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Coll 6/50 'Saudi Arabia: Saudi Relations with the Soviet.' [‎28r] (55/100)

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The record is made up of 1 file (48 folios). It was created in 6 Jun 1932-20 Jun 1938. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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EASTERN (Arabia).
^fE 1488/1225/25]
. M
■it’.. »
ch 21, 1933.
Section 2.
No. 1.
yl. Ryan to Sir John Simon.—(Received March 21.)
(No. 66.)
Sir, Jedda, February 28 , 1933.
IN his telegram No. 2, Saving, of the 24th February, Mrr Hope tlill reported
briefly on an alleged commercial understanding arrived at between the Saudi
Government and the Soviet during my recent absence from Jedda. So much
secrecy has been observed regarding the negotiations, that I can add little at
present to the telegraphic report as regards the actual facts. The following
particulars are, however, worth recording :—
2. There were two main factors in the position between Ibn Saud and Soviet
Russia last year, as follows :—
(a) The Russians had supplied in the latter part of 1931 benzine and
petroleum to the value of some £30,000 and had received no payment.
(b) It was understood in the spring and early summer of 1932 that the
Russian Minister was endeavouring to negotiate a general agreement
with the Soviet Government which at that time seemed to turn on
the possibility of the Soviet accommodating Ibn Saud with goods
rather than money, in return for a removal of the embargo on direct
Russian imports into the Hejaz, which, though it had become to some
extent ineffective, still greatly hampered Russian trade. I would refer
more particularly to the correspondence ending with my printed ' «
despatch No. 255 of the 20th June last. Ip C /$ 2.
3. The negotiations conducted by M. Turacoulov last year seem to have •/ <*$
produced no result. HeNwought off the deal reported by Mr. Hope Gill, using
as a lever the claim at \a) in the previous paragraph. It is affirmed that the
\ Soviet Minister has secured a partial or total removal of the embargo, in return
for an arrangement whereby the old debt to his Government will be met by a
partial or total remission of the customs duty on the new goods to be imported.
What is not clear is whether what is contemplated is a permanent removal of
the embargo or only its removal to the extent of allowing the importation of a
quantity of goods such that the agreed remission of duty will suffice to pay off
the old debt. The new goods are apparently to be sold on the market, but nothing
has been revealed as to the selling machinery to be set up. There is a conflict
of information as to whether the Saudi Government have made any preliminary
arrangements with their own merchants. According to one account, a deputation
of Jedda merchants were consulted during a recent visit to Mecca. According
to another version, rather better supported, they were summoned to Mecca in
connexion with the proposed national bank, on which I am reporting separatelv,
and were left to discover from their own sources in Jedda how matters stood with
the Soviet Legation.
4. Whatever the true facts and the dimension of the deal, it has alreadv
created a good deal of "excitement in commercial circles here. It is understood
that among the goods to be imported from Russia are flour and sugar, the intro- I
duction of which into the market will hit trade with other countries, includins: ■
Australia, which has of late been an important supplier of flour, and India, which
has done an important, though latterly declining, general trade with the Hejaz.
I hear no definite mention of petroleum products in connexion with the arrange
ment with Russia. It seems unlikely that they would be excluded, but the Saudi
Government may be unwilling to commit themselves or their merchants to bringing
more Russian benzine, &c., at present, having regard to their position vis-d-vis
of Shell and American interests.
5. It is worth noting that the Russian Minister’s negotiations last year
seemed to be conducted largely with the Minister of Finance, whereas the recent
arrangement is said to have been made with the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
[739 x—2]

About this item


This file concerns relations between the Government of the Hejaz and Nejd (Saudi Arabia from September 1932 onwards) and the Soviet Union. It largely consists of copies of correspondence received by the Foreign Office from His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, succeeded by Sir Reader William Bullard) regarding Saudi-Soviet relations and the activities of Soviet representatives in Saudi Arabia. Other prominent correspondents include His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires to Jedda (Cecil Gervase Hope Gill), His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow (Esmond Ovey), and officials of the Foreign Office, India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. , and the Government of India's Foreign and Political Department.

Matters discussed in the correspondence include:

  • The visit of the Hejazi delegation, headed by Emir Feisal [Fayṣal bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa‘ūd], Foreign Minister for the Kingdom of the Hejaz and Nejd, to Moscow, and later, via Turkey, to Tiflis [Tbilisi] and Baku, in May-June 1932.
  • Soviet trade interests in the Hejaz.
  • Concerns expressed by Sir Andrew Ryan in July 1932 that the Soviet representative in Jedda could seek to consolidate Soviet relations with Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] and encourage the latter to take a strong line regarding Transjordan.
  • Unconfirmed reports of a Saudi-Soviet trade agreement in early 1933.
  • Notes on the character and previous career in Jedda of the newly appointed (as of January 1936) Soviet minister at Jedda, Kerim Khakimov.
  • News in May 1938 that the Government of the Soviet Union has decided to close its legations in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, reportedly as a gesture of disapproval of the Anglo-Italian Treaty [Anglo-Italian Agreement], but considered by the Foreign Office to be part of a general policy of reducing the number of its foreign contacts.

The file includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence (folio 2).

Extent and format
1 file (48 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 50; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 2-49; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/50 'Saudi Arabia: Saudi Relations with the Soviet.' [‎28r] (55/100), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2117, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 8 December 2019]

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