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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎5v] (23/522)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (259 folios). It was created in 2 Feb 1931-30 Aug 1934. It was written in English and Arabic. 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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5. When the Deputy Minister stated that this ultimatum, or quasi-
ultimatum, had not been published, and that on the nature of the Imam s ieply
would depend the King's future course of action, I intervened, as described in my
telegram No. 190, to inform him of my instructions in the event of the issue of an
ultimatum. He thereupon endeavoured to define the nature of Ibn Sand's
communication to the Imam as a restatement of the Saudi case and an invitation
to the Imam to give his views thereon. Although earlier in the conversation Fuad
Bey Hamza had stated that the King was well aware of Zeidi ambitions, both
through the Imam's statements to the last Saudi delegation to visit Sana and from
inspired articles in the Arabic press of neighbouring countries, as well latterly
as from the Yemen's sole newspaper the Iman, I accepted his explanation and
agreed to take no further action for the moment beyond acquainting you with
these new developments. I might here say that I have since received information
from a source which in the past has proved most reliable, a source, moreover, in
touch with official circles, to the effect that Ibn Sand's latest communication was
his '' last and decisive '' message, and I may therefore have to address you again
by telegraph in the course of the next few days in regard to the real nature of this
6. An ultimatum had been prepared, Fuad Bey Hamza continued, and would
be issued, if necessity arose, together with a Green Book which would contain a
complete statement of the Saudi case and which was now in the hands of the
printers, in the course of ten or fourteen days.
7. He went on to speak of the situation should it unfortunately deteriorate
into hostilities. Of the sympathy of His Majesty's Government they had no
doubt, but the Saudi Government would like to feel as assured of the attitude
of the Italian Government. The latter were in treaty relations with Saudi Arabia
and the Saudi Government were sincerely desirous that those relations should
remain friendly, but they (the Italian Government) were also in treaty relations
with the Imam, and should a conflict ensue, might be inclined to lend support to
the Imam as the older friend. I pointed out that this doubt had been raised by
Sheikh Abdullah Suleiman several months ago, and expressed my conviction that
the Italian Government's attitude in the event of hostilities would be strictly
correct. As far as the supply of arms by them to the Imam was concerned, I said,
making use of an argument already used at the Foreign Office with Sheikh Hafiz
Wahba, that the Italians were entitled to trade in munitions and, moreover, had
been doing so for a considerable time before this crisis arose—a point Fuad Bey
Hamza seemed to admit. As he pressed me to request His Majesty's Government
to favour his Government with their views, I promised to inform you that he had
expressed these misgivings. He then asked me point-blank, as Sheikh Abdullah
Suleiman had done (and reported in my telegram No. 184), who, in regard to the
recent representations, had taken the initiative, His Majesty's Government or
the Italian Government ? I answered, as on the previous occasion, that, as far as I
was aware, the demarche was the outcome of joint consultations.
8. The Deputy Minister went on to speak, feelingly, that counsels of modera
tion should be offered to the other side rather than to Ibn Sand, whose patience
and longanimity in dealing with so obstinate, perverse and fractious an individual
as the Imam Yahya had won general recognition. He said that he had gathered
from his recent visit to Riyadh that Ibn Sand was determined to avoid hostilities
at all costs. lor one thing, were the King to ignore the numerous appeals
he had received from Moslems in neighbouring countries, calling upon him to
avoid a fratricidal Arab war, and to take the first step in a war with the Yemen,
he would at once forfeit the sympathy of the whole Islamic world. For another!
the cost of a wai would prove disastrous and the financial situation of this country
was bad enough as it was. But, Fuad Bey tlamza added, any attack on the honour
of the country would be resisted by all the means in their power. He quoted the
Arab proverb to the effect that if the only road that presents itself be a thorny
one, then one is obliged to go that way.
i 9 ' • ^ co ] lcl 1 ude( i ^ describing certain frontier intrigues which, he said, had
been suitably dealt with and denied, on my putting a question to him, that Saudi
troops had crossed the frontier into the Yemen in the neighbourhood of Medi (as
reported m my telegram No. 193). With regard to this denial, however, I am not
altogether satisfied, for strong rumours are current, and are reported by the source
Aw 16 c ? ea J r . lier m thls despatch, that such an infraction of the frontier
at that point by Saudi troops has actually occurred, and it is also said that serious

About this item


The volume contains two original files bound together. The first file (folios 1A-207) has the original reference 61/11 VI (D 102) and covers the period 7 November 1933 to 30 August 1934 and relates to Hejaz-Najd affairs. The second file (folios 208-243) has the original reference 61/6 VII (D 95) and covers the period 2 February 1931 to 5 August 1932 and relates to Najd affairs. Both contain letters, telegrams, memoranda, and reports sent 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 High Commissioner in Baghdad (later the British Embassy following Iraqi independence in 1932), the Colonial Office in London, the Government of India, and Ibn Sa'ud.

The main subject of the first file is the territorial dispute between Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Contained in the volume are papers concerning Saudi Arabian advances into the territories of 'Asir and Yemen and the subsequent Treaty of Taif that largely settled the dispute. There is also coverage of diplomatic conversations between Italy and Britain regarding the dispute, including secret talks in Rome. Included is the full Arabic text of the Treaty (folios 143-150A) and an English translation (folios 156-177).

Other subjects covered in the first file are:

  • the visit of M. Maigret, the French Charge D'Affairs, to Riyadh to speak with Ibn Sa'ud;
  • the visit of Talaat Pasha Harb;
  • a provisional agreement signed by the United States and Saudi Arabia;
  • the prospect of gold in commercial quantities in the Hejaz.

Notable documents contained in the volume are a report on the heads of foreign missions in Jeddah, and a revised (June 1934) report on the leading personalities in Saudi Arabia.

The subjects covered by the second file are:

  • details and significance of a resurgence in war dancing by the Saudis;
  • the visit of Charles Crane to see Ibn Sa'ud;
  • a request for military assistance made by Saudi Arabia to Turkey;
  • the conditions of entry into Hasa for Hindu merchants.

At the end of each file are several pages of internal office notes.

Extent and format
1 volume (259 folios)

Each of the two separate files which make up the volume is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: The sequence starts 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 anomalies: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D; 11A and 11B; 24A; 30A; 132A; 143A; 150A; and 236A. There are two other sequences, both uncircled and incomplete.

Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎5v] (23/522), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/569, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 14 October 2019]

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