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Coll 6/67(1) 'Boundaries of South-Eastern Arabia and Qatar.' [‎144v] (293/794)

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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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Mr. Rendel drew attention to the fact that the first two points which had
been mentioned, i.e., the question of slavery and that of the Akaba—Maan frontier,
were not, in fact, dealt with in the text of the Treaty of Jedda, but in exchanges
of notes signed at the time of the conclusion of the treaty, but, in fact, quite
independent of it. These two questions, whate\er might be decided about them,
need not therefore affect the future of the treaty. As regards the question of ^
the relations between Ibn Baud and the Arab rulers of the Gulf, which was dealt
with in a general way in article 6 of the Treaty of Jedda, he considered that
any more elaborate arrangements, which it might be necessary or desirable to
make to govern future relations between Ibn Baud and the rulers of South-Eastern
Arabia, would normally fall to be discussed in connexion with any arrangements
that might be made regarding the south-eastern frontiers of Saudi Arabia. He
thought he ought perhaps to mention at this point that the Sultan of Muscat
was more completely independent than the Trucial sheikhs, and that it might
therefore be necessary for him to be brought in as a separate party to any eventual
settlement. He repeated, however, that the whole of this question seemed to him
to fall to be dealt with together with that of the frontier.
As regards the question of the prevailing language of any new agreement, he
said that this seemed to him to be a point of form which should not be allowed
to interfere with the political issues involved. In point of fact, the departure
from precedent which had been agreed to in the case of the recent treaty with
the Yemen was due to the unique circumstance that the Yemen was so out of
touch with civilisation elsewhere that no one could be found in that country
with any adequate knowledge of any European language. Unique conditions
required unique treatment. Saudi Arabia was in a very different position.
The point, however, involved rather complicated questions of precedent, &c., and
had better be dealt with quite independently of the political issues.
Mr. Rendel then proceeded to deal with the question of slavery. He explained
that this question was one of great importance, on which public sentiment in
this country was extremely strong. England had played a very remarkable
part in the abolition of the institution of slavery, and public opinion here would
never tolerate any step which might be regarded as a step in the wrong direction.
If any new arrangements were to be made on this point, therefore, it must be
quite clear that their effect would be to hasten and not to retard the inevitable
and ultimate abolition of slavery as an institution. He felt sure that Fuad Bey,
and indeed King Ibn Saud himself, were sufficiently enlightened to realise that
slavery an an institution was fundamentally wrong, and was doomed to extinction
in any country that hoped to make true progress and to play a worthy part among
the nations of the world. He could say categorically, therefore, that His
Majesty’s Government would not be able to agree to any new arrangement which
did not fit in with these principles. The question was of such importance that
he could not in any case do more than hear and take note of any proposals which
Fuad Bey might wish to make. If, however. King Ibn Saud should wish to
propose some arrangement the effect of which would be not to retard but to
accelerate the abolition or at any rate the reduction of slavery, he felt sure it
would be examined with all possible consideration for the King’s position in
the matter.
Fuad Bey stated that in his view slavery would sooner or later cease when
slaves ceased to be imported. King Ibn Saud could, however, proceed no further
than the social and economic state of his kingdom would allow. Further, he
had to make allowances for the fact that Islamic law permitted slavery. Steps
might, nevertheless, be taken to limit the number of slaves in such a way that an
annual decline in their number would eventually lead to the total extinction of
slavery. He alluded once again to the recent Anglo-Yemeni treaty settlement,
under which the Imam had undertaken not to allow the importation of slaves
into his territory. It might be possible for King Ibn Saud to give some under
taking of that nature and simultaneously to take steps to alleviate the lot of
those slaves who were already in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Rendel said that it would, of course, make a great difference if
King Ibn Saud could take any such steps within his own dominions.
Fuad Bey explained that there were great difficulties attending such action.
Apart from King Ibn Sand’s difficulties with his own public opinion, it was

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.' [‎144v] (293/794), 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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