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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎189r] (377/434)

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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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Government had already been informed in writing that a Mission would pro
ceed, Hussein was eventually instructed to leave without the Foreign Minis-
tor. Ihe lattei told me that he had suffered at Hussein’s hands in the past
in the matter of his arrogance and autocratic behaviour. X could not help
remaiking that I had only met this princeling in 1937 and that I could agree
that he was arrogant and autocratic. At my audience with the King on
July 17th last he asked me after his boy Hussein ”. I replied that when
I last saw him he appeared to be in rude health. It appears that he has
informed his father that he is suffering from anaemia and that he is consulting
specialists in London.
(b) Qadhi Abdullah El Amri. —The Prime Minister is as powerful as
evei and is still the King s most trusted adviser. He is much disturbed
about the succession and constantly prays for the King’s long life. In this
he is sincere as his own future is very uncertain after King Yahya’s death.
. In his reference to the Crown Prince he is careful not to criticise him but
prays that Allah may guide him and equip him for rulership which implies
that at present he is n o fit person to rule ; this is the general view and I share
it. The Prime Minister is quite certain in his own mind that the Crown
l Prince will succeed in the first instance and makes no secret about it.
Qadhi Abdullah s relations with Raghib have worsened—if that were
possible and though outwardly they are the best of friends their one desire
is to oust the other. Qadhi Abdullah is more charitable than Raghib and
merely refers to him as a tiresome old man.
(c) Qadhi Muhammad Raghib Bey. —During my stay here this month
I have noticed that Raghib, like the King, has aged considerably since October
1936. He finds it more difficult to grasp matters of detail and sometimes has
to repeat words to himself before they sink in. He is, I think, over 70 years
of age and his thirteen years in this capital without change have worn him
clow n. At the moment he and the Prime Minister are engaged in under
ground warfare to silch an extent that Raghib is obsessed with it. The
vast amount of intrigue in this town and the sinister interpretations attributed
to the most innocent acts sometimes lead me to wonder whether I have
stumbled on a \ ast^ mental institution. It surpasses the bounds of all normal
human understanding. As part of my time here is spent listening patiently
to stories about the sinister machinations of this person and that? I have to
hear a donkey bray or a dog bark before I am brought back to a sense of
reality. Raghib suffers from this form of hysteria to a marked extent.
I am quite convinced that he w^ould do anything and sacrifice every-
thmg to get out of this country at the earliest opportunity. His relations
with all lemenis are most unhappy but the King will not let him go even if
he spurns him and treats him abominably at times. In spite of this, how
ever, I belie\ e that he is secretly flattered by the King’s refusal to release
him and I do not doubt that this alone makes life endurable to him.
(d) Seyyid Abdullah ibn El Wazir.—Thz Governor of Hodeida still seems
to carry his anti-Christian bias to an extreme. He has recently much
embarrassed our political clerk in Hodeida and told him quite openly that
he would be as difficult and as uncompromising as he could with any person
* who served th e Christians. Mn Salih Jafar deserves commendation for his
tact and self-possession as his patience has been sorely tried. Seyyid Abdullah
for all his outward show of dignity and grandeur is a chicken-hearted poseur.
I am quite sure that, like his cousin in Taiz, he is piqued at the Aden Govern
ment s apparent disregard of the importance of the Wazirs while he knows
that we want no quarrel with the Yemeni Government and its officials. In
the circumstances he feels that he is safe enough to vent his spleen on and
deri\ e malicious pleasure in baiting Mr. Salih Jafar wdio is wise enough to
remain unruffled. ^ It is clear that he is acting deliberately and for a set pur
pose and his anti-Christian pose serves the object in view. Like his cousin
in Taiz, but in a different manner, I think he strives to make it emerge that
W azirs can be a nuisance if they are not placated.
Seyyid Abdullah met his cousin, the Governor of Taiz, in April last
Jhese two had not met for fifteen years or more and it is not difficult to guess
that they discussed future Wazm policy in all its aspects. Before this meet
ing it was reported that their relations had not been of the most cordial and
1 suppose that this has now been remedied.
69(C) ExAffainiDepft

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' [‎189r] (377/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 February 2020]

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