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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎78r] (156/220)

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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he admitted the impeachment and merely pleaded that, so long as smuggling
on a large scale was practised in Kuwait to the profit of the local merchants,
it was scarcely reasonable to expect him to penalise the merchants of his own
territories—indeed he could not do so without serious risk of alienating the
Colonel Hamilton and I eventually proposed that a system of passes
should be introduced, wnereoy facilities tor export from Kuwait would Le
granted only to persons certified by the possession of such passes, signed by
Ibb Saud or his local Amirs, to be Ibn Saud’s ’subjects and reliable indivi
duals, and on the condition that Ibn Saud himself should accept personal
responsibility that goods, so exported, should not pass his frontier.
He demurred slightly at an arrangement so novel to Arab ideas and •
offered us an alternative to undertake the policing of the Kuwait frontier.
Such an arrangement, however, amounting as it did to a request for free
permission to vex and harass the Shaikh of Kuwait and his people, could not
for a moment be entertained; and for want of any other suitable alternative
w’e pressed for the acceptance of our original proposals, to which Ibn Saud—
by this time assured of a satisfactory settlement of the Ajman question—-
eventually assented on the understanding that the British Government would
take serious steps to prevent all direct smuggling from Kmvait itself to the
It was accordingly arranged as follows:—namely,
(1) that Ibn Saud should undertake the vigorous blockade of enemy
territory, accepting full personal responsibility that no supplies,
which entered his territories, should leave them for an enemy
(2) that the British Government should arrange for an effective blockade
system at Kuwait;
(3) that permission to export from Kuwait would not be conceded to
anyone not provided wuth a pass signed by the Amir of his place
of residence;
(4) that such permission would on no account be granted even to
friendly Shammar elements unless they w 7 ere accompanied by
a responsible representative of Ibn Saud himself; and,
(5) that a form of pass, evolved in the course of our discussions, should
be introduced without delay and distributed to the local Amirs
for use—the bearer of the pass would be required to present it
to the British authorities at Kuwait, to be endorsed by them with
• the quantity of each article to be exported and, on his arrival
at his destination, he would appear before the local Amir, who
would endorse on the pass the quantities of each article duly
brought to the intended destination, the document being even
tually returned, so endorsed and signed, to the British author
ities at Kuwait for record.
Not ccntent with the consummation of this agreement, we lost no oppor
tunity of impressing on Ibn Saud that his interests, no less than those of the
British Government, were at stake and that the importance of preventing
supplies reaching the enemy could not be exaggerated. He accordingly
desnatched letters to his Amirs, and particularly to those of the Qasim, ex
plaining the urgent necessity of implicit obedience to and strict enforcement
of his orders—adding incidentally that he had entered into a solemn under
taking with the British Government in this respect, the advantages of which
to his own subjects would become apparent in due course.
Colonel Hamilton returned to Kuwait to make arrangements to give
effect to the policy thus agreed on and some little delay occurred in working
out the necessary details and removing the difficulties incidental to the estab
lishment of a blockade post at Kuwait; but, in due course, a blockade Officer
was appointed to that pest and everything was ready for the inception of a
scheme, destined, it was hoped, to complete the cordon shutting out the
enemy from all access to the markets of the outer world.
This was the position when I returned to Ibn Saud in April, 1918.
According to custom large caravans from the interior had taken advantage
of the spring season to go down to the coast to bring up supplies for the
summer. Towards the end of the month, disturbing reports began to come
through to the effect that all the caravans had been turned away empty in
circumstances calculated to cause alarm. It is not too much to say that the
whole of Najd, suddenly faced with the prospect of spending the summer
without supplies, was in a ferment. The military precautions, including the
placing of machine guns on the roof of the Political Agent’s residence at
Shuwaikh and the landing of a detachment of troops, taken to obviate the
occurrence of trouble in connection with the turning away of the caravans,
were commonly interpreted as an act of hostility towards the people of Najd,
and Ibn Saud’s policy of friendship with the British Government came in for
a good deal of unfavourable criticism.

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 [‎78r] (156/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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