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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎265r] (121/664)

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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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Letter from Sir H. McMahon, His Majesty's High Commissioner, Cairo, to the
Sherif of Mecca, dated December 14, 1915.
To Sherif Hussein :
(After customary greetings and acknowledgment of previous letter.)
a gratified to observe that you agree to the exclusion of the vilayets of Mersina
and Adana from the boundaries of the Arab territories.
I also note with great pleasure and satisfaction your assurances that the Arabs are
determined to act in conformity with the precepts laid down by Omar Ibn Khattab
and the early Khalifs, which secure the rights and privileges of ail religions alike.
In stating that the Arabs are ready to recognise and respect all our treaties with
Arab chiefs, it is of course understood that this will apply to all territories included in
the Arab kingdom, as the Government of Great Britain cannot repudiate engagements
which already exist.
^ With regard to the vilayets of Aleppo and Beyrout, the Government of Great
Britain have taken careful note of your observations, but, as the interests of our ally
France are involved, the question will require careful consideration, and a further
communication on the subject will be addressed to you in due course.
The Government of Great Britain, as I have already informed you, are ready to
give all guarantees of assistance and support within their power to the Arab kingdom,
but then interests demand, as you yourself have recognised, a friendly and stable
administi ation in the vilayet of Bagdad, and the adequate safeguarding of these
interests calls for a much fuller and more detailed consideration than the present
situation and the urgency of these negotiations permits.
We fully appreciate your desire for caution, and we have no wish to urge you to
hasty action, which might jeopardise the eventual success of your projects, but in the
meantime it is most essential that you should spare no effort to attach all the Arab
peoples to our united cause and urge them to afford no assistance to our enemies.
It is on the success of these efforts and on the more active measures which the
Arabs may hereafter take in support of our cause, when the time for action comes, that
the permanence and strength of our agreement must depend.
Under these circumstances I am further directed by the Government of Great
Britain to inform you that you may rest assured that Great Britain has no intention
of concluding any peace^ in ^ terms of which the freedom of the Arab peoples from
German and Turkish domination does not form an essential condition.
As an earnest of our intentions, and in order to aid you in your efforts in our joint
cause, I am sending by your trustworthy messenger a sum of 20,000k
(Customary ending.)
(Signed) H. McMAHON.
English Translation of Letter from the Sherif of Mecca to Sir H. McMahon, His
Majesty s High Commissioner, Cairo, dated January 1, 1916 \2hth.Safar, 1334].
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Cornpassionate!
To his Excellency the eminent, energetic, and magnanimous Minister.
WE received from the bearer your two letters, dated 9th Safar (17th December,
1915), with great respect and honour, and I have understood their contents, which
caused me the greatest pleasure and satisfaction, as they removed that which had made
me uneasy.
\ our honour will have realised, after the arrival of Mohammed [Faroki] Sherif
and his interview with you, that all our procedure up to the present was of no
personal inclination or the like, which would have been wholly unintelligible, but that
everything was the result of the decisions and desires of our peoples, and that we are
but transmitters and executants of such decisions and desires in the position they (our
people) have pressed upon us.
[1378 t—1]

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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' [‎265r] (121/664), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 January 2020]

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