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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎25v] (50/434)

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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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negotiations so that Ibn Sand might give the concession to E.G.S. in ignorance
of the interest of A.P.O.C., to whom he was hostile. Be that as it may, E.G.S.
got the concession, and on the 6th May, 1923, Ibn Sand granted an oil concession
(including the Qatif and Jubail areas) to the Eastern and General Syndicate.
Major Holmes gave an undertaking not to sell part of the concession to the
A.P.O.C., and His Majesty’s Government thought of trying to induce Ibn Saud
to cancel this restriction, but the proposal was abandoned in May 1924. Thus
the A.P.O.C. were left out in the cold.
The final terms of the concession to E.G.S. are not known, but there are
indications that it followed the draft which had been submitted to Sir P. C°x.
That draft, and probably the actual concession, included inter alia, provision
for the following :—
* (a) Lapse of the concession if E.G.S. should fail to start operations in a
specified manner within nine months.
(b) Government right to cancel the concession after any continuous
cessation of operations for more than twenty months.
(c) Payment of £3,000 a year for “special protection ” in half-yearly
payments to begin sixty days after date.
{d) Pavment of £6,000 under pain of nullity of the concession, sixty
days after date.
, (e) Arbitration in the event of any dispute.
It is not clear what, if anything, E.G.S. did to implement the undertaking
to start operations. It is known that on the 26th April, 1924, two geologists of
theirs left Koweit to make a preliminary survey in “ Nejd, Koweit Neutral Zone
and Hasa,” but it is not known to what this led. Anyhow, Major Holmes was
in difficulties with Ibn Saud in October 1925, because, according to Bushire
telegram to the Colonial Office of the 31st October, (a) Ibn Saud had refused to
alter a clerical error of date, and (b) E.G.S. would advance no more money.
There was also apparently difficulty in obtaining financial support in London
owing to the non-existence of British diplomatic representation at Nejd. It
was probably at this time or a little later that E.G.S. and Major Holmes
estranged Ibn Saud by refusing a payment which he claimed.
There is no evidence that Ibn Saud formally cancelled the concession at this
juncture. When, however, E.G.S. entered into an agreement with the Gulf
Company on the 30th November, 1927, in regard to this, the Neutral Zone
Concession and the hoped-for concession in Koweit, they admitted that both the
former were “ at least subject to forfeiture and cancellation, if not actually
null and void.”
The negotiations which led to the grant of a concession in Hasa to the
Standard Oil of California are understood to have been conducted by that
company directly, and not through the intervention of the E.G.S.
(6) Koweit Neutral Zone .—On the 17th May, 1924, an oil concession is
alleged to have been granted jointly by Ibn Saud and the Sheikh of Koweit to
the E.G.S. The E.G.S., by an agreement of the 30th November, 1927, trans
ferred any rights which it might possess or acquire or which could be re
instated in Hasa or the Neutral Zone as well as in Koweit to the Eastern Gulf
Oil Company. The history of the concession is somewhat obscure. A recent
Colonial Office memorandum concludes from a review of the known facts the
“ impression .... that Iban Saud did actually grant the concession
on his own without the consent of the Sheikh of Koweit.” As against this,
E.G.S. definitely claimed to have got the concession from both, and it seems
hardly likely that they would have committed themselves to this statement if
it were untrue, in their definite legal agreement with the Gulf Company of the
30th November, 1927, as they certainly did. In any case, however, the grounds
for considering this concession to have lapsed are even stronger than in the
ease of the Hasa Concession. E.G.S. not only admitted in the agreement with
Gulf that it was like the other “ at least subject to forefeiture,” &c., but
stated in a letter to the Colonial Office of the 19th December, 1928 that it had
“ never been made operative.”
The Sheikh of Koweit’s account of this concession is given in a recent
despatch from 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. dated the 6th July, 1933, which states that
the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. had an interview with the Sheikh and discussed the

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' [‎25v] (50/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 February 2020]

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