Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [73r] (146/220)
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. .
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
had been issued to the friendly Shaikhs of the Zubair hinterland to attend a
race-meeting, arranged to take place at Basrah, during the first week of
The occasion seemed suitable for discussing with them the affairs of the
nearer desert and its tribes as a preliminary to such operations as the Mission
might be called upon to undertake in the interior, more especially as for some
time past correspondence between Basrah and Baghdad had indicated the
necessity of taking stock of the merits of the various professedly friendly
leaders of the Shammar and Dhafir who had long enjoyed our bounty and
made no adequate return in the direction of action against our common
The Chief of the Shaikhs in question was Saud ibn Salih al Subhan, who,
some twelve months previously, had deserted Ibn Rashid and come in to us,
being cordially welcomed as an ally and provided with a substantial subsidy of
Rs. 5,000 per mensem, together with arms, ammunition and supplies in the
hope that he would prove actively useful in cutting off caravans bound for
Hail and other enemy destinations. For some time it had been whispered
that he was playing us false and it was beyond question that he had so far
done nothing to deserve his subsidy, which was reduced to Rs. 3,000 p.m.
shortly before the Mission left Baghdad.
Next to Saud al Salih in order of importance stood Dhari ibn Tawala of
the Aslam Shammar, whose subsidy was Rs. 1,000 p.m. He had rapidly been
displacing Saud in the estimation of those Officers, who had dealings with
the desert, and it had only recently been reported that his generosity towards
his followers had resulted in his having at his call a far larger and more
reliable following than his rival.
The third of the trio of local Shaikhs was Hamud ibn Suwait of the Dhafir,
who was also in receipt of a Government allowance and to whom was assigned
the task of watching the Basrah-Nasiriyah railway from the desert side and
of preventing egress therefrom by smugglers and access thereto by enemies.
On the 5th November, I accompanied a party organised by Mr. (now Lt.-
Col.) E. B. Howell, C.I.E., Deputy Civil Commissioner, Basrah, to Zubair
where we were entertained by Shaikh Ibrahim and I was introduced to Dhari
ibn Tawala, Hamud ibn Suwait and Muhammad ibn Subhan, the younger
brother of Saud al Salih, who, perhaps conscious of his past shortcomings, had
sent to excuse himself from personal attendance at the races on the score of
illness. With these Shaikhs I had some preliminary conversation on topics
of mutual interest and arranged that they should come in to Basrah for a more
prolonged discussion some day in the near future; at the same time I begged
Muhammad to send a special messenger to his brother to impress upon him
the advisability of his appearing in person.
On November 7th, Dhari Hamud and Muhammad arrived at Basrah in
company with Shaikh Ibrahim of Zubair and I had prolonged interviews with
each of them in turn except Muhammad, whom I informed that I would
reserve all discussion of his brother’s affairs until he appeared in person. As
a matter of fact Saud al Salih never appeared.
Shaikh Ibrahim was most useful to me in discussing confidentially the
merits of the various personalities I had to deal with. He was enthusiastic
as regards Dhari and the prospects of his being usefully employed to further
the interests of the British Government ; he was no less adverse to Saud al
Salih, whom he described as an imposter with no desire to serve anyone
honestly but himself, while as regards Hamud he maintained an attitude of
indifference, the present head of the Dhafir being personally insignificant and
an indifferent successor to a line of Chiefs, who had made the name of Ibn
Suwait respected and feared in the past.
After full and free discussion with Ibrahim, Dhari and Hamud and in
consultation with Mr. Howell, I came to the following conclusions, namely: —
(1) that Saud al Salih was unlikely to be of any practical service to us
and that the allowance, which we were wasting on him, should be discontinued
or reduced to a small personal allowance payable on the condition of his
residence at some place in the sphere of our effective control;
(2) that the Dhafir, being fixed by immemorial tradition to the desert
tract now traversed by the railway, Hamud ibn Suwait and his tribesmen
would be most profitably employed in their home range and could not with
advantage be brought into any operations in the interior; and
(3) that Dhari, of whom on my short acquaintance with him I had
formed a high opinion, might profitably be employed in connection with the
activities of the Najd Mission.
I accordingly telegraphed on November 8th, in the sense of the above
conclusion proposing: —
(1) that Sand’s allowance should be reduced to Rs. 500 per mensem, the
arms formerly given to him be withdrawn and he himself directed to reside at
Zubair, Basrah or Muhammara;
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 View the complete information for this record
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