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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎171r] (341/434)

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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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was seriously ill, and it may be that his jealousy of Sheikh Hafiz Wahba, the
Saudi Minister in London, who would naturally be present at any interviews
accorded to Mr. Rendel, made him glad to leave, and that the King, who per
haps does not trust him fully, was glad to let him take a holiday. During
one of our conversations the King mentioned with emphasis as the three men
he trusted Sheikh Hafiz Wahba, Sheikh Yusuf Yasin and his son Faisal, the
Minister for Foreign Affairs. The Amir joined the group on two occasions,
the other two were present throughout. From statements made during the
conversations, I am forced to conclude that I have been misled by Fuad Bey
on one or two points, and for this reason, and also because of the general pro-
Italian reputation which he has acquired, it is impossible to believe that
conversations such as we had could have been as full and as frank had
Fuad Bey been present.
3. The lavish hospitality which Ibn Saud always displays to guests
threatened to assume an alarmingly public character in Jedda. We were
embarrassed to discover that not only were dinners to Mr. Rendel to be given
by the King and the Amir Faisal—festivities which might be taken as a rea
sonable return for hospitality enjoyed by the Amirs Saud and Faisal in Eng
land—but a dinner was to be given by Sheikh Abdullah Sulaiman, the Minister
of Finance. At our request the third dinner was cancelled, but it was re
placed by a tea-party, which was attended by the King. The personal
character of the party was, however, emphasised by the presence of Mrs.
Rendel. The King made a very rare exception to his rule not to receive
European ladies, and had her placed in the seat of honour on his right.
4. Not only did we endeavour to avoid some of the external signs of an
official visit, but Mr. Rendel was careful to explain, both at the beginning of
his visit to Jedda and also just before his departure, that his journey was
personal and private. It was undertaken, he explained, in resjjonse to the
generous invitation of His Highness the Amir Saud. Nevertheless, he had
taken the opportunity to study carefully on the spot various matters affect
ing Anglo-Saudi relations, in particular the Qatar boundary, and he would
be glad if he could assist in arriving at a settlement of this or of any other
outstanding question.
5. At my urgent request Mr. Rendel took the leading part whenever
there was a question of explaining the point of view of His Majesty’s Govern
ment on matters of importance. This was not only reasonable in that he
was merely going again over ground covered on many occasions with the Saudi
representative in London, but there was the even more cogent reason that
Ibn Saud would certainly expect to hear the views of an official of the Foreign
Office who, to his knowledge, had dealt with Saudi affairs for many years.
I venture to believe that Mr. Rendel’s visit and the conversations to which it
gave rise have been of the greatest value, and will have helped to launch
my personal relations with His Majesty under the happiest auspices. Cer
tainly nothing could have been more cordial, friendly and familiar than the
King’s words and manner, which never changed, however delicate the point
under discussion, and it was interesting to learn from my new Italian col
league, with our interviews fresh in my mind, that he had found the King
extremely guarded, and concluded that he was an extremely clever fellow*
who would never commit himself.
6 . I am fully conscious of the danger that excessive cordiality at the
beginning of an acquaintance may lead to disappointment later on. As I
informed the Foreign Office in personal letters soon after my arrival, I found
that the King regarded me, on the strength of quite normal official letters
written by me to King Hussein in 1923-25 and discovered in the Shereefian
archives after the fall of Jedda, as a partisan of Ibn Saud’s, and I regretted
this assumption, since the oriental builds far too much upon personalities
and the King might expect to gain impossible favours from His Majesty’s
Government through my efforts and might afterwards be more dissatisfied
at failure than if he had never entertained any hope of success. Similarly
there is the danger that he may build too much upon Mr. Rendel’s visit, and
may hope to influence His Majesty’s Government in matters where it is not
possible for them to make concessions or grant favours. But it is sufficient

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' [‎171r] (341/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 February 2020]

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