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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎109r] (217/434)

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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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Egyptian newspaper “A1 Muqattam” and reproduced in the “Oriente
Moderno'’ of May, 1935, of tlie revenues of the Mejaz for “this year"
(presumably a period ending after the 1935 pilgrimage);
£300,000 gold—from pilgrimage.
£200^000 gold—from Customs receipts.
£100.000 gold—from other sources.
£600,000 Total.
5. General trading conditions may be said to have shown some impro
vement during the period under review. Cineliy owing to the larger pil
grimage there have been increased clearances through Customs and a some
what better tone in the market. This unfortunately does not mean that
conditions can be described as satisfactory, but the tendency is encouraging.
Protests were again evoked during the year by the practice of the Gov
ernment of importing goods, particularly ride, through one importing
firm, Messrs. Haji Abdullah Alireza & Co., to the detriment of others,
with the result that some small redistribution of favours was effected to
soothe the malcontents. The system adopted by the Saudi Arab Govern
ment of settling their local indebtedness by allowing rebates of Customs
dues on goods imported was maintained through the year, although in its
early months the Government appeared disposed to abandon it. Adverse
comment, and perhaps a realisation of the convenience of the system to the
authorities themselves, led to a continuance of this practice. From one
source it is gathered that the total number of packages to enter through
the port of Jedda during the past 12 months was 620,000, of which some
120,000 were for the Saudi Arab Government or foreign diplomatic mis
sions, and hence duty free.
6. Exports continued to be negligible (they were estimated m March
last, for the previous twelve months at about eight thousand pounds gold),
but may be expected during recent days to have received a fillip from the
reported purchase cf camels from this country by the Italians for purposes
connected with the war in Abyssinia, a subject on which separate reports
have been submitted. About one thousand camels are said to have been
shipped from Yanbu’, though confirmation is still awaited, and the price
paid is generally believed to be in the neighbourhood of £15 gold per camel.
7. The visible adverse balance of trade is therefore heavy and has
been estimated locally by a confidential but w r ell-informed source as about
£1,261,000 gold for the year 1351 A. H. and £981,000 gold for 1352 A. H.
8. Economy has again been rigidly practised, except perhaps in cel^
tain items of Royal expenditure, and once more at the expense of Govern
ment officials, whose salaries, when paid, were invariably in arrear, whilst
in the early summer steps were taken to effect an all-round salary reduc
tion of twenty-five per cent, two thirds of the now reduced salary to be paid
in cash and one-third in kind, the cash payment to be reckoned in gold at a
rate highly unfavourable to the official.
9. Apart from the system of Customs drafts, described above, the
Saudi Government are believed to have been able to meet current liabilities.
One signal instance, either of a recognition of the advantages to be derived
from a settlement of debts or of a desire to please, may be recorded when in
May, 1935, they repaid the whole of one small debt due to His Majesty’s
Government and ten per cent, of a larger one due to His Majesty’s Gov
ernment and the Government of India.
10. Little or no additional taxation has been imposed during the past
twelve months, except in the case of certain minor matters, such as the
imposition of an annual tax of £2 gold on wireless receiving sets, permis
sion to import and use which, restricted to certain towns of the Hejaz, was
one of the notable concessions to Western influences of the year.

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' [‎109r] (217/434), 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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