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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎21r] (58/522)

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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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to modify its attitude in regard to the sovereignty of Ibn Saud over Asir proper,
that is to say, over that territory at least over which the Idrisi exercised his
own sovereignty at the time of the Treaty of Mecca in 1926, and that it would
be ready to elaborate the juridical reasons on which its attitude was based. It
further asserts that there is no question of proposals intended to modify the
conclusions of the conversations of Rome in 1927, which still, according to the
point of view of the British Government, form the basis of the Anglo-Italian
relations in Arabian and Red Sea questions.
The Royal Ministry for Foreign Affairs, while thanking the British
Embassy for its courteous communication, has the honour to inform it that
the Italian Government is grateful to the British Government for having
promptly accepted the Italian proposals for a meeting of experts in Rome.
With regard to the request for explanations made by the British Embassy
as to the proposals and the programme which the Royal Government have in
mind to lay before the projected meeting, the Royal Ministry for Foreign Affairs
has the honour to state that, as the Director-General of Political Affairs had
already had occasion to communicate to the counsellor of the British Embassy on
the 2nd November last, the meetings between the Italian and British experts
should have for object the joint examination, on the basis of the conclusions of
the conversations of Rome in 1927—which, in the opinion of the Royal Govern
ment, also constitute the basis of the Anglo-Italian relations in Arabian and Red
Sea matters—and in the interests of the maintenance of peace in the Arabian
peninsula and of friendly co-operation between the two Governments, of the
events which have since taken place and the situation which has developed in
those regions.
3. It is precisely because the Italian Government completely agrees with the
British Government in holding that the conclusions of the conversations in Rome
should constitute the basis of Anglo-Italian relations in all Arabian and Red Sea
questions, and hence should be the starting-point of the projected meeting of
experts, that the Ministry for Foreign Affairs cannot avoid being rather
preoccupied in regard to the statement contained in the note verhale under reply,
according to which the British Government could not abandon the attitude
assumed by them in regard to the sovereignty of Ibn Saud over Asir.
4. It should, in fact, be remembered that, as the Ministry for Foreign
Affairs has already had occasion to explain in detail to the British Embassy in fts
preceding notes verhales (see, for example, note verhale No. 222751/91 of the
25th June, 1931), the Treaty of Mecca of 1926, by which Ibn Saud set up his own
protectorate over Asir, was the subject of discussion during the conversations at
Rome in 1927; and in regard to it the British delegates, after having demanded
and received instructions from the London Government, declared that the British
Government could not have refused a Hejazi demand for the recognition of the
Treaty of 1926, seeing that it was about to conclude with the Hejaz a Treaty of
Friendship, and a refusal would have compromised the conclusion of this treaty
(the treaty was afterwards concluded in 1927, although the British Government
continued in its non-recognition of the situation created by Ibn Saud in Asir), but
that, in any case, the British representatives, in the name of their Government,
declared that all territorial questions, such as those of Asir, were regarded as an
internal Arabian question and did not interest the London Government.
It is further noted that the record of the Rome conversations expressly
consider Asir as the State existing in the Arabian Peninsula in regard to which
the possibility was foreseen of taking the action contemplated in paragraph 2 of
the conclusions themselves.
5. The statement mentioned in the note of the British Embassy No. 384 of
the 20th November last, according to which the London Government desire to make
it clear even before the opening of the proposed conversations between experts,
that they are not in a position to depart from the attitude adopted by them
regarding the sovereignty of Ibn Saud over Asir, deserves to be explained in
relation to the assurances given in the course of the Rome conversations regarding
British disinterestedness in territorial questions regarded as internal Arabian
questions, if only to give rise in the proposed meeting of experts to a useful
examination of the new situation created by Ibn Saud in Asir, which constitutes
the principal modification of the political situation existing in the Arabian
Peninsula at the time of the Rome conversations of 1927, and forms at present the
principal reason for the existing tension between the Hejaz-Nejd and the Yemen.

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' [‎21r] (58/522), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/569, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 16 October 2019]

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