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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎81v] (163/220)

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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anxiety of Government to avoid giving offence or ground of complaint to the
Sharif. This, at any rate, was, to my mind, the view that ibn Sand would
take of the decision arrived at—on this point I was not mistaken and 1 \iewed
with great anxiety the possible outcome of his discontent in the event ot mj
being unable to keep him actively employed with the slender means placed a
my disposal.
However the orders of Government were final and, knowing what I did of
Ibn Sand’s financial straits, I hoped for the best from a judicious manipula
tion of the financial discretion allowed me. I, accordingly, set out on my
return to Ibn Saud to communicate the orders of Government which were as.
follows, namely: —
(1) that H.M.’s Government were pleased to sanction the conversion
into a gift of the sum of £10,000 advanced to Ibn Saud by myself
as a loan before leaving Riyadh;
(2) that, while unable to provide artillery, small arms and personnel
on the scale proposed, H.M.’s Government were pleased to make
Ibn Saud a present of 1,000 rifles and 100,000 rounds of ammuni
tion ; and
(3) that, while recognising that operations on the scale originally con
templated would be clearly impossible, H.M.’s Government were
anxious that Ibn Saud should maintain pressure on the Sham-
mar and keep up a rigorous blockade and were, therefore,
prepared to offer him a substantial lump sum of money—the
amount actually stated by me to Ibn Saud was £50,000—and the
doubling of his existing subsidy of £5,000 per mensem, in the
event of his capturing Hail with the means at his disposal.
It is idle to pretend that Ibn Saud was anything but disgusted by this-
whittling down of the original programme. He attributed Government’s
change of views to the machinations of the Sharif, regarding whose attitude
to himself my escort, returning from Jidda to Riyadh without me, had brought
back lurid and extravagant tales. His main point, however, was that the state
of his finances did not admit of his maintaining anything like active operations
in the field against Ibn Rashid and that, consequently, the decision of Gov
ernment was tantamount to the abandonment of its original plans for active
co-operation with him against the enemy. The promise of handsdome treat
ment in the event of his accomplishing a task, which he could not attempt,
was of little practical advantage to him, and he made it clear that, if the com
munication I had made to him represented the final considered orders of
Government, he could not but bow to their decision and regret his inability
to be of further active assistance.
Ibn Saud’s attitude did not surprise me, nevertheless, I was faced with
the prospect of the termination of my Mission, conscious that to leave Ibn Saud
to his own devices in a temper of dejection and dissatisfaction might involve-
serious consequences, in the event of his relations with the Sharif becoming
acute. I determined, therefore, at all costs, to maintain my position, where I
was, and, with this object in view, took the responsibility of offering Ibn Saud
a loan of the money lying idle at Uqair—amounting to about £20,000—on
the condition of his making preparations for mobilisation for a campaign
against Ibn Rashid.
These arrangements tided over the first few months of the summer and
placed me in a strong position, in that, while my right to remain with Ibn
Saud could not be questioned so long as he was unable to repay the loan, I
was able to oppose to his querulousness under provocation from the Sharif,
the Ajman, etc., the objection that the remedy for his ills lay in the vigorous
prosecution of the offensive against Hail, which I had placed in a position
to undertake. The political situation grew steadily worse during the summer
and the people of Najd grew restive under two attacks on their co-religionists
at Khurma by the Sharif, constant Ajman raids, blockade difficulties, etc.,
but, being at the end of my resources^ I could only preach the Hail offensive as
a general panacea, and Ibn Saud realised that he must take action, if he wished
to deserve further assistance. Meanwhile preparations for the offensive, into
which he threw himself with much zeal and energy, served to divert his atten
tion from the Sharif.
lurki, the eldest son of Ibn Saud, opened the offensive against the Sham-
mar in July from the wells of Ajibba but was disappointed of his prey, the
Shammar tribesmen withdrawing before his advance until they were beyond
his reach. The defection of Dhari ibn Tawala had materially assisted the
Shammar in their escape.
It was not till the 5th August that Ibn Saud was readv to start off with
his main force and the first blow was struck at Hail towards the end of Septem
ber,^ when Ihn Saud, the first of his line to reach the walls of Hail as an enemy,
having missed by dilatory tactics a providential opportunity of capturing Ihn
Rashid and his bodyguard in the open, raided the environs of the town^and,
unable to tackle Ibn Rashid in the hill-girt stronghold of Aaiwij Baqaa, fell
upon the Shammar herdsmen outside Hail and, having killed some 30 of them,

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 [‎81v] (163/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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