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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎74r] (148/220)

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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offensive, decided to remove himself from the danger zone without delay. Ilis-
offence is unpardonable and exemplifies the futility of putting any trust in the
Shammar, whose tribal solidarity is notorious everywhere in Arabia.
On what grounds the 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 reported that I was out
of touch with Dhari I do not know and why, coming as he did without
anything to shew that he came by my permission, lie was permitted to settle-
at Safwan and admitted to the markets of Zubair and Kuwait I cannot under
stand. Be that as it may, having forfeited my confidence by an act of
treachery he found no difficulty in establishing himself in the confidence of
the authorities at Basrah and from that time onwards, safply based on Safwan,
he proceeded in conjunction with the Ajman, similarly based at Kuwaibda
under British protection and thus immune to direct attack by Ibn Saud, to
make himself a nuisance to the people of Najd, his brother, Satam ibn Tawala,
becoming prominent as the leader of several JShammar-Ajman raids into Ibn
Saud’s territories during the months that followed.
My representations in the matter failed to effect afiy reconsideration of
the orders passed but resulted in the reduction of lihari’s salary from
Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 1,000 yer mensem; some months later he had the impudence
to write to me protesting against the reduction of his allowance and request
ing me to intervene^. He received no reply. This matter like many others,
is now of academic importance, but I have considered it necessary to deal
with it in some detail in view of the very unfavourable effect it had on public
opinion in Najd at a time when false rumours, sedulously fabricated at
Kuwait, were creating doubts as to the ultimate issue of the war. It was
freely said that we were afraid of taking strong action against potential
enemies and ready to placate them at all costs. The moral was obvious; Ibn
Saud’s policy of patient endurance of affronts and even assaults was freely
criticised and disapproved.
Our dealings with the Shammar have certainly not raised us in the
estimation of the people of Najd. They .may have been necessitated by
military considerations, but that in itself was a confession of weakness dan
gerous to make before an ignorant and generally hostile people.
“ The British Government ”, said the Imam Abdul Rahman himself—
and his words were endorsed by the Wahhabi High Priest—“ either can and
wont help us or else they would but cannot—in either case we should be-
prepared to help ourselves.”
7, Other Shammar Elements.
In the last section I have dealt in detail with Dhari ibn Tawala, who,
with Saud al Salih al Subhan, had collected a considerable gathering of Sham-
mar elements in the neighbourhood of Zubair and Safwan, where they con
stituted a standing menace to Ibn Saud and in all probability a source of pre
carious supply to their fellow tribesmen at and around Hail. Nevertheless,
from the point of view of Ibn Saud’s contemplated offensive against Hail, they
neutralised a considerable number of possible adherents to the cause of Ibn
Other Shammar elements, e.g., the Abda and Tuman sections, with whom
I had no direct dealings, occupied a similar position in the Euphratean
marches further north, where they came under the control of Bt. Lt.-Col.
G. E. Leachman, C.I.E., Political Officer of the Desert.
Ibn Saud from time to time expressed the fear that these elements, while
profiting by admission to the markets of Iraq, were in reality only biding their
time to join Ibn Rashid as soon as his own offensive developed, and I found
it somewhat difficult to justify our policy in the matter to him. While, there
fore, explaining to him the immediate and obvious advantages of neutralising
Ibn Ajil and his Abda following by allowing them access to our markets on a
strictly limited scale, I urged him to strike while they were far away hoping
that Colonel Leachman would be able to restrict their activities in the event
of the opening of the offensive.
In the meantime Ibn Saud himself was coquetting with the Sinjara
section under Adwan and Ghadhban Ibn Rimal, who shewed tentative signs-
of accepting his offer of an asylum in the desert between Kuwait and the
Altogether during the last few T months of the period under report the
Shammar situation remained obscure and complicated, and it was never possi
ble to form on estimate of the numbers of tribesmen likelv to flock to the
defence of Hail in the event of Ibn Saud’s offensive being opened and
In the altered circumstances it is idle now to speculate as to what might
have happened—all we can say for certain is that, when Ibn Saud eventually
did strike his first blow against tbn Rashid, he found the field empty of hostile
elements and that the further prosecution of the campaign had become un
necessary before it could be known what reply the Shammar elements on the
borders of Iraq would make to Ibn Rashid’s general call to arms for the defence
of the tribal stronghold.

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 [‎74r] (148/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 7 December 2023]

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