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Coll 6/84 'Yemen: Attitude of Yemeni Govt. towards the Italo-Ethiopian dispute. Policy of H.M.G. in event of Italian occupation of Yemeni territory.' [‎109r] (217/699)

The record is made up of 1 file (348 folios). It was created in 22 Mar 1934-1 Nov 1939. 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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EASTERN (General).
December 29. 1936.
Section 1.
[E 8028/381/65] Copy No.
Sir M. Lampson to Mr. Eden.—(Received December 29.)
(No. 1383. Secret.)
Cairo, December 17, 1936.
I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith a note on Near Eastern Affairs
written at Khartum by Mr. E. S. Attiyah, the Sudan Government Intelligence
Officer, after a visit he paid to Egypt, Palestine and Syria during last summer.
2. Mr. Attiyah was educated at Victoria College, Alexandria, from which
he graduated to Brazenose College, Oxford.
3. Mr. Attiyah’s report dwells first on the weakening of Great Britain’s
position in the Eastern Mediterranean owing to the general native interpreta
tions of Italy’s successful Abyssinian adventure and to Spanish developments.
However, he believes that the majority of thinking people in these parts view
with apprehension the possibility of a British eclipse, and would still be prepared
to support Great Britain in any conflict between her and the Fascist Powers,
provided a solution of the Palestine problem could be found acceptable to the
Arabs. The failure to find such a solution must, he thinks, involve a
recrudescence of armed hostility on a larger scale, involving other Arab lands.
4. He then suggests that, in addition to the settlement of the Palestinian
question in a manner acceptable to the Arabs, Great Britain and trance, in order
to make more secure Arab co-operation, might sponsor the creation of some sort
of Arab federation under their aegis. This, I may record, is an old dream which
seems no more practicable now than seventeen years ago.
5. I need not dwell on Mr. Attiyah’s picture of Egypt after the signature
of the treaty. It is. on the whole, an accurate one, but it has already been
presented to you in frequent reports from Mr. Kelly and myself.
6. The statement regarding the persecution of ihe Copts must be taken with
a grain of salt. Many Moslems, on the contrary, are complaining that, owing to
Makram’s position, Copts are at present being favoured at the expense of
Moslems. This is, indeed, an obsession with the Prince Regent, who never fails
to allude to it in his conversations with me.
7. With reference to the suggestion that Ahmed Maher was excluded by
Nahas from the dinner given by the ex-Khedive to the latter at Carlsbad, it is
possible that the exclusion w T as only due to the fact that Abbas Hilmi Pasha has
not been on good terms with the Maher family generally. I draw this inference
from certain information given me here by one of the ex-Khedive’s intimates.
8. Mr. Attiyah’s impressions regarding Egyptian intentions towards the
Sudan are reassuring. He thinks that the Egyptians will lay stress on Egypto-
Sudanese fraternisation rather than on a more active Egyptian share in the
9. With regard to the more important part of Mr. Attiyah’s note, namely,
that dealing with the Palestine question, I have on several occasions during the
present year touched on its dangers to our position generally in the Near East.
There appears to be a consensus of opinion among competent observers that the
Arabs will not acquiesce peacefully in any solution of the question which does
not assure a continuance of Arab predominance in Palestine. If His Majesty’s
Government are unable to admit such a solution, then it would seem advisable to
be prepared beforehand for the consequences. If, after the Royal Commission's
report, His Majesty’s Government feel compelled to adopt a solution unacceptable
to the Arabs, it is generally anticipated that there will be a recrudescence of
trouble either in the near future or later when the Arabs have recovered from the
strain of last summer’s struggle, and that the reactions in neighbouring Arab
countries will be wider and stronger than during the conflict now suspended by
a sort of truce.
[881 ff—1]

About this item


This file relates to Italian activities in the Middle East, particularly in the Yemen. The correspondence includes discussion of the following:

  • British policy in the event of the Italians occupying Sheikh Said [Ra’s Shaykh Sa‘īd], or any other part of the Yemen.
  • The Yemen's position in the Italo-Abyssinian conflict [Italo-Ethiopian War].
  • Relations between Ethiopia and the Yemen.
  • Italian activities in the Yemen.
  • British suspicions regarding Italian activities in the Yemen.
  • Future British policy in the Yemen.
  • Internal affairs in the Yemen.
  • Anglo-Italian relations in the Middle East, and the likelihood of Italy violating the Rome Understanding of 1927.
  • Ibn Saud's [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] view on Italian activity in the region.
  • The visits of Italian destroyers to Kamaran Island in March 1937 and January 1938.
  • British and French concerns that Italy, following its denunciation of the Franco-Italian Agreement of 1935, seeks possession of the Island of Doumeira [Dumēra Desēt, Red Sea, also spelled Dumeira in the file], currently under French control.

The file features the following principal correspondents: His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, succeeded by Sir Reader William Bullard); the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. , Aden (Sir Bernard Rawdon Reilly); the Governor of Aden (Reilly again); the High Commissioner, Cairo (Sir Miles Lampson); His Majesty's Ambassador in Cairo (Lampson again); His Majesty's Chargé d'Affaires, Alexandria (John Cecil Sterndale Bennett); His Majesty's Ambassador in Paris (Eric Phipps); His Majesty's Ambassador in Rome (Eric Drummond); the British Consul General, Jibuti [Djibouti] (Herbert George Jakins); the British Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station (Vice-Admiral Alexander Robert Maule Ramsay); the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Anthony Eden); the Secretary of State for the Colonies (James Henry Thomas, succeeded by William George Arthur Ormsby-Gore); officials of the Foreign Office, the Colonial Office, and the Air Ministry.

In addition to correspondence, the file includes the following: copies of extracts from Aden political intelligence summaries; copies of the minutes of meetings of the Committee of Imperial Defence's Standing Official Sub-Committee for Questions Concerning the Middle East, dated 26 November 1935, 14 December 1936, and 8 June 1937 respectively; a copy of a translation of a treaty of friendship and commerce between the Ethiopian and Yemeni governments, which was ratified on 21 September 1935.

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 (folios 2).

Extent and format
1 file (348 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 349; 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. A previous foliation sequence, which is also circled, has been superseded and therefore crossed out.

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English in Latin script
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Coll 6/84 'Yemen: Attitude of Yemeni Govt. towards the Italo-Ethiopian dispute. Policy of H.M.G. in event of Italian occupation of Yemeni territory.' [‎109r] (217/699), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2157, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 27 February 2020]

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