9. I added that, in all the early stages of this dispute there had never been
any question of a Saudi claim to the Jebei Naksh. The claim, indeed, which had
only been put forward by Fuad Bey Hamza at an advanced stage of the
controversy, had come as a complete surprise to us. Was it worth then risking a
settlement for it?
10. We then passed on to the second part of the frontier, i.e., that between
Saudi Arabia and the Sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi. This brought us to
King Ibn Saud’s claim to the Khor-el-Odeid.
11. I explained that here also I had very greatly hoped that something might
have been done to meet King Ibn Saud’s wishes. But my reading of the archives
of the Political Residency A diplomatic office of the British Government established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. 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. had shown that the claim of Abu
Dhabi to this area was far older and stronger than I had imagined, and that the
Khor-el-Odeid had been formally recognised by us for the past sixty years at least
—long before there was any question of any Saudi claim—as the property of the
Sheikhdom of Abu Dhabi.
12. I then gave Sheikh Yusuf Yasm a summary of some of the relevant
history notably the correspondence of 1878, 1881, 1890 and 1906 (see attached
note, of which Sir Reader Bullard gave the sheikh a copy later), and read him the
second paragraph of Sir Percy (then major) Cox’s letter of the 1st December,
1906, to Sheikh Zaid-bin-Khalifa of Abu Dhabi, which Sheikh Hafiz Wahba
translated, and which Muhammad Shaikho took down.
13. Sheikh YTisuf Yasin and Sheikh Hafiz Wahha attempted to argue that
King Ibn Saud’s recognition by article 6 of the Treaty of Jedda of our special
treaty relations with the Trucial Sheikhs did not imply any recognition of any
particular frontiers; but I pointed out that our recognition of a valid claim by
such a sheikh to any particular place formed part of our treaty relations with
that sheikh, and must be regarded as covered by Ibn Saud’s recognition of our
special relations with him.
14. I added that as regards the Khor-el-Odeid itself King Ihn Saud would
not be losing anything of any value. The sea here, as I had seen from the air,
was a mass of reefs, while the entrance to the Khor was so long, narrow, winding
and shallow, that I could not conceive of its being any use to any one as a harbour.
But to us and to the Sheikh of Abu Dhabi, the continued possession of this area
had a different importance, which it could not possess for King Ibn Saud. We
did not want the Khor-el-Odeid as a harbour; but the land immediately to the
west of it afforded the only land passage between Abu Dhabi and Qatar, and it was
far more important for Abu Dhabi to retain the caravan route and to keep a
coterminous frontier with Qatar, than for King Ibn Saud, who already had good
potential harbours at such places as Ras Tanura, to obtain a new fragment of sea
coast of very problematical value. But in any case, as King Ibn Saud would be the
first to realise, we could not go back on the categorical undertaking contained in
Sir Percy Cox’s letter of 1906.
( 1 ) Not reproduced.
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:
- Copies of the minutes of meetings of the Committee of Imperial Defence's Standing Official Sub-Committee for Questions Concerning the Middle East.
- Copies of correspondence dating from 1906, exchanged between 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. (Major Percy Zachariah Cox), the Government of India's Foreign and Political Department, and the Ruler of Abu Dhabi [Shaikh Zayed bin Khalifa Al Nahyan], regarding the latter's claim to Khor-al-Odeid.
- Several maps and sketch maps depicting the proposed boundaries discussed in the correspondence.
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.
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- English in Latin script View the complete information for this record
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- Coll 6/67(4) 'Boundaries of South Eastern Arabia and Qatar.'
- front, front-i, 2r:30v, 33r:47v, 50r:60v, 64r:93v, 95r:107v, 109r:210v, 213r:304v, 313r:358v, 360r:421v, back
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