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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎193r] (385/434)

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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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120
(65)
Enclosure in Colonial Office covering letter No. P.Z.-4922|37, dated the 26th July
1937.
(Received on 15th August 1937, ivith Political Secretary’s letter No. 230, dated
29th July 1937.)
Letter from Governor, Aden, to Secretary of State for Colonies, London,
No. Secret-2, dated the 30th June 1937.
With reference to my Secret despatch of the 26th May 1937, on the subject
of the extension of Italian influence on the Red Sea Littoral and in Aden Pro
tectorate territory, I have the honour to inform you that about three weeks ago
persistent rumours were in circulation that an Italian warship had sent ashore
agents in the Subeihi country, to the west of Aden, and that these agents had
distributed arms and money to certain inhabitants of that district. It was not
possible to obtain any definite or circumstantial reports regarding these inci
dents, but in view of the persistence of the rumours, it seemed desirable that
investigations should be conducted as to their accuracy.
2. On the 18th of June therefore I sent the Second Political Officer, Captain
the Honourable R. A. B. Hamilton, to the Subeihi country, and between that date
^ and June the 25th, he visited five different centres in the area concerned while
a dhow acting under his orders visited Perim and Sheikh Sa’id.
3. As a result of his investigation, Captain Hamilton has come to the con
clusion that within the last two months the Italians have turned their attention to
the deep anchorage that lies to the west of Ras al Ara on the coast between Aden
and Perim. He further thinks that they have established some sort of communi
cation with the shore ; there were repeated references by the local Arabs to “ a
white-painted steamer ” which had approached the land, and to a vessel described
as a submarine that had been seen on several occasions near the shore.
4. It seems possible that the Italians may have explored, in submarines, the
Ras-al-Ara anchorage ; and it is averred that during the last two months Italian
submarines have frequently been seen between Ras-al-Ara and Bir Saqeiya.
Finally, it is reported that Italian agents have visited Saqeiya and another
village in the vicinity and have lectured the people on the weakness of Britain
and the strength of Italy.
5. You will, no doubt, appreciate the extreme difficulty of establishing the
truth or falsehood of such reports ; for naturally, as soon as it is known that
investigations to that end are being made, it is hard to find anyone who will admit
to any knowledge which might connect him with the subversive activities of a
foreign power. But, while I am satisfied that no “ gun-running ”, or distri
bution of money on a large scale has recently taken place within the Protecto
rate, I am nevertheless forced to the conclusion that Italian agents have, of late,
been active in the Subeihi country.
6 . This attempt to introduce Italian influence into the Arabian mainland
adjacent to Sheikh Said would be in keeping with the suspected Italian design
of securing control of both coasts of the southern Red Sea, and of thereby
^ gaining command of the Straits of Bab-el-Mandab, in the furtherance of which
project Italy is believed recently to have fortified Dumeira and Rsheita on the
African shore opposite Perim.
7. At this stage I desire merely to acquaint you with the situation as it has
presented itself to me, and to state that I am considering what steps should be
taken locally to counteract these activities. At present, I am examining the
possibility of adopting two complementary measures ; the establishment in the
Subeihi country of posts from which reliable information could be collected and
rcp0I ii fi ( ii I HVm tlie °l His tlle Sultan of Lahej to take a more
active interest in a thorough surveillance of the Subeihi country.
8 . I propose shortly to submit to you a further report with my recom
mendations for dealing with the situation.
Enclosure 1 to Serial No. (65).
Demi-official letter from B. R. Reilly, Esq., Governor, Aden, to H. R. Cowell,
Esq., C.M.G., Colonial Office, London, No. C.-768, dated the 30th June
1937.
I enclose, for your information, copies of a letter addressed to me by H. E.
the Naval Commander-in-Chief, East indies Station, and of my reply.
LS109EAD

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Content

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)
Arrangement

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' [‎193r] (385/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100025548487.0x0000ba> [accessed 17 February 2020]

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