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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎88v] (177/220)

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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Prophet at Madina is anathema and hotly inveighed against; the reverence
of other Sunni saints and their tombs, of which an instance is the pilgrimage
to the tomb of Abdulla ibn Abbas at Taif, largely resorted to by women dis
appointed of offspring, is regarded as an act of idolatry; while Ibn Saud
never tires of inveighing against the Sharif for permitting the laxity of
morals, w T hich makes Mecca itself a byword.
In 1917 Ibn Saud arranged a ceremonious pilgrimage on a large scale
from Xajd, in which rode his father and his brother, Muhammad. The
former’s return on account of illness before he reached Mecca was, without
any reason whatever, interpreted in Sharifian circles as being indicative of
fear or hatred, while the experiences of Muhammad and his fellow-pilgrims
and the growing delicacy of the political situation decided Ibn Saud to allow
no official pilgrimage from Najd during the year under report. I have no
reason fo credit reports emanating from Mecca to the effect that Ibn Saud
had threatened to visit disobedience in this matter with dire penalties—his
orders were in themselves sufficient; while he did all that was reasonably
possible to facilitate the journey of the Kuwait pilgrimage, which passed
through Buraida, when I was there at the end of August.
On the whole, I am of opinion that Ibn Saud’s decision to send no pil
grimage from Najd this year was a wise precaution against trouble; the
Sharif’s actions and public pronouncements at this period were, at any rate,
not calculated to make a Najd pilgrimage free of serious risk of disturbance.
19. Location of Political Agent A mid-ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Agency. in Najd.
The question of the permanent location of a British Agent at the Wah
habi court, on which I was instructed to elicit Ibn Saud’s views, was a very
delicate matter to approach, more particularly in view- of Ibn Saud’s growing
dissatisfaction at his treatment by H.M.’s Government, and I regret to say
that I had had no reasonable opportunity to make such a proposal when mv
Mission terminated in circumstances which left no doubt that Ibn Saud
would not consent to it unreservedly.
towards myself Ibn Saud was invariably frank and cordial; I saw him
daily, often, indeed, more than once a day, and he seemed to take pleasure
in giving me his views and discussing politics, history and the affairs of the
vorld in geneial. Nevertheless, it was obvious to me that niy presence with
him was a matter which necessitated continual explanations to a critical and
hostile audience; according to his own account, he counterecfthe adverse com
ments of the strict Wahhabi element by the explanation that my stay though
prolonged, was temporary and necessitated only by the Sharifian situation and
the blockade m regard to which he found it necessary to be in close touch
\vith ihe British Government. He never allowed it to be supposed publicly
that 1 was m any way interested m his operations against Hail
. t the same time, he made it clear to me that he regarded my presence
as absolutely necessary and, indeed, advantageous to him, and he never sug
gested that I should go until, m the circumstances already indicated, he
informed me very frankly that if H.M.’s Government were not disposed to
modify their recent policy towards him, he would not expect me to return or
rt -i- i * C opinion . W0 . U ^ certainly be hostile to the oermanent location of a
1 ri frsli representative in Najd, but Ibn Saud would, I am convinced be ore
pared to run counter to the views of his subjects, if the presence of such a
repiesenlative were hkely to be to his own political advantage. That will
depend on the line of policy decided on in due course by H.M.’s Government.
QO + 1 j- an ‘ y Ca Tu’ 1 o WG j may assume tllut our policy in the future will be such
to dispose Ibn Saud to agree to the permanent representative of II M ’s
matter denied • nS C0U - rt ’ * 16 - f tLe a " enc y to be established will’be a
matter demanding serious consideration. The jealousy and exclusiveness of
reil m r lt ’ V- my . opmion > c l ulte out of tbe question to establish an a^enev
cn the ordinary lines m vogue at the ports on the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. coast with all
nf < nHp raP leina 1U i°i i° ffice establishm ents, escorts and flags. The disnlav
of alien power would be as unwelcome to the Wahhabi qc • n c s ?. y
their mfS of dS anTtbove'Tn^tVVr° f * he Pf? 1 ®’ ^°P‘
restrictions imposed on social in lor ’ ri ^ ie somewb at irksome
and the jealZy of their r, ]e? Perf 6 ahk8 by -* he of people
beginning S o to 7 arrange mattes T T" “ "T 1 ' 1 P° litic in
Riyadh should he intermittent and nit „ P resen <= e of a British Officer at
visits at reasonable intervals rather than coSZsheside'nce° f

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 [‎88v] (177/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 7 December 2023]

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