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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎163r] (325/434)

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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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it would be a struggle for lines of communication, and that should the de
fences of Aden, and the forces stationed there during the recent emergency
represent the strength we considered adequate to safeguard our lines of com
munication, then there was a great surprise in store tor us. The present state
of the defences of Aden—* * * * *—virtually invite attack.
The six 3-inch H. A. guns would have been little if any deterrent, and the
air forces, owing to their lack of speed and endurance, could only have been
used for night bombing of the nearest objectives.
* * * *
(Received on 20th February 1937 with Political Secretary's letter No. 5, dated
4th February 1937.)
Enclosure in Foreign Office covering letter dated 29th January 1937.
Letter from the British Legation, Jedda, to the Right Hon’ele An
thony Eden, No. 330, dated 29th December 1936.
I had the honour to receive your views on Mr. Philby’s entry into the
Aden Protectorate, in your telegram No. 135, dated December 5th. I should
have preferred to dispose of the matter by another conversation with Fuad
Bey, but by then he had left for Riyadh for a stay which might extend to seve
ral weeks, and I therefore wrote to the Amir Feysal the letter [S. No. (6)] of
which a copy was sent to you under No. 319 on December 8th. The reply
of December 21st, which was forwarded in translation under No. 329 of De
cember 22nd, was not satisfactory. The Saudi authorities continued to de
fend themselves, which was not necessary, as their disclaimer had been accept
ed. On the other hand they put forward what was obviously a defence
supplied by Mr. Philby, including the irrelevance about the vagueness of the
frontier and the impertinence about his readiness to show his British
passport had there been any frontier authorities to show it to. And they
assumed, as the King of the Yemen assumed when complaining of a similar
incursion by Mr. Philby into the Yemen (this was reported to the Colonial
Office in Aden despatch No. 544, dated November 7th) that as a British subject
Mr. Philby ought to be punished by His Majesty’s Government if he had com
mitted any offence against the laws and regulations of the Aden Protectorate.
I was about to reply to this letter when Fuad Bey returned to Jedda and I
was able to speak to him again on the subject.
2. I told Fuad Bey that I assumed he had had a hand in the Saudi reply
since he had been at Riyadh during the time when my letter was awaiting
an answer. The reply ignored an essential point which I had brought out
clearly in my first talk with him on the subject, viz., the unannounced arrival
at Shabwa with the Saudi “ escort It was true that when one of his cars
broke down Mr. Philby had had to go into the Hadhramaut for spares : the
Aden authorities admitted that; but this admission did not cover Shabwa,
which no necessity compelled him to visit without informing the authorities
beforehand of his desire to do so. Here Fuad asked with what appeared to
be real surprise whether Shabwa was not in the Hadhramant. I suspect
that what had happened was this. When Fuad was called upon to concoct
a defence to my letter he got out his copy of the map on which I had shown
him Shabwa (Geographical Section of the General Staff No. 3891, 1930, with
corrections to 1935), and also the apologia which Mr. Philby must have sent
to Ibn Saud. From the lettering on the map Shabwa might be in the Hadh
ramaut, and Mr. Philby will doubtless have reported that the Aden authorities
found it not unreasonable that he should have entered the Hadhramaut
for spares and supplies : hence the whole incident had been condoned by Aden.
I disposed of this by saying that Shabwa, though a long way inside the Aden
Protectorate, is not in the Hadhramaut and that it was not a need for stores,
and spares that drove Mr. Philby to visit Shabwa, which was obviously his
goal from the beginning. Here I reminded Fuad Bey of the incursion into
the Yemen, but he replied that possibly the Imam only imagined that the
places visited by Mr. Philby formed part of Jof and Marib. 1 did not pur
sue this side issue.

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' [‎163r] (325/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2020]

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