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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎12r] (23/434)

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The record is made up of 1 file (214 folios). It was created in 31 Aug 1933-20 Mar 1939. It was written in English and French. 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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aggression, it would be definitely against British interests that the islands should
be absorbed by either Saudi Arabia or Persia. King Ibn Saud has already, by
Article 6 of the Treaty of Jedda, specifically recognised the special relations of His
Majesty’s Government with the Arab States of 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 is not likely
therefore to seek to annex Bahrain. Meanwhile it is one of our main objects in
our negotiations with Persia to obtain a similar recognition by Persia of our special
relations with Bahrain, etc., and the abandonment of the antiquated Persian claims
both to Bahrain and to certain other Arab islands in the Gulf. In these circums
tances it would clearly to impossible for His Majesty’s Government to acquiesce
in the incorporation of any of the smaller independent Arab States whether in the
•Persian Gulf or in Southern Arabia in a wider Arabian political combination.
9. Meanwhile in the north and west any project for Arab unity in any practical
sense of the word must come into conflict with the mandatory system in the French
Levant States and in Palestine, with all that that system implies. The French,
even if they were prepared to agree, on certain conditions, to the emancipation of
the State of Syria proper, have made it clear that they have no intention of relin
quishing their hold on the predominantly Christian State of the Lebanon, or, for the
present at any rate, on the curious non-Arab enclave of the Jebel Druse. His
Majesty’s Government are equally precluded from allowing Palestine to be absorbed
in any way in any kind of predominantly Arab union, if only in view of their deep
commitment to the policy of the Jewish national home, quite apart from their
obligations to the other non-Arab or non-Moslem Communities and interests in
Palestine proper.
10. From the point of view of practical politics, therefore, the question of Arab
unity resolves itself into the possibility of some kind of combination, providing for
the inclusion of indigenous non-Arab elements such as the Assyrians, Kurds, etc.,
between Iraq, Transjordan and the State of Syria.
11. As regards Transjordan, the union or combination of which with Iraq
would at first sight seem easiest, since Transjordan is at present a purely Arab
State and since its ruler is the brother of King Faisel, an initial difficulty is presented
by the fact that Transjordan is covered by the mandate for Palestine, of which it
n technically forms on integral part. It would therefore be necessary, before any
effective combination between Transjordan and Iraq could be brought about, that
His Majesty’s Government should arrange for the release of Transjordan from the
mandate. Transjordan does not, however, at present appear to fulfil any of the
conditions which have been laid down by the League of Nations as justifying the
release of a territory from the mandatory regime. Even if Transjordan did to some
extent fulfil these conditions a factor which might militate against her liberation
from the mandate is the possibility that there may at no distant date be a Jewish
settlement in Transjordan. While there can be no question of extending to Trans
jordan the articles of the Palestine mandate which relate to the establishment of
the Jewish national home, the existence of a Jewish minority in Transjordan
would certainly increase the difficulties in the way of bringing the mandatory
regime in that territory to an end.
12. As regards the State of Syria, there is no doubt that the French are seriously
contemplating the possibility of its emancipation, and that King Feisal of Iraq,
and Arab nationalists generally, both in Iraq and in Syria itself, are considering the
possibility of a union of Syria and Iraq, perhaps under the rulership of a single
individual. There are, however, various difficulties and objections to such a project.
13. In the first place, the French are unlikely to release their hold on Syria
completely. Even if Syria were to be released from the mandate, it is probable that the
mandate would be replaced by a Franco-Syrian Treaty of Alliance on the lines of the
Anglo-Iraqi Treaty of 1930. The position would then be that the Syrian portion of
the new State, or confederation, whether it took the form of a republic or of a monar
chy, would be bound to France, and would remain under predominantly French
political and cultural influence while the Iraqi portion would be bound to this
country under the Anglo-Iraqi treaty of 1930 and would remain under predominantly
British influence. This might well lead to a situation of international rivalry
which would produce serious international complications.
14. Again, Syria is at present in a higher state of development than Iraq
Although its people are perhaps less virile, its towns are larger and more flourishing,
and its culture and civilisation are more advanced. In any case, it is a far more

About this item


The file contains the Foreign Office confidential prints of the Arabia Series for the years 1933 to 1938. It includes correspondence, memoranda, and extracts from newspapers. The correspondence is principally between the British Legation in Jedda and the Foreign Office. Other correspondents include British diplomatic, political, and military offices, foreign diplomats, heads of state, tribal leaders, corporations, and individuals in the Middle East region.

Each annual series is composed of several numbered serials that are often connected to a particular subject. The file covers many subjects related to the affairs of Saudi Arabia.

Included in the file are the following:

  • a memorandum on Arab Unity produced by the Foreign Office dated 12 June 1933 (author unknown), folios 11-13;
  • a memorandum on petroleum in Arabia produced by the Petroleum Department dated 5 August 1933 (author unknown), folios 23-26;
  • a record of interviews with Ibn Sa‘ūd, King of Saudi Arabia, conducted by Reader Bullard and George William Rendel between 20 and 22 March 1937;
  • a memorandum on Yemen by Captain B W Seager, the Frontier Officer, dated 20 July 1937;
  • several records of proceedings of ships on patrol in the Red Sea, including that of HMS Penzance , Hastings , Colombo , Bideford , and Londonderry .

Folios 213-15 are internal office notes.

Extent and format
1 file (214 folios)

The file is arranged chronologically.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1 and terminates at the back cover with 217; 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 foliation sequence is also present in parallel between ff 2-215; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled, and are located in the same position as the main sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎12r] (23/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 15 September 2019]

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