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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎91r] (182/220)

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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Precis of Relations with Ibn Sand (vide para. 2 of Report).
Abdul Aziz Ibn Sand, the present Hakim of Najd, may be said to have
begun his reign in 1901, when he was proclaimed governor of Riyadh by his
father Abdul Rahman. The Sand family were at that time in exile, having
been driven out of their dominions, in 1891, by their hereditary foe, Ibn
Rashid. In 1902, Abdul Aziz with the help of Mubarak Ibn Sabah, Shaikh
of Kuwait, recovered Riyadh in a daring raid which.he led in person, and by
1906 he had so far re-established the old supremacy of the Saud as to carry
hostilities to the gates of Hail. During the years succeeding his return to
Riyadh he acted in close alliance with the Shaikh of Kuwait, who had every
reason for desiring the curtailing of Rashid influence. For the Rashid were
allies, and in a remote acceptation of the term, vassals of the Ottoman empire
subsidised and backed by Constantinople, and they represented in Arabia the
Turkish policy of centralisation which the Shaikh was covertly resisting in
his own territories. His geographical position on the shores of the Persian
Gulf had placed him in relations with the British Government; since 1899 we
had had a friendly understanding with him and had promised to support him
against Ottoman aggression. But the existence of this connection made us
unwilling to see him drawn into the confused and uncertain feuds of the
interior, and acting on the principle laid down in 1897 that we were “ not
disposed to interfere more than was necessary for the maintenance of general
peace in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. ”, we had discouraged him from embroiling himself
in Central Arabian affairs. Ibn Saud, in. spite of his growing importance,
was outside the limits of our interest, thus appointed, and it was not until
1911 that special attention was drawn to him in our official reports. In that
year Captain Shakespear, the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Kuwait, while on tour, met
him by chance in the desert and was hospitably entertained in his camp. Ibn
Saud expressed to him a desire to be received into a recognised relationship
with Great Britain; he referred to Colonel Pelly’s visit to Riyadh in 1865 and
to the overtures made to us by his father, Abdul Rahman, in 1904 when a Bri
tish Agent was first appointed to Kuwait. He spoke in strong terms of the
hatred which the Arabs entertained for the Turks and of his own resentment of
their occupation of the Hasa, a province which he was particularly anxious to
regain, not only because it formed part of his ancestral dominions, but also
because it would give him access to the sea and control over the
tribes from Riyadh to the coast. He regarded with grave apprehension
the aggressive policy of the new regime in Turkey and would welcome, if he
recovered the Hasa, a British Agent in one of his ports, and he added that
our trade would benefit from the increased security which he would maintain
on the caravan routes. Captain Shakespear could make no other rejoinder
than that the British Government confined its interests to the coast and had
never challenged Turkish claims to the ordering of affairs in Central Arabia,
with which we had no concern; that we were moreover on amicable terms
with Turkey and should be averse from anything in the nature of intrigue
against the Ottoman Government, but in his comments on the report of this
interview, Sir Percy Cox pointed out that as the Porte seemed disposed to be
intractable in the adjustment of matters relating to British interests in the
Gulf, we could not afford to ignore Ibn Sand’s attitude. His personal author
ity had greatly increased, and it would be well to entertain cordial if distant
relations with him. The Foreign Office, however, decided that it was im
possible at that time to swerve from our policy of strict non-interference.
Two years later Ibn Saud, without the assistance which he had tried to
obtain from us, though he was credited throughout Arabia with having secured
it, overran the Hasa, ejected without difficulty the small Turkish garrisons and
established himself on the coast at Qatif and Ojair. Captain Shakespear, on
his return to England in June, 1914, from a long projected journey across
Arabia, in the course of which he had visited Riyadh, bore witness to the strong
personal domination which Ibn Saud’s vigorous and commanding personality
had established, and from other reports it was clear that he was regarded
beyond his own frontiers as the coming man. He proved more than a match
for the ineffective efforts of the Turks to retake the Hasa; they resorted to
diplomacy and opened negotiations with him through Saiyid Talib of Basrah.
Early in May TaPat Beg had formulated in private conversation at the British
Embassy the expectations of the Ottoman Government in terms which seemed
to his hearers little consonant with actual conditions. He proposed to estab
lish a strictly delimited frontier between Ibn Saud and Ibn Rashid, place repre
sentatives of the Sultan at Riyadh and at Hail, and rely upon the guile 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 [‎91r] (182/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 13 July 2024]

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