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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎264v] (120/664)

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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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Government of Great Britain—we renounce our insistence on the inclusion of the
vilayets of Messina and Adana in the Arab Kingdom. But the provinces of Aleppo
and Beyrut and their sea-coasts are purely Arab provinces, and there is no difference
between a Moslem and a Christian Arab | they are both descendants of one loie-
We Moslems will follow the footsteps of the Commander of the FaithfiC, Omar
Ibn Khattab, ami other Khalifs succeeding him, who ordained in the laws of the
Moslem faith that Moslems should treat the Christians as they treat themselves. He,
Omar, declared with reference to Christians “ they will have the samp privileges and
submit to the same duties as ourselves.” They will thus enjoy their civic rights in as
much as it accords with the general interest of the whole nation.
2 . As the provinces of Irak are parts of the pure Arab Kingdom and were in fact
the seat of its Governments in the time of Ali Ibn Abu Talib, and in the time of all
Khalifs who succeeded him; and as in them began the civilisation of the Arabs, and
as their towns in those provinces were the first towns built in Islam where the Arab
power became so great ; therefore these provinces are greatly valued by all Arabs far
and near, and their traditions cannot be forgotten by them. Consequently we cannot
satisfy the Arab nations or make them submit to give up such a title to nobility. But
in order to render an accord easy, and taking into consideration the assurances
mentioned in the fifth article of your letter, to keep and guard our mutual interests
in that country as they are one and the same, for all these reasons we might agree to
leave under the British administration for a short time those districts now occupied by
the British troops without the rights of either party being prejudiced thereby (especial y
those of the Arab nation, which interests are to it economic and vital) and against a
suitable sum paid as compensation to the Arab Kingdom for the period of occupation, in
order to meet the expenses which every new kingdom is bound to support, at the same
time respecting your agreements with the Sheikhs ot those districts, and especially
those which are essential.
3 . In your desire to hasten the movement we see not only advantages, but grounds
of apprehension. The first of these grounds is the fear of the blame of the Moslems of
the opposite party, as has already happened in the past, who would declare that we
have revolted against Islam and ruined its forces. The second is that, standing in the
face of Turkey, which is supported by all the forces of Germany, we do not know what
Great Britain and her Allies would do if one of the Entente Powers were weakened and
obliged to make peace. We fear that the Arab nation will then be left alone in the
face of Turkey together with her Allies, but we would not at all mind if we were to face
the Turks alone. "Therefore it is necessary to take these points into consideration in
order to avoid a peace being concluded in which the parties concerned may decide the
fate of our people as if we had taken part in the war without making good our claims
to official consideration.
4 . The Arab nation has a strong belief that, after this war is over, the Turks,
under German influence, will direct their efforts to provoke the Arabs and violate their
rights, both material and moral, to wipe out their nobility and honour and reduce them
to utter submission, as they are determined to ruin them entirely. The reasons for the
slowness shown in our action have already been stated.
5 . When the Arabs know that the Government of Great Britain is their Ally, who
will not leave them to themselves at the conclusion of peace in the face of Turkey and
Germany, and that she will support and will effectively defend them, then to enter the
war at once will, no doubt, be in conformity with the general interest of the Arabs.
6 . Our letter dated the 29th Shaual 1333 (9th September, 1915) saves us the
trouble of repeating our opinions as to Articles 3 and 4 of your honoured last letter
regarding administration, Government advisers and officials, especially as you have
declared, O exalted Minister ! that you will not interfere with internal affairs.
7 . The arrival of a clear and definite answer as soon as possible to the above
proposals is expected. We have done our utmost in making concessions in order to
come to an agreement satisfying both parties. We know that our lot in this war will
be either a success which will guarantee to the Arabs a life becoming their past history
or destruction in the attempt to attain their objects. Had it not been for the
determination which I see in the Arabs for the attainment of their objects, I would
have preferred to seclude myself on one of the h'eights of a mountain, but they, the
Arabs, have insisted that 1 should guide the movement to this end.
May God keep you safe and victorious, as we devoutly hope and desire.
Dated 27 el Rijj 1333 [November 5, 1915].

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' [‎264v] (120/664), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 28 March 2020]

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