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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎13v] (26/434)

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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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Enclosure to Serial No. (23).
Letter from His Majesty’s Minister, Jedda, to the Foreign Office, No.
0.T.-24 (1548/1427/2), dated the 2nd June 1933.
One of the stock projects for promoting the development of this country on
modern lines is that of supplying the city of Mecca with electricity.
2. The Sa’Odi Minister of Finance who appears to be interested in this idea,
was recently approached on the subject by a philanthropic Indian gentleman,
Sheykh Muhammad Ibrahim Jawan Bakhsh, who is described as a leading merchant
of Calcutta The Indian Vice-Consul reports that at an interview between them,
at which he was present, Sheykh Muhammad Ibrahim expressed anxiety to secure
the concession provided that he could feel assured that the capital sunk in the
venture would be adequately safeguarded, a proviso which he considered would be
amply met if, in case of dispute he were allowed to invoke the assistance ot the
British authorities. Sheykh Abdullah Suleyman demurred to this, but indicated
that he was prepared to agree to a reference of disputes to arbitration, when anyone,
English or otherwise, might be selected as one of the arbitrators.
3. Sheykh Muhammad Ibrahim Jawan Bakhsh appeared satisfied with his
conversation with the Minister of Finance and subsequently addressed to him a
letter embodying his terms for the grant of the concession. I enclose a translation
of this letter.
4. The present electrical equipment of Mecca consists of some ten or twelve
separate plants, of which the most important are the one supplying the Haram,
one in the King’s Palace, three in palaces of Amir Faisal and one or two in Govern
ment buildings, the house of the Minister of Finance and possibly other members
of the Royal Family.
5 I am sending copies of this despatch and enclosure to His Majesty’s Prin
cipal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and to the Government of India.
Letter from Muhammad son of Aslam, to Hon’ble Sheikh Abdullah Sulai-
man, dated the 23rd May 1933.
Regarding the Power House at Mecca.
After compliments. I had the opportunity this morning to converse with your
good-self over this matter. I lay before you some conditions, and the remaining
ones will be put forward after approval by the Company. I hope your good-self
will also offer your conditions at the earliest.
(1) The Government (Sa’udi) will grant the land, free of charge, required for
the Power House, which will be constructed for the public, and no tax for this will
be levied by the Government; the Government will give such land that may be
required by the Company. The Company will incur expenditure for construction
work, and the Company will be the owner.
(2) The Government will not charge the Company customs duty on accesso
ries, oils of every kind and machinery, &c., required for this work.
(3) The Company will pay you (? Sa’udi Government) 15 per cent, customs
duty for articles, such as lamps and shades.
(4) The Company will supply current and equip the Haram-Sharif free of
(5) The Company will supply current to the Government at 20 per cent less
than the rates on which the current will be supplied to the public. Tne cost of the
extra component articles for the current supplied to the Government will be
charged by the Company according to their fixed prices.
‘(6) The Company will pay the Government 7j per cent, of the net profit

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' [‎13v] (26/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 February 2020]

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