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Anthony B Toth
Arlington, Virginia, USA
Writer and historian
Recent Activity
This is a very nice summary of an interesting and revealing chapter in Kuwaiti-British relations. I have written a biography of Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah (as yet unpublished), and am quite familiar with the sources dealing with this trip. Two points require some clarification. First, Ahmad was selected for this honour not because he was expected by the British to be the next ruler. That was still an open question at this point. In fact, the ruler of Kuwait, Salim Al Mubarak Al Sabah, had for a while been attempting to convince British officials that his son, Abdullah, should be the next ruler, not Ahmad. But the British pressed their preference for Ahmad in a number of ways, including the decision for him to make this trip. Also, the imbroglio regarding accommodations for the 'Arab Mission', as it was known at the time, arose not because of last-minute notice. British officials in the Gulf and in London knew well in advance that the delegation was arriving. However, changes in the size of the party were not communicated in time, and managers at prominent hotels in London 'utterly refused to accept Arab guests' because of problems they had encountered in the past, according to one account. No wonder, then, that Ahmad was feeling sour shortly after his arrival, and that he had asked to cut the trip short, hoping to return to Kuwait after his audience with the King Emperor. Fortunately, officials convinced Ahmad to continue on the itinerary, and he enjoyed the rest of his UK sojourn.
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Apr 8, 2014