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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎131v] (262/434)

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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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by moral force. He has little real interest in Abyssinia, and has seen in
the recent conflict not so much a war between Italy and an African Power
as a struggle between Italy and Great Britain. He sees in the result a
sweeping victory for Italian force in this struggle. Obsessed, as he has
been for years, with the fear of Italian ambitions in the Red Sea, he fears
that that force may in the future be turned against the Arabian Peninsula.
As a Moslem ruler still engaged in consolidating his position in Arabia
and jealous of his hardly-won independence, he has no genuine love for
Great Britain, a Power which block his way in various directions, e.g., in
the east and south of the peninsula, but he has much less to fear from British
policy on this side of it than he thinks he has to fear from that of latly.
5 . The only fortunate feature of this is that Ibn Saud probably believes
that it was not so much the ability as the will to save Abyssinia that was
wanting in the attitude of His Majesty’s Government as conceived by his
simple mind. He probably still believes that a breach with them would be
fatal to him, and hopes against hope that they would see him through in
the event of a breach between him and any other European Power. He dare
not go against Great Britain. He dare not offend Italy. “Neutrality”
is more than ever his slogan, because, as I have said, he has seen not a war
in Africa, but a conflict, not yet ended, between Great Britain and Italy.
He does not yet know what its effects in Arabia may be, and it is with
reference to this struggle that he clings to the slogan.
Enclosure in Colonial Office, covering letter dated 2nd July 1936.
Letter from the Colonial Office, to the Foreign Office, No. 78125/36,
I am directed by Mr. Secretary Ormsby Gore to refer to your letter
No. E. 2702/56/25 of the 25th May [Enclo. to S. No. (39)], regarding Italian
relations with the Yemen, and to transmit to you, to be laid before Mr.
Secretary Eden, a copy of a despatch which has been addressed to the
Acting Resident at Aden on this subject, dated the 2nd July 1936.
2. As regards paragraph 3 of the despatch to the Acting Resident, I
am to explain that it had already been contemplated, quite independently,
that Captain Seager, the Frontier Officer, should pay one of his periodical
visits to Sanaa in the course of the next few months, and that Sir Bernard
Reilly, before he left Aden, had informed the King of the Yemen of the
projected visit. Captain Seager should have an excellent opportunity
during his visit of observing any signs of increasing Italian activities in
the Yemen.
3 . Copies of this letter with the enclosure thereto are being sent to
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. , Admiralty and Air Ministry.
Enclo to S. No. (52).
Letter from the Colonial Office, to the Resident at Aden, dated the
2nd July 1936.
I have the honour to inform you that His Majesty’s Government have
had under consideration the situation created by the Italian military succes
ses in Abyssinia and the possibly increasing danger of Italy embarking on
some new advanture in the Yemen.
2. Although the balance of probability still seems to be against Italy
attempting further acts of aggression in this area, the danger of her doing
so clearly cannot be altogether excluded, and it is therefore desirable to
ensure the rapid supply of any available informatoin which may have a

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' [‎131v] (262/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2020]

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