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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎204r] (407/434)

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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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partition scheme as an Arab and a Moslem, he objected to it also because
lie felt it would be ruinous to His Majesty’s Government and therefore
dangerous to himself. At one point he said he would rather that the British
mandate should last for another century. I employed the familiar argu
ments in favour of partition, especially the one which has always appealed
to me personally (provided that frontier less unfavourable to Arabs
than those suggested in the report of the Royal Commission could be found),
that a limitation by territory would be more stable and more likely to be
final than a limitation by population, but the King said that, on the contrary,
he believed that the creation of a separate Jewish State would be a perpetual
irritant and source of danger. But, indeed, he seemed unable to believe
that partition would ever be effected.
9. The King asked whether I had seen the reply which he had caused to
be given to the accusation that out of deference to the feelings of His
Majesty’s Government he had refused to allow an Arab conference to be
held in Mecca. I said that I had seen it in the Umm-al-Qura (see my des
patch No. 177, dated the 7th December), and that it seemed, if I might say
so, to have been drafted with His Majesty’s usual wisdom. Ibn Saud said
that in spite of the denial there was something in the report. It had been
suggested that there should be a secret conference about Palestine in Mecca,
but he had refused to allow it, alleging that Mecca was a place for religious
worship, not for political conferences. That was, in fact, one of his
reasons, but. of course, he had others; he never embarked upon any policy
until he was sure it was reasonable, and he did not wish to embarrass His
Majesty’s Government. And besides, if the holding of a conference had
been the course to pursue, he would have proposed it himself and not fol
lowed the suggestions of others.
10. Here the King revealed again a secondary anxiety, viz., that His
Majesty’s Government would come to some arrangement about Palestine with
someone else in the Arab world, or come to some fresh decision without his
knowledge, and thus damage his prestige irretrievably. There was, he
said, a story going about to which many were giving credence, that His
Majesty’s Government proposed to declare a cessation of Jewish immigra
tion into Palestine and to hand the country over to the Iraq Government,
who would then, as part of the bargain, open Palestine to unrestricted im
migration by Jews. He said that he had always been frank with His
Majesty’s Government, and he hoped they would always be frank with
him. T described the scheme he had mentioned as fantastic in itself and
incredible for two other reasons. In the first place partition was still the
declared policy of His Majesty’s Government, though, of course, no one could
foresee what the recommendations of the forthcoming commission would be,
and in the second, His Majesty’s Government appreciated the complete
frankness and sincerity with which His Majesty had always acted in the
matter of Palestine, and I was sure they would never take any serious deci
sion on the subject without giving him the earliest possible notice.
11. Ibn Saud said he wished that some policy could be found which
would not place His Majesty’s Government in opposition to the Arabs.
The one question of Palestine apart, the interests of His Majesty’s Govern
ment and the Arabs were identical, but the Arabs found themselves facing
the Jews, whom they could easily deal with as Jews alone, and behind the
Jews they found the British, and conflict was inevitable. The Arabs knew
well and execrated the treatment of the Arabs in Libya by the Italians both
before and after the war, and no one could have believed a year ago to what
extent Mussolini would induce the Arabs to look upon him as their cham
pion. His success was entirely due to the British policy in Palestine.
12. At the time of the interview I had not received the instructions con
veyed in your telegram No. 110, dated the 15th December, which arrived
after Ibn Saud had left Jedda, but, as will be seen from what I have said,
I anticipated your assurance that there was nothing fresh to say, and that,
if there was, he would be told as soon as possible. I also anticipated your

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' [‎204r] (407/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 November 2019]

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