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'File 8/15 Arab Series - 1933-1939' [‎212r] (423/434)

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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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4 .
oil which might enable the ruler to pension all Nejd out of oil money and
to leave the pilgrims to the Hejazis. I dealt with the point in a later des
patch No. 83-E. (908/284/3) of April 30th last.
What matters however, it seems to me, is what is to be done (1) now,
in view of the Palestine tangle, and (2) if we become involved in a world
conflict while Ibn Saud is still alive. I wish I could feel certain that no
such conflict will come upon us within the next ten years, which is not an un
reasonable period to give Ibn Saud: he may live and reign effectually for
even longer.
I am sending a copy of this letter, and of yours, to Baxter.
Enclosure in Foreign Office covering letter, dated the 20th August 1938.
Letter from Sir R. Bullard, to Viscount Halifax.—(Received July
15), (No. 132), dated Jedda, June 28, 1938.
I have the honour to enclose herewith a translation of an interesting
announcement from the Umm-al-Qura, reporting that at a conference held
in Riyadh in May it was agreed that a Higher Council of State should be
set up and that the military system of the country should be reorganised on a
more regular basis.
2. Why the new council is to be called the Higher Council of State is
not made clear. There is at present a Legislative Assembly, and a stand
ing committee of the Council of Ministers. The Legislative council seems
to deal only with administrative, never with political questions. The other
body apparently serves by standing, for, according to Fuad Bey, who is a
member of it. it does nothing else. The High Council of State is apparently
to be consulted on political matters, since it is to consider “public affairs
touching the State and its preservation.’’ While Ibn Saud makes his own
decisions, he is quite right in claiming, as he has done on occasion, that he
first listens to advice, and he listens to it openly in a manner which the
European Dictators would consider ruinous to their reputations. It is, I
think, legitimate to suppose that the council will be a safety-valve for its
members, who can give their opinions on Palestine and the Arab world and
European politics, and for the King a formal means by which he can make
his opinions and decisions on questions of high policy known to the people.
3. In view of the forecast made in paragraph 3 of my despatch No.
103-E., dated the 22nd May, it is interesting to see that a standing army
trained on more or less modern lines is to be created with the aid of oil
revenues—for that is evidently the “economic resources’’ Ibn Saud has in
mind. We have never been told what reply Ibn Saud returned to the Iraq
proposal for the introduction of some measure of unification in the training
and equipment of the two armies, but it is probable that that proposal will
be taken into account when the tens of thousands of Arabs are assembled,
clad in unaccustomed trousers, in their barracks. It may be some little time
before the collection of oil royalties allows of a serious beginning with
this plan, and it is therefore early to speculate whether the proposed force
will be more efficient than tribal levies, and, if so, whether it will conduce
to the stability of the Saudi regime by providing the ruler for the time
being with a sure protection against any attempt to overthrow him.
4. I am sending copies of this despatch to His Majesty’s Ambassadors
at Cairo and Bagdad, and to His Excellency the High Commissioner for
Palestine at Jerusalem^

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' [‎212r] (423/434), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/R/15/2/310, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 24 February 2020]

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