Coll 6/19 'Arabia: (Saudi Arabia) Hejaz-Nejd Annual Report.' [222v] (445/540)
The record is made up of 1 file (268 folios). It was created in 18 Apr 1931-18 May 1945. It was written in English. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
of the Government to pay sums overdue to its chauffeurs caused an incident
which is described elsewhere.
130. The leanness of the public purse was fully revealed after the pilgrims
had come and mostly gone. When the King decided to convene the National
Conference in June (see paragraph 117) finance was one of the principal items
on the agenda. The King’s reaction to criticism of existing methods has already
been described infra. 119. Desperate efforts were made to enlist foreign
assistance at that time and later. In his June conversations with Sir A. Ryan
the King asked for assistance to bring a British bank to the Hejaz. Hopes were
also entertained of obtaining accommodation from the Netherlands Trading
Company. Abdurrahman Qusaibi was sent on a wind-raising tour in Europe.
In July the Hejaz-Nejd Minister in London approached the Foreign Office on
the subject of a British bank, and in August he made strong personal appeals
in London to the head of the Eastern Department of the Foreign Office and to
His Majesty’s Minister at Jedda, then in England on leave. He drew a terrible
picture of the state of things in the Hejaz. Recognising that there was urgent
need of reform in Ibn Saud’s administration, he begged to be put in a position
to hold out to the King a prospect of British financial help in some shape or
form if he adopted reforms which he, Sheikh Hafiz Wahba, thought of
submitting to him personally.
131. All these attempts to get European assistance broke down. His
Majesty’s Government were sympathetic but entirely non-committal, except that
the Department of Overseas Trade gave some advice and an introduction to
Barclay’s Bank, besides complying with a request of the Hejazi Minister that
the Ottoman Bank, with which Qusaibi was in touch, should be informed that
His Majesty’s Government were cognisant of what was toward. Qusaibi himself
had no success anywhere. Business might have been done with the Netherlands
Trading Company on the basis of a loan secured on customs had Ibn Saud been
readier to accept some effective control in that department and the Dutch more
confident of the stability of his regime. Nothing was heard in the latter part of
the year of offers said to have been made in the spring by Egyptian financial
132. Meanwhile the situation in the Hejaz was going from bad to worse.
The King had gone to Riadh in July, leaving the Holy Land to stew in its own
tiresome juice. It was said in his praise that he was himself giving an example
of retrenchment. There is some evidence that he subsequently economised at
Riadh, but, as has already been stated, the journey thither involved the usual
expensive parade. He had left behind his Director-General of Finance. The
latter had done his best to fill the till locally by extracting loans from merchants
under compulsion. He reached the nadir of unscrupulosity when he stole in
September the stocks of benzine belonging to Egyptian Shell and the Standard
Oil Company in the Government stores at Jedda, the most scandalous breach of
trust by the Government in the recent history of the Hejaz (see paragraphs 213
133. Matters came to a head in October in the manner described in
paragraph 121. The King’s first reaction to the memorandum submitted by the
cabal formed to undo Abdullah Suleiman was to order the closing of the Hejazi
Treasury and the suspension of all payments. Some days later he despatched
Sheikh Yussuf Yasin post haste to the Hejaz with a Royal proclamation,
announcing budgetary reform. It did not, indeed, provide for a public budget,
but it established the principle that the revenue was to be allocated to four
purposes, viz., current administration, clearance of the floating debt, reserve, and
extraordinary expenditure on betterment schemes, such as improved pilgrimage
conditions and economic development. His Majesty’s Charge d’Affaires was
orally informed of the new arrangements, and was told that the revenue, the
estimated amount of which was not stated, was to be assigned to the above four
headings in the proportion of 35, 25, 15 and 25 per cent. Other reforms were
announced, including the constitutional change already described. The
Director-General of Finance was not dismissed, but he was sent provisionally to
strengthen the committee under Muhammad-al-Tawil. which was already
employed in reorganising the administration of the Hasa Coast. A new post of
About this item
This file contains copies of annual reports regarding the Kingdom of Hejaz and Nejd (later Saudi Arabia) during the years 1930-1938 and 1943-1944.
The reports were produced by the British Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, succeeded by Sir Reader William Bullard) and sent to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (and in the case of these copies, forwarded by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to the Under-Secretary of State for India), with the exception of the reports for 1943 and 1944, which appear to have been produced and sent by His Majesty's Chargé d’Affaires at Jedda, Stanley R Jordan.
The reports covering 1930-1938 discuss the following subjects: foreign relations; internal affairs; financial, economic and commercial affairs; military organisation; aviation; legislation; press; education; the pilgrimage; slavery and the slave trade; naval matters. The reports for 1943 and 1944 are rather less substantial. The 1943 report discusses Arab affairs, Saudi relations with foreign powers, finance, supplies, and the pilgrimage, whilst the 1944 report covers these subjects in addition to the following: the activities of the United States in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East Supply Centre, and the Saudi royal family.
The file includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence.
- Extent and format
- 1 file (268 folios)
The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.
- Physical characteristics
Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1 and terminates at the last folio with 269; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located at 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 present in parallel between ff 2-12 and ff 45-268; these numbers are also written in pencil but are not circled.
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- Coll 6/19 'Arabia: (Saudi Arabia) Hejaz-Nejd Annual Report.'
- front, front-i, 2r:269v, back
- East India Company, the Board of Control, the India Office, or other British Government Department
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- Open Government Licence