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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎82r] (164/220)

The record is made up of 1 file (110 folios). It was created in 27 Aug 1893-19 Dec 1918. It was written in English and French. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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' came away with a rich booty including 1,500 camels, 10,000 rounds of ammuni
tion, many sheep and much camp furniture.
Ibn Saud had flatly refused to allow me to accompany this expedition on
the ground of the fanaticism of his own force, practically entneiy urawn irom
Akhwan elements, and partly, doubtless, owing to his own douuts, which he
could not bring himself to admit, regarding the issue of the venture and his
memory of the fate of Captain Shakespear on the last occasion wdien he tried
conclusions with Ibn Rashid. I rejoined him, however, at Qusaiba on his
return from Hail expedition on the 25th September and found him so confident,
as the result of his expedition, that he readily w’aived all further objection
to my remaining with him. Meanwhile I had obtained authorisation from
you—in view of the necessity of keeping Ibn Saud actively employed—to keep
him in funds to the extent of £10,000 monthly, and the communication to him
of this new T s had so favourable an effect, that the arrival, almost at the same
moment, of the news of a third unsuccessful attempt on Khurma by the Sha-
rifian forces failed to damp his buoyancy. He was very confident of bringing
Ibn Rashid to his knees by the efforts he intended to keep up at high pressure
until that object was attained.
Little did he or I know of the disappointment in store for him. Even as
we were on our way to Tarafiya to refit for the next blow’ at Hail, the military
forces of the Turks were collapsing and, during the first days of October,
I received, without explanation of the changes which had supervened, intima
tion that H. M.’s Government desired Ibn Saud to desist from his operations,
and that, in the circumstances, they were not prepared to place at his disposal
1,000 rifles promised him in exchange for a similar number of inferior weapons
previously supplied.
Coming as they did without explanation, these orders produced a sensation
akin to consternation; Ibn Saud suspected the Sharif of having indulged in
further successful machinations against himself and expressed himself bitterly
disappointed at the treatment he had received from the British Government;
the recent attack on Khurma began to appear to him in a different light, and
finally letters arrived from Fakhri Pasha An Ottoman title used after the names of certain provincial governors, high-ranking officials and military commanders. , the Commandant of the forces at
Madina, congratulating him on the Akhw’an victory over the Sharif and offer
ing to supply him w’ith arms, ammunition and funds to prosecute an anti-
Sharifian campaign.
It must be admitted that the circumstances attending the receipt of these
orders were most unfortunate and that the orders themselves looked extremely
like a formal severance of relations with Ibn Saud, who was bitterly disap
pointed at the withholding of the arms promised to him and non-plussed by
H.M.’s Government’s change of plans regarding Hail. He delivered himself
of wdiat practically amounted to an ultimatum; “ who,” said he, “ will trust
you after this? The people of Najd, who have all along criticised my policy
of alliance with you, are justified by the event. What shall I reply to them
now? There are now but two alternatives acceptable to me—let the British
Government choose between them; either let our active alliance against the
enemy be re-affirmed and H.M.’s Government do its part in helping me with
funds and material to prosecute it vigorously, or, if the British Government
desires me to remain inactive, I am perfectly ready to fall in with their
desires, on the condition that they guarantee me against aggression by my
enemies, the Sharif, Ibn Rashid, the Shammar, the Ajman and the Shaikh
of Kuwait.”
I thought it inexpedient to allow Ibn Saud to reduce this ultimatum
and the reasons, wdiich inspired him in delivering it, to writing, as it was,
in my opinion, advisable to prevent him committing himself to any irrevoc
able step before his people. Accordingly, after much discussion, it was agreed
that I should go down to the coast at once to make representations to Govern
ment in the matter. At the same time Ibn Saud gave me to understand that
the alternatives set forth above represented his minimum demands and that,
if Government was unable to modify its decision, he would consider himself
free to take action, as indicated by circumstances, to protect his own interests
and that he would not expect me to return.
A year’s work collapsed before my eyes; I had but little hope that Gov
ernment would modify in any material degree a decision conveyed in terms
so emphatic, nnd I assumed that they desired or were prepared for a rupLire
of relations with Ibn Saud as a pis-aller out of the Central Arabian dilemma.
I foresaw the early outbreak of hostilities between the Wahhabi hordes irri
tated by long restraint and the Sharif’s forces.
It was not until I arrived at Kuwait that I received the news of the re
markable change, which had so suddenly come over the war situation every
where and especially in regard to Turkey. The orders of Government were-
now intelligible to me and the receipt of authorisation from you—issued in
anticipation of the sanction of H.M.’s Government—to release the 1,000 rifles
for despatch to Ibn Saud removed a fruitful source of irritation. I was able
to write Ibn Saud a letter of assurance explaining matters, which in the in
terior had seemed to convey a meaning so different, and, above all, I was satis-

About this item


The file contains correspondence, memoranda, maps, and other papers relating to Middle Eastern affairs and a few other miscellaneous matters. The majority of the file concerns discussions of and proposals for the post-war settlement of Near Eastern territories, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. The basis of these discussions was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Other matters covered by the papers include events in Siam [Thailand] and Burmah [Myanmar] and the colonial rivalry in the region between France and Britain, the Baghdad Railway, and relations with Ibn Saud in Arabia, including a report on the 1917-18 mission to Najd by Harry St John Philby (folios 67-98).

Folios 99-110 are six maps with accompanying notes that show the various proposed territorial settlements and spheres of influence in the Near East and one showing Britain's global colonial possessions.

Memoranda and correspondence comes from officials at the Foreign Office and 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. . Other correspondents include French and Italian government officials.

Extent and format
1 file (110 folios)

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the back.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front of the envelope with 1, and terminates at the inside back last page with 110, 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.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎82r] (164/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 1 March 2024]

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