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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎93v] (187/220)

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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effective attack was made on Hail in their absence. In late June or early
July, Ibn Saud’s son, Turki, raided Jabal Shammar, and the news may have
hastened Ibn Rashid’s retreat from our frontiers. In September or October
Turki renewed hostilities against some of the Shammar Shaikhs and an allied
section of the Harb, but the affair resulted only in the capture of a small
amount of booty, and Ibn Saud’s doctor, passing through Bahrain, brought
a message to the effect that the Amir could do nothing against the Shammar
as long as the fugitive Ajman remained on his flank. I he true reason for
his inactivity was no doubt his own insecurity at home, but the implacable
hostility which he entertained towards Ajman, whom he regarded not only as
rebels but as the murderers of his brother Saud, threatened to become a problem
of some difficulty.
When Shaikh Mubarak died in December, 1915, Ibn Saud pressed his son
and successor in Kuwait, Jabir, to drive out the Ajman Shaikhs.^ Jabir made
a temperate reply. He was unwilling to eject the Ajman, tearing iliat tiiey
would be thrown into the enemy camp; but he could not hold out against Ibn
Saud’s insistence without creating an open breach and he expelled the tribe
in February, 1916. As he anticipated, they turned for protection first to
Ajaimi and"then to Ibn Rashid, but in May they asked and obtained permis
sion from the Shaikh of Zubair to settle quietly near Safwan, and subsequently
several of the leading Shaikhs made submission to us. When Ibn Rashid
returned to Hail onlv two of the Ajman Shaikhs remained with Ajaimi and
they had little or no'following. Ibn Saud’s ardent desire to direct his ener
gies upon the extermination of this tribe was not one with which we had any
sympathy, at all events at the present juncture.
Shaikh Jabir, new to his office, could not hope to exercise the influence
over Ibn Saud which had been possessed by that practised and weighty diplo
matist his father: moreover for some years before Mubarak’s death relations
between Riyadh and Kuwait had been growing cooler. Ibn Saud bitterly re
sented Mubarak’s attitude during the negotiations between himself and the
Ottoman Government in the spring of 1914. According to his account the
Shaikh had at first counselled him to accept the Turkish offers, but when he
reached Kuwait in April Mubarak changed his note, without explanation, and
advised Ibn Saud not to come to terms with the Turks, refusing, at the same
time, to be present at his meeting with the delegates. So indignant was the
Amir that he expressly stipulated with Captain Shakespear that Mubarak
should not be consulted in the negotiations with ourselves. The asylum given
the Ajman was another grievance, and in 1916 Ibn Saud complained of the
incidence of the transit dues which had been, from time immemorial, levied
in Kuwait.
While Ibn Saud’s anxiety as to the ambitions of the Sharif, and his grow
ing estrangement with Kuwait showed that the chiefs allied with ourselves had
not reached a satisfactory understanding with each other, there was evidence
that the Turks were still active in Arabia. News was received from Ibn Saud
and from other sources of the despatch of an agent (Muhammad) Taufiq Ibn
Fara’un of Damascus, for the purpose of buying camels for the Ottoman Gov
ernment; the emissary was well chosen, for he was a personal friend of Ibn
Saud and had visited Najd on the same business the previous year. But on
this occasion the Amir was pressed by us to prevent him from obtaining camels :
he accordingly arrested Ibn Fara’un, confiscated 700 camels which had been
purchased in the interior and sent them to Kuwait. Various reports, some of
which came from Ibn Saud, indicated that another attempt to stir up Ibn
Rashid against us was in the wind. Rushaid Ibn Lailah, Ibn Rashid’s repre
sentative at Constantinople, joined him at Hail with a few German
and Turkish officers, a small body of Turkish soldiers and some guns; accounts
varied as to the exact composition of the mission, but its presence in Hail in
some form seemed fairly certain. Ibn Saud had written in September that he
would be glad of a personal interview with the Chief Political Officer to dis
cuss the question of co-operation with the Sharif or offensive action against
Ibn Rashid. In October he repeated the request urgently, and on all grounds
it seemed advisable to accede to it. Sir Percy Cox met him at Ojair on Nov
ember 11. Ibn Saud explained to him his position in detail. He had lost
considerably, in men and material, in the fight with Ibn Rashid in January,
1915. Since then he had been almost continuously in the field, first against
the Ajman and then against the Murrah. Most of the normal trade of Najd
was with Syria, and the tribes were accustomed to sell their camels to Damas
cene dealers: the strict blockade imposed by Ibn Saud—the seizure of Ibn
Fara’un’s camels bore witness to its reality—grew more and more galling: the
Najd is grumbled, the tribes were restless, all asked wherein lay the advantage
to themselves of their Chief’s attitude, and it was increasing!v "difficult for him
to keep them in hand. With regard to the Sharif, Sir Percy Cox was able to
give Ibn Saud the fullest reassurance. Our treaty with the Amir had been
communicated to Mecca, and when the Sharif announced to us his intention
of proclaiming himself King of the Arabs on November 5, we had insisted on
a^ formal admission that he claimed no jurisdiction over independent rulers.
r I he news of the coronation at Mecca had not yet reached Central Arabia and
was not discussed. During conversation with the Chief Political Officer at

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 [‎93v] (187/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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