Editor: Archive Editions and R. Jarman, [FRGS] former Advisor to the Bahrain National Museum
Author:N/A ISBN: (10) 1-85207-726- Published: 1990/1998 Paper: Printed on acid free paper Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish See sample pages:
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Note: this work absorbs and adds to a title previously published by Archive Editions - Political Diaries of the Persian Gulf 1904-1958 (in 20 volumes). The four new volumes (21-24) bring the Diaries closer to recent times by including previously unreleased documents and those which have recently become available under the 30-year rule.
These volumes comprise the periodical political reports and intelligence summaries prepared by British political officers stationed in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Trucial States and Muscat, as well as in Bushire, Bandar Abbas and elsewhere on the Persian side.
The Diaries provide an on-the-spot account of local events in the detailed and disciplined format demanded by the British Foreign Office, and cover political events in each country, diplomatic analysis and interpretation, foreign relations, home affairs, civil administration and development, tribal affairs, economic affairs and local personalities. The value of the Diaries lies also in their frequency and their detail, creating a cumulative, consistent and reliable historical record. This publication creates, for the benefit of scholars, an orderly series of political reports for the Persian Gulf states in a single 24-volume set, where previously the various reports lay scattered and unknown in numerous official files and no integrated collection was available.
The Diaries pass through a number of different formats and series over the years, but the backbone of the collection is the sequence of Residency Diaries running through most of the period. The British Resident in the Gulf, located at Bushire before moving to Bahrain in 1946, draws upon the reports of his local agents to provide his overall Summary of Events. The local agents´ reports have been included wherever they have survived, and local Diaries are available from Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Trucial States and Muscat. The earlier reports contain extensive information concerning the Persian (Iranian) side, and indeed in the period around the 1920s the Bushire Resident´s Reports are specifically termed the Persian Diaries. From around 1925 the growing importance of the Arabian side was reflected in the separate series of Arab States Newsletters which appeared for the next few years.
Over more than half a century the Diaries build up a cumulative picture of the political and social life of the Gulf states. The impact of national and international events is recorded; so are the daily details of social life. Among the regular and comprehensive reports can be found details on:
Arrivals and departures of British and Arab personalities
Territorial and tribal affairs
Climatic reports and phenomena such as the threat of locust swarms
Discovery and exploitation of oil
Activities and relations of the ruling families
Observations on various leading local figures in politics and business
Trade information on arms, gold, pearls, etc.
The extent and style of the Diaries vary greatly according to the gifts and inclination of the various writers and the time at their disposal. Perhaps the most idiosyncratic was Lt. Col. H. R. P. Dickson who wrote voluminously in the 1920s and 1930s on his trips into the Saudi hinterland, his meetings with Rulers and all the machinations and gossip that sometimes go into political intelligence-gathering.
The Persian Diaries of the earlier years and into the 1920s penetrate regularly into Iran, with detailed reports not just from the coastal area around Bushire and Bandar Abbas but from as far afield as Shiraz.
Volume 21: 1947-1958
This volume contains various reports necessary to complete the Diaries to the end of 1958. All the annual reviews for 1958 and the monthly review for Oman for December 1958 are included here. Also included are various reports which were not available when volumes 1-20 were originally published in 1990: the Trucial States News Diaries from December 1946 to February 1950; the complete set of 12 monthly summaries for 1948 written by the British Political Resident describing events in the Gulf as a whole; and the two fortnightly summaries for May 1948 written by the Political Agent in Bahrain.
Volumes 22-24: 1959-1965
The last three volumes comprise all the monthly and annual reviews for 1959-1964, and the annual reviews for 1965, the monthly summaries having been discontinued. Volume 24 ends with a review of Gulf history and developments from 1947 to 1965.
Documentary Importance Political Diaries of the Arab World: Understanding the series
This is the eagerly awaited fourth in our series of collected political reports for the Middle East. Already published are those for Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. The series provides scholars, researchers and historians with a tremendously detailed archive of material on each of the areas covered. Over the years many different series of reports have been undertaken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to the events on the ground. These series wax and wane with the tide of history but they are also subject to the force of personality of the compiler and the voracious demands of the British Foreign Office for information. Certain government officials will be seen to be prolific and others merely content to cover the main points clearly. However, whether the reports are being demanded by Her Majesty´s Government or showered upon it by officials in residence the effect is to leave a national treasure for following generations in the form of regular, structured, detailed reports of the current events, main players and political direction of the day. At one end of the scale alongside the public security and political events, the weekly reports log the minutiae of administration, with details of sowing and harvesting as well as trade, health and education. At the other end of the scale is the annual report sweeping grandly through the events of a year, giving a thorough background in the main political movements and permitting itself only the small luxury of a short chronology to furnish a little detail.
The Political Diaries series ends with the year 1965. Material for later years will be published when available.