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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎76r] (152/220)

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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However that may be, the arrival of the Ajman as refugees from the
wrath of Ibn Sand within the limits of Kuwait territory was a serious matter,
which the British authorities could not afford to ignore. The unconditional
admission of the rebels—for such they were—to the benefit of British protec
tion could not fail to affect our relations with an important Arab ally, while
the dictates both of common justice and indeed of Arab custom demanded that
the suppliants should be admitted to sanctuary, at any rate temporarily, pend
ing fuller consideration of the merits of the case and of the interests involved.
The question was accordingly discussed by Sir P. Cox with Ibn Saud and
the Shaikh of Kuwait on the occasion of the Kuwait Durbar A public or private audience held by a high-ranking British colonial representative (e.g. Viceroy, Governor-General, or member of the British royal family). of November,
1916, and, in view of the greater interests involved in the newly ratified
alliance of the Arab rulers with the British Government for the vigorous
prosecution of the war against the common enemy, a compromise was framed
and agreed to by all concerned, whereby Ibn Saud undertook not to molest the
Ajman in their new quarters provided that they in their turn refrained from
molesting the tribes of Najd and declined any intercourse with sucli sections
as had betaken themselves to enemy protection.
This agreement was intended to remain in force until the end of the war,
and it was hoped that the Ajman would be content with the security thus
obtained under the protection of the British Government and would on their
part faithfully observe the conditions imposed on them.
The innate instability of the Arab character, however, soon rendered the
hopes entertained of this agreement vain and Ibn Saud declares—with what
degree of truth it is impossible to estimate—that a projected forward move
ment on his part against the Shammar forces during the summer of 1917 had
to be abandoned owing to a sudden movement of the Ajman, which threatened
his flank. There is no doubt that the Ajman did move in the direction
indicated by Ibn Saud, though there is no reason to suppose that their action
was caused by any other motive than the necessity of finding new pastures
for their flocks and herds. Nevertheless the move constituted a breach of the
agreement of November, 1916, and, if Ibn Saud did at the time contemplate
an attack on the Shammar, the action of the Ajman was sufficient, on military
grounds alone, to give him pause, while, finally, Shaikh Salim’s failure to
insist on the observance of the agreement by his guests involved the British
Government in a charge of breach of faith.
Ibn Saud did not miss the opportunity of lodging a complaint regarding
the manner in which the agreement had been observed by other signatories
than himself, and another opportunity soon presented itself, on the eve of the
departure of the Mission from Iraq, in the arrival at Kuwait of Dhaidan ibn
Hitlain, one of the Shaikhs of the Ajman proscribed by the terms of the
It is true that his petition for sanctuary had been answered by Sir P. Cox
to the effect that sanctuary could only be granted on the production of a letter
of recommendation from Ibn Saud. Nevertheless Dhaidan and his following
took up their residence in Kuwait territory without any such letter and with
the consent of the Shaikh of Kuwait, and it was left to the Mission to see what
arrangement could be arrived at in consultation with Ibn Saud.
Thus, when the Mission arrived at Riyadh, it found that, on moral
grounds alone, Ibn Saud had an unassailable case, as he could point to two
distitict breaches of an agreement, which the British Government had ratified
but had made no effort to enforce, while he himself had scrupulously observed
both its spirit and letter. Moreover the Mission, having as its main object to
induce Ibn Saud to active aggression against the enemy, could not leave out
of consideration the possible effect of the active or passive presence of a large
and hostile force on the flank or rear of Ibn Sand’s army, and we decided that,
on military grounds alone, Ibn Saud could not move while the Ajman remained
in Kuwait territory. Thirdly, on the less plausible ground of political
expediency, we thought it advisable to placate Ibn Saud at the expense of a
tribe, which, after all, had and has no claim whatever on our friendly consider
ation, when such placation promised substantial results in other directions.
Nevertheless, having thus decided on moral military and political grounds
that the Ajman must leave Kuwait territory, we used our best endeavours with
Ibn Saud to obtain for them as favourable terms as possible; to this end we
pointed out to him that on military grounds alone it would be unwise to
increase the numbers of our active enemies, if this could possibly be avoided
by securing the neutrality of those, who could not be our friends and had nn
desire to be our enemies.
To this Ibn Saud consented after much argument, and it was finally decided
that the Ajman should be left to choose one of the following alternatives, all
of which had the double merit of removing them from Kuwait territon* and
lessening by one the number of possible sources of friction between Ibn Saud
and Ibn Subah, namely: —
(1) that the tribe should move en masse northwards and join Fahad ihn
Hadhdhal, our Anaza (Amarat) ally, thereafter shewing their goodwill to
Hadhhal, our Anaza (Amarat), ally, thereafter shewing their good will to
the allied cause by acting with him or remaining benevolently neutral; or

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 [‎76r] (152/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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