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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎145r] (287/406)

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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.


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; that,
me, I
tli e
3 was
ilf of
: of
n a f me ti T’ in T V i eW 0f Ib f* Saud ’ s disclaimer ol reeponsi-
i Q+ " y ior the leakage of supplies, I foresaw the recommencement of friction
t T r ^ 1 * * * * AT rS ’i aS ! tlle first P ers0Ils to ta ke advantage of the new reqime
ke people of ^aJd, the enforcement against whom of the new restrictions
could not fail to give rise to endless complaint and correspondence ^criticised
the scheme in detail and suggested that, if the importance of maintaining -ood
relations with t^e Shaikh of Kuwait rendered persistence in the scheme
inevitable, the markets of Kuwait should be definitely closed to all Kafdis and
arrangements for the supply of the needs of the interior made throug-h the
Hasa ports, over which Ibn Saud had firm and undivided control. °
In making these proposals, I was under the misapprehension that thp
pass system had been suspended, which was not the case. Nevertheless the
objection remained that Najd caravans would have to apply for passes not as
heretofore to the British Officer in charge of the Blockade, but to Shaikh
Salim s representative. It seemed to me obvious that endless possibilities of
riction remained and, m view of the growing delicacy of the Sharifian
. situation I was anxious to remove all possible minor sources of dissatisfaction
m order to have a free hand to deal with bigger issues, when they arose
• be remembered that at this time, while the Khurma affair was
.seriousiy threatening the peace of Arabia and I was endeavouring to divert
Ibn Saud s attention from it to the campaign against Hail, I was faced on all
sides by a series of petty difficulties of an exceedingly irksome nature, which
vere making Ibn Saud and his people querulous against the general policy of
the British Government towards Najdean susceptibilities. Our policy towards
the Shammar was causing much dissatisfaction and laying us open to the
charge, that we were^ not serious m our desire for their elimination; our under
takings m regard to the Ajman were rapidly breaking down with the inevitable
result of unrest and nervousness m Najd and now, once more, the commercial
interests of Najd were placed at the mercy of Shaikh Salim, while evidence was
of^ife 7 accumulatm 8‘ Ibat the Shammar smugglers were enjoying a new lease
, T J ie lore 0 . °f my general contention was recognized, firstly, by the Poli-
iical Agent himself, who, however, urged that, the new arrangements with
the Shaikh being based on a policy of trust, he should be given another
chance of shewing his loyal adherence to British policy and that, if that
failed, resort might be had to the diversion of Najd commerce to the Hasa
ports as proposed by me; and, secondly, by Sir P. Cox, who on his arrival
at Kuwait m August, 1918 on his return from England, arranged, in con-
suitation with the local authorities and Shaikh Salim, that passes for Najd
-s lould as before, be issued by the Blockade Officer and that the Shaikh’s
blockade operations should be confined to other elements only.
This last arrangement was in fact a reversion to the arrangement evolved
on the basis of my representations in the previous May and, on the 4th Sep
tember, 1918 I was able to report that Ibn Saud had expressed himself once
more completely satisfied with the revised scheme.
From this point to the end of the period under report, when, in conse
quence of the G.-m-C. s peace proclamation at Baghdad, the blockade was
or all practma,! purposes suspended, the blockade problem remained quies
cent, though I was able to report a number of cases of smuggling from Kuwait
winch took place m September after the acceptance of responsibility for the
new arrangements by Shaikh Salim, who, to the end, kept up the double
smu^gffirs^ 6 ^ 111 ^ t0 enforce tiie blockade and actually assisting the enemy
i .Sumniing up the results of the year, I find it difficult to resist the con
clusion that, on the whole, Ibn Saud exerted himself honestly and energeti-
Ca -n n° c l° se bis territories to the operations of enemy purchasing agents
with the result that, except for one petty case of smuggling reported by me
m July, no definite case came to my notice. On the other hand numerous
instances of the passage of caravans from Kuwait to Hail were reported from
time to time, evidence was forthcoming of the accumulation of stocks at the
latter place and their eventual clearance by a caravan of 1,000 camels to
amascus, wdule, finally, there seemed to be good ground to suppose that
: uri S AT an , ^ho had access to Aqaba, w^as making use of his position
to profit by the contraband trade. n ^
If, as regards Kuwait, it is possible to suggest what would have been
an effective remedy for an intolerable situation, I venture to think it would
have been found in the diversion of Najd commerce to the Hasa ports as I
proposed; but, doubtless, the scarcity of shipping militated against the accept
ance of the proposal at the time when it was made. This matter has, how
ever, another and more permanent aspect wffiich merits a few words of ex
planation before I pass from this subject.
. It must be remembered that, since Ibn Saud re-established himself in
ns ancestral territories in 1902, he has been so busily engaged in the task
ot political consolidation, culminating in the capture of Hasa from the Turks
an tne spring of 1914, that he has had little leisure to consider the question

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:

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1 item (203 folios)
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File 2182/1913 Pt 9 'Arabia Policy towards Bin Saud' [‎145r] (287/406), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/1, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 July 2019]

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