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Coll 6/67(1) 'Boundaries of South-Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎129r] (262/794)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (392 folios). It was created in 13 Jun 1934-13 Dec 1934. It was written in English and Arabic. 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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^ IMI1

EASTERN (Arabia)
October 3, 1934.
Section 1.
[E 6160/279/91]
No. 1.
Anglo-Saudi Relations.
South-Eastern Frontiers of Saudi Arabia.—(Record of Conversation with
with Saudi Ministry on October 3, 1934.)
FOLLOWING on the arrangements made at the second meeting with Fuad
Bey Hamza on the 20th September, the Saudi-Arabian Minister and Mr. Zada
called on Mr. Rendel on the 3rd October ostensibly to inform him of King Ibn
Sand’s views in regard to the possible revision of the 4 ‘blue-line” frontier.
Sir A. Ryan and Mr. Johnstone were also present.
2. Sheikh Hafiz Wahba began by explaining that he had now heard from
Ibn Sand, and that the King considered that the frontier should follow existing
de facto line which had been tacitly, though not formally, agreed upon between
himself and the Sheikh of Qatar as the southern limit of the latter’s authority.
This boundary, though never actually defined, had long been tacitly accepted
and had never given rise to any trouble, and the King would be prepared to reach
an agreement either with the Sheikh of Qatar direct or with His Majesty’s
Government on this basis.
3. Mr. Rendel said that this was, of course, only a small portion of the
frontier, but that it seemed to him that what the sheikh had just said was really
begging the question. His Majesty’s Government could not admit any line
other than the ct blue line,” on the ground that it had been tacitly agreed to or
accepted and had not given rise to difficulty. It was precisely because no agree
ment had been reached about the frontier and because difficulties had arisen that
the question was now under discussion. Moreover, His Majesty’s Government
were responsible for the foreign relations of Qatar; there could, therefore, be no
question of a direct agreement between the Sheikh of Qatar and Ibn Baud in
regard to the frontier. The position was that His Majesty’s Government
regarded the “blue line” as the legal south-eastern frontier of Saudi Arabia.
They were prepared as part of a general settlement not to take their stand on the
strict letter of the law, but to agree to some modification of the line by mutual
4. What the Minister had said gave a fairly clear indication of what King
Ibn Saud’s desiderata might be in regard to the Qatar sector of the line. But
it was even more important to know Ibn Saud’s ideas in regard to the remainder
of the “ blue line.” Fuad Bey, at the meeting on the 20th September, had spoken
of claims to the areas inhabited by the Murra and Manasir tribes, and extending
as far south as the Qara mountains. The claim to the Manasir might give rise
to difficulties, and His Majesty’s Government would certainly not be prepared
to consider any claims extending as far south as the Qara mountains. What His
Majesty’s Government wanted to know was how far King Ibn Saud’s claims
really did extend. It would, for instance, obviously be useless to pursue the
discussion if King Ibn Sand were putting forward claims extending right into
the territory of Muscat. Before negotiations could be embarked upon, it was
really important to know what the King was asking for.
5. The Saudi Minister said that he had received no instructions in regard
to anything but the Qatar sector of the frontier. He understood that the King
proposed to communicate his views to Sir A. Ryan on the latter’s return to Jedda
in December, when negotiations would be opened.
6 . Sir A. Ryan pointed out that this carried us no further at all than the
Saudi Government’s last note on the subject.
7. Mr. Rendel said that His Majesty’s Government considered it most
important to have some indications of King Ibn Saud’s claims and desiderata
before Sir A. Ryan’s departure. He repeated that the present position was that
[231 c—1]

About this item


This volume primarily concerns British policy regarding the south-eastern boundaries of Saudi Arabia.

It includes interdepartmental discussion regarding the approach that the British Government should take in reaching a settlement with King Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] over the demarcation of the boundaries.

Much of the correspondence discusses the legal and international position of what is referred to as the 'blue line' (the frontier which marked the Ottoman Government's renunciation of its claims to Bahrain and Qatar, as laid down in the non-ratified Anglo-Ottoman Convention of 1913 and redefined and adopted in the Anglo-Ottoman convention of the following year), a line which is not accepted by Ibn Saud as being binding upon his government.

The volume features the following principal correspondents: His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan); 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. , Kuwait (Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Richard Patrick Dickson); 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 Chief Commissioner, Aden (Bernard Rawdon Reilly, referred to in the correspondence as Resident); the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Sir Philip Cunliffe-Lister); the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir John Simon); the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs; officials of 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 Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, the War Office, and the Air Ministry.

Matters discussed in the correspondence include the following:

  • Whether the British should press Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] for a general settlement of all outstanding major questions.
  • The extent of territory that the British should be prepared to include in any concession made to Ibn Saud.
  • The British response to what are referred to as Ibn Saud's 'ancestral claims' to territories east of the blue line.
  • Sir Andrew Ryan's meetings with Ibn Saud in Taif, in July 1934.
  • Meetings held at the Foreign Office between Sir Andrew Ryan, George Rendel (Head of the Foreign Office's Eastern Department), Fuad Bey Hamza (Deputy Minister for Saudi Foreign Affairs), and Hafiz Wahba (Saudi Arabian Minister in London), in September 1934.
  • The boundaries of a proposed 'desert zone', suggested by Rendel, where Ibn Saud would hold personal rather than territorial rights.
  • Saudi-Qatari relations.
  • Whether tribal boundaries should be considered as a possible solution to the boundary question.

Also included are the following:

The Arabic material consists of one item of correspondence (an English translation is included).

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 4).

Extent and format
1 volume (392 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 394; 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 and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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Coll 6/67(1) 'Boundaries of South-Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎129r] (262/794), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2134, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 11 November 2019]

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