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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎33r] (65/434)

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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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three days’ time. He would take to the air again on the 9th December for
Yanbu, whence he intended to go to Medina by car, returning to resume his
journey to Egypt from Yanbu two days later.
4. His visit has naturally received a good deal of local attention, and has,
it is believed, excited considerable interest in Government circles. One is in
clined to wonder how far Fuad Bey Hamza, during his leave, which was partly
spent in Egypt, was instrumental in preparing the ground for this visit. At
any rate, the obvious intention of Talaat Pasha is to create an impression as
favourable to the objects he has in view as he possibly can. The D. H. Dragon
aeroplane has been partly occupied since its arrival in carrying out short
demonstration flights for the benefit of both European and native passengers.
I am also informed by my Egyptian colleague that Talaat Pasha, to mark the
occasion, brought with him a large selection of goods, probably of Egyptian
manufacture, for distribution as charity to the poor of this _ country. It is
pleasant to observe this pious practice, one of the five obligations of the true
Moslem, going so happily hand in hand with, and sanctifying, a more material
commercial purpose. I hope to be in a position to report further on this matter
in due course. . * 4
5. I am sending a copy of this despatch to the Principal Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs. Department of Overseas Trade, and to His Majesty s High
Commissioner for Egypt.
( 6 )
(Received on 11th February 1934. with Political Secretary's letter No. 4, dated
25th January 1934.)
Enclosure in Foreign Office covering letter, dated 17th January 1934.
Letter from His Majesty’s Minister, Jedda, to the Foreign Office, No. 351,
In my telegram No. 197 of the 15th November, I had the honour to indicate
certain aspects of the local financial situation which might have a bearing on
the Saudi attitude towards repayment of their debts. I submit herewith a
somewhat fuller review of the situation.
2. All indications are that the Saudi Government are making the most
determined efforts to reduce expenditure to a minimum and to lose no chance
of ammenting their income, in order to leave themselves the widest possible
margin for the heavy expenditure entailed by the military preparations^ now
being undertaking. The latter are, of course, on a scale unparalleled > m the
history of this country, for tribal contingents from every quarter of Arabia have
now been sent south,* together with all available munitions, including even such
items as a batterv of field-guns from Medina brought in by the Turks before
the Great War. The tribesmen receive little or no actual pay, but need equip
ment food and transport ; a recent Mecca estimate nut the present expenditure
under this head at £5,000 a day. The figure is doubtless exaggerated and will
be reduced in any case once the armv has been transported to the required area,
but even a tenth of this figure would be a sufficient drain on the Saudi income.
To minimise it, the Government have recently taken to themselves importing
such necessaries as paraffin, rice and sugar through certain old and trusted local
firms such as Haji Zeinal AH Bidha, with whom tlm Mmistm of Finance has
been in relations since his Bombay days. This practice has hit other merchants
hard. '
3 The revenue has diminished almost to vanishing point. As you are
aware the bulk of it is derived from two sources, pilgrims and customs receipts.
The pilgrimage of 1933, 20,000, was the worst since the inauguration of the
Saudi regime, and the prospects for 1934 tend to suggest that little, if any,
improvement can be looked for. At present three pilgrim ships have arnved
from the Straits and Java, bearing exiguous cargoes of pil<mms, and bookings
are reported poor. The decline in the average value of pilgrims is moreover
noticeable. Better-class and rich pilgrims are becoming rerer and the tendency
seems to be more and more for the pilgrimage +o bo confined to peasants, wi
bring with them the minimum sum necessary to do the pilgrimage m the cheapesi

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' [‎33r] (65/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 February 2020]

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