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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎32v] (64/434)

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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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scheme. Their object at that time was to sell Ibn Sand light military aircraft,
and it seems probable that the recent reports of tension between him and the
imam Yehya have led them to consider the moment opportune for a serious effort
to this end*. Local gossip is rife on the subject, the establishment of an air /service
between Egypt and Jedda being suggested in some quarters, whilst other and
unkinder ones suggest that Talaat Pasha’s idea in arriving by air is to be able
to leave the country quickly in the event of war with the Yemen
4. The aeroplane, if and when it arrives, will be the first machine of any
sort to fly in or near the Hejaz since the ill-fated Wapiti, whose crash was
reported in Mr! Hope GUI’s telegram No. 201 of the 14th September, 1931. Its
arrival may serve to focus local attention on the parlous condition of the Saudi
Air Force. The latter still consists of the four Wapitis and five old T). H. 9’s
bought from His Majesty’s Government ; but the former, which alone might be
made to tly, still remain, as they have remained since the time of the crash
referred to above, in their ramshackle hangar, with absolutely no attention except
an occasional greasing by an inexpert hand ; while Ibn Sand remains without
a single pilot capable of flying the machines, and without a single competent air-
mechanic. No attempt has been made to develop any ground organisation, and
projects, which have been reported on various occasions from this post, of
engaging Turkish pilots and|or training Saudi subjects in Turkey, have
remained unrealised.
5. With Saudi finances till further depleted by the war-preparations, the
scale of which is easily the greatest yet made, the prospects of Ibn Sand being
able to afford the heavy and continuous expense of employing competent pilots
and ground staff, and of his embarking upon the essential refitting of his present
machines and the ground organisation necessary for any extensive flying, are
receding further and further into the future. The prospects of his buying new
machines seem even more remote, however, tempting the opportunity thus to
steal a march on the Imam, unless the realisation of a State bank project should
bring with it. a substantial loan or credit arrangements. The advent of a
financier will, in any event, be awaited with no little interest in this country.
6. I am sending copies of this despatch to the Principal Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs, Department of Overseas Trade and to his Excellency the
High Commissioner for Egypt.
(Received on 11th February 1934. unth Political Secretary’s letter No. 4, dated
25th January 1934.)
Enclosure in Foreign Office covering letter, dated 19th January 1934.
Letter from His Majesty’s Minister, Jedda, to the Foreign Office, No. 332,
Talaat Pasha Harb, whose anticipated visit to this country by air was
reported in my despatch No. 338, Confidential, of the 22nd November [Serial
No. (4)], duly arrived in Jedda on the 3rd December, accompanied by three
others associated with him in this mission. He was met on the landing-ground
close to the town, which for the previous two days had been the scene of con
siderable activity, by the Amir of Jedda, a posse of local notables and a large
concourse of the inhabitants. He had left Egypt on the 2nd December and had
spent the night at Tor, where he had taken the opportunity of inspecting the
quarantine station. He had resumed his journey on the 3rd,'had descended at
Wejh, where a stay of some little time was made, and at Yanbu, where a short
stay was necessarv for the purpose of refuelling. His pilot was Mr. G. J.
Mahony, of Misr-Airwork, S. A. E.
2. It is still early to learn more than I was able to report in my despatch ,
under reference as to the objects of his visit and the measure of success he is
likelv to achieve. I understand from mv Egyptian colleague that Talaat Pasha
is pleased with his reception bv the Saudi authorities. Sheikh Abdullah
Suleiman, the Minister of Finance, has been in Jedda during the past two days,
and I learn that conversations have been proceeding at the Kandara Palace,
where the members of the mission are being entertained as the guests of the
Saudi Government.
3. Talaat Pasha, whom I met for a short time to-day, informed me that he
proposed to leave for Mecca by car to-morrow and expected to return in two or

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' [‎32v] (64/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 January 2020]

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