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Coll 6/66 'Saudi-Arabia: Saudi-Transjordan Frontier' [‎51r] (101/427)

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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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[456 t—1]
EASTERN (Arabia).
[E 4422/341/25]
1 4 (] 9
'I o o r *
July 19, 1935.
Section 1.
Mr. Rendel to Fuad Bey Hamza.
My dear I uad Bey, Foreian Office, July 19, 1935.
I WRITE as arranged to summarise the results of our discussion of the
15th July on the question of the Transjordan frontier.
2. You will remember that I began by referring to the Saudi Government s
protest of the 3rd February last against the use by Transjordan car patrols of a
track passing through a place known as Thaniyya Taraif which the Saudi
Government claimed was not in Transjordan territory. Sir Andrew Ryan had
informed your Government before he left Jedda that this question was
necessitating exhaustive study, owing to defects in the maps, but that we should
be prepared to discuss it with you during your present visit. It was in consequence
of this communication that I was raising the matter.
3. I then explained to you that our investigations had shown that the
existing maps of this area were very seriously inaccurate. The 1:1,000,000
“ International ” map of 1918, which had been used in the negotiation of the
Hadda Agreement and in the delineation of the frontier laid down in that agree
ment (and which is, indeed, specifically referred to in article 1 ), had now been
shown to be quite unreliable, and many of the features in it either lay in entirely
different positions in relation to each other or were quite unrecognisable. In
some cases, indeed, they did not exist at all. These errors appeared to be most
serious at the southern end of the line in the neighbourhood of the place referred
to in your Government’s protest of last February. In particular, the bluff marked
on the 1918 map as Thaila Maizila had now been shown not to be an isolated
eminence lying well to the east of the Jebel Tubeik, but to be an integral part of
that massif, and so closely connected with the main portion of the mountain that
there was no practicable route between the two. The Transjordan car patrols
were thus obliged to go to the east of this bluff in order to travel round the Jebel
Tubeik on their ordinary patrolling duties, and the route round the Jebel, shown
on the 1918 map as having been followed by Carruthers and Shakespeare and
passing between the Tubeik and Thaila Maizila, had now been shown to be non
existent and impossible.
4. Without a full and detailed survey of the whole area and an agreed
decision as to precisely where the Iladda frontier should run in the light of the
new information now available, it is difficult to say that any precise point in the
particular neighbourhood now in question is definitely in Saudi Arabia or in
Transjordan. The uncertainty in regard to the relative position, and even
existence, of the various physical features makes it, in our view, impossible to
apply the Hadda frontier to the ground without a great deal of further informa
tion, and in advance of any general agreement as to the principles which should be
followed in interpreting the Hadda line. On the other hand, it is likely to be a
long and complicated business to reach a final settlement of this question, and the
boundary at present observed, which has long been tacitly accepted by both sides,
has not led to serious practical difficulty.
5. In these circumstances, I suggested two alternative possibilities. The
first was that we should agree to let this matter stand over until further progress
had been made with regard to the settlement of other outstanding questions, when
we might be better able to deal with the present question with the thoroughness
which it required. Alternatively, if your Government felt it necessary to try to
clear up the whole question without further delay, I suggested that we should
review the whole question of the Transjordan-Nejd frontier, as established bv the
Hadda Agreement, and that, for this purpose, it would be necessary to take
the following steps :—
6 . In the first place it would be necessary to obtain full and detailed
information as to the actual geographical facts, i.e., where the various physical

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.

Written in
English in Latin script
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Coll 6/66 'Saudi-Arabia: Saudi-Transjordan Frontier' [‎51r] (101/427), 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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