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'File 8/7 I Jidda Intelligence Reports' [‎20r] (39/536)

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The record is made up of 1 file (266 folios). It was created in Jul 1931-Dec 1934. It was written in English. 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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t 4

. .
with his present need (that of bombing the Imam Yahya, no doubt); he
therefore asked for its omission from the new contracts. Fuad Bey also
asked that, in view of the urgency of the matter,, the new contracts, modi
fied from the old in the above sense only, be sent to Jedda with the new
personnel, for signature on arrival.
65. In transmitting this message to His Majesty’s Government, His
Majesty’s Chargd d’Afiaires summarised the situation which underlay it.
As far as could be judged at Jedda, Ibn Sa’ud was simultaneously faced by
a state of lawlessness and disaffection in the northern Hejaz, the possibility
of a resurrection of the Rashidi power at Flail, dissatisfaction through
out Nejd at stricter taxation in place of the customary largesse, insurrec
tion in Asir abetted and utilized by the Imam Yahya, and latent but bitter
hosility in the towns of the Hejas. If this maximum estimate were to be
discounted by half Ibn Sa’ud was still faced with a formidable situation, to
meet which he had unimpaired military prestige, much impaired political
prestige, less Wahhabi fervour to back him, and no money. If he could
at once have two pilots with full power to use them as he wished, it would
assist him but it could hardly prove decisive, except perhaps to frighten
the Imam into terms. Their effect on his subjects everywhere else could
not fail to be less than the effect of his four new aeroplanes in 1929, when
the Nejdi rebels had been driven into a corner and the weight of His
Majesty’s Government, whiich the tribes discerned behind Ibn Sa’ud, was
concentrated in one district. Only two machines in any case were now
serviceable, while a third might be made serviceable, given
time, which would be grudged. A further consideration
was that Ibn Sa’ud no longer figured in the Moslem press as the popular
consolidator of Arabia. Once suspected of having his back to the wall, the
press might well turn on him and feature his pilots as hired assassins, with
unfortunate results in India; while if they were to fall into rebel hands,
there would be far less hope of their deriving protection from their British .
nationality than there might have been in the 1929 operations near both
the ’Iraq frontier and the Royal Air Force. Over against all these lay the
consideration that Ibn Sa’ud would probably regard any delay or failure
on the part of His Majesty’s Government to send out the new personnel,
which he so badly needed, as evidence that they were no longer inclined
to give him their support and assistance, just when these were most requir
ed. Fuad Bey had stated that he could not believe that the British Govern
ment, with their wide powers and great experience, could fail to devise the
means of helping so loyal and useful a friend as Ibn Sa’ud.
66 . His Majesty’s Government nevertheless replied to Ibn Sa’ud’s
message that in no circumstances could they agree to British personnel tak
ing part in hostilities against another power; the option to resign in the
event of war must therefore be maintained and would be exercised if neces
sary. As regards the contracts, these must be agreed before the personnel
were engaged. Draft contracts were sent to His Majesty’s Charge
d’ffaires for submission to the Heiazi Government if they still desired the
early engagement of personnel under the above condition.
67. Ibn Sa’ud professed to be much grieved by this reply which His
Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires communicated to the Hejazi Government on
the 30th September. He assured His Majesty’s Government that his
intentions were purely pacific, but he did not deny the fact that he needed
his air force to meet both internal rebellion and external agression. He
complained that the 1929,, personnel had not been worth the money spent
on them. He now found it necessary to punish “certain subjects and
asked His Majesty’s Government to choose one of two courses, either send
out sufficient new personnel for four machines, to be under his orders for
every purpose or else send only instructional personnel and mechanics,
and he would himself look for his pilots elsewhere; he would use the British
for training and the rest for war. An interim reply was given on the

About this item


The file contains intelligence reports on the Kingdom of Hejaz, Najd and its Dependencies (after September 1932, Saudi Arabia) written by the British Legation at Jeddah.

Between July 1931 and December 1932 the reports are issued every two months, with the exception of the January-March 1932 and April 1932 reports. From January 1933 the reports are sent on a monthly basis.

Between July 1931 and December 1932, each report is divided into sections, numbered with Roman numerals from I to IX, as follows: Internal Affairs; Frontier Questions; Relations with States outside Arabia; Air Matters; Military Matters; Naval Matters; Pilgrimage; Slavery; and Miscellaneous. Each section is then further divided into parts relating to a particular matter or place, under a sub-heading. Some reports contain an annex.

From January 1933, when the reports become monthly, they take a new format. Each is divided into sections, as follows: Internal Affairs; Frontier Questions and Foreign Relations in Arabia; Relations with Powers Outside Arabia; Miscellaneous (often containing information on slavery and the pilgrimage).

Most reports are preceded by the covering letters from the Government of India, who distributed them to Political Offices in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. and elsewhere, and the original covering letter from the Jeddah Legation, who would send them to the Government of India and Government departments in London. From May 1933, most reports were sent directly to the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Bahrain from Jeddah.

Up until January 1933, each report began with an index giving a breakdown of the sections with references to the corresponding paragraph number. From January 1933 onwards no index is included.

Extent and format
1 file (266 folios)

The file is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover and terminates at the back cover; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are 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. An additional incomplete foliation sequence is also present in parallel between ff 6-11; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and are located in the same position as the main sequence.

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English in Latin script
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'File 8/7 I Jidda Intelligence Reports' [‎20r] (39/536), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/295, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 November 2019]

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