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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎252v] (96/664)

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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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“ 1 am one of the greatest helpers to the Government of Great Britain, and
she will God willing, obtain satisfactory results, as we have mentioned to our
mutual friend, Captain Shakespear. As to the Ottoman soldiers, we did not allow
“ single one of them to remain (in these parts) after our occupation, and have
turned them all out. . ,, , ,,
“ But as to the following three matters mentioned by you, namely, the prom .
of the exalted Government to protect and safeguard us against the Ottoman
Government by affording us her assistance and her future protection (to us) against
any attack and hostility which may be made by sea her recognition of the
independence of my chiefship on all the parts of Nejd, al-Hasa, and Qatif, and the
conclusion of treaties between us, (these) wdl depend on our arrival at Koweit. I
am leaving my headquarters on this date and am bound tor Koweit, and we will
make the necessary verbal negotiations, in order that we may earn the approval of
our friend, the Government of Great Britain.
No farther steps were taken on the British side till Captain Shakespear, travelling
via Bahrein and Koweit, reached Bin Sand’s camp on the 31st December, 1914
^ During the next few days he discussed exhaustively with Bin Saud the latter s
relations with Great Britain and Turkey since their previous meeting a year before
Bin Saud referred to the various messages he had received from representatives of Great
Britain during the past three months, and dwelt especially upon the letter o± the
3rd November, 1914, from the Officiating Resident m the Gulf. He cited the three
assurances contained in it, but remarked that
“ the document was a vague letter, did not specify whether the assurances were
limited merely to the present war. or also included the future, gave no hint
whether other conditions would be required of himself later, and could not be
regarded as a binding instrument between the two parties for the future.
Captain Shakespear concluded from these conversations that Bin Saud
“ had no intention of abandoning his neutral position, with freedom to make his
own arrangements with the Turks (and he was confident that he could secure from
them a very good £ second best’) until he held a signed and sealed treaty with the
British Government ; nor would he move a step further towards making matters
either easier for us or more difficult for the Turks so far as the present war was
concerned, until he obtained in that treaty some very solid guarantee'of his position,
with Great Britain practically as his suzerain.”
Captain Shakespear therefore asked Bin Saud to draw up “ a preliminary draft,
containing what he was prepared to accept and what he desired,’ which he (Captain
Shakespear) might then forward to His Majesty’s Government for their consideration.
This suggestion was promptly carried out by Bin Saud, and in a report, dated the
4th January, 1915, to Sir P. Cox (in which the foregoing conversations were also put on
record) Captain Shakespear submitted a rough translation of Bin Saud’s desiderata :—
“ The clauses which will be reasons for a binding agreement between myself
( £ Bin Saud ’) and the Great British Government:—
“ i. That the British Government will acknowledge and admit that Nejd,
al-Hasa, Qatif, their surroundings and the ports appertaining to them
on the shores of 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. are to me and (are) the territory of
my fathers and forefathers ; that I am the independent ruler of them,
and after me my sons and their descendants by inheritance; and that
the above-mentioned territory is an independent territory in which
there is no (right of) interference to any foreign Power.
“ 2. That they (the British Government) will declare its (the territory’s)
boundaries north, south, east, and west, by land and by sea, and that
(regarding) the nomads who wander between neighbouring towns,
which are either under British protection or (directly) under British
Government, if there should arise differences between me and the
chiefs of the said towns and complaints be made in (these) matters,
they should be decided according to the ownership of fathers and

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' [‎252v] (96/664), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 19 July 2019]

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