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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎206v] (412/434)

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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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it added to Ibn Sand’s obvious pleasure at the meeting that a man older
than himself and far less active should pay a visit to Jedda m order to see
him for an hour—had acted, in fact, as an Arab would do when passing
near a friend’s tent. He sat for about half an hour in informal talk he
conversation is not worth recording in detail but it may be mentioned that
the King was highly amused when Lord Belhaven, referring to the improve
ments in public security and in other respects, said that the King would
perhaps one day restore the great dam at Ma’reb—forgetting that Ma re j
is in the Yemen. When Lord Belhaven said that the English were like the
Arabs in being lovers of freedom Ibn Baud hastened to explain that the
ruler did what he thought right but was under the orders of Allah like anv
other Arab. I suggested that the ruler governed according to a religious
constitution, and Ibn Baud accepted the phrase as accurate. In the course
of this talk the King invited me to stay with him in camp next winter, it
there should be normal rain to make the desert worth visiting.
4. After the King had performed the sunset prayers we reassembled for
dinner, which was set out on a long table in another tent. The Amir Faisal
was banished to the other end of the table with Shaikh Yusuf Yasin and
two or three othei officials. At the end where the King sat were only Lord
al-Kurdi, who admits that his anti-British policy is not that of his master.
As a concession to us there were European dishes, but in accordance with
the King’s custom all the dishes were on the table at once. One of the
important items in the King’s diet was milk, which an armed slave at his
elbow held constantly ready in a hideous green and white enamel mug much
chipped with long service.
5. Most of the time during dinner the talk was about old times, and
especially the time when Lord Belhaven visited Riyadh in lbl7. Most of
the men Lord Belhaven asked about are dead; “but” said the King, waving
towards a massed crowd of retainers, “their sons are probably there >
He then spoke of the heavy casualties in some of his battles with Ibn Rashid r
and said that he embarked upon one battle with one hundred and fifty men
and came off with one camel—his own, and various wounds, one of which
left a finger distorted and useless. He said that of the men who helped
him to take Riyadh—his first success—only three remained, and he repeated
their names and the names of their fathers.
6. The dinner did not take very long, and after dinner we sat only for a
few minutes, drinking coffee and talking. The King wanted to talk to me
(about Palestine) and to hurry to Mecca; Lord Belhaven therefore said
goodbye and withdrew. The King said goodbye to him very kindly, and
spoke of him after he had gone with great appreciation and affection, as a
man “with a sincere heart”. I am sure that he was touched by the visit
and the unaffected friendliness of Lord Belhaven’s manner and conversa
tion and I believe that the visit was in the narrow sense “useful” to His
Majesty’s Government.
7. I could not help contrasting this meeting with the various functions
at which I had seen Ibn Baud when Mr. Philby was present. The King
talks in a familiar fashion to Mr. Philby and makes genial fun of him,
but there is nothing in his manner towards Mr. Philby of that real friend
liness and respect which he showed to Lord Belhaven. The fact is, I think,
that Ibn Baud is telling the truth when he says that he likes the English
(he would I fear include even a Representative Peer for Scotland in this
definition), and that the more English they are the better he likes them. It
is no recommendation to him to have become a Moslem, to imitate the Arabs
by saying “God prolong your lifef” before every remark addressed to the
King, or to be wearing sandals when all the other “courtiers” present are in
socks and slippers and the King himself is wearing socks with “Pure wool
Made in England” on the soles.

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' [‎206v] (412/434), 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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