Political Diaries of the Arab World: Aden 1899–1967

ISBN:  (13) 978-1-85207-740-2   Extent:  16 volumes, 13,200 pages
Editor: R. Jarman ,[FRGS] former Advisor to the Bahrain National Museum  Published: 2002
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available


Archive Editions is proud to present the complete series of political reports for Aden from the first report: a retrospective written in 1905, to the final reports upon the British leaving Aden and its independence in 1967.
It has been a massive undertaking over five years and requiring dogged determination to find explanations for inconsistencies in the series of reports and negotiation with the Foreign Office for the opening of withheld documents in order for series to be complete. There is a detailed preface which sets out clearly how each series came about, explains any errors or omissions and shows how it ended. Apart from human error where certain reports may have been weeded there are also unusual problems such as some of the Aden Newsletters having been partially destroyed by termites.
There is also a short introductory note by Leila Ingrams, daughter of the late Harold Ingrams, first Resident Advisor to the Qu´aiti and Kathiri Sultans and author of many of the reports contained within this collection. As an exhibitor and author of works on the Yemen and co-author of Records of Yemen 1798-1960, (Archive Editions 1993), she recommends this collection as invaluable material for scholars, researchers, and historians of the Middle East.


From the Editor´s Introduction
This collection brings together for the first time the detailed reports on what was happening in the British controlled territories of Aden and its hinterland from the beginning of the 20th century to the end of British rule in November 1967. They provide a unique guide to events as they happened on a monthly, weekly, or even a daily basis. These reports were based on first-hand observations by British officials on the spot or on information supplied by informers and travellers from the interior, and covered not only Aden and the Protectorate but the Imamate of the Yemen (now united to the south), the Tihama, and the Asir (now in Saudi Arabia). This information was then sifted and analysed before being passed on to the British authorities in India or London. The information may sometimes have been only partially correct, but it was the basis on which decisions were made. Its importance therefore cannot be underestimated.
The collection is introduced by a survey of the six years from 1899 to 1905 - the period of Lord Curzon´s Viceroyalty in India - and is entitled Summary of Lord Curzon´s Vice-royalty: Volume III: Aden. This record was written at the end of his period as Viceroy and is one of several volumes dealing with different aspects of his foreign policy - one volume, for example deals with Persia and the Persian Gulf, whilst another deals with the North-West Frontier. These volumes were found in the India Office Library and Records at the British Library.
This survey of Lord Curzon´s vice-royalty was a compilation of government records in Bombay or Calcutta and was written outside Aden. All the other documents in this series, however, were written on the spot - in Aden or the Protectorates.
The final reports in the collection are weekly situation reports and weekly intelligence summaries for 1967. It is no doubt significant that in the violence of the last days of British control over the Protectorate and the colony the situation had to be so regularly documented.The Yemen today consists of the former Aden Colony/Protectorate in the south and the former Imamate in the north. This collection comprises the political diaries of the south; the next publication in this series will comprise the political diaries of the north, making the collection for the modern Yemen complete.


This is the long awaited fifth in our series of collected political reports for the Middle East. Already published are those for Palestine and Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf and Iraq.
The series provides scholars, researchers and historians with a tremendously detailed archive of material on each of the areas covered. Over the years many different series of reports have been undertaken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in response to the events on the ground. These series wax and wane with the tide of history but they are also subject to the force of personality of the compiler and the voracious demands of the British Foreign Office for information. Certain government officials will be seen to be prolific and others merely content to cover the main points clearly.
However, whether the reports are being demanded by Her Majesty´s Government or showered upon it by officials in residence the effect is to leave a national treasure for following generations in the form of regular, structured, detailed reports of the current events, main players and political direction of the day. At one end of the scale alongside the public security and political events, the weekly reports log the minutiae of administration, with details of sowing and harvesting as well as trade, health and education. At the other end of the scale is the annual report sweeping grandly through the events of a year, giving a thorough background in the main political movements and permitting itself only the small luxury of a short chronology to furnish a little detail.


Contents: Summary of the coverage of the various series of reports
1899-1905     Summary of Lord Curzon's Vice-Royalty
1904-1927     Aden News Letters
1926-1955     Aden Political Intelligence Summaries
1936-1966     Eastern Aden Protectorate Intelligence Summaries
1940-1962     Western Aden Protectorate Intelligence Summaries
1956             Aden Weekly Summaries
1956-1966     Aden Monthly Political Intelligence Summaries
1958-1963     Governor's Annual Review on Aden/Protectorate
1960-1963     Governor's Valedictory
1963-1964     Federation [Western Aden Protectorate]
1963-1967     Aden Weekly Intelligence Summaries
1967             Aden Weekly Situation Reports


Culture: From a report dated 20 January 1937, by W. H. Ingrams, First Political Officer
"...in the Hadhramaut there is an old and deep rooted civilisation, mediaeval it is true, but giving a polish to the conversation and general life of the inhabitants... Libraries are not uncommon and many houses contain books not only on religion but on history, poetry and philosophy.
In Mukalla and Shihr ... there is the same interest in world affairs and the people are of course much more progressive than those of other small ports in the Protectorate."
Colonialism: An honest look at British Colonialism in 1963, courtesy of Sir Charles Hepburn Johnston, K.C.M.G., High Commissioner for Aden, in his valedictory reflections on seven years in Arabia/Secret paper, Colonial Office
"...British interests in the area are familiar. In order to protect the oil of Kuwait and the rest of the Persian Gulf, present military thinking requires us to keep the Aden base at least until the late 1960s on the firmest possible footing, that is to say if possible on a footing of sovereignty. ... or if we give it up ... excise the vital strategic portions of Aden ... and keep them as sovereign bases on the Cyprus pattern."
There is a wealth of detailed tribal information within the reports because the British having captured Aden in 1839 proceeded to treat with the Tribes there in particular with the Abdali, the Fadthli, the Akrabi, the Haushabi, the Alawi, the Amiri, the Subaihi, the Yaffai and the Aulaki rather than attempt to subdue them.
Independence: Final Situation Report dated 29 November, 1967, Mr Burroughs
" The atmosphere is one of jubilation. The streets are being swept clean. Barbed wire and military obstructions are being removed and the crowds are cheerful and friendly.
I propose to meet the N.L.F. delegation on arrival at Khormaksar Airport. "

The issue of boundaries is still one of the most profoundly disruptive elements within Arabia. The roots of the boundary disputes run back at least as far as the early 19th century, and within these reports there are details of subsidies paid to the Chiefs and especially of provision of guns and ammunition to keep the tribes on the side of the British and to help them defend the Anglo–Turkish lines of division. The British remained in dispute with the Turks over the old Ottoman divisions and toward the end of the nineteenth century boundary commissions begin to be seen in an attempt to demarcate some of the territories of the tribes to prevent conflict.