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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.' [‎62r] (123/761)

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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14. The Government should be moving to keep pace with these changes and
Ibn Sand knows it. He has recently brought to Riyadh a large number of soldiers
and police in uniform. He flouted the priests and there was no resistance. It
was a test case and important. Since then there have been many incidents of
^ change which are startling to anyone who knew Riyadh even three years ago.
There is talk of the first aeroplane coming to Riyadh, piloted by a Saudi pilot,
Abdullah-al-Mandili, from the Hejaz. But with the relaxation of the stern
Wahabi code to suit changing conditions, there must be some concomitants of the
new order. There must be something like regular pay for State officials and
soldiers, and a better organised army and police force. Even rigid economy will
not provide a large enough margin for this.
15. This is not of great consequence to Great Britain, it seems to me, unless
there is some possibility of our requiring facilities from Ibn Sand later. In that
case we should do well to help him put his house in order now. It will be at least
two years before he begins to become richer and richer from oil royalties.
16. W r ith regard to the facilities, those which occur to me are—
{a) The use of the lateral road along his northern frontier, from Koweit to
Transjordan, and either Haifa or Akaba. Repair of this road could
be carried out now if he had the money and an engineer. The King, if
provided with these, would not object, as it would be advantageous
to him to have a good frontier road, as long as he felt our holding in
the Koweit Bay was unimpaired. If part of it were ceded by Koweit
to Iraq he would no doubt think differently.
(b) The use of landing grounds in North and North-Eastern Arabia, the
grounds being provided with petrol reserves. This would be
advantageous to the King, and if he were provided with the money he
might not object to making the necessary improvements and building
petrol tanks during the coming year, for the use of his own air force.
(c) The provision of meteorological data. His own air force will, or should,
presumably require this, and I do not see that there could be any grave
objections to a few Saudi Arabs being trained for this work in Egypt,
so that in case of need the Saudi Arab Government could arrange to
furnish the information to our air force, or, perhaps, to the Bahrein
Government for transmission.
17. There are probably other facilities which we might like to have given
to us. I have mentioned those which have occurred to me, and the preparation
for which need not affect Saudi Arabian neutrality, since they are consonant with
a normal programme of modernisation, which the King seems impatient to begin.
18. I believe that His Majesty is genuinely anxious to help if he can, but at
the same time he hopes that there will be incidental advantage to him. If we do
think that sooner or later we may require facilities, I suggest that the matter be
considered and dealt with expeditiously. Everything takes a long time in this
19. If the possibility of our requiring Ibn Saud’s “ practical aid ” is very
remote, I think we should lead him to understand this. It will make a difference
to his plans, and perhaps still the mind of that restless old campaigner, whom we
courted in the last Great War.
Yours, &c.
G. de GAURY.

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.' [‎62r] (123/761), 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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