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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎61r] (121/434)

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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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“ ^aranlees ” would fall to be dealt with in this. Then he added that a tele-
not piiohcdied in the Green Gook, had been addressed to the Imam warn-
1U M iarn ot the risks he might run, if actual hostilities became necessary.
2. The Green Book nevertheless contains texts of great interest. Perhaps
the most interesting of all is the text of the first treaty between Ibn Sand and
me lunsi, me exaci nature oi which has long been a subject of speculation. 1
enclose a rough translation of this agreement, but as I cannot have it checked
at present, i would ask that it should not be used for purposes of publication
untu a more accurate translation can be made. You will observe that it bears
Hie date the 16th Dhu’l Hijja, 1338 (the 31st August, 1920), whereas it is refer
red to in Hie second Saudi-Idrisi Treaty of the 21st October, 1926, as an agree-
^hiar, 1339 (the 24th October, 1920). I have ascertained from
1 uad bey that the date of signature is correctly stated in the Green Book and
tmd the after date is that ot a letter from Ibn Sand approving of it. This
ga\ o the agreement final validity, the Idrisi himself having signed the original.
, ,J ' ^ Imam has become so closelv associated in European
language with the Imam Yahya that it may not be out of place to remind you
that it is borne oqmdJv by Ibn Baud as Imam of the Wahabis and bv the Idrisi
as the religious head of his own adherents. It has often, in the 'past, been
applied to them tout court, with results that are nowadays somewhat confusing.
4. It will be seen from the enclosed translation that the first Saudi-Idrisi
1 reaty did not in any precise sense establish frontiers. What it did was to
take account of the ancestral claims of Ibn Baud, founded on the early expan
sion of Wahabi and the more recent expansion of the Idrisi, whose pretensions,
it not Ins actual occupation, extended to areas far greater than his dominion
in the Tihama of A sir. The effect of the agreement was to partition the total
area which both might claim, but much more with reference to tribes and their
ranges than to geographical features. I need not pursue the analysis further at
piesent. I would point out, however, that, unless a treaty in modern form
" tween Ibn Baud and the Imam ^ ahya relegates all past arrangements to limbo,
the agreement of 1920 may still have importance in connexion with the compli
cated question of Ibn Baud’s titles.
■o iNext in interest is the account given of the negotiations between Ibn
Simd and the Imam \ahya in 1927-28 and the settlement of the Arwa question in
1931. The story of the two missions which Ibn Baud sent to Sana in 1927 and the
Yemeni missions which came to Mecca in 1928 becomes much clearer than it has
hitherto been. The telegrams between the Imam and Ibn Baud which produced
the latter’s award giving Arwa to the Imam are still of interest. The
most important points are perhaps the following :—
(a) When the first Saudi mission went to Sana they were confronted with
a i emeni claim to the whole of A sir, as having always been Yemeni, despite Idrisi
occupation. TJie Saudi mission counterclaimed the whole country as far as
Mokha and Zebid and inland to Bajil, as having been Idrisi, and denied all
i emeiu claims in A sir. It is not astonishing that no agreement was reached.
(b) Chapter III contains proces-verbaux of meetings held during the vi-ir
of the second Saudi mission to Sana. If trustworthy, they bear out the recent
Amdi contention that an oral agreement of sorts was reached in the course
otiwo meetings, as stated in Mr. Zada’s letter to Mr. Rendel of the 28th Julv
143.,. It is less important to try to ascertain the effect of that agreement, none
ot the versions of which quite agree in terms, than to record the fact that it
was clearly a status quo arrangement only. The best of several proofs of
Hus is that, when sending his own mission immediatelv afterwards to Mecca,
tlio Imam wrote a letter to Ibn Baud in which he described his object as being
to convince the King of bis claim to “ what is in the hands of the Tdrisi
^gather with all that is counted as of Khaulan-bin-Amr and Hamdan-bin-
. vd. . his, 1 think, can he taken as a restatement of his demands of the pre
vious vear. though it is difficult to estimate the territorial scope of demands in
regard to the interior, defined with reference to the names of tribal ancestors.
(A The Imam’s mission to Mecca accomplished absolutelv nothing and
though the status quo went on if might well be argued that whatever validitv it
had was impaired or destroyed bv the failure of the negotiations in the course
d vr as more or Jess defined. The Imam does not. however, seem to
have taken this line. He bided his time until he advanced to Arwa.

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' [‎61r] (121/434), 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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