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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎100v] (201/220)

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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Kurds at the instigation of the Turkish authorities. They should be formed into an
autonomous principality on the same lines as the Lebanon, and there should be the
same assisting Power as in Southern Kurdistan.
5. The Lebanon .—The area marked G and coloured green covers the Lebanon
vilayet within the boundaries defined in 1861, with the addition of the Beirut enclave.
6. Frontiers of Palestine .—It is assumed that the Jordan and the Dead Sea will
form the frontier on the east. The suggested frontier on the north is the River Litany.
This would give Sur vTyre) to Palestine and Saida (Sidon) to the Lebanon. Saida is
wrongly marked on the map south of the River Litany, where Sur ought to be.
Towards the south it is difficult to draw a precise line between settled and Bedouin
country, but it would be a sound principle to include all country capable of cultivation
(e.g., in the direction of Rafa and Beersheba) in the settled area.
The Bedouin area here is marked H and coloured green, and this should
probably be attached to Egypt, since the tribes are identical with those in the Sinai
Peninsula, and the pre-war frontier is quite arbitrary from the tribal point of view.
Akaba should be left to the Arabs, but it might be advisable to include some of
the wells on the east side of the Bay in Egyptian territory, so that we might be able to
make a British harbour here if it proved desirable to do so hereafter.
1. Natural Areas. —In considering the internal boundaries of the Arab area, it is
important to realise at the outset that the “ desert ” cannot be carved up arbitrarily on
American or Australian lines. The Arabian Desert, and above all the Syrian part of
it, is not a no-man’s land. Every foot of it is private property. Wells, grazing rights,
rights of transit, &c., are jealously defined and maintained. And the apportionment
of them between the tribes is not a matter of caprice but of economic necessity, just as
much as the apportionment of mines, harbours, &c., in settled countries. The tribal
areas have been worked out by the experience of thousands of years, and are so
irranged as to support the maximum population in a country where, on account of
physical characteristics, the nomadic life will always remain the most economic method
of exploitation. Any arrangement of boundaries must therefore be based on the
permanent underlying areas. It must consist simply in grouping them in one way or
another, and if it is to work it must never ignore them or partition them.
At the same time Bedouin tribal boundaries are of course more elastic than the.
frontiers of settled countries, and the lines marked on the map are only approximate.
2. The “Blue” or “Feisal" Group. —This includes the settled towns and
cultivated districts of Syria (blue wash) and the tribal areas economically dependent
on them (blue outline).
3. 77ie “Red” or “ Abdullah ” Grpup. —This includes the settled districts of Irak
and the tribal areas economically dependent on them. In Irak there are also
semi-settled tribes inside the settled area, for example, the tribes of the Shatt-al-Hai
and the Muntefik. These will have to be absorbed into the settled population, and
cannot be dealt with on lines of tribal autonomy.
4. The “ Yellow ” or “ Husein ” Group. —This includes the tribal areas and oases
which are likely to be dependent on Mecca, especially the principality of Jebel Shammar,
the ruler of which, bin Rashid, has lately sent in his submission to King Husein.
5. The “Jezireh” or “Zaid” Area. —This country is at present in transition
from nomadism to settlement. There are cultivated patches round Harran. Ras-ul-Ain,
Mardin, Sinjar, and Mosul; purely nomadic Arab tribes, like the Northern Shammar;
and other tribes, principally Kurds, which are in process of settling down.
6. Kurdistan. —This country is purely tribal in the mountains and settled in the
lowlands towards the south-west. The Kerkuk district has a great industrial future
on account of its oil-fields, and certainly cannot be treated tribally.
7. Koweit. —The area shown on the map is that assigned to the Sheikh of Koweit,
as the outer limit of his tribal suzerainty under the Anglo-Turkish Convention of the
29th July, 1913. The Turkish military posts of Safwan and Umm Kasr on the
mainland, just north of Bubian Island, ought now to be included in his dominions.

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 [‎100v] (201/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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