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'File 8/7 I Jidda Intelligence Reports' [‎53v] (106/536)

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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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what I say ”, What had Moslems agreed upon and striven for, Ibn Sa’ud asked,
and he had hesitated to join them ? He had no use for words, but if Moslems
went forth to action, it would be disgraceful for their honour, theirs, the Arabs,
if they failed to do the same. But he did not go on to indicate any plan of action ;
instead, he turned aside to ventilate other grievances. He was censured for lack
of rain in the Hejaz, lie was said to be contracting a loan with the English, he was
accused of wanting to do this and that. But he had taken nothing from the Hejaz ;
on the contrary he had given it peace and religious law. Almighty God withheld
the rain, but upon Moslems lay the disgrace of withholding charity and preventing
pilgiimage (icgarded, of course, as ever in the Hejaz, primarily as commercial
assets). By God, he oontinuedfl have no money and my only possessions are the
sw ord and the Qii ran. I declare openly that if any of the Moslem kings, princes,
or merchants wishes to do a benevolent deed for the Moslems of this country,
he is warmly welcome, provided that he does not violate the honour of our country
nor interfere with our independence or our religious affairs. I swear by God, the
only One God, that I have not contracted a loan with the English or others—-but
perhaps we may need to take from the Moslems, or others/
tU Here is a very fair indication of Ibn Sa’ud’s state of mind. He is at his
wits’ end to obtain money sufficient for his expensive needs. Moreover he is feeling
insecure and his words reflect his growing sense of the hostility which surrounds him
m the Hejaz and which is spreading in the Moslem world outside. His reactions
are alternately those of a man of action who would like to hit somebodv and a
pious begger for unconditional alms. But his enemies, though real to "him, are
impalpable, while benevolent Moslems are looking askance at his fanatical des
truction of their shrines and his spendthrift maladministration of the Holy Hejaz.
115. After prilgrimage, Ibn Sa’ud visited Jedda on April 30th but stayed only
a day and left on May 2nd. He started the leading inhabitants who assembled
to pay homage to him at the Green Palace by greeting them with the words “ I
could cut the throat of every one of you ”. The foreign representatives were
received in audience one by one on May 1st. His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires
found 1 bn Sa md polite but distant and with very little to say. He looked a different
man from w'hat he had been 18 months before, his face yellowed under the skin
pouchy, puckered, and far more livid ; his ill-health was evident.
116. Viceroy of the Hejaz.—The Amir Feysal left on April 12th on a mission
to Europe (paragraphs 53 and 127) and was replaced by Ibn Sa’ud’s third son
Muhammad, aged 22, as President of the Council and Viceroy-to-be.
IV Ministry of Foreign 4//hu>s.—Sheykh Yusuf Yasin at the same time be
came Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs. Fuad Bey Hamza accompanied the
Minister for Foreign Affairs on mission. Current affairs in April were dealt with
by letter and telephone to Mecca : there were no interviews.
118. Finance^ The Hejazi Government made a further attempt in April
to silence the persistent loan rumour (paragraph 11) which the Arabic and Indian
vernacular press kept on repeating. They announced in the “ Umm-al-Oura ”
ot April 15th that the crisis m the Hejaz was only a part of the general world
< epression ; they denied definitely that they had consulted the British or any other
Government about a loan, the rumoured conditions of which (appointment of an
Englishman to reorganize and control all finances, settlement of the Hejaz railway
question and use of Hejaz-Nejd territory by British aircraft) were such as the
Government could never accept; they foretold a conference of local financial experts
and oftered to assist anyone who might wish to be charitable to the Heiaz • thev
promise facilities to any Moslem, were he king or prince or merchant, who wanted
no/touched 1 & ° an ’ pr ° Vlded that their ri S ht3 ’ reli S ion and independence were
119. The financial position was unchanged. The Dutch adviser Mr Van
Beeuwen, arrived at Jedda on April 23rd on contract for a year (paragraph 62)
120 Economy.—The pilgrimage, though very small, brought a little business
and relief to the town populations of the Hejaz. The Beduin however continued
in miserable plight As a result of the draught, the Northern Hejaz was said to be
entirely empty of tribes, who had moved in search of grazing either northward into
ra , n , s ' dor , l ' aD or southward beyond Taima. Pilgrims to Medina were frequently
mobbed by starvmg nomads. 1 ^

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' [‎53v] (106/536), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/295, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 16 November 2019]

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