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'File 8/7 I Jidda Intelligence Reports' [‎128r] (255/536)

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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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its principal centre. Latterly, however, according to Fuad Bey Hamza, a sub
tribe of the Beni Yam had scored a local success in driving the Yemenis out
of and in occupying the Wadi Habuna, in the vicinity of Badr, a fertile and
inhabited prolongation of the Wadi Najran. If the military tempo remained
moderato soxtenuto it was in accordance with strict orders from Riyadh, and
was due to Ibn Saud’s desire to preserve as favourable an atmosphere as possible
for diplomatic exchanges, the tempo of which quickened during the month. On
the 2nd November Ibn Sand replied, through Sheikh Abdullah Suleyman, to
Mr. Calvert's representations of the 30th October (see paragraph 220) reiterating
his desire for peace, declaring that his overtures to the Imam Yahya had been
rejected and denouncing the latter’s territorial pretensions, his military
aggressiveness and his intrigues to foment internal trouble in Saudi Arabia.
Ibn Sand was therefore compelled to take measures for the defence of his country.
A settlement, however, was necessary and he summarised his claims under four
heads : (a) Surrender of the Idrisi; (b) evacuation of Najran; (c) establishment
of present frontiers; and (d) reaffirmation of the present treaty (of December
1931) between the two countries. On the 12th Fuad Bey Hamza stated that
Ibn Sand had received a communication from the Imam enquiring the reason
for the concentration of Saudi troops on the Asir frontier, to which Ibn Saud
replied two days later that it was precautionary and was due to similar concen
tration in the Yemen. He took the opportunity afforded by this resumption of
correspondence of reformulating his demands, his four points, and inviting the
Imam's observations on them. Fuad Bey stated that an ultimatum had been
prepared, together with a Green Book setting forth the Saudi case, and its issue
would depend upon the nature of the Imam’sreply to Ibn Saud’slastmessage. Fuad
Bey asserted Ibn Saud’s determination to avoid hostilities “ at all costs,'’ and
gave what are undoubtedly two weighty reasons for this attitude—that were
Ibn Saud to take the first step in a fratricidal Arab war he would assuredly
forfeit the sympathy of the whole Islamic world; and that a war would prove
financially disastrous to Saudi Arabia in the present difficult economic
circumstances of the country. Fuad Bey also expressed misgivings as to the
attitude of the Italian Government in the event of war, but later in the month
he informed His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires confidentially that he had received
friendly assurances from the Italians, which may help to dissipate Saudi
uneasiness on that score.
246. The Imam in due course replied to Ibn Saud’s communication,
accepting a proposal for a conference, but maintaining silence on the subject of
the four points. This elicited a rejoinder that the omission to clarify the
principal issues beforehand made a facile acceptance of a conference proposal
by no means agreeable to Ibn Saud. The request for the Imam’s views was again
made, and during the last ten days of November the Imam replied with no less
than three telegrams, each one asking for additional information on the four
points. Fuad Bey considered the questions were insincere and procrastinating,
but Ibn Saud had replied fully in each case. The situation was unsatisfactory
and Fuad Bey personally was inclined to believe the issue of the ultimatum could
not long be delayed. In fact, he said, the tribes on the Asir frontier might
anticipate an ultimatum by coming to blows at almost any day.
247. On the 18th November His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires, under
instructions, informed the Saudi Government by semi-official letter to Fuad Bey
Hamza, of the present situation between the Aden Protectorate and the Yemen
and of His Majesty’s Government’s intention to send Colonel Reilly to Sanaa to
negotiate a treaty with the Imam. The Saudi Government was assured that this
step, the outcome of negotiations which antedated the present Saudi-Yemeni
imbroglio, implied no change in the feelings of friendship His Majesty’s Govern
ment entertained for the Saudi Arab Government, but that on the contrary it
was hoped that it might present an opportunity to His Majesty’s Government to
exercise their influence with the Imam to reduce the dangers in the present
situation between the two Arab States. On the 27th Mr. Calvert received Fuad
Bey’s reply in which [bn Saud acknowledged and expressed his gratitude for
these assurances. The King felt, however, that His Majesty’s Government would
discover in their dealings with the Imam that he flattered only to deceive.
248. (Reference paragraph 222.) Mr. Calvert discussed with Fuad Bey
the question of the exchange of ratifications of the Saudi-Transjordan Treaty
on the 12th November, the first opportunity since the return of the Deputy
[991 ee—2] b 2

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' [‎128r] (255/536), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/295, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 13 November 2019]

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