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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎146r] (291/434)

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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 Foreign Office, to the Air Ministry, No. E.-7173/,
90/25, dated 1st December 1936.
With reference to Foreign Office letter No. E.-6711/90/25 of 28th
October enclosing, for the observations of the Air Council, a copy of tele
gram No. 118 of October 25th from His Majesty’s Minister at Jedda
regarding the desire of the Saudi Arabian Government to send a certain
number of Saudi subjects to this country for training in civil and military
aviation, I am directed by Mr. Secretary Eden to transmit to you the
accompanying copy of a despatch which he has now received from Sir
Header Bullard on this subject.-
2. Mr. Eden appreciate the arguments advanced by Sir Reader
Bullard againstySheikh Yusuf Yasin’s proposal, but he considers that the
vase for giving it sympathetic consideration is nevertheless a strong one.
it may well be that the ordinary rather backward Arab from Saudi Arabia
is unlikely to make a first class pilot. But the Iraqis have been able to
produce a reasonably efficient air force under British guidance in a com
paratively short space of time, and both Arabs and Egyptians have shown
reasonable capacity to become good motor mechanics. In these circum
stances the possibility of training Saudi Arabs to become adequate air
pilots and mechanics should in Mr. Eden’s opinion not be ruled out except
after full consideration.
3. Moreover, if His Majesty’s Government stand aside in this question
and refuse to give the Saudi Arabian Government any assistance in res
ponse to the present proposal a clear field will be left for other countries,
who are prepared to incur considerable expenditure with a view to estab
lishing their position and prestige in the Arabian Peninsula. Were His
Majesty’s Govt, to adopt a policy which might be regarded as driving the
Saudi Arabs into the hands of the Italians, for example, Italy might
eventually obtain a privileged position in air matters in Arabia and thereby
secure facilities for the establishment of an air route under Italian control
from the Red Sea to 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. or from Egypt through Arabia to
the Yemen. The Italians are extremely anxious to establish air bases on
the Arabian coast of the Red Sea and in Arabia itself, and anything
tending to make aviation in Arabia more exclusively dependent on Italy
than it already is would go far to facilitate this object. Mr. Eden hopes
that full weight will be given to this consideration.
4. Mr. Eden is aware that the Saudi Arabian Government do not
dispose of sufficient funds to be able to pay large sums for the training of
their pilots, and that cases have occurred in the past where great diffi
culty has been experienced in collecting money due from the Saudi Arabian
Government to His Majesty’s Government. But the repent grant by the
Saudi Government of oil and mining concessions in Saudi Arabia has fur
nished them with somewhat greater resources than they disposed of in the
past, and, if they are indeed anxious to develop their aviation, they may
be prepared to ear mark part of the resources now available for this
particular purpose. In any case it is for consideration whether the
political and air issues involved may not be of sufficient importance to
justify a contribution by His Majesty’s Government for the purpose of
facilitating compliance with the present Saudi Arabian proposals.
5. In Mr. Eden’s opinion, if the training of Saudi Arabian pilots in
this country should on grounds of expense or for any other reason prove
impossible, the suggestion mentioned in paragraph 6 of Sir Reader
Bullard’s despatch, that Saudi pilots might be trained under British
suspices in Egypt or Iraq, is worthy of full examination.
6. I am to request that Mr. Eden may be furnished with the views
of the Air Council on the whole question at an early date.
7. Copies of this letter are being sent to the Treasury and 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. .

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' [‎146r] (291/434), 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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