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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.' [‎127r] (253/699)

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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whidi would in any case make its eventual fulfilment uncertain. Sir R. Bullard
added that His Majesty’s Government were obliged, as members of the League
of Nations, to register all treaties with the League. Mr. Rendel then went on to
say, as he had said the previous day, that he could hardly imagine any occasion
on which a threat to Saudi Arabia would not be a threat to His Majesty’s
^ Government, and added that this community of interests was a stronger bond
than many a treaty. We had given too many promises in the past, under pressure
of war in particular, and could not give one in this case. Sir Reader Bullard
reminded the King once more of the terms of the Rome Agreement of 1927. His
Majesty s Government had recorded in writing that they regarded it as a “ vital
imperial interest that no European Power should establish itself on the Arabian
shore of the Red Sea.” The King seemed to derive comfort from this
Fourth Interview, March 22.
21. The King said that in this the last conversation before Mr. Renders
departure he wished to speak about Palestine. The Arabs were now really
alarmed by the Zionist policy. They feared that a Jewish Government would
be established in Palestine and would include Transjordan in its scope, and they
were even beginning to fear that there might be designs on Medina itself, the
burial-place of the Prophet Mahomet. Some of these fears might be exaggerated,
and due to irresponsible talk by individual Jews, but there was also genuine
ground for apprehension, and he himself was very anxious about the question.
Great Britain was powerful and could crush the Arab opposition, but he feared
that there might be dangerous repercussions in other Moslem countries in which
His Majesty’s Government had special interests, e.g., Egypt, Iraq and India.
1 here were many enemies watching for an opportunity to injure Great Britain.
The chief of these was. of course, Italy. The attempt that Italy was making
to win recognition as the friend of Moslems in general and of the Arabs in
particular was well known. The Italians had used the pilgrimage for propa
ganda purposes, and had done their best to induce him to speak in praise of their
pro-Moslem policy. He had resisted this attempt, and he had no belief
whatever in Italian professions, for he knew what had happened in Tripoli and
in Abyssinia, but there was a real danger from the Italians, nevertheless, if the
troubles in Palestine should flare up again. Nor were the Turks inactive. They
had many agents in Palestine, who never failed to rub it into the Arabs that the
result of their revolt against the Turks was subordination to the Jews. The
Zionist policy, as it was being carried out at present, was contrary to British
interests, and that was one reason why he was against it. As a Moslem and an
Arab he naturally sympathised with the Arabs of Palestine. He had suppressed
these personal feelings hitherto out of friendship for His Majesty’s Government,
and he could always suppress his feelings if policy required it. But the Zionist
policy was not even in the interests of Great Britain. Moreover, His Majesty’s
Government must realise that he stood alone, and that he had to think of his
position in a Moslem world where he was the butt of much criticism, and where
many of his co-religionists would not even admit that he was a Moslem. He felt
that he had come to the end of what he could do in the matter of Palestine.
22. His Majesty was assured that his views would be communicated to His
Majesty’s Government without delay.
23. Ibn Sand said that he had one last question. Suppose that there was
trouble in the Yemen and the Italians asked him about it, as they might very well
do; what should he say ? Should he reply to this effect:—
He did not propose to interfere in the internal affairs of the Yemen, and
the Rome understanding of 1927, the relevant part of which had been
communicated to him by the Italians as well as by the British, seemed to
require them both to adopt a similar attitude of non-intervention.
Mr. Rendel said that this reply seemed to meet the circumstances exactly.

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.' [‎127r] (253/699), 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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