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Near & Middle East Titles:
Arabian Boundaries 1966—1975
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ISBN: (13) 978-1-84097-240-5
Extent: 18 volumes, 11,000 pages, including 2 map boxes 

Editor: R. Schofield, K.E. Evans
ISBN: (10) N/A
Published: 2009
Paper: Printed on acid-free paper
Binding: Library binding, with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

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This 18-volume collection provides the most comprehensive record published anywhere of the negotiations, discussions and detailed consideration given over to territorial questions in the

Gulf region in the critical 1966–1975 decade. Often more revealing than the actual agreements themselves are the policy discussions and debates that result in them. Here they are assembled for the first time.

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Historical Overview

This collection chronicles the most critical decade witnessed to date in the territorial evolution of the Arabian Peninsula and Gulf region, a wholly unique area in geopolitical terms. Nowhere else is there such a concentration of microstates and these overlie the world's greatest concentration of hydrocarbon reserves, all within a semi-enclosed sea.  The illuminating Foreign and Commonwealth Office record included here comprehensively charts the huge efforts made by Britain to get its territorial house in order by the time it left the region as protecting power in December 1971 but also provides unique insights into the major settlements of the era and their background: 

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Documentary Importance

Records have been identified which either specifically define the various boundaries concerned or throw direct light on their origin or evolution. Thus the records presented include treaties, letters, telegrams, memoranda and notes, the latter often being diplomatic summaries and assessments. The subject matter being dealt with here  includes negotiations, agreements, disputes, incursions and claims.

The aim in this publication is to present a sequence of original file material in integral form for the benefit of the researcher. Detailed and original academic introductions by the editor, Richard Schofield of King’s College, London, are provided for every year covered by the collection and  provide a clear and concise contextual analysis for the enclosed documentary content.

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Arrangement of volumes

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Contents Outline











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Key documents

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This 18-volume set includes 2 map boxes containing 30 large folding maps showing boundary agreements:


Map 01.   “Anglo-Saudi territorial claims in the Arabian Peninsula 1913–1955 (revised to 1962).”
Map 02.  “Provisional British characterisation of boundaries for the newly-independent South Yemeni Federation, 1968.”
Map 03. "Britain’s provisional 1947 award for a Bahrain–Qatar maritime boundary."
Map 04. "Approximate territorial definition in the Musandam Peninsula, 1967."
Map 05. "Approximate territorial definition to the south of the Musandam Peninsula, 1967."
Map 06. "Map attached to concession agreement of 15 December 1970, granted by the Government of Bahrain to Superior Oil Company."
Map 07. Chart No. 2888. "RAS JASK to JAZIRAT SIRRI. Operating limits of oil companies off Sharjah/Umm al Qawain. [1965]."
Map 08. Chart No. 2888. "RAS JASK to JAZIRAT SIRRI. Ras Al Khaimah to Muscat, line of equidistance."
Map 09. Chart No. 2888. "RAS JASK to JAZIRAT SIRRI. Ras Al Khaimah offshore operating area. [1968]."
Map 10. Chart No. 2888. "RAS JASK to JAZIRAT SIRRI. Ras Al Khaimah/Umm al Qawain/Muscat. [post-1963]."
Map 11. Chart No. 2888. "RAS JASK to JAZIRAT SIRRI. Trucial States Continental Shelf, subdividing seabed areas. [1963]."
Map 12. Chart No. 2837. "PERSIAN GULF EASTERN SHEET. Iran/Qatar/UAE, medium line on provisional seabed areas, probably as discussed in Tehran Conference. [1965]."
Map 13. Chart No. 2837. "PERSIAN GULF EASTERN SHEET. Abu Dhabi/Iran seabed boundary. Chart showing proposed Abu Dhabi/Iran seabed boundary based on results of Anglo/Iranian

discussion in 1966 and 1967. [1966/67]."
Map 14. Chart No. 2837. "PERSIAN GULF EASTERN SHEET. Iran/Trucial States Median Line. [1967]."
Map 15. Chart No. 2837. "PERSIAN GULF EASTERN SHEET. Median lines discussed at Tehran conference. [1965]."
Map 16. Chart No. 2837. "PERSIAN GULF EASTERN SHEET. Operating limits of oil companies holding off-shore concessions in Qatar and the Trucial States . [1965]."
Map 17. Chart No. 2847. "PERSIAN GULF WESTERN SHEET. Chart illustrating the boundary line defined in the Agreement concerning sovereignty over the islands of Farsi and Arabi and the

delimitation of the continental shelf between Iran and Saudi Arabia signed in Tehran on 2 Aban 1347 equivalent to 2 Sha’ban 1388 and 24 October 1968. [1968]."
Map 18. Chart No. 2847. "PERSIAN GULF WESTERN SHEET. Bahrain/Iran Seabed Boundary Agreement, 1971/72. [1972]."
Map 19. Chart No. 2847. "PERSIAN GULF WESTERN SHEET. Bahrain Continental Shelf, June 1970. [1970]."
Map 20. Chart No. 756. “RED SEA GULF OF ‘AQABA. Saudi Arabia/Egypt (Tiran Island), 1967”.
Map 21. Chart No. 3[3]707. "UMM AL QAIWAIN to RAS AL MATBAKH. Seabed boundary between Qatar and Abu Dhabi in accordance with the agreement of 1 Moharram 1389,

corresponding to 20 March 1969, between Qatar and Abu Dhabi. [1968]."
Map 25. Chart No. 2886. "JAZH SHAIKH SHU’AIB to RAS AT TANNURA AND SHAH ALLUM SHOAL. Operating limits of oil companies holding offshore concessions in Dubai out OT Median Line,

