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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎148r] (295/434)

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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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which had already been communciated to Ibn Sand, by which Great Britain
and Italy recognised their mutual interest in seeing the independence of the
Arab kingdoms maintained, and mutually renounced any intention of
establishing themselves on the Arabian coast of the Red Sea. Italy was
thus bound by an understanding with His Majesty’s Government not to
establish herself in the Yemen, and she would hardly be likely to violate
that understanding unless as part of some major dispute, which would
turn not on local Arabian but on major European political issues. What
ever one might thing of the value of Italian promises—regarding which one
might well be sceptical—there could clearly be no question of His Majesty's
Government reaching an understanding with Ibn Sand which would be
based on the assumption that a friendly European Power was about to vio
late and undertaking which it had assumed towards this country.
9 . The Minister, after some conversation in Arabic with M. Zada,
replied that Ibn Saud did not mean an understanding of this kind, but that
be merely wished His Majesty’s Government to know that they could rely
on him to support them in the event of Italy attempting any adventure in
the Yemen in violation of her undertakings. I said that I would record
what the Minister had said and submit it for consideration, but l made it
clear that, while we fully appreciated Ibn Baud’s attitude towards us and
the dangers of the situation in the Yemen, we could not proceed on any
assumption that Italy would disregard the Rome Understanding.
10. The Minister then reverted to the question of Italian propaganda
in Iraq, but admitted that King Ibn Saud had nothing to go on and was
merely puzzled and disturbed by what had recently happened in £hat
11 . The upshot of a long and somewhat confusing conversation~seemed to
be that Ibn Saud wished for some kind of assurance that we did not regard
him as a nuisance; wished to warn us of Italian activities in the Yemen
and of the danger threatening from that quarter, which would be greater
to him even than to us; and seemed to hope to obtain from us some kind of
undertaking to join with him in resisting any Italian attack on the Yemen,
a suggestion which the Minister abandoned as soon as I indicated some of
the obvious objections to it.
(Signed) G. W. RENDER,
23rd November, 1936. !
r 1
Letter from the Colonel Office to the Foreign Office, No 79086/36,
dated 7th December 1936.
With further reference to your letter (E. 1133/205/25) of the 7th of
May on the subject of the Hejaz Railway, I now enclose a copy of a
despatch dated 12th May 1936 from the High Commissioner containing his
observations on the conclusions reached by the Haifa conference, considera
tion of which in the Colonial Office has had to be postponed on account of
many more urgent preoccupations.
With regard to the crucial question of the method of financing the
reconstruction of the line from Ma’an to Medina, the High Commissioner
points out that the Palestine, Syria and Trans-Jordan sections are all
running at a loss, and there is tiierefore no money out of which those sec
tions of the line could finance the repair of the Saudi section. There are,
of course, resasons for regarding the line as a single unit, but in the absence
of any profit from the sections of the line in Trans-Jordan, Syria and
Palestine, there is little likelihood of getting any contribution from any of
those territories. There are no funds belonging to the Railway out of
which contributions could be made, and the only way, therefore, in which
a contribution could be obtained would be if the Governments concerned

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' [‎148r] (295/434), 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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