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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎53v] (127/522)

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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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While the foregoing observations may appear to be at once meagre and
cursive, I think they provide the best approach to the specific matters, on which
vou have been good enough to consult me. Before dealing with them, I have to
record one point which emerged from my conversation with Fuad Bey on the
29th December. When I mentioned the Wadi Tashar as being the terminal on
the sea of the frontier, as described by the Saudi Government themselves last year
(see my despatch No. 113 of the 14th April, 1933), Fuad Bey said that the actual
frontier abutted on the sea a little further south, i.e., at a place called Muwassim,
8 kilom. north of Medi, and that that place was occupied by Saudi forces. This
may account for the recent recrudescence of rumours, which, however, I still
believe to be confounded, of clashes between Saudi and Yemeni forces in the
immediate neighbourhood of Medi. Be this as it may, Fuad Bey's statement is
important as a matter of precision, although it does not affect the main argument
of the present despatch.
5. Although the Saudi-Idrisi Treaty of 1920 has not been published, I
think it can safely be assumed that it had no bearing on the frontier between the
territory remaining to the Idrisi and the Yemen. It is conceivable that Ibn Saud
may have promised the Idrisi support in resisting encroachment by the Imam,
but the only frontier that could have been definitely determined between the
parties was an inland one, as the Idrisi was then treating as an independent ruler,
with the Yemen to the south of him and the Hejaz to the north. It indeed seems
probable that Ibn Saud and the Idrisi did not define the whole even of the inland
frontier between them. In Mr. Mayers' despatch to the Foreign Office, No. 6 of
the 19th January, 1927, Dr. Abdullah Damluji is described as having said that
the treaty of 1920 " only defined the north-south frontier in the Muhail-Abha
region .... and did not attempt to make a partition between Asir and the
territory of the Imam Yahya." I derived the same impression from my conver
sation with Fuad Bey Hamza on the 29th December, and it is strengthened by
a consideration of the situation at the time. Any agreement between the Idrisi
and Ibn Saud, recognising the latter as ruler of portions of inland Asir bordering
on the Yemen, might have precipitated a question between Ibn Saud and the
Imam; but in 1920 Ibn Saud was pursuing another objective which made it
specially important for him to disinterest the Idrisi in the Abha region. This
was the absorption into his dominions of that region, in which the head of the
former ruling family, the Beni Aidh, had made himself independent after the
1 uikish ev acuation at the end of 1918. Ibn Saud achieved this immediate obiect
m 1922. *
It appears to me fairly certain that Ibn Saud did not become seriouslv
interested m the frontier between what is now Asir Tihama and the Yemen until
c time oi the second treaty, which he made with the Idrisi in 1926. As he was
+i ei T^ C ^ U1 u in i^i Iover what had been the Idrisi's territory, and as
the Idrisi had been hard pressed by the Imam, it became important for Ibn Saud
to make sure that he was getting all the territory to which the Idrisi could give
fv. 1 t 'i ■ • i ag ? e u e ^ e transfer might be held to include territory from which
Q a v. ^ on S fui ly ejected by the Imam, but for the reasons given in
P ^ 0 P. , ov e' no t think that places like Hodeida, or even Loheya, couW
t <:>r . now f having at any time been a part of the Idrisi's
m y v 'ew what the Imam did in regard to those places in 1925
t i t i ■ ■ i possess ie Idnsi of what had lawfully been his, but to recover what
tions sepm ^ f v a ^ imperrnanently occupied. All historical considera-
■as distinct from Asir ^ ^ Loheya fom P art of the ^en proper
7 Before dealing with the one remaining question I mav mention the one
nolew w ! nch 1 has oocllrr ed to me. It might be suggested that
the comino- into fv,..f 'lV. 1 -n" sense m any of the territories concerned until
and that ea?h rnW's riltft r e at y , of . La "sanne between Turkey and the Allies,
moment This d T nd on what h e actually held at that
consenuential Sa'iufi plnim P, . " ln support of an Idrisi claim and »
hTDSio.^ LO u heya ' which P laces the Idrisi had 11
T ; P ssion at that moment, but I do not think it could be serionslv sustained.
wftiC BevTidT wr- ^ ^ conversation of the 2 9 t CXr
n iuad Bey, and I was interested to hear him throw out a reference to the
was quite caauat n and a tha^t^cal^ et T\ 1 )ass C to t 'the U ' t ' ma ' e ^ , SitUati0n ' b f th"
alleged agreement of 1931 between Ibn Saud and Se I^m q uestlon of

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' [‎53v] (127/522), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/569, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 October 2019]

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