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Coll 6/21(2) 'Saudi Arabia: Relations with H.M.G.: Saudi Legation in London and British Minister in Jeddah. Prolongation of Treaty of Jedda.' [‎10r] (19/761)

The record is made up of 1 file (379 folios). It was created in 14 Jan 1935-12 Apr 1947. It was written in English and Arabic. 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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i have the honour to transmit to ^ou herewith an account drawn up
Mr. Wall of the five interviews which King Abdul Aziz granted me during his p r
stay in Jedda.
2. 1 have asked Mr. Wall to reproduce as closely as possible the King’s n
own words, as in this way a far clearer picture can be formed of the spirit and J/
the wisdom of this truly great man. ‘
3. King Abdul Aziz Ibn Baud’s present most friendly attitude is due
in large measure to his genuine appreciation of the generous and helpful attitude
of His Majesty’s Government in these most difficult times. Owing to the
serious drop in his two sources of revenue, pilgrimage and oil, he has found
himself with a revenue of approximately 10 per cent, of his expenditure.
Export restrictions imposed by all countries surrounding him and the scarcity
of shipping space has rendered the supplying of his country with sufficient food,
motor transport and other necessities a most difficult question. His Majesty
has genuinely appreciated the efforts which have been made to solve this problem,
more vital to this than to surrounding countries, as Saudi Arabia, which grows
practically no food and has no industries, is dependent on imports for its
4. The King’s policy is based on the firm conviction that the interests
of the Arab world lie in the victory of the Allied nations and in a continuation of,
I and, indeed, an increase in, British influence in the Near East. As will be seen
from the accompanying record, His Majesty does not believe in a union of
existing Arab States, each of whom, he says, has its own characteristics. What
he hopes for is, that all Arab States, whilst remaining independent of one another,
will be united by the common bond of friendship and closest co-operation with
the British. Times have changed and weak States cannot stand alone, and unless
the Arab States look to Britain for protection against external aggression and
to act as intermediary in their disputes one with another they will inevitably
fall under some foreign domination.
5. The King’s statement, that we do not need to do any propaganda as he
himself is our best and most effective propagandist, is literally true. The King
has consistently, from the outbreak of war, backed the Allies to win, grieved
over their set-backs and rejoiced in their successes. Three examples will serve
to illustrate his attitude. When France fell, he sent me a personal message
expressing grief at the difficulties which the British would now have to face
but assuring me of his full confidence in a final British victory. When
H.M.S. Hood was lost and certain of his counsellors suggested that even on sea
the British were being beaten, he bade them have patience for a few days, and
when the Bismarck was sunk these same counsellors were made to stand up and
clap. His religious advisers, the Ulema of Nejd, criticised him for his distress
over General Rommel’s advance into Egypt, saying, that he, a Moslem, was
endangering his health and reducing himself to a mental state, which was
causing him to neglect his duty, over a quarrel between unbelievers. His
Majesty berated his critics most soundly, pointing out at the end of his lecture
on the reasons for his policy, that his friends, the British, were certainly
Christians and not Moslems but that, were it not for their generosity and help
and their success in keeping Rommel out of Egypt, they, the Ulema, would have
no food in their bellies and no clothes on their backs.
6. Ibn Saud’s views on the present position of Germany are interesting
and picturesque. He likeris Hitler to a man who has stuffed himself with much
and varied food (the countries of Europe) in the belief that he will derive great
strength from his meals. But he has swallowed, not nourishing food, but a
number of vipers and scorpions, and whilst these tear at his vitak
Britain, America and Russia, attack him.
(0 -S

About this item


This file, like the previous volume (IOR/L/PS/12/2087), concerns relations between the British Government and the Government of Saudi Arabia.

The file largely consists of copies of Foreign Office correspondence, mainly between His Majesty's Minister at Jedda (Sir Andrew Ryan, Sir Reader William Bullard, Hugh Stonehewer Bird, and Stanley R Jordan successively) and officials of the Foreign Office. Other prominent correspondents include the following: the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; His Majesty's Chargé d’Affaires to Jedda (Albert Spencer Calvert, succeeded by Alan Charles Trott); His Majesty's Ambassador in Baghdad (Sir Kinahan Cornwallis); Ibn Saud [‘Abd al-‘Azīz bin ‘Abd al-Raḥmān bin Fayṣal Āl Sa‘ūd]; Amir Faisal [Fayṣal bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz Āl Sa‘ūd], Minister of Foreign Affairs for Saudi Arabia; officials of the Colonial Office and the War Office.

The correspondence documents the progression of negotiations for a general settlement between the two governments, which would result in the initial prolongation of the validity of the Treaty of Jedda (the treaty signed between Britain and Ibn Saud in 1927, which initially expired in September 1934) for a period of seven years from 1936 (and for another seven years from 1943).

In addition to discussing matters relating to the proposed general settlement (e.g. the eastern and south-eastern boundaries of Saudi Arabia, slavery regulations, arms traffic, and Saudi debts), the correspondence also documents various visits and meetings, including the following:

  • The visit of Amir Saud [Āl Sa‘ūd, Sa‘ūd bin ‘Abd al-‘Azīz, heir apparent of Ibn Saud] to Britain (17 June-1 July 1935), accompanied by Fuad Bey Hamza, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs for Saudi Arabia.
  • Further meetings at the Foreign Office between Fuad Bey Hamza, Hafiz Wahba (Saudi Minister in London), Sir Andrew Ryan, George William Rendel (Head of the Foreign Office's Eastern Department), and other Foreign Office officials, in July 1935, following on from meetings in September 1934.
  • Sir Andrew Ryan's meetings with Ibn Saud in Riyadh in December 1935 and in Jedda in February 1936.
  • Four interviews held between Ibn Saud, Sir Reader William Bullard and George William Rendel, in Jedda, during March 1937.

Also discussed are matters relating to the Second World War, including:

  • An exchange of letters between Ibn Saud and the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, in early 1939, which principally relate to Ibn Saud's concerns regarding his country's security in the event of the beginning of general hostilities.
  • German radio broadcasts in Jedda during the first few weeks of the Second World War and their possible effect on the Jedda population.
  • The possibility of Iraq and Saudi Arabia formally joining the Allies in the Second World War.

In addition to correspondence the file includes the following: a copy of a programme for Amir Saud's visit to Britain (ff 339-348); exchanges of notes (in English and Arabic) between the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the British Legation at Jedda, confirming the prolongation of the Treaty of Jedda, dated 1936 and 1943 respectively (ff 189-192 and ff 4-5); a sketch map showing air routes over Saudi Arabia and Iraq (f 31v).

Although the material in this file falls inside the date range of 1935-1943, the final document in the file does include an additional date stamp which is marked '12 April 1947'.

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.

Extent and format
1 file (379 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the file.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 380; 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 Arabic in Latin and Arabic script
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Coll 6/21(2) 'Saudi Arabia: Relations with H.M.G.: Saudi Legation in London and British Minister in Jeddah. Prolongation of Treaty of Jedda.' [‎10r] (19/761), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2088, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 17 November 2019]

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