The Arab League 1943-1963. British Documentary Sources

ISBN:  978-1-85207-610-8  Extent: 10 volumes, 6,000 pages
Editor: A. Burdett  Published: 1995
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available


On 22 March 1945 the Pact of the Arab League States was signed in Cairo by Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan and Saudi Arabia. Its objectives were closer unity between members, the safeguarding of their sovereignty and co-ordinated political action. Here now in facsimile are the authentic documents of that time, and the following 20 years, following the aims and the progress of the main organ of Arab unity this century. Details include: the origins of the Arab League; its creation and inauguration; issues such as the boycott of Jewish firms and products; policy on Palestine; collective security; inter-Arab, and foreign, relations.


On 22nd March 1945 the Pact of The Arab League States was signed in Cairo by representatives of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan and Saudi Arabia. Its objectives were closer unity between members, the safeguarding of their sovereignty and co-ordinated political action on Arab questions.

These are the main historical topics covered in these volumes - documents now published for the first time.
  • Origins of the Arab League, foundations of its world role and importance
  • The impulse to Arab unity in history; formative events and conferences in the early 20th century
  • Birth of the Arab League: proposals for Arab unity 1941-1943
  • Birth of the Arab League: Arab leaders talk in Alexandria, 1943-44
  • Inauguration of the Arab League, 1944-46
  • Arab League views of British and French roles in the Middle East
  • The Arab League boycott of Jewish firms and products
  • Arab League policy on Palestine
  • Organisation, leadership and criticism of the Arab League
  • Collective security and the Arab League Treaty of Joint Defence
  • Reports of Arab League Council sessions
  • Internal relations between member states
  • Texts of inter-Arab treaties and agreements
  • Foreign relations with Western powers


Thanks to extensive research the editor has been able to assemble a comprehensive collection of documents from the records of the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office at the Public Record Office, London. Here now in facsimile are the authentic period documents, most in English or translated into English, some in Arabic or French, recording the origins, the creation, the aims and the development of the Arab League. The collection includes two different types of papers, most significantly records generated by Arab League officials, in the form of communiqués, agendas and minutes of meetings, resolutions, correspondence, reports and treaties. The second category covers internal British government reports and briefings from British Ambassadors and political officers in the field.
In the absence of a substantial historical collection of Arabic archives this publication becomes the most important and useful research source for background reference on the key formative years of the Arab League.


Volume 1: Before the Arab League: the impulse to Arab unity 1882-1940

  • Tribal collaboration against the Turks, 1882
  • Syrian-Arab Congress, Paris, 1913
  • the role of Egypt in the New Arab Movement, 1917
  • Islamic Congress Federation, Cairo 1922-23
  • the Pan-Arab Movement, 1930
  • Nouri As-Sa'id: plans for Arab alliance, 1930-31
  • Pan-Islamic Congress, Jerusalem, 1931
  • National Arab Congress, Syria, 1937
  • Views of Ibn Saud on Arab unity, 1939
  • Views of Nouri As-Sa'id on Arab federation, 1940
  • British and French attitudes to Arab federation, 1940

Volume 2: Before the Arab League: Arab unity proposals 1941-43

  • Winston Churchill's interpretation of Arab policy, 1941
  • the impact of the Palestine issue on the idea of Arab union, 1941
  • Arab federation as a solution to the Palestine issue, 1941
  • proposal for a single Arab state under Ibn Sa'ud, 1941
  • Zionist opinions on Arab federation, 1942
  • British views on Arab unity, 1943
  • Nouri As-Sa'id's blue book: key documents on Arab unity, 1943
  • the Arab Union Club, Cairo and Baghdad, 1943

Volume 3: Before the Arab League: preliminary inter-Arab talks in Alexandria, 1943-44

  • Preliminary talks among Arab leaders, Cairo, 1943
  • attitudes to Arab unity in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Transjordan, Yemen, Oman, North Africa, 1943
  • preparatory committee for Arab Conference, 1944
  • proposed organisational structure for Arab League, 1944
  • The Alexandria Protocol (to create a League of Arab States), 1944

Volume 4: Inauguration of the Arab League, 1944-46

  • Responses to the preliminary proposals from Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Transjordan, North Africa
  • proposal for Arab propaganda offices in London and Washington, 1944-45
  • Ibn Sa'ud agrees to the protocol, 1945
  • statutes and objectives of the Arab League, 1945
  • constitution and membership questions, 1945
  • covenant of the Arab League and its ratification, 1945
  • the Arab League Pact, 1945
  • inaugural meeting of the Arab League, June 1945
  • rivalries within the League, 1945
  • Arab League Policy on Palestine, 1945
  • relations with the United Nations, USSR, Turkey, Britain
  • activities of first Secretary-General, Azzam Bey 1945-46


Volume 5: The Arab League 1946-47

  • Arab League views on British and French roles in Middle East, 1946
    threat of withdrawal by Iraq and Transjordan, 1946
  • the Hashimites and the Arab League, 1946
  • participation by Libya, 1946
  • questions of participation by the Persian Gulf States, 1946
  • the Arab League's boycott of Jewish firms and products, 1946
  • extension and entrenchment of boycott, 1946
  • Arab League Cultural Treaty, 1947
  • the Palestine issue, 1947

Volumes 6-10: the Arab League 1948-1963

These volumes provide regular council and committee reports as well as detailed material on special situations:

  • Arab League joint defence plans, 1948
  • views of King Farouk regarding British Treaty with Arab states, 1948
  • criticism of Arab League from members, 1949
  • Canadian assessment of organisation and policies of the Arab League, 1950
  • unity questions, 1950
  • relations with Italy and Turkey, 1951
  • customs agreement, 1953
  • Arab Development Bank project, telecommunications project, 1953
  • meetings reports: Arab Chiefs of Staff, Foreign Ministers, Economic Congress, Arab Chambers of Commerce, Petroleum Congress
  • summaries of development in Arab League up to 1954
  • discussion of protest by Lebanon against interference by UAR, 1958
  • British view on Arab League membership questions for Bahrain, Qatar, the Trucial States and Oman, 1958
  • Morocco joins, 1958
  • Tunisia boycott by League, 1958
  • Kuwait joins 1961
  • Algeria joins, 1962
  • threat to Kuwait sovereignty by Iraq
  • Arab League force sent to Kuwait, 1961
  • Arab League Office opens in London, 1961
  • relations with the US and the UN, 1970