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File 2182/1913 Pt 10 'N.W. Frontier: Proposed Russian zoological expedition' [‎315r] (221/664)

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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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[This Document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty’s Government.1
^ N
ic 30.]
r. a.
.. . > EO
non 1 .
[95840] No. 1. :
General &ir Jh. AUenbij to Earl Curzon.—(Received June 30.)
(No. 278.) ' v '
My Lord, . Cairo, June 15 1919
WITH leference to my despatch No. 269 of the 11th June, I have the honour to
forward copies of a further note by^ Captain Garland, of the Arab Bureau, carrying on
the narrative of events connected with the Khurma dispute to the 10th June.
• I have, &c.
Enclosure in No. 1.
A ote by Captain Garland on the Khurma Dispute.
Latest Information.
LAfEB reports from Jeddah have confirmed the completeness of Abdullah’s defeat
at Tarabah. ^ According to a telegram sent by the King to Emir Feisal, the “martyrs”
(i.e., bhereefian killed) amounted to 250, including several Ateibah Sheikhs, and also
Seyyid Hilmi, who was Abdullah’s Major-General Commanding the so-called “division”
of regular troops. Emirs Abdullah and Shakir were themselves slightly wounded, all
guns and machine guns and two-thirds of the supplies were lost, and only one-tenth of
the mule mounted infantry got away.
It is worthy of note that, although they had had previous warning of the night
attack, the regular officers who got away did so in their night attire. It was ever one
of the Bagdadi officer s maxims not to allow military duties to interfere with his
night s rest, and during the war, outposts, pickets, and the like were invariablv
dispensed with by the Hedjaz armies.
The 10,000 Bedouin originally reported to be with Abdullah seem to have melted
away and, as Colonel Bassett remarks, “ everything points to the majority of the tribal
elements which profess allegiance to King Hussein being absolutely unreliable.” A
consoling feature is that the captors of the guns, See., have no followers trained in their
manipulation and employment.
In spite of the King’s assertion that Ibn Saud reinforced Tarabah and Khurma,
with a view to attacking Abdullah, no enemy advance from Tarabah is reported.
Abdullah, according to the King, is now “ remaining on the defensive,” but both he and
the King fear an advance by Ibn Saud on Tail and Mecca.
It is thought, however, that Ibn Saud will now rest content with his success and
his reoccupation of larabah. He has common sense enough to realise that any further
advance towards the Hedjaz cities would mean sacrificing our friendship, subsidy,
and help, and he must realise that we possess the means to punish him even if he knows
the King does not. It seems probable that His Britannic Majesty’s Government’s
orders to withdraw from Tarabah will have the desired effect when he gets them.
The fact that the Ikhwan have not advanced from Tarabah since they recaptured
it tends to show that Ibn Saud has them under some sort of control, and if the more
fanatical elements had intended to raid Taif without his authority, they would surely
have moved towards it by this time.
. On the arrival^ of our aeroplanes, the King will no doubt insist on immediate
punitive bombing raids of Tarabah, Khurma, and other Ikhwan camps, but it appears
necessary that tiie possible results of such action should be well considered before
undertaking it. From every point of view it will be infinitely better if Ibn Saud can
be compelled to withdraw by political pressure from Bagdad, as aeroplane bombing
would increase the hatred and ill-vvill between Nejd and Mecca, would render future
reconciliation more difficult, would henceforth affect the hospitality extended to British
official travellers through Nejd, and might quite conceivably precipitate a wholesale
conflagration, besides possibly forming matter (suitably distorted) for Indian anti-
Shereefian propaganda.
[2 gg- 1 ] /~1 ^ 1
(j 1

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' [‎315r] (221/664), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/390/2, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 July 2019]

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