November 1965."
Map 26. Chart No. 3707. "UMM AL QAIWAN to RAS AL MATBAKH. Operating limits of the Dubai Off-Shore area, 1964/65."
Map 27. Treaty Chart No. 3842. "SHATT-AL-ARAB TREATY. Entrance to Shatt-al-Arab. Treaty No. I-14903 (Vol. 1017). [1971]."
Map 28. Treaty Chart No. 3843. "SHATT-AL-ARAB TREATY. Inner Bar to Kabda Point. [1972]."
Map 29. Treaty Chart No. 3844. "SHATT-AL-ARAB TREATY. Kabda Point to Abadan. [1973]."
Map 30. Treaty Chart No. 3845. "SHATT-AL-ARAB TREATY. Abadan to Jazirat Umm At Tuwaylah. [1966].”

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Editor's Introduction

From the Editor’s Introduction to 1975:


This was a year in which the affairs of the northern Gulf would evidently surprise and intrigue Western governments.  Justifiably, they also completely dominate the following short analysis. There had been few signs that a territorial/Kurdish question package settlement was on the cards at the turn of the year (see 16.01), so Iraqi Vice President Saddam Husain's abrupt climb-down over the sovereignty of the Shatt al Arab in concluding the Algiers Accord with the Shah of Iran during March 1975 took observers off guard.  As Johnny Graham, Britain's Ambassador in Baghdad commented on the 8th March, only two days after the shock diplomatic breakthrough:

The seemingly bleak outlook for Kuwait–Iraq relations had been highlighted late in February 1975 within a lengthy despatch from Archie Lamb (soon printed as an FCO memorandum entitled “Kuwait and her Neighbours [and a Friend or Two]”) (see 16.03).  Its summary read as follows:

This had been penned, of course, before Britain or its officials got wind of the impending Iraqi climb-down over the Shatt.  And, as mentioned at the outset, many observers – following the established logic of northern Gulf geopolitics – reckoned that Kuwait had the most to lose from the Algiers Accord.  This would result in a candid dialogue between Britain’s diplomatic representatives in the region over Kuwait’s existential conundrum.  Graham would start the ball rolling in Baghdad late in March by speculating as to Iraq’s likely moves and intentions, allowing himself a ‘heretical thought’ in conclusion:



Back at the FCO Weir would round off this exchange of views (Rothnie in Saudi Arabia and Parsons in Tehran also contributed) by concluding that there was no easy solution in sight to

protect Kuwait from Iraqi designs and that it might be best all round if the emirate succumbed to Baghdad’s proposals for a boundary settlement:


“Tony Parsons and Alan Rothnie’s letters make it clear that the Kuwaitis’ anxieties about the lack of any effective force to intervene on their behalf in a crisis are fully justified. Kuwait must therefore rely on the Ba’ath continuing to calculate that they have more to lose than to gain by mounting an attack…. Implication seems to be that Kuwait would be invited to acquiesce in an imposed settlement…provided that the Kuwaitis could be persuaded to accept it would probably be no bad thing from our point of view” (see 16.03).


This open and candid discussion of the triangular territorial relationship in the northern Gulf and its potential contribution to inter-state conflict seems particularly prescient in light of what

was to transpire over the next one and a half decades.

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Related Titles:
Arabian Boundaries 1853–1960
Arabian Boundaries 1961–1965
Arabian Boundaries 1966—1975
Arabian Boundary Disputes
Arabian Treaties 1600–1960
Aramco Reports on Al-Hasa and Oman 1950–1955
British Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction in the Gulf 1913–1971
Buraimi Dispute 1950–1961 – Contemporary Documents, The
Buraimi Memorials 1955, The
Diplomacy in the Near and Middle East 1535–1956
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: Iran in the Persian Gulf 1820–1966
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: Lower Gulf Islands: Abu Musa And The Tunbs Dispute
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: South-West Arabia: Saudi Arabia–Yemen Dispute
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: The Iraq–Kuwait Dispute 1830–1994
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: The Red Sea Region: Sovereignty, Boundaries and Conflict, 1839–1967
Documentary Studies in Arabian Geopolitics: UAE: Internal Boundaries And The Boundary With Oman
Historic Maps of Bahrain 1817–1970
Iran–Iraq Border 1840–1958, The
Islands and Maritime Boundaries of the Gulf 1798–1960
Israel: Boundary Disputes with Arab Neighbours 1946–1964
Oil Concessions in Five Arab States 1911–1953: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Trucial States and Oman
OPEC: Origins and Strategy 1947–1973
Palestine Boundaries 1833–1947
Survey of the Shores and Islands of the Persian Gulf 1820–1829