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Afghanistan 1929-1950: Sources in the India Office Records


Although the India Office ceased to exist on the Transfer of Power in August 1947, its residual functions were taken over by the Commonwealth Relations Office and archival continuity was preserved until the reorganisation of the CRO in 1950. Thereafter, with the Foreign Office's assumption of full responsibility for British relations with Afghanistan, researchers should consult the records of the Foreign Office and other departments available in the National Archives, Ruskin Avenue, Kew, Surrey TW9 4DU.

[IOR:L/E] Revenue Department

L/E/8 Economic and Overseas Departmental Files, 1930-48
L/E/9 Economic and Overseas Departmental Collections, 1930-48

[IOR:L/MIL] Military Department

L/MIL/17/14 Military Library: Afghanistan
L/WS War Staff
Some files deal with Afghanistan from the point of view of defence, security and strategy.

[IOR:L/PS] Political and Secret Department

L/PS/10 Departmental Papers: Separate (Subject) Files, 1902-30
L/PS/11 Departmental Papers: Annual Files, 1912-30
L/PS/12 Political (External) Department Files and Collections, 1931-50
Collections 3 and 4 deal specifically with Afghanistan but there is also relevant material in other collections (e.g. Arms and Ammunition, Aviation, Travellers) and on annual files.
L/PS/18 'A' Series Memoranda
L/PS/20 Political Department Library 'B' Series

[IOR:L/PO] Private Office

L/PO/5/35 Afghanistan affairs, 1937

[IOR:R/12] Records of the British Legation, Kabul, 1923-48

See separate catalogue.

[MSS EUR] Private Papers

Mss Eur C357

HARE (William Francis), 5th Earl of Listowel
Weekly correspondence of William Francis Hare, 5th Earl of Listowel (b 1906), as Secretary of State for India Apr-Aug 1947, with Lord Mountbatten of Burma (1900-1979), Viceroy of India Mar-Aug 1947; also letters, dated 1968 and 1978, relating to the appointments of Wavell and Mountbatten as Viceroy, and Listowel's as Secretary of State.
1 portfolio, 1943 - 1947

MssEur D545

WALTON (John Charles), Sir
Walton Collection: papers of Sir John Charles Walton (1885-1957), India Office official 1909-46, Assistant Under-Secretary of State for India 1936-42, Deputy Under-Secretary of State for Burma 1942-46.
41 items, 1920 - 1946

Mss Eur D609

DUNDAS (Lawrence John Lumley), 2nd Marquess of Zetland
Zetland Collection: papers of Lawrence John Lumley Dundas, 2nd Marques of Zetland (1876-1961), Governor of Bengal 1917-22, Secretary of State for India 1935-40 and for Burma 1937-40.
78 items, 1910 - 1952

Mss Eur D670

CUNNINGHAM (George), Sir
Cunningham Collection: letters, papers and reports of Sir George Cunningham (1888-1964), Indian Civil Service, Punjab and North-West Frontier Province 1911-46, Governor of NWFP 1937-46 and 1947-48.
47 items, 1903 - 1966

Mss Eur D891

STROUD (Richard William Alexander)
Diary and photograph album compiled by Flying Officer Richard William Alexander Stroud (d 1930), R.A.F. 1927-30, during his service in England and India, chiefly on the North-West Frontier and in Afghanistan.
2 volumes, 1928 - 1930

Mss Eur D923

LYDALL (Edward Francis)
Papers of Edward Francis Lydall (b 1907), Indian Civil Service, Assam 1932-35, Indian Political Service 1935-47, including confidential weekly summaries of the North Waziristan Agency where Lydall was Assistant Political Agent 1938-39, and other papers as Secretary to British Legation, Kabul 1939-42 and Assistant Commissioner, Nowshera 1942-43.
2 files, 1938 - 1943

Mss Eur F125

HOPE (Victor Alexander John), 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow
Linlithgow Collection: papers of Victor Alexander John Hope, 2nd Marquess of Linlithgow (1887-1952) as Viceroy of India 1936-43.
180 items, 1936 - 1943

Mss Eur F158

Papers of the India, Pakistan and Burma Association, a specialised trade association providing information to its members on commercial and political conditions in India, Pakistan and Burma. [Now known as the British and South Asian Trade Association (BASATA)].
1218 items, 1941 - 1972

Mss Eur F203

CAROE (Olaf Kirkpatrick), Sir
Caroe Collection: papers of Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe (1892-1981), Indian Civil Service 1920, Indian Political Service 1923-47, including a few papers relating to his Governorship of the North-West Frontier Province 1946-47; but chiefly reflecting his literary and other interests in retirement, and including unpublished autobiographical writings, and his observations of the 20th century development of Central Asia region.
119 items, 1946 - 1981

