Skip to item: of 434
Information about this record Back to top
Open in Universal viewer
Open in Mirador IIIF viewer

'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎168r] (335/434)

This item is part of

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.


This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.

Apply page layout

to suppose that he wished to increase his territory. Moreover, the whole of
Mr. Thomas’s route lay to the east of the blue line which at the time of the
McMahon correspondence represented the legal western boundary of the ter
ritories of those Arab Chiefs on 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. with whom His Majesty’s
Government had treaties. Mr. Philby would probably say that the Turks had
no authority to agree to the blue line, which took no account of their defeat at
» the hands of Ibn Saud, but he does not know that Ibn Saud has recently ad
mitted that His Majesty’s Government saved him from being crushed by the
Turks. This admission was made in the message transmitted through Sheikh
Yusuf Yasin which I reported in my despatch No. 283, dated the 11th October.
But in any case, Mr. Philby could not be expected to forgo an opportunity
" to use Mr. Thomas as a stick with which to beat His Majesty’s Government.
5 . The statements recorded in paragraph 5 of the enclosure left little
doubt in my mind that Mr. Philby did enter the territory of the King of the
Yemen, and since he cannot accuse the King of encroaching on Arab territory,
he win' have to find another excuse for the encroachment which the King
rightly resented. But he will probably think the purity of his intentions
sufficient excuse.
^ 6. Mr. Philby does not seem to have entered the band of territory lying
between the proposed British and Saudi lines, but he may have gathered some
information about it. In recent discussions with Fuad Bey I have claimed it
for Aden and Oman on the ground that the four wells in it which are shown on
our maps, viz., Sanau and Thamut in the Hadhramaut hinterland and Shisur
and Tadhau in the hinterland of Oman, are not on Fuad Bey’s list of Murra
wells, have never been claimed by the Saudi Government by name, and, ac
cording to the information in Thomas’s Arabia Felix, lie to the south of the
Rub-al-Khali and in the steppe country which rises from the rim of the desert
to the crests of the coastal range and are frequented almost exclusively by
tribes to whom Ibn Saud lays no claim. It is unlikely that Mr. Philby
has collected any better information on this point than Bertram Thomas,
« who passed through the territory in question and halted at Shisur, but he
may make it more difficult for Ibn Saud to renounce his claim by representing
the tribes thereabouts as entirely beyond the control of the authorities in
the coastal States, but ready and willing to submit to Ibn Saud. Ibn Saud
is so much more a statesman than Mr. Philby that I am hopeful that nothing
Mr. Philby can say will influence him in this matter, the more so as, having
repudiated responsibility for the expedition, he can hardly quote the results
to his own advantage. I am more anxious lest the appearance of the promised
attack on His Majesty’s Government in Mr. Philby’s next book should drag
the question of the smaller Arab States in the Arabian peninsula into the
vortex of controversy about the McMahon correspondence.
7 . I do not propose to engage in a dispute on pan-Arab politics with
Mr. Philby, nor to continue the discussion about his visit to Shabwa. The
views of His Majesty’s Government have been conveyed to the Saudi Govern
ment, and Mr. Philby has also been informed of those views, and the matter
had better, I suggest, be left there.
8 . I am sending copies of this despatch and its enclosure to Aden, Cairo
Jerusalem, Bagdad and Bushire.
Enclosure to letter No. 27, dated the 22nd March 1937.
Summary of Statements made by Mr. Philby about his Expedition to Shabwa
and beyond, in the course of a Conversation which he had with His Majesty's
Minister on February 18, 1937.
It was quite true that Ibn Saud had nothing to do with the expedition
beyond instructing all local officials to assist him. Mr. Philby had defrayed
all the expenses himself (and they had turned out to be much heavier than
he had expected), though he had financed himself by drawing on Saudi trea
suries, where they existed, and refunding the advances through his firm
55(C) ExAffairsDept.

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
View the complete information for this record

Use and share this item

Share this item
Cite this item in your research

'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎168r] (335/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 February 2020]

Link to this item
Embed this item

Copy and paste the code below into your web page where you would like to embed the image.

<meta charset="utf-8"><a href="">'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [&lrm;168r] (335/434)</a>
<a href="">
	<img src="!280,240/0/default.jpg" alt="" />
IIIF details

This record has a IIIF manifest available as follows. If you have a compatible viewer you can drag the icon to load it. in Universal viewerOpen in Mirador viewerMore options for embedding images

Use and reuse
Download this image