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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎136v] (272/434)

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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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alarmist rumours were rife locally, according to which difficulties had been
encountered both at the hands of local tribesmen and of local officials.
■These were either entirely false or grossly exaggerated. Indeed, Mr.
I P. Larken returned towards the end of June from Taif after a period
of several months of prospecting, during which time he travelled exten
sively, mainly in an area south of Taif, and reported that he had met with
no interlerence. He had equally met with no success in his quest, and it
was understood from him that the syndicate’s operations in the Taif area
would now be definitely abandoned.
3. Much more promising results were reported from the Wejh area,
where the remains of old gold mines had been discovered at a number of
places in and around Umm-al-Qarriyat, some 10 or 12 miles north of Wejh.
It appears as though the syndicate propose to go rapidly ahead in this new
area, for they have now about a dozen of their European and American
staff stationed there. These include the personnel of their own aeroplane,
a Bellanca monoplane, which arrived at the end of April and is based on
VVejh, whence it has several times made its appearance in Jedda. The
pilot, an American, is accompanied by his wife, who acts as wireless
operator, and by a mechanic.
4. Work continues at the Mahd-adh-Dhahab, or Cot of Gold. The
road, of which mention is made in the despatch under reference, was
completed in June and is reported to be a very serviceable affair for most
season of the year over most of its length. A useful report on the major
part of the road was drawn up by a member of the Legation shortly before
the work was completed. Otherwise, the main interest in regard to the
Mahd-adh-Dhahab centres round the problem of water. For some time
drilling for water has been in progress and has been in the hands of
American drillers, using American drilling machines. Progress has been
slow and little or no water has been found. More recently, the Jedda
manager of the syndicate relates, the London office, becoming impatient
at the apparent lack of success, despatched two British drillers to this
country, with British drilling machinery. The latter had just arrived
when Mr. Dunckley spoke on the subject, but the two drillers had been here
a week or two longer and had already considerably improved on the efforts
of the Americans. Water, however, is still to seek, and the matter is
apparently a serious one, for, in the words of Mr. Dunckley: “No water,
no mine.” The syndicate, he added, were prepared to drill to a depth
of 2,000 feet, whereas at the moment they have not gone deeper than 100
5. I observe from Mr. Rendel’s letter of the 7th May last to Sir
Andrew Ryan that a concern named the Mining Trust (Limited) now holds
a controlling interest in the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate (Limited),
and assume that, since the flotation of the syndicate, the component
interests concerned (as given in the enclosure to Foreign Office printed
despatch No. 313 of the 14th August, 1934) have changed somewhat. In
this connexion, I was recently struck by a statement made by the Jedda
manager of the syndicate that the Saudi Arabian Mining Syndicate was
owned by the American Smelting Company, “lock, stock and*barrel.”
6. In Jedda work on the terminal compound has progressed very
considerably, but the various premises are not yet at a stage when they can
be occupied by the staff. No signs of work on a jetty are apparent, but a
landing ground for the syndicate’s aeroplane has been established in the
immediate vicinity of the compound. Mr. K. S. Twitchell, the general
manager in Saudi Arabia of the syndicate’s operations, left on the 24th
June for the United Kingdom, and his place has been taken by another
American, Mr. Park.
7. I am sending a copy of this despatch to He Department of Overseas
Trade and to Transjordan.

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' [‎136v] (272/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 February 2020]

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