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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎75r] (150/220)

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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by breaking that of Ibn Rashid, whereas, in effect, a fourth factor was added
to the former Arabian trio and the fourth member soon shewed that he was as
strong and as firmly established as any of his rivals.
Nevertheless the outward semblance of friendship between Najd and
Kuwait appears to have been preserved well enough during Mubarak’s lifetime,
while Ibn Sand has told me of more than one occasion, on which he sought
the benefit of Mubarak’s ripe experience and advice, particularly in reference
to the line he should adopt towards the British and Turkish governments, and
has related, only as of historical interest and with no feeling of hostility, the
attempts occasionally made by Mubarak to draw away to himself the allegiance
of Najd tribes by the practice of political intrigue, in which he was a past
When Jabir succeeded Mubarak, the relations to Najd and Kuw r ait bade
fair to follow in the channel marked out in the past. Both rulers were firm
in their friendship to the British Government—an additonal inducement to
them to maintain cordial relations with each other—but it was well known
that -Tahir’s brother, Salim, heir-presumptive to the Shaikhship, was not only
inimical towards the new ruler of Kuwait but had strong leanings towards
the Turks, while his tendency to orthodox bigotry marked out Ibn Saud and
the Wahhabis as his particular enemies.
It was therefore an evil moment for all concerned when Jabir died sud
denly and was succeeded at Kuwait by Salim. The latter, indeed, made
public profession of his loyalty to the British and of his firm intention to work
for the common cause, but his conduct from the beginning has been at vari
ance with his professions.
Kuwait, which had always—to a certain extent unavoidably—been an
outlet for smuggling of goods to enemy destinations, rapidly became
notorious as the enemy’s main source of supply, and it must be admitted that,
in all probability, much of the stuff so exported passed through the Qasim to
Hail to the profit of the merchants of the former district. Remonstrances by
the British authorities to Shaikh Salim were met by the ready reply that Ibn
Saud and not he was responsible for the regrettable state of affairs, while
representations to Ibn Saud provoked the answer that the evil should be
stopped at its source, namely Kuwait.
Thus the clashing of political—not to say financial—interests lighted the
train prepared by religious antipathy, and the traditional friendship of the
houses of Saud and Subah gave place to enmity, none the less real for being-
veiled in deference to the dictates of a power greater than either and allied
to both.
Mutual recriminations over the blockade soon gave way to acts of covert
political hostility. The Ajman tribe, fleeing from Ibn Sana’s vengeance, had
sought and obtained refuge in Kuwait territory before Salim’s accession to ,
the Shaikhship by an arrangement of the British Government, to which Ibn
Saud and Jabir were parties and of which an essential condition was that the
tribe should behave itself and that those of its leaders, who had sought refug-e
rat Hail or with Ajaimi Ibn Sadun, should not be allowed into Kuwait terri
tory. Nevertheless Salim, seeing in this problem a means of plaguing Ibn
Saud, made unnecessarily ostentatious parade of his protection of the tribe
and welcomed back the proscribed leaders. Ibn Saud retaliated by taxing
the Awazim tribe, over which Ibn Subah claims sole jurisdiction, when it
crossed his frontiers in search of grazing.
In short, when the Mission arrived at Riyadh, the relations of our two
allies were about as strained as they well could be—Salim being in somewhat
the stronger position for the time being owing to the natufal reluctance of the
British authorities to increase the number of their enemies by insisting on the
expulsion of the Ajman from Kuwait territory to their only possible resort—
the enemy territory of Hail and the desert between it and the Euphrates. 9
9. The Ajman Problem.
To understand properly the attitude of Ibn Saud to the Ajman tribe and
the bearing of the problem on the politics of Najd, it is necessary to go back
to the sixties and seventies of last century, when the death of Faisal Ibn Saud
was followed by a prolonged and sanguinary struggle for the throne between
his two eldest sons, Abdulla and Saud, which ended disastrously not only for
Saud, who fell in battle, but also for the Saud dynasty itself, whose surviving
remnants passed into exile on the usurpation of their dominions by Muhammad
Ibn Rashid, the nominal protector and actual master of Abdulla.
Palgrave has left on record the impression made on him, during his visit
to Riyadh in 1862, by the undisguised antipathy existing between the two
brothers, while Faisal was still alive to keep them apart. Abdulla, as the
eldest son, succeeded his father, but Saud did not delay long to raise the
standard of revolt, while his personality, more pleasing than that of his
brother, soon attracted a large following, the nucleus and most important part
•of which was supplied by his mother’s tribe, the Ajman.

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 [‎75r] (150/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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