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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.' [‎11r] (21/761)

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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Ibn Saud talks fast and says a great deal. He has a strong Nejdi accent,
but in talking politics to foreigners he uses a fairly pure vocabulary, only lapsing
into phrases of dialect when he warms to his subject. He has little tricks of
speech—the Arabic equivalents of “ listen! ” and “ don’t you see? ”—with which
he sprinkles every sentence. He gives to some ordinary Arabic words a peculiar
and personal meaning : for example, “ A1 Hukoomah ”—the Government—means
in his speech, the Government, i.e., the British; and once a long and heated
•misunderstanding was only cleared up when it was found that the word
^ Meezaniyah,’ by which everyone else understood “ budget,” meant to him any
kind of inventory or list. He knows no foreign language, and his pronunciation
of foreign names is no more than approximate. His mind is richly stored with
fables, proverbs and tales of Arab history, with which, and, of course, verses
of the Koran, he illustrates his points.
His Majesty’s Minister first of all told the King that he had been transferred
on temporary duty to Morocco. “ This is sad and unexpected news,’’ Ibn Saud
said. “ I don’t want to lose you. Let me telegraph to the Government and ask
them to let you stay.”
His Majesty’s Minister explained the reasons that had led His Majesty’s
Government to their decision.
“ I know,” was the reply, “ that they are only transferring you because of
your experience over there, but we benefit as much from your being here as the
Government hope to do from your being in Morocco. In all these difficult times
it has been a great comfort to me to know that you were here in Jedda working
day and night for us; it has been as if the Government itself were sitting here
in our country.”
His Majesty’s Minister assured him that His Majesty’s Government had
given every consideration to His Majesty’s interests in taking their decision,
and that the old policy of firm friendship would 1 not be changed. He left behind
him a staff who had followed all developments with him.
“ True,” said the King. “ But our happy company will not he complete
without you. You are one of us, and it’s in the interests of the Government
as well as our own that you should be here binding us together in our friendship.”
(He made the Arab gesture of linking his two forefingers.) “ I am glad you’re
going to London; that will be good for us. But when you leave London I want
you to come back here.”
His Majesty’s Minister asked if there were any particular matters or points
of view which His Majesty might wish him to raise in London.
“ You know everything we have to tell the Government as well as we do,”
said the King. “ There is nothing that matters to this country and its sons that
you have not as much at heart as they have.”
The King reverted at every interview to the subject of His Majesty’s
Minister’s departure. One morning he had called in his little sons, Nawwaf
and Tallal, and one of his Idaughters, Mudhawi, a child of 2. He took the
little girl on his knees, and as His Majesty’s Minister took her hand, said to her :
“ Qooli me tarooh, abadan ma tarooh ”—“ Tell him not to go, not to go at all.’ J
He spoke also, with a freedom from reserve noteworthy even in the familiar
atmosphere that is usual in his interviews with His Majesty’s Minister, of his
“ family’s ” regret at the parting, “ family ” here meaning Umm Tallal, who
had entertained His Majesty’s Minister’s wife and daughter at Riyadh earlier
in the year, and who received them again in Jedda during this visit of the King.
His Majesty’s Minister referred to the two major problems with which he
had been concerned : finance and supplies, together with the related question
of motor transport. He repeated what he had said in many previous talksthat
His Majesty’s Government would give all the help they could, and that if supplies
were not always forthcoming just when needed, the reason was not an unwilling
ness to help on anyone’s part, but the fact that neither the supplies nor the ships
to carry them could be found always when they were wanted
The King replied : “I understand that perfectly. No one knows better than
I how generously the Government have responded to our appeals. I am deeply
grateful and wish to say so on all occasions. I know, too, that military needs
must come before all others. If you carry rice to this country, perhaps you have
to leave behind a tank that ought to be sent to Africa. That’s the main thing—
to beat the Axis. That’s in our interest, as I’m always saying. But you know my
habit: I like to tell the Government just how we are placed here in this country;
to tell them everything and leave it to them, who know the general situation better
than I, to do what they think is best for them and for us.
[37—29] b 2

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.' [‎11r] (21/761), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2088, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 7 April 2020]

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