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Miscellaneous correspondence, reports, maps and other papers concerning the Middle East [‎37r] (74/220)

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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[This Document is the Property of His Britannic Majesty’s Government.]
Printed for the War Cabinet. October 1917. ^
I UNDERTOOK to place before the Cabinet some of the considerations that
might affect the decision whether it would be wnse to invite the military co-operation
of Japan, either now or in the future, in Mesopotamia or in some other theatre of war.
I have not been able to collate all the various references that have been made to the
possibility of military assistance by Japan since the commencement of the war.
Broadly speaking, her contribution to the alliance up to date has been :—
(a.) In the combined attacks upon Tsingtau and Shantung ;
(b.) In the seizure of the German Pacific islands north of the Equator ;
(c.) In the co-operation of her fleet in the Pacific and Mediterranean ;
(d.) In the supply of arms, munitions, and ships to one or other of the Allies.
None of her soldiers have fought with any of the Allied armies. Nor, so far as I
remember, has Japan made any definite offer of military assistance. When it has more
than once been suggested that her armies might be invited to Russia or France, the
suggestion has not emanated from her in the first place, or received much encouragement
at her hands. On one occasion, early in the war, when the opinion of the Government of
India was sought on the desirability of inviting a Japanese force to Mesopotamia, Lord
Hardinge replied that he would prefer to get back for Mesopotamia—which campaign was
then in its early stages—an Indian Division that was guarding the Suez Canal, and to
send a Japanese Division to take its place in Egypt, on the ground that the Japanese could
claim a legitimate interest in the safety of the Canal as the great international highway
to the far East and to Japan itself. Nothing, however, came of the proposal. It has
not since been revived. In November 1916 we learned from the present Foreign
Minister of Japan that official opinion there was not in favour of military co-operation
either in Russia or France.
Let me say at once that there are certain theatres of war or possible war in which
it would, in my opinion, be highly undesirable that Japanese troops should be employed.
They are the following :—
(i.) I he Indian frontier, or any region directly adjacent thereto. When the
Anglo-Japanese Alliance was formed, the terms of the Treaty of 1905
provided explicitly for the employment of Japanese forces on the Indian
frontiers, the only serious enemy by whom they were then believed to be
threatened being Russia. The idea, therefore, of the co-operation of
British, Indian, and Japanese forces against a common enemy in the Asiatic
Continent is no novel one. But, even so, it was generally recognised that
it was only in the last resort that the appeal would ever be made ; and
Japanese military assistance, if* sought or given, would almost certainly
have been turned in another direction. The reason is that the appeal to an
Asiatic ally to assist us in holding India would have been universally
regarded in the East, and more particularly in India, as a proof that Great
Britain could not do it herself, and that the day of the white man was
(ii.) Any theatre of war, such as the Malay Peninsula, Persia, Afghanistan, Arabia
(including Aden), Egypt, Palestine, and East Africa, where the appearance of
the Japanese would be construed as an admission that we could not protect
our own interests, and were obliged to rely upon another Asiatic Power.
I place Egypt in this category (though not so confidently as the other areas
named) because, although Egypt has geographically a quasi-international
position, the assumption of the British Protectorate, with all the delicate
problems that it involves, renders it very undesirable that we should appear

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 [‎37r] (74/220), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, Mss Eur F112/276, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 5 March 2024]

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