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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎81r] (162/220)

The record is made up of 1 file (110 folios). It was created in 27 Aug 1893-19 Dec 1918. It was written in English and French. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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allotment I calculated on the basis of a minimum force of 10,000 men, con
tinuously in the field, at an all round rate of £5 per man per month to
• cover: —
(1) Family allotments, without which the Arab will not take the field;
(2) The pay of the troops; and
(3) The cost of provisions, etc.
I had thus arrived at a fairly clear idea of what was really requisite in
the matter of armament and funds for the proposed campaign, and it only
remained to extract from Ibn Saud a definite undertaking that he would
undertake hostilities if provision w r ere made on the scale indicated. This
scale fell, indeed, considerably short of Ibn Saud’s own expectations, but I
assured him that it would be idle to make more ambitious proposals, in view
of the hopes entertained of the Sharif’s operations and of our own offensive
in Palestine, while I impressed upon him that vacillation on his part at that
juncture might result in his getting nothing.
Suffice it to say that Ibn Saud, after the fullest consideration of the
matter, finally agreed to undertake active operations, if his resources w’ere
increased on the scale, which we had worked out, and I was then in a position
to submit my proposals for the consideration of Sir P. Cox. They were as
follows, namely: —
(1) that Ibn Saud should be supplied with two siege guns and two field
guns with a sufficient amount of ammunition and such personnel,
preferably Arab prisoners of war, as might be available;
(2) that he should be supplied with 10,000 modern rifles with corres
ponding ammunition; and
(3) that he should be given an initial grant of £20,000 for the purchase
of transport animals and a monthly grant of £50,000 for three
months—the period, which, I estimated, the actual campaign
would last.
On my arrival at Jidda, I found the military situation materially altered
by the break up of the Turkish forces at Gaza and the capture of Jerusalem,
while the local political situation was complicated by the jealousy of the
Sharif, who, anxious lest we should be the means of strengthening his rival,
was doing his best to discredit Ibn Saud in the eyes of the British Government
and to prevent the realization of the Mission’s plans for an offensive against
Much time was spent in discussion between the various authorities con
cerned, w'hile I remained at Cairo; it was indisputable that the offensive against
Hail, which was in the forefront of the Mission’s programme in November,
had been rendered of less importance by the events in Palestine; moreover it
was questioned whether the development of such an offensive would not result
in an irreparable breach between Ibn Saud and the Sharif, in view of the
uncompromising attitude of the latter. My view generally was that, while the
elimination of Ibn Rashid by the capture of Hail was perhaps not an urgent
military necessity, it would have distinct military advantages in further weak-
oning the Turkish position on the Hijaz railway, and might develop into a
big joint Arab movement against the Syrian frontier, if the situation at any
time should demand an effort in that direction. Moreover, in view of the
unmistakable and growing mutual incompatibility of the ambitions of the
Sharif and Ibn Saud, I was sensible of the urgent necessity of finding active
employment to distract the latter’s mind from the Sharifian situation.
The High Commissioner was actuated by the fear of a possible Wahhabi
rising to deprecate any action likely to strengthen Ibn Saud and H.M.’s
Government were inclined towards the same view. Accordingly, after full dis
cussion, it was decided that, it being neither necessary nor desirable to give
Ibn Saud military assistance on the scale proposed by the Mission, Sir Percy
Cox should be allowed full discretion to sanction the grant of doles, such as
micht serve to keep Ibn Saud in play, pending further developments of the
military situation, and it was added that Sir Percy Cox would realise the
importance of not allowing Ibn Saud or others to suspect that H.M.’s Govern
ment had grown lukewarm in its hostility to Ibn Rashid.
Representations made by Sir P. Cox for the reconsideration of this decision
in the light of further information were met by a re-affirmation of the orders
already passed, His Majesty’s Government expressing the view that it should
not be difficult to make clear to Ibn Saud that, while desirous of supporting
him in all reasonable ways, we were not just then in a position to co-operate
with him in undertaking military operations of an extensive nature.
I confess that I viewed with some distaste and no little apprehension the
task thus laid upon me of explaining matters to Ibn Saud in the above sense.
Though there was now no real military necessity of eliminating Ibn Rashid,
there was at the same time no military objection to the capture of Hail by
Ibn Rashid and it was difficult to resist the conclusion that the scale had been
turned against the latter by considerations connected with the Sharifian situa
tion—the fear, to my mind imaginary, of a militant Wahhabi revival and the

About this item


The file contains correspondence, memoranda, maps, and other papers relating to Middle Eastern affairs and a few other miscellaneous matters. The majority of the file concerns discussions of and proposals for the post-war settlement of Near Eastern territories, including Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, and the Arabian Peninsula. The basis of these discussions was the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1916.

Other matters covered by the papers include events in Siam [Thailand] and Burmah [Myanmar] and the colonial rivalry in the region between France and Britain, the Baghdad Railway, and relations with Ibn Saud in Arabia, including a report on the 1917-18 mission to Najd by Harry St John Philby (folios 67-98).

Folios 99-110 are six maps with accompanying notes that show the various proposed territorial settlements and spheres of influence in the Near East and one showing Britain's global colonial possessions.

Memoranda and correspondence comes from officials at the Foreign Office and 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. . Other correspondents include French and Italian government officials.

Extent and format
1 file (110 folios)

The file is arranged in roughly chronological order, from the front to the back.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the front of the envelope with 1, and terminates at the inside back last page with 110, 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.

Pagination: the file also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English and French in Latin script
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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎81r] (162/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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