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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎86r] (172/220)

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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Ghat Ghat contingent and sent it off for service with Turki against the Sham-
mar, and wrote, at my request, to Khalid Ibn Luwai, assuring him that he w'as
making representations in the matter to the British Government and directing
him to retrain from forward action in the confidence of his ability and deter
mination to protect his frontiers against attack.
The Sharif, in the course of the discussion, which followed, justified his
action on the ground that Khalid Ibn Luwai owed his appointment as Amir
of Khurma to himself—this claim was, according to my information, extremely
doubtful, as Khalid had succeeded his cousin Ghalib in the ordinary course of
inheritance on the death of the latter about four years ago, and that Khurma
itself lay within his own frontiers. In the meantime, he did not consider it
necessary to interrupt his operations against the “ rebels ” and preparations
w T ere pushed on for the renewal of the expedition. Khurma was attacked a
second time in July; the Sharif’s troops were again routed with the loss of two
guns and two automatic rifles and the affair was reported to Ibn Saud by
Khalid in a letter, in which he pressed for assistance and threatened to take
matters into his own hands, if Ibn Saud found himself unable to support him,
by sending forth his women and children to rouse Najd to action. Meanwhile
there was little room for doubt that the tribes of the south were collecting for
the defence of Khurma and that the Turkish authorities were watching the
development of the situation with interest. The letters of the Asir chiefs and
of Fakhri Pftgha, referred to in another part of this report, provided sufficient
confirmation of the suggestions to this effect I made in my reports.
My efforts were devoted to engaging Ibn Saud actively in hostilities with
the Shammar, if only to keep his attention off the Khurma trouble and to
ensure the employment of as large a part of his available force as possible.
He naturally emphasised the delicacy of the situation, protested against the
unprovoked aggression of the Sharif and wrote to Ibn Luwai, assuring him
that, while the British Government had not had time to consider nly represen
tations before the second attack occurred, he would, without fail, go to his
succour in the event of a third attack becoming imminent.
I was not in a position to do more than guarantee to Ibn Saud that the
British Government would not suffer a violation of his territorial integrity,
but the course pf the correspondence, which ensued, made it evident that such
a guarantee was meaningless. Ibn Saud, while assuring me once more that
the Khurma people would not adopt an aggressive policy, warned me that he
was pledged to go to their assistance in the event of another attack, and dis
claimed all responsibility for the consequences, if the Sharif persisted in his
course. At the same time, he offered to submit the boundary dispute involved
unreservedly to the arbitration of the British Government with a guarantee
that he would accept their decision, whatever it might be. Reporting these
conversations I pressed for a settlement of the boundary question or, in the
event of that being impossible under war conditions, for the imposition on
both parties of a provisional boundary from Marran to Turaba along the line
of the Shaib Shaba, which forms the natural boundary between the Subai and
Buqum tribes.
My greatest hope lay in the fact that some time must necessarily elapse
before the Sharif could renew his operations, and I felt confident that H.M.’s
Government w r ould insist on his holding his hand pending consideration of the
issues in dispute. In this I was mistaken. The Sharif opposed the idea of
arbitration on a question regarding the rights of which he had no doubt, and
H.M.’s Government in a placatory message to Ibn Saud, without committing-
itself to any definite decision on the matter in dispute, adopted the Sharif’s
formula that he had no intention of allowing his operations, which were directed
solely against the “ rebel ” Amir of Khurma, to develop into hostilities east
of Khurma against Ibn Saud’s territory.
Such a message, evading the whole point of the dispute as it did, was
little consoling to Ibn Saud, who took strong exception to the wording of the
clause of Govoriinieiit s message relating to the matter and repeated his in
ability io accept responsibility for the consequences of further aggressive
action by the Sharif. Thus matters drifted inevitably towards war; H.M.’s
Government had reassured Ibn Saud regarding his prospects in the event of
Ins undertaking active measures against Ibn Rashid, and I made the most of
this message to press him into action, conscious that it was a race with Sharif
Shakir, who was known to be preparing for another descent on Khurma.
As a matter of fact, the news of his third attack on Khurma, undertaken,
according- to information culled from deserters from his force, in conse
quence of the receipt of peremptory orders from the Sharif to take action or
surrender his command, and ending like its predecessors in the defeat of the
i ia j l ^ an ^°T C ? the loss of two guns and two automatic rifles, arrived on
the day I rejoined Ibn Saud at Qusaiba after Inis successful raid against Hail.
Ibn Saud, delighted at his own success and equally so by the offer I was
now able to make to him, on your authority, of a regular subsidy of £10,000
per month, so long as he maintained active operations against Jabal Shammar
and, above all, convinced, by the result of the third attack on Khurma of

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 [‎86r] (172/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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