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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎71r] (142/220)

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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regarding the military assistance required by Ibn Saud should carry due
weight and that it might, in the event of action being decided upon and under
taken, assume the role of adviser to the Wahhabi leaders.
The despatch of the Mission was sanctioned by His Majesty’s Government
in a telegrain, dated the 20th October, 1917, and the Mission set forth from
Baghdad, nine days later.
«3. Personnel of the Mission.
The proposals originally made by Sir Percy Cox to His Majesty’s Govern
ment contemplated a more ambitious and representative composition of the
Mission than was eventually realised. It was hoped that the High Commis
sioner for Egypt and His Highness the King of the Hijaz would be able to send
representatives to take part in its deliberations; it was contemplated that Lt.-
Colonel R. E. A. Hamilton, C.I.E., 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. at Kuwait, who was at
the time on his way into Najd in another connection, would be able to serve
on the Mission to represent the interests of Shaikh Salim of Kuwait; further
it was hoped that a Medical Officer would be available; and, finally, the object
of the Mission being primarily of a military character, it was understood that
a responsible military officer would be deputed by the Commander-in-Chief of
the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force to examine and report on the military
situation in Central Arabia. Finally it was held to be essential, in order to
assist and expedite the work of the Mission, that a small Wireless Telegraph
detachment should be attached to it if available.
This somewhat ambitious scheme of things was, as already noted, not
realised. Lt.-Colonel F. Cunliffe Owen, C.M.G., R.F.A., was deputed to
represent the Commander-in-Chief and accompanied me from Baghdad to
Riyadh, where, during my somewhat prolonged absence at Jidda and Cairo, he
remained in charge of the Mission’s local work until February, 1918, when he
returned to the coast and departed on short leave prior to resuming his military
duties. Lt.-Colonel R. E. A. Hamilton, who was at Riyadh on the arrival
of the Mission, was kind enough to remain for several days to give me the
benefit of his views and advice before returning to his work at Kuwait.
With these two exceptions the personnel of the Xajd Mission throughout
the period under report comprised only niyself.
Looking back now over that period, I am inclined to think that the scale
of personnel originally contemplated was too ambitious. Useful as a wireless
installation would have been, the presence of a considerable number of British
operators in this inhospitable and fanatical country would have been a con
stant source of anxiety. A doctor would certainly have been a most valuable
asset in assisting to allay the fanatical attitude of the people towards all
things foreign except food supplies, piece-goods, arms and medicine, and I
recently suggested for your consideration the desirability of filling this un-
doubtecl gap. This question, though now of but academic interest so far as
the Mission itself is concerned, should certainly be taken seriously into
consideration in the event of a permanent political representative being
accredited to the Wahhabi court hereafter; in view, however, of the fact that
it was at one time contemplated that a medical representative of the American
Mission in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. might be induced to fill up the gap, to say nothing
of a certain unmistakable tendency in the direction of the extension of Mis
sionary activity in Arabia on the'part of the Mission authorities, I deem it
necessary to warn Government that a medical officer drawn from that source
would not be acceptable to Ibn Saud and his subjects, and that every effort
should be made to discourage medical practice in his territories by the person
nel of the American Mission. It is due in fairness to Ibn Saud to explain that,
lie extended a most cordial invitation to Hr. Harrison of that Mission to visit
Riyadh for medical work in the summer of 1917, and that it was entirely his
own fault that his work terminated abruptlv. It can never be absolutely
necessary to wrap up pills and powders in Christian tracts.
Finally in view of the Shariff’s attitude towards Ibn Saud, I do not think
that any good purpose would have been served by the deputation of a Sharifian
envoy to co-operate with the Mission, but no words can adequately express my
regret that circumstances deprived me of the collaboration of a representative
of "the High Commissioner for Egypt—and more particularly of that of Mr.
‘(now Colonel) R. Storrs, C.M.G., than whom no person could have been more
acceptable to Ibn Saud in view of his xirojected visit to Najd earlier in the
year as the representative of Sir Percy Cox. To this point I attach great
importance, and it must be realised that, from Ibn Saud s point of view, I
went to Egvpt as the advocate of his cause and came back defeated by the
advocates of the Sharif. We should describe the position somewhat
differently, but the result was the same to Ibn Saud and to us.
4. Objects of the Mission.
Summing up the position as regards the affairs of Ibn Saud in his telegram
No. 4035, dated the 23rd September, 1917. Sir P. Cox noted that it had been
his “ hope that the projected Mission of Mr. Storrs in the previous Jline and
his passage to the Sharif accompanied by an envoy from Ibn Saud would have I

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 [‎71r] (142/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 7 December 2023]

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