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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎37v] (95/522)

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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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Ibn Saud acquired full and complete sovereignty oyer the territories of the Idrisi,
and that the form of government set up therein became merely part of the
internal constitution of the territories of the Kingdom of the Hejaz and Wejd
and its Dependencies, as it was then called. . .
5. The territories over which King Ibn feaud thus acquned sovereignty were
the same territories as those over which he had acquired a protectoiate under the
Treaty of Mecca of 1926, namely, all the territories which were under the
sovereignty of the Idrisi, at the moment of the conclusion of the Treaty of Mecca.
This appeared to His Majesty s Government at the time and s till appears to
them—to have been the position at that date. They considered further that
Kino- Ibn Sand's sovereignty over these territories was effective m international
law and did not require any express or implied recognition by any other power to
render it legally complete and effective.
6. It was on these grounds that-His Majesty's Government (when the
question was under discussion with the Italian Government in 1931 as a result of
a request of the Hejaz-Nejd Government, which involved entering into
correspondence with them on matters concerning Asir) decided that there could
be no question of their declining to recognise the sovereignty of King Ibn baud
over Asir, but that, in deference to the wishes of the Italian Government, they
could agree to refrain from sending to the Hejazi Government a formal com
munication of their recognition. The Italian Crovernment appear to have mis
understood the purport of the Embassy's note. No. 296, of the 24th July, 1931, a
copy of which was enclosed in Sir Ronald Graham s despatch No. 561 of the same
date, and they appear to suggest in paragraph 5 of their note of the
23rd December last that the interpretation of the Embassy's note, which has now
been given to them, involves some degree of conflict with statements made by the
British representatives during the conversations held at Rome in 1927 regarding
affairs in the Red Sea and South-Western Arabia. It was, indeed, precisely
because there seemed some danger that the Italian Government might misunder
stand the attitude which His Majesty's Government felt bound to adopt in 1931
in entering into correspondence with Ibn Sand's Government over Asir, and thus
recognising by implication his sovereignty over that territory, that they felt it
desirable to explain the position to the Italian Government beforehand. They can
only regret that the Italian Government appear to have failed to understand the
attitude underlying the course proposed by His Majesty's Government in the
Embassy's note No. 296 of the 24th July, 1931, when they replied in their note of
the 13th August, 1931, concurring therein.
7. In paragraph 3 of the Italian Government's undated note of
December 1933, they refer to the "well-known rights " of the Imam over Asir. His
Majesty's Government know of no good grounds for any claim which the Imam
may have put forward before the conclusion of the Treaty of Mecca to the area
over which the Idrisi held sovereignty, and they therefore could not agree to any
discussion with the Italian Government on the basis that the [mam had a
reasonable claim to that area at the present time.
8. It will be seen from the preceding paragraphs that the attitude of His
Majesty's Government, both regarding the legal status of Asir and also regarding
the Imam's claims to that territory, is completely opposed to that of the Italian
Government. This fundamental disagreement on two major questions is the first
reason which leads me to consider it inexpedient to hold the proposed
9. In the second place, it appears from Sir Andrew Ryan's telegram No. 226
of the 29th December, which was repeated to you as my telegram No. 433 of the
same date, that a measure of agreement in principle has now been reached between
Ibn Saud and the Imam, and in particular that the Imam is prepared to recognise
by treaty the existing position in Asir. If, as may legitimately be suspected, the
chief motive of the Italian Government in refusing to recognise that position
themselves is to maintain the Imam's unjustified claim to Asir in the^hope of
strengthening their own influence with him, it would be inappropriate and,
indeed, paradoxical that at the moment when the Imam himself is prepared to
recognise King Ibn baud s position in Asir, the validity of that position should
be discussed in the proposed conversations. Moreover, if the Italian Government
were able to represent to the Imam that His Majesty's Government had agreed
to discussion on this basis, the Imam would naturally form the impression that
the status of Asir was still an open question, and would be encouraged to go back

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' [‎37v] (95/522), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/569, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 October 2019]

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