File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [137v] (272/406)
The record is made up of 1 item (203 folios). It was created in 27 Dec 1918-2 Jun 1919. 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.
This transcription is created automatically. It may contain errors.
the effect both of dispelling the atmosphere of distrust prevailing m Shanfian
circles and of enabling us to decide if there were any means by which we
could make Ibn Saud more actively useful.
At the end of the same telegram, while expressing his view that, if more^
military use were to be made of Ibn Saud, ‘‘we must really approach the
subiect seriously and lend him an Indian or Egyptian battery, Sir E. Lm
questioned the value of such an experiment unless it was desired by the
Egyptian authorities, but suggested that m any case a mixed Mission repre
senting the Commander-in-Chief, the High Commissioner and himself should
visit Najd to “ make proposals in accordance with practical possibilities.
In communicating' the news of the proposed Mission to the King of the
Hiiaz the High Commissioner for Egypt “ purposely emphasised the military
character of the Mission and its role of advising Ibn Saud regarding measures
to be taken against the Turks and Ibn Rashid.” _ At the same time while
noting the “ somewhat uncompromising state of mind ” of King Husain and
deprecating any premature attempt to settle the larger political questions at
issue between him and Ibn Saud he expressed the hope that time and the
successful completion of the Mission, resulting, it is hoped, in active aggres
sion against the enemy on the part of Ibn Saud, would prove to the King the
folly of his present policy of suspicion and the wisdom of effecting a reconcilia
tion with his nearest powerful neighbour.”
Finally, following upon exhaustive verbal discussions of the Arabian
situation in relation to the proposed work of the Mission, Sir P. Cox summed
up his instructions to me in a written memorandum, dated the 31st October,
1917, the gist of which is briefly as follows, namely: —
1. “ The primary and principal object ” of the Mission is to discuss
fully with Ibn Saud and form an opinion as to whether any,
and, if so, what further action Ibn Saud can usefully take to
further the common cause against the enemy;
2. “To endeavour to clear the atmosphere pervading Ibn Sand’s
relations w T ith the Sharif and the Shaikh of Kuwait ” ;
3. “‘To find a permanent or temporary solution of the Ajman
question ” ;
4. “ To discuss with Ibn Saud his recent application for permission to
issue a copper coinage for Najd ” ; and
5. “To discuss the question of the permanent appointment of a British
Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. for Najd.
In addition to the above matters Sir P. Cox asked me to discuss such
matters as the restriction of trade owing to the exigencies of the war; the
impossibility of granting shipping facilities for the Hasa ports during the war;
and the restriction of pilgrim traffic.
Such were the letter and spirit of the instructions under which the Mis
sion sailed to its task. For my part I never lost sight of the fact that its
primary and principal object was to further the common cause against the
enemy by successful action against Ibn Rashid.
5. Itinerary of the Mission.
Leaving Baghdad on the afternoon of the 29th October, 1917, the Mission
proceeded by launch to Basrah, where it arrived at midnight of the 2nd Novem
ber, 1917. Eight days were spent at Basrah collecting supplies and equip
ment, and during this period I took advantage of the presence at Zubair of a
number of chiefs of the neighbouring desert tribes to make myself acquainted
with their affairs in a series of personal interviews with them.
By the morning of the 11th November, all was ready for a start and the
Mission embarked on H.M.S. Lawrence, which had been placed at its disposal
by the courtesy of Rear Admiral C. St. Wake, C.B., commanding the Naval
Forces in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. and Mesopotamia.
On the 13th November, we arrived at Bahrain, where we found that the
Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. , Captain P. G. Loch, I.A., had kindly made arrangements for
the further progress of the Mission to Uqair by dhow.
At 9 a.m. on the following morning the Mission embarked on a dhow
flying the flag of Ibn Saud and, Captain Crozier of H.M.S. Lawrence having
very kindly placed his steam cutter at our disposal to tow us some part of the
way as there was no wind, we made good progress to the mouth of the Straits
The journey from Bahrain to IJqair normally takes seven or eight hours
by dhow but, after parting company with the steam cutter, we drifted becalm
ed for the rest of that day and the next day’s sun was setting as we eventually
drew alongside the pier at Uqair on the 15th November, 1917.
From Uqair, where we were received on behalf of Ibn Saud by the local
Amir, Abdul Rahman ibn Khairulla, we proceeded to Hasa, reaching Hufuf
on the 19th November. Hospitably entertained here on behalf of Ibn Saud
by Abdulla ibn Jiluwi, the Governor of Hasa, w^e left Hufuf on the 22nd
About this item
Part 9 primarily concerns the dispute between Bin Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] and King Hussein of Hejaz [Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī, King of Hejaz], and British policy towards both. The item includes the following:
- a note by the 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. 's Political Department, entitled 'Arabia: The Nejd-Hejaz Feud', which laments the fact that relations between Bin Saud and King Hussein have to some extent been reflected in the views of the two administrations with which they have respectively been brought into contact (i.e. the sphere of Mesopotamia and the Government of India in Bin Saud's case, and the Cairo administration in King Hussein's case);
- reports on the presence of Akhwan [Ikhwan] forces in Khurma and debate as to which ruler has the stronger claim to it;
- attempts by the British to ascertain whether or not a treaty exists between King Hussein and Bin Saud;
- a copy of a report by Harry St John Bridger Philby entitled 'Report on Najd Mission 1917-1918', which includes as appendices a précis of British relations with Bin Saud and a copy of the 1915 treaty between Bin Saud and the British government;
- reports of alleged correspondence between Bin Saud and Fakhri Pasha, Commander of the Turkish [Ottoman] forces at Medina;
- reports of the surrender of Medina by Ottoman forces;
- discussion as to whether Britain should intervene further in the dispute between Bin Saud and King Hussein;
- details of the proposals discussed at an inter-departmental conference on Middle Eastern affairs, which was held at Cairo in February 1919;
- reports that King Hussein's son Abdulla [ʿAbdullāh bin al-Ḥusayn] and his forces have been attacked at Tarabah [Turabah] by Akhwan forces and driven out.
The principal correspondents are the following:
- Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in the Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. , temporarily based in Baghdad [Lieutenant-Colonel Arnold Talbot Wilson, acting Resident in Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Percy Zachariah Cox's absence];
- Civil Commissioner, Baghdad [held in an officiating capacity by Lieutenant-Colonel Arnold Talbot Wilson];
- High Commissioner, Egypt (General Sir Francis Reginald Wingate, succeeded by General Edmund Henry Hynman Allenby);
- Milne Cheetham, Residency A diplomatic office of the British Government established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. , Cairo;
- Secretary to the 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. 's Political Department (John Evelyn Shuckburgh);
- Bin Saud;
- King Hussein;
- Feisal [Fayṣal bin Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī], son of King Hussein;
- Foreign Office;
- Secretary of State for India [Edwin Samuel Montagu];
- Harry St John Bridger Philby.
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