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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎137v] (274/434)

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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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^Letter from the Admiralty to the Foreign Office, No. M.-03230/36,
dated the 2nd July, 1936.
.With reference to your printed letter No. E.-3797/1283/25 of the 25th
June, and subsequent telegraphic correspondence from H. M. Representa
tive at Jedda, concerning the Saudi Arabian Red Sea Oil Concession, I
am commanded by My Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty to acquaint
you, for the information of the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, that
they attach importance to preventing Italian interests from entering into
competition for this concession.
Copies of this letter have been 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. , Petroleum
Department and Department of Overseas Trade.
Letter from the Colonial Office, to the Foreign Office, No. 78026/,
36, dated the 22nd August 1936.
I understand that you received a copy of Starling’s letter to me of the
18th July on the subject of the application of Petroleum Concessions
Limited for an oil concession in the Yemen.
There are obvious difficulties in affording any active support to the
company; and before I discuss the matter with Reilly I should be glad to
know what line you wouldTlike us to take.
Letter from the Foreign Office to the Colonial Office, No. {E.-4590/,
260/91), dated the 28th August 1936.
Will you please refer to Starling’s letter No. 236/16 of 18th July, to
you and connected correspondence about the attitude to be adopted to the
proposal of Petroleum Concessions Limited to apply for an oil concession
in the Yemen.
2. We have been recently reconsidering the attitude to be adopted
towards Petroleum Concessions Limited in their quest for oil concessions
in the Red Sea area in the light of growing evidence of Italian designs and
aims in that region. As a result we are wondering whether as regards the
Yemen our attitude towards Petroleum Concessions Limited may not
perhaps have been hitherto a little too rigid, particularly as when they
were seeking a concession in Saudi Arabia we went so far as to assure the
Saudi Arabian Government that His Majesty’s Government fully
supported them. We cannot of course identify ourselves with any parti
cular company to the prejudice of other British or quasi-British concerns
or press the Imam to grant a concession to any particular company. Nor
can we well take part in the actual negotiations for the concession.
Further more, the absence of direct diplomatic representation in the Yemen
makes it difficult to extend to the Company the ordinary facilities which
we should extend, in a normal country, to a British Company which had
our confidence. At the same time there may well be ways and means by
which the Resident at Aden could indirectly facilitate the company’s task;
and it is clearly in the interests of His Majesty’s Government that
Petroleum Concessions Limited which, although an international concern,
ss nominally a British Company with an important British element, should
obtain any concession which the Government of the Yemen may be willing
to grant, rather than that such a concession should go to the Italians.
Moreover we are inclined to doubt whether the appointment of Major
Holmes as the Company’s mouthpiece in the Yemen should be allowed to
affect the attitude of His Majesty’s Government towards the Company’s
activities for it must be remembered that he is being given every facility
by the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. Authorities in his search for concessions in Bahrain
and on the Trucial Coast The historic term used by the British to refer to the Gulf coast of Trucial Oman, now called United Arab Emirates. .

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' [‎137v] (274/434), 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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