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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎102v] (204/434)

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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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2. Mr. Calvert thinks that there must be in fact a shortage of silver
coinage and he quotes as evidence of this the importation by the Saudi
Government of 400,000 Indian rupees last May, and further importations
of silver rupees which have apparently taken place since then.
3. Mr. Calvert reports that there has been keen appreciation of the
silver rival recently. As you know, the Saudi Government attempted at
one time to maintain an artificial rate of 10 rivals to one gold pound, but
the rate steadily depreciated, until at the end of 1933 it was over 24 rivals
to the gold pound. The following figures show, however, the appreciation
which has taken place this year in the selling rates of exchange for rivals
to the gold pound :—
Ist April—Riyals 21.
1st May—Riyals 20J.
1st June—Riyals 20.
30th June—Riyals 17, 18.
4. In terms of Egyptian pounds the riyal rate apparently rose after
the Pilgrimage to 11, and then for one day to falling subsequently to
40 riyals, 8 piastres, and then steadying to 10 riyals, 1 piastre at the end
of July where it still remains. This is the more remarkable as the rate
normaily falls after the Pilgrimage below the usual figure of 14-15 riyals
to the Eygptian pound.
5. When attention was first drawn to the steady appreciation in the
vaule of riyals, observers were uncertain as to the exact cause behind it,
but it now looks as though the main influence might in fact be a shortage
of silver coinage. Mr. Calvert reports, however, that the reasons for this
shortage are obscure. He has not heard any stories of the export of silver
coinage and he finds it difficult to believe rumours of hoarding of coinage
for sale at a profit during the next pilgrimage. The rates for Saudi cur
rency normally rise when the pilgrimage season begins, but do not generally
do so for other reasons before then.
6. As Mr. Ren del mentioned in the course of your interview with him
on 7th August, we are obliged by our standing instructions to ask you to
be so good as to refund the cost of the telegram despatched at your request
to Jedda, and of the reply thereto, and our Finance Department will in due
course send you the customary official request for repayment.
(55) ^
{Received on IMh September 1935 with Political Secretary’s letter No. 35,
1 dated 29th August 1935.)
Letter from the Foreign Ofp(tce, to Lord Castlestewart, No. P. Z.-
5983/35, dated the 23rd August, 1935.
I am writing in continuation of my letter No. E.-4820/602/25 of 13th’
August FS No. (54)], to let you know that we have received some further
information from our Charge d’Affaires at Jedda regarding the rate of ex
change for silver riyals in Saudi Arabia.
Mr Calvert reports that the shortage of riyals is now considered by
good authorities to be artificial and due to hoarding. The rate of exchange
has however been steadier since August 9th, and on August 18th it was
10 rivals 2 piastres to the Egyptian pound and 16| riyals to the gold pound,,

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' [‎102v] (204/434), 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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