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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎177v] (354/434)

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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 paper specified below was transmitted to the Secretary, Political
Department, 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. , London, for the information of His Majesty s Sec
retary of State for India, under cover of the Foreign Secretary’s letter No.
56-M, dated the 29th July 1937.
Arabia series of 1936. [S. Nos. (51) to (93) with 4 spare copies.
Enclosure in Foreign Office covering letter dated 19th July 1937.
Note from G. W. Render, Esqr., Foriegn Office, London, No. E. 3956/
872/91, dated the 19th July 1937.
Agnlo-Italian Relations in the Middle East.
Signor Crolla, the Counsellor of the Italian Embassy, called on me this
morning and said that he had been instructed by the Italian Government to
raise the question of our policy in Arabia as it might affect Italy. As I knew,
and as he had told me on February 3rd last, the Italian Government attached
the greatest importance to the maintenance of the Rome Understanding of 1927.
[S. No. (169) in F. 427 (ll)-N/26.] But since the date of that Understanding
there had been many developments. Italy, owing to her conquest of Aby
ssinia, occupied a more important position in the Red Sea area, and her interest
were more deeply engaged and more widely extended there than they
had been before. All that occurred in Arabia was thus of importance to her,
and she had become, so to speak, much more “ sensitive ” in this area than
in past. The Italian Government had therefore been disturbed by certain
recent developments which suggested that His Majesty s Government might
be adopting a more forward policy.
2. Signor Crolla began by alluding to the recent arrival at Jedda of two
British aircraft, apparently to bring documents to Sir R. Bullard, and to Sir
R. Bullard’s immediately subsequent departure for Riyadh to interview Ibn
Saud. He had a long complicated story about reports current in Jedda as to
the objects of this visit, which had made the Italian Government very un
easy. Apparently realising that this was hardly a sufficient ground for the
uneasiness which he had been instructed to express to R 16 * h® went on ~
alleging, however, that he did so entirely on his own initiative—that he had
read in the “ Daily Herald ” about a month ago that we were extending our
authority and influence north of the Hadhramaut, apparently with a view to
establishing ourselves in the hinterland behind the \emen. His explanations
were confused and confusing, but he seemed anxious to suggest that His
Majesty’s Government were now adopting a much more forward policy in
Arabia, and that Italy, in view of her increased interest in East Africa, could
not remain unaffected or indifferent.
3. I began by telling Signor Crolla that it seemed to me increasingly
difficult to deal with these constant unjustified suspicions on the part of the
Italian Government, in view of the background of hostility and supicion
which was being created by the perpetual attacks launched against every
thing-we did by the Italian press. Hardly a day passed when I did not read
in my telegrams of some new and utterly unjustified misrepresentation
of our policy and motives in Italian newspapers. This was not my immediate
concern, but it made it much more difficult to clear up local questions such as
Ancrlo-Italian relations in Arabia and the Middle East, when one knew that
whatever we said or did would be distorted and used against us in Rome.
It made one despair of ever getting anything properly straightened out.
4. As regards Arabia, I could tell him at once categorically that we held
firmly to the Rome Understanding of 1927 [F. 427 (11) N/26] and that we at
tached oreat importance to its integral maintenance. It was clearly laid
down in that Understanding that it was a mutual and important interest
both of Italy and of Great Britain that no European Power should establish

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' [‎177v] (354/434), 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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