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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.' [‎61v] (122/761)

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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2. In point of fact he has not so much given me new material as embroidered
the theme given in his recent “ declaration,” a copy of which Sir Reader Bullard
enclosed with his secret despatch No. 100 of the 13th November to the Secretarv
of State. " '
3. We have, in our talks, made many excursions—into history, the politics
of neighbouring States and so on—and the King’s similes have been vivid and ^
apt but always he has returned to this same theme, which has, nevertheless,
remained imprecise. I have come to the conclusion that it is meant to be so.
In all his prolonged talks he has never come to a precise conclusion except that
once there was mention of practical aid to us in case of need. I was interested
to note that Sheikh \usuf has now added to his oft-repeated remark about our
giving of 60 million to Turkey and not 60 piastres to Saudi Arabia, “ We
are ready to be helped.”
4. His Majesty left me at Kharj alone with his Minister of Finance and
the hope that we should spend several days together. He must have been
disappointed that I showed little inclination to investigate the murky depths
of the State’s finance.
5. With regard to Arab federation I feel sure that if Ibn Saud felt it
weie practical he would not so constantly emphasise to me his dislike of the
Iraqi Government. He would gloss over their mutual troubles: not fasten on
to them.
6. I believe that it is his intention to plant in our minds something like
the following idea :—
t£ Iraq is unreliable, the French are mismanaging things in Syria,
Palestine is troublesome. The only strong man, Ibn Saud, the c friend of
Britain,’ who can put this right and bring the Arab States into line, so
that they can make a stand against our enemies is powerless because he has
no modern army and insufficient money.
“ If we give him £11 million a year and some modern equipment he
would save the day for us when the time comes.”
^ ^ ?i ve 0Ile an d a half million as a figure because that is the sum
Yusuf Yasm suddenly mentioned one day as likely to be the State’s deficit
in the coming year.
8. Sheikh Yusuf also gave me another hint. A propos of quite another
subject to this he said : “ Tou know the King is really always at war. He has
campaigned so much, and had to deal with so many sudden changes in politics,
due to war, that he is quick and impatient even in small things.”
9. It would obviously be irksome for such a man as Ibn Saud to continue
evenly on the way of peace without any engagement in the “ great opportunity ”
now presented.
10. Some remarks dropped in conversation by the intelligentsia of Riyadh,
the North African and Syrian officials of the King’s Diwan, lead me to believe
that the Government’s finances are in an unhappv condition, but that with
borrowings from the C.A.S.O.C. [California-Arabia Standard Oil Company],
against future royalties and with economies, with the making of which one of
the officials, Bashir-as-Sadawi, has been specially charged, it should be able
to keep going until the oil royalties begin to come into the Treasury in full
flood in about two years’ time.
11. Subject to any new revelations in this field, I am not of the opinion
that it is necessary to subsidise Ibn Saud, although I think that we should keep
it m mind. If the prices of food-stuffs rise much" we may have to do so, or come
to some helpful arrangement. I am writing to vou separately about this, a subiect
raised by Sheikh Yusuf Yasin. J
12. With regard to the bigger issue which the King has raised, I do not
suppose lor one moment that His Majesty’s Government intend to go all the way
with him. Should they go part of the way with him ? Is the picture drawn for
me by Yusuf Yasin, of the Iranians supported by Russia turning the flank of
Turkey, so fantastic, and what moves do the military authorities anticipate next
year' r
. . 13 - Ways in which Ibn Saud could be helpful are dependent upon internal
developments m the State. Hitherto it has been difficult for him to give any
facilities to foreigners or introduce modern developments, but now with the
discovery of a first-class oil field, there can be no turning back, and modernisation
is settling in rapidly.

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.' [‎61v] (122/761), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2088, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 22 November 2019]

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