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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.' [‎125v] (250/699)

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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himself free of military influence, and the longer he could maintain his Govern
ment, the more hope there was that he would become less dependent on the army s
support. As to the attitude of the Turkish Government, a year ago Mr. Rendel
would have scouted the suggestion that Turkey might embark on a policy of
adventure. In this opinion he had been seriously shaken by Turkey’s
Alexandretta policy, but the Turks had not “got away with it” over *
Alexandretta. and they had, he thought, felt themselves much isolated at Geneva
and had retreated from the extreme position they had taken up. The fact that
the Turks had received so marked a check over Alexandretta ought, he felt, to
make them much less likely to put forward any other similar claims in future.
Second Interview, March 21.
9. Ibn Saud said that he wanted to make some remarks under four heads : —
(1) His relations with His Majesty’s Government.
(2) The Arabs in general.
(3) Palestine.
(4) The future.
The interview went on for over two hours, but never got beyond the head.
Ibn Saud went over the whole course of his relations with His Majesty s Govern
ment from the moment when he first entered into communication with them
through the Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. at Bahrein, and suggested that their common
interests demanded that the Turks should not be allowed to establish themselves
strongly in the Arabian Peninsula, and received an assurance that His Majesty s
Government would not allow the Turks to approach him either by sea or through
Koweit. He recited his dealings with Sir Percy Cox during the war, recalled the
loyalty with which he had offered to help the feherif Hussein against the Turks,
and spoke of the “guarantees” which he had received from Sir Percy Cox.
Nothing whatever had come of these “ guarantees, though he had been promised
“all sorts of things.” He had assisted the Arab policy of His Majesty’s
Government by communicating to them the written and oral offers which he
received from the Turks as an inducement to him to join them against Hussein—
offers which he refused, alleging that he could not move against the British
because they were his neighbours on the Gulf, and saying that, in any case, he
could not join the Turks when they were slaughtering Arabs. At first he even
told His Majesty’s Government that he would accept Hussein as King of the
Arabs, but later he was obliged to withdraw this offer. He told Hussein that
the resources in money and arms which were supplied by the British were being
wasted through being dealt out to the various sheikhs according to the number
of followers they said they had, and asked that, if he sent his son and some men
to help, they should only be given arms for themselves and food to eat, and
Hussein had replied that Ibn Saud must be either mad or drunk. Ibn Saud
thereupon informed the British Government that he must lay down two
conditions : that he would not recognise Hussein as King of the Arabs, though
he did not object to his being King of the Hejaz. and that when the war was over
His Majesty’s Government should allow him to settle his own scores with
Hussein. He had always listened to the advice of His Majesty’s Government,
even to his own hurt. On more than one occasion he had fallen out with his chief
supporters, the Ikhwan, for that reason, e.g., when he retook Turaba, which the
Sherifians had unjustly occupied, and His Majesty’s Government asked him not
to go any further; when he refrained at the request of His Majesty’s Government
from taking Aqaba, where the ex-King Hussein was staying, and Maan; and
when he listened to the mediation of the British agent at Jedda and ensured the
peaceful occupation of the city to the disappointment of some of his followers.
For all this loyal support, and after all the promises made to him, what had he
got? Nothing whatever. On the contrary !
10. He would put his complaints under three heads :—
(a) His Majesty’s Government had not given him the help he needed.
(b) Their boundary policy was always squeezing him in.
(c) By their Gulf policy they tried to make him dependent commercially on
Koweit and Bahrein.

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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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.' [‎125v] (250/699), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2157, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 21 February 2020]

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