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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎26r] (51/434)

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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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45
matter. The Sheikh’s recollection was that Ibn Sand gave the Plasa Conces
sion proper to Major Holmes in the spring of 1923, its chief clause being that
unless Major Holmes started work within three years the concession would
lapse. Ibn Saud wrote in the summer of 1923 and sent the Sheikh a draft
joint concession in respect of the Kowiet Neutral Zone, which he wished to
give to Major Holmes’s company, the E.G.S., and asking the Sheikh to sign it.
His Majesty’s Government informed the Sheikh that he could sign the joint
concession. The concession was actually signed in April 1924, and consisted
of only four pages, and it was duly sent on to Ibn Sand. About a year after
wards Major Holmes had a disagreement with Ibn Saud, who informed
Major Holmes that the joint Neutral Zone Concession was there and then can
celled. Ever since the Sheikh of Kowiet has assumed the joint concession to
be a dead letter, that is to say, from about April 1925. The Sheikh of Koweit
has been unable to ascertain whether Ibn Saud has included the Neutral Zone
in the Hasa Concession recently granted to the Standard Oil Company of
California.
(7) Farsan Islands, now also a part of Saudi Arabia. —E.G.S. would appear
to have obtained some sort of a concession for the Farsans (and possibly the
mainland of Asir) from Hasan-al-Idrisi in 1926. It is not clear what became
of this concession, if the grant was complete, but it was superseded by a con
cession for the Farsans given by the Idrisi on the 25th September, 1926, to a
Mr. Cooper, who marketed it to the Anglo-Saxon Petroleum Company (Royal
Dutch Shell Group). The latter formed the Red Sea Petroleum Company to
work it. This company started operations of some importance at Zifaf Island.
The Idrisi, acting, it was thought at the time, under Italian influence, but more
probably under that of Iban Saud, made difficulties in the summer of 1927.
After abortive efforts by the company to overcome them, Ibn Saud came for
ward ostensibly in the role of honest broker Often a local commercial agent in the Gulf who regularly performed duties of intelligence gathering and political representation. between the Idrisi, now his vassal
and the company. A conference held at Wizan in December 1927 under his
auspices between the representatives of the company and the Idrisi was again
abortive. Ibn Saud eventually intimated “ a decision in the question of the
dispute which we were asked to settle between the Red Sea Petroleum Company
and the Idrisi Government ” to the effect that a new concession should be
drawn up and that in the meantime it would be undesirable to accede to a
request which the company had put forward for permission to transfer their
operations from Zifaf to Great Farsan. He suggested that the company should
send a representative to Jedda to negotiate the revised concession. On his
persisting in this attitude the company decided to withdraw from the islands
and in September 1928 they removed all material under the auspices of H.M.S.
Dahlia. It must be assumed that this terminated any rights under the Cooper
Concession. The Shell Company has recently stated that it is not interested
to reopen operations in the Farsan Islands.
(D)— Present Position.
Whatever view might possibly be held as to the legal position in regard to
past concessions, it is quite certain that Ibn Saud believes himself to be quit
of all of them and he is probably right. The position in regard to the various
areas may be summed up as follows :—
(1) Northern Hejaz. —Midian (Limited), closely associated with Sharqieh
(Limited) or some other concern, may have had rights in this area, but there
is no reason to think that they survive. No one seems to be actively interested
at present.
(2) Asir. —Ibn Saud in June 1933 intimated that he would be prepared to
consider offers for a concession from British companies. The matter was
referred by the Petroleum Department to the I.P.C. within whose sphere of in
fluence Asir fell and who were the only company with any British interests who
were likely to be prepared to consider the .matter. The I.P.C. have intimated
that they are prepared to send out geologists to make an examination if they
can secure the necessary rights without payment during the exploratory period.
(3) Hasa. —After some competition between tHe Iraq Petroleum Companv
(who sent a representative out to negotiate in 1933) and the Standard Oil
Company of California, a concession was ultimately granted to the latter. It
is understood from information obtained from the I.P.C. that the concession
was signed on the 29th May, 1933, the terms being an initial payment of £30,000
(yold) and a further deferred payment of £20,000 (gold) with a royalty at 5s.
per ton.

About this item

Content

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)
Arrangement

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' [‎26r] (51/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100025548486.0x000034> [accessed 24 February 2020]

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