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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎118r] (235/434)

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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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3. Work on tlie road from Jedda to the Mahd is still in progress, and I under
stand that as far as approximately 72 miles from Jedda the road may be described,
from the point of view of light motor transport, as good. The central portion of
the total distance still presents difficulty, but the syndicate are now equipped
with modern road-making machinery. Activity also continues at the Jedda “ ter
minal ’ of the road, where the construction ot the compound referred to in para
graph 4 of the despatch under reference, on an area now stated to be 300 by 150
yards, is proceeding steadily.
4. I am sending copies of this despatch and enclosure to the Department of
Overseas Trade and to His Excellency the High Commissioner for Transjordan.
Memorandum respecting the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate (Limited) Mining
Concession, dated the 11th January 1936.
(a) Areas being worked, or about to be worked (or prospected in the near future).
The operations of the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate commenced in March
1935 at the Mahd-adli-Dhahab (position according to latest estimates at 23 degrees
30 minutes north by 41 degrees east) and near Yanbu The latter workings, where
Mr. Shanks was engaged, were abandoned in the early summer, but the former have
continued and have been developed with considerable prospects of success.
Under the terms of the original concession reported to the Foreign Office by
Sir Andrew Ryan’s despatch No. 56 of the 24th February 1935 [Serial No. (31) in
File No. 1-N./35)], by which areas which it is desired to prospect further should be
designated within one year, and areas for exploitation must be fixed and subsidiary
exploitation companies formed within two years of the date of the concession, it is
becoming a matter of urgency to determine the areas which can be worked profit
Mr. Shanks has been away prospecting for the past two months or more (he
returned on the 21st December, 1935), but had not had much success. His pros
pecting trip is believed to have taken him in an easterly and north-easterly direc
tion, well into Nejd, almost but not quite as far as the Jebel Hilit (see below).
At the end of 1935 arrangements were stated to be under way for four separate
prospecting parties to go out into the concessionary area, the districts to be ex
plored being, it is said, Yanbu’ (in spite of previous failure in that neighbourhood).
Wejh and two others not at present definitely known. M. Van de Poll left for Wejh
about the end of December in this connexion.
(b) Facts known as regards handing over the Mahd to an Exploitation Company.
The little we know on this subject may be summarised as follows. The first
mention, I believe, was by a member of the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate to a
member of the Legation early in August, 1935. This was reported to the Foreign
Office in our despatch No. 227 of the 6th August, 1935 [Serial No. (57) in File No.
1-N./35]. Towards the end of October, 1935, another member of the Saudi Arabian
Mining Syndicate stated that the syndicate had given “ the new company ” one
square mile to survey, a conversation which was reported in our despatch No. 339
of the 26fch November, 1935 [Serial No. (10)], paragraph 5.
It is difficult to determine from these brief references whether the Mahd itself
is to be turned over to the subsidiary (it seems most probable) , or whether an adja
cent area is being made over to it, or both.
(c) Facts known or surmised regarding Difficulties with the Saudi Arab Govern
Difficulties are believed to have arisen with the Saudi Arab Government
over the definition of the boundaries to the original concession. These boundaries
are given at paragraph 2 of the enclosure to Sir Andrew Ryan’s despatch to the
Foreign Office No. 56 of the 24th February 1935, and were published in the
Umm-al-Qura of the 12th February, 1935. In December 1935 a member of the
Legation staff had access for a short time to a map in possession of the Saudi
Arabian Mining Syndicate, on which a boundary line was traced. This was

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' [‎118r] (235/434), 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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