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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎57r] (134/522)

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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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p. J/■ ^
EASTERN (Arabia ). ^ : January 30, 1934.
nerljjl ——— —■ " .' —— —————
Jf 1 --' CONFIDENTIAL. S ection 4.
^ Aral —
tjj": [E 716/79/2S] No. 1.
Sir A. Ryan to Sir John Simon.—{Received January 30.)
y ( No - 5 -)
Sir, Jedda, January 10, 1934.
FOR several days after I despatched my telegram No. 226 of the 29th
December, there was in Jedda an almost uncanny dearth of news, or even rumours,
,, regarding the Saudi-Yemen situation. A few small straws in the wind seemed
■ to indicate vaguely that it might again be blowing up for war. A posse of
well-known ulema arrived in Mecca from Nejd. The object of their visit might
have been to stimulate martial ardour,-but this surmise is discounted by the fact
that it is now Ramadan, a month which the devout like to spend wholly or partly
in Mecca. The King's cousin Saud-al-Arafa (see personalities report 1 (23)),
who had come to the Hejaz for that purpose, returned unexpectedly to Riyadh.
This prince, though outwardly loyal, is believed to be somewhat ill-affected
towards the King, and the latter might well like to keep him under his immediate
eye, if His Majesty were starting on a distant expedition. Finally, the Emir
Feisal, who had promised to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Philby on the 7th January,
postponed the engagement at short notice until the 9th, in order to go once more
to Taif to review the troops there.
2. The Amir came from Taif to Jedda on the 8th January for the usual
dinner in honour of the King's accession. Fuad Bey Hamza came down for the
same event, and I had a conversation with him on the 9th January. He described
the situation as still uncertain. He stated that some days earlier war had
appeared imminent. The King, however, in his eagerness for peace, had made
a further concession by proposing to leave the question of Najran in suspense
pending a meeting of delegates at Sana or elsewhere, perhaps a place near the
frontier, who could discuss the question at the same time that they recorded in
treaty form the agreement already reached in principle regarding the de facto
frontier between Asir and Yemen and the disposal of the Idrisi. Fuad Bey said
that he was himself to attend the conference, if it took place, a decision which
would appear to indicate the King's wish to ensure precision in any written
agreement, as Fuad Bey has had a greater experience of negotiations on civilised
lines than any of Flis Majesty's present advisers.
3. At the outset of the conversation Fuad Bey referred to the Imam's
intrigues among the Beni Malik, as though this grievance still existed or had
recently revived, but he presently dismissed it as a subsidiary matter. He
complained generally of the impossibility of getting straight answers from the
Imam, who indulged freely in evasive verbiage. He was unable to tell me
anything more about the actual situation in Najran. I questioned him guardedly
as to the report reproduced in the penultimate sentence of my telegram No. 226
of the 29th December, describing it simply as a rumour which I had heard. Fuad
Bey admitted that certain elements near the frontier, who were co-operating with
Ibn Saud but did not form part of his organised forces, had joined the local
Najran tribes in repulsing the Yemenis. He said that there had still been no
clash between the accredited forces of the two rulers, and that Ibn Saud had
explained to the Imam the character of those concerned on his side. Although
any such incident must necessarily be disquieting, I do not think that undue
importance need be attached to this particular affair, as it does not seem to have
interrupted the curious course of negotiations between principals.
4. We must still be prepared for all contingencies, but my present impres-
sl on is that Ibn Saud is most anxious to avoid war. He may well think that
^ would be better in any case to postpone it, if it is to come, until the failure
0 i a formal conference of delegates had demonstrated clearly the impossibility
or any reasonable agreement with the Imam. This policy is attended by one
disadvantage, namely, that there is not much cool weather left for fighting. On
the other hand, a break-down of negotiations on all the points at issue would
[6 gg—4]

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' [‎57r] (134/522), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/1/569, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 October 2019]

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