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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎33r] (74/544)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (268 folios). It was created in 1910-1912. 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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[This Document is the Property of His Britannic Ma.ipst.v'g Government.
[March 4.j
Section 5.
No. 1 .
G- Lowthev to Sit Edwavd Gvey.—(Received March 4 .)
(No. 173.)
^ r > Constantinople, February 28, 1912.
W 11 H xeierence to your despatch No. 23 oi the 20 th January ultimo, I have the
honour to forward herewith a despatch from the commercial attache at Constantinople,
explaining the actual state of affairs of the Turkish Customs at Bagdad, and the necessity
tor a speedy settlement of the question.
I have, &c.
Enclosure in No. 1 .
Report by Commercial Attache, Constantinople, on Turkish Customs.
[Foreign Office despatch No. 23 (1591/12) of the 20th January, 1912, enclosing
correspondence with the Board of Trade.]
New Specific Tariff .—The draft of the new specific tariff which has been drawn
up by Sir R. Crawford is now being printed, and copies will be obtained as soon as they
are available.
Bagdad Customs and Bonded Warehouses .—By a long-established custom
sanctioned by the authorities, the breaking up of bales and cases of merchandise which
arrive at Bagdad in transit for Persia takes place within the precincts of the Customs
_ The operations of breaking such bales and cases and converting them into packages
of dimensions and weights suitable for animal transport takes place under Customs
supervision, and merchants are further allowed to store such merchandise in certain
rooms—for which a rent is charged—inside the Customs buildings until transport is
available and the goods can be cleared for transit. It has long been recognised that
the accommodation at the Bagdad Customs for the warehousing of goods, whether for
the local trade or for transit, is very limited, and demands have frequently been made
by local merchants for an increase of covered space. The unsatisfactory state of the
custom-houses at several ports—Bagdad included—was so far admitted by the Turkish
Government that engagements were taken by the Porte in 1907, on the conclusion of
the agreement, for the increase of the import duty from 8 per cent, to 11 per cent, for
the rebuilding or enlarging of the custom-house premises at those ports. These
engagements are being steadily carried out by the Customs Department; improvements
in some of the ports have already been effected, whilst the work to be undertaken in
others is being duly considered. A considerable amount of correspondence has been
exchanged between the civil and customs authorities at Bagdad and the Central
Administration in Constantinople on the subject of the new premises to be put up at
Bagdad, and, although a good deal of trouble has been taken, the administration
has been unable to come to a decision in the matter, owing to the fact that the
area occupied by the present buildings cannot be extended, and that no suitable
site within the limits of the city, and having direct access to the river, has so far been
In conversation recently with Sir R. Crawford on the subject I learnt that the
customs authorities are much concerned about the present state of confusion which
reigns at the Bagdad Customs, and which has been caused principally by the
accumulation of goods destined for Persia. The disturbed state of the country over the
Persian border has practically brought about a complete suspension of traffic between
Bagdad and Kermanshah. Goods for transit to Persia are lying in the stores of the
[2403 d—5]

About this item


The volume comprises telegrams, despatches, correspondence, memoranda, newspaper cuttings, maps and notes, relating to negotiations over the proposed Berlin to Baghdad Railway in the period 1910-1912.

The discussion in the volume relates to the economic, commercial, political and military considerations impinging on British strategy for the international negotiations over the development of a railway to Baghdad.

Further discussion surrounds the motivations and strategies of British competitors in the area; included in the volume is a copy of the Russo-German agreement.

The principal correspondents in the volume include Sir Edward Grey, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Sir Gerard Augustus Lowther, Ambassador to Constantinople.

Extent and format
1 volume (268 folios)

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

The subject 2764 (Bagdad Railway) consists of five volumes, IOR/L/PS/10/56-60. The volumes are divided into five parts with each part comprising one volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the first folio with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 269; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of 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. Pagination: a pagination sequence in red crayon is present between ff 244-252.

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English in Latin script
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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎33r] (74/544), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/58, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 July 2019]

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