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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎100v] (200/434)

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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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Rendel (who has since gone on leave) recording his interview with Lord
CastlestewaH on 7th August. I also enclose a copy of the telegram which
was subsequently despatched to our representative at Jedda.
We will, of course, keep you informed of future developments.
I am sending copies of this letter to Clauson of the 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. and
Relton of the Department of the Overseas Trade.
P.S .—I also enclose a copy of the reply which we have just received
from Jedda to our telegraphic enquiry.
Enclosure 1 to S. No. (52).
(Enclosure in Foreign Office covering letter, dated &th August 1935.)
Lord Castlestewart called this morning. Mr. Ward was also present
at the interview.
After giving me the necessary particulars regarding his Syndicate’s
concession, Lord Castlestewart began by explaining that the Saudi Govern
ment had asked the Syndicate for a loan of one million silver rivals to be
minted by the Syndicate. His views on this point and the enquiries he
made in connexion with it are recorded in the attached draft telegram,
which I agreed to send, at the Syndicate’s expense.
Lord Castlestewart then discussed the general position. The gist of
his enquiries was very much as we had expected, his main point being an
enquiry whether His Majesty’s Government might not think it worth their
while to give some kind of financial assistance to Saudi Arabia, with a view
to maintaining the present regime in power, since, if they did not do so,
other countries such as Italy might well take the opportunity of getting a
finger in the pic and might then, if Ibn Saud’s regime should eventually
collapse, find an excuse for political intervention in Arabia, more parti-
cularlv as the mining concessions wdiich his Syndicate had obtained were
certainly of very considerable value. Lord Castlestewart also wished to
know whether there might not be some possibility of securing the appoint
ment of a British Financial Adviser, or of getting some arrangement with
Saudi Arabia by which the Saudi customs receipts should be assigned as
security for a loan. He asked for any general information we could give
I told Lord Castlestewart that we were on excellent terms with Saudi
Arabia and had, generally speaking, a high opinion of King Ibn Sand,
who had done a great deal for his country and was much more direct in
his methods and satisfactory to deal with than the great majority of rulers
in the East. At the same time, the country was organised on an extremely
primitive basis and was exceedingly poor. It had no real budget and lived
very much from hand to mouth, chiefly on the pilgrimage and on grazing
taxes the collection of which was farmed out to local governors. I would
not hazard any prophecy as to what might happen on the death of King
Ibn Saud, particularly as he had comparatively few reliable officials. But
Saudi Arabia was in definite treaty relations with a large number of coun
tries and with all her neighbours, a’nd I doubted whether there was any real
danger of any European Power attempting adventures there in the circum
stances. Like other countries in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia was
intensely nationalist and jealous of her independence, and it was most im
probable that Ibn Saud would consent in any circumstances whatever to
assign any revenues as security for a foreign loan. The assignment of

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' [‎100v] (200/434), 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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