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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎156r] (311/434)

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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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Enclosure 10 to S. No. (1).
El Haj Abdulla Philby : activities in the Hadhramaut.
It is reported by Sheikh Omer Baobeid, a well-known merchant in
Aden, who arrived from his country (Shibam) last week, that El Haj
Abdulla Philby stayed many days at Shibam and told the people there
that the object of his visit was to open a motor road from Nejran to the
Hadhramaut and to encourage the trade in Ford cars, as he is a Ford
Agent in Hejaz.
He praised highly Ibn Saud, Abdul Aziz, and advised the Aqils and
Sheikhs to proceed to Hejaz and to conclude a treaty with Abdul Aziz, as
the latter is willing to accept this and will do his best to please them in
In the Hadhramaut most of the people were astonished to hear this
and replied that their country was under British protection. He told
them it was wrong to say that, as the Hadhramaut is an independent country
and they had a lot to gain by concluding a treaty with Ibn Saud. He also
said that from Nejran to the border of the Hadhramaut all the tribes agreed
to be under Saudi protection. He tried to convince the Hadhramaut
people of the generosity of Ibn Saud and advised them to take this chance
and to accompany him back to Hejaz.
He spoke ill of the British Government’s policy and indicted the British
for their cruelty towards the Arabs of Palestine. He used his radio daily
whilst there and allowed anyone who wished to hear it. His radio apparatus
is said to be of a very costly type and can work from one battery for a thou
sand hours.
It is said that last year some of the Aqils of the Hadhramaut visited Ibn
Saud and returned to their country praising the Sultan’s generosity.
Three of the head Sheikhs of the well-known Hadhramaut tribe of Saar,
accompanied Philby to Hejaz to visit the Saudi Sultan.
Philby had with him three Ford cars (two lorries and a four-seater).
He came to the Hadhramaut with the small car and one lorry; the second
lorry was kept at Shubwa.
He was very modest and generous and the Hadhramaut people liked
him very much.
Enclosure 11 to S. No. (1).
Letter from His Highness the Sultan of Shihr and Mukalla, to the
Acting Resident.
After our arrival at Mukalla we interviewed Sheikh ’Abdullah Philby
on several occasions. We gathered from his conversations with us that
he highly praises the Sa’udi Government in a way which signifies a spirit
of propaganda in their favour.
It was clear from information received from the persons with whom he
had interviews both at Mukalla and Hadhramaut, that he had spread pro
paganda in favour of the Sa’udi Government. He also told many persons
that the Sa’udi Government are prepared to render assistance to the Hadh
ramaut if the people ask for it. He also explained that the tribesmen living
beyond A1 ’Abr have all entered into an agreement with the Sa’udi Govern
ment and that no one will dare to interfere with any traveller while on his
way from A1 ’Abr to Mecca. While this does not coincide with the true facts
(because Sheikh Philby himself was not able to pass through the borders
of the tribesmen living beyond A1 ’Abr except by means of an escort from
them) yet propaganda of this nature creates anxiety in the minds of the
people, and this necessitates the taking of precautionary measures.
Similarly the opening of a road for motor traffic between the Hadhra*
maut and Najran in the manner prescribed by Sheikh ’Abdullah Philby calls
for precautionary measures also on account of the results which might be
brought about by the opening of such a route. Apart from the fact that no
65 (C) ExAffaireDept

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' [‎156r] (311/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 February 2020]

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