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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎77r] (154/220)

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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Firstly, that the Ajman should be warned that, in the event of the
continuance of raids, their subsidies would be stopped and their
access to the local markets barred; and
Secondly, that Ibn Saud should be given a free hand to deal with the
tribe provided that the safety of the railway was not thereby
It was with a feeling of considerable relief that I communicated these
orders to Ihn Saud. I was aware that he would not immediately be in a
position to take advantage of his newly won liberty in the matter, while the
removal of a substantial grievance was to be welcomed at a time when the
Sharifian situation threatened at any moment to become exceedingly delicate.
The Ajman problem has caused Government a great deal of unnecessary
difficulty and anxiety, due to a perhaps mistaken desire to be lenient to a
potentially hostile element; but it is, in the light of experience, difficult to resist
the conclusion that much time, trouble and irritation might have been saved
by the acceptance without further ado of the ultimatum propounded by the
Mission so long ago as last December and its communication to the tribe.
To that ultimatum Government had to return after ten months of futile search
for a better alternative, during which its desire to serve the interests of an
undeserving tribe resulted in the loss of much prestige in Central Arabia and
in increasing quite unnecessarily the number of counts, on which Ibn Saud
could indulge his querulousness with a fair show of reason.
10. The Aicazim Problem.
Unlike the x\jman problem the affair of the Awazim was of transitory
interest and presented no serious difficulty. The Awazim had long been recog
nised as one of the home tribes of the Kuwait jurisdiction and. in the old days
when the friendship of Mubarak and Ibn Saud rendered the delimitation of
the frontiers of Kuwait and Najd unnecessary, they were free to roam in
differently over the pastures on either side of the frontier while paying taxes
to Kuwait alone.
The unfortunate differences between Shaikh Salim and Ibn Saud, how
ever, and especially the protection accorded by the former to the rebel Ajman
put an end to the old order of things, and Ibn Saud, by way of retaliation on
the Shaikh of Kuwait for provocation offered, renewed and asserted in practice
his long dormant claim to tax the Awazim graziers, whenever and wherever
they entered his territory in search of pastures or, in other words, annually,
because the narrow limits of Kuwait jurisdiction can never afford grazing suffi
cient for the needs of a Badawin tribe all the year through.
In enforcing this claim Ibn Saud was acting well within the rights con
ferred by- sovereignty. At the same time he had no grudge against or desire
to press unduly on the Awazim tribe, which was placed for no fault of its own
in the unfortunate position of having to pay double taxes, and was perfectly
readv to consent to any reasonable arrangement or indeed to forego altogether
his right to tax the tribe—but on terms.
The settlement of the Ajman question by the effectual expulsion of the
tribe from Kuwait territory was an essential preliminary to any such arrange
ment. while, for the rest, Ibn Saud, after a discussion with the Mission, under
took that, if Shaikh Salim wrote to him in suitable terms recalling the friendly
arrangement, by which, in former times, the Awazim were exempted from the
payment of taxes to the Najd treasury and requesting a reversion to the old
policy, he would reciprocate by replying in similar terms and formally abjur
ing his claim to tax the tribe thereafter.
The proposed letters were, as a matter of fact, never exchanged and
Shaikh Salim failed to reciprocate in the matter of the Ajman, while, on more
than one occasion, elements of the Awazim tribe covered the movements of
Ajman and Shammar raiders on their excursions into Hasa. Nevertheless the
Awazim problem did solve itself—arabwZando—and it is to Ibn Sand’s credit
that he discontinued taxing the tribal flecks and herds without obtaining any
thing in the nature of a q\ud yro quo.
11. The Blochade.
Though our enemies in this War have undoubtedly enjoyed certain tacti
cal advantages over ourselves and our allies by reason of their geographical
cohesion, the fact that they are situated within a ring fence almost completely
surrounded by enemies has, in another direction, proved a serious disability,
in that they have been cut off from the markets of the world and have had ito
rely on the goodwill of neutrals and the avarice of others to provide them with
an always precarious supply of necessary commodities, which they are unable
to produce in sufficient quantities in their own territories.
To make that supply more and more precarious and indeed to cut it off
altogether has therefore naturally been one of the most important military
objects of the allies, and the instrument used for the accomplishment of this
end was the Blockade.

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 [‎77r] (154/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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