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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎37r] (94/522)

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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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EASTERN ( A rabia ). January 15, 1934.
[E 50/2/25] No. 1.
John Simon to Sir E. Drummond {Rome).
(No. 39.)
Sir, Foreign Office, January 15, 1934.
I HAVE reconsidered in the light of your Excellency's despatch No. 1022 of
the 30th December, and the three notes verhales from the Italian Government,
copies of which were enclosed therein, the proposal that His Majesty's Govern
ment should send an expert to Rome to discuss the position in South-West Arabia;
and I have decided that, in the circumstances and for the reasons described below,
it is no longer expedient to accede to this proposal. In spite of the message from
Signor Mussolini, conveyed in Signor Suvich's letter to you, I have not felt
justified in troubling the Prime Minister in the midst of his many and pressing
preoccupations with this complicated question which is only of secondary
2. In the first place, although, when provisionally agreeing in my telegram
No. 375 of the 17th November to the Italian Government's proposal, I made it
clear that His Majesty's Government were unable to change their previous
attitude in regard to King Ibn Saud's sovereignty over Asir proper, two of the
three recent notes from the Italian Government deal almost exclusively with that
question. They apparently regard it as the crux of the whole matter, and, it must
be assumed, as you point out in paragraph 2 of your despatch, that they still hope
to influence the attitude of His Majesty's Government thereon in the course of
the proposed discussions. It is, however, impossible for His Majesty's Govern
ment to modify their view that the area over which the Idrisi held sovereignty at
the time of the conclusion of the Treaty of Mecca, passed, in virtue of that treaty,
under the sovereignty of King Ibn Saud, and has formed de jure and de facto
part of his dominions, at any rate since his arrangement of 1930 with the Idrisi.
3. Although it is undesirable to become involved in a detailed and
complicated controversy with the Italian Government on this subject, it may be
useful to you to have a full statement of the grounds which have led His Majesty's
Government to this view. The position in international law appears to them to
be as follows. Prior to the conclusion of the Treaty of Mecca of 1926 (the text
of which is to be found in Eastern Affairs, Part XX, January to June 1927,
No. 11), the Idrisi was an independent ruler exercising sovereignty over certain
territories in South-West Arabia. By the Treaty of Mecca the Idrisi handed over
to King Ibn Saud the entire control over his foreign relations, while retaining
the government of the internal affairs of his country, apart from financial
matters, which were also handed over to Ibn Saud, The result of the Treaty of
Mecca was to establish a protectorate by Ibn Saud over the territories of the
Idrisi as they existed at that date, and the Idrisi became unable, owing to the
fact that he no longer possessed the control of foreign affairs, to alienate to any
other Power any of his territories. As a result of the treaty of 1926, the Idrisi
ceased to possess the status of an independent person under international law.
4. In 1930, as the result of negotiations which culminated in letters of the
10th October from the Idrisi and from his council to King Ibn Saud (see Eastern
Affairs, Part XXVII, July to December 1930, No. 107), and as further defined
in an arrangement contained in a report signed on the 16th November by repre
sentatives of King Ibn Saud and of the Idrisi (see the same print volume, No. 108),
the Idrisi handed over to King Ibn Saud the internal government of his territory;
and these arrangements were put into force by an order issued by King Ibn Saud
on the 20th November, 1930 (see the same print volume. No. 108), under which the
Idrisi territory was governed by a direct representative, appointed by
King Ibn Saud under the title of Emir, assisted by an elected legislative council,
the Idrisi merely retaining a nominal position of head of the Idrisi territory
under Ibn Saud, with some powers of veto over the decisions of the Emir and the
legislative council, subject to the final decision of King Ibn Saud. It appears to
be perfectly clear that, as the result of the arrangements made in 1930, King
[6 p-1]

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' [‎37r] (94/522), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/569, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 15 October 2019]

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