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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎17r] (34/220)

The record is made up of 1 file (110 folios). It was created in 27 Aug 1893-19 Dec 1918. It was written in English and French. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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include many matters of detail, fraught with difficulty and requiring ripe con
sideration—for instance, definition of boundaries, law and jurisdiction, harbouring
of refugees, reciprocal treatment of subjects, arms traffic, and arms facilities.
“We consider early conclusion of treaty with Bin Saud most important, but
that, for the present, it should be on broad lines somewhat similar to the original
Afghanistan agreement with Abdur Rahman, and suggest following :—
“1. British Government recognises Bin Saud as independent ruler of Nejd,
Hasa, and Katif, and guarantees hereditary succession to his dynasty,
subject to the acceptance of successors by tribesmen and approval of
His Majesty’s Government ;
“ 2. In the event of unprovoked aggression on his territories by any foreign
Power, British Government are prepared to aid Bin Saud to such extent
and in such manner as the situation may require ;
“ 3. In return, Bin Saud agrees to have no dealings with any other foreign
Power, nor grant concessions to subjects of any other foreign Power,
except on the advice of the British Government, which advice he will
unreservedly follow ;
“4. British Government and Bin Saud agree to conclude, as soon as this can
be arranged, a detailed treaty in regard to other matters jointly
concerning them.
“ Cox agrees that a preliminary treaty on these lines would meet the case,
and thinks Bin Saud would accept it. Dynastic guarantee of some kind would
probably be essential.* That proposed appears sufficiently guarded.”
On the 30th January, 1915, 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. communicated this telegram to the
I’oreign Office with the following observations (11837/1385/15) :—
“ The desirability of concluding a treaty with Amir Abdul Aziz follows not
merely from the exigencies of the moment, which make it necessary to pay an
immediate price for his friendship, but also from the general situation that will be
created in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. in the event, as the result of the present war, of the
disappearance of Turkish rule from Basra, to which His Majesty’s Government are
pledged. It may he anticipated that the Amir of Nejd will be left the master not
only of Central Arabia, but also of a long strip of the coast, and in the interest of
peace and order it will be essential for the Power that controls the Gulf to have a
working arrangement with him. The extent, therefore, to which his claims must
be met must be measured not only by the immediate services which he is expected
to render, but also by the potential power for mischief which, in the event of
success, he will possess, and if permanently estranged will doubtless exercise.
“ As regards the terms of the treaty suggested by the Government of India,
the dynastic pledge is undoubtedly the crux, but safeguarded in the manner
proposed it appears to be free from reasonable objection. It is, however, more
than probable that the condition that the successor must be accepted by the
tribesmen will be a stumbling-block to Bin Saud, as it was to the Sheikh of
Mohammerah, in whose case His Majesty’s Government, under the pressure of
the war, have recently approved its abolition. Moreover, regard being had to the
very large area over which Bin Saud is to rule and the notoriously factious temper
of the Arabs, it may be very difficult to fulfil in practice. We must therefore be
prepared for opposition from Bin Saud, and the Marquess of Crewe would not let
the negotiations break down over this point.
“ The guarantee against unprovoked aggression should, in his Lordship’s
opinion, be so worded as to make His Majesty’s Government sole judges of the
nature and extent of Ihe assistance to be given.
“ Subject to these remarks Lord Crewe commends the proposals of the
Government of India to Sir E. Grey’s favourable consideration. It is a question
whether, in view of the importance of our eventual relations with Bin Saud, the
present treaty should not contain a clause binding him (subject to an agreement as
to boundaries in the detailed treaty to be concluded later) to abstain from inter
ference with Koweit, Bahrein, al-Katar, and the Trucial Chiefs. His Lordship
would propose to suggest this to the Government of India, but to leave it to
their discretion.
* The Turks had given Bin Saud a dynastic guarantee in their Treaty of the 15th May, 1914.

About this item


The file contains correspondence, memoranda, maps, and other papers relating to Middle Eastern affairs and a few other miscellaneous matters. The majority of the file concerns discussions of and proposals for the post-war settlement of Near Eastern territories, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. The basis of these discussions was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Other matters covered by the papers include events in Siam [Thailand] and Burmah [Myanmar] and the colonial rivalry in the region between France and Britain, the Baghdad Railway, and relations with Ibn Saud in Arabia, including a report on the 1917-18 mission to Najd by Harry St John Philby (folios 67-98).

Folios 99-110 are six maps with accompanying notes that show the various proposed territorial settlements and spheres of influence in the Near East and one showing Britain's global colonial possessions.

Memoranda and correspondence comes from officials at the Foreign Office and 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. . Other correspondents include French and Italian government officials.

Extent and format
1 file (110 folios)

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the back.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front of the envelope with 1, and terminates at the inside back last page with 110, 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.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎17r] (34/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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