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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎173v] (346/434)

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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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the war, recalled the loyalty with which he had offered to help the Sherif
Hussein against the Turks, and spoke of the “ guarantees ” which he had
received from Sir Percy Cox. Nothing whatever had come of these
“ guarantees,” though he had been promised “ all sorts of things. ” He
had assisted the Arab policy of His Majesty’s Government by communicating
to them the written and oral offers which he received from the Turks as an
inducement to him to join them against Hussein—offers which he refused,
alleging that he could not move against the British because they were his
neighbours on the Gulf, and saying that, in any case, he could not join the
Turks when they were slaughtering Arabs. At first he even told His Majesty’s
Government that he would accept Hussein as King of the Arabs, but later
he was obliged to withdraw this offer. He told Hussein that the resources
in money and arms which were supplied by the British were being wasted
through being dealt out to the various sheikhs according to the number
of followers they said they had, and asked that, if be sent his son and some men
to help, they should only be given arms for themselves and food to eat, and
Hussein had replied that Ibn Saud must be either mad or drunk. Ibn Saud
thereupon informed the British Government that he must lay down two con
ditions : that he would not recognise Hussein as King of the Arabs, though
he did not object to his being King of the Hejaz, and that when the war was
over His Majesty’s Government should allow him to settle his own scores with
Hussein. He had always listened to the advice of His Majesty’s Government,
even to his own hurt. On more than one occasion he had fallen out with
his chief supporters, the Ikhwan, for that reason, e.g., when he retook Turaba
which the Sherifians had unjustly occupied, and His Majesty’s Government
asked him not to go any further ; when he refrained at the request cf His
Majesty’s Government from taking Aqaba, where the ex-King Hussein was
staying, and Maan ; and when he listened to the mediation of the British agent
at Jedda and ensured the peaceful occupation of the city to the disappoint
ment of some of his followers. For all this loyal support, and after all the
promises made to him, what had he got ? Nothing whatever. On the
contrary !
10. He would put his complaints under three heads
{a) His Majesty’s Government had not given him the help he needed.
(b) Their boundary policy was always squeezing him in.
(c) By their Gulf policy they tried to make him dependent commercially
on Koweit and Bahrein.
Whereas a friend in need of help looked to a more powerful friend to assist him,
he had had no help from His Majesty’s Government. Look what His Majesty^
Government had done for Egypt and Iraq ! Those countries might be richer
than Saudi Arabia, but Saudi Arabia could, in his opinion, be more useful
than either to His Majesty’s Government.
11. After expressing great interest in the valuable historical survey
which the King had given, but pointing out that what we had to adopt as a
basis was the facts of to-day, Mr. Rend el suggested that one difficulty was that,
whereas countries like Egypt and Iraq, which contained rich natural resources,
could be developed by commercial enterprises which would earn their own
profits, Saudi Arabia did not at present appear to be economically in that
category. If, however, Ibn Saud had any particular kind of help in mind
and would specify what it was, he could be sure that the suggestion would be
considered very carefully. Ibn Saud said that there were all sorts of help that
he might mention, but he would speak first of aviation, to which he attached
great importance. He had sent to His Majesty’s Minister through “ that
man ” (pointing to Sheikh Yusuf Yasin) a suggestion about the training of
Saudis in aviation in Great Britain. As to the Italians, he swore as a Moslem
and an Arab that when the Italian aeroplanes arrived, he wished that Allah
would destroy the machines and the men in them. Mr. Rendel reminded the
King that the failure of other countries to follow our example in reducing
armaments had compelled us to rearm, and that the expansion of the British
air force was employing to the full all our resources for the manufacture of
aeroplanes and the training of men as pilots and mechanics, and that, while

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' [‎173v] (346/434), 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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