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Coll 6/66 'Saudi-Arabia: Saudi-Transjordan Frontier' [‎51v] (102/427)

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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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features really lie, and how far those marked on the Hadda map can be identifie ,
and this would involve a new and detailed survey of the whole frontier area on
both sides of the frontier, for which, of course, we should need the co-operation
of the Saudi Government. Hitherto we had been most careful to avoid crossing
into what was recognised as Saudi territory and had, therefore, only carried out a
fragmentary and limited survey on the Transjordan side of the frontier which
was insufficient to establish all the relevant facts.
7 . Secondly, it would be necessary, in our view, to come to some agreement
as to the principles which should be followed in interpreting the line laid down by
the Hadda Agreement in the light of the new situation revealed by the inaccuracy
of the map. For this purpose I suggested that it would be essential to be guided
by the known intentions of the negotiators. You will remember that we had some
discussion as to these intentions, and that I expressed the view that it was clear
that the broad intentions underlying the Hadda settlement were that King Abdul
Aziz should retain the whole of the Wadi Sirhan up to and including Qaf, with
its date gardens and salt pans, and including its projecting edges, to the south
of parallel 31° 25' N.; while it was equally clear that Sir G. Clayton had pressed
for and secured a line running as far to the east and south as it did {i.e., to the
east of the crossing of the Carruthers and Shakespeare tracks, and well to the
south of the Jebel Waila) in order to retain the Jebel Tubeik, and the tracks
passing round to the east and south-east of it, within Transjordan territory.
8 . I suggested that when we had thus established the facts, and agreed about
the broad intentions of the negotiators of the Hadda Agreement, a frontier
delimitation commission should be set up to delimit on the ground the nearest
possible approach, in the light of the new information available, to the frontier
which King Abdul Aziz and Sir G. Clayton were trying to lay down in the Hadda
9. You did not welcome either of these proposals. You explained that if it
was a question of taking into account the intentions of the negotiators of the
Hadda Agreement, you considered that King Abdul Aziz would have a good claim
to the whole of the hill known as Rashrashiya to the north-west of Qaf, and thus
to the village of Hazim (about which there has already been a good deal of
correspondence between our two Governments), since this was part of the Wadi
Sirhan, and the King’s claim to it had formed the subject of special discussion
during the Hadda negotiations. On this point I felt obliged to say that I had not
seen any record of any such discussion and that, on the contrary," my recollection
was that, when Sir G. Clayton had eventually agreed to the retention of Qaf by
King Abdul Aziz, the concession had been specifically limited to the town of Qaf
with its surrounding date gardens and salt pans. Moreover, the line drawn on
the 1918 map clearly leaves Hazim to Transjordan. You replied to this that the
1918 map equally showed Thaniyya Taraif as in Saudi territory and that, if we
were trying to obtain any adjustment of the frontier in its neighbourhood, your
Government would be willing to consider any such proposals from us, but would
be obliged to claim some equivalent concessions in return. I did not pursue this
suggestion because, in our view, what is required is not so much to introduce any
modifications into the frontier as to establish as accurately as possible on the
ground what that frontier was really intended to be.
10 . You then made two proposals. The first was that the frontier should
be delimited on the ground purely in the light of the description by geographical
co-ordinates, i.e., by latitude and longitude only, as given in article 1 of the Hadda
11 . Alternatively, you suggested that each recognisable feature in the
neighbourhood of the frontier should be allotted to Transjordan or to Saudi
Arabia, as the case might be, simply according to whether it appeared on the
Transjordan or the Saudi side of the frontier as drawn on the 1918 map
irrespective of its true position.
12. The comments I made at the time on these two proposals were as
follows : As regards the first, I explained that, in our view, the specific mention of
the map and the specific reference to the projecting edges of the Wadi Sirhan
in article 1 of the Hadda Agreement made it clear that the frontier must be deter
mined, not in the light of latitude and longitude, but as far as possible in relation
to the physical features as shown on the 1918 map. I added that a frontier plotted
solely in the light of geographical co-ordinates would almost certainly be at

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' [‎51v] (102/427), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2133, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 16 September 2019]

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