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Coll 6/65 'Relations between Saudi-Arabia and the Yemen.' [‎24r] (47/917)

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The record is made up of 1 file (457 folios). It was created in 30 Apr 1934-27 Jan 1938. It was written in English and French. 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 (Arabia).
;B77 j
December 31, 1934.
V Jv;
Section 5.
[E 7797/79/25] No. 1.
^ Mr. Calvert to Sir John Simon.—{Received December 31.)
(No. 36$. )
Sir, Jedda, December 10, 1934.
KELATIONS between Saudi Arabia and the Yemen, since the recent dispute,
have to all appearances pursued an uneventful course and have ceased to occupy
the forefront of public attention locally. Nevertheless reports, vague but
persistent, have not been wanting that all is still not well in the Yemen. Frontier
difficulties are hinted at, and perhaps somewhat exaggerated stories are current
of the restiveness of the Seif-ul-Islam Ahmad, said to be under arms still at
Sada and chafing under the restrictions imposed by his father the Imam.
2. I have been disposed to attach little importance to these rumours, and
it is perhaps unnecessary to treat them seriously. My French colleague,
M. Maigret, spoke to me yesterday, however, on this subject, and whilst admitting
that his own information was indefinite, expressed the opinion that there
undoubtedly did exist trouble it was, at present, difficult to diagnose. He hoped
to leave Jedda shortly on a three weeks’ visit to Sana, and expected to be able
to arrive at a more accurate appreciation of the situation in the Yemen during
that time.
3. The unrest may be of purely internal significance, and may be a natural
reaction after the Imam’s ill-success in the late war with Saudi Arabia. The
press of both countries have, however, not entirely allayed misgivings recently
by protesting with vigour that the two countries are now on the most friendly
terms, and denying with emphasis the “false reports ’’ put about by interested
persons to the contrary. The Umm-al-Qura of the 23rd November quoted an
article from the Sana newspaper the Imam in which reports of the concentration
of troops on the Saudi-Yemen frontier were categorically denied. Peace and
tranquillity prevailed; conditions had returned to normal; and concord reigned
between the “ two Moslem sects ’’ (presumably the Zeidi and Shafi sects of the
Yemen). From the Hejazi press, the Iman continued, it was understood that a
similarly fortunate situation existed in this country. The Umm-al-Qura
delightedly welcomed the article with lengthy variations on the themes of Arab
brotherhood, the Treaty of Taif and the wiles of unscrupulous mischief-makers
inspired by hatred and jealousy of the Arabs and of Islam. I do not propose to
transmit to you a translation of this article.
4. It may not be out of place here to inform you, in regard to the Saudi-
Yemen treaty settlement, of the insistence with which Mr. Philby continues to
express his conviction that Ibn Saud did in fact receive a war indemnity from
the Imam. He has more than once reverted to the subject. Ibn Saud, Mr. Philby
stated quite recently, has for some two or three months been paying daily to his
tribal visitors at Riyadh (as I have recorded in Jedda reports for October and
November last) large sums in cash and kind, which my informant estimated at
an average of 40,000 Maria Theresa dollars a day, or an approximate total over
the whole period of about £100,000 gold. Where has this money come from if not
from the Imam? £100,000 would probably be the amount of the indemnity.
I still feel unable to share Mr. Philby’s conviction, and I find that the French
Charge d’Affaires, to whom Mr. Philby has spoken in a similar strain, is equally
sceptical. M. Maigret considered that Ibn Saud, to content the tribes disappointed
of loot in the war, has probably had to make serious inroads on the Royal Treasury,
and expressed his belief, from his personal knowledge of the Imam’s character,
that the latter would have continued the war, by no means lost to him after
the fall of Hudeida, rather than have parted with so considerable a sum of money.
5. I am sending copies of this despatch to Flis Majesty’s Ambassador at
Rome and His Majesty’s Chief Commissioner at Aden.
I have, &c.
[281 hh—5]

About this item


This file concerns Saudi-Yemeni relations, beginning with the final weeks of hostilities between the two countries before going on to cover peace negotiations and the reoccupation of Hodeidah (also transliterated as Hodeida) by the Yemeni authorities, following the gradual withdrawal of Saudi troops.

Related matters discussed in the correspondence include the following:

In addition to correspondence the file includes the following:

  • Extracts from Aden, Bahrain, and Kuwait political intelligence summaries.
  • Copies of an English translation of the Treaty of Taif.
  • A copy of an English translation of the Treaty between King Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd] and the Idrisi [Sayyid Muḥammad bin ‘Alī al-Idrīsī], signed on 31 August 1920.
  • Copies of extracts from reports from the Senior Officer of the Red Sea Sloops, as well as copies of reports from the commanding officers of HMS Penzance and HMS Enterprise respectively.

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); the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Philip Cunliffe-Lister); the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir John Simon); the Senior Officer of the Red Sea Sloops; the Commander of HMS Penzance ; His Majesty's Ambassador in Rome (James Eric Drummond); the Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Yemen; officials of the Colonial Office, the 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. , the Foreign Office, the Admiralty.

Although the file includes material dating from 1934 to 1938, most of the material dates from 1934. The French material consists of three telegrams addressed to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by Yemen's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The file includes two dividers which give a list of correspondence references contained in the file by year. These are placed at the back of the correspondence (folios 2-3).

Extent and format
1 file (457 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 458; 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.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Coll 6/65 'Relations between Saudi-Arabia and the Yemen.' [‎24r] (47/917), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2132, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 8 July 2020]

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