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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎93r] (186/220)

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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which had once been under Ibn Saud but had largely seceded to the Sharif.
A small tribute to Mecca from the Qasim villages was stipulated for by
Abdullah before his withdrawal, but it is unlikely that it was ever paid,
hrom 1913 the Sharif showed strong anti-Turkish proclivities, and before the
outbreak of war he and Ibn Saud drew together. They were in correspond
ence when Captain Shakespear paid his first visit to Riyadh in the spring
of 1914. In January 1915, they were acting in concert, and Ibn Saud told
Captain Shakespear that in his view the Khalifate would revert to the family
of the Prophet, of which the Sharif was the representative, if it dropped from
the hand of the Sultan of Turkey. In November, 1915, Abdullah reappeared
in Najd, with what object is not very clear. His own explanation was that
he was sent on a mission to Ibn Saud, with the further purpose of collecting
dues in the Qasim and Sudair. Except for a doubtful suzerainty over wan
dering sections of the Ataibah, the Sharif does not seem in Beduin estima
tion to have rights in either province, his limits eastwards being somewhere
between Longitude 44 degrees and Longitude 45 degrees at Sha‘arah,
Duwadmi, Jabal Dhurai and Jabal al Xir. Abdullah is not reported to have ad
vanced much beyond Sha'arah: he collected dues from the Ataibah, subdued
the small allied section of the Buraih.(by origin Mutair) and returned to the
Hijaz: but Ibn Saud, barely emerged from a perilous contest in the Hasa, not
unreasonably regarded the expedition as inopportune and even suspicious.
(These sentiments were reflected in his conversations with Sir Percy Cox in De
cember. He reminded the Chief Political Officer that the Wahhabis recbgnised
no Khalif after the first four, and was careful to add that if the Sharif should
assume the title it would make no difference to his status among other ruling
Chiefs). In June of the following year the Sharif rose in open rebellion
against the Turks and declared the independence of the Arabs. Ibn Saud,
writing in July to the Chief Political Officer, acknowledged the receipt from
him of official news with regard to the Hijaz, expressed his satisfaction at
the discomfiture of the Turks, but put forward his own apprehensions that
the Sharif might proceed to claim authority over parts of Najd, and in sup
port of this fear observed that in declaring the independence of “ the Arabs ”
the Sharif appeared to treat them as a compendious whole, an attitude which
he regarded with anxiety.
In August he wrote again, saying that he had now received a letter from
the Sharif in which the latter announced the occupation of Mecca and asked
him for his help. Ibn Saud gave a summary of his reply, and a copy of the
original letter has since been received. He assured the Sharif that he would
render all assistance which was in his power, but asked for a written under
taking that the Sharif would abstain from trespassing in his territory or inter
fering with his subjects. Ibn Saud went on to ask Sir Percy Cox whether his
relations with the Sharif might be regarded as a matter which affected the
two chiefs alone, or whether they touched on our interests, in which case he
would be guided by our wishes. According to Arab reports received at
Kuwait the Sharif wrote three times to Ibn Saud asking for aid, and on two
occasions sent him £2,000. Not improbably there is some truth in the
rumoured remittance of small sums.
The Sharif’s answer, dated September 5, to Ibn Saud’s letter was, to say
the lea^t of it, unconciliatory and aroused his lively indignation. His letter
and the draft undertaking which had been sent with it for the Sharif’s accept
ance were sent back with the observation that Ibn Saud’s request could
emanate only from a man bereft of reason. About the same time Ibn Saud
received a letter from Ali Haidar acquainting him with his appointment as
Sharif in place of Husan by the Ottoman Government, and calling on him
to join the Jihad, but in his reply Ibn Saud expressed the resentment felt by
the Arabs towards him and towards the Turks.
The Chief Political Officer dealt at length with the Hijaz question in a
letter to Ibn Saud, dated October 19th. He pointed out how important it
was to the Arab cause, which it was the policy of the British Government to
support, that all the great Arab chiefs should work together and in co-opera
tion with us in the common task of expelling the Turks from Arabia. As
to Ibn Saud’s own position he need have no misgivings for he had been
acknowledged by us to be an independent ruler and the Sharif must recognize
the full import of the treaty. The British Government had no reason to
believe that he entertained any hostile intentions against the tribes and
territories of Najd.
In the negotiation over the treaty in December, 1915, Sir Percy Cox had
discussed with Ibn Saud the possibility of his giving us assistance against Ibn
Rashid. The Hakim of Najd then thought that Ibn Rashid would either
come in or maintain a strict neutrality; if, however, he showed himself active
ly hostile, Ibn Saud would attack him and incite the northern Anazah against
him. This intention, however, he failed to carry out. During the spring and
summer of 1916 he was occupied with a rebellion of the Murrah, following
on, and perhaps connected with, that of the Ajman, which endangered his
communications with the Hasa. Though a large proportion of the fighting
men of the Sham mar had gone north with Ibn Rashid against the Iraq, na

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 [‎93r] (186/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 29 November 2023]

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