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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎207r] (413/434)

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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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( 18 )
(Received on the 12th March 1938, with Political Secretary’s letter No. 8,
dated the 24th February 1938.)
P. Z -1109/38.
Enclosure in Foreign Office covering note, dated IGth February 1938
No. E.-767/196/25.
Letter from H. M.’s Minister, Jedda, No. 8 (124/551/6), dated the
17th January 1938.
I have the honour to transmit herewith a translation of a circular which
I have received from the Ministry of foreign Affairs, asking the foreign
missions not to communicate with any Saudi department except the Ministry
for Foreign Affairs. This is presumably the circular about which I tele
graphed to you in my telegram No. 12, dated January 10th. It does not
howevei indicate that the object of the circular is the elimination of foreign
propaganda by foreign missions, and I therefore despatched my telegram
No 19, dated January 13th. luad Bey talked at some length about this
circular in a conversation which I had" with him a few days ago, and I
understood from what he said that the Saudi Government would refer
openly to the distribution of political literature as inconsonant with the
character of the Holy Land of Islam, but I was perhaps mistaken. The
form of the circular is highly discreet, but I do not see why, when taken
with the measures to which Fuad Bey referred in talking to me, it should
not have considerable success in limiting Italian propaganda. As I men
tioned in my report on the interview with Ibn Saud on January 4th (my des
patch No. 1 of January 5th) the King said that he suppressed propaganda
newspapers, etc., whenever they were discovered, and Fuad Bey informed
me that the authorities had detected and put a stop to the practice by which
t e employees of the Italian Legation gave propaganda newspapers to the
baudi postmen to distribute on their rounds. It appears that the Kino- was
particularly incensed by the impudent piece of propaganda to which refer
ence is made in Mr. Trott’s despatch No. 159 of October 11th, 1937 where
a man formerly employed in a minor post in the Jedda Customs, who was
a leged to ha\e spoken in Eritrea in favour of the Fascist regime, was re
presented by the Italians as being Director-General of Customs in Saudi
2. However discreet the wording of the circular I am confident that a
serious attempt will be made to prevent the Italian Legation from spread
ing propaganda in this country. Measures are to be taken, Fuad Bev
assures me, to prevent the use of the posts and the telephone for propaganda
purposes, and orders are to be given to Saudi officials not to mix with mem-
bers of foreign missions except on official occasions. Thus the interpreter
oi the Italian Legation, Muhammad Ali Darfer, who it is believed is to be
posted to Mecca, will be discouraged from visiting any officials except those
of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or to hand propaganda to them, though
it still remains to be seen whether the authorities will find means to pre
vent the distribution of propaganda newspapers in the street or to
restrain Monsieur Darfer from visiting private persons in Mecca in’ order
to spread propaganda for his Government.
3. It is to be hoped that the provisions of the circular will be applied
exclusively to what Fuad Bey declares to be their real object and will not be
used to hamper our pilgrimage work. It will be remembered that this
Legation had noticed a tendency on the part of the Saudi authorities to
compel the Indian Vice-Consul to apply for assistance to the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs instead of the local authorities concerned—a procedure
which would have greatly reduced his usefulness. The recently appointed
Indian V ice-Consul has not noticed any such tendency, and indeed he receiv
ed a warm welcome and promises of help from the Minister of Finance-
188(S) ExAffairsDept.

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' [‎207r] (413/434), 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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