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'File 61/11 VII (D 122) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎96r] (208/454)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (223 folios). It was created in 23 Jun 1934-30 Apr 1936. 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 (A rabia).
; f"*\ r~ \ i ■-•-v. \ / "
May 27, 1935.
S ection 5.
[E 3296/325/25]
Sir A, Ryan to Sir John Simon.—(Received May 27 )
(No. 137.) y '
Sir, Jedda, May 6, 1935.
WITH reference to paragraph 2 (c) of my telegram No. 98 of the
20th April last and previous correspondence relative to the slave trade and slavery
in Saudi Arabia, I have the honour to submit a general report on what passed
between Fuad Bey Hamza and myself on this subject before Fuad Bey left for
Syria and Europe on the 1st May. I trust that this will facilitate further
discussion when our conversations are resumed in London.
2. I reported in my telegram No. 80 of the 4th April that Fuad Bey had
asked me to study the preliminary draft of a personal letter with draft regula
tions on slavery. He handed me these documents simultaneously with the draft
note on the future of the Treaty of Jedda, on which I reported in my despatch
No. 113 of the 11th April. Having dealt with the question of procedure in that
despatch, I need not pursue it further here.
3. As I stated in my telegram No. 80 of the 4th April, the draft regulations
suggested by Fuad Bey left much to be desired. I preferred, therefore, to keep
the discussion on a personal plane and not to submit them for your consideration
without making an attempt to get them recast in a more acceptable form. As,
however, they still represent the only definite proposals made by Fuad Bey, I now
enclose translations of his draft letter and the two enclosed regulations, which I
have marked A and B.
4. I told Fuad Bey on the 5th April that I saw no chance of the proposed
regulations sufficing to induce His Majesty's Government to renounce the right
of manumission. Among other things, I drew his attention to various ambiguities
in the wording, and suggested that article 1 of Regulation B would read to the
uninitiated almost more like a legalisation of the slave trade than as a condemna
tion of it. Fuad Bey expressed readiness to amend the ambiguities and said that
Regulation B was not intended for publication. This caused me misgiving, as it
is this regulation which contemplates the registration system. After some
discussion, I offered to give Fuad Bey privately my own suggestions as to how the
regulations might be improved. He accepted this offer, which I made on the
distinct understanding that I could make personal suggestions only and could
not commit His Majesty's Government in any way.
5. Some delay ensued owing to pressure of other business on my side and
indisposition on that of Fuad Bey, but I gave him my suggestions on the
18th April in the form of an unofficial memorandum. I enclose a copy of this
document, in the preparation of which I kept well in mind the various points
raised in the correspondence on the subject, including your instructions and, so
far as I consider them practicable, the considerations urged by Sir Geoige
Maxwell. When I handed the paper to Fuad Bey, I again explained that the
suggestions were entirely personal. I pointed out that I might seem to be asking
for a good deal from the Saudi point of view, but that the question presented veiy
great difficulties for His Majesty's Government also.
6. Fuad Bey fell ill again after this and we were unable to discuss tne
matter further except for a few minutes during our last conversation on the eve
of his departure. I gathered that he was not unfavourably disposed towards my
suggestions. He was honest enough to say, however, that the total prohibition
of the importation of slaves might present difficulty in the case of the Yemen, as
slavery prevailed there also, and it would be going very far to say that no slave
could be brought across that frontier. As we were not discussing the ma e
closely, I did not pursue this, but I took the opportunity of saying that, whatever
might be thought of persons born in slavery, the case of persons wioagu y
enslaved deserved serious attention. I mentioned instances which had come to
my notice of children who had been kidnapped from Moslem families, m g ,
be in the past, but who stil! remembered their origin.
[406 dd—5] B

About this item


The volume contains letters, telegrams, and memoranda relating to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Most of the correspondence is between the British Legation in Jeddah, the Foreign Office in London, the Political Residencies in Bushire and Aden, the Political Agencies in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Muscat, the High Commissioner in Trans-Jordan, the British Embassy in Baghdad, the Colonial Office in London, the 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. in London, the Government of India, and Ibn Sa'ud.

The volume covers a wide range of subjects, including:

  • the dispute between Saudi Arabia and Yemen, including issues of the translation of the Treaty of Taif;
  • the planning, development, and financing of roads;
  • the differing characters of two of Ibn Sa'ud's sons, Amirs Sa'ud and Faisal;
  • the appointment of new ministers in the Saudi Arabian government;
  • the slave trade in the region;
  • an Egyptian commercial and financial mission to the country led by Talaat Pasha Harb;
  • a general amnesty for all 'political offenders' given by Ibn Sa'ud;
  • new regulations on foreign ownership of property;
  • Ibn Sa'ud's effort to improve the Saudi Arabian standing army;
  • the French upgrade of their Consulate in Jeddah to a Legation;
  • the general financial situation in Saudi Arabia;
  • the proposal to restore the Hejaz Railway, including the lead up to a conference on the matter in Haifa in October 1935;
  • an attempt on Ibn Sa'ud's life in Mecca;
  • Saudi-Soviet relations;
  • the activities of the Saudi Arabia Mining Syndicate;
  • Amir Sa'ud's visit to Europe;
  • the death of 'Abdullah ibn Jiluwi, Amir of Hasa;
  • the prospect of Saudi Arabia joining the League of Nations;
  • new Saudi regulations on the importation, sale, and possession of firearms;
  • officer training for Saudis and Yemenis in Iraq;
  • the introduction of a special import tax at Jeddah to fund local schools;
  • Anglo-Italian relations;
  • the proposal to renew the Treaty of Jeddah of 1927;
  • unrest in Hasa due to the imposition of a 'jihad tax' on those who did not take part in recent fighting on behalf of the Kingdom.

Notable in the volume is an interview with Fuad Bey Hamza, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, extracted from the newspaper Ayyam (folio 34).

At the back of the volume (folios 207-213v) are internal office notes.

Extent and format
1 volume (223 folios)

The volume is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The sequence begins on the first folio and continues through to the inside back cover. The numbers are written in pencil, circled, and 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. There are the following irregularities: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D; 88, and 88A; 165 and 165A. There is a second foliation system that is uncircled and inconsistent.

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English in Latin script
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'File 61/11 VII (D 122) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎96r] (208/454), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/570, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 October 2019]

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