Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah signs a document to end the British Protectorate Treaty, replacing it with a friendship agreement between the governments of Kuwait and Britain.
Kuwait celebrates Independence Day June 19
KUWAIT: The State of Kuwait marks its independence day on June 19, an important date that helped to shape the development of the country. The Kuwaiti people and their late Amir Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem Al-Sabah realized on June 19, 1961, that the protectorate treaty Kuwait signed with Britain in 1899 was not feasible anymore.
At that time, Kuwait was heading towards independence and the Kuwaitis refused the British protection treaty because it was not honoring their ambition for full freedom, despite recognition that the treaty was crucial when needed. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem realized regional and international circumstances were ripe, and became more convinced in the importance of scrapping the treaty by signing the declaration of independence with Sir George Middleton, Britain’s Chief Political Resident in the Gulf. The Protectorate Treaty was replaced by a friendship agreement between the governments of Kuwait and Britain.
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem, addressing the nation following the signature of the declaration, said: “today we move from one phase of history to another. We turned a page of the past to open a new page, and it is this declaration by which Kuwait gains full independence and complete sovereignty.”
Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem’s desire for independence was planned long before June 19. Kuwait was in full control of the domestic post service on February 1, 1958, and exactly a year later it took control of external post services. It was in 1959 when the late Amir instructed the wording of the citizenship law. The late Amir ordered the Finance Department to work on issuing a national currency. And On October 19, 1960, Kuwait Monetary Law was issued and national currency, Kuwaiti Dinar, was circulated on April 1, 1961.
Shaping the state
Shaping the state began immediately following the independence. An Amiri Decree was issued defining the flag. Kuwait applied for the membership of the Arab League, which was accepted on July 16, 1961. Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem called on August 26, 1961, for holding general elections for a constituent assembly, mandated with writing the constitution. Addressing the first session of the constituent assembly on January 20, 1962, Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem said the declaration of independence was a gateway for freedom and dignity. The assembly finalized the constitution in nine months, and the late Amir ratified the 183-article document on November 11, 1962.
The State of Kuwait had witnessed a domestic stability, comprehensive development and establishment of good relations with countries around the world. The independence paved the way for the creation of the state. An Amiri decree was issued on August 19, 1961, establishing the foreign office. The first foreign minister was late Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah, who succeeded Sheikh Abdullah Al-Salem following his death.
Kuwait applied for the United Nations membership and became a member on May 14, 1963, when current Amir His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah was a foreign minister. It was Abdullah Al-Salem, who ruled Kuwait for 15 years, whose name would always be associated with independence and constitution. His sacrifices for Kuwait will remain engraved in hearts and souls of Kuwaitis.