Mss Eur F226

Indian Political Service Collection: memoirs of some thirty-five former members of the Indian Political Service, or their wives, describing their experiences, chiefly in the period 1920-1947, as political officers in the Indian States, the North-West Frontier Province, Baluchistan, or the Residencies and Consulates in the Persian Gulf.
35 items, 1920 - 1947

Mss Eur R152

SQUIRE (Irene Mary), Lady
Tape recording of interview, given 1984, by Lady Irene Mary Squire (b 1898), widow of Sir Giles Frederick Squire (1894-1959), Indian Political Service 1924-47, on her life in India as a teacher at the Mahbubia School, Hyderabad, and as the wife of an Indian Political Officer serving in Iran 1936-43, and Afghanistan 1943-47, as well as India.
2 cassettes, 1920 - 1947

Chronology 1929-1950

FebNadir Khan, Shah Wali Khan and Hashim Khan of the Musahiban family pass through India on way from France to Afghanistan; meeting with R.R. Maconachie of the Indian Political Department, later British Minister in Kabul
MarNadir Khan and his brothers join a fourth brother, Shah Mahmud Khan, in Afghanistan and start rallying support against Amir Habibullah Ghazi
AprNadir Khan's forces defeated by those of Habibullah
MayHerat falls to Abdur Rahim, a Tajik supporter of Habibullah. Amanullah arrives in India
JunNadir Khan again defeated. Ghulam Nabi Charkhi, Afghan ambassador in Moscow, invades the north
AugTribal lashkars (from both sides of the border) join Nadir Khan
OctNadir Khan takes Kabul. Shinwaris take Jalalabad. Nadir Khan proclaimed king. Habibullah captured and executed
NovFirst of three uprisings in Koh-i-Daman. Recognition of new regime by British Government. Return of Russian Minister to Kabul
MayReturn of British Legation to Kabul; confirmation of treaties and trade agreement. Secret gift to Nadir Shah from the Government of India of money, arms and ammunition to stabilise his rule. Shinwari revolt
JunIbrahim Beg, 'the Basmachi bandit', pursued by Soviet forces, arrives in north Afghanistan, foments revolt
JulThird and final rising in Koh-i-Daman, ferociously put down by tribal levies. Nadir Shah appoints two of his brothers to the important posts of Minister in London and Minister in Moscow
 Nadir Shah sends his brother, Shah Mahmud, to the north as dictator
 British consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad re-opened. Nadir Shah issues a Constitutional Code, based on Amanullah's Nizamnama of 1923 but making concessions to religious and traditional feelings. Herat reconquered from the Tajik Abdur Rahim
JunNew treaty on Non-Aggression and Neutrality signed with the USSR. Commencement of building of a road to connect the north and the south of Afghanistan, over the Shibar pass
 Wives of British Legation staff return to Kabul. Ghulam Nabi Charkhi foments a pro-Amanullah uprising in the Southern Province
8 NovNadir Shah has Ghulam Nabi Charkhi executed
JunAssassination of Nadir Shah's brother, Muhammad Aziz, in Berlin by a Charkhi adherent
SepThree of British Legation staff murdered in Kabul by an Afghan
8 NovNadir Shah murdered by a son (natural or adopted) of Ghulam Nabi Charkhi. Zahir Jan, Nadir's son, proclaimed King by Shah Mabmud, the only Musahiban brother in Kabul. Hashim Khan as Prime Minister rules as Regent for his nephew until 1946
 Afghanistan joins the League of Nations. Indian Trade Mission visits Afghanistan. Opening of the Bank-i-Melli, first bank in Afghanistan
 Afghan Government requests a large loan from the Government of India: refused because of international financial situation. Growth of ties between Afghan Government and Germany, Italy and Japan
 Treaty of friendship between Afghanistan and the USA
 Establishment of weekly Lufthansa air service between Berlin and Kabul
JulAfghanistan joins with Turkey, Iran and Iraq in the Sa'adabad Pact of Friendship and Non-Aggression. Indian Trade Agency set up in Kabul
 Sir Aubrey Metcalfe, Foreign Secretary of the Government of India, visits Kabul. Government of India prevents the Shami Pir from entering Afghanistan with a tribal lashkar to restore Amanullah Incorporation of the Da Afghanistan Bank (State Bank)
 Outbreak of World War II; Afghan Government declares neutrality
 Britain and USSR jointly demand the expulsion of all non-diplomatic Axis personnel from Afghanistan; all non-diplomatic foreigners ordered to leave by Afghan Government; Afghans forbidden to attend the British Legation hospital and dispensary
 USA and Afghanistan exchange diplomatic representatives
 End of World War II
 Hashim Khan retires as Prime Minister and is succeeded by his brother, Shah Mahmud. Initiation of the Helmand Valley Project (in conjunction with USA) to reclaim desert areas of Seistan
15 AugIndia and Pakistan become independent

British Legation becomes an Embassy

External links

The National Archives