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Coll 6/50 'Saudi Arabia: Saudi Relations with the Soviet.' [‎25r] (49/100)

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The record is made up of 1 file (48 folios). It was created in 6 Jun 1932-20 Jun 1938. It was written in English. 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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EASTEEN (Arabia).
[E 2019/1225/25] No. 1.
Sir A. Ryan to Sir John Simon.—{Received Afrit 20.)
(No. 92. Confidential.)
Jedda, March 23, 1933.
WITH reference to my despatch No. 66 of the 28th February last relative
to an alleged agreement between the Saudi Government and the Soviet, I have
the honour to state that I asked Fuad Bey Hamza on the 18th March whether
he could tell me how matters stood. I explained that I felt encouraged to ask
him for any information which he could properly give, because the Saudi Mission
had taken His Majesty’s Government into their confidence in London last May,
and because I preferred to get news from him rather than from the bazaars,
where various rumours had been circulating. I reminded Fuad Bey that His
Majesty’s Government had defined their own attitude last year in a way which
showed that they did not stand in the way of any agreement between this country
and Soviet Russia, and that after my return to Jedda, the King had shown further
confidence in His Majesty’s Government by sending me a message explaining his
2. Fuad Bey said that the Saudi Mission had been approached when in
Moscow. The Russians wanted, I understood him to say, three things—a removal
of the embargo on trade from Russia to Saudi Arabia, a treaty of friendship and
a commercial treaty. They had expressed readiness to accommodate the Saudi
Government on terms of short or of long credit. Fuad Bey did not go into details
of what these alternatives meant, but I gathered that the Soviet authorities had
proposed arrangements (presumably for a loan in the form of goods to be supplied
on credit) for a long period of years, and that the Saudi Government were
unwilling to commit themselves for more than say three years.
3. Fuad Bey admitted that, following on the Moscow conversations, there
had been a renewal of negotiations here, but said that only one thing had been
agreed, viz., the removal of the embargo on trade. This removal had not, however,
yet become effective, as the Soviet Government had undertaken not to ship goods
until the authorities here had had time to organise selling arrangements.
4. Fuad Bey referred back to the petroleum products transaction of 1931.
He said that in that year the Soviet Government were already pressing for a
removal of the embargo on trade, and that the King, feeling unable at that time
to give them satisfaction, had sanctioned the particular transaction to show that
his attitude was not due to ill will. Fuad Bey made no mention of any arrange
ment to pay off the debt in respect of the goods supplied in 1931 by remitting
duty on goods to be imported under the recent arrangement.
5. My conversation with Fuad Bey took place at a moment when I was
much taken up with matters of more immediate concern to me. I cannot, there
fore, reproduce it as accurately as I would wish, but I think I have got the
essential facts right is the above summary. He asked me to treat what he was
telling me as confidential, and I undertook to do this.
6. I am sending, a copy of this despatch to the Department of Overseas
Trade and to his Excellency the Viceroy of India.
I have, &c.

About this item


This file concerns relations between the Government of the Hejaz and Nejd (Saudi Arabia from September 1932 onwards) and the Soviet Union. It largely consists of copies of correspondence received by the Foreign Office from His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, succeeded by Sir Reader William Bullard) regarding Saudi-Soviet relations and the activities of Soviet representatives in Saudi Arabia. Other prominent correspondents include His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires to Jedda (Cecil Gervase Hope Gill), His Majesty's Ambassador in Moscow (Esmond Ovey), and officials of the Foreign Office, 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. , and the Government of India's Foreign and Political Department.

Matters discussed in the correspondence include:

  • The visit of the Hejazi delegation, headed by Emir Feisal [Fayṣal bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa‘ūd], Foreign Minister for the Kingdom of the Hejaz and Nejd, to Moscow, and later, via Turkey, to Tiflis [Tbilisi] and Baku, in May-June 1932.
  • Soviet trade interests in the Hejaz.
  • Concerns expressed by Sir Andrew Ryan in July 1932 that the Soviet representative in Jedda could seek to consolidate Soviet relations with Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] and encourage the latter to take a strong line regarding Transjordan.
  • Unconfirmed reports of a Saudi-Soviet trade agreement in early 1933.
  • Notes on the character and previous career in Jedda of the newly appointed (as of January 1936) Soviet minister at Jedda, Kerim Khakimov.
  • News in May 1938 that the Government of the Soviet Union has decided to close its legations in Saudi Arabia and Yemen, reportedly as a gesture of disapproval of the Anglo-Italian Treaty [Anglo-Italian Agreement], but considered by the Foreign Office to be part of a general policy of reducing the number of its foreign contacts.

The file includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence (folio 2).

Extent and format
1 file (48 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 50; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 2-49; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/50 'Saudi Arabia: Saudi Relations with the Soviet.' [‎25r] (49/100), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2117, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 November 2019]

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