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Coll 6/7(2) 'The Yemen: Relations between H.M.G. and the Yemen.' [‎64r] (138/732)

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The record is made up of 1 volume (362 folios). It was created in 16 Jun 1932-21 Sep 1933. It was written in English. 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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Enclosure in No.
In the Name of God the Merciful and Compassionate.
Seal of the Imam.
To Lieutenant-Colonel B. R. Reilly,
Resident, Aden.
After Compliments.
We beg to acknowledge with pleasure your esteemed letter No. C/206 dated
16th April, 1933 (16th Dhul Hijja 1351) which we have carefully perused and
considered. We understand from the present situation that His Majesty’s Government
are reluctant to grant us our demands by reason of some wrong impression they may
be entertaining towards us. We have been making repeated insistence on some points
only in order to secure certain particular demands which we considered to be very
essential for us. His Majesty’s Government, on the other hand, have not been able
to check themselves from suspicions and doubts that the object of our persistence is
the intention on our part to take some action prejudicial to the aims and important
interests of His Majesty’s Government, after the conclusion of the Treaty.
We wish to give you now a further assurance that the history of our Government
is free from the stigma of treachery and the breaking of engagements and promises.
It is, thanks to God, completely and wholly innocent of this. W T e most confidently
assert that we are the one Nation which has not violated its engagements, neither
during this regime, nor throughout all the time of its existence in the world, although
we are utterly poor and weak. The pages of history are seen by all. After the
conclusion of the Treaty and the establishment of friendly relations, we are prepared
to maintain all its direct and indirect objects. We will never act against one who is in
treaty and friendly relations with us. We boast of our sincerity, in the beginning and
in the end, and we deem it desirable to submit this preamble in confirmation, although
it is not necessary to do so. We consider that the submission of these representations
to His Majesty’s Government now, before the commencement of the Treaty that is to
be concluded, will serve a useful purpose. Having made this essential preface there is
something which we feel bound to say. We tender and express our thankfulness to
our honourable correspondent, Colonel Reilly, for his good will, skill, zeal, and
' intelligence, of which we are certain from beginning to end, and for his continued
praiseworthy deeds. It is the nature of the Yemenis to regard or esteem one who
maintains friendship towards them and to express their undoubted thankfulness to one
loyal to them.
Colonel Reilly! Firstly, the draft Treaty that you have sent on this occasion has
been completely and wholly accepted.
Secondly, it has been decided by us to comply with your esteemed letter, together
with the contents of the admonitory document annexed thereto.
Thirdly, we hasten to explain to Your Excellency that it is our intention utterly
to prevent every obstruction and contravention, by the Grace of God.
Fourthly, we therefore request Your Excellency kindly to complete the means for
the signing of the Treaty.
We have, however, made an addition only of the words Cf and His Government,”
in Article I of the Treaty, as it is absolutely necessary for both contracting parties.
In the important Article III we consider the sentence, “ of the territories of His
Majesty the King of the Yemen ” to be superfluous and unnecessary, because this
Treaty that is being concluded, basically concerns the territories of the Yemen, and
the text of the Treaty has no concern with other than the Yemen and Great Britain.
We also consider that there is no necessity for the inclusion of the phrase, “ or
by persons under their protection,” in the said Article, because the undertaking by
each of the two parties to prevent transgression by any person of those on his side is
complete and guaranteed.
Article IV is accepted, with the exception of the word “ practice,” which we
consider unnecessary; for there is no £ 4 custom ’ ’ in International Law but -the
C£ practice ” of the said Law implies its fundamental and exclusive principle.
We have been compelled to omit the word c£ passengers,” in Article V, because
£c passengers ” naturally include different kinds and origins of people, and comprise
subjects of various nations. It is obvious that all passengers in general cannot be
considered to be British subjects, for surely there may be among the passengers some
of the subjects of other Governments, while in fact the Treaty concerns the British
Government. We have no intention to make a pact in respect of all Powers in general.
Passengers are subject to certain particular regulations and are not normally to be
included in such a pact.

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This volume concerns relations between the British Government and Imam Yehia bin Muhammad Hamid Uddin [Yaḥyá Muḥammad Ḥamīd al-Dīn, Imam of Yemen]. It documents (from a British perspective) the progress of treaty negotiations between Britain and Yemen. Much of the correspondence discusses the terms of the proposed treaty between Britain and Yemen, including a contested third article from a draft treaty proposed by the Imam, which relates both to the southern frontier of Yemen and to the Imam's claim to a number of unspecified islands situated in the Red Sea (referred to as 'the Islands of Yemen' in the Imam's draft treaty).

Other items of discussion related to the proposed treaty include:

  • Whether India should be a separate signatory of the proposed treaty.
  • Whether the Imam is likely to consent to the establishment of special tribunals for the practice of a privileged code of law for foreign nationals in Yemen.
  • The British precondition that, prior to the treaty being signed, the Imam must remove all restrictions on overland trade between Yemen and the Aden Protectorate, as well as surrender the territories and subjects of those chiefs who are in treaty relations with the British.
  • The possibility of the appointment of a permanent British representative at San'a.

The volume's main correspondents are the following: the Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. and Commander-in-Chief (later referred to as the Chief Commissioner) at Aden (Bernard Rawdon Reilly and his Acting Resident, Reginald Stuart Champion), the Imam of Yemen, the Secretary of State for the Colonies (Philip Cunliffe-Lister), and officials of the 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. , the Colonial Office, the Foreign Office, and the War Office respectively.

In addition to correspondence, the volume also includes the following:

  • Copies of minutes from meetings of the Imperial Defence Committee's Standing Official Sub-Committee for questions concerning the Middle East, which discuss the proposed treaty with Yemen.
  • A copy of a report of an eighteen-day British medical mission (comprised of two doctors, two nurses, and Lieutenant-Colonel Morice Challoner Lake) to Taiz [Ta‘izz] in late 1931 and early 1932, which was undertaken for the purpose of treating the daughter-in-law of Seyyid 'Ali of Taiz, son-in-law of the Imam.
  • A copy of a report of Lake's subsequent visit to San'a in January 1932, which recounts in detail his conversations with the Imam.
  • Copies of both a draft treaty and a 'retabulated' draft treaty, drafted by the British in response to the Imam's initial draft treaty.
  • Copies of political intelligence summaries from the Aden Residency A diplomatic office of the British Government established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. .

The volume includes a divider which gives a list of correspondence references contained in the volume by year. This is placed at the back of the correspondence.

Extent and format
1 volume (362 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence for this description commences at the first folio with 1, and terminates at the last folio with 358; 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. The front and back covers, along with the two leading and two ending flyleaves have not been foliated. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 315-358; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

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English in Latin script
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Coll 6/7(2) 'The Yemen: Relations between H.M.G. and the Yemen.' [‎64r] (138/732), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/12/2069, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 18 October 2019]

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