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File 2764/1904 Pt 3 'Baghdad Railway: general negotiations 1910-1912.' [‎212v] (435/544)

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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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builders of locomotives cind other rolling-stock nnd the mnnufucturers of rails and
other materials, a fair share of the orders connected with the proposed railway ; if, as
would probably be the case, foreign engineers and foremen were employed, would
application be made to this country for suitable candidates; if a foreign staff wen *
required to work the railway when completed would this country be given equality of
treatment with other countries in regard to the posts to be filled ?
Djavid Bey replied that it would be the intention of the Ottoman Government
permanently to control the railway, and not to let it pass into German hands; in so
far as manipulation of rates were concerned, he would be t prepared to guarantee
equality of treatment for the goods of all nations.
As Minister of Finance he could give a private assurance that if purchases , df
rolling-stock, &c., had to be made abroad a percentage of 60 per cent, (the amount I
had suggested) would be made in England; but he asked that no formal assurance
should be required, as he might possibly place 100 per cent, of the orders in
England, but he was anxious that there should be no formal conditions, as if there
were every other country in Europe would formulate conditions, and the prospect of
the customs increase ever receiving general assent would indeed be remote. He could
similarly give a private assurance that British engineers and foremen would be given
equality of treatment.
I will revert to these aspects of the question at the end of this minute.
I then said that, assuming that the points indicated had been satisfactorily
arranged, there remained a matter of a somewhat delicate nature which could not be
excluded from discussion : I referred to the terminal port of the railway.
There appeared to be a consensus of opinion amongst those interested in shipping
that the most suitable point for such a port was the harbour of Koweit: there ocean
going steamers of large tonnage could enter at all states of the tide, and come along
side a quay where passengers and merchandise could without loss of time be transferred
to the railway adjoining, and within half an hour of leaving the quay the steamers
could be in the open sea.
Djavid Bey said that the Deputies from Bagdad and Bussorah were each anxious
that the terminus should be made at Bussorah.
I said that Bussorah was obviously not suited for the maritime terminus of a great
trans-continental railway : situated as it was several miles from the mouth of a river
which presented exceptional difficulties of navigation, if it became the terminus it would
entail, even in the most favourable conditions of tide and weather, a delay of from 10
to 12 hours in reaching the open sea ; moreover, the tendency of modern steamers
was to increase in tonnage, and ultimately the larger vessels would not be able to
approach Bussorah at all, even under the most favourable conditions. The consequence
of making the terminal port at Bussorah would be that transhipment to smaller vessels
would in many cases be necessary.
I then said that the selection of Koweit as a terminal port had far more importance
than at first sight might appear : the question should not be looked upon merely as of
local importance ; it should be regarded from larger aspects. With proper management
it might well be that Turkey would become the highway for fast traffic between Great
Britain and the Indian Empire, and one of the great trade routes between Europe and
the Far East. If this was to be brought about it was obviously imperative that there
should be economy of time wherever practicable, and to establish the terminus at
Bussorah instead of at Koweit would involve the arbitrary sacrifice of this most
essepial consideration.
I added that I might mention that the Russian Government had more than once
approached His Majesty’s Government in the hope of bringing about a junction of the
Russian and Indian railway systems, and that if this were once to take place the direct
route between England and India would be by way of Russia, and an enormous
volume of trade would be lost to Turkey.
This contingency seemed to impress Djavid, and he said that it was clearly to the
interest of Turkey to secure this through traffic; and I emphasised to him that if there
were a chance of a competing line to India the importance of saving time by making
the terminus at Koweit became still more evident.
I then said that His Majesty’s Government felt, in view of the great predominance
of British trade interests 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. , that it would only be fair that British
contractors should build the harbour of Koweit. Djavid replied that if Turkey built
the railway she should also, in his opinion, build the terminal port, and he added that
the question of Koweit was a political one which he, as Minister of 'Finance, did not
feel qualified to discuss. I said that the whole question of the Bagdad Railway was a

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.' [‎212v] (435/544), 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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