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Coll 6/66 'Saudi-Arabia: Saudi-Transjordan Frontier' [‎49v] (98/427)

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The record is made up of 1 file (212 folios). It was created in 3 Apr 1934-6 Mar 1940. 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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moment, though the complaints against the Amir of Qaf had been serious. The
point he wished to make was that these difficulties were not, in fact, due to the
line followed by the existing boundary, which might, therefore, well be allowed to
remain as it stood until other outstanding questions had been disposed of and the
whole question could be finally and thoroughly settled.
SIR A. RYAN mentioned the three principal places in regard to which there
had been, or were, disputes. They were : Haditha, over which His Majesty’s
Government had, after careful enquiry, frankly admitted that the Saudi Govern
ment’s view was correct; Hazim, over which His Majesty’s Government considered
that the Saudi Government were mistaken; and now Thaniyya Taraif, which
involved so many factors as to make it, in His Majesty’s Government’s view,
necessary to re-examine the frontier as a whole. Apart from these, there were, he
believed, no points in dispute in connexion with the alignment of the frontier, and
he thought, therefore, that the status quo might well be maintained in the
FUAD BEY HAMZA replied that the Saudi Government might agree in
general to this suggestion, but that they could not agree as regards Thaniyya
Taraif, which was, he asserted, in Saudi territory.
Mr. RENDER explained again the reasons for which His Majesty’s
Government were convinced that any such assertion was open to serious question.
FUAD BEY HAMZA then proposed that all the existing physical features
shown on the 1918 map as lying to the west of the frontier should be regarded as
falling within Transjordan, and all those shown as lying to the east of it should
be regarded as falling within Saudi Arabia, irrespective of where they might
actually be on the ground. A new frontier could thus be established without
difficulty. If Thaniyya Taraif were shown on the 1918 map as lying to the west
of the Hadda line, the Saudi Government would admit that it was in
Transjordan, but if it were shown as lying to the east of the line, they could not
allow Transjordan to make use of it without special permission and would be
obliged to treat any Transjordan forces frequenting the spot as trespassing on
Saudi territory, with all the consequences that this might imply.
Mr. RENDER, in reply, made it clear that the interpretation of the Hadda
Agreement line and the recognition of the physical features was precisely the
difficulty with which both sides were faced. It was, in fact, extremely hard to
know where that line lay on the ground. He had already explained the difficulty
of identifying the physical features. So long as there was any doubt on this
point, it was impossible merely to draw a frontier on the basis of the features
shown on the 1918 map.
Mr. MARCORM indicated with a sketch the type of difficulty which would
seem likely to arise if this criterion were adopted. He drew a diagram showing
four imaginary physical features, numbered in order 1 , 2, 3 and 4 . He assumed
that an accurate map might well have the effect of altering the position of these
features so that the numbers ran, for example, 1 , 3 , 4 and 2. It might be
possible, in the first case, to draw a line which would place features 1 and 3 to
the west and 2 and 4 to the east of a frontier, but the second case would wholly
alter the alignment of the dividing line. A frontier based on the position of
each feature as shown on the 1918 map might appear reasonable on the 1918
map, but the same principle might produce a hopelessly tortuous and impracti
cable frontier if the relative positions of the features were shifted.
FR^AD BEY HAMZA then proposed as an alternative that the frontier
should be fixed purely by the points of latitude and longitude given in article 1
of the Hadda Agreement, irrespective of the physical features. He said that
the Saudi Government would willingly agree to this method, and he wished to
put it forward as a definite proposal.
Mr. RENDER pointed out that this would not give effect to the Hadda
Agreement. Article 1 of that agreement specifically mentioned the 1 : 1 , 000,000
££ International map (i.e., the 1918 map) as the relevant map, and for this and
other reasons {e.q., the reference to the projecting edges of the Wadi Sirhan) it
was clear that the frontier was intended to approximate as closely as possible,
in relation to the physical features, to the Hadda Agreement line as plotted on

About this item


This file primarily concerns British policy on the question of the Saudi-Transjordan frontier, specifically the frontier between Transjordan and Nejd, as initially outlined in the Hadda Agreement of 1925.

The correspondence includes discussion of the following:

  • The reported disaffection of certain Saudi tribes in the Jauf [Al Jawf] and Teima [Taymā’] areas.
  • Difficulties arising from inaccuracies discovered on a 1918 map of the frontier, on which the Hadda agreement was based.
  • Saudi Government complaints regarding the alleged violation of the Saudi frontier by British aeroplanes and soldiers at Thaniyya Taraif [Thanīyat Ţurayf, Saudi Arabia].
  • A proposal made by Fuad Bey Hamza, Deputy Minister for Saudi Foreign Affairs, during a meeting at the Foreign Office in July 1935, that the frontier should be that which is shown on the 1918 map, regardless of the map's inaccuracies (a proposal that the British authorities in Transjordan encourage the Foreign Office to accept).
  • Reports of infringements of the existing frontier by Saudi patrols.
  • The British response to Ibn Saud's [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] claim to the districts of Akaba [Aqaba] and Maan [Ma‘ān] in Transjordan.

The file also includes the following:

  • Compiled notes of correspondence relating to the Treaty of Jedda (1927) and its modification (and more specifically, to the question of the Hejaz-Transjordan frontier) exchanged between Sir Gilbert Clayton and Ibn Saud (1927), and between the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Saudi Foreign Affairs (1936).
  • Copies of the minutes of meetings of the Committee of Imperial Defence's Standing Official Sub-Committee for Questions Concerning the Middle East, concerning the Saudi-Transjordan frontier (and, in one instance, also addressing the Island of Tamb in 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. ).
  • Copies of the minutes of interdepartmental meetings regarding the Saudi-Transjordan frontier, held at the Colonial Office (7 January 1935) and Foreign Office (28 September 1934) respectively.
  • Two sketch maps depicting disputed territory near the frontier.

The file features the following principal correspondents: His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, succeeded by Sir Reader William Bullard); His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires to Jedda (Albert Spencer Calvert); John Bagot Glubb, Acting Officer Commanding the Arab Legion; the Air Officer Commanding Palestine and Transjordan (Richard Edmund Charles Peirse); the Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs [Fayṣal bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa‘ūd]; officials of the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, the Air Ministry, and the War Office.

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 (212 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 213; 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 2-209; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

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English in Latin script
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Coll 6/66 'Saudi-Arabia: Saudi-Transjordan Frontier' [‎49v] (98/427), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2133, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 September 2019]

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