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Extract from a letter written by a British official in 1785 about the island of Diego Garcia
(Catalogue ref: FO 148/6 no.1)
To the President and Council of Bombay

We order that, as soon as possible, you send two small vessels to take possession of and settle the island of Diego Garcia which was visited in 1774 by the Drake Ketch.

We rely upon you to choose who are the right persons to be sent in these vessels to take a detailed survey of the harbour and island, give an account of what it produces and the best ways to make it a good stopping place for ships and also what may be needed to make it secure against attacks.

Some of the ships should be sent with diligent and sensible men to examine and map the numerous banks and small islands in that part of the sea, as an accurate knowledge of those seas could be extremely valuable to the Company's ships.
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