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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.' [‎61r] (121/761)

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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[E 183/183/25]
1940 j
January 15. 1940.
Section 1.
Copy No.
Mr. Trott to Mr. Baggcdlay.—{Received Jamuary 15, 1940.)
My dear Lacy, Jedda, December 26, 1939.
I SEND you herewith a copy of an interesting letter dated the 16th December
received from de Gaury. In telegraphing to me two days later about Ibn Saud’s
apprehensions concerning rumours of tension between Iraq and Iran de Gaury
referred to this letter and said that Ibn Saud was pressing him for a reply
to his recent declaration and his offer to co-operate with us, emphasising the
need for early preparations against coming events. So I hope the letter will
enable you to form a clearer idea of what Ibn Saud really had in mind in his
recent long statement, on which Bullard commented in his despatch No. 160
of the 13th November, 1939.( x )
2. Perhaps the truth of the matter is, as Yusuf Yasin says, Ibn Saud
regards himself as always at war, and wants to do his bit in the present conflict,
without quite deciding what that bit is or ought to be. At any rate there is
a good deal of material for you and our new Minister to think over.
3. The state of the Saudi finances seems to be worse than we had thought,
and, with a small pilgrimage inevitable, the immediate outlook is not rosy. It
is a good thing that Bashir as Sadawi, a man of increasing importance, has been
instructed to go into the question of cutting down expenditure.
4. As for the methods in which we might help the King, there is one which
de Gaury does not mention : it is the formation of a National Bank. You will
remember that the Minister of Finance raised this difficult question with me
as recorded in my despatch No. 135 E. of the 22nd August, 1939. No doubt
what he was really contemplating was getting British help in straightening out
accounts which it is impossible to balance, so that the onus of failure could
be cast on someone else. The functions and the powers of the bank would have
to be very carefully thought out : but it may be possible, with goodwill on the
Saudi side, to devise some means of British assistance in getting order out of
chaos in Government finance. One great difficulty would be the control of the
expenditure of the court.
5. As for the provision of meteorological data, we have already endeavoured
to get the permission of Ibn Saud for the importation of meteorological instru
ments offered us by the Sudan Government, without much success. Yusuf Yasin
seemed to think that instruments erected on our roofs would be liable to misinter
pretation. However, de Gaury’s proposal to train the Saudis to record their
own meteorological data is on a different footing. The difficulty might be to
persuade the Saudis of the necessity of having such data at all : perhaps when
some of their ancient aeroplanes crash in bad wmather (which God forbid) they,
might see the need more clearly.
Yours sincerely,
Mr. de Gaury to Mr. Trott.
(No. 8. Secret.)
My dear Trott, Riyadh, December 18, 1939.
I HAVE had. as you will have supposed, many audiences of the King since
I have been here. Some of them have been very long, and Sheikh Yusuf told
me that His Majesty had spoken at greater length than usual. He himself said
that he had not talked to anyone so much since his talks with Sir Percy Cox.
f 1 ) Eastern (Arabia), December 4, 1939, Section ‘2.
[805 p—1]

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.' [‎61r] (121/761), 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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