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'File 61/11 VI (D 102) Hejaz-Nejd Miscellaneous' [‎79r] (178/522)

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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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{il 11
j. / ~ ' " " —■
« > >! i
EASTERN (A rabia). march 13 19 3 4
S ection 2.
[E 1637/79/25] No. 1.
Sir A. Ryan to Sir John Simon.—(Received March 13.)
(No. 55.)
Sir ' T 1 , Jedda, February 28, 1934.
IN my despatch No. 41 of the 13th February, I summed up my then most
recent information regarding the Saudi-Yemen situation. Since that date there
has been an extraordinary paucity of news or even rumours about what is
happening. It can hardly be wondered at that, in all interested outside quarters,
it should be thought that, to quote the Times of the 9th February, "prudent
diplomacy" in an "Arabia Still Fortunate" has ended the crisis, and that
nothing but the treaty-making remains. The Saudi Government themselves seem
to have been anxious to foster this idea, witness the announcement on p. 13 of the
Times of the 8th February, a variant of which was given about the same time to
the Egyptian press.
2. The announcement just mentioned suggests either of two things.
Ibn Saud may be so averse from war that he is determined to make the Abha
Conference a success at all costs, or he may be expecting war but anxious to be
able to represent it in due course as due to the Imam's intractability in a general
negotiation which promised to be successful. At the moment it is impossible to
know what has been passing at Abha. The Amir Feisal returned from the camei
parks about the 15th February and came to Jedda on the 18th for four days.
When I saw him on the 20th he professed to have had no news from Abha, since
that of the arrival of the Yemeni delegation; although three clear days had
elapsed, and there is no reason to believe that wireless communication has been
interrupted. The Prince replied rather vaguely to a question about the position
in the mountain area peopled by the Beni Malik, &c., but I understood him to say
that he thought that the Yemeni forces had withdrawn.
3. Mr. Philby, who returned from Mecca three days after my conversation
with the Amir, had heard nothing further about the negotiations, and he told
me last evening that according to the Minister of Finance there was still no news.
It seems hardly credible that the two Ministers most concerned should remain
completely in the dark for over a week, but it is possible that the King is keeping
the matter in his own hands at Riyadh, and it is conceivable, though less probable,
that he has given full discretion to the heir apparent.
4. Meanwhile, the Saudi military preparations have continued. There
appears to have been activity up Medina way about the time of and just after the
Amir Feisal's excursion in that direction. One thousand one hundred men from
the north are reported to have gone south by motor lorry at that time. Ford
lorries bought through Mr. Philby's firm were being hurried off to Mecca as soon
as they could be assembled, without undergoing any road test. Two of the motor
barges sent to Jizan some time ago returned to Jedda on the 19th February and
put to sea again two days later. The third was delayed on the return voyage, but
reached Jedda later and left for Jizan on the 24th February with another party
of some 200 troops.
5. I am sending copies of this despatch to His Majesty's Ambassador in
Rome and to His Majesty's Chief Commissioner at Aden.
I have, &c,
[56 n—2]

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' [‎79r] (178/522), 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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