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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎243v] (78/664)

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The record is made up of 1 item (330 folios). It was created in 28 May 1919-13 Jan 1920. It was written in English and Arabic. 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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should be induced to withdraw at least from furaba, and leave an
unoccupied area or “ no-man’s land ” between the two contending
forces. The case of Khurma, from King Hussein’s point of view,
had since been stated by Colonel Wilson in one of the documents
now before the Conference (LD.C.R-3677). Hussein contended.^
that the Khurma district had for generations been under tht
jurisdiction of Mecca, and that for a long time past he had been
appointing representatives there. Late in 1916 the^representative
was one Khalid, who showed a tendency towards M ahabism. He
had been sent for to Mecca and admonished by King Hussein. The
fact that he had obeyed the summons appeared to establish Hussein s
suzerainty over the town. During his absence the Kadi of Khurma
was twice summoned to Mecca and lectured by King Hussem for
preaching the Wahabi faith. He persisted, however, in doing this
and was summoned to Mecca a third time, soon after the Emir
Khalid’s return. On his refusing to_ obey the summons he was
discharged, and a successor appointed in his place, but Khalid
openly raised the standard of revolt against Hussein, and refused
to allow the new Kadi to take up his duties. A suggestion
had been made that both Khalid and the Kadi were accepting
pay both from Hussein and Ibn Sand, and it appeared possible
that this might have been the case. King Hussem had made
two efforts to subdue his rebel lieutenant by force, but two
successive expeditions led by Shakir and the Emit Abdullah
were hmominiously defeated by the Akhwan. It was clear that
whatever might be the rights of the case there was no comparison
whatever between the military forces. The danger of a Wahabi
advance on Mecca had been so acute at the time of the last meeting
that the Conference had more or less gone back on their original
policy of supporting King Hussein. They had, as it were, been
stampeded by the military danger to the Holy Places. They had
also been rather taken with the idea of the proposed Boundary Com
mission, and had been inclined to consider Hussein unreasonable
because he would not accept it. They were now told that as a
matter of amour-yvopre King Hussein could not admit arbitration
on the ownership of Khurma. He regarded this place as so much a
part of the Hejaz that if he were to agree to arbitration upon its
ownership he would lose prestige in Arabia to the same extent
that Great Britain, for example, would lose prestige if she accepted
arbitration on the ownership of a part of these islands. In reply to
any suggestion that he should accept arbitration, Hussein was
always prepared to fire off his last cartridge and threaten to abdicate.
He had pressed the trigger more than once, but the result had only
been a misfire ; only that day a report had been received from Jeddah
that he had done it again. His Majesty’s Government were being
made to look rather ridiculous by the stubbornness of this sensitive
old man, and he did not himself see why he could not be brought to
The Conference should not lose sight of the fact that the policy
of His Majesty’s Government was essentially a Hussein policy. Ibn
Sand was undoubtedly important, but not so important to them as
the Sherif of Mecca. Colonel Wilson wished to be given some
/ reassuring message to take to King Hussein, and it was for the
Conference to consider what form this message should take. At the
same time, they had to consider what reply could be given to the
questions asked by Ibn Baud’s delegation who were now in London,
and were to return in a few days to their own country. These
questions were to be found in one of the papers laid before the Con
ference (I.D.C.E.—3675.)
Colonel Wilson said that he himself regarded the ownership of
Khurma by King Hussein as absolutely incontestable. He con-
sidered it almost certain that if Ibn Baud’s Government remained at /t
Khurma and Turaba, King Hussein would definitely abdicate. It

About this item


The title provided at the beginning of this item does not relate in any way to the item's contents. Part 10 is in fact concerned with 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 begins with reports that Bin Saud's Akhwan [Ikhwan] forces have advanced to Tarabah (also spelled Turaba in the correspondence) [Turabah], in Hejaz, and includes details of His Majesty's Government's proposed response, which is to inform Bin Saud that if he does not withdraw his forces from Hejaz and Khurma then the rest of his subsidy will be discontinued and he will lose all advantages secured under the treaty of 1915. Included are the following:

  • copies of translations of correspondence between Bin Saud and King Hussein;
  • discussion as to whether the British should send aeroplanes to assist King Hussein;
  • minutes of inter-departmental meetings between representatives of 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. , the War Office, the Foreign Office, and the Treasury, on the subject of Bin Saud, held at the Foreign Office and chaired by the Foreign Secretary, Earl Curzon of Kedleston [George Nathaniel Curzon];
  • discussion as to how the British should respond in the event of Bin Saud's Wahabi [Wahhabi] forces taking Mecca and advancing on Jeddah, which it is anticipated may result in the evacuation of a large number of Arabs and British Indians;
  • discussion regarding a proposed meeting between Harry St John Bridger Philby and Bin Saud on the Gulf coast;
  • a report by Captain Herbert Garland [Director of the Arab Bureau, Cairo], entitled 'Note on the Khurma Dispute Between King Hussein and Ibn Saud';
  • a document entitled 'Translation of a Memorandum on the Wahabite [sic] Crisis', addressed to the High Commissioner, Egypt, by Emir Feisal [Fayṣal bin Ḥusayn bin ‘Alī al-Hāshimī], in which Feisal implores the British to take military action against the Wahabi movement;
  • copies of translations of letters addressed to Bin Rashid [Saʿūd bin ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz Āl Rashīd], from Bin Saud and King Hussein respectively, which provide the perspectives of both on recent events at Khurma and Tarabah;
  • a memorandum from the Foreign Office's Political Intelligence Department, entitled 'Memorandum on British Commitments to Bin Saud'.

The item's principal correspondents are the following:

This item also contains translated copies of correspondence between Hussein and the then High Commissioner at Cairo, Sir Arthur Henry McMahon [commonly referred to as the McMahon-Hussein correspondence], dating from July 1915 to January 1916.

Extent and format
1 item (330 folios)
Written in
English and Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎243v] (78/664), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 July 2019]